Adobe Reader 9.3.1 Out the Door

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Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2010, 03:27
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Adobe released version 9.3.1 of Acrobat Reader, the company’s Portable Document Format reader and creation utility.

Adobe Systems has updated Reader to version 9.3.1 and the update is available through the Adobe Updater application or for download through Adobe’s Web site.

The new versions address a number of customer workflow issues, security vulnerabilities, and offer additional stability.

Adobe Reader 9.3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and is available for free.

Powermat Designing Wireless Battery Packs for iPhone, Blackberry, Other Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010, 04:53
Category: iPhone, News

Powermat, a firm that specializes in wireless charge pads for handsets, has announced that the company will begin making wireless battery packs that will enable handsets to be recharged without the need for an accessory device to pick up the charge.

Per Macworld UK, the present Powermat charging approach is to embed a rechargable cell into the outside of an iPod or other smartphone sleeve. This additional cover is then placed in contact with the Powermat charging device that holds the charge.

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Any device can be recharged using a Powermat, but it must have a corresponding rechargeable cell. Powermat currently sells a mat on which three separate devices can be simultaneously charged and is about to launch dual-device and single device versions.

The company has also developed batteries that can be recharged using the same technique but without the need for a smartphone jacket. Instead, the regular lithium-ion battery is removed and switched for a Powermat one designed specially for the item.

A small amount of power is required in order to enable the Powermat battery to work, but this is embedded in the replacement cover for the phone in question. The Powermat battery will be sold with the charging plate cover as part of the bundle. Charging time and power supplied are comparable to those of a lithium-ion equivalent.

Over at the Mobile World Congress show, representatives stated that Powermat is in talks with many of the best-known handset makers with a view to offering such a wireless charging solution as an accessory or even as part of the standard bundle.

It hopes manufacturers will adopt the idea and offer it to consumers for free, rather than charging customers for the convenience of being able to wirelessly charge their phones by placing them on a special mat.

O2, Orange Form Alliance to Compete with App Store

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Maybe it’s flattering when dozens of companies attempt to take you down.

Per Macworld UK, mobile phone providers O2 and Orange will team with leading mobile phone companies across the world to create a new open application platform that could rival Apple’s iTunes App Store.

The new consortium, will be announced by industry trade body the GSM Association at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona today.

América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, mobilkom Austria group, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom, Vodafone and Wind are all involved in the plans.

The group has stated that it wants to create an ecosystem for the development and distribution of mobile and internet applications irrespective of device or technology, uniting a fragmented industry.

Three of the world’s largest device manufacturers – LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson – also support the new initiative.

Ultimately, the group will collectively work with the W3C for a common standard based on a converged solution to ensure developers can create applications that port across mobile device platforms, and in the future between fixed and mobile devices.

MWSF: FastMac iV Plus iPhone Case Doubles as Universal Remote, Other Accessories

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 06:04
Category: Accessory, iPhone, Macworld Expo

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Over at Macworld Expo, the cool cats in the FastMac booth demoed the iV Plus, an iPhone case with an integrated battery similar to the Mophie Juice Pack Air that also iV doubles as a universal remote, thanks to a built-in infrared transmitter. The unit includes a super-bright LED light which can be used as a flashlight or as an actual camera flash as long as you have an app that supports it.

Per iPhone Alley, FastMac also claims that the new iV packs more battery life than the Mophie Juice Pack air, all in a slightly smaller package which is really exciting.

To create the universal remote software, FastMac partered with a compnay called Umee. The revised package offers all the tools you’d expect from a universal remote (such as customizable layouts and activities) as well as an integrated TV guide that lets you search for and select a TV show right from the same app.

FastMac expects the iV Plus to start shipping in the second quarter for around US$130 along with a free version of the remote app. Umee will also be producing a paid version of the universal remote software which gives you access to the TV guide stuff.

FastMac also announced the iV Lite, which has all the same stuff as the iV Plus, minus the universal remote feature. The unit will be available for US$79 in about a month.

MWSF: Incase Reveals Combo Charger for iPod and iPhone

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:44
Category: Accessory, iPhone, iPod, Macworld Expo

Let’s face it: we’re gadget-centric and we need our chargers.

Per iLounge, accessory maker Incase has released its Combo Charger for iPod and iPhone. The device arrives in black or white and allows users to charge two devices at once if you provide a cable for the second USB port.

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An Incase leaf logo below the ports glows when connected to a car or wall power source, and the bulb has been redesigned from previous versions to occupy a narrower profile while enhancing the functionality and the company says that the ports offer the “fastest possible charge” — 1 amp — as compared with 0.5 amp competitors.

The Combo Charger retails for US$40 and is immediately available.

MWSF: Worth Ave Group Now Offering iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Notebook Insurance

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:00
Category: iPhone, Macworld Expo, News

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If you meandered over to the Worth Ave. Group booth at Macworld Expo, you might have noticed their staff hammering on expensive gadgets. Per Macworld, the Worth Ave. Group is now offering notebook and iPhone insurance and invited Macworld Expo attendees to take a hammer to some of the MacBooks, iPhones and iPod touches they had on hand.

The Worth Ave. Group claims to be the only iPhone insurance company around and has stated that they’ll cover stuff that won’t be handled by your typical warranty from Apple. Whether your iPhone has been dropped, stolen, or damaged by liquid, you are covered. The annual premiums are pretty reasonable too, starting at US$55 for 3G/8GB or earlier models and going up to US$79 for 3GS/32GB models. If your iPhone encounters a fall into a toilet or falls out of your pocket at some juncture, they’ll buy you a new one.

The insurance plan seems fairly comprehensive and the company has stated that they’ll also cover cameras, game systems, and cell phones.

MWSF: 4iThumbs Introduces Tactile iPhone Keyboard at Expo

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:20
Category: Accessory, iPhone, Macworld Expo

For those of you craving a better iPhone/iPod touch keyboard experience, 4iThumbs introduced its tactile keyboard product at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Per Mac Observer, the 4iThumbs system consists of three major components. The first is the transparent overlays that provide tactile guides that go between the keys on iPhone onscreen keyboard. There are also overlays for landscape, and one for portrait keyboard orientations with the idea being that, similar to a traditional keyboard, having tactile guides can improve your accuracy over time.

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The second part of the system are adhesive guides that are placed on the top and bottom of the front of your iPhone. These allow the quick, accurate insertion and removal of the keyboard overlays. The third, optional part of the system are additional adhesive guides that you can place on the rear of your iPhone, for situations where you don’t need the overlays.

The standard keyboard retails for US$14.95, the landscape keyboard retails for US$16.95, and a kit with both keyboards sells for US$19.95.

If you got your hands on the Tactile Keyboard and have an opinion on it, please let us know.

MWSF: iPhone Explorer Allows iPhone/iPod Touch to be Used as a Hard Drive

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Date: Saturday, February 13th, 2010, 04:28
Category: Macworld Expo, Software

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Albeit there have been some utilities that have allowed your iPhone and iPod touch to double as a flash drive, this one may have it down pat.

And for free.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, myPod Apps’ iPhone Explorer can be installed on your Mac or PC and allows you to view the folder structure, and drag and drop items to or from the iPhone to your desktop or back the other way.

Users can create, delete and rename folders on your iPhone. If your iPhone is jailbroken, they can access the real root and then recover things like your address book, emails and SMS messages.

iPhone Explorer requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and iTunes 8 or later to install and run.

Take a gander, see what you think and feel free to hurl your two cents in as well.

Logitech Releases Control Center 3.2 Update

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Date: Saturday, February 13th, 2010, 04:20
Category: Software

Late Friday, Logitech released version 3.2 of its Control Center software. The update, a 17.9 megabyte download (via VersionTracker), offers the following fixes and changes for the driver software:

- Back and Forward have been added to the list of actions that can be assigned to mouse buttons. These actions are supported in web browsers, Finder, iCal, iTunes and iPhoto.

- A warning will appear when the SteerMouse application is detected. When SteerMouse is installed, LCC will not be able to detect most Logitech mice and keyboards, as OS X does not allow devices to be controlled by more than one driver at a time.

Control Center 3.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple May Opt for Bing as iPhone Search Engine

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Date: Friday, February 12th, 2010, 08:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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With relations between Apple and Google growing strained, a new set of rumors places Apple as having gone into discussions with Microsoft towards making Microsoft’s Bing search engine the default for the iPhone.

According to Businessweek, a source close to the story offered the following: “Though Microsoft did not confirm or deny any chatters on the likelihood of Microsoft wining Apple search deal for iPhone, [Microsoft executive] Mr. Apter told us that for right economics Microsoft would like to win the Apple search deal.”

In a recent note, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, also commented: “In our view, Apple search deal can be strategically very significant win for Microsoft not only because of Google and Apple’s history of working together but also because Microsoft has been lagging behind in terms of making in roads on fast growing mobile Internet market.”

As mentioned yesterday, Apple’s inclusion of the Google search engine on the iPhone platform nets the company about US$100 million a year from Google as part of a revenue-sharing deal, making it less likely Apple would want to develop its own search engine.