Rumor: Netflix May Bring Streaming Service to iPhone, Other Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 05:16
Category: iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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Citing an unnamed source described as “an industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans,” an article in Multichannel News is claiming that Netflix will soon offer its Watch Instantly streaming video service on the iPhone, iPod touch and the Nintendo Wii.

The brief reportdescribes the move as the next step for Netflix’ content, which currently streams to Windows PCs, Macs, the Xbox 360, TiVo DVRs, the Roku, and certain TV and Blu-Ray players built to support video downloads.

Unlike its DVDs-by-mail service, Netflix’ Watch Instantly library offers much less variety, with limited popular content such as recent movies and TV series. Older titles and oddball independent films are also available for immediate viewing and the Watch Instantly service is also included for viewing at no extra cost over the base Netflix subscription, in contrast to iTunes’ pay per view pricing.

Unlike media purchased or rented from iTunes, Netflix’ streaming content plays back directly with no download. This requires no local storage on the playback device, but results in playback quality that is dependent upon the available network bandwidth. With iTunes and the Apple TV, content is progressively downloaded, enabling users to obtain HD content even with a slower connection, albeit with a longer wait.

The advantage of Netflix’ instantly streaming video is that little or no storage is required. If the iPhone and Wii are powerful enough to decode the live stream, this could add a new customer segment for Netflix, the users not having to worry about their devices storing the downloaded content.

Whether the iPhone or Wii could decode quality video only using software may be an issue, as Netflix playback on the more powerful Apple TV has been cited by some as not practical due to its lack of any Windows Media codec hardware acceleration.

Video playback over AT&T’s mobile network would likely also be prohibited by any Netflix streaming player app, making any iPhone version Wi-Fi only, in line with other video streaming apps such as SlingPlayer Mobile.

As a workaround to the iPhone’s intentionally missing support for Windows DRM, Netflix could also take a page from Google and utilize the native support in iPhone OS 3.0 for HTTP Live Streaming, which plays streaming video to the iPhone and iPod Touch using standard MPEG AAC/H.264 codecs over familiar web-based protocols.

At the launch of the iPhone, Google shifted its Flash-based YouTube service to also support H.264 at Apple’s behest, allowing the iPhone to work around the need for Flash playback while also delivering hardware accelerated video playback using open protocols.

Support for HTTP Live Streaming will also be built into QuickTime X playback for Snow Leopard, and appears to be slated for adoption in the next revision of Apple TV. Third parties will also be able to implement HTTP Live Streaming on their own devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: Creating a Flash for Your iPhone 3GS Camera

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Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, 04:31
Category: How-To, iPhone 3GS

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Despite the dramatic improvement in the iPhone 3GS’s new 3 megapixel camera, there are still complaints as to the lack of a built-in flash on the handset. Over on The Channel Project, Ryan decided to make his own flash out of a Mophie JuicePack.

The result was him cutting open the JuicePack, connecting a white LED and a tiny switch to the iPhone and being able to take a picture by holding down a button on the case.

It’s not for the brave of heart, but if you can pull it off, you’ve got an easy flash for your 3GS…

First iPhone 3G S Teardown Goes Live, Shows 720p-Capable CPU

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Date: Friday, June 19th, 2009, 07:46
Category: iPhone 3GS

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A recently-released teardown of Apple’s iPhone 3G S by RapidRepair has revealed the presence of a 720p HD-capable processor as well as a 600MHz ARM processor, Samsung’s S5PC100, based on the much more advanced Cortex A8 platform. However, official specifications (PDF) show that the chip could run at 833MHz and that, while Apple officially limits video recording to 640×480, the full-speed component could not only play but capture 720p.

The S5PC100 is also technically capable of two-way video calling, although latency on current 3G networks is likely to discourage this.

Per the teardown, Apple apparently chose to underclock the iPhone 3G S’ processor given heat and power concerns within a tight space, as was the case when the company scaled back previous iPhones’ processors from 600MHz to 412MHz. Unlike the iPod touch, the iPhone has cellular baseband hardware and other components that cut back on available energy and cooling areas.

Along with confirming the main processor, the examination also shows the existence of 256MB of RAM (twice as much as on the past two iPhone generations), and that at least 16GB iPhone 3G S units use a single Toshiba NAND flash memory chip for storage.

E3: Sony Introduces PSP Go Portable Game System

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Date: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009, 09:15
Category: News

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Sony on Tuesday announced the release of its new mobile system known as the PSP go, a long-rumored PlayStation Portable system withe a smaller form factor. According to Macworld UK, the device is specifically designed for users interested in downloading games and videos. The device is planned for an October release in North America, Europe and Asia and will retail for US$249.
The PSP go measures 5.04″ x 0.65″ x 2.72″ and weighs 5.6 ounces. The device retains a 16:9 aspect ratio display that measures 3.8″ and 480 x 272 pixels, the same resolution as other PSP models, albeit smaller). Despite the rumors, the device lacks a touchscreen interface, unlike the iPhone or iPod touch.
The 3.8-inch TFT display slides upward to reveal control surfaces, much like a smartphone. Instead of a QWERTY keyboard you’ll find a directional pad, specialized buttons, a small analog thumbstick and start and select buttons.
Sony has also removed the Universal Media Disc (UMD) optical drive from the PSPgo, emphasizing the unit’s suitability for digital entertainment content transferred from the PlayStation 3 or directly over the PlayStation Network.
The PSP go also features built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi and support for Bluetooth 2.0 wireless peripherals, including headphones, headsets and PS3 wireless controllers. The device can be attached to a television or home entertainment system so you can watch videos stored in the unit and boasts 16GB of built-in flash memory, along with a Memory Stick Micro flash storage card slot that can be used to further expand the unit’s storage capacity.

The $200 Mac Netbook – By Dell

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 10:58
Category: Hacks, netbook

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For users hankering for a Mac netbook at long last, Dell might have something right up your alley. According to the Apple Core, Dell’s Vostro A90 netbook, which retails for US$199 (less than the price of an iPod touch) can be turned into a computer running desktop-class Mac OS applications as well as a Flash-equipped web browser.
The unit is Dell’s business equivalent of the Mini 9 and uses the same components as the Mini 9 with the only difference being its all-black enclosure, as opposed to the Mini 9′s black and silver styling, and, according to forum posts, a little more metal inside making it more rigid than the Mini 9.
Users will still have to purchase Mac OS X and there are compromises that come with any netbook (1.6 GHz Atom processor, small keyboard, screen and HDD) but the machine can still offer the most bang for the buck of any Apple machine bar none, even if it won’t blow away the MacBook Pro on performance.

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Rumor: Apple Places Mass Order for 100 Million Flash Chips

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Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 07:55
Category: Rumor

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Recently, Apple placed a massive order for flash memory chips, the quantity of which seeming lower in density than one would expect from the company.
Citing supplier-based sources, DigiTimes has stated that Apple has ordered 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips for delivery later this year with the bulk of this order to come from Samsung. Other suppliers such as Toshiba, Hynix, Intel and Micron may also provide some of the order.
The order is suspicious in that it’s for very low density chips. Contrary to some inaccuracies being reported around the Web, the parts in question are 8 gigabit chips, representing 1 gigabyte of storage each, not 8 gigabytes of storage each.
Though these parts could theoretically be used to facilitate the production of 6.25 million 16GB iPhones or 12.5 million 8GB iPhones, Apple has historically purchased higher density chips for its handheld offerings due to space constraints.
Apple is also thought to be using a single high-density 32Gb NAND chip in its most recent 4GB iPod shuffle, though this has yet to be confirmed . A tear-down analysis of the player performed last month found only a single chip inside — a multi-layered stack containing the CPU, RAM, and flash memory — making a face value determination inconclusive.
It’s also unclear from the report whether the 8Gb NAND parts are finalized chip packages, or bare memory chips that will later be stacked to form a higher density package.
Their inclusion in future Macs is yet another remote possibility, though rumors of Apple adopting small flash chips for an implementation of Intel’s Robson technology (which promised faster startup, application launching, and battery life by caching key pieces of code in the solid-state memory parts) fizzled some years ago. Apple now offers customers the option of configuring a handful of Macs with much larger flash drives, doing away with the need for a traditional hard disk drive entirely.

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Your Take on the iPhone OS 3.0 Announcement

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Date: Thursday, March 19th, 2009, 09:04
Category: iPhone

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We asked for your opinions on Apple’s major iPhone OS 3.0 announcement on Tuesday and we got them.
So, here are your opinions in their pure, raw, unedited form brought to you by the PowerPage Server Hamster:

After having moved to the IPhone from the Blackberry, I’ve been astounded at the short battery life I now have. I can’t finish the day without having to plug the little bugger in. I know all the usual reasons (3G, Wifi etc…). What I’m looking for is a firmware update or something that will prolong the IPhone’s life. All those new bells and whistles, while welcome, will further drain the device and make it even more frustrating for road warriors.
Best, André

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Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.0.7 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 5th, 2009, 05:37
Category: Software

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On Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.0.7 of its Firefox web browser.
The new browser, a 17.3 megabyte download, boasts the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Official releases for the Estonian, Kannada, and Telugu languages are now available.
  • Items in the “File” menu show as inactive after using the “Print” item from that menu – switching to a new tab restores them (bug 425844). This issue has been fixed.
  • For some users, cookies would appear to go “missing” after a few days (bug 444600).
  • Mac users of the Flashblock add-on, experienced an issue where sound from the Flash plug-in would continue to play for a short time after closing a tab or window (bug 474022).
  • Fixed several issues related to accessibility features.
  • The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the new browser and have any feedback about it, let us know over in the comments or forums.

    Adobe Developing Flash Light for Mobile Phones, Application Still Not iPhone-Ready

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 09:23
    Category: iPhone

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    Adobe’s Flash Lite multimedia player, while still lacking iPhone compatibility, may reach one billion mobile phones by the end of March according to market researcher Strategy Analytics. In a recent report, the company said that Adobe could reach its desired target mark one year ahead of schedule given its recent support for HD video as well as Nokia’s agreements to install Flash Lite on its phones. Another factor mentioned by the company is the absence of real competition for Adobe’s Flash Lite player. Representatives from the firm went on to predict that another 1.5 billion smartphones could carry the software within two years according to ComputerWorld.
    On the competition end, Microsoft is currently developing a Silverlight for Mobile Player for release on Nokia’s Symbian S60 devices and its own Windows Mobile Phones. Representatives from the company expressed opinions that the plugin won’t make a significant impact on Flash Lite’s current increases.
    To help continue with its progress, Adobe will be demonstrating a Flash Player 10 for smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. Along with the Flash 10 beta, Adobe will also be releasing the beta of a new Flash Lite distributable player based on Flash Lite 3.1.
    Even with the increase in phones using Flash Lite, Adobe is still thought distant from getting an equivalent application onto the iPhone. Analysts with Strategy Analytics claimed that Adobe is working diligently to get Flash onto the iPhone and is looking to have it ready to go much later this year.
    Independent analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates claims that performance and business are the chief obstacles to Flash on the iPhone. In order to get high performance, Flash must run in the lower layers of the OS, which Apple restricts as part of its iPhone SDK guidelines. Gold stated that Apple will want to push its own technology, such as QuickTime, rather than depend on a third party’s development, despite Apple’s long history with Adobe.
    As always, let us know what you think of the situation in the comments or forums.

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    REVIEW: Micromat TechTool Protege

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    Date: Monday, January 29th, 2007, 10:24
    Category: Review

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    Like many of you, I’ve done Macintosh support for years. In fact, I used to support several newspapers in Philadelphia and was the guy that arrived on site with two bags. One bag contained a bootable SCSI hard drive with the latest version of the Mac OS installed and every conceivable recovery, repair and diagnostic tool under the sun installed. The other bag contained my PowerBook and a selection of tools.
    With this setup I could diagnose and fix most Mac problems on the spot, the problem was that it was heavy and, well, SCSI. Enough said. Today, I don’t do as much field support, but still carry a bootable Firewire hard drive and the original silk-screened Mac OS DVDs that came with my machine.
    There’s a new tool that I’ve been using that has the potential to save me the hassle of carrying around that external hard drive: The TechTool Protege from Micromat.
    Read more…

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