VLC Reaches Version 1.0

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 06:41
Category: Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), has recently been updated to version 1.0. The new version, a 29 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

Mac OS X Interface:
* Completely reworked user interface (based upon works from GSoC 2008)

Playlist:
* WPL playlist support
* ZPL playlist support

Audio filters:
* Chorus/Flanger audio filter

VLC 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run and is available as a free download.

Wireless Carrier China Unicom Apparently Leading Race to Bring iPhone to China

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone

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In the ongoing (and sometimes epic) struggle to bring the iPhone to China, wireless carrier is purportedly closest to reach a deal but still faces an attack from dominant carrier China Mobile.

According to AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. claims to have sources aware of Apple’s leanings and gives China Unicom the nod as Apple favors the finances, hardware compatibility and degree of control it would get through an agreement. China Unicom is reportedly more willing to heavily subsidize the iPhone to its creator’s satisfaction and to let Apple have its usual say over the device and its software, both of which are doubtful through China Mobile. Rumors have long swirled that China Mobile is insisting on controlling the local App Store, a practice that Apple hasn’t allowed once in the history of its cellphones.

The smaller of the two Chinese carriers boasts 133 million carriers compared to China Mobile’s 488 million but is in the middle of deploying a 3G cellular network that uses UMTS and WCDMA, both standards that are already supported by the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Should Apple go with China Unicom, the deal would let Apple keep selling the same iPhone in China as it does elsewhere while also getting more reach: the faster network should reach 284 cities within several months.

In comparison, China Mobile’s government-supported TD-SCDMA standard for 3G would require that Apple incorporate a custom chipset just for the one carrier and would come with growth limitations of its own. Despite having over three times as many customers, the larger carrier will reach nearly 50 fewer cities with its 3G and doesn’t anticipate the network reaching complete coverage until three years from now, or well after China Unicom’s network is ready.

Wu’s contacts, however, maintain that Apple doesn’t entirely consider China Mobile “out of the running” both through its sheer influence and its interest in the iPhone, which would be a victory even in a country well-known for grey market imports.

Wu has indicated that he doesn’t see a deal with either carrier as close enough to force a change in predicted iPhone numbers for now and the year ahead. About 20 million iPhones should ship in 2009 and 26 million in 2010. All the same, he notes that Chinese shouldn’t necessarily be disappointed without an official deal thanks to the nation’s thriving bootleg community.

“Our sources indicate that iPhones will likely continue to flow into China,” Wu says. “There are an estimated 1 million-1.5 million iPhones in use despite lack of an official carrier relationship.”

Apple Store Locations to Begin Replacing Broken Displays

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 03:51
Category: iPhone, News

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As mixed as Apple can be, sometimes its service offerings move in the right direction.

Last month, Apple announced that its AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone would extend technical support to two years from the iPhone’s date of purchase as well as extend hardware coverage to two years as well. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple this week announced that a specific repair, screen replacement, can be performed at Apple Store Genius Bars while the customer waits. The service is free if your phone is under warranty and would otherwise retail for US$199.