Recently Released Patent Application Describes Using Finger Swipes Over iPhone Camera as Function Control Scheme

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Date: Friday, February 26th, 2010, 05:13
Category: iPhone, Patents

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It’s Apple’s patents and forthcoming technologies that make things interesting and a recently released patent application entitled “Camera as Input Interface” has revealed something cool. Per AppleInsider, the document describes finger swipes over the iPhone’s camera could at some point allow in-call control of functions such as fast forwarding or rewinding a voicemail.

In addition to a camera detecting the direction of a finger swipe, the phone’s accelerometer could also be used to interpret a user tapping the iPhone, allowing control of the handset while on a call without taking the phone away from one’s ear.

The technology would work to make it easier to control a phone by utilizing the camera at times when it is typically idle.

“These actions allow the user to control functions of voicemail review without removing the device from over his ear,” the application reads.

The functionality could potentially extend beyond voicemail, allowing users to merge calls, place calls on hold, or switch between multiple simultaneous calls by simply tapping the device. Such controls could be customized by the user to their liking.

Apple could also choose to adopt the control method for traditional phone use, in addition to in-call controls.

“Furthermore, a user may navigate a document being shown on a display screen of the device by guiding his finger over the camera lens,” the application reads. “While viewing the display screen, the user holds the device in the palm of his hand in a supine position. Rather than pressing or sliding directional buttons next to the screen or touching a touch screen to navigate a webpage document or contacts list, the user may move his finger over the camera lens in the direction he wishes to navigate the page.”

Apple has filed similar patent applications describing mobile devices with touch panels on the reverse side, allowing users to control a device without obscuring the screen with their fingers. In January, a rumor even alleged that the next-generation iPhone would have a Magic Mouse-like touch panel for its plastic back casing.

The application was originally filed for on Aug. 21, 2008 and is credited to Chad Seguin, Justin Gregg and Michael Lee.

PowerBook G4 Notebooks Fashioned Into Snowboard

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Date: Friday, February 26th, 2010, 05:18
Category: Fun, PowerBook G4 Titanium

I’m not sure what to say about this…except that it exists.

Per Silicon Valley Insider, a couple of German-speaking guys crafted a pair of old titanium PowerBook G4 notebooks into a small snowboard. The video pretty much says it all, though the amount of flopping about and crashing during tests indicates that riding it takes some getting used to:



The snowboard is currently available for purchase on eBay.

Apple Releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.1

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Date: Friday, February 26th, 2010, 04:21
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.1, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’09 applications.

The update, a 6.8 megabyte download, includes support for the following cameras:

- Hasselblad H3DII-50
- Leica M9
- Leica X1
- Olympus E-P1
- Olympus E-P2
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
- Pentax K-7
- Pentax K-x
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 127

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 11:12
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast LogoEpisode 127 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (24.6 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker and Tom Hesser

Topics: This week we dissect Apple’s ban on “sexy” apps, Aperture 3.0.1, Nexus One Flash performance and we play “What’s on your Mac.”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

  • Retro Recorder (99 cents) iPhone recorder app with distortion free audio zoom-in. Love the retro UI!
  • Pastebot ($2.99) powerful clipboard app that stores text & images copied from your iPhone/iPod Touch.
  • Aperture2Twitter (free) – Aperture plug-in that send tweets and images to Twitter, TwitPic and Mobypicture.

Rob

Tom

  • MoodAgent (free) – iPhone app that catagorizes your music into moods.

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip their new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes. Don’t forget to join the PowerPage Facebook group!

Adobe Runs Flash Demo, Argues That Flash Doesn’t Hinder Mobile Device Battery Life

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Following a video preview of Flash running on a Nexus One, Adobe rebuffed claims that the software slashes battery life. Per Electronista, several bloggers observed that the battery charge indicator dropped from the 50% level down to 25% during the eight minute video. The preview was edited, however, making it unclear how long the team actually used the phone during filming.

In order to refute the battery claims, Adobe has created another video showing a 17-minute YouTube movie which does not appear to significantly drain the battery. The battery usage chart suggests the browser only accounted for 6% of the drain while the movie was playing.

Adobe claims Flash Player 10.1 enabled video playback for “well over” three hours on a fully-charged battery.

Whether this will make its way into current or future versions of the iPhone has yet to be seen.

Apple Releases Updated Mac OS X 10.6.3 Dev Build, Official Release Seems Close

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday Apple released a new version of its Mac OS X 10.6.3 beta to its developer community. The build, labeled 10D561, currently lists no known issues, which suggests that a formal release via Software Update may be in the near term.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest beta claim no changes have been made to the software’s enhancements checklist, which includes an update to QuickTime X that improves security and compatibility while simultaneously enhancing overall reliability.

Other changes present since earlier betas include tweaks that enhance the performance of Apple’s 64-bit Logic Pro audio suite and improved compatibility with third-party printers and OpenGL-grounded applications.

Those familiar with Wednesday’s beta say Apple is now asking developers to focus their evaluation efforts on Bluetooth, iChat, and USB, in addition to two previously listed focus areas: graphics drivers and QuickTime.

An earlier emphasis on AirPort testing has reportedly been omitted from build 10D561.

Mac OS X 10.6.3 currently weighs in at just over 716MB in Delta form, down slightly from the 737MB package distributed with the previous seeding.

If you’ve had a chance to play with the new build, let us know.

TomTom Home Updated to 2.7.3.754

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 05:06
Category: Software

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TomTom Home, the company’s free desktop GPS management software, was updated to version 2.7.3.754 Wednesday night. The new version, a 42.5 megabyte download (via VersionTracker), includes the following fixes and changes:

- Fresh look and feel.
- Improved process for installing items to your navigation device.
- HOME now smartly manages internal and external memory on your device and helps you making best use of available space.
- A new Manage my device button now manages content on your device and you computer in one central location.
- Windows 7 compatible.
- Improved stability decreases the chance of error messages.

TomTom Home 2.7.3.754 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

ScanLife Bar Code Reader Application Released for iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010, 06:29
Category: iPhone, Software

On Tuesday, Scanbuy Inc. announced the release of new versions of its ScanLife barcode scanner for the Android, BlackBerry and iPhone operating systems. ScanLife uses the camera in a mobile phone to scan bar codes that automatically display product information, show videos, dial a phone number and more without needing to type or search for information.

The application can read all major barcode formats on three of the leading smartphone platforms as well as read all popular 2D bar code formats such as Datamatrix, EZcode and QR. The new version of ScanLife allows phones with auto-focus cameras (such as the DROID by Motorola, BlackBerry Tour and iPhone 3GS) to read 1D barcodes like UPC, EAN and ISBN.

ScanLife is available for free from the App Store and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases iPhone OS SDK 3.2 Beta 3

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Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

Earlier this week, Apple released iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 3, the most recent update of the company’s iPhone OS development tools. Although details of the beta have emerged, MacNN is reporting that it allows “existing iPhone projects to include the necessary files” to support the iPad. Developers should thus be closer to producing working iPad apps, as there is now a Universal Application binary format that wraps iPhone, iPad and iPod touch code into the same bundle.

Sources with access to the kit point out that its documentation has also confirmed the presence of PowerVR SGX technology in the iPad. “Using OpenGL ES on iPad is identical to using OpenGL ES on other iPhone OS devices,” Apple writes. “An iPad is a PowerVR SGX device and supports the same basic capabilities as other SGX devices. However, because the processor, memory architecture, and screen dimensions are different for iPad, you should always test your code on an iPad device before shipping to ensure performance meets your requirements.”

If you’ve gotten your hands on the SDK and can offer any feedback about it, please let us know.

iSync Plugins 7.1.2.7 Released

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Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010, 05:45
Category: iPhone, Software

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iSync plugins, nova media’s shareware iSync extension package for Mac OS X and all-around useful utility that provides access to dozens of cell phones and handsets, received a small update over the weekend. Version 7.1.2.7, a 5.4 megabyte download, adds support for the following cell phone models:

- Nokia 5230
- Nokia 6700 slide
- Nokia X6
- Samsung SGH-D900E
- Sony Ericsson Pureness X5

iSync 7.1.2.7 retails for US$9.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 (under Mac OS X 10.4), Mac OS X 10.5.8 (under Mac OS X 10.5) and Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) to install and run.