Large tech firms are coming under scrutiny over their tax avoidance measures, following the testimony of Apple executives to a US Senate Permanent Subcommittee. Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and others have been found to be using an assortment of tax loopholes and off-shoring in order to avoid paying governments in the US and Europe at least $100 billion.
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Acorn is an image editing utility that offers layer support, built-in effects, vector shapes and text, and more. Version 4.0.4 is a maintenance release that resolves a number of bugs, including an issue where merging layers while doing a layer transform would cause your transform to be lost. Better defaults for shape settings are also included when first launching Acorn.
Delicious Library is a cataloging tool that allows users to create a database of all their belongings. Items can be entered manually or via the built-in bar code scanner. In v3.0.2, items without a cover will now show title and creator on the shelf, and synopses can be added and edited. An option for exporting a library for creating backups and merging multiple libraries has also been added.
KeyCue helps users make use of keyboard shortcuts provided by various applications. After holding down the Command key for a set period of time KeyCue opens and displays a table of all currently available menu shortcuts. The latest release has made the Check for Updates option available through KeyCue's menu bar icon. The internal drawing order has also been modified to avoid partially clipped submenu frames, and a number of bugs have been resolved.
HoudahSpot allows users to create detailed queries to pinpoint the exact file they are searching for. Favorite queries can be saved for later access, and templates can be set up for frequently performed searches. A bug that would cause HoudahSpot to ignore the license file if launched with a saved search has been fixed in this release. A missing "less than" operator in the file size criterion has also been added.
Coda is a web development application that was designed to bring all the functions of web page creation into a single window. The v2.0.9 release fixes a possible crash that could occur when closing a MySQL tab, along with an exception when using accessibility on OS X Snow Leopard.
1 hour ago | Posted in: iPhone, gadgets, accessories, Apple, iPad
As is traditional for the time of year, Apple has updated its main US homepage to promote items from its store in tune with the upcoming Father's Day holiday. In addition to the iPad and iPad mini, such items as iPhone 5, the Nike+Fuel band, the iGrill meat thermometer, the HipKey proximity alarm, the Nest thermostat and other suggestions are highlighted. The page also features a subtly cleaner and more geometric design.
A new reliability report from Rescuecom shows Apple placing in second place, beaten by Samsung by a wide margin. The new report for the first quarter of 2013, which now takes into account tablets as well as computers, also puts Apple ahead of Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba, HP, Dell, and Acer, with both Sony and Panasonic dropping out of the rankings entirely.
3 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, accessories, audio
Audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears has announced a new wireless Bluetooth portable speaker, the UE Boom. Available in six colors, the mini-speaker is intended to be portable and offers 360-degree sound from all sides of the easy-grip device. The device features an acoustic skin to be water and stain resistant, a long and rechargeable battery life (up to 15 hours) and is easily paired with other UE Boom units.
6 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, iPad
Zagg has debuted a pair of new iPad mini Bluetooth keyboard accessories at CTIA Las Vegas. The ZaggKeys Cover for the iPad mini, pictured, is the latest in its iPad line of popular keyboard covers. According to the company, it is the thinnest Bluetooth keyboard accessory for the iPad mini available, measuring just 6.3mm (0.25-inch) thick. It also incorporates backlit keys with seven color options and three lighting levels.
11 hours ago | Posted in: digital imaging
Optical character recognition purveyor IRIS has launched its next-generation IRIScan Book 3 and the IRIScan Book 3 Executive. These portable scanning solutions are battery‐powered, enabling mobile users to easily capture paper documents, receipts, photos and more without the use of a computer.
12 hours ago | Posted in: digital imaging
Flickr Pro users have been informed by Yahoo about the future of the once-premium accounts. As long as the user's account is kept in good standing, customers paying $25 per year for unlimited storage will be allowed to keep the plan indefinitely, with no plans for the Pro benefits to be purged.
Unity has announced that its mobile game development tools are now free to use for smaller developers. The Unity platform is popular amongst iOS and Android developers, but its creator previously charged $800 to publish a game to the App Store or Google Play. Under the new rules, that barrier has been lifted.
13 hours ago | Posted in: software, enterprise
CS Odessa has posted a minor update for ConceptDraw Project, the developer's project management software. The v6.4 release adds new resource types, which should let organizers better describe both resources and resource behavior. Separately, new filters can be used to generate custom views of a project, which in turn can be saved for later use.
14 hours ago | Posted in: software, digital imaging, Graphics/Web Design
Escape Motions has released Flame Painter 2.0, an update of the developer's illustration software. The v2.0 upgrade brings in a host of new features, such as smoother antialiasing, unlimited layers and editable vector layers in the Professional edition. Brush options include new Flame, Follow, and Ribbon brushes; presets; Normal, Lighten, and Darken modes; gradient transitions; and lastly, the ability to drag-and-drop brushes from a website.
14 hours ago | Posted in: computers, upgrades/storage
Seagate Technology has announced the new Seagate Video 3.5 HDD -- the industry’s first 4TB, 3.5-inch hard disk drive engineered specifically for use in video applications such as digital video recorders, set-top boxes, and surveillance systems. Purpose-built for video solutions, the Video 3.5 HDD can store up to 480 hours of high-definition (HD) content. The drive supports up to 16 simultaneous HD streams or 20 standard-definition streams as well as 24-hour operation capabilities optimizing it for video content applications.
Apple remains in first place on an annual BrandZ ranking of the world's most valuable brands, notes MarketingWeek. Apple's brand is estimated to be worth $185.071 billion, putting it well ahead of next-closest rivals Google ($113.669 billion) and IBM ($112.536 billion). Other companies in the top 10 include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Microsoft, Marlboro, Visa, and China Mobile.
16 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones, Apple
Intel has noted that it has appointed Mike Bell to lead its emergent technology and product trend group, which includes ultra-mobile products. The new division will be "tasked with turning cool technology and business model innovations into products that shape and lead markets," according to Intel.
17 hours ago | Posted in: software, digital imaging, Graphics/Web Design
Smith Micro has launched Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014, updates of the developer's core 3D rendering and animation tools. Both apps have gained a number of new features, such as subdivision surfaces, which let users set subdivision levels for props, figures, or body parts using Pixar's OpenSubdiv library. The technology should improve aspects like bending accuracy and object smoothness.
17 hours ago | Posted in: industry
Starting this year, IBM's Watson intelligent agent technology will debut as a customer service assistant. Customers of Australia's ANZ Bank, Celcom, The Royal Bank of Canada, and Nielsen can query the system for general questions related to accounts with the companies. IBM claims to have the technology ready for deployment and integrated into consumer apps for computers and smartphones in the second half of 2013.
Apple has posted the opening statements two of its executives -- CEO Tim Cook (PDF) -- and CFO Peter Oppenheimer (PDF) -- made during their testimony in front of the US Senate earlier today. The documents don't reveal anything new, but do constitute a record of Apple's stance during the Senate hearing. "We pay all of the taxes we owe -- every single dollar. We not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws," Cook's statement reads.
Apple is aiming to integrate Flickr and Vimeo into iOS 7, a source tells 9to5Mac. The integration is expected to work in much the same way as Facebook and Twitter support does in iOS 6, allowing single sign-ins via the Settings menu. In the case of Flickr, at least, signing in may not only add another option to iOS' built-in sharing menus, but also simplify apps with their own hooks for the service, such as Instagram. Flickr is already integrated into OS X Mountain Lion and the iOS edition of iPhoto.
A ruling yesterday in the Northern District of California may have repercussions on the smartphone patent battles raging across the US court landscape. A federal judge granted a user of a standards-essential patent a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a possible US International Trade Commission (ITC) sales injunction. This decision by Senior District Judge Ronald Whyte is the first time a US district court is preventing the ITC's only option to combat patent infringers in conjunction with standards-essential patents.
19 hours ago | Posted in: Apple
In a brief sidetrack during his Senate testimony today, Apple CEO Tim Cook voiced his opinion on US intellectual property law. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) asked Cook about the IP benefits of running a company in the US versus other countries, but appears to have been surprised when Cook took a critical tone. "I actually think that we require much more work on IP in this country," he said.
During his testimony before the Senate on Apple's tax strategies, CEO Tim Cook restated an earlier promise that a forthcoming Mac model -- not identified -- was going to be built in the United States, and further revealed that it would be assembled in Texas. While the exact site wasn't specified, Apple has established and is expanding an administrative campus in Austin, and manufacturing partner Foxconn has facilities in Houston.
During Tim Cook's appearance on Tuesday before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (which is presently looking into the tax code), Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan) accused Apple of "exploiting an absurdity [in US tax laws] that we have not seen other corporations use," referring to a loophole he believes should be closed. Cook maintained that Apple pays US taxes on its US profits as it should.
22 hours ago | Posted in: gaming
Microsoft has revealed its latest iteration of its Xbox game console at a media event. The Xbox One, codenamed Durango during its development, is billed as an all-in-one system for the living room, with a greater focus on allowing users to watch live television and other media, along with heavier Kinect integration, Skype calling, and gaming improvements.
22 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, troubleshooting, Apple, iPad
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "abbaZaba" started a thread discussing a few new features they believed would be beneficial to add to the iOS Remote app. Senior User "RobOnTheCape" is looking for suggestions for good tripods to use when taking HDR pictures with an iPhone.
At Apple's online store, take advantage of low prices on refurbished MacBook Air models. Save $300 on the 13.3-inch MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $1,099. For $1,059 is the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.8GHz Intel dual-core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage.
22 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, accessories, audio, Apple
Newegg.com is celebrating Memorial Day with price cuts on a wide selection of items. Included in that list is the Mac mini which retails for $799. Until the 27th, use coupon code 'MEMRDAY22' at checkout to drop the price to $774. That earns it the title of lowest price by $4. The Mac mini features a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive along with HDMI port, built-in speaker and support for iPhone headset with speaker. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
23 hours ago | Posted in: networking, Apple
A new Broadcom chipset spotted on a Chinese website may be a component of future Mac updates, bringing 802.11ac (known as "Gigabit Wi-Fi") and Bluetooth 4.0 to new models on a single chipset. Not only will the chip handle all wireless communication for future Mac models, but the new chip appears -- at first glance -- to be backward compatible with similar parts in recent models, opening up the possibility of aftermarket upgrades.
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