Nintendo admits sales slump due to iPhone

Apple's iPhone is behind a sharp drop in Nintendo's profits, according to the gaming company.

In a conference call about its financial results, a Nintendo representative claimed the DS and DSi were suffering, “due to harsher competition in the portable arena stemming directly from Apple devices,” reports the Mirror.

Nintendo's admission suggests that games from Apple’s App Store on the iPhone and iPod touch are weakening sales of the DS and DSi.

A sharp fall in global sales of Nintendo's popular Wii console and a less dramatic slowdown in sales of the portable DS pushed down the company's sales and profits in the April to June quarter, the company said on Thursday.

Nintendo said net profit for the three-month period was 42 billion (US$443 million as of the last day of the period being reported), down 61 percent on the same period last year, while sales dropped 40 percent to 253 billion.

Sales of the Wii dropped more than half compared to the same period last year to 2.2 million units during the quarter. The drop was largest in the Americas, where unit sales fell 65 percent, and in Japan, where they declined by 60 percent. Unit sales in other markets, including Europe, fell 47 percent, Nintendo said.

In the handheld market, the company saw unit sales of its DS drop on the same period last year by a million units to 6 million.

Nintendo developed a new version of the DS, called the DSi, in response to falling sales and launched it in Japan late last year. The DSi was introduced to Europe and the Americas at the beginning of April but sales during the quarter were still lower than the same period last year. They only rose in Nintendo's home market of Japan.

In addition to the lower unit sales Nintendo was also hit by the Japanese yen, which has strengthened against both the U.S. dollar and euro since the April to June quarter of last year. The strong yen increases the price of its products that are made in Japan and also reduces the value of sales and profits made overseas when that money is returned to Japan.

Software sales for both the Wii and DS also fell. Nintendo said 29 million Wii games and 31 million DS games were sold during the period. Those figures represent declines of 20 percent and 23 percent respectively against the same period last year. Nintendo attributed the drop to fewer hit titles being released during the quarter.

For the April to March 2010 fiscal year Nintendo said it expects to record a net profit of 300 billion on sales of 1.8 trillion. The figures are unchanged on forecasts made earlier. Last year Nintendo achieved a net profit of 279 billion on sales of 1.84 trillion.

Bowlingual dog-emotion translator relaunchedGuinness celebrate 250 years with Tom Jones

iPhone developer slams Apple over App Store yank

The CEO of the company whose Google Voice-related application was recently yanked by Apple from the iPhone's App Store is hopping mad.

Kevin Duerr, the chief executive of Durham, N.C.-based Riverturn Inc., took Apple out to the woodshed over its refusal to explain why his VoiceCentral application was pulled from the App Store earlier this week. "I'm a self-admitted Apple 'fanboi', but this knocked me to the core," said Duerr in an interview today.

In a blog entry posted Tuesday, Duerr outlined his conversation with an Apple representative, identified only as "Richard," who had called to inform Riverturn that VoiceCentral, an application that let iPhone users log in to the Google Voice service, had been removed from the App Store.

During that conversation, Richard told Duerr that VoiceCentral was being dropped because it "duplicates features of the iPhone," but repeatedly refused to answer Duerr's questions, including what his developers could change to meet Apple's requirements.

"Can you tell me what portions of the app were duplicate features?" Duerr asked.

"I can't go into granular detail," Richard replied.

Duerr persisted. "Is there something we can change or alter in order to regain compliance and get back in the Store?" he asked.

"I can't say," responded Richard.

VoiceCentral was approved by Apple for the App Store in late April, and although it had not sold in large numbers, sales had been on an upswing in the last few weeks, Duerr said, after Google announced it was offering its own application for the BlackBerry and Android platforms.

On Thursday, Duerr was still obviously upset at the treatment Riverturn received. "My sincere belief [Tuesday] was that I got through to them, and that someone from Apple would actually talk to me about this," he said, referring to a repeated requests to Richard that he ask his manager to contact Riverturn. "But no, we haven't heard a thing from them."

Apple has a checkered history in its dealings with iPhone developers. Other applications, such as the NetShare tethering application, have been yanked with similar cryptic explanations.

Duerr said that he has received no replies to the many e-mails he has sent this week to Apple and its iPhone development team.

"I know that they're Apple, and they love their shroud of secrecy, but I don't understand it in this line of business," said Duerr. "What's the harm in telling developers why an app has been rejected or pulled from the App Store? Other than the volume of apps that are submitted, I don't see the problem with taking action. Why wouldn't you say: 'Here's why.'"

The lack of information has frustrated Duerr to the point where he's questioning whether the iPhone platform is worth supporting. "The way they handled it, how can I possibly authorize spending money on iPhone development?" he asked. "There's a new mobile marketplace opening up every week it seems."

To add insult to injury, Apple is giving refunds to VoiceCentral users who, understandably, are concerned about their purchase now that the application has been dropped from the App Store.

"Users are freaked out," said Duerr. "VoiceCentral will continue to work, we just can't provide updates or new features. But they're saying 'I don't want this thing,' and Apple gives them a refund. Now they're taking that money out of our pocket, and not just the 70% that we received [from the original purchase] but also the 30% that Apple received. That's the way Apple's agreement is written."

His objection was that the refunds were sparked, not by a flaw in the program, but by Apple's unilateral decision to yank the application. "I lived up to my end, we're still supporting users, but what they're doing, this is unbelievable," said Duerr. "We've lost the expense it took to develop the applications, we've lost the opportunity to have VoiceCentral on the App Store, and now we've lost the refund.

"And we didn't any say in the matter" Duerr complained.

Apple declined to comment on Duerr's claims.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Apple releases new Logic Studio with 200 plus new features

Apple on Thursday released the second iteration of its Logic Studio suite of multimedia tools with the musician in mind. The new version includes Logic Pro 9, MainStage 2, Soundtrack Pro 3, Compressor 3.5, and WaveBurner 1.6. Additionally, Logic Studio includes all six of Apple’s Jam Pack loop sets along with its bundled sound effects, surround sound music beds, EXS24 samples, and impulse response files.

Among its more than 200 new features, Logic Studio offers significant enhancements for guitar players and live performers. For guitarists, the suite includes Amp Designer and Pedalboard plug-ins, features similar to the guitar tracks and stompbox effects introduced with iLife ’09’s GarageBand.

Apple releases new Logic Studio with 200 plus new features

Amp Designer includes 25 amplifiers and 25 matched cabinets that can be captured with one of three virtual microphones. You can mix these amps and cabinets—for example, to play a Mesa Boogie-like amplifier through a Marshall cabinet. Each amp includes 5 EQ and 10 reverb presets.

Pedalboard adds 30 stompbox effects that users can array along a virtual pedalboard. Unlike with GarageBand’s stompboxes, you can trigger them via a MIDI or USB controller.

For those taking to the stage, MainStage 2 - Logic Studio’s live performance tool - includes two new plug-ins.

The first, Playback, plays pre-recorded backing tracks—chorus background vocals or a backup band for a solo performer - that you can trigger with a USB or MIDI controller. The other is Loopback, a sound-on-sound tool similar to the venerable EchoPlex tape-based loop device popular in the 1970s. With Loopback, you can record a track on stage and then add additional layers with each pass of the virtual tape.

The new Logic Studio also adds functionality to Logic Pro that makes difficult studio chores easier. Flex Time, for example, lets you move digital audio snippets forward or back in time as well as lengthen and shorten parts within a phrase to change the rhythmic feel. With Flex Time you can simply select and drag the portion of the audio that you’d like to shift and if audio near it needs to be compressed or expanded to accommodate it, Logic Pro will take care of it automatically.

Apple releases new Logic Studio with 200 plus new features

Drum Replacer will replace a recorded drum track with triggered samples. And Selective Track Import allows you to move selected tracks and their setups from one project into another and, when combined with Flex Time, even map the new project’s tempo and feel to the imported tracks. For example, import Tuesday’s Take 2 drum track into Thursday’s Take 5 project and map that project’s tempo and feel to the imported drum track.

The new Logic Studio costs 399. Upgrades from the previous Logic Studio or Logic (including Logic Gold 5 and Logic Platinum 5 and the succeeding Gold, Platinum, and Pro editions after) are 159.

Logic Express, a streamlined and more affordable version of Logic for GarageBand users who want more power and control, will ship in August for a suggested retail price of 159 adds Apple.

Full system requirements and more information on Logic Studio can be found at

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Palm brings iTunes synching back to the PreRobbie distracted by Jay Kay

Olympus intros £169 FE-5020 digital camera

Olympus has introduced the 169 FE-5020 digital camera, which promises to lead the way in the new FE series, which also includes the 99 FE-26 and 139 FE-4000.

Available in pure white, dark grey, mocha brown and ocean blue the Olympus FE-5020 features a 12 megapixels CCD image sensor and an Olympus-branded 4x optical zoom lens, which offers focal length equivalents from a 24mm wide angle to a 120mm telephoto.

ISO sensitivity ranges from a low of ISO 64 to a maximum of ISO 3,200 equivalent.

With a super wide zoom, AF tracking, Dual Image Stabilisation and Advanced Face Detection your photos will always look sharp insists Olympus.

The FE-5020 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera's image sensor, and the FE-5020 also includes face detection capability, capable of simultaneously detecting up to 16 faces in the framed scene according to Olympus.

The FE-5020 also comes with four Magic Filters - Pop Art, Fish Eye, Sketch and Pin Hole so you can be a little creative with your photos.

You can also record movies with sound says Olympus.

The Olympus FE-5020 camera will be available from August from all Olympus stockists with a SRP of 169.

Olympus intros £169 FE-5020 digital camera

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Olympus intros £139 FE-4000 digital camera

Palm brings iTunes synching back to the Pre

Palm reenabled iTunes synching for owners of its Pre smartphone on Thursday, overcoming a recent Apple move that blocked the handset's access to music stored in the latest version iTunes.

The release of Palm's webOS 1.1 adds new features for enterprise users, like the ability to remotely wipe data stored on a lost phone, but the most important features for consumers may be the restoration of the Palm Media Sync feature, which lets the Pre connect and sync DRM-free media files with iTunes.

Palm brings iTunes synching back to the Pre

"That's right - you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1)," John Traynor, vice president of business products wrote on the Palm blog on Thursday.

The release of webOS 1.1 comes eight days after Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, which blocked Pre users from accessing the software.

At the time of the release, Apple said the software "provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices," an apparent reference to the Pre's ability to sync with the application.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Olympus intros £139 FE-4000 digital camera

Olympus has introduced the 139 FE-4000 digital camera, which promises high quality images at an affordable price.

Available in white, dark grey, metal magenta, arctic blue and tangerine orange, the Olympus FE-4000 features a 12 megapixels CCD image sensor and an Olympus-branded 4x optical zoom lens which offers focal length equivalents from a 26mm wide angle to a 105mm telephoto.

An AF tracking function allows for sharp images even if your subject is moving says Olympus.

Advanced Face Detection and Dual Image Stabilisation ensure great pictures every time and you can get creative with four Magic Filters - Pop Art, Fish Eye, Sketch and Pin Hole promises the company.

You can also record movies with sound says Olympus.

The Olympus FE-4000 camera will be available from August from all Olympus stockists with a SRP of 139.

Olympus intros £139 FE-4000 digital camera

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Robbie distracted by Jay KayOlympus µ Tough-6010 promises freezeproof photography

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 released

Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit has released Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 on Monday, billed as a midcycle free update designed to improve the user experience with speed, stability and compatibility enhancements.

The update should be available on the Mactopia Web site later today.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac SP2 provides several updates across the Microsoft Office 2008 suite for an improved experience.

The Microsoft team incorporated customer feedback received through a variety of channels to prioritise updates and maximize the potential of the suite with increased compatibility and speed the company says.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 released

New and improved features include:

Custom Path Animation adds the ability to author motion-path animations in Microsoft PowerPoint 2008. Users previously could only play back motion paths.

Default Theme lets users define their default theme in Microsoft PowerPoint 2008, including fonts, colour scheme and slide layouts.

Increased speed in Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac - launch and scroll times - as well as Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac with features such as calculation performance.

SP2 also improves the SharePoint experience, while Mac Office users will be able to save documents to Office Live Workspace. The Web site expands its Mac browser support to include Safari 4, in addition to Firefox.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Guinness celebrate 250 years with Tom JonesMicrosoft to launch Spotify style streaming music service

Mozilla: Bug in Firefox 3.5.1 isn't exploitable

A bug discovered in the latest version of Firefox is not exploitable, Mozilla said on Sunday, responding to reports of another vulnerability in the browser.

Mozilla released Firefox 3.5.1,, the latest version of the browser, last Thursday. The release fixed several recently discovered security holes in version 3.5, which came out in June.

Among the security holes that were closed was a critical vulnerability that allowed an attacker to install and run code on a PC without any interaction from the victim.

On Friday, reports began to emerge of a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability in Firefox 3.5.1 that could be used to gain access to a computer or launch a distributed denial of service attack. But after examining the reported vulnerability, Mozilla said that's not the case.

Bug in Firefox 3.5.1 isnt exploitable

"The reports by press and various security agencies have incorrectly indicated that this is an exploitable bug. Our analysis indicates that it is not, and we have seen no example of exploitability," wrote Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, in a blog post on Sunday.

The bug causes Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.5.1 to crash on a Windows PC, but does not give an attacker access to the PC, Shaver said, calling the crash "safe and immediate."

The bug can also cause Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 to crash on Apple computers.

"A crash occurs inside the ATSUI system library (part of OS X), due to what appears to be a failure to check allocation results," Shaver said, adding the same issue could affect other applications using text-handling libraries in MacOS X. "We have reported this issue to Apple, but in the event that they do not provide a fix we will look to implement mitigations in Mozilla code."

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

iMovie 8.0.4 update fixes problem with iPhone 3GS video

Olympus µ Tough-6010 promises freezeproof photography

The new Olympus Tough-6010 is designed to go with to places you wouldn't normally take a digital camera promises the makers.

Whether you're going caving, climbing or simply running around the city, the 12-megapixel camera is shockproof, waterproof, and freezeproof. It features a 3.6x wide optical zoom, dual image stabilisation, and tap control, and costs 260 plus VAT.

In addition to being freezeproof to -10 C, the Tough-6010 is waterproof to 3m and provides shockproof protection against drops of up to 1.5m. It boasts a range of functions, including i-Auto Mode - which automatically adjusts camera settings to one of five recognised commonly-used scenes.

Advanced Face Detection Technology detects up to 16 faces for consistent quality across group portraits. Beauty Mode aims to smooth out imperfections and leave subjects looking refreshed. The Tap Control mode gives even gloved-hands easy access to a range of settings.

Olympus µ Tough-6010 promises freezeproof photography

Olympus µ Tough-6010 promises freezeproof photography

Magic Filters offer in-camera creative effects. By applying Pin Hole, for example, images will seem to have been taken with a traditional pin hole camera. Pop Art, Fish-Eye, and Sketch add effects of their own.

The Tough-6010 is available in Titanium Grey, Turquoise Blue, and Lava Red colour schemes. It has a 2.7-inch LCD screen and uses xD-Picture Card and microSD Card media.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Bowlingual dog-emotion translator relaunched

iMovie 8.0.4 update fixes problem with iPhone 3GS video

On Thursday, Apple released an update to its iMovie consumer video-editing application. iMovie 8.0.4 is recommended for all iMovie '09 users.

Besides the all-too-common "this update improves overall stability and fixes a number of other minor issues" note, Apple mentions three specific areas of improvement in the latest update.

First, it fixes a problem with incorrect rotation when working iPhone 3GS-shot videos.

Second, it resolves instability when adding multiple beat markers in some languages. Finally, it corrects an issue where iMovie could become unresponsive after using fine-tuning controls beyond the stabilized portions of a clip.

iMovie 8.0.4 update fixes problem with iPhone 3GS video

The 35MB download is available now from Apple's Web site or via OS X's Software Update mechanism.

And if you've held off moving to the latest point upgrade of Leopard, you'll be happy to know that the updates only requires you to be running Mac OS X version 10.5.6.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Cellar for iPhone, iPod touch keeps tabs of wine collection

Nimbuzz intros new Mac desktop client, updates iPhone, iPod touch apps

Nimbuzz, the universal instant messaging client, has introduced a new free Mac desktop client and updated the iPhone and iPod touch version.

The new Nimbuzz for Mac desktop client supports the widest range of instant messaging and social networks available from a single unified app for the Mac today according the makers.

Facebook, AIM, MySpace, Google Talk, Orkut, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger (MSN), ICQ and many more are supported.

Nimbuzz for Mac also claims to be the only IM product to provide high-quality VoIP calling direct from the desktop among instant messaging buddies on Nimbuzz, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and Google Talk.

Nimbuzz for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later and an Intel based Mac. You can download the application here.

Nimbuzz intros new Mac desktop client, updates iPhone, iPod touch apps

Meanwhile, Nimbuzz for iPhone and iPod touch has also been updated to enable users to share photos, music and videos with their contacts.

Files are stored online, saving device memory and making them easily accessible from different access points. They can also be saved on the device, on demand and for free says the makers.

Nimbuzz also integrates push notification into the update, with home screen alerts of incoming calls or chats, keeping users available to chat even though the app itself has been closed.

Other new features include landscape-mode chat for the iPhone, dial-up VoIP over 3G and 2G networks, a new buddy list layout promising an intelligent display of avatars and presence information including which community a friend belongs to and if that person is currently online on a mobile phone or computer.

Location Sharing is now available on the Nimbuzz iPhone application, allowing buddies to share and retrieve their physical locations on a map, making it easier than ever to find each other.

Nimbuzz for iPhone and iPod touch is available free from the Apple iTunes App Store.

Nimbuzz intros new Mac desktop client, updates iPhone, iPod touch apps

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Cellar for iPhone, iPod touch keeps tabs of wine collection

Bowlingual dog-emotion translator relaunched

The Bowlingual, a gadget that analyzes a dog's bark to detect its emotion, is being relaunched.

First put on sale in 2002, a new version from toy-maker Takara Tomy is due to be launched in Japan in August and was on show on Thursday at the Tokyo Toy Fair.

The Bowlingual was developed in collaboration with an audio researcher and analyzes the acoustics of a dog's bark. It is said to be able to recognize and convey six basic emotions.

It consists of two parts: An microphone worn around the dog's neck and a handheld unit that receives data from the microphone, determines the emotion and then displays a corresponding phrase on the screen for the owner.

The new version has a smaller handheld unit and packs a built in speech synthesizer so it will audibly tell you what you dog is supposedly trying to communicate, in addition to displaying it on the screen.

Bowlingual dog-emotion translator relaunched

Bowlingual dog-emotion translator relaunched

When it went on sale in 2002 the company sold more than 300,000 in Japan, a country where many owners will often spare no expense in making sure their pets are happy.

The Bowlingual will cost just under 20,000 yen ($213), and will initially be available in Japan only. There's no word on when it might be available outside Japan.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Microsoft to launch Spotify style streaming music service

Microsoft looks likely to launch a music-streaming service to rival the success of the Swedish-based service Spotify.

The service, which is expected to be made available in the UK by the end of July, will offer web users the ability to stream tracks for free as well as the option to download them for a charge.

Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, Microsoft's news and entertainment portal, told The Telegraph: "Music is an important area for Microsoft. We are looking at launching a music streaming service imminently."

"It will be a similar principle to Spotify but we are still examining how the business model will work, and trying to figure out what will work best for both consumer and Microsoft."

It is hoped the service will improve the appeal of Microsoft's Zune digital audio player. Microsoft also suggested the service would be linked to its Xbox console. Details of how this will work have not been released yet.

Microsoft said it had not identified a download partner but said it is in discussions with a number of companies.

Microsoft to launch Spotify style streaming music service

Spotify is a free-to-use service that plays tracks peppered with adverts just like commercial radio. However, for a 9.99 monthly subscription, users can enjoy ad-free listening.

It also allows users to create 'collaborative' playlists, which are assigned their own web addresses, and can then be added to by other Spotify listeners.

A partnership with 7Digital means users can click the 'Buy From' link while streaming tracks on the service and navigate to 7Digital's site where users can purchase 320kbps MP3 files from a catalogue of six million tracks.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple Summer Camp offers free Mac workshops across UK

Apple Summer Camp offers free Mac workshops across UK

Apple plans a series of summer camps aimed at children aged 8-12 running at Apple Retail Store locations across the UK.

"This summer, your child could make a movie, create a photo slideshow, write and record a song, put on a show for everyone, and have a blast doing it all," says Apple.

The four summer camp offerings are:

Movie Workshop: Lights. Camera. Action.Music Workshop: Ready to rock?Photo Workshop: Point. Shoot. Share.Presentation Workshop: Take the stage.

Each Apple Store will supply computers, digital cameras and digital camcorders, but children are encouraged to bring along MacBooks if they have access to them.

Campers need to turn up with a signed Summer Camp Permission Statement (PDF) and copy of their registration confirmation to attend.

Each child is limited to no more than two Apple Summer Camp sessions. Space is limited. Each free workshop lasts three hours.

Apple Summer Camp offers free Mac workshops across UK

Full details and how to sign up can be found at

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Cellar for iPhone, iPod touch keeps tabs of wine collection

If you are lucky enough to have a wine collection, even a few bottles racked up in the kitchen, then a new application for iPhone and iPod touch aims to bring order to your assortment of vintages.

Cellar is billed as a portable, swipeable showcase of your wine collection, designed to keep track of your wine, and remember what to buy next time you visit the shops or order online, thanks to what the makers call a "unique Garage feature."

More than a simple list, Cellar offers users the ability store and order bottles by a star rating, adds photos, study information on each wine and let the application choose a wine for you with a simple shake of the iPhone or iPod touch.

Cellar for iPhone, iPod touch keeps tabs of wine collection

Developers Airsource and Glasshouse Apps are the team behind Barista, an application that helps you produce cafe-quality espresso at home. Barista has been featured in Apple's television and press ads, and recently in the iPhone 3GS Guided Tour.

Cellar costs 59p and is available from the Apple iTunes App Store and requires the iPhone 2.2 Software Update or later.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

Apple has used the one-year anniversary of the iTunes App Store to announce 1.5 billion plus application downloads.

Apple claims 65,000 paid and free apps are now available for download in 77 countries, while more than 100,000 developers are currently signed up the iPhone Developer Program.

"The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, now back at work after a leave of absence due to ongoing health issues.

"With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up."

Apple has shipped over 40 million iPhone and iPod touch devices according to a press release.

Apple iTunes App Store downloads top 1.5 billion in first year

In April, Apple surpassed the Apple surpassed the 1 billion app download mark, which suggests the rate of downloads is increasing, with half a billion downloads achieved in just a few months.

For downloading the billionth app, Bump, Connor Mulcahey, 13 from Weston, Connecticut received a $10,000 iTunes gift card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule and a MacBook Pro for his troubles.

Apple didn't offer any customer incentives for reaching the 1.5 billion milestone.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

iPhone 3GS upload limited to 384 Kbps upstream

When the iPhone 3GS arrived last month, I explained the ins and outs of High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), the rubric that covers AT&T’s two highest-speed cellular data standards: HSDPA for downstream and HSUPA for upstream. It turns out that the iPhone 3GS is more limited than what I outlined in that article.

On the downstream side, all is well. The iPhone 3G handles up to 3.6 Mbps HSDPA, and the 3GS can use the newer 7.2 Mbps HSDPA flavour. AT&T is building out the 7.2 Mbps service, which will start being available in some metropolitan areas later this year.

iPhone 3GS upload limited to 384 Kbps upstream

I had supposed that Apple took the opportunity to build HSUPA on the upstream side, at either 1.4 or 1.9 Mbps speeds that are supported in many European networks that have already rolled out 7.2 Mbps HSDPA.

But it turns out, Apple didn’t. (As Jason Snell has written, Apple doesn’t like to offer much detail about the iPhone’s internal specs.)

After my HSPA article ran, reader Nick Dunklee pointed out in email that a teardown at RapidRepair of an iPhone 3GS shows that it has a UMTS/HSDPA chip. UMTS is the earliest 3G standard deployed on GSM networks, and it tops out at 384 Kbps.

It’s easy to test, if you have an iPhone 3GS. Go to any speed tester, like Testmyiphone when you’re outdoors with a good signal. Downstream, you might hit well over 1 Mbps; upstream, under 384 Kbps.

Dunklee examined the specs on a number of GSM network smartphones, and found none included HSUPA. It’s possible that there could be a firmware update from UMTS to HSUPA, but that’s unlikely. There’s usually a reason for using an older standard, which is related to power consumption, chip size, or cost.

In contrast, Dunklee noted, phones that handle EVDO Rev. A - the 3G standard used on CDMA networks like those operated by Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless - have the full high-data-rate upload speed. EVDO comes in multiple flavors (Rev. 0 and Rev. A), but phones that support Rev.

A for downstream access also support it for upstream. (Verizon and Sprint also have 3G more extensively deployed than AT&T due to network design as well as long-term infrastructure building that AT&T deferred at least in part until recently.)

It’s a shame that the iPhone won’t be able to send video and photos at the faster rates that laptops with 3G cards on the same network can. But I suppose this offers a new marketing bullet point for a future iPhone model - now, with HSUPA!

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Google OS could spell trouble for Linux

Much of the discussion around Google's new PC operating system has focused on a looming battle with Windows, but the biggest losers could be other Linux OSes that have been enjoying some moderate success on netbooks, industry analysts said.

Google announced late on Tuesday that it is developing the Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on Linux and geared for people who do much of their computing on the Web.

Google OS could spell trouble for Linux

The software will eventually run on PCs, but before that it will appear first in netbooks in the second half of 2010, Google says.

Several Linux-based OSes for netbooks are available today, including Canonical's Ubuntu Netbook Remix, GoodOS's gOS 3.1 Gadgets, and Moblin 2.0 beta, which is backed by Intel.

The Linux distributions provide easy access to Web applications from the home screen and are designed to boot up quickly. Netbooks, which initially were too small and low-cost to run a full-fledged Windows OS, provided an opportunity for Linux to establish itself in personal computers, an area where it struggled for years to achieve a mainstream role.

But just when some Linux distributions seemed to be gaining a foothold, Google may soon curtail their success. The strength of its brand, and its reputation as a company that builds sleek and easy-to-use products, means it could steamroll over the other Linux candidates, said Joshua Martin, senior analyst at the Yankee Group.

Consumers will be drawn to a brand they recognize and that they associate with efficient online services, rather than to lesser-known names like Ubuntu and Moblin, Martin said. Google's reputation for creating popular online services may also encourage PC makers to adopt the OS in netbooks, he said.

Other Linux distributions still haven't been widely successful in netbooks, setting the bar low for Google's Chrome OS to succeed, said Al Gillen, program vice president at IDC.

"With consumers, who are less likely to be concerned about track record and commercial support, Google Chrome OS could do better than other distros," Gillen said.

There is also a high level of fragmentation in the netbook market, with multiple versions of Linux installed on different machines, a weakness that Google could exploit.

Ultimately, however, end-users will decide whether the Google OS will succeed. Linux-based netbooks have seen slow adoption, with many consumers preferring the familiarity of Windows. Over the past few quarters, around 90 percent of netbooks in mature markets, and as many as 70 percent in developing countries, have shipped with Windows, according to Gartner.

NEXT: Battle between Chrome and the other Linux distributions

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Continued... 1 | 2 | NEXT >

Google OS - users will still need to be aware of viruses, malware, security updates

Google, while announcing its new Chrome operating system late Tuesday, said users would no longer have to worry about viruses, malware and security updates, but security experts disagreed on whether Google can deliver on those promises.

Google said in a blog post that it was "going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates." An operating system should "just work," the company said.

Google OS - users will still need to be aware of viruses, malware, security updates

Bruce Schneier, the chief security technology officer at BT, scoffed at Google's promise. "It's an idiotic claim," Schneier wrote in an email.

"It was mathematically proved decades ago that it is impossible - not an engineering impossibility, not technologically impossible, but the 2+2=3 kind of impossible -- to create an operating system that is immune to viruses."

Redesigning an operating system from scratch, "[taking] security into account all the way up and down," could make for a more secure OS than ones that have been developed so far, Schneier said. But that's different from Google's promise that users won't have to deal with viruses or malware, he added.

Other security experts suggested that it's possible for Google to at least make a more secure and user-friendly operating system.

"Operating system vendors can do a much better job of hiding security from the users -- taking care of changes without forcing outages and reboots and managing the security of all the other applications installed on top of the OS," said Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity training organization.

Google user experience

"Google is all about the user experience, so perhaps they learned from the mistakes of the earlier, less-user-friendly OS providers."

Brian Chess, cofounder and chief security officer at cybersecurity vendor Fortify Software, said he's optimistic that Google seems to be making security a priority as it develops the Chrome OS.

"With the caveat that nothing out there is going to be 100 percent secure, and new systems ... are going to have more problems than code that's been battle-tested for a long time, I think the Google guys are right," Chess said. "They could make a system that is significantly better from a security standpoint than the systems most people use today."

Google has a chance to start over from a user expectation point of view, Chess said. The company has several research projects focused on cybersecurity, he noted.

Google could, for example, make top security a default setting in the OS, instead of requiring users to change their setting to make their OS more secure, he said. And Google could build in safeguards that stop users from downloading a virus when they click on a link in an e-mail, he added.

"From a security standpoint, this is a great day," Chess said. "The question is, is the system going to be able to do a reasonable job of defending itself even in the face of a certain amount of user error? I think they've got a pretty good shot at it."

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple recalls faulty first generation iPod nano in Korea

Apple has had to recall a batch of first generation iPod nanos in Korea over concerns they might potentially overheat, swell and set fire.

A South Korean government agency confirmed the news following complaints from consumers.

Apple recalls faulty first generation iPod nano in Korea

The Korea Herald first reported on 25 June that the government had asked Apple to recall its first-generation iPod Nano models, with four cases of batteries overheating or exploding having been reported since December in Korea.

"Customers who are concerned about possible overheating of the battery can get it exchanged," Park In-kyu, an official with the Korea Agency for Technology & Standards, told the newspaper, citing a document sent by Apple Korea on 7 July.

"If Apple had delayed recalls, its image would have suffered a blow," he said.

In 2008, Japanese officials asked Apple to investigate similar issues with potentially exploding iPod nanos.

First released in September 2005, the iPod nano sold its first million units in just 17 days, despite claims from some users of easily scratched players and even cracked screens.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Radiopaq enhances audio quality with iPod Sound Jacket

Radiopaq, best known for the Internet radio search engine, has announced a new addition to the Intelligent Audio product range with the launch of the Sound Jacket.

Designed for the 4th generation iPod nano, the Sound Jacket aims to significantly improve the audio quality of MP3 music tracks played on your iPod.

Due to compression, MP3 files can sound flat or distorted. The Sound Jacket counteracts this by dynamically enhancing the audible performance improving sound quality by up to 60 per cent insists Radiopaq.

The Sound Jacket offers a slim and lightweight design that comes with a built in micro amp and doesn’t require any charging itself, receiving its power direct from the iPod.

The Radiopaq Sound Jacket costs 69.99 including VAT and is available from Amazon and

Radiopaq enhances audio quality with iPod Sound Jacket

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple to add micro projectors to iPhone, iPod?

Apple, Nokia and Samsung Electronics are all planning to launch handsets with built-in micro projectors by the end of this year.

That's according to DigiTimes who claim to have inside information that Foxlink - a subsidiary of Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn - are producing micro projectors.

Apple to add micro projectors to iPhone, iPod?

Foxlink has sent samples to clients for verification, which may pave the way for small shipments in the fourth quarter of 2009, the unnamed sources quoted by DigiTimes said.

Armed with micro projectors video and photo content from an iPhone or iPod could be protected onto a wall or screen. Which begs the question, why beyond the novelty value, would you want to do this as at best it would be low tech?

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

FileMaker offers free FileMaker Graphics Pack

Macworld Awards winnerFileMaker has announced the FileMaker Graphics Pack is now available free with the purchase and registration of FileMaker Pro 10 for a limited time.

The bonus pack is offered to customers who purchase and register individual licenses of FileMaker Pro 10, FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced, FileMaker Server 10 and FileMaker Server 10 Advanced.

FileMaker offers free FileMaker Graphics Pack

This offer is valid on purchases made between 1 July 2009 and 18 September 2009. Product registration must be made on or before 24 September 2009 says FileMaker.

The FileMaker Graphics Pack includes over 1,000 buttons and icons and can enhance the design and visual impact of FileMaker Pro, which the company promise make it even easier to get a sleek and professional database up and running.

FileMaker is database software for Mac and PC, which offers a way to manage people, projects, assets and data including text, numbers, dates, images, and Web links within one user-friendly application.

FileMaker Pro 10 won Best productivity software at this year's Macworld Awards.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Al Jazeera launches English language app for iPhone, iPod touch

The sometimes-controversial Arabic-language news network Al Jazeera, has launched an English language application for iPhone and iPod touch.

The application offers a live feed of the English language version of the station in partnership with Livestation. Two "Watch now" feeds are available depending on your connection, standard quality on 3G, a higher quality version when connected by Wi-Fi.

Director of global distribution for Al Jazeera, Phil Lawrie believes the move demonstrates Al Jazeera’s enthusiasm for embracing new technology. "Deployments such as this, on emerging technologies, are all about garnering real estate and making sure a fragmenting audience can still find us on whatever device they are using."

Over recent years Al Jazeera has grown from a single Arabic language channel to a global presence with a range of services available via satellite, cable and Internet. Al Jazeera has also been the first to broadcast video statements by Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders, which has drawn criticism especially from the US.

Al Jazeera launches English language app for iPhone, iPod touch

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Al Jazeera for iPhone and iPod touch is available for a limited time, six months, for 1.79 and requires the iPhone 2.2 Software Update or later.

iPhone 3GS users are asked to wait until the makers fix a incompatibility bug before downloading the application. A fix is promised in the next couple of days says Al Jazeera.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Music streaming site Spotify offers first audiobook

Popular Swedish music streaming service Spotify is offering an audiobook for the first time.

The free-to-use service plays tracks comes with adverts just like commercial radio. However, for a 9.99 monthly subscription, users can enjoy ad-free listening.

Along with music, Spotify users can also enjoy Wired editor Chris Anderson's new book 'Free: The Future of a Radical Price', which is narrated by Anderson himself.

Spotify says: "Free considers a brave new world where the old economic certainties are being challenged by a growing flood of free goods - newspapers, DVDs, T-shirts, phones, even holiday flights."

"This is the first audiobook we've ever included in our catalogue. We're going to trial it, see what people think and who knows, maybe this is the start of something new for us," said Andres Sehr from Spotify.

UK users can get their hands on 'Free: The Future of a Radical Price' now, as Spotify.

Introducing audiobooks, is one of a number of changes Spotify is making to its service.

The music-streaming service announced last month that it was improving sound qualityy of tracks for users that pay a monthly subscription.

'Premium' users are being offered an 'enable high bitrate' option in the preferences, which the company says doubles the current streaming quality and offers a sound-quality similar to CDs.

Music streaming site Spotify offers first audiobook

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Bankrupt Psystar offers new range of Mac clones

Despite filing for bankruptcy earlier this year Mac clone-maker Psystar is offering a new range of computers configurations with Mac OS X installed.

The copycat company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US in May, which many believed would signal the end of the long running legal battle between Psystar and Apple and effectively put the upstarts out of business.

Psystar howver is now offering the Open(7) starting at $1,499, a new addition to the so-called Open range of clones.

"The Open7 represents the future of Open Computing by introducing the new Intel Corei7 line of processors. With up to 40% more processing speed and up to 12 GB of memory the Open7 is capable of handling even the most demanding multimedia and gaming workloads," runs the Psystar promotional blurb.

"Featuring Leopard OS X the Open7 has enough configuration options to custom tailor this computer to meet your needs." Optimistically looking ahead, three year parts and support is also offered along with a wide range of configurations including adding Apple's iWork.

Bankrupt Psystar offers new range of Mac clones

Psystar first made news in April 2008, when it starting selling Mac clones with Apple's Leopard operating system preinstalled. Apple began the legal wrangling when it accused Psystar of copyright and software licensing violations, and Psystar struck back with a countersuit that charged Apple with, among other things, antitrust violations.

Despite filing for bankruptcy, Apple will meet Psystar in court again, after a Florida judge lifted the stay last month allowing legal proceedings to still go ahead.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Extensis intros Portfolio Server 9 digital asset management software

Extensis, digital assets and fonts management software specialists, have announced Portfolio Server 9, offering what the company says are a range of new features and enhancements.

Portfolio Server 9 allows organisations to deploy multi-channel marketing, control their brand, manage and process rich media and deliver assets through the Web, insists Extensis.

Portfolio Server 9 introduces a new Adobe FLEX Web Client, which offers users the ability to catalog, search, edit, batch convert, automate tasks and manage assets.

Other new and enhanced features include Java-based server architecture for stability and easier integration, and scalable MediaRich media processing engine for extensive file format support and improved media delivery.

Portfolio Server 9 also adds Web-based server administration for remote management of server and users, Adobe XMP Toolkit integration for read/write metadata exchange across applications, drag-n-drop functionality through Portfolio Express palette for Adobe creative applications and added support for Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server.

Mac requirements are Mac OS X 10.5.6, including Mac OS X Server, Intel Core processor.

Portfolio Server 9 costs $6,050 (around 3,660) for the Server plus $315 per (around 190) Client (Desktop or Web Client).

Optional modules include: NetPublish for delivering assets to the Web and retails for $6,050, and SQL Connect for added scalability and performance, also priced at $6,050.

All prices include an annual service agreement. Academic pricing is also available.

Extensis intros Portfolio Server 9 digital asset management software

Existing Portfolio Server customers under a current annual service agreement (ASA) will receive the product free of charge. Upgrade pricing is available for all current Portfolio Server customers adds Extensis.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Group pitches Linux for free netbooks from mobile carriers

Mobile carriers may start giving away netbooks for free, and Linux-based application stores could help them profit by doing it, the head of a Linux advocacy group told Chinese companies on Monday.

The move by carriers to sell netbooks at a discount and seek revenue from later application downloads is an opportunity for Linux, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said at a Beijing forum. He urged Chinese and global companies to consider offering devices and download stores based on Linux.

Group pitches Linux for free netbooks from mobile carriers

But while Linux has some advantages, user habits and slim software offerings on the operating system mean Windows will continue to dominate on netbooks in the near term, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

Selling discounted netbooks to users who buy a mobile data subscription would extend a sales strategy widely used for mobile phones. Carriers often sell phones for below retail price and let a user's subscription fees make up for any loss.

AT&T already sells subsidized 3G netbooks in the US, and China Mobile has announced similar plans. Carriers worldwide are likely considering the option, which lets them charge for added services like downloads of music, videos and software, said Gold.

Those downloads could come from platforms like the iPhone App Store that target mainly mobile phones today.

Linux on laptops attractive way to cut costs

Competition could push netbook prices down as more carriers subsidize them, which would make putting Linux on the laptops an attractive way to cut costs, said Zemlin.

"In less than a year, I predict that the new cost of a netbook will be zero," Zemlin said.

A carrier that creates its own application store using an open source OS also avoids having to share download revenue with the OS designer, he said. The carrier can then pocket more of the revenue itself under any split arranged with application developers, he said.

But users could find Linux limiting. Linux does not support the wide pool of programs that Windows does, and most users favor Windows because they are more familiar with its interface, said Gold, the analyst.

Carriers would also incur costs by customizing Linux to create their own download stores, or by handing the task to a device maker, said Gold.

Windows could get another boost if the low-end version of Windows 7 proves effective on netbooks when the new OS comes out this year, he said.

But it remains attractive for carriers to subsidize netbooks, which costs less than doing so for a high-end smartphone, Gold said. Netbooks can run from $300 to $400 off the shelf, while an iPhone is $599, he said.

Some Linux-based download stores are already open or in the works. The Android Market for phones and upcoming netbooks is based on Google's Android OS, which uses a Linux kernel. China Mobile plans to open an application store based on an Android-based mobile OS it is developing.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Sequence Training announces Pinewood Making a Documentary Final Cut Pro class

Sequence Training, a leading UK-based training and production centre for film and video editing, and Macworld Masterclasses partner, has announced new pricing for the Making a Documentary class.

Working with industry professionals and promising unique insights, the course, held at Pinewood Studios, costs 300.

The course details the various stages of documentary editing from viewing and logging right through to fine cutting and how best to approach these stages in different situations. Focus is placed on practical techniques in Final Cut Pro to achieve the best results at every stage of a documentary, technically, journalistically and creatively says Sequence Training.

The two days are based around cutting a long form creative documentary and contains a huge amount of tips and tricks with long-time Final Cut Pro user Alex Snelling offering expertise and advice.

Full details of Sequence Training courses can be found here (PDF).

Other creative applications covered by Sequence Training includes Photoshop, Aperture, DVD Studio Pro, Logic, Final Cut Server with Dreamweaver training coming soon.

Sequence Training announces Pinewood Making a Documentary Final Cut Pro class

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple seeks "unusual" sole external European legal adviser

Apple Retail is seeking a sole external European legal adviser reports The Lawyer.

Apple has sent out tender documents to a number of firms to advise on non-property legal services with a deadline of Tuesday 30 June for proposal requests.

Apple seeks unusual sole external European legal adviser

Apple Retail currently operates a streamlined in-house legal function, having just one lawyer for the Europe, Middle East and Asia region in UK-based Elaine Hutton adds The Lawyer.

Apple has previously used a number of legal firms including Baker & McKenzie, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Jones Day to represent them.

The move to an external advisor would be an unusual one. "It’s always been a very lean legal function, a lot is centralised at HQ in the US and there’s a lean staff internationally, but having a single external adviser would be quite unusual," said one source quoted by The Lawyer.

Corporate, competition, general retail, product warranty, third liaison and government work, regulatory, health and safety, employment, litigation and shareholder disputes would be the type of areas covered by the external legal adviser. Typically, Apple declined to comment on the appointment.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Google crashed under weight of Jackson traffic

News of Michael Jackson's death caused a massive surge in internet traffic last night, temporarily crashing Google and driving people to popular sites such as Twitter and BBC News.

The Press Association reports that so many people headed to Google to verify early reports of Jackson's death that Google's News servers interpreted searches for "Michael Jackson" as an automated attack for about 30 minutes.

The BBC News website reported that UK traffic was 48 percent higher than usual at 4am on Friday, while Twitter traffic also surged.

than Zuckerman, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, said that Jackson quickly became the most popular topic on the micro-blogging site as soon as he was rushed to hospital yesterday.

"My twitter search script sees roughly 15% of all posts on Twitter mentioning Michael Jackson," wrote Mr. Zuckerman on his Twitter page. "Never saw Iran or swine flu reach over 5%."

However, at one stage Twitter also failed to cope with the surge in traffic, according to reports. Five of the top ten trending topics on Twitter were related to the pop king at 9am on Friday morning.

Thousands of people switched to Twitter from AIM after AOL's instant messaging service failed to cope with a surge in traffic, according to PC World magazine US.

Users from the UK, US, and Australia all reported problems. During the 40 minutes of AIM blackout, more than 4,000 people turned to Twitter to find out what was happening with AOL's service, only to find out that Michael Jackson was hospitalised. Then came reports of the 50-year-old singer's death.

Jackson collapsed at his Los Angeles mansion was rushed to hospital by paramedics before being pronounced dead at 2:26 pm (2126 GMT). Celebrity gossip site TMZ has been credited with breaking the news after a tip-off that a paramedic had visited the singer's home.

Bob Borchers, Apple's senior director for iPhone, has resigned

Bob Borchers, Apple's senior director of worldwide product marketing for the iPhone has left Apple to join a Venture capital firm, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Borchers has been with Apple since 2004 and is best known to most Apple followers as the individual who demonstrated many of the original iPhone features in a video filmed by Apple (below).

The former Apple exec told the Wall Street Journal that working at Apple was "Amazing" but that the venture capitalists at Opus offered him an opportunity to join and make investments in mobile technologies.

Opus is a firm with four current partners and more than $1 billion in committed assets. The Wall Street Journal reports that Opus raised $280 million in assets in its last fund; Bob Borchers will be investing from that fund.

Via MacRumours.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple investors fear losing Cook

Apple COO Tim Cook has done such a good job of running Apple during CEO Steve Jobs absence that investors are now fearing what would happen to the company should he leave.

Piper Jaffray Gene Munster told the Wall Street Journal: "At this point, losing Tim Cook would be a bigger deal to investors than if Steve Jobs stepped aside. Just that thought makes my stomach tighten up."

According to the Wall Street Journal report, other technology giants have tried to woo Cook in recent years: “Motorola tried to hire him last year while Dell wooed the executive two years ago,” claims the report.

Co-head of the CEO practice at recruiters Korn/Ferry International Stephen Mader said: "Now it's clear that Tim Cook can run any technology-based company. He's a more attractive CEO candidate both inside Apple and outside."

Since Cook took the helm from Jobs (who took six months sick leave) in mid January, Apple's stock has risen 60 per cent, compared with an 18 per cent increase in the Nasdaq Composite Index.

This is the second time Cook has taken over the day-to-day running of Apple. Last time was in 2004 when Jobs was recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas.

Cook is also credited with pulling Apple out of near bankruptcy when he joined the company in 1998. Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf said: "He turned a company that was on the brink of bankruptcy into one that is generating a huge amount of free cash."

iPhone 3GS costs Apple $179 (£109) to make, says iSuppli

Even though it has twice the storage space of last year's model, Apple's new 16GB iPhone 3GS costs the company less than 3 per cent more to make than 2008's lowest-priced iPhone 3G, according to a tear-down analysis published today by iSuppli.

The full bill-of-materials (BOM) for the low-end iPhone 3GS is $178.96 (109), said iSuppli in an abridged version of the for-pay analysis it sells to vendors. That total reflects an estimated $172.46 (105) in the cost of goods and another $6.50 (4) in manufacturing costs.

Last summer, iSuppli pegged the iPhone 3G's BOM at a slightly smaller figure: $174.33 (106). That number was nearly one-quarter less than the $226 (137.70) the research firm said Apple spent manufacturing each first-generation iPhone in 2007.

Apple and its US carrier partner, AT&T, sell the 16GB iPhone 3GS for $199; that, however, is the subsidized price. Analysts have estimated that AT&T and other carriers pay Apple as much as $600 (365.60) for each iPhone.

O2 sells the pay-as-you go iPhone 16GB 3GS for 440.40.

"From a component and design perspective, there's a great deal of similarity between the 3G and the 3GS," said Andrew Rassweiler, who oversees iSuppli's tear-down services. "By leveraging this commonality to optimize materials costs, and taking advantage of price erosion in the electronic component marketplace, Apple can provide a higher-performing product with more memory and features at only a slightly higher materials and manufacturing cost."

Apple doubled the amount of flash RAM storage space in the new iPhone 3GS smartphones, upping the low end from 8GB to 16GB, and the high end from 16GB to 32GB, and added several new components, including a better camera capable of capturing both stills and video. It also added hardware necessary to implement a new digital compass.

"Besides these extras, the 3GS hardware feature set is not much different from that of the 3G," said Rassweiler.

The most-expensive item in iSuppli's parts list was the 16GB of Toshiba-made flash memory, which the research firm priced at $24. Second and third on its list were the $19.25 for the display module and $16 for the touch-screen assembly.

An instant tear-down by Aaron Vronko, the CEO of Michigan-based Rapid Repair, on the day that Apple launched the iPhone 3GS revealed a faster CPU (central processor unit) and a faster GPU (graphics processor unit) than those in 2008's model, and supported Apple's claims that the new smartphone is two to three times faster.

On Monday, Apple said it had sold one million iPhone 3GS phones in the first three days through its own retail and online stores.

IBM, Cray lead Top 500 supercomputer rankings, no sign of Apple

Just a few years ago, Apple figured in the Top 500 supercomputer list with the Virginia Tech cluster. Now the Mac maker is no where to be seen in the list, announced on Tuesday. Back in July 2006 five of the world's top 500 supercomputers were based on Apple Xserve systems.

The world’s two most powerful computers have not been surpassed in 2009, but the latest edition of the Top 500 supercomputer list shows a new entry in third place and continued dominance from the likes of IBM, Cray, HP and Intel.

The Top 500 Supercomputer Sites list ranks the world’s fastest machines twice a year. The total combined performance of the 500 machines has reached 22.6 petaflops, nearly twice what was achieved only one year ago. Each petaflop represents one thousand trillion calculations per second.

Still ranked number one is the Roadrunner system at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, which was built by IBM and is rated at 1.105 petaflops.

Still in second place is the Cray XT5 Jaguar system at Doe’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, rated at 1.059 petaflops.

The highest-ranking newcomer on the list is an IBM BlueGene/P system in Germany, which is called JUGENE and is installed at the Forschungszentrum Juelich research center. JUGENE performs 825.5 trillion calculations per second and has a “theoretical peak performance” of more than 1 petaflop, according to the Top 500 announcement.

JUGENE edged out the previous third-place entrant, a NASA machine known as Pleiades. The Juelich research center also houses the new 10th place finisher, which is called Europa and achieved 274.8 trillion calculations per second using Bull NovaScale and Sun Blade x6048 servers. These two German computers are the only top ten systems from outside the United States.

There were two other new entries in the top ten: A Cray XT5 system at the University of Tennessee, which is in sixth place; and an IBM system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in ninth place.

In addition to changes in the top, there was significant upheaval in the lower levels of the top 500. The slowest computer of the 500, which achieved 17.1 trillion calculations per second, would have been the 274th fastest only six months ago.

On average, each system in the top ten consumes 2.45 megawatts, unchanged from six months ago. Power efficiency has increased substantially, however, as the systems are now offering greater performance in the same power envelope.

Six months ago, Microsoft achieved a milestone by placing a Windows-based system in the top ten. That system, based at the Shanghai Supercomputer Center, is now rated #15 in the world.

In broader terms, the Top 500 update shows that HP still has the most individual systems on the list, but IBM ranks the highest when it comes to total performance of systems in the Top 500.

Cray’s XT systems are still popular in large high-performance computing centers, with 10 out of the top 50 systems worldwide. Nearly 80% of the Top 500 computers are based on Intel processors, up from 75.8% six months ago. Intel gained at the expense of IBM and AMD. IBM Power processors account for 55 of the Top 500, down from 60; while AMD Opteron accounts for 43 systems, down from 59.

The United States accounts for 291 of the top systems, compared to 145 in Europe and 49 in Asia.

Google fixes 'critical' security hole in Chrome

Google has plugged a security vulnerability in its Chrome browser that the company considers critical.

The latest Chrome release – version – fixes an issue that could let a malicious hacker carry out a buffer overflow attack, Google said Monday in an official blog.

If successful, the attack could allow the hacker to crash the browser and run code on a compromised machine with the privileges of the logged-on user.

To exploit the vulnerability, the hacker would have to involve "a specially crafted response from an HTTP server," according to Google, which didn't go into more specifics in the blog posting.

Google plans to provide more details about the vulnerability once a majority of Chrome users have patched their browsers. Chrome's internal security team discovered the flaw.

This latest version also fixes other bugs, including Chrome crashes when loading some HTTPS sites.

First iPhone satnav released: NAVIGON MobileNavigator Europe

NAVIGON has just announced that it has the first satnav application available for the iPhone, and that it is now on sale at the iTunes store.

Apple first announced back in March that turn by turn navigation (more commonly known as satnav) would be possible with the iPhone 3.0 software update.

Ever since then, speculation has been rampant as to when the first satnav program would be available on the iPhone, and how much it would cost.

NAVIGON Mobile.Navigator turns the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS into a fully working satnav. "With the MobileNavigator, the iPhone 3G and the new iPhone 3G S can now be fully functional navigation devices and, as such, are an almost indispensable and always desirable travel companion at home and abroad," said Gerhard Mayr, Vice President Worldwide Mobile Phone and New Markets at NAVIGON.

First iPhone satnav released: NAVIGON MobileNavigator Europe

The NAVIGON MobileNavigator Europe is now available at the iTunes App Store

The software appears to have most of the standard functions of satellite navigation devices. NAVIGON informed us that it also has "Reality View Pro, Lane Assistant Pro, Speed Assistant and Day & Night Mode component as well as the opportunity, to show POIs (points of interest) along the route". There is no word yet as to whether it contains speed camera information.

Two versions of the program will be available. The full version is available now and has an introductory rate of 54.99, or €74.99. A cheaper regional version, with specific maps for individual countries is set to follow, with a price of €49.99 (UK price TBA).

A free lite version is also planned. This lacks active route guidance but lets users examine the maps and find local points of interest.

NAVIGON informs us that the current pricing is an introduction and that there will be a price increase from July.

According to NAVIGON, a North American version follows shortly, while an Australian version is in preparation.

NAVIGON has also uploaded a video to YouTube showing the NAVIGON MobileNavigator in action.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple's patent frenzy

Apple is filing more patents than ever before, but can we gain an insight into future products by studying them, asks a patent lawyer.

In his report, at MacNewsWorld, Marc Hubbard reveals that the annual rate at which Apple has been filing patent applications has doubled each year since 2003.

In 2004 there were just 64 patents filed by Apple. In 2007 Apple filed 405 patents.

Hubbard goes on to explain that by the time these patents went public Apple is likely to have already implemented them, or rejected the idea and moved onto something else. He notes: “Patent applications are kept secret for 18 months, at which time they are published unless the applicant … requests that it not be published.”

And it’s not just a gap of 18 months between a new idea and the revelation of the patent. It could be two years before Apple even files a patent in the first place, adds Hubbard, meaning that the idea may be almost four years old before we get to hear of it.

Ruling finds Apple does have 'greenest' computers

Apple on Friday claimed victory in an environmental laptop tiff with Dell, which earlier complained that Apple was misleading buyers by calling its laptops "the world's greenest family of notebooks."

Dell had filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, saying Apple's use of the phrase was a "broad superiority claim" against all manufacturers' laptops. NAD investigated the advertised tagline and implied claims that Apple's laptops were "greener" than other brands.

After the investigation, NAD on Thursday said that consumers could be misled by Apple's claims, which were used in Internet and TV advertisements. NAD suggested that Apple change the green tagline in advertisements to "avoid overstatement," which otherwise could cause confusion among buyers, who might think MacBooks are superior to other laptops.

NAD evaluated Apple's MacBooks based on the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) rating, a recognized standard that helps consumers compare PCs based on their environmental impact. NAD stated that Apple has high EPEAT ratings across its entire line of laptops, while no other manufacturer has "comparable high ratings for all of the notebooks it produces."

Apple "elected to only produce computer notebooks that meet the highest EPEAT ratings," NAD said in its Thursday ruling.

However, NAD found that certain laptop brands, such as Toshiba's Portege line, had a higher EPEAT rating than MacBooks.

Apple did not comment on whether it would make changes based on NAD's recommendations. However, a company spokeswoman said the recommendations confirm Apple's commitment to being green.

"The NAD's ruling is a clear victory for Apple. The case challenged our claim to the 'world's greenest family of notebooks,' and NAD has confirmed that MacBooks are in fact the world's greenest notebook computers when compared to other manufacturers' product lines as a whole," the spokeswoman said.

Dell did not respond to a request for comment.

Nonprofit environmental groups have backed Apple's efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its PCs. Greenpeace International in 2007 applauded Apple's commitment to phase out by 2008 the use on components and circuit boards of chemicals that could affect human health. Those chemicals included brominated fire retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

"That beats Dell and other computer manufacturers' pledge to phase them out by 2009," Greenpeace said at the time. Greenpeace also praised Apple's "green" advertising campaign that highlighted the reduced environmental impact of its PCs.

Greener Apple

Apple also gained ground in Greenpeace's ranking of green electronics companies issued in March this year, while competitors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo lost points. The list grades top consumer electronics and IT companies based on their environmental efforts and recycling efforts, as well as the power consumption and chemical content in their products.

Apple was perhaps the earliest PC maker to commit itself to reducing the environmental impact of its products, said Sarah Westervelt, a spokeswoman for the Basel Action Network, an environmental nonprofit. But no matter how green they are, laptops from all manufacturers will continue to have toxins, she said. Some circuit boards may have traces of lead and other harmful toxins, while batteries have chemicals such as cadmium that could be dangerous to health.

Dell and Apple are involved in a pointless slinging match, because green is an ambiguous concept, said Michael Kanellos, senior analyst and editor-in-chief at analyst firm GreenTech Media. It is hard to measure the entire environmental impact of products, he said. For example, the environmental impact of a laptop could involve the amount of fuel used to ship laptops and related components.

But using generic metrics such as power consumption, the overall impact of the laptops on the environment is relatively small, Kanellos said. Computers use about 1 percent of the power consumed in homes, while lights consume 26 percent, Kanellos said, citing 2006 statistics from the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University. In offices, computers make up 4 percent of power consumption, compared with 25 percent for lights.

Nevertheless, Dell and Apple realize that efforts are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts associated with laptops, Kanellos said. Dell is advertising "green" as a way to cut costs for the company and its customers, while Apple is using it as a "lifestyle" term to sell products like the iPhone and Mac computers.

Intel's chip renaming strategy confusing says users

Intel's strategy to rename its chips and platforms has seen some opposition from chip enthusiasts, who say the new naming conventions are even more confusing.

The chip company on Wednesday said it was making changes to the naming convention of Core processors, switching the derivatives attached to it. Tags like Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad will be replaced by names like Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7, depending on the type of PC and configuration.

Intels chip renaming strategy confusing says users

Chips for entry-level desktops and laptops will carry the Core i3 brand, while chips for mid-level and high-end PCs will have Core i5 and Core i7 tags respectively. The Core i7 tag is already being used on Intel's Nehalem-based chips that go in high-end desktop PCs.

Intel said it will continue to use its Atom brand for low-power processors used in netbooks and smartphones. The company will also retain the Celeron and Pentium entry-level chips for mainstream laptops and desktops. In platforms, the company said it would phase out usage of the popular Centrino brand to describe mobile laptop platforms by early next year.

"For PC purchasing, think in terms of good-better-best with Celeron being good, Pentium better, and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer," wrote Bill Calder, an Intel spokesman, in a blog entry on Wednesday. The change will make it easier for customers to differentiate and recognize brands in the future.

"The fact of the matter is, we have a complex structure with too many platform brands, product names, and product brands, and we've made things confusing for consumers and IT buyers in the process," Calder wrote.

But the glut of name changes has confused some users even more, who complained of the new names being incomplete. The changes would not fully reflect how the Core chip would perform, some people wrote in response to the blog entry.

"Too confusing. Make the names longer and more telling," wrote someone identified as Jonah, in a comment on the blog. Dismissing the new naming conventions as meaningless, multiple posters asked Intel to either retain the old names or change chip names to reflect the number of cores, clock speed and cache.

Calling the name changes "nonsense," another poster, John, wrote "I buy a Core 2 Duo, I'm getting a 2 core processor made out of Core 2. Usually the clock speed is advertised as well. I buy a Core i5 who knows what the hell I'm getting except maybe Intel marketing."

In all the opposition, Intel found support from a few posters who said that the name changes could make it easier to distinguish chips.

"I can see how replacing the confusing mess of "Core 2 Duo T6400" with "Core i7" could make things easier for the typical consumer when browsing the laptops at Best Buy," wrote a poster, Colin.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Blackberry shares slide on disappointing outlook

Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion has offered a disappointing financial outlook, causing its share price to drop five per cent.

The BlackBerry maker actually reported first quarter results that were slightly up on the predictions of analysts. The company’s revenue jumped to $3.42 billion from $2.24 billion and RIM added another 3.8 million new Blackberry subscribers, bringing the number of Blackberry owners almost 29 million.

Analysts had expected revenue of $3.4 billion.

However, for the second quarter, that ends on 29 August, RIM predicted revenue of between $3.45 billion and $3.7 billion, and earnings per share of between 94 cents and $1.03.

Technology analyst Carmi Levy told Reuters that RIM's outlook is still robust. "They see it as a threat," he said of RIM's attitude toward rivals' new handsets and their aggressive prices. "They just don't see it as highly likely that it's really going to take them down significantly."

Learn to use the Red camera with Sequence Training

Sequence Training is to run a course for people involved in buying and using the RED camera.

The RED camera heralds a revolution in that finally an affordable alternative to 35mm is available. There have been other high quality digital cinema camera such as the Viper and Genesis, however, these are much more expensive than RED and many most of the alternatives can only be rented and not purchased. The RED 4K camera is available at a price-point unheard of for this level of production and in the short time it has been available has made a huge impact on the production scene.

For more information about Red, see our sister title, MacVideo's review of the Red camera.

Attendees will learn all about the new technologies and integrate the footage into the Final Cut Pro workflow.

The first day is hosted by Ben Manning, owner of Kit & Crew Ltd based at Pinewood Studios. He is an experienced RED camera operator and trained broadcast engineer with an extensive career in the technical side of shooting and camera equipment preparation. He has worked across a range of digital companies, including work at Elstree Studios and now specialises in RED cameras. He has seen the full development of the software since it's first build, right up to current build 17.

Ben will give the delegates a interactive hands-on demonstration of how to set up the cameras correctly, they learn about the lens's and accessories available that can enhance the camera and actually use the cameras to shoot footage. During the afternoon they are taught about the storage, data transfer and backup of their footage.

The second day is hosted by Jonathan Eric Tyrrell who has an MA in Film and Television studies and is an Apple Master trainer. He has trained extensively around the world on Final Cut Pro and worked as an editor and colourist on many films and productions. Having dealt with footage from Red cameras he is well aware of how to get the best results and get round some of the key issues involved.

Ted Schilowitz of RED says, "I am very excited by the RED training courses and seminars that Sequence Training are doing here in Pinewood, they sound amazing and I look forward to working closely with them in the future."

Sequence Training is a pioneering training company that specialises in the film and broadcast industry, working with the industry professionals and offering courses that are forward thinking and unique. In conjunction with the Pinewood group they have set up a state-of-the-art training facility in the heart of the studios. Delegates on the courses experience the buzz and creativity in the studios and often get to mingle with the stars.

Sequence Training is also teaming up with Macworld to offer a series of Photoshop Masterclass training days in September. More information about the Macworld Masterclass Photoshop training is available here.

Kroll Ontrack intros data recovery solution for Apple Xsan

Kroll Ontrack, a provider of data management solutions, has announced the ability to recover data from an Apple Xsan 2 server that has encountered volume corruption, using newly developed proprietary technology.

Xsan 2 is billed as the best way to share and manage data on a network, built around a 64-bit cluster file system specifically designed for small and large computing environments.

Xsan 2 technology enables multiple Mac desktop and Xserve systems to share RAID storage volumes over a high-speed Fibre Channel network.

"Prior to this development, Xsan file system data recovery was mostly limited to hardware-based failures. Organisations that rely on the Xsan file system would often have no other course of action other than to reinitialise these very valuable and expensive servers when volume corruption occurred, making their data inaccessible," said Phil Bridge, managing director of Kroll Ontrack UK.

"With the innovative development of Kroll Ontrack’s Xsan server-specific data recovery capabilities, organisations have a viable alternative for their data protection needs. Utilising the skills of our world-class engineers, Xsan server recoveries are feasible in a matter of a couple of business days."

Kroll Ontrack intros data recovery solution for Apple Xsan

This is Kroll Ontrack’s third Apple-specific data recovery solution in three months. In April, the company announced an enhanced suite of data recovery technologies for both Mac OSX Mail and Microsoft Entourage email.

Full details of Kroll Ontrack services can be found at Kroll Ontrack.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Apple Store, Regent Street - no iPhone 3G S frenzy yet with hours to go

Macworld staff are just back from the flagship Apple Store, Regent Street, as the pictures show not a frenzy of activity or queues yet.

The new iPhone 3G S will go on sale tomorrow morning at 8am.

Watch this space. We will be back tomorrow to report from the store.

Apple Store, Regent Street - no iPhone 3G S frenzy yet with hours to go

Apple Store, Regent Street - no iPhone 3G S frenzy yet with hours to go

Apple Store, Regent Street - no iPhone 3G S frenzy yet with hours to go

Apple Store, Regent Street - no iPhone 3G S frenzy yet with hours to go

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

iPhone 3.0 expected at 6pm BST today despite rumours of delays

Reports earlier on Wednesday suggesting that Apple had delayed the launch of the much-anticipated iPhone 3.0 Software Update worldwide by a day have proved false.

Macworld spotted numerous Twitter tweets Wednesday morning linking to a news report on The Guardian newspaper Web site suggesting Apple had delayed the software roll-out, although that story was quickly taken down.

iPhone 3.0 expected at 6pm BST today despite rumours of delays

The iPhone 3.0 software update has only been delayed by a day in Singapore, but the localised story suddenly became a worldwide delay, something that Apple wouldn't be happy to announce.

The update is still on course to be released at 6pm BST today, 10am PT, 1pm EDT in the US.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter:

Digital Britain report: Muted support, 2 Mbps target disappointing

The Digital Britain Report has received wide spread support from IT-focussed organisations, but many feel that its core recommendation for a minimum speed broadband available to all, don’t go far enough.

The Communications Management Association, which represents major network users, said the way the government promotes in communications services will be vital to the UK’s economic recovery.

Digital Britain report: Muted support, 2 Mbps target disappointing

Carolyn Kimber, chair of the CMA said, “A near-term target of only “up to” 2 Mbps is disappointing, until you realise that it’s a universal service obligation target to be reached within 30 months, and the UK is the only country to commit to such a concept.”

Kimber welcomed the expanded role of the regulator Ofcom. “We endorse the intention to expand the role of Ofcom in the area of network security and availability.

“For too long the regulator has turned its back on security and survivability issues, claiming they are a matter for law enforcement or the supplier.”

However, she complained that “the mobile sector seems reluctant to collaborate for the common good. This is a unique opportunity – unlikely to come round again in the foreseeable future – for the entire industry to pull together, and we can’t afford to mess it up.”

Digital switchover of public services

John Higgins, director general at Intellect, the UK technology trade body, said the 6 a year levy on fixed lines to fund commercially unviable broadband development “shrinks in comparison to the hundreds of millions of tax payers’ money that other countries are finding for their networks.”

He also praised the report’s commitment to a digital switchover of public services once current broadband reaches the whole population. “Making the internet the first port of call for government services could reduce the costs of government administration, while making services more flexible and accessible,” said Higgins.

The Broadband Stakeholder Group, a leading advisory group on broadband, was equally positive.

“The challenge is to find the intervention sweet spot, not so much as to be heavy handed and not so little as to be ineffective. This intervention could be just enough to incentivise investors,” said Antony Walker, Chief Executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

However, David Thomas, head of communication regulation, at KPMG said, “Residential consumers, SMEs and teleworkers are likely to be disappointed by the lack of ambition for universal broadband speeds of only 2 megabits per second.

“However this low target is not surprising, given the lack of available Government funding due to the current economic environment and the industry view that customers will be unwilling to may much more for broadband.”

Matthew Howett, senior analyst at Ovum, was also muted in his praise for the initiative. He said the commitment to 2Mbps universal access “is still quite significantly below the current average headline speed available in the UK and in this respect a digital divide will continue to exist.”

He also said that the 6 a year levy to make up the Next Generation Fund, appears “ill thought out”.

The model follows a similar approach to that taken in Australia, which the government eventually abandoned.

Check out our new Macworld Mobile site.

Follow Macworld UK on twitter: