If you want your iPhone or iPod touch to be able to do everything, including spackle the den this weekend, you might be one step closer.
Per Daring Fireball, Square has opened up a beta version of a payment system wherein users can create an account on the Square web site, receive a hardware dongle and swipe debit and credit cards through the device as a means of payment.
Even with Apple and HTC working to patent their own capacitive stylus, the South Koreans might have come up with a better solution: frozen sausages.
Per Gearfuse, snack sausages from the CJ Corporation have proven to be electrostatically compatible with the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen, leading many to use them as a “meat stylus” in the cold weather, rather than remove a glove.
As a result, South Korean snack sausage sales are apparently soaring.
We’re not sure what other deli items constitute an adequate iPhone stylus, but if you play around with this and find something new, please let us know.
Longtime Mac software developer MacSpeech presented the first of its Macworld Expo goodies via the release of MacSpeech Scribe (which also arrives in both Legal and Medical editions) as well as introducing its Dictate iPhone extension app. According to the cool cats at the Mac Observer, Scribe produces a transcript from a spoken-word audio file in the .wav, .aif, .aiff, .m4v, mp4, or .m4a formats.
Like MacSpeech Dictate, Scribe requires the user to create an individual speech profile by training the software to recognize their voice. Scribe recognizes 13 different English dialects and supports up to six speech profiles. If the user wants to ensure punctuation is included in the final transcript, they’ll need to speak it while creating their spoken-word audio file.
The Legal and Medical versions of Scribe are like their MacSpeech Dictate cousins in that they support over 30,000 legal words and terms and more than 54 medical and dental disciplines and specialties, respectively. Scribe Legal and Scribe Medical are available for US$99 to registered users of the respective MacSpeech Dictate versions and are only available as digital downloads from the MacSpeech web site.
In addition to Scribe, MacSpeech is showing a sneak peek of its upcoming via Dictate iPhone extension app, which functions as a remote extension of MacSpeech Dictate. The app will be free when it’s released. A date was not made available.
Scribe is available now to Macworld attendees and MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 users for US$99. The application generally retails for US$149 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.
Over at Macworld Expo, developer SHAPE Services introduced Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC.
According to iLounge, the application connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application.
The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later to function.
Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for US$2 and requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.
A recent rumor stating that Apple may be looking to develop its own search engine may be untrue, an inside source citing that Apple may look to extend its current search engine deal with Google to continue providing such a function for the iPhone.
The deal may also be worth over US$100 million per year to Apple in revenue sharing.
Per Silicon Alley Insider, a source has stated “there’s too many options” for search on the market and thus no reason for Apple to build its own search engine.
Another reason Apple might not want to build its own search engine: It’s getting over US$100 million a year from Google in its revenue share deal, according to the source.
According to the source, although US$100 million isn’t a ton of money to Apple, it wouldn’t make sense for the company to invest a significant number of resources building its own search engine when Microsoft has Bing and a nigh-limitless checkbook to finance its research and development.
Additional rumors have stated that Apple and Microsoft have been in talks to make Bing the default search provider for the iPhone as the relationship between Google and Apple has reportedly soured as competition between the two companies has become increasingly intense.
But it won’t come with the featured iBooks application.
Per Apple’s product listing for the device, the iBooks application won’t be bundled with the iPad and will instead be downloaded from the App Store, a move which places it on an equal footing with other e-book readers on the market.
The application is available for free and if you look at the photos of the iPad, the only bundled apps included with the system appear to be Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Maps, Videos, YouTube, iTunes, App Store, Settings, Safari, Mail, Photos, and iPod. Perhaps this will change if and when iBooks becomes available outside the U.S.
On Monday, Skype released version 126.96.36.1991 of its popular Voice over Internet Protocol communications program.
The new version, a 43.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Skype Access was not working
- Skype occasionally crashed when the host of a conference call would hang up on one participants during the call.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Users were unable to call phone numbers via their Mac Address Book.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Some animated emoticons were not displayed correctly.
- Skype crashed due to invalid avatars (occurred seldom).
- Users sometimes experienced an “Unable to mount database” error message when launching Skype.
- Skype crashed when a user quit after opening an authorization missed event.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.3 Panther Occasionally Skype crashed right after an account was created.
- Improved notification on how to disable a mood message chat.
Skype 188.8.131.521 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to install and run.
On Wednesday, Apple released its 2009 Aluminum Keyboard Firmware 1.0 update for the 2009 Apple Wireless Keyboard. The update, a 1.1 megabyte download, improves battery performance of the device when used in combination with other Bluetooth devices. The keyboard must be connected or paired to perform this update. The update package will install an updater application into the Applications/Utilities folder and will launch it automatically.
As always, the update can also be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
The updater requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later running on an Intel-based Mac to function.