Sony plans video everywhere

Sony is getting ready to directly link its consumer electronics products and considerable movie and TV content libraries.

Later this year the company will begin providing video content to PlayStation 3 users via the recently-launched PlayStation Network, and will start a streaming video service for owners of Bravia TVs with a network connection.

"This continues to be one of the clearest opportunities for Sony to leverage its entertainment assets to differentiate its electronics products," said Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony at a Tokyo news conference.

As part of the push the company will increasingly build Internet connectivity into its products. By March 2011, it plans to have network-enabled and wireless capable products available in 90 per cent of its product categories, and aims to roll out the video services to key devices by the same date.

The PlayStation 3, which shipped with an internet connection from launch, is one of its most widely used network-capable products beyond PCs. Around 50 million of the consoles are in the hands of consumers and just under 10 million accounts exist on its PlayStation Network, which is used largely for games.

"We have an enormous global installed base upon which we can build network services," said Stringer. "With the inclusion of our Blu-ray player, WiFi and hard drive in every PS3, I am confident that the PS3 is the network home entertainment server of the future."

The next step in the roll-out will be to extend the PlayStation Network to personal computers and later to networked consumer electronics products like televisions and Blu-ray Disc players, many of which can already be hooked up to the Internet. Portable devices like the video Walkman and Sony Ericsson mobile phones will also be supported.

Before the PlayStation Network gets to televisions Sony will begin offering streaming content via Bravia Internet Video Link, an internet contents service it launched in the US in 2007. In November Sony Pictures will offer the upcoming Will Smith movie, "Hancock," at no cost to all Internet-connected Bravias before the movie's DVD release.

"Sony now has the capability to deliver feature films and television shows of ours or our peers directly to consumer televisions across the open IP network outside the conventional satellite, cable or terrestrial distribution systems ... This initiative is a clear but important glimpse into the future of home entertainment," said Stringer.

For Sony the network strategy has been a long time coming.

Despite enjoying a position as one of the biggest creators of movie and television content in the world and one of its top consumer electronics companies, previous attempts to directly link with consumers, through services like Mora or Connect, have failed in part because Sony chose its own systems over those with wider support in the industry.

But the company's reliance - or insistence - on its own technology has changed in the years since Stringer took over.

The new PlayStation Network service, for example, will use Marlin, an open digital rights management system that was developed by Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Philips and Intertrust.

"We will embrace open standards to improve interoperability among all of our customers' devices," Stringer said.

PlayStation Day video
Sony plans TVs that will eliminate set-top boxes

Apple ships iPhone SDK beta 8

Apple has introduced iPhone SDK Beta 8, revealing the software to be compatible with the final iPhone OS 2.0 release.

"Beta release 8 is compatible with the final iPhone OS 2.0 release and must be used to build and sign any iPhone OS application to be submitted to the App Store. As a reminder, you must be a member of the iPhone Developer Program to submit apps," Apple states in its release notes.

"We encourage developers to apply to the iPhone Developer Program for access to additional support resources, as well as access to a certificate that enables development directly on an iPhone or iPod touch," Apple explains.

The eighth beta version of the iPhone SDK includes Xcode IDE, iPhone Simulator with Open GL ES support, Interface Builder, Instruments, frameworks and samples, compilers, and Shark analysis tool.

The development software also requires developers download and install iTunes 7.7, a release that's not yet been shipped to the public.

iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3
openSUSE 11.0 Beta 3
Thousands of Palm apps to leap to iPhone

80% of businesses have at least one Mac

Macs and Mac OS X are becoming more widely-used among US businesses, a recent Yankee Group survey explains.

Yankee Group has released the results of its independent web-based survey, and the results suggest "significant, steady and sustained adoption of Mac and OS X Leopard in the enterprise," the researchers said. A

ccording to the survey of 700 global IT administrators and C-level executives, approximately 80 per cent of the businesses have installed Macintoshes and the OS X operating system in their network.

"As the consumerization of the enterprise continues and as ubiquitous connectivity takes hold, empowering employees with the tools that help facilitate Anywhere connectivity becomes key," said Laura DiDio, research fellow, Yankee Group. "Apple's strong marks in security, features, performance, usability and reliability are indicative of the qualities customers' value when purchasing hardware and operating system software."

According to the report, nearly one-quarter of the survey respondents have a significant number of Macs installed. The report also enumerates the technical and business benefits of using Macs.

Analyst: Apple boosting iPod orders, cutting Macs
Safari, Mac usage climbs online in May

Apple Q3 financial announcement 21 July

Apple will detail its third-quarter earnings during a conference call on 21 July at 2pm (Pacific time).

Industry watchers will be interested to take a look at the company's Mac, iPod and iPhone sales, but sales of the iPhone 3G won't be included within this report, as the device ships after the end of the relevant financial quarter.

Speaking during the last financial results call, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO said: “Looking ahead to the third quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $7.2 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.00.”

The company posted revenue of $7.51 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion in its last quarter. It sold 2,289,000 Macs, 10,644,000 iPods and 1,703,000 iPhones in the quarter.

4 Japan Nonlife Insurers Suffer Earnings Setbacks in FY ‘07
Dell reports strong first-quarter earnings
RBC: iPhone 3G to trigger iPod-like sales boom

Clear Channel's US radio stations support iTunes-tagging

Clear Channel Radio today announced that all of its 350 HD2 stations are iTunes Tagging compatible, allowing songs played on Clear Channel Radio HD stations to be added to an iPod when tagged by a tagging-capable receiver.

"With radio now well established in the digital age, innovation is a priority at Clear Channel Radio, which is why we developed technology to make iTunes Tagging possible," said John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "With 700 of our HD stations now tagging-capable, and because of our collaboration with iTunes, iPods can now continuously be refreshed with new songs discovered on radio."

A recent survey from sonoro audio found that radio was still the number one way that consumers prefer to listen to music followed by iPods, which highlights the natural relationship between Clear Channel Radio and iTunes to provide more entertainment options for consumers.

Clear Channel Radio announced in early April that it had made all of its primary HD stations compatible with iTunes Tagging.

The beat goes on
Apple achieves radio iTunes deal
iLuv dips into HD Radio with iPod dock, more
Vita intros iPod-ready, luxury R4 radio

New top-level domains expected in 2009

New internet top-level domains available to far more applicants may be approved by the third quarter of next year and cost as little as $100,000 to register, ICANN executives said Thursday after the ending of a landmark meeting of the Internet governance group.

At the meeting in Paris, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on Thursday agreed to start crafting rules for a new method of creating generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Unlike existing gTLDs, such as .biz and .mobi, which came from a limited set of applicant entities and went through a long process to be approved by ICANN, the new ones could come from anyone who has the capacity to run an internet registry. Also, approval will be automatic unless there are objections from someone else.

"This is a decision to fully liberate the TLD space," said ICANN President and CEO Paul Twomey. He spoke at a press conference in Paris, monitored via conference call, along with Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush.

Once the gTLDs were cleared through the process, their owners could start selling domains that go with them, just as registrars now sell domain names that end in .com, .org or .biz. But ICANN has to work out how much to charge for the gTLDs, how objections would be resolved, and other issues.

After working out the details of the system, ICANN expects to start receiving applications for gTLDs in April or May of next year, and ones that aren't controversial could probably be approved in 90 to 120 days, Twomey said. If that timeline held, the domains could go on sale by the fourth quarter, he said.

The price of a new gTLD is expected to be initially "in the low six digits" in US dollars, with some ongoing fees after that, Twomey said. The idea is to recoup the cost of developing the new system, which ICANN estimates at between $10 million and $20 million by the time it is ready to roll. After the first generation of such names is set up, the cost might go down if those costs have already been covered, they said. ICANN expects most of the proposed gTLDs to come from large entities rather than individuals.

A proposed name could face objections of four basic kinds, the executives said:

- it violates someone else's existing rights, namely a trademark;

- it's confusingly similar to an existing TLD;

- it purports to represent a economic or cultural community, but the community doesn't believe that it does; or

- it's contrary to morality or public order.

Such disputes would probably be resolved through third-party arbitration, the ICANN executives said. Who would pay for that arbitration has not yet been resolved.

Also on Thursday, the organization agreed to start working out how to assign IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) that would go under existing TLDs. This opens the door to domain names in non-Roman character sets such as Cyrillic and Chinese characters. For example, a Chinese company could register a domain name consisting of its name in Chinese characters, followed by .cn, the country code for China.

Though this is called a "fast-track" process, those names would probably start appearing on the internet around the same time as the new gTLDs because the two programs have been designed to go forward together. This is because ICANN expects new gTLDs to appear in non-Roman characters as well, and there are technical issues with making both possible.

Hasselblad aims Phocus 1.0 for Mac
Diablo 3 confirmed

Speedy Mac helps you open things quicker

Altomac on Wednesday announced the release of Speedy Mac, a new utility that the developer claims can help you more quickly open everything you need - documents, folders, applications and files. Speedy Mac costs $27 and a trial version is available for download.

Speedy Mac organizes frequently-used documents, folders, sites, applications and tasks into a handy menu.Speedy Mac lets you access your favorite documents, folders, sites and applications in lists. Recently used web pages and your favorite pages appear grouped by site; recently used and favorite documents are automatically placed into application groups.

Speedy Mac also features an edited "Task" menu that lets you hide or quite all running applications at once, create a new folder establishing name and location, eject all removable and external disks and more. You can create new tasks using Apple's Automator or Script Editor software; the developer has released user-created tasks on its Web site.

System requirements call for Mac OS X or later.

Spore Creature Creator Now Available
Thousands of Palm apps to leap to iPhone
MegaPhone becomes PhoneView 2.0
GarageSale eBay Mac product range expands

Mariner introduces MacGourmet Deluxe 1.0

Mariner Software has introduced MacGourmet Deluxe 1.0, its recipe and wine management software for Mac OS X.

The application offers a slew of tools, including recipe creation and sharing, wine and cooking notes and the capacity to import recipes from the web. Recipes can be published to a .mac account or to a personal website.

MacGourmet Deluxe can also create a shopping list that can be printed or exported to a PDA and included a Cookbook Builder, which lets users build, print and share their own cookbook.

Cookbook Builder allows the easy addition of images, chapters and text pages and then allows a user to save the results as a high resolution PDF, which can be printed out on a desktop printer or print-on-demand source.

Addutional features of the $49.95 software include iCal integration for weekly meal planning, access to a nutritional database, the ability to view the nutritional value of recipes, and a shopping list editor.

MacGourmet Deluxe requires Mac OS 10.4 or higher. The standard version of MacGourmet will continue to be available from Advenio.

Researcher slams Adobe for 'epidemic' of JavaScript bugs

Adobe patched its free Reader and commercial Acrobat software late Monday to plug the latest in what one researcher called an "epidemic" of JavaScript vulnerabilities in the popular programs this year.

Dubbing the bug "critical," Adobe also acknowledged reports that exploits triggering the bug are already circulating. Both the Windows and Mac editions of the Adobe software require patches.

"A critical vulnerability has been identified in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 8.1.2 and earlier versions," said the Adobe alert posted Monday. "This vulnerability would cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system." Specifically, the patch plugs an input validation hole in Reader's and Acrobat's use of JavaScript, said Adobe.

Adobe Reader is the company's popular, free PDF viewer, while Acrobat is its for-a-fee application for creating and managing documents in that format.

Adobe last patched JavaScript bugs in Reader and Acrobat in February, although other fixes were issued in early 2007. In February, Adobe updated both programs to version 8.1.2 by patching nearly 30 problems. At the time, the company was criticized for not providing more information about exactly what was fixed, and why, in the 8.1.2. update.

Days later, reports surfaced that some of the JavaScript bugs patched this year had been exploited by hackers for several weeks, and had infected thousands of users.

"Adobe has an epidemic with regards to JavaScript," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security Inc., in an email Tuesday morning. "With this many JavaScript bugs in Acrobat, one begins to ask questions. Why would a full, thick application like Acrobat need to be using JavaScript, especially when JavaScript in the browser has historically been a target for hackers? And since JavaScript has been a target for so many years, why hasn't Adobe flushed out these vulnerabilities already?"

According to Adobe, versions 8.0 through 8.1.2 of both Reader and Acrobat should be patched; Reader and Acrobat 7.1.0, which were released in February, don't contain the bug and so don't need to be updated. Users still relying on version 7.0.9 or earlier, however, should update to 7.1.0, urged Adobe. Also, Reader 9 and Acrobat 9, which are expected to launch next month, are also not vulnerable.

The patch can be downloaded using links in Adobe's security bulletin.

Grand Theft Auto IV patch finally here
Adobe slams October CS4 release claims
Call of Duty 4 Patch v1.6 Released
Apple fixes Safari ‘carpet bomb’ bug

iTunes offers exclusive Radiohead video collection

iTunes, Nigel Godrich and Radiohead are offering an exclusive ten-track video performance through iTunes.

The band got together at The Hospital recording studio in Covent Garden to perform ten tracks taken from the In Rainbows album, performances were recorded and mixed by producer, Godrich, and filmed by his tem.

This exclusive collection is also part of Godrich's From The Basement series of music television shows, and includes songs from both the main In Rainbows album and the second, less widely-available CD which was only sold within the deluxe boxed set.

Captured in a day, directed by David Barnard and sound byNigelGodrich, the videos represent the best recorded representation ofRadiohead's live performance to date.

Tracks include:

Bodysnatchers House of Cards Nude Weird Fishes/Arpeggi 15 Step Reckoner Go Slowly Videotape Bangers & Mash All I Need

Journey Hits With Steve Perry Soundalike
iTunes album sales at record high

iPhone 3G is the toast of Wall Street

Apple's iPhone may see as many as one-in-ten units sold as pay-as-you-go phones, while Morgan Stanley expects iPhone sales to double next year.

"We believe the market generally expects a doubling of iPhone units with the lower price point ($199) and we believe this is realistic, if not conservative," Morgan Stanley said, predicting 27 million iPhone sales for 2009.

Piper Jaffray meanwhile expects pay-as-you-go iPhone sales to account for ten per cent of sales, with the UK price of these currently rumoured to be as high as 370. Piper Jaffray anticipates 12.9 million iPhone sales this year, and another 45 million in 2009.

With such heavy sales anticipated, a new iSuppli report speculates Apple to have reduced the build price per phone by $50 as compared to the first-generation device, speculating iPhone 3G may cost $173 per unit in raw parts and assembly (this doesn't include development, distribution or cost of sales). iSuppli believes Apple is seeing around a $281 per unit profit on each iPhone sold.

Global entertainment and media revenue is expected to climb by an average of 6.6 per cent a year to $2.2 trillion by 2012, boosted by advertising-supported digital and mobile media and an explosion in the adoption of broadband, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports. Devices like the iPhone will drive the move, the analysts said.

RBC: iPhone 3G to trigger iPod-like sales boom
Needham & Co. predicts 30m iPhone sales in 2009

Typhoon hammers Apple over touch

Apple and nine other firms have been added to a patent infringement lawsuit bought against Dell.

Typhoon Touch Technologies is alleging Apple and others have infringed on patents it holds on touch-screen computing.

Typhoon’s complaint alleges that defendants have infringed and continue to infringe its US Patent 5,379,057 issued 3 January, 1995 and entitled “Portable Computer with Touch Screen and Computer System Employing Same,” and US Patent No. 5,675,362 issued October 7, 1997 and entitled “Portable Computer with Touch Screen and Computing System Employing Same."

It launched litigation over the alleged infringements in December 2007 against Dell. Now, Typhoon has added Apple, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Lenovo, Panasonic, HTC, Palm, Samsung, Nokia and LG Electronics to the list of companies it is litigating against.

“The addition of these defendants is a further step in protecting Typhoon’s IP from being unfairly exploited. Hopefully, the world of potential infringers will take notice that it is the company’s intent to aggressively protect its intellectual property,” said Typhoon's director of legal affairs and licensing, Hofheimer, Gartlir & Gross lawyer, Craig Weiner.

“As alleged in the amended complaint, Typhoon believes that numerous defendants are selling and/or offering for sale - what could be millions of devices - which may infringe Typhoon’s patents.”

Typhoon Touch Technologies and its licensee and co-plaintiff, Nova Mobility Systems, previously reached an out-of-court settlement with Motion Computing and recently completed a settlement with Electrovaya, wherein Electrovaya recognized the validity of Typhoon’s patents at issue in the litigation, acknowledged infringement of one or more of the patent claims and made an undisclosed royalty payment of at least 20 per cent on past and future sales of its Scribbler Tablet PC’s in the US.

Typhoon seeks damages for lost profits as well as a permanent injunction from continued infringing activity by the defendants.

The case will be heard in the US District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

Apple, HP sued over online stores
Apple prosecutes Atico over iPod accessories
Apple aims for iPod ‘ecosystem’ patent, w/wireless

Bill Gates leaves Microsoft

The departure of Microsoft's founder and iconic leader Bill Gates comes at a pivotal time in the company's history as it struggles to compete with Google, the architect of the new web economy and perhaps the company's most formidable foe ever.

With Gates giving up his full-time duties, two very different leaders - CEO Steve Ballmer and chief software architect Ray Ozzie - are burdened with the task of transforming Microsoft into a leader in an industry where the web, not the PC, is driving how people use technology.

As Gates' heir apparent, Ozzie in particular is under an enormous amount of pressure to rise to the occasion. How he performs as chief software architect once Gates leaves the fold is key to Microsoft's ability to take the same dominance it enjoyed in the PC industry for the past 20-some years to the world of internet advertising and hosted services.

Ozzie has been chief software architect for only two years, and during that time has worked with Gates in preparation for 27 June, Gates' last full-time day at Microsoft. While Ballmer has been running Microsoft alongside Gates since he took over as CEO in 2000, Ozzie's ability to be a long-term leader is unproven.

Though Ozzie will have help from the rest of Microsoft's relatively new team of top brass, it's his relationship with Ballmer and his ability to steer Microsoft's technology direction in the next five to ten years that will determine whether the company can beat Google at its own game.

A skillful salesman, Ballmer's style and his way of attacking Microsoft's problem on the web is by now fairly well-known - and so far has not really worked.

Microsoft under Ballmer's reign has grown by acquiring technology - think of the spate of small virtualization vendors the company subsumed in the past several years to bolster that strategy. However, the nature of those acquisitions has started to change, which shows Ballmer is tweaking his own strategy to adapt to an industry that has outgrown Gates' vision for the company, noted Stewart Alsop, cofounder and partner of venture-capital firm Alsop Louie Partners and a longtime industry watcher.

To compete with Google on advertising and the web, Microsoft is gauging future purchases by how much value they can bring to the company immediately, said Alsop.

"The idea behind Yahoo was to buy revenue - revenue and traffic," Alsop said. Given the recent breakdown of that deal, this change in strategy - and Ballmer's ability to execute it - is still a work in progress, he added.

As technology visionary and Gates' successor, Ozzie must serve as a thoughtful counterbalance to Ballmer's trademark bluster.

As a public figure, he appears more reserved and soft-spoken than Ballmer, and even seems to take himself a bit more seriously than Gates, who was not afraid to poke fun at himself in spoofy company videos.

Ozzie has put forth a more professional demeanor than his predecessor, making keynote presentations in dark suits and button-down, collared shirts as opposed to the more comfortable attire Gates wore on stage. It's likely Ozzie knew he had to present himself seriously from the beginning in order to be taken that way.

As Gates' successor, Ozzie is responsible for Microsoft's technical direction and how it touches all areas of the business, particularly when it comes to the company's web-based services vision.

His first major presentation, at Microsoft's TechEd conference in Boston in 2006 during the same month he became chief software architect, also marked the first time Microsoft outlined its "software plus services" strategy. The plan, which Microsoft is in the midst of executing, laid out how the company will gradually transition from a packaged software vendor to one that offers both software and hosted services.

Being a techie himself, Ozzie likely will continue Gates' tradition - which has served Microsoft well - to woo developers as a way to make an end run around companies like Google that already lead a market Microsoft wants to conquer.

In this role, Ozzie will likely excel; in a recent interview published in the Financial Times, he himself said he is "closer to the technology and products" than even Gates was.

But Ozzie may not have the business edge that Gates has - that relentlessness to fight for an idea or a business until he is successful, no matter what collateral damage is done.

Yet this relentless streak also hurt Gates, especially once Windows became the de facto OS for the PC market and a popular developer platform for businesses, said Shane Greenstein, a professor in Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

"Gates draws on an almost unique mix of drive, persistence and patience when pursuing his goals," Greenstein wrote in a two-part essay, "The Long Arc Behind Bill Gates' Wealth." "For example, he furiously drives himself to learn the things he believes he needs to know, and he will negotiate incessantly until he wins on the points he wants, but he will wait eons for results from investments."

It's unclear whether Ozzie has this same drive, Greenstein said in an interview. But a lack of obsession with one goal could actually be a strength for Ozzie, whereas it was Gates' Achilles heel.

Gates was so concerned with Windows maintaining its place in a PC-centric technology industry that he did not foresee the new advertising-based business model of the web until it was upon him, Greenstein said.

"Bill's vision for how to exploit an opportunity - the internet in particular - was rooted in his historical experience in the PC market," he said. "He was so good at that that he was unable to understand how you might develop a web-based business model even as early as '97, '98. He didn't have the vision that a lot of the younger, newer firms had about how the web could be used."

Greenstein suggested that Gates may even have recognized that his own flaw rendered him unable to lead Microsoft through its transformation to services and the web, and thus decided to pass the torch to Ozzie for the good of his company.

Unlike Gates, Ozzie has already proven he knows when to walk away from a pet project to embrace technology innovation. He abandoned Lotus a few years after selling it to IBM to form Groove Networks, so he could experiment with his vision for peer-to-peer networking, which was then an emerging technology.

Groove's technology for enabling people to collaborate both online and offline has now found its way into Microsoft's Office suite; Ozzie is applying these same ideas to Microsoft's web strategy with services like Live Mesh.

Still it remains to be seen whether Ozzie can successfully navigate Microsoft's post-Gates culture, which is sure to undergo a major shift, observers said.

A big question mark for the future of Microsoft is whether Ozzie, without the benefit of being as chummy with Ballmer as Gates was, will have the management power to execute on his technology vision.

"It's not an issue of talent," Alsop said. "The issue is who is going to make the decisions? It depends on Steve more than it depends on Ray."

Indeed, Forrester Research CEO George Colony said that Ballmer remains connected to Gates' legacy and "the long shadow he casts" on the company, which will have an enormous impact on how people within the company feel about it once he is no longer there full time.

"Not having the richest guy in the world working for the company changes how you view coming to work every day," he said. "You're not coming to work with this extraordinary person anymore. It lessens the impact of being there."

Whether Ballmer can overcome this legacy to "go beyond how Gates saw the world and to truly change the company" is one thing, Colony said. Whether that culture will "allow Ray Ozzie to take the place of Bill Gates" is still another.

The answer to the latter could lie in Ozzie's ability to inspire his own staff of developers, as well as Microsoft's larger developer community, to get behind his vision for both the company and the future of the web, Greenstein said.

Known less for his ability to innovate than for his genius to execute in the mainstream business-technology market, Gates was able to inspire developers to go against their very free-thinking nature, he said.

"Bill has been able to persuade thousands of programmers to mute their independence for the good of an organizational goal that sometimes wasn't on the technical frontier," Greenstein said. "That runs counter to the instincts of most programmers. That is extraordinary."

As chief creator of Microsoft's future web strategy, Ozzie must balance the needs of the company with the needs of a larger industry moving away from Microsoft's historical proprietary nature to promote an open, standards-based web - and hope developers will come along for the ride.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Ozzie will only have a few years to sink or swim as Gates' successor. Alsop said he would not be surprised and actually expects Microsoft's cofounder and chairman to follow the "really well-established pattern" of a founding CEO returning to lead the company again if things don't go well after his departure.

"I believe that three to five years from now, Bill Gates is going to come back and be CEO of the company," he said.

Apple’s Steve Jobs has most loyal staff in tech
Microsoft Highlights First Unique Windows 7 Feature: Pervasive Multi-Touch
Yang, Ballmer Go Golfing; Merger No Longer a Priority

Apple, HP sued over online stores

Apple and HP have been slammed with a patent infringement lawsuit pertaining to their online retail stores.

A Texas company called Clear With Computers is suing the tech firms over the way their online stores work, claiming inventory and ordering systems infringe on patents held by the Texas firm, patents 5,615,342 and 5,367,627.

These basically explain a system in which customers sign into an electronic system and "build a list of products or parts from a form". The database can also be updated by the host company, reports 9 to 5 Mac.

Clear With Computers is pushing for a jury trial and wants damages and an injunction to force Apple and HP to stop using the technologies described. The company has filed suit in the infamous Texas Eastern Court, which has a reputation for favouring patent holders.

Nike patent illustrates advanced iPod fitness gear
Apple aims for iPod ‘ecosystem’ patent, w/wireless
Apple prosecutes Atico over iPod accessories
Apple dominates $1,000+ retail computer sales

Apple plans 10m iPhone sales in Q3

Apple has placed orders for ten million iPhone 3Gs in the third quarter as the company attempts to ensure supply in the 22 countries the product will reach on 11 July.

Citing local component suppliers, DigiTimes reports that ten million iPhones "should ship in the third quarter alone", citing the Commercial Times.

The report also names some of the companies Apple is sourcing components from for the iPhone, which is assembled by Foxconn Electronics.

These names include: Infineon - making the handset chip UMC - foundry Altus Technology and Primax Electronics - camera module Sharp - the screen GPS chipset - Broadcom

The report cites Morgan Stanley's estimate that total shipments of 3G iPhones are likely to be as high as 27 million units in 2009 compared to sales of 5.2 million units of the first-generation iPhones in 2007.

Craig Berger, a semiconductor analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey, estimated in a recent report that Apple will build 3 million iPhones in calendar Q2, and another 8 million combined in Q3 and Q4 as sales climb.

Needham & Co. predicts 30m iPhone sales in 2009
RBC: iPhone 3G to trigger iPod-like sales boom

Apple's Steve Jobs has most loyal staff in tech

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has a 91 per cent approval rating among Apple staff - higher than any other CEO in the technology industry, a report claims.

Dell CEO Michael Dell has a 66 per cent approval rating; Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer a 55 per cent approval rating, while Motorola CEO Greg Brown has just 19 per cent approval, reveals Seeking Alpha.

These figures are based on data supplied by company insiders to a website called Glassdoor, which is a company rating site for employees to rate their own companies and management in a public forum.

In its first five days, Glassdoor got 40,000 reviews on 9,800 companies around the world. The report also reveals Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang holds 46 per cent; while IBM boss Sam Palmisano has just 48 per cent approval.

Apple dominates $1,000+ retail computer sales
Apple is gay-friendly, survey shows
Apple looks to expand iTunes trademarks

DigiDesign ships Pro Tools 7.4.2 for Leopard

Avid Technology's Digidesign unit has introduced Pro Tools 7.4.2, offering Mac OS X 10.5.3 (Leopard) compatibility for Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered users.

"Since the release of Mac OS X Leopard, we have been working closely with Apple to ensure that a Leopard-compatible version of Pro Tools delivers the same level of performance and reliability that our customers have come to depend on," said Dave Lebolt, Avid vice president and general manager of Digidesign.

"With the release of Mac OS X 10.5.3 just a few weeks ago, we were able to enter the final stages of performance testing and quality assurance before making qualified versions of Pro Tools available to our customers. We're pleased to finally be able to offer all of our customers - HD, LE, and M-Powered alike - a fully qualified version of Pro Tools software that will allow them to take advantage of Apple's latest operating system."

All registered Pro Tools 7.4 users may download the free Pro Tools 7.4.2 software update from the Digidesign website. Purchasers of new Pro Tools systems or software will receive the free update to Pro Tools 7.4.2 upon registration.

The company warns that some currently shipping plug-ins and virtual instruments are not yet compatible with Pro Tools 7.4.2 software running on Mac OS X 10.5.3, and some require that users update their plug-ins if an update is available. Before installing the Pro Tools HD 7.4.2 update, users should review the Pro Tools Plug-in Compatibility with Leopard page, which is updated regularly with the latest information.

Apple posts 1.1.2 update for iPod nano
Mac clone maker PsyStar ships OS updates
Glide OS 3.0 adds ‘One’ sync system
iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3

eBay boosts PayPal fraud protection

eBay has unveiled expanded protections for those buyers and sellers in its marketplace who complete transactions using the company's PayPal online payment service.

The new protections, which will go into effect in the fourth quarter and are offered at no extra cost, will cover almost all types of PayPal transactions, except those involving autos, real estate and capital equipment, such as heavy machinery.

eBay made the announcement at its eBay Live conference for merchants, which began Thursday and ends Saturday in Chicago.

To be covered, transactions have to occur on, and not on the company's country-specific marketplace sites. Buyers can be anywhere in the world, but sellers must be geographically based in the US.

Buyers will be covered for 100 per cent of an item's purchase price, with no limit on the price, which previously was capped at a maximum of $2,000. For sellers, the PayPal protection has been available to PowerSellers, which must meet certain requirements to qualify, but is now being extended to all merchants, and it also has no price maximum.

eBay will refund the money in the form of cash-back to buyers' and sellers' PayPal accounts. Auctions, fixed-price products and store items are all covered by the protections.

Buyers would be protected for items that either aren't received or that are significantly different from the description provided by sellers.

Meanwhile, merchants would be protected against claims, chargebacks and reversals due to an unauthorized payment or an item that was not received. The protections extend to items shipped by sellers to the 190 markets worldwide where PayPal is accepted.

In addition, eBay is increasing its incentives for PowerSellers, offering a 20 per cent discount from their final transaction fees if they have at least a 4.9 rating in the four "detailed seller rating" (DSR) categories. eBay already offered PowerSellers smaller discounts based on DSR ratings.

Thursday's announcement clearly seeks to address one of the biggest deterrents to doing business on eBay: the fear of fraud.

Historically, eBay has defined itself as a neutral, mostly hands-off marketplace where third parties meet to buy and sell products. In other words, eBay enables transactions between buyers and sellers and doesn't get as involved in the actual deals as more traditional e-tailers. For example,, in addition to selling its own inventory, also has an eBay-like marketplace, but exerts more control over its activities than eBay does.

It is one of eBay's core beliefs that people are overwhelmingly honest and that its large community of buyers and sellers can police itself by publicly rating its members via the marketplace's feedback system.

However, as eBay has sought to grow by attracting more mainstream and less adventuresome buyers and sellers, it has progressively become more involved in intervening whenever transactions go sour due to alleged fraud or miscommunication between the parties.

Recently, eBay officials have made it a priority to boost the buying experience on its marketplace. Earlier this year, eBay announced sweeping changes aimed at rewarding those sellers who provide good customer service and charge reasonable shipping fees, betting that this will in turn attract more buyers to the marketplace.

As often happens whenever eBay announces changes, controversy erupted, as sellers complained about the modifications they didn't like, such as a rebalancing of seller fees and the cancellation of sellers' ability to leave negative feedback for buyers.

GarageSale eBay Mac product range expands
Metropolitan Advisory Group Aquires Kay Personnel from Innovation Adversey Group
New era in banking begins

GarageSale eBay Mac product range expands

Berlin-based developer,iwascoding, introduced GarageSale 5, GarageSale Basic, and GaragePay at the eBay Live! 2008 trade show this week.

GarageSale ($34.99) enables Mac OS X users to create eBay auctions using an intuitive and Mac-like interface. It features a WYSIWYG auction editor and can import photos from iPhoto, a digital camera, or iSight.

GarageSale 5 adds the ability to share prepared auctions on local networks using Apple's Bonjour technology, includes a flexible report generator for creating user defined payment summaries, and adds the ability to include YouTube video within eBay listings.

GarageSale supports advanced eBay features such as item attributes, and automatically uploads auction images to a web server via FTP, .Mac, or WebDAV. More than 140 free listing designs are included with GarageSale. Users can upload up to ten images per auction free of charge to the GarageSale Image Service.

GarageSale Basic ($24.99) is a simplified version of GarageSale 5, that focuses on making selling on eBay even easier - while offering all the features a casual seller would need. It ships with the same auction designs as its big brother GarageSale and integrates with iwascoding's free image server.

Brand new from the developer is GaragePay ($24.99), a PayPal client for the Mac. It downloads all PayPal transaction data to the Mac for fast and convenient access, lets the user create 'Smart Folders' to organize transactions, and displays the current balance for all authorized PayPal accounts.

This crystal-clad PS3 seems strangely phony
Creative Manager Pro becomes Workamajig

Apple fixes Safari 'carpet bomb' bug

Apple has reversed course and patched a bug in its Safari browser after security researchers showed how it could be used to run unauthorized software on a Windows machine.

The "carpet bomb" bug, which was originally discovered by security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani, was initially thought to be less serious than it turned out to be.

Dhanjani showed how Safari could be misused to litter a victim's desktop with downloaded programs, but two weeks after he disclosed his research, another hacker, named Aviv Raff, showed that this flaw could be exploited in tandem with other problems in Windows and Internet Explorer to run unauthorized software on a victim's PC.

That prompted Microsoft to issue its own warning about the issue. It also caused some security experts to caution surfers about using Safari on the Windows platform.

According to Dhanjani, Apple initially told him that it did not intend to fix the issue, but apparently the company has now changed its mind.

Apple fixed the issue in the 3.1.2 version of its Safari browser for Windows, which was released Thursday afternoon. This update addresses a total of four security issues in Safari, including bugs in the way Safari renders JavaScript arrays and handles the downloading of executable files.

It also fixes a less-critical issue in the way Safari renders Bitmap and Gif images, which could give attackers a peek at the memory of a victim's computer, Apple said.

Thursday's update was for Windows computers only, and Apple has not yet released a 3.1.2 Safari update for the Mac.

Microsoft Warns on Safari ‘Carpet Bombing’ Flaw
Apple ships massive Mac OS X 10.4 security upgrade
Mac clone maker PsyStar ships OS updates

Brainstorm online with Mindjet CONNECT

Mindjet today announced the launch of a new service called Mindjet CONNECT.

Accompanying its popular MindManager Pro 7, Mindjet CONNECT enables real-time collaboration on brainstorms and mind maps via an online server.

Those who sign up for the service will be able to work together on mind-maps and brainstorms from different locations, either by using MindManager Pro 7.2 or the new Mindjet CONNECT web client.

These two services connect to Mindjet’s new server, which hosts and saves the documents. Any changes made to a document become visible to all other people working on it as soon as they press the 'Return' button.

 Brainstorm online with Mindjet CONNECT

Mind Manager Pro 7 is a popular mind-mapping program for the Mac

Mindjet CONNECT also features a built-in VoiP application, enabling people to communicate via text, audio or video chat while they work on the documents.

Mindjet’s Uwe Richter, Vice President EMEA told us: “we believe this will be a fantastic opportunity for the 1.3 million people using Mind Manager software to collaborate. Typically it will be a business product, for people planning a product. We see it appealing through all business and departments: marketing, engineering and sales; through all verticals too.”

 Brainstorm online with Mindjet CONNECT

Mindjet CONNECT enables disparate people to work together on the same mind-map

Dustin Newport, Managing Director Mindjet UK added: “we think it’ll have a profound impact on organisations that are geographically dispersed. Brainstorming and project planning is typically taking place in physical locations; now we can all be inputting at the same time from different locations with one record of what has taken place”.

Mindjet believe the new service will be a particular boon as a bridge between enterprises. Dustin Newport explained that: “companies who wish to collaborate with their suppliers can now do so online. We know developers working with offshore companies in India. And because it is so visual it can help overcome the barriers between different cultures”.

The Mindjet CONNECT web client is currently available in beta for Mac and PC users at Mindjet’s website. The service is up and running for PC users working with Mindjet Manager Pro 7.2 and a Mac upgrade for the desktop service is set for release in the near future.

The service is sold on a monthly charge from 7.99 per person, per month on a 12 month contract. More information can be found at Mindjet’s website.

Click here to read Macworld's review of Mind Manager 7.

Cut price international calls for iPhone users

Needham & Co. predicts 30m iPhone sales in 2009

Needham & Co. expect Apple will sell nearly 30 million iPhones next year, driving Mac sales even higher.

Analyst Charles Wolf released a note to clients yesterday, noting the new $199 price of the iPhone, he anticipated higher sales of the device and raised his stock target on Apple to $240 per share to reflect his optimism, 9 to 5 Mac reports.

Wolf also expects the installed base of iPhone users to reach 150 million in the next ten years. In 2009, he expects 14 million units to sell in the US and 15.6 million sales internationally for a combined target of 29.6 million.

Further, he anticipates iPhone sales will reach 63 million in 2017.

However, strong iPhone sales will have consequences on Apple's iPod line, the analyst predicts sales of these will shrink by "about 30 per cent" in the medium term.

But the real positive impact is in Apple's far more profitable Mac sales, where Wolf writes: "The addition of the iPhone halo effect increases the number of Macs sold in 2017 from 40 million units in the previous forecast to 44 million units in the updated one," he wrote in his report.

Apple will also likely see profits from its App Store. Noting that the PC industry was itself kick-started into what it is today on the introduction of good software, he speculates Apple's move to open the iPhone up to third party developers will drive the same disruptive wave of innovation in the smartphone business.

"The emergence of the first viable software platform in the (smartphone) industry could drive iPhone sales above the levels we modeled in this report," he said.

iPhone: Singapore, India, Philippines and Australia
Apple to achieve 10m iPhone sales in ‘08 - analyst

Make calls, send texts from within any Leopard app

New Mac software let's Leopard users dial phone numbers and send text messages from within any application.

The $9.95 software, Phone plugins, has been introduced by Nova Media. It includes its own Bluetooth wizard to connect a mobile to the Mac in one step once a phone has been paired with the Mac.

"Back in Mac OS X 10.4 it was possible to dial a number and send a text message from the Address Book using a mobile phone connected over Bluetooth," said Nova Media PR, Jan Fuellemann. "Apple has discontinued this option in Mac OS X 10.5. We have not only bought it back to life, but have improved it as well."

The plug-in introduces 'Dial number' and 'Send text message' commands within Address Book and any other compatible applications through the 'Services' menu.

If the selected number is known to Address Book, Phone plugins will automatically display the appropriate name in the new call window or text message window.

iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3
Mac clone maker PsyStar ships OS updates

EU says governments could bar Microsoft from bidding

Governments contracting IT work could conclude that Microsoft's antitrust history constitutes "grave professional misconduct" and ban the company, according to the European Commission.

But the Commission said in a statement that Microsoft can't be banned from competing for government IT projects because of the fines that have been levied against it.

The statement, dated 9 June, was in response to a question posed by two members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in April. Green Party members Heide Rhle of Germany and Alain Lipietz of France asked the Commission whether Microsoft's antitrust violations would also make the company ineligible to enter bidding under existing financial and procurement rules. The MEPs asked if Article 93 of the European Union's Financial Regulation and other public procurement directives would apply to Microsoft.

Article 93 says that candidates for projects should be rejected if they have been convicted of a criminal offence concerning their professional conduct by a judicial authority or if a contractor can justify excluding them based on "grave professional misconduct."

In a note back to the lawmakers, the Commission said Microsoft is in the clear on one level since Article 93 does not encompass judgments by the European Court of Justice or fines imposed by the Commission due to violation of competitions rules.

Microsoft was fined €497 million for violation of antitrust regulations in 2004 by the Commission. As a remedy, the company had to sell a version of its operating system without its Windows Media Player and also reveal interoperability information for its Windows workgroup servers.

But the contracting authority is entitled to determine what constitutes "grave professional misconduct," the Commission said.

"The interpretation of the provision would currently require a case-by-case assessment which can only be done in the framework of an ongoing procurement procedure," the statement said.

The guidance is a bit "vague," said Melissa Freeman, spokeswoman for Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MEP for southeast England who supported the query. "They [the Commission] didn't say no, they said maybe or let's see what happens," Freeman said.

Lucas has maintained that Microsoft has hurt consumers through anticompetitive behaviour. She supports public research on open-source software, as well as moving the British parliament's IT systems to open-source systems.

When queried Tuesday, Microsoft did not comment on the Commission's statement.

Yahoo tells Icahn its own board knows best
EU to probe Microsoft’s ODF move

The beat goes on

MegaSeg 4.5 is available now from Fidelity Media, a free update introducing many improvements and Leopard support.

The update also offers improved compatibility with multiple audio output devices, new MIDI control functions and presets, drag-&-drop from iTunes, AppleScript support, compatibility with the Apple Remote, a new day view for event scheduling, and more.

MegaSeg is a $249 application designed for professional DJ audio/video mixing. The software enables seamless segue or beat mix transitions between songs or music videos, with the added ability to trigger sound effects via hot keys, cue tracks on a second output, create dynamic scheduled playlists, and create automated events.

The application is compatible with your iTunes music library and playlists, including songs purchased from the iTunes Store.

Apple achieves radio iTunes deal

Apple offers Xserve firmware patch

Apple has released updated firmware software for its Xserve.

The Xserve EFI Firmware Update 1.1 fixes several issues to improve the stability of Xserves, Apple advises of its 1.6MB patch.

Apple's current generation of Xserve uses a 64-bit Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Harpertown” 5400 series processor at speeds up to 3.0GHz. Each Intel Xeon processor has its own 1600MHz system bus for up to 25.6GB/s of bandwidth for fast access to main memory.

The company has also posted detailed instructions for the installation of the update: 1) Locate Xserve EFI Firmware in /Applications/Utilities and double click on it. 2) Follow the onscreen instructions.

After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be: XS21.006C.B06.

Apple ships massive Mac OS X 10.4 security upgrade

River deep mountain high

The latest additions to its range of rugged gadgets are the Ego Ice iPod Waterproof Sound Case, and the Icebar, both by Atlantic using OtterBox technology.

The Ego Ice is a tough protective case with built-in speakers. It’s designed to work with most iPods, but not the iPhone or iPod Touch. The case is made of shatterproof polycarbonate, so you can take it with you when you’re climbing Ben Nevis. It’s also waterproof and resistant to both salty seawater and chlorinated water in swimming pools. It even floats, so you can take it to the beach or listen to your tunes while you lounge on a lilo in the swimming pool. A clever rubber seal keeps the iPod dry while still allowing you to use the click wheel. The Ego costs 69.99. There’s also a version called the IceBar, priced at 64.99, which is designed for the older slimline nano models.

 River deep mountain high

They’re a little pricey but they’ll earn their keep if they can keep your iPod safe when when you’re on holiday.

Apple boosts flash memory orders for iPhone

Firefox 3 ships tonight

Firefox 3 ships at 6pm (UK time) tonight, Mozilla has announced on its blog.

The latest edition of the browser will be released today at 10am (PDT). Mozilla is rallying users of the world's second most widely-used internet browser to download the application within the first 24-hours of its appearance.

As part of the mission, the SpreadFirefox campaign is attempting to secure a Guinness World Record for the most downloads of a piece of software ever to take place in one day.

Firefox 3 introduces one-click bookmarking, a smart location bar and lightning fast performance. It also includes security and anti-phishing measures, built-in spell checking, session restore and full zoom.

Safari, Mac usage climbs online in May

Apple iPhone for Russia this year

Apple's moving toward clinching a deal to ship the iPhone in Russia, where the market for unlocked iPhones already sees them change hands for $1,000.

iPhones are in huge demand in Russia, which boasts a growing and affluent moneyed class. The fact Apple didn't announce a deal to bring the iPhone to Russia directly was noted last week - but that's set to change, notes the Moscow Times.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told CNBC: "We just didn't have a chance to close a deal with Russia. And I think you'll see agreements happen later this year."

"About 20,000 iPhone handsets are brought into the country in suitcases every month," Eldar Murtazin, editor of Moscow-based Mobile Research Group told the Moscow Times. "The current model, which sells officially in six countries for a marked-up $399, currently sells for about $1,000 in Moscow."

Two of Russia's three leading mobile operators, Mobile TeleSystems and MegaFon, have confirmed to having talks with Apple, but no final commitment has been reached, partially because of Apple's insistence on revenue-sharing.

Russia's second-largest network, VimpelCom, may also make a bid to carry the iPhone as the network moves to switch on its 3G network in Russia this year.

Apple makes mobile iTunes plans - report
iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3

Iris 1.0 image editor for Macs debuts

Nolobe has introduced a brand new image editor for Mac OS X, called Iris.

"Iris has been created for previously overlooked Mac owners who simply wanted an accessible and easy to use image program that provides professional results, without the professional price tag." explained Matthew Drayton, founder and CEO of Nolobe.

Iris performs its image editing operations within a single-window user interface, without confusing multiple palettes. The software includes a range of customizable paint settings, brushes, and drawing tools.

Iris 1.0 also includes colour correction, compositing and support for multiple laters. The software supports a range of formats, including: TIFF, PNG, JPEG, JPEG-2000, GIF, BMP, PICT, PSD and more.

Iris 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. A free demo of the $79 product is also available.

Apple ships massive Mac OS X 10.4 security upgrade

FileMaker ends support for v.7 26 Sept.

FileMaker has announced that it will end support of FileMaker Pro 7 from 26 September, offering users of the software a chance to upgrade to the current version at a special discount price.

The company will not offer support or replacement media to users of FileMaker Pro 7 from that date. The special upgrade price of 99 (excluding VAT), rather than the 131 (excluding VAT) normal price is being made available to users of FileMaker Pro 7, 8 or 8.5.

FileMaker is also offering a discount upgrade path for volume license purchasers. For example, the company is charging 950 for the upgrade of ten licenses of FileMaker Pro 7 to FileMaker Pro 9, a 350 discount on the previous price. Volume license purchasers will also receive any new upgrades released during the next 12 months at no additional charge.

Finally, for new licenses, there is a 20 per cent discount on the ten user plus free FileMaker Server bundle, saving 570.00 on the usual price.

Educational and charity prices are also available.

More information

FileMaker Pro takes CODiE Award

Broadcom co-founder drugged drinks, indictment says

Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas on Thursday was indicted for possession and distribution of drugs and on charges of backdating stock options that caused the technology company to write-down $2.2 billion in profits.

For over nine years, Nicholas maintained a warehouse where he stored drugs including ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine, the indictment alleged. Nicholas put ecstasy in the drinks of industry executives and Broadcom clients, and supplied prostitutes and escorts he had hired with drugs, according to court documents.

The indictment alleges Nicholas and others smoked "extensive amounts of marijuana during a flight on a private plane between Orange County and Las Vegas, causing marijuana smoke to enter the cockpit and requiring the pilot to put on an oxygen mask."

Nicholas and former Broadcom chief financial officer William Ruehle were also indicted for engaging in stock-option backdating between 1999 and 2005 and falsifying corporate books and records.

Nicholas and Ruehle were allegedly involved in schemes to give employees the option to buy stock set at a future price without recognizing its fair value, according to the indictment. The stock grant dates were selected to coincide with the low points of Broadcom's stock price.

The indictment also alleged that false statements were filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission through 2005 about Broadcom's stock option grants.

The fraud resulted in the largest financial restatement related to options backdating in US. history, with Broadcom adding more than $2.2 billion in additional compensation to its financial results in January 2007, according to the Department of Justice.

Nancy Tullos, Broadcom's former vice president of human resources, who is named in the securities fraud indictment, pleaded guilty in November to one count of obstruction of justice in connection with an earlier investigation into stock-options backdating at Broadcom by the DOJ.

Nicholas was the co-founder of Broadcom in 1998, and he served as CEO and co-chairman on the company's board of directors until May 2003.

Dell reports strong first-quarter earnings
Yahoo tells Icahn its own board knows best

AT&T speeds up 3G network

Perhaps in preparation for the debut of the 3G iPhone, AT&T said Wednesday it has upgraded its 3G wireless network to reach downlink speeds of up to 1.7Mbps, a 20 per cent increase over previous top speeds.

AT&T says the increased speeds are the result of upgrades to the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network that the company projects to complete by the end of the month. HSPA is a mobile broadband technology that is comprised of two wireless broadband protocols, known as High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HPUSA), that operate on 3G mobile devices.

The company says it will have deployed HSUPA across its entire 3G network by the end of June, and it will result in uplink speeds of 1.2Mbps, a 50 per cent increase over its previous peak uplink speeds of 800Kbps.

AT&T will offer its 3G services to all customers who have HSPA-enabled handsets and laptops, including any laptop with a LaptopConnect wireless modem. The company says 75 per cent of its currently available handsets are 3G-capable, and it plans to release more 3G smartphones throughout the year.

Apple's new iPhone 2.0, due to be unveiled next week, is widely expected to be a 3G-capable handset that will connect to AT&T's HSPA network.

In a related announcement, AT&T also said today that it will now offer a Net Reach bundle service designed to provide consumers and small businesses with internet coverage at home, in the office or on the go.

The new service uses AT&T Communication Manager software to pick the strongest AT&T wireless network signal within a device's vicinity, whether it comes from one of AT&T's HSPA, EDGE or WiFi networks. Nationwide, AT&T has about 17,000 WiFi hotspots. AT&T High Speed Internet and AT&T LaptopConnect subscribers are all eligible to sign up for the new service, the company says.

AT&T first began deploying its 3G network and services in 2004 when it rolled out a 220K - 320Kbps Wideband Code Division Multiple Access service to four US markets.

Between 2005 and 2008, the company has invested nearly US$20 billion in network upgrades that have helped transition its wireless network to 3G services. AT&T currently offers 3G services in 275 nationwide, and the company says they will be available in 350 US markets by year-end.

Intel continues to invest in WiMax
Free WiFi on Midlands buses

Free Logic Studio training at London music show

Free Logic Studio training will be on offer at next week's London International Music Show.

Visitors to the show on 13-15 June can take a free hands-on training session in use of Apple's professional-grade music creation application thanks to Apple Authorised Training Centre, Alchemea College.

The sessions will be taught by musician/producer and Apple Certified Trainer Gary Bromham. Attendees can sit in on an overview of Logic Pro 8, and also take advantage of in-depth classes on mixing and arranging.

Attendees will also have a chance to win an iPod touch each day of the show.

The schedule of sessions follows:

10:30 to 11:00: Logic 8 “An overview and what’s new” (demo) 11:00 to 12:00: Road test Logic 8 (open workstations) 12:15 to 13:15: Building a Song In Logic 8 (training workshop 1) 13:45 to 14:45: Working with Software Instruments in Logic 8 (training workshop 2) 15:00 to 15:30: Logic 8 “An overview and what’s new” (demo) 15:45 to 16:45: Arranging & Mixing in Logic (training workshop 3)

Square Group hosts Quark’s iLove Interactive Design tour in London
Apple announces iTunes Festival, 2008

What CIOs want in Apple's next-generation smartphone

Though Apple continues to be coy regarding business-minded tweaks to the next iPhone, slated for unveiling next week, enterprise users have plans of their own: They want the iPhone - even if the IT department's still a bit wary.

In light of the expected release of Apple's second-generation iPhone at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference next week in San Francisco, we asked a group of CIOs and IT directors about the features that they most want to see in the new device to help make the smartphone more "enterprise friendly."

Not surprisingly, 3G support and internal GPS made most of their lists, but at this point these features are practically a given - AT&T's CEO said months ago that a 3G iPhone is coming this year and various reports claim GPS is all but confirmed.

Not all of these IT executives are iPhone users themselves; some have sets of employees using the smartphone. Each one has kept a close eye on the device since its release nearly a year ago. You may've heard some of their sentiments before, but other desired iPhone changes just might surprise you.

(Note: Some of the CIOS we spoke with mentioned the fact that iPhone's virtual keyboard could be a turn-off to "power users," but we decided to leave this fact out for two reasons: 1) We've come to believe that whether or not you're more effective on a physical keyboard or touch screen is largely dependent on preference, and 2) we simply don't see Apple releasing an iPhone with a physical keyboard any time soon.)

Most Wanted: Tighter Security, Remote Management

Today, threats associated with remote workers and mobile devices are keeping more and more IT staffers up at night, according to new research, so it's no shocker that the CIOs we spoke with cited security as their number one concern regarding enterprise iPhone use.

Markus Hill, VP of Technology with Rodgers Builders, a construction contracting firm, says security and compliance are his biggest worries regarding iPhone use in the enterprise.

"My biggest concern about using the iPhone for business is drawing the line between business and personal use," Hill says. "It is such a convenient device compliance issues could be a major problem."

Hill cites the BlackBerry Enterprise Server's ability to remotely enforce IT policies on users' devices as one of RIM's major strengths in the business space.

"The iPhone does not have a central management mechanism, and that is a very big concern," Hill says.

Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits CIO Tim Davis Concurs: "Central IT needs to be able to remotely troubleshoot issues and brick devices if they're lost or stolen."

Keith Brooks, CIO of Vanessa Brooks, a firm that provides various services to companies with IBM Lotus software and infrastructure, also think the iPhone's security is lacking, at least from an enterprise perspective, and suggests that Apple create its own BES competitor - a Mac iPhone Server (MIS), if you will.

Brooks says that if such a server were to be introduced, it could pave the way for acceptance of the iPhone within tightly controlled organizations.

Wanted: More Flexible Mail Client

Davis says an Outlook mail client that works seamlessly with messages, contacts, calendars and tasks is high atop his iPhone 2.0 wish list. Davis says he pictures it much like the current BlackBerry interface, "only better."

"HTML emails should be readable; calendars should have the same look with any colours, etc," he says. "You should be able to view invites and free/busy times. And admins should be able to accept meeting requests on behalf of folks like they do in Outlook."

Hugh Scott, VP of IS for the wholesale business unit of Direct Energy, a retail energy provider with annual revenue of $8 billion, seconds Davis's point. "In order for the iPhone to be taken seriously as a business device, Apple needs to compete head to head with RIM, and to do that it would need to offer a corporate push email solution that could be easily integrated with most organizations' Microsoft e-mail environments," Scott wrote.

Davis also thinks the iPhone would be much more appealing to businesses if it functioned with Microsoft Live Communicator and Sharepoint.

For instance, he says, he can currently look at an email message's sender and addressee fields to see whether or not those people are online, whether they're free or busy and more.

"It would be great if presence worked when looking at email" on the iPhone, Davis says.

And though Windows Mobile 6.0 users can access and login into Sharepoint using their Internet Explorer Mobile browsers, Davis says he's never been able to do so with his BlackBerry's browser

"I have a Sharepoint Intranet that is not accessible via Blackberry, and our field staff needs data that is posted out there," Davis says. If the iPhone could help those workers find the data they need, that ability would give the device a leg up on BlackBerry in that respect., he says.

Wanted: Stronger iPhone Warranty, Insurance Policy

Another thing: Albert C. Lee, IT director of New York Media, publisher of New York Magazine and, says the current one-year iPhone warranty offered by Apple/AT&T needs some serious work before IT departments consider large-scale iPhone deployments. According to Lee, the existing iPhone warranty covers a very limited set of repairs, and whatever fixes it does cover must be setup through Apple and not AT&T, which can make the process more difficult for organizations that already go through carriers for repairs to other smartphones.

AT&T also doesn't currently offer an iPhone insurance plan for devices that are broken or seriously damaged during use, though the carrier provides supplemental insurance for other handsets, Lee says. (In case you're curious, the iPhone warranty states: "This warranty does not apply: to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes.")

Wanted: Removable/Replaceable Battery

Currently, iPhone users are stuck with the built-in battery that Apple ships in the devices - and that's a major deterrent to business users, as it means they're dependent on a single charge to get them through long travels and instances where electrical outlets aren't available, Lee says. BlackBerry users, on the other hand, can purchase backup batteries to pop into their smartphones whenever the main power supply is drained.

Lee's not an iPhone user himself, but he's very familiar with the device: New York Media is currently involved in the iPhone 2.0 software beta program, meaning Lee and his team support four iPhone users while they test out Apple's new handheld software. He says New York Media will be supporting mail, contact and calendar synchronization with global address list (GAL) support as soon as the new iPhone is released - though employees must sign the appropriate release forms - but a removable battery and improved warranty would make the device a much more attractive option to his IT department.

Wanted: More Robust Phone Feature Set

It would be great, says Rodgers Builders' Hill, if Apple expanded the iPhone's basic phone features to include the ability to activate the iPhone's WiFi while its radio was turned off.

"I do not have phone service in my office," Hill says. "But I do have WiFi."

He'd also welcome the addition of a phone-based task-tracking feature, or to-do list; voice dialing functionality; the ability to use the iPhone to record conversations or other audio; a phone-based file folder to store documents and other business files; and contact search capability.

A cut-and-paste function would also be a great addition to the iPhone's smartphone features, according to Direct Energy's Scott.

"The iPhone currently lacks cut and paste commands, and this is problematic for me because when I want to send sections of content from email or documents, there's no way to transfer that content into a new message without retyping it," Scott wrote in his iPhone review. "It's a function found on most smart phones today."

Scott would also like to see a video recorder come along with the new iPhone, though he admits such a feature may not have many business-specific benefits.

An "Enterprise-Ready" iPhone Next Week?

So if the Apple were to add all the above mentioned features and functionality to the second-generation iPhone, would businesses embrace it with open arms? Would it be truly "enterprise ready?"

"'Enterprise ready' is a misnomer," Brooks says. The real question is whether or not "it will be IT certified. Just like the IM [employees] use that aren't approved, or secure...To argue a phone is or isn't corporate in this day and age is just being narrow minded."

New York Media's Lee doesn't think RIM has anything to immediately worry about, even if Apple does add an external battery and better warranty to the new iPhone.

"I think even with improved battery and warranty, Apple isn't going to win enterprise adoption so quickly. There is a cult of arrogance that comes out of Cupertino - the "Apple knows what's good for you" mentality," Lee says.

For instance, Lee notes, you can't load whatever software you want on an iPhone without "hacking" it or circumventing Apple's default protections. And users can't open up an iMac to service it, he adds.

"There's a lot of 'can't do' items that make Apple products extremely expensive to own and manage in the enterprise," Lee says. "Like the Blackberry, the iPhone will need to earn its right to live on the hips of executives."

iPhone: Singapore, India, Philippines and Australia

Yahoo pegs 1 August for annual shareholder meet

Yahoo will hold its annual shareholder meeting on 1 August, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The meeting, to be held at The Fairmont hotel in San Jose, California, was originally scheduled for 3 July, but Yahoo said last month it would delay the meeting until the end of July.

The shareholder meeting promises to be contentious, as Yahoo grapples with the fallout over resisting a $44.6 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft.

Investor Carl Icahn, who believes Yahoo should have accepted Microsoft's offer, plans to nominate ten people as candidates to replace Yahoo's board of directors. If the move is successful, he reportedly plans to oust Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who is CEO as well as a board member.

Icahn, known for his aggressive moves toward companies he invests in, has bought millions of Yahoo shares since Microsoft's takeover offer became public in February.

In the filing, Yahoo said it plans to nominate nine people for the board. Two other stockholders plan to nominate themselves for positions on the board, while a third investor is planning to offer another slate of nine candidates for the board, the filing said.

Yahoo will also consider three other proposals from stockholders: one that would tie executive pay to performance, one that would set standards for operating in countries that censor the Internet and one that would establish a company committee that looks at human rights issues.

Yahoo is recommending shareholders vote against all three proposals.

Yahoo tells Icahn its own board knows best

BlackBerry outpaces iPhone in Q1 - IDC

Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd.'s BlackBerry outpaced Apple's iPhone in US first quarter sales, and actually increased the gap between the two when compared with the last quarter of 2007, according to research by IDC. The first quarter report shows that BlackBerry took 44.5 per cent of the US market, up from 35.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC.

At the same time, the iPhone's US market share dropped to 19.2 per cent for first quarter, down from 26.7 per cent of the market in the fourth quarter of 2007, Llamas said. A drop in the first quarter could be expected, he said, since the fourth quarter includes the holiday shopping season.

But RIM has undertaken a strong consumer marketing campaign, including slick TV ads, to move well beyond its typical business customer base toward more mainstream buyers, Llamas and other analysts have noted.

IDC does not publish actual sales numbers, which were shared by some of its customers and then confirmed by him in a telephone interview. Nor did he reveal the total number of smart phones sold. IDC defines BlackBerry and iPhone devices as smart phones, which are mobile phones combined with high-end operating systems and featuring Web surfing, e-mail and full alphabetic keyboards or touchscreen keyboards.

Llamas also said that Palm gained market share from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of this year, increasing from 7.9 per cent to 13.4 per cent. Despite that jump, Palm's share is still less than the 23 per cent it held in the first quarter of 2007. Similarly, RIM's market share for the first quarter is down from 48.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2007.

Samsung Electronics had an 8.6 per cent market share in first quarter, ranking it fourth, while Motorola Corp. dropped to 2.6 per cent of the market.

Microsoft officials have touted Windows Mobile, an operating system that runs on many devices from four manufacturers, as having the largest smart phone market share of any single operating system. But Llamas said he could not confirm that fact, since Windows Mobile devices are hard to count and sometimes include ruggedized devices that don't directly compare to the iPhone or BlackBerry.

Safari, Mac usage climbs online in May

Most returned products work fine, study says

Only 5 per cent of consumer electronics products returned to retailers are malfunctioning - yet many people who return working products think they are broken, a new study indicates.

The report by technology consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture pegs the costs of consumer electronics returns in 2007 at $13.8 billion in the United States alone, with return rates ranging from 11 per cent to 20 per cent, depending on the type of product.

Accenture estimates that 68 per cent of returns are products that work properly but do not meet customers' expectations for some reason. "Either they thought it was defective when it wasn't, or there was an expectation gap," says Accenture executive Terry Steger.

The study attributes another 27 per cent of returns to buyer's remorse - situations where customers simply changed their minds. That leaves only 5 per cent of returns that are attributable to defects or other malfunctions.

Steger believes that the return rates for functional products would decline significantly if vendors and retailers invested more in making them easier to set up and use, and in educating buyers.

"I don't believe the returns issue is the result of lax retail return policies, or customers taking advantage of the ability to return," he says.

Rather, he says, high return rates often point to problems with products.

Complicated set-up is one issue: The Accenture report cites a 2006 study by Dutch scientist Elke den Ouden, which determined that the average US consumer spends only 20 minutes trying to make a device work before giving up and returning it to the seller.

Apple is gay-friendly, survey shows
BlackBerry outpaces iPhone in Q1 - IDC

Safari, Mac usage climbs online in May

Apple's seeing significant online success, with the latest Net Applications market share data confirming rapid rise in Safari usage and more share for the Mac platform.

The web statistics for May 2008 reveal Mac OS to have hit an all-time marketshare high, with a 7.83 per cent share of the operating systems visiting Net Applications' network of websites. Apple's iPhone share also climbed, to 0.16 per cent, while the iPod touch achieved 0.03 per cent share, says Mac Daily News.

Net Applications reports: "Apple has confirmed that its online inventories for the original version of the iPhone are sold out in the US and UK. Apple appears to be clearing out its inventories in preparation for the iPhone 2.0 release. This, in conjunction with customers holding off purchasing until 2.0 is released has temporarily leveled off the iPhone usage share."

Intel Macs accounted for 5.02 per cent share, while PowerPC Macs took 2.81 per cent, the report claims.

Good news too for Apple's Safari browser. Online use of the browser achieved an all-time high of 6.25 per cent last month, retaining its third place position behind Firefox (18.41 per cent) and Internet Explorer (73.75 per cent). Safari's share last month was 5.81 per cent, reports Surfin' Safari.

"This growth, combined with recent WebKit adoption in projects such as the Iris Browser, Qt 4.4, Android, Adobe AIR, Epiphany, KDE Plasma, iCab and more, is breathtaking and shows huge positive momentum for the WebKit project," that report explains.

iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3

Apple announces iTunes Festival, 2008

James Blunt, McFly, N.E.R.D., The Zutons and Chaka Khan are among dozens of acts confirmed to play at the second iTunes Festival: London this summer, which takes place this July.

Following the success of the inaugural iTunes Festival event at the ICA last year, the event this year will take place at Camden's Koko, which has a capacity of 1,000 fans.

Each performance will be recorded and sold exclusively on all 22 iTunes Stores worldwide. All tickets are free for competition winners only.

Other acts scheduled to appear include Death Cab For Cutie, The Ting Tings, Feeder, CSS, I Was A Cub Scout, Jamie Lidell, and Pendulum, with more big name artists still to be announced.

Further information on this year's line-up and how to win tickets, as well as details of the official iTunes Festival: London media partners, can be found online.

Apple makes mobile iTunes plans - report
Apple achieves radio iTunes deal

Thousands of Palm apps to leap to iPhone

Apple has a developer hit on its hands with the iPhone and iPod touch, with mobile developer StyleTap last night confirming plans that should bring “thousands” of applications to both devices.

StyleTap says it will introduce a version of StyleTap CrossPlatform for the iPhone and the iPod touch, which will instantly allow over 20,000 mobile applications to run on those devices.

StyleTap CrossPlatform has successfully enabled developers of applications originally written for Palm OS devices to deploy their applications on the millions of handheld PDAs and smartphones running Microsoft Windows Mobile.

These same applications will soon be available to the hundreds of millions of users with smartphones based on the Symbian OS platform, with the impending release of StyleTap CrossPlatform for Symbian OS, currently in the beta testing cycle.

In February 2008, in order to determine the level of interest, StyleTap posted a video to Viddler and YouTube showing an experimental prototype of StyleTap CrossPlatform running existing mobile applications on an iPod touch. These videos have now been viewed more than 800,000 times.

"The iPhone is one of the hottest new mobile devices out there," said Gregory Sokoloff, CEO of StyleTap, "And the response to our video has convinced us that many, many consumers, and companies, will eagerly jump at the change to buy iPhone devices if they can continue to run their must-have applications."

Further information about the product, including how it will be marketed and sold, will be made available in early July 2008.

The company also announced that StyleTap personnel will be at WWDC 2008 to meet with application developers interested in learning more about StyleTap CrossPlatform.

iPhone already international
iPhone SDK 6 ships, requires Leopard 10.5.3