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Thunderbolt Details Emerge: Bus Power, Mini DisplayPort, and More

With today's introduction of Thunderbolt by Intel and new MacBook Pros from Apple featuring the technology, long-standing questions regarding how the technology would be implemented are finally coming to rest. Intel just held a media event to provide additional details on the technology, and CNET provided a live blog of the event. True to recent developments, Thunderbolt is initially being implemented solely over a copper connection, with optical connections set to come later this year. The technology essentially combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into one protocol, allowing displays and other peripherals to be driven off of the same bus. Other Notes: - 10 Gbps per channel (bidirectional - that's about 900 MB/s). - 10 W bus power (less than FireWire, but more than USB). According to Intel, bus power will likely not be supported over future optical cables (so no additional copper lines just for bus power) - One bus can drive two DisplayPort displays simultaneously. - Low 8 ns latency over 7 daisy-chained devices. - Maximum single cable length is 3 meters for current copper implementation. - Any DisplayPort 1.1 device needs to be the last in a daisy chain. - In a hands-on demonstration of Thunderbolt, Engadget was able to see a 5 GB file transferred in just a few seconds. The connection was also capable of playing four simultaneous uncompressed HD video streams from a RAID device. - Ars Technica notes that its compact, inexpensive controller combined with Mini DisplayPort makes Thunderbolt well suited for mobile computing. - According to Intel,

Apple Discontinuing Legacy .Mac Homepage Viewing

Apple has announced via an email to MobileMe members that pages created with the legacy .Mac Homepage web application will cease to be viewable online as of November 8, 2010. Dear MobileMe member, Over a year ago, we retired the .Mac HomePage application for publishing new pages, but allowed previously published pages to remain viewable on the web. On November 8, 2010, we will discontinue online viewing of photos, movies, and files shared using .Mac HomePage. Please note that your content will not be deleted. Any photos, movies, or files you have published using HomePage will continue to remain on your MobileMe iDisk in the Movies, Pictures, or Public folders. We recommend MobileMe Gallery as a great way to share photos and movies on the web. Please read these instructions on how to move your HomePage photos and movies to MobileMe Gallery. MobileMe members who have published web pages using iWeb will not be affected by this change.... As noted in the email, Apple retired the .Mac Homepage application over a year ago for posting or editing content, though at the time Apple had said the existing content would remain viewable "as long as you

AMD To Drop ATI Branding

AMD announced yesterday (via IDG News/Businessweek) that it will be dropping the ATI brand and will attach the AMD name to the Radeon, FirePro and Eyefinity offerings. ATI's graphics products have long been used in Apple's Macintosh line, most recently with the 2010 Mac Pro and the Radeon HD 5870 Card. AMD acquired ATI in 2006, but has kept the ATI brand until now. The company says the change in brand name won't affect any graphics product offerings or plans. The brand transition should be completed by the end of the

ID8-Mobile Intros Case+Bluetooth Headset Combo [Updated]

ID8-Mobile today announced the MoGo Talk XD for iPhone 4, claiming to be the Worlds thinnest and only high-performance Bluetooth headset + protective case system. According to ID8-Mobile, one of the major challenges for bluetooth headset users is keeping their headset handy with their phone without constantly wearing it. Their solution is the MoGo Talk XD for iPhone 4, an integrated solution that provides an iPhone4 case which also allows for docking the included slim-profile (5mm thin) bluetooth headset. Stuart Nixdorff, CEO and President of ID8-Mobile, had the following to say about the product: The convenience, functionality and thin design of MoGo Talk XD make it a Smart accessory with unmatched significance. With MoGo Talk XD, the Bluetooth headset is always ready for use without adding unnecessary bulk to the iPhone 4. The iPhone was designed to be the thinnest Smartphone on the market, and users shouldnt have to compromise that when they decide to add features that are supposed to enhance it, and cases that are meant to protect it. Technology is supposed to improve efficiency for the consumer, and too often it just becomes an added frustration. MoGo Talk XD optimizes Bluetooth technology to provide consumers with the most convenient and elegant Smartphone. With so much attention to industrial design and aesthetics, we wondered whether user comfort was lost. Mr. Nixdorff indicated to us that comfortability hadn't been overlooked. The MoGo Talk is extremely comfortable for long term wear and every day use. We have designed and patented the exclusive

iOS 4 Jailbreak Method Brings Security Concerns [Updated]

There is renewed concern today over iOS security after a website-based jailbreaking tool was released for iOS 4 for iPhone and iPod touch and iOS 3.2 for iPad. While the jailbreak appears to be a relatively benevolent attack against a security hole in iOS, concern remains that there is a yet-unpatched and largely unidentified security vulnerability in iOS that hackers could use in a similar way to remotely plant malware on an unsuspecting victim's device. Multiple reports suggest that the jailbreak method attacks a flaw in the iOS PDF viewer in order to gain access to the device, however the principal developer of the project "comex" writes via his Twitter account that he is wondering "how long until someone figures out the actual bug I'm exploiting." A similar jailbreak method was devised for iPhone OS 1.1.1, where developers even fixed the targeted bug after the jailbreak was complete. Update: More technical details have emerged regarding the security hole that is being exploited in order for the jailbreak to be performed. The remote website presents a PDF that has a specifically crafted font embedded, and it is the processing of the embedded font that has the security issue. Interestingly, Apple had fixed a very similar issue in MacOS with Security Update 2010-003.

Google PacMan 'Doodle' Playable on iPhone OS

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man, Google has released a playable Pac-Man game "doodle" on their front page in place of their traditional logo. Written in Javascript, the game is playable on iPhone OS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) using swipe gestures. iPhone and iPod Touch users may need to switch over to "classic" from "mobile" (located at the bottom of the

WWDC 2010 Sells Out In 8 Days

Apple has updated their WWDC website to indicate that the event has sold out. The event took only 8 days to sell out after being officially announced last week. WWDC 2010 will take place June 7-11 and is expected to focus intensively on the iPhone OS platform. Apple is widely expected to introduce its new iPhone hardware during a keynote address at the event, although the device has already received considerable publicity since Gizmodo published details on one lost by an Apple employee in a California bar. This is the third straight year that Apple's WWDC conference has sold out, with the streak beginning in 2008.

Distracted Driving Dev Anticipates iPhone OS 4 Release

Almost as soon as we were ushered into the age of modern driving with the invention of the automobile we entered the age of distracted driving with the inventions of shiny things to keep us distracted: let it be the car radio or more recently the cell phone. Recent research by the National Safety Council on distracted driving has shown that cell phone usage when driving can cause a driver to miss up to 50% of the information collected in their driving environment, and that hands-free cell phones do not provide any safety benefit when driving. For more, read the NSC's white paper (pdf link). All of this research as well as public recognition of the problem (did you notice the question by a reporter during the Q&A section of last Thursday's iPhone OS Media Event?) has led a number of developers to create technological solutions to the problem. One of the solutions is "izup" by Illume Software, currently available for Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile, with versions under development for quick messaging devices and the iPhone. In an interview with MacRumors, Mark Thirman, Vice President of Business Development for Illume Software, explained the appeal of such applications. Put yourself in the mindset of a parent or an employer. You really want to reduce the risk for our children or your employees while they're driving. izup works by detecting when its host device is traveling at a speed greater than 5 mph, then sending incoming calls to voicemail and making only select "white-listed" phone numbers available for out-bound calling. When an emergency number is

iPad Sales Top 750,000?

Apple announced on Monday that it had sold over 300,000 iPads on the first day of sales. MacRumors has since heard from a believable source that Apple has already hit over 750,000 in sales. Apple is set to preview iPhone OS 4 tomorrow, and we may hear a formal update to sales figures at the

Amazon Kindle App For iPad Approved In App Store

Just in time for the iPad's release tomorrow, Apple has approved an update to Amazon's Kindle application to include support for the iPad (iTunes link). The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, providing users the ability to read Kindle books using a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You can discover and read over 450,000 books in the Kindle Store, including the latest best sellers and new releases. You can also read your Kindle books on your Mac, PC, BlackBerry, Kindle, and Kindle DX. Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all of your devices, so you can pick up right where you left off no matter what device you are reading on. Notably, the app is a "universal" application, meaning the same application can be used across all iPhone OS devices including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Amazon had previously announced that it was preparing an iPad-optimized version of it's Kindle software, which will now compete with Apple's iBook application. The iPad goes on sale tomorrow at 9:00 am at Apple's U.S. retail

Consumer Reports Finds U.S. Cell-Phone Service Providers Lacking

Consumer Reports today released its most recent survey of more than 50,000 readers that found only 54 percent of respondents were completely or very satisfied with their cell-phone service (regardless of network). In a press release Consumer Reports notes that despite smarter phones, more flexible plans, and faster wireless networks, cell service continues to be among the lower-rated of all the services that they evaluate. The survey also showed that almost two-thirds of respondents had at least one major complaint. About one in five readers cited high prices as their top complaint, which is more than any other annoyance. America is in love with the cell phone, but they are lukewarm about cell phone-phone service, said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports. "Theyre especially concerned about its cost in these tight economic times. AT&T was the lowest-rated cell-phone service provider and received low marks in voice service and customer support. Verizon was the top-rated carrier and handily beat AT&T in all areas surveyed. The full report is included in Consumer Reports January 2010 issue and is posted on their website. A city-by-city rating is available for 26 metropolitan areas. Also included in the January 2010 issue is an update to the organization's cell phone ratings. Apple's iPhone models continue to remain on top of Consumer Reports smart phone ratings as of this

RadioShack To Sell iPhone

In a brief press release today, RadioShack announced that it will begin selling the iPhone starting with the Dallas-Fort Worth and New York City markets later this month. RadioShack plans to sell the iPhone across the U.S. in 2010. "As part of its ongoing mobility strategy, RadioShack is pleased to announce that it will introduce Apple's iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a limited number of company-owned stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth and New York City metropolitan areas beginning later this month. RadioShack expects to introduce iPhone in stores nationwide in 2010. For more information about exact store locations and product availability, visit www.radioshack.com. For more information about iPhone, visit www.apple.com/iphone."Last year The Boy Genius Report reported that Best Buy and Radio Shack would begin selling the iPhone. Best Buy began selling the iPhone in September

Why an RFID-enabled iPhone?

Multiple reports have come in that Apple is researching RFID integration into the iPhone, but some may still be wondering what such functionality would bring to the table for consumers. Firstly, we should note that RFID is a catch-all term that describes a vast array of technologies and standards. RFID tags can be relatively large and battery-powered, such as ones used in toll collection, to small "passive" tags that can be embedded into credit cards, drivers licenses (called "Enhanced Drivers Licenses" in the U.S.), passports, or stuck onto a piece of merchandise. Currently, cell-phone usage of RFID technology is centered around Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC has three main usage scenarios: a phone acting as an RFID tag; a phone acting as an RFID reader; and peer to peer communication (P2P). In RFID tag mode, a phone could be used as a payment device (like a credit card), an identity card, or act as a car key. In RFID reader mode the phone would be able to interact with tags in its vicinity. This article and video (below) demonstrates how an iPhone with RFID could use physical objects to control media playback. And in P2P mode, Bluetooth pairing can be streamlined. iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo. These are just a few ways that RFID could be used in an iPhone. When or if it becomes a reality isn't clear, but hopefully now you have a better idea of what the potential is for Apple's research in this

Apple Announces Over 100,000 Apps Available on the App Store

Apple today officially announced that more than 100,000 apps are now available from the App Store. "The App Store, now with over 100,000 applications available, is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "The iPhone SDK created the first great platform for mobile applications and our customers are loving all of the amazing apps our developers are creating." "The App Store has forever changed the mobile gaming industry and continues to improve," said Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios, EA Mobile. "With a global reach of over 50 million iPhone and iPod touch users, the App Store has allowed us to develop high quality EA games that have been a huge success with customers." "With 10,000 downloads a day, worldwide customer response to our I Am T-Pain App has exceeded our wildest expectations," said Jeff Smith, CEO of Smule. "The App Store has given us a unique opportunity to create and grow a very successful business, and we're looking forward to an exciting future."An announcement was expected ever since App Shopper.com noted that over 100,000 applications had been approved. Apple's previous official announcement of App Store application count occurred in late September, when the store surpassed two billion downloads with 85,000 available apps.

Mobile Safari Anti-Phishing Feature Criticized As Being Inconsistent

As part of the iPhone/iPod Touch 3.1 Software update released yesterday during Apple's rock and roll event, Mobile Safari gained anticipated anti-phishing features currently present in its desktop version. However, security firm Intego is criticizing the feature's inconsistency as being worse than if the feature hadn't been included at all. We've had a number of people test [the anti-phishing feature], and some people get warnings for sites that others can load just fine. We've tried isolating locations, iPhone/iPod touch models, and whether they are connecting over a cell network or via wifi, but all we've come up with is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This is clearly more dangerous than no protection at all, because if users think they are protected, they are less careful about which links they click. The desktop version of Safari uses Google's Safe Browsing API. It's unclear what technology the Mobile Safari browser uses and what the exact reason is for the inconsistent results, however Intego as well as other researchers promise to continue to investigate the

Apple Forces Removal of 'Free Memory' Functionality From iPhone Applications

In another seemingly controversial App Store approval decision, Apple has forced iPhone developers to remove functionality that allows users to "free memory" on demand. While third parties are limited from developing background applications for the iPhone, Apple allows their applications such as the iPod, Safari, and Mail applications to continue to run. After prolonged use, these background applications may take up most of the memory (RAM) on the iPhone that can create interface sluggishness and prevent some memory-intensive applications from loading. Applications such as

Apple Announces August 28th Availability of Snow Leopard

Apple today announced that Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard will go on sale Friday, August 28 at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple's online store is now accepting pre-orders. "Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we're happy to get it to users earlier than expected," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world's most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support." Snow Leopard is available as an upgrade for users of Mac OS 10.5 Leopard for $29 as a single user license and $49 as a family pack. For users of Mac OS 10.4 Tiger and earlier, the Mac Box Set includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife '09 and iWork '09 for $169 as a single user license and a family pack for $229. (prices in

Apple Launches iTunes Store in Mexico

Apple today announced the launch of the iTunes Store in Mexico. Continuing Apple's tradition of providing international stores with localized collections, the Mexican store features local artists including Paulina Rubio, Vicente Fernndez and Zo and a wide range of international artists including Shakira, Lady Gaga, Green Day and thousands more. "The iTunes Store in Mexico is off to a great start with music from all of the majors and hundreds of indie labels," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "And the revolutionary App Store in Mexico gets bigger and better with great new apps using amazing new features, and we can't wait to see what developers come up with next."Apple says most songs will be priced at 12 pesos, with most albums priced at 120 pesos. The announcement does not include TV shows or

Google: The Web, Not App Stores, is the Future Of Mobile Development

Speaking to attendees of the MobileBeat 2009 conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google Engineering vice president Vic Gundotra predicted that the Web would prevail as the dominant mobile application development platform despite the huge success of Apple's App Store (via Financial Times). According to Gundotra the harsh economics of maintaining multiple platform-specific copies of applications is pushing development to the Web. "We believe the web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters and certainly thats where Google is investing." At least partially supporting Gundotra's viewpoint were fellow panelists from Palm and Nokia. Readers will remember that Apple initially only officially allowed developers to create web-based applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, but extended access to native applications a year later with iPhone OS 2.0 and the launch of the App Store. For technical support of his claims, Mr. Gundotra points to HTML5, which is allowing for CSS animations as well as the use of geolocation and accelerometers. Of course, such technologies currently do not address the needs of more complex games that require access to mobile-based 3D services such as OpenGL ES. Interestingly, both Google (Chrome OS) and Palm (WebOS), and previously even Nokia, have taken advantage of Apple-backed WebKit as the basis of their latest Web-centric operating

Silverlight 3 Adds H.264 Support, Hardware Acceleration

Microsoft has officially launched Silverlight 3, the latest major update to their web media platform. New features in Silverlight 3 include the addition of H.264/AAC codec support and "Smooth Streaming" which "dynamically detects and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU conditions." Full-screen resolutions up to 720p are supported with GPU hardware acceleration. Additional feature details and a download of the plug-in are available from Microsoft's website (Intel-only). Silverlight has made some inroads since being launched in 2007, with Netflix using the technology to deliver streaming video content to PCs and Macs. Other big-name providers using Silverlight include NBC, Tata Motors, and Continental Airlines. Microsoft provides runtimes for Windows, Mac, and Linux, however development is limited to Windows platforms. While Silverlight competes mostly with Adobe's Flash, Apple has been working to blunt the impact of such technologies with their efforts on standards-based HTML5 and today's news of 3D CSS effects in Snow Leopard's