Pinch Media sees hints of next-generation iPod touch

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Where do you find yourself with respect to the rumors of a new iPod touch somewhere in the pipeline? Having a slew of case manufacturers showing products with cutouts for a camera strikes me as enticing but ultimately unconvincing; hearing from Pinch Media, however, raises the credibility level to ‘high.’ The App Store analytics provider has confirmed that instances of an “iPod 3,1” model have begun showing up in the usage logs from apps that have implemented Pinch’s tracking tools.

What could this possibly mean? Well, going back to March of this year, the BGR team sussed out a few future model IDs from a beta of the iPhone 3.0 firmware, including the iPod 3,1 listing; Pinch says that the device type first started showing up in April, and sightings picked up in May. Pinch’s stats should be taken quite seriously, as the company first announced appearances of the model indicator that eventually revealed itself as the iPhone 3GS way back in January.

If that timeline were to hold true again, we wouldn’t expect to see the iPod touch next-gen on store shelves before the holiday shopping season… but it’s likely that the engineering effort for the new touch will bootstrap off of the iPhone 3GS platform, and the QA/testing cycle for the device will probably be quite a bit shorter than it would be for a new phone. If I had to guess… perhaps a Steve-enabled press event during the last week of July? Should be lively.

[As noted in the comments, Apple’s track record for iPod introductions does have a consistent tick-tock rhythm to it: betting on a September launch for the new touch would be a prudent call.]

Thanks Joachim!

TUAWPinch Media sees hints of next-generation iPod touch originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Last Remaining Paid-For Browser Still Motoring Along


icab-20090707.jpg

In the unlikely event that you’ve been yearning for more browsers on your Mac, and in the even less likely event that you wish you could splash out money for one; well, sunshine, your prayers have been answered.

For iCab, the last Mac browser that still costs money, is still being updated and has just reached version 4.6.1. And it can be all yours for 20 bucks. (I’m wracking my brains, and I can’t think of any other browsers that cost money these days – not since OmniWeb went free. Shout if you know of another.)

You over there with the glazed eyes: snap out of it for a moment. This is app with some history, you see. iCab’s been around for, as we say in these parts, donkeys years. Since before Safari was a glint in Steve Jobs eye. Since before anyone had even thought of Firefox. The first release was in 1999. Versions of it still run on System 7, if that’s your bag.

So, um, should you buy it? Well if you need a browser for your ancient beige box – or collection of same filling your attic – then you won’t have a lot of choice. But even the OS X version isn’t a bad browser. It has some nice features. I particularly like the Page Overview and Links Overview, which let you find your way through busy web pages quickly and easily.

Let’s put it this way: if everyone still charged money for their browsers, iCab would still be able to compete for your money alongside the rest of the gang, its head held high.

But when superb browsers can be had almost everywhere you look, when Safari 4 comes with your Mac, and when you can roll your own decent browser in about 10 seconds flat if you feel the urge, iCab’s fee is the only thing that people ever notice about it. Pity, really.

(Oh, and: Hi everyone! It’s me again. Back at the Cult. Watch this space for more posts about stuff-I-find-interesting and inane candy-based competitions. Perhaps.)

UPDATE

Splutter! Gasp! There’s more!

I had no idea that there was an iCab for iPhone (where of course, paying for browsers is still completely fine by everyone). But there is. And by all accounts, it’s rather good. Blimey.

This article is copyright Cultomedia Corp.


Goldman’s secret sauce could be loose online; markets beware

companion photo for Goldman's secret sauce could be loose online; markets beware

A Russian programmer named Sergey Aleynikov was picked up this past Friday by the FBI for allegedly stealing and passing along code that, if circulating out in the wild, could expose US markets to manipulation and cost Aleynikov’s former employer, Goldman Sachs, millions. Bloomberg quotes assistant US Attorney Facciponti saying that “there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways. The copy in Germany is still out there, and we at this time do not know who else has access to it.”

So how could a 32MB compressed source code archive pose a threat to markets and to America’s most powerful investment bank? The story is actually less complex than it may sound.

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Delicious Library for iPhone runs afoul of Amazon’s API terms, pulled from App Store

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Sudden removal of an item from the App Store isn’t unheard of; sometimes an app has a hidden bug or a content problem, and if Apple hasn’t seen fit to take it off the store shelves then the developer can take matters into his, her or its own hands. Even applications that would seem to be wholly gratuitous and obvious ripoffs of other companies’ IP might make it past the first round of Apple’s scrutiny, only to be abruptly pulled under threat of litigation.

Apps that leverage content from websites and online services have another hurdle to clear: they may run afoul of trademark or licensing restrictions that prevent them from doing particular things with data from those third parties… things like, ferinstance, using that data on mobile devices.

This all brings us to Scenario D: the ‘D’ is for Delicious, and it’s Delicious Monster’s iPhone version of Library that’s undergoing an unwelcome and rapid yanking from the App Store — and believe it or not, Apple has nothing to do with it. Earlier today, Head Monster Wil Shipley announced that the iPhone app is on indefinite suspension and is no longer for sale; this is the consequence of a particular clause in the Amazon API terms and conditions. Part 4(e) of Amazon’s agreement, which Shipley is a party to due to the desktop DL app’s reliance on Amazon for book and DVD data, reads as follows:

(e) You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link , use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.

Amazon gave D-M an ultimatum: pull the iPhone app, or lose the API access for the desktop version of Library. Despite Shipley’s requests for a mobile device exception, the big A did not relent. It’s not 100% clear why Amazon chose to enforce this clause now, nor why the company is not providing exceptions to developers. We have an email in to their press office to inquire.

If you’ve got DL on your iPhone already, enjoy. If not… it could be a long wait.

Anvil photo from flickr: fboyd and remixed via CC license.

TUAWDelicious Library for iPhone runs afoul of Amazon’s API terms, pulled from App Store originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPhone apps: Air Sail, TaxiDrive, Aqueous

Air Sail (free) is a game where players guide a ship by blowing into a microphone. The game includes 15 different levels with obstacles including lily pads, leaves, and rocks. Players can control the wind speed by blowing into the microphone and change the boats direction by tilting the device. If players have an iPod touch with no microphone they can also control the wind speed by tapping on the …



Pandora lives! SoundExchange cuts deal on webcasting rates

companion photo for Pandora lives! SoundExchange cuts deal on webcasting rates

The long, strange saga surrounding webcaster royalty payments is (mercifully) over after a multiyear fight.

Back in 2007, the US government’s Copyright Royalty Board set royalty rates for the online streaming of music that many in the business felt were unrealistically high for a nascent market, leading at least one prominent streaming service, Pandora, to threaten to pull the plug. Negotiations over an alternate pricing scheme broke down earlier this year, leaving things looking grim. With a slight nudge, however, the parties returned to the table and today announced an agreement that provides webcasters with a new royalty structure.

The fact that negotiations were even happening took Congressional action. In 2008, Congress passed the Webcaster Settlement Act, which gave the webcasters roughly a year to come to terms with SoundExchange, the entity that collects royalties on behalf of the rightsholders. But the deadline set in that act expired earlier this year, an event that triggered the breakdown of the negotiations.

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Labels, Internet radio agree to royalty deal

Owners of Internet radio stations and music label groups struck a deal on Tuesday that should allow online outlets to continue streaming music. The agreement is now a scaling one and will ask larger stations to pay either 25 percent of their revenue or a per-track rate based on the year, ranging from 0.08 cents per song in 2006 through to 0.14 cents per song in 2015, depending on whichever is gre…



Push Gmail For iPhone (Almost) Here

Gpush

One of the only reasons I’ve stuck it out with my MobileMe account, despite numerous quirks, annoyances and outright failures, is push email. For the iPhone to be useful to me as a business device, I need it to keep me up to date on my email in real time (or as close to it as MobileMe’s push can achieve). Contact and calendar syncing are nice, but both can now be done using your Google information if you’d rather not pay the $100 annual MobileMe subscription fee. Gmail push would complete the picture, and it could be on the way.

And by could, I mean it definitely exists, as demonstrated by TechCrunch’s hands-on with the app that makes it possible. Yes, it’s via a third-party app, and there is no official word from either Google or Apple that Gmail push on the iPhone has finally arrived. Not surprising, considering the money Apple stands to lose in MobileMe subscriptions if Gmail, which is not only incredibly popular, but free, manages to replicate the one trick MobileMe still has up its sleeve.

The app, called GPush, is the product of a development company called Tiverias, and it uses Gmail’s IMAP IDLE feature and Apple’s push notifications to deliver near-live updates from your Gmail inbox. All the app itself does is provide a login screen, after which point you never really have to open it again. Once set up, it will display text alerts containing the sender address and subject from each new email you receive. That is, if it’s allowed to.

The question surrounding GPush isn’t whether it can pull off what it claims to be able to. That it can do just fine, as TechCrunch’s tests prove. The question is, will Apple ever allow GPush to exist in a form that’s widely available to all users via the App Store? Cupertino has a vested interest in blocking Gmail push, since some users (like me, for instance) might walk away from MobileMe were it to become available, resulting in an obvious loss in revenue.

If Apple does block the app, regardless of what (if any) excuse it cites as the reason for the rejection, it will cast even more doubt on the already suspect App Store submission review process. Basically, it seems like the only reason to keep IMAP IDLE support out of the built-in Mail app is to block Gmail push, so it wouldn’t surprise me if GPush never sees the light of day. Let’s hope I’m wrong.



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First Look and giveaway: iShotgun Pro

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I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to iPhone games. For example, I’ve had Monopoly [App Store] on my iPhones since the app first appeared, and so far I’ve played 201 games. My other favorite? Apple’s Texas Hold’em. So why would a shooting app be interesting to me?

iShotgun Pro [US$1.99, App Store] is a fun little shooting game from developer Yossi Malki in which you use a pump-action shotgun like my trusty Remington Model 870 to shoot clay targets. You go through 15 timed rounds shooting at single and multiple clay targets or falling bullseyes and bombs. There are three different levels of play so you can build your skills.

Just like in real clay pigeon shooting, you can yell “Pull!” to have the targets launched. There are also ways to launch the clays automatically or by tapping a button on the screen. You get different point levels for hitting various colors of clays, and try to avoid the black targets which reduce your point total. In the rounds where bullseyes and bombs are dropping, you need to avoid hitting the bombs. To aim, you can either use the iPhone’s accelerometer or just tap where you want to shoot.

Continue reading First Look and giveaway: iShotgun Pro

TUAWFirst Look and giveaway: iShotgun Pro originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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West Virginia sues Comcast over cable box tying

companion photo for West Virginia sues Comcast over cable box tying

For many cable TV customers, their service is indistinguishable from the cable box that provides it. Although it is possible to purchase this hardware from third parties, most service providers push their customers into renting the box from them, which ensures an additional revenue stream that easily surpasses the volume pricing they pay for it. Not surprisingly, a number of consumers have objected to this practice, filing lawsuits against the cable companies. But efforts to divorce the service from its receiver may have gotten a big boost last week when the state of West Virginia filed a similar suit, alleging it’s an illegal tying of services.

The suit was filed last week in the Circuit Court of Marshall County by the state attorney general. Although it specifically targets Comcast, the details of the suit could clearly apply to just about any cable TV service provider. Although Comcast allows the use of CableCard hardware or third-party devices for some of its packages, premium service apparently requires the rental of Comcast-provided hardware. The AG alleges that these practices run counter to both state antitrust law and consumer protection legislation.

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iTunes Store & App Store problems

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With the App Store celebrating its first birthday, there is a fair amount of news coverage, and with Michael Jackson‘s memorial service being broadcast, his fans are sure to be hitting iTunes up for some of their favorite songs. So it stands to reason that today is probably not a good day for the iTunes store to be having problems. Don’t you just love Murphy’s Law?

Reports have been steadily coming in for the past few hours that users are unable to download songs, searches are timing out, and the App Store is not working properly from the iPhone. Several users have also posted threads on the iTunes discussion board with connection problems.

I myself had troubles with searching for music from iTunes earlier today, but things seemed to be working better a short while later, so I figured things were fixed. Since then, however, we have received several other reports of troubles, yet things are working fine for me still. So it seems that this could be chalked up to routing troubles depending on your location, or it may just be intermittent and I’ve been lucky.

Either way, it’s safe to say that there is definitely something going on, although exactly what it is remains a question. Searching seems to be working, albeit a bit slowly, and downloads are working fine for me, but others have reported not being able to download at all. As they say, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Are you having troubles with either of the stores? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

TUAWiTunes Store & App Store problems originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 15:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ultrasn0w, redsn0w now available for iPhone 3GS

Owners of the iPhone 3GS should now be able to both unlock and jailbreak their devices, the unofficial iPhone Dev Team has announced. The group has released 3GS-ready versions of ultrasn0w and redsn0w, which respectively handle both halves of hacking an iPhone. The move was forced, the Dev Team says, by the announcement of purplera1n, which can only jailbreak a 3GS….



BlackBerry apps double to 2,000; RIM “happy”

Research in Motion’s global alliance VP Jeff McDowell today revealed that BlackBerry App World has reached a total of 2,000 apps. The count doubles what the mobile software store had in April and comes just as the company is granting France, Germany, Italy and Spain access to the store. The count pales versus the more than 50,000 apps available through the iPhone’s App Store but was downplayed b…



Singing the iPhone battery blues

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“My iPhone’s been draining awfully fast since I installed 3.0,” I commented to a fellow TUAW blogger just a few days after the release of the iPhone 3.0 firmware. At first, I wanted to think it was my phone. But, my iPhone 3G wasn’t even 90 days old at the time of the observation and I’d been able to keep it on standby for several days before it needed a charge. Now, I could barely make it through a 10-hour workday before rushing out to the car to hook it up to a power source.

Aaron Vronko of RapidRepair says that this isn’t an isolated incident. The iPhone 3G may now deplete its energy supply in roughly two hours, and the first generation iPhone lasts less than a day. Vronko tells Macworld that the cause is most likely push notification placing a drain on the battery’s reserves. The issue has also led to complaints on Apple’s support forums.

I’ve definitely noticed the difference. If I leave myself logged into BeeJive IM while I’m at work, my phone drains much faster than it does if I’m logged out. Regular push mail notification from MobileMe doesn’t affect the battery level all that much, even with the high volume of e-mail I receive through TUAW. So, to save on the battery for now, I’m avoiding the push applications as much as I can if I don’t have a charger within reach.

Vronko believes that the 3.1 release will solve the battery issues.

[Via MacNN]

TUAWSinging the iPhone battery blues originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Beta no more: Google apps graduate to non-beta status

companion photo for Beta no more: Google apps graduate to non-beta status

Do not adjust your screens: Google has taken a number of its Web apps out of beta. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Talk have all finally shed their beta status after years of mockery from Internet denizens, with Google noting that the company’s definition of “beta” has not always aligned with the “traditional” definition of the word. As a result, Google has decided to make things less confusing by ditching the tag in hopes of attracting more enterprise customers to its Google Apps services.

It was just over a month ago when Google acknowledged the terminology discrepancy during a roundtable discussion about the company’s business offerings at Google’s I/O conference. At that time, Google product management director for enterprise products Matt Glotzbach pointed out that Google Apps Premier Edition did not have a beta tag but many of the apps included in the package did, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. “It’s a minor annoyance and something you’ll see addressed in the not-too-distant future,” Glotzbach said.

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North Carolina server farm could be worth $2 billion

Apple’s North Carolina server farm could ultimately become worth $2 billion, twice the company’s minimum investment, claims a member of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation. In exchange for tax breaks, Apple has agreed to build a $1 billion facility at the Catawba Data Park in Maiden. The building will occupy 500,000 square feet, and provide approximately 750 construction jobs run…



Sony intros next-gen DVDirect recorder

Sony on Tuesday announced it will soon replace its DVDirect VDR-MC5 DVD recorder with the next-generation model, the VRD-MC6, which also allows users to transfer their HD and SD videos or digital photos from cameras directly onto DVDs without the need for a connected PC. Compared to the current model, the new one is about 60 percent smaller while its 2.7-inch color LCD screen is larger than the ou…



The Ultimate MacBook Pro Protection Suite by Moshi

Moshi

I’m a huge fan of Moshi’s Apple-centric line of products and accessories. In fact, my entire collection of Apple products has now been complimented by Moshi. For example, I use the iLynx USB/Firewire hub and Celesta keyboard with my iMac; my iPhone is protected by the iGlaze 3G; and recently, my Macbook Pro experienced a thorough makeover.

Over the years I have owned a variety of Apple laptops, and each one inevitably ends up with scratches on the screen, discoloration on the wrist area, disgusting keys, and other forms of wear and tear. I decided to not endure this experience with my new aluminum MacBook Pro. My goal is to maintain a pristine look for as long as possible, and I intend to achieve this goal by combining Moshi’s products into the ultimate protection solution.

Clearguard MB: $25

The Clearguard MB is a thin cover for your MacBook or MacBook Pro keyboard. Installation is simple: lay it across the keyboard. After a few minutes of typing, it’s barely noticeable. It’s virtually transparent so your backlit keys are still visible in dark rooms. I have been using it for a couple of months, and you can clearly see how my keyboard still looks like I just slid the computer out of the box. Cleaning the Clearguard is a simple process involving dish soap and water.

The best part about the Clearguard MB is I no longer see key indentations on the screen (a problem MacBooks and PowerBooks have experienced for a long time). Below is a picture of the Clearguard after a couple months. See the keys on the right side? I’m impressed.

clearguardhalf

Palmguard: $20-$28

The Palmguard is used to protect the area where your wrists sit on the computer. For me, that’s the part that receives the most damage over time. I’m always amazed at how powerful skin oil is. Again, installation is simple: Line up the Palmguard carefully in the corners and then firmly slide your hand across. If you aren’t satisfied, it’s easy to take the Palmguard off and try again without leaving any residue.

In the past, I used a competitor’s product to protect the wrist area. One thing missing was something to place onto the trackpad area. The Palmguard comes with a separate piece just for that. The accuracy and clickability (I just made up that word) of the trackpad are not affected.

Moshi sells a variety of Palmguard products to match the color and size of your Apple laptop. Below is a picture of the Palmguard after a couple months. Again, I’m impressed.

palmguard

iVisor AG: $35-38

iVisor AG is the flagship laptop protection product by Moshi. Not only does it protect the screen from scratches, dust and fingerprints, but it also eliminates glare. Remember when we had a choice between matte and glossy screens for our MacBook Pros? Well, this is as close as you can get to owning an aluminum MBP with a matte finish without swapping the screen.

Installation is shockingly easy. You just line up the corners, press down, and firmly slide your hand across the screen. The air bubbles you see while applying a protective layer on your iPhone are not a problem. I was nervous about this, but fortunately Moshi delivered on its promise. There’s a hole at the top for your iSight, and a transparent part in the black border so the “Macbook Pro” text on the bottom is still visible.

Below is the iVisor after a few weeks. No reflection, no scratches.

ivisor

Conclusion

A MacBook Pro is an investment. It deserves to remain in perfect condition. What I love about Moshi’s products is that they can be installed in minutes and they perform to my standards: no air bubbles, no scratches, and no damage.

I purposefully did not include outer cases because I dislike adding bulk to the laptop. Also, a simple and artistic way to protect the top from scratches is to add a Gelaskin.

Moshi products are available for purchase at Dr. Bott and nuCourse.



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