Apple, China Mobile Apparently Reach Terms Regarding Chinese iPhone Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 06:06
Category: iPhone, News

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After about two years of negotiation, wireless carrier has allegedly landed a three-year contract for the exclusive rights to local iPhone distribution, according to MacNN and a Shanghai Securities News report. The deal, described by unnamed sources, is said to extend for three years and guarantees annual sales of 1 million to 2 million units.
Apple recently acknowledged that bringing the iPhone into the Chinese market held a top priority. The recent report suggests the potential carriers could not come to agree on revenue sharing terms. Soon after the first iPhone was released, sources claimed AT&T was paying between US$150 to US$200 per purchased phone and an additional US$9 for each month of the standard two-year duration of a customer subscription.

Beijing reportedly objected to the idea of revenue sharing, although the carrier has agreed to purchase the devices for 3,000 yuan (~US$439 USD) each. The terms also mandate a minimum overall revenue of at least 5 billion yuan (~US$732 million USD) every year.

China Mobile, with a much larger subscriber base than China Unicom, was also involved in negotiations for the iPhone.

The Chinese iPhone is expected to be customized for the local market, although specific details remain unconfirmed. An anonymous source recently claimed that component provider Foxconn has already begun mass production. The device is said to keep 3G and Bluetooth, while omitting Wi-Fi to comply with local regulations.

Finally, Agence France-Presse has quoted a Unicom spokesman as saying that while the carrier is close to a deal, there are still problems to be negotiated. “Both sides have their own timeframe for an agreement but essentially it depends on the practical progress of the negotiations,” according to the spokesman. He adds that proper negotiations with Apple began in January, when the Chinese government began issuing 3G licenses.

Perian 1.1.4 Released

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Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

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Late Monday, the Perian team released version 1.1.4 of Perian, the open-source QuickTime components effort that allows QuickTime to support and play a variety of additional formats beyond what it would normally be able to handle.

The new version makes the following fixes and changes:
Features:
* Forced VobSub subtitles are imported into a separate track.
* Added initial DTS passthrough via similar mechanisms as AC3.
* Support old ffmpeg-generated MKV files with no enabled tracks.
* 10.6-compatible preference pane.

Fixes:
* Fixed “Load External Subtitles” checkbox.
* Fixed crash/freeze when loading broken VobSub subtitles.
* Fixed import of uncompressed audio in FLV.
* Fixed import of some audio tracks; should improve iApps.
* Fixed CRAM codec AVI in browsers.
* Worked around bug in iChat codec loading.
* Never allows Apple’s code to handle AC3 data anymore so passthrough works more often.
* Doesn’t try to decode some RGB colorspaces (such as in Camtasia) that aren’t supported.
* Fixed some 16-bit RGB codecs on Intel.
* Fixed importing movie files with no video tracks (regression from r706).
* Fixed H264 crash in put_h264_qpel8_h_lowpass_l2_ssse3 (in FFmpeg).
* Fixed crash with corrupt first frame.
* Fixed BMP/RLE in AVI.
* Fixed several memory leaks.
* Fixed a problem with wrong channel order in DTS 5.1.
* Fixed possible conflict with UniversalDetector.framework.

Subtitles:
* Fixed garbage characters appearing at the end of a line with some fonts.
* Better handling of invalid SSA files.
* Fixed rendering of multi-layer subtitles.
* Fixed SRT files using ‘,’ for decimals.
* Ignored SSA shapes and blur instead of misparsing them.
* Disabled vertical font support again to fix files wrongly using it for Latin text.
* Fixed subtitles in MKV wrongly displaying at the end of a video.
* Better handling of move and org.

Perian is a 3.6 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

Samsung Releases 1GHz Hummingbird Processor for Future Smartphones

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Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 07:41
Category: Processors

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Electronics giant Samsung unveiled a new ARM processor intended for future smartphones. Per MacNN, the processor, nicknamed “Hummingbird”, uses the same Cortex-A8 architecture as the chip in the iPhone 3GS but clocks at 1GHz, significantly higher than the 833MHz of its previous best. The feat is accomplished both by a smaller, more energy-efficient 45 nanometer process as well as partly customized circuits designed to handle the load.

Samsung has stated the processor can handle up to 2 billion instructions per second but will consume only 640mW of power and doesn’t need more than 1V of voltage. As a Cortex-A8 chip, Hummingbird is a dual-issue (two instructions at a time) processor with special media extensions, known as Neon, that can speed up common audio or video tasks.

Specific customers haven’t been named for the processor, although Samsung makes it clear it sees Hummingbird reaching “advanced mobile devices” once it’s turned into standard system-on-chip processors. Apple has been one of Samsung’s larger customers for ARM processors, although it has typically underclocked the processor for the iPhone to accommodate the heat concerns in the tight enclosure.

iPhone 3GS Hardware Encryption Cracked in Two Minutes

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Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 05:35
Category: iPhone 3GS, security

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As cool as the recently-released iPhone 3GS may be, there may be room for improvement. According to a blog entry over on Wired’s Gadget Lab, iPhone Forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski describes how the hardware encryption of the iPhone 3Gs can be worked around and demonstrates how both the passcode and backup encryption can be bypassed in about two minutes.

Zdziarski goes on to comment that all data on the iPhone, including deleted data, is automatically decrypted by the iPhone when it’s copied, allowing users and law enforcement agencies alike access the device’s raw disk as if no encryption were present. A second demonstration features the recovery of the iPhone’s entire disk while the device is still passcode-locked.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve heard anything about this, let us know in the comments.

iPhone OS 3.1 to Support Augmented Reality Applications, New Snow Leopard Seed Distributed

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Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 04:16
Category: Software

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Recently, Apple released word that its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware will be the first to officially support augmented reality apps that support the iPhone 3GS’ camera. Such programs would allow for more extended use of the iPhone 3GS’ improved camera and overlay information and controls on top of real-world objects seen through a camera.

Per AppleInsider, iPhone OS 3.1 has so far only been known to expose some video camera controls for developers, third-party producer Acrossair was told by Apple that the future release would be needed for its Nearest Tube and future Nearest Subway apps to work properly.

These applications are already highly dependent on the built-in compass and autofocusing camera of the iPhone 3GS, both of which are needed to alternately recognize the direction the iPhone is facing as well as to get a detailed enough look at a subject to tag it with information. As a demonstration of the technology, Acrossair’s software can show the subway stops visible in a particular direction and their distance relative to the user.

iPhone OS 3.1 is anticipated to be ready by early September, just in time for Apple’s by now yearly iPod updates. The release could also dovetail with the seemingly probable release of an iPod touch with a camera that could take advantage of augmented reality when using Wi-Fi.

On Friday, Apple distributed Mac OS X Snow Leopard build 10A421. The update comes just ten days after 10A411 and is said by people familiar with the changes to be very modest on the surface, including general compatibility, security and stability fixes.

Apple’s increased frequency in providing updated Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) builds is expected with just weeks left before the revision is due to reach stores, as the company will now be looking to isolate and fix the remaining obvious bugs instead of changing functionality.

PPUG Summer Meeting – Tomorrow

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 07:38
Category: Announcement

http://thescene.s3.amazonaws.com/pics/bar/2/51481/profile/1205061797294_272.jpgThe Philadelphia PowerBook User Group (PPUG) will hold its summer 2009 meeting tomorrow Saturday, 25 July 2009. The meeting will take place from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Manayunk Brewing Company along the beautiful Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. We usually have lunch (or a brew) while we talk mobile computing.

PPUG founders Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker, Bob Snow, as well as Youngmoo Kim will be on hand to talk about latest developments from WWDC 2009, including iPhone 3.0 software, iPhone 3GS, the new MacBook Pro line, Snow Leopard (a.k.a. Mac OS 10.6) and the latest in mobile technology. We’ll talk about all the news and announcements from WWDC with a healthy serving of Q&A.

Join us for a great meeting, it’s free and open to you and your guests. Feel free to bring items to sell or swap as well.

Manayunk Brewing Company
4120 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127
215.482.8220

PowerPage Podcast Episode 115

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 07:50
Category: News

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Episode 115 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (27.6 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker.

Topics: AAPL Q3’09 earnings, Apple tablet redux, is the App Store busted?, fiery iPods and we wrap it up with “What’s on your Mac?”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

Rob

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The PowerPage Podcast RSS feed is created using Feeder 2.0 from Reinvented Software and our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip whose new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes.

comiXology Releases Comics for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:00
Category: iPhone, Software

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Over at San Diego Comic-Con, Iconology Inc. announced the launch of its Comics by comiXology App on the App Store. The Comics by comiXology App is a digital comic library and reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch handsets that is launching with over 100 titles available from twenty popular comic publishers and many independent comic writers.

Comic book enthusiasts can now read their comics in a format designed to preserve the comic book experience on an iPhone or iPod touch, but also locate and connect with local retailers to purchase the printed version of the titles.

The application offers a “guided view” that keeps the entire page of a comic intact, unlike other solutions where the page is cut into individual pictures the user browses like a photo application.

Among the twenty publishers that have already signed up to deliver their titles through Comics by comiXology are many well-known industry icons including:

  • AdHouse Books
  • Arcana Comics
  • Asylum Press
  • Bluewater Comics
  • Com.X
  • Creative Impulse Entertainment
  • Digital Webbing
  • eigoMANGA
  • Evil Twin Comics
  • First Salvo
  • Image Comics (Active Images, Allred, Kirkman, Wagner, Brunswick, Revel and more)
  • Markosia
  • Moonstone
  • Red 5
  • Slave Labor Graphics
  • Th3rd World Studios
  • Zenescope

Additionally, popular comics writer Robert Kirkman has agreed to deliver his titles exclusively through Comics by comiXology making it the only place to get “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” for iPhone and iPod touch.

The Comics by comiXology App is now available, including over 30 free comics, for US$0.99 from the App Store.

Palm Releases webOS 1.1, Restores Pre’s Ability to Sync with iTunes

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:12
Category: News, Software

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One week after Apple disabled the Palm Pre’s capacity to sync with iTunes, Palm has responded by releasing webOS 1.1, an update that again enables Palm’s phone to access media from the current version of iTunes.

Per the company’s blog, Pre users can expect the new software to arrive via an over-the-air update.

“Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync,” the post reads. “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).”

Last week, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1. In accompanying release notes, the company was vague about what the upgrade actually did, stating only that the update provided “a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

Soon after the new version of iTunes was released, Pre users realized that the update had broken their ability to sync music with the software.

The webOS 1.1 update brings a number of changes focused on business users, including remote wipe, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling and more for Exchange ActiveSync. The update also provides emoticons in the messaging app.

When Palm initially unveiled the handset, the company boasted about the the handset’s ability to transfer media from iTunes. According to AppleInsider, the feature worked by identifying the Pre in its hardware ID as an iPod — a trick Apple warned might not work for long.

Last month, Apple warned Pre users that future software updates may kill sync capability with the device.

“Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store,” Apple warned a document released in June. “Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players.”

In its blog post, Palm declined to elaborate on how they circumvented the changes presented in iTunes 8.2.1.

Apple Releases ProKit 5.0 Update for Professional Applications

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:55
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its ProKit 5.0 update, an 18.1 megabyte download that improves general user interface reliability for Apple’s professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can also be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.