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Feb 21
Apple planning retail store in Anchorage, Alaska

Apple has confirmed last month’s tip of a future retail store at the Fifth Avenue Mall in Anchorage (Alaska) by posting job listings for the location, according ot "ifoAppleStore" (http://macte.ch/JLCGD).

It would be the furthest-north store in the chain, at 61° north latitude, just 320 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the article adds. According to the original tip, the fit-out is underway inside the former Eddie Bauer space on the second level of the downtown mall. Based on construction schedules, the store will open in September.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Blockbuster initiates process to sell the company

Facing rising pressure from digital services such as iTunes and online services such as Netflix, Blockbuster (http://www.blockbuster.com) has initiated a process to sell the company, which it believes represents the best means of maximizing value for Blockbuster’s stakeholders.

In conjunction with this process, Blockbuster has entered into an asset purchase agreement with a “stalking horse” bidder, Cobalt Video Holdco, a limited liability company formed by funds managed by Monarch Alternative Capital, Owl Creek Asset Management, Stonehill Capital Management and Värde Partners, each of which is a secured noteholder of the company.

In addition, Blockbuster has filed a motion seeking authorization from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to conduct an auction process for the company. Blockbuster expects that its U.S. operations, including a majority of its stores,...

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Feb 21
iPhone/iPod touch/iPad apps for Feb. 21

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).

Big Bad Brush has announced Kung Fu Master! 1.0, their new US$0.99 game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The zombies and pandas are up to no good stealing all of the Kung Fu Master's gold and gems. You must show them who's boss by mastering the bamboo poles and gathering all of Kung Fu Master's gold and gems back.

Velvet Rock Apps has released LightsOut 1.0 for iPad, their general knowledge quiz game for one or two players. The app includes over 750 multiple choice questions on a variety of topics: images, TV, movies, music, science, anagrams, nature, history, sports, etc. In 1-player mode, players have a maximum of 10 seconds per question, scoring more points the faster they answer. In 2-player mode, contestants on opposite sides of the board compete to be...

| Read more »
Feb 21
Jailbroken iPhones can now use iBooks again

Last week, Apple updated its e-reader app iBooks with several minor new features and a tweak that affected users of jailbroken phones.

Jailbreakers who downloaded the update were no longer able to use iBooks on their mobile phone. However, an update to the jailbreaking tool Sn0wbreeze may have addressed this issue, according to reports from mobile bloggers and Twitter and sites such as "ReadWriteWeb" (http://macte.ch/F1tXO).

According to the Twitter account @iH8sn0w, which is behind the Sn0wbreeze jailbreaking tool, a new update (version 2.2.1) has been released which supposedly fixes the iBooks issue . It also addresses issues affecting Verizon iPhone jailbreakers on iOS 4.2.6, issues for users of the Windows Classic theme and it adds a drag and drop feature for moving IPSW files (the iPhone firmware files used during the jailbreak process).

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Feb 21
Apple to use Light Peak soon under a different name?

An announcement from Apple is expected soon about Light Peak, a new high-speed connection technology, a source told "CNET" ((http://macte.ch/qw3Ve) reports, quoting an unnamed source.

Whether the new connector tech will be part of an upcoming MacBook Pro update (rumored to happen Feb. 24) or announced in another context "is not clear," the article says. "CNET" thinks Apple will use Light Peak soon, but probably use another name for it. Intel has said in the past that the first products using Light Peak should appear in the first half of 2011. When Intel initially demonstrated Light Peak at its developer conference in 2009 it used a machine running Apple's Mac OS X.

Light Peak paves the way for a new generation of extreme computer input and output (I/O) performance, delivering 10Gb/s of bandwidth, with the potential ability to scale to 100Gbs over the next decade, according to David Perlmutter, executive...

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Feb 21
Europe favors iOS devices over competition

According to new data from the StatCounter (http://gs.statcounter.com) research group -- as noted by "Reg Hardware" (http://macte.ch/SnjWM) -- Europe as a whole clearly favors iOS devices over competing devices.

The iOS market share has run between 50% and 45% between January 2010 and January 2011, which is well ahead of nearest rivals Symbian, BlackBerry and Android, the article adds. While Apple's share is trending downward, it's a very slow decline.

In the UK, Apple and Research in Motion are the two key smartphone players, oscillating about a line at 42%, says "Reg Hardware." Android usage is growing there, as well, but it's still below 15%.

"Crucially, the strength that Android is showing in the US, is not yet a factor in the UK and Europe," says "Reg Hardware." "That may change over the coming year, but the Google OS...

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Feb 21
Shareholder group demands Apple CEO succession plan

With Apple CEO Steve Jobs on another medical leave, a shareholder group has formally demanded that Apple provide more details about its CEO succession planning.

Sponsored by the Central Laborer’s Pension Fund in Jacksonville, Ill., the shareholder resolution calls on Apple’s board to adopt and disclose a written “succession planning policy.” Under such a policy, the board would review its succession plan each year, maintain an emergency succession plan and “identify and develop internal candidates," reports "MarketWatch" (http://macte.ch/2Jcbp).

Apple is against the measure, saying it has already abides by many of the proposed policies. The company further argues and that going public with its “confidential objectives and plans” isn’t in shareholders’ best interest.

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Feb 21
Store News hits the Mac App Store

Independent software developer Christian Kienle has introduced Store News 1.0 (http://store-news-app.com/), his free application for Mac OS X, now available in the Mac App Store.

Store News offers a way of finding out the best deals in the Mac App Store. It shows categories of apps that are totally free and apps that still cost a little bit of money.

Users may share what they've found via Twitter. Store News requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can be found in the Productivity category.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Choice group says Apple overcharges Australian iTunes customers

Australian consumer advocate Choice has blasted Apple for overcharging Australian consumers compared to the US in the iTunes Store, "but the blame could lie with the Australian music industry," says "SmartHouse" (http://macte.ch/2xa59).

The article says Australian blogger Graham Spencer found that iTunes customers in Australia pay up to 69% more for some songs than in the US. This was followed up by Choice spokesperson Christopher Zinn who has criticized the likes of Apple and Sony for lacking global price parity.

Apple uses an exchange rate that's not directly linked to world exchange rate fluctuations, so an Australian currency appreciation hasn't shifted iTunes prices in favour of Australian consumers, says "SmartHouse." (Sony offers a ‘Music Unlimited' music subscription service that costs Australians three dollars more a month than in the US).

Apple says the diversity of global prices is due...

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Feb 21
Softmatic PhotoStamp now a Mac App Store exclusive

Softmatic has announced PhotoStamp 3.0 (http://www.softmatic.com), which is now a Mac App Store exclusive. It requires Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and can be found in the Photography category. The price for an individual license has been slashed from US$29.95 to $9.99.

The app offers batch stamping, batch resizing and automatic thumbnail generation. PhotoStamp features a five-step process to batch-stamp digital photos. It stamps text, copyright signs and notices, images, Exif data, dates and more. PhotoStamp reads virtually any image format, including raw formats, and outputs watermarked images as JPEG, TIFF, PNG and more.

The "Assistant"-style concept of PhotoStamp is designed to make it easy to use. Source images are simply dragged over the drop target in the first pane of the main window. These can be individual files or complete folders.

In the second step any of the predefined watermark...

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Feb 21
'MUG Event Calendar': looking back at Macworld 2011

This week’s "MUG Event Calendar" has more than its share of notable presenters and great meetings.

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus will deliver a “State of the Mac” address to a Texas group, and Jim Heid will discuss iLife ‘11 with an Ohio group. Rob Pegorano of "The Washington Post" will be the guest at a Virginia group, and the team from Other World Computing will add to the Macworld report being given to an Illinois group.

Other topics on this week’s agenda include an all-star group of presenters at one Final Cut Pro group and a Macworld roundup at another. GarageBand, backups, Gmail, and a lot of Macworld discussion.

"The MUG Event Calendar" can be found at The MUG Center (http://www.mugcenter.com), an online resource for Mac User Groups. MUGs are good places for making new friends in the Mac community, improving your computing skills, finding solutions to technical problems, and perhaps locating...

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Feb 21
Akvis ArtWork 5.0. now sports watercolor effect

Akvis has released ArtWork 5.0, an update of the tool for transforming photos into paintings using various techniques.

ArtWork is available in plug-in and standalone versions for Mac and Windows systems. Version 5.0 introduces the watercolor style. Photos can now be converted to an image in the airy, light style of watercolor paintings.

Also new to Artwork 5.0 are the post processing tools Smudge and Blur, which are available under the Business and Deluxe licenses. These tools help to improve the results made in the oil and watercolor styles. Additionally, thanks to the new Animated Processsing feature, you can observe the photo-to-painting conversion in real time.

Each painting style in ArtWork includes presets. Version 5.0 adds new presets for the oil, comics, and pen & ink styles. The new watercolor style comes with six presets.

Akvis ArtWork is available as a stand-alone application, as well as a plug-in to a photo editor.
ArtWork runs...

| Read more »
Feb 20
iPhone/iPod touch/iPad apps for Feb. 18

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).

Hudson Entertainment’s "gaming blast from the past" for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad -- TurboGrafx-16 GameBox -- has added more classic games to its collection: Bonk's Revenge by Hudson Softt, Detana!! TwinBee by Konami; Double Dungeons by NCS/extreme, Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman by NCS/extreme, and Benkei Gaiden by SunSoft. These titles are available for purchase now within the game.
 
TurboGrafx-16 GameBox is a free app that can be downloaded via the Apple App Store and boasts a growing library of 21 games. Players who download TurboGrafx-16 GameBox will get the full version of “World Sports Competition” for free, while the free playable demo featured daily showcases one of the titles that can be purchased within the app.
 
Etienne...

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Feb 18
Four more cities announced for MacTech Boot Camp 2011

On the heels of the success of MacTech Conference in November, and a sell-out MacTech Boot Camp in San Francisco in January, MacTech has announced today four more MacTech Boot Camps in 2011.  

Each of these one-day events cater to those who support the home user, and small business market. MacTech Boot Camp is a single-track, hotel-based seminar specifically geared to serve the needs of consultants and techs wanting to serve their clients better. MacTech Boot Camp will be held in the cities of Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.

"Last month, MacTech Boot Camp San Francisco 2011 sold out. We know that many consultants and techs in the market focus on serving the home and small business communities. We've designed the MacTech Boot Camp curriculum just for them," says Neil Ticktin, editor-in-chief/publisher, MacTech Magazine.  "If you're already serving the home and small business Mac users, or want to be, MacTech Boot Camp expert-taught sessions will help you to...

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Feb 18
Apple nearing a deal for China Telecom to carry the iPhone?

Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White has told clients in a note -- as reported by "Barron's (http://macte.ch/DSTMR) -- that Apple s getting closer to closing a deal for the iPhone with China Telecom.

He cites material on NetEase’s web site,stating that a branch of China Telecom is accepting pre-orders for the CDMA version of the iPhone 4, and that terms of a deal between the two companies are being worked on. The relationship between Apple and China Telecom is clearly moving in the right direction, and "we believe that a deal will eventually be announced this year," says the analyst.

White believes all three Chinese cellular carriers are competing to carry the phone. (China Unicom (CHU) already carries the iPhone.) This “would ultimately open the door for the iPhone to tap into China’s 842 million wireless subscribers,” he tells clients, noting thatChina Telecom, in particular, has 90.5 million...

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Feb 18
'NYT': no iPhone mini coming

Forget the rumored iPhone mini/nano reports that have been floating around the web this week. "The New York Times" (http://macte.ch/TfiKu) says Apple isn't planning on making a smaller iPhone, but is planning to make a less expensive version -- and one that works with voice commands.

Quoting "people briefed on Apple’s plans who requested anonymity because the plans are confidential," the article says Apple won't not make a smaller iPhone because: 1) a smaller device would not necessarily be much cheaper to make 2) it would be more difficult to operate, and 3) a phone with a smaller screen would force many developers to rewrite their apps.

The "Times" says ass part of its effort to find new customers for the iPhone, Apple plans to make it easier to operate the device through voice commands, removing an obstacle for people who do not like using a virtual keyboard. The company is also purportedly...

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Feb 18
Apple to open Shanghai store this summer

Apple will open its fifth retail store in Shanghai this summer, according to Ron Johnson, senior vice president of retail operations at Apple -- as reported by the "People's Daily Online" (http://macte.ch/Up8Xp).

The other four stores include two in Beijing and one in Shanghai and Hong Kong, respectively. Apple now has 323 retail stores worldwide and 87 out of them are outside the U.S. The four stores in China have both the largest flow of customers and the highest revenue in the world, according to the "People's Daily Online."

| Read more »
Feb 18
Antitrust enforcers eyeing Apple's digital subscription...

U.S. antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple has set this week for media companies who want to sell their content on its iPad and other devices, says the "Wall Street Journal" (http://macte.ch/cKco3), quoting "people familiar with the matter."

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission's interest in Apple's new subscription service is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into either a formal investigation or any action against the company, the article adds. However, it comes as Apple has attracted growing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, told the "WSJ" that the commission was aware of the new subscription service and was "carefully monitoring the situation." The Justice Department and the FTC are both interested in examining whether Apple is running afoul of U.S. antitrust laws by...

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Feb 18
MyService offers MacBook 480GB SSD upgrade

MyService (http://www.myservice.com) has announced a new 512GB solid state drive upgrade for the MacBook. These new SSD drives by OWC are the biggest SSD drives available for the Apple laptop.

The upgrade service includes the new drive, round trip shipping, professional installation and data transfer. Most drive upgrades are completed the same day. After the service is complete, your Mac is cleaned, tested and returned back to you along with your old drive.

In addition to the 512GB drives, MyService also offers a line of OWC Mercury Pro SSD drives ranging from 120GB to 480GB in stock. All drives feature a three-year warranty. Since MyService is an Apple Authorized Service Provider, the 480GB SSD upgrade will not void your Apple warranty.

| Read more »
Feb 18
QuickerTek introduces the Little Black Box USB Batter

QuickerTek has introduced the US$29.99 Little Black Box (http://www.quickertek.com/products/ipad_charge_monitor_usb.php), their new USB battery pack that allows you to use any AA battery to charge or power Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or virtually any USB powered device.

The Little Black Box is compact so you can take it on an airplane, camping or road trips. That means you can use Alkaline, Carbon, Ni Metal Hydride or NiZinc rechargeable AA batteries as long as all four AA batteries are the same kind and brand. The internal circuitry compensates for different battery voltages to supply the correct voltage for USB compatibility.

QuickerTek says its test studies show that the best batteries to use are the rechargeable NiZinc batteries, they are the highest capacity (mAhr). The Little Black Box has a one-year parts and...

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Feb 18
Winter Wolves releases dating sims game

Winter Wolves, in collaboration with Christine Love, has released Love & Order (http://www.winterwolves.com/loveandorder.htm), a dating sim game. It costs US$19.99 and runs on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux systems.

Here's how the game is described: "Take on the role of Dana Larose, a young woman starting her career as a secretary in the Crown Attorney's office. The office is both overworked and understaffed, so you'll have to work out whose projects you help with accordingly. Will you be able to unravel the mystery being covered up, balance the stress of juggling overtime for everyone, and still manage to find love...?

"The game features beautiful manga artwork, captivating gameplay and a relaxing soundtrack. In the classic tradition of dating sims, you can pursue four characters, three men and one woman. The game is completely family friendly and easy to...

| Read more »
Feb 18
2011 Loop Business Expo road tour kicks off March 30

The 2011 Loop Business Expo National Road Tour (http://www.loopbusinessexpo.com) kicks off in Los Angeles, California, on Wednesday, March 30, at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. 

This event is for all business owners that use Macs, iPhones and iPads for their day-to-day business operations. Free admission will be granted to all guests that use Apple in their business or PC business end-users thinking about switching to Apple. 

The Expo will have over 50 manufacturers and developers from all over the world showcasing business solutions for Apple users. There are already have 300 business end-users registered for the Los Angeles Expo and over 500 business owners are expected.

The upcoming Los Angeles Expo is expected to be four times bigger than our past events. The event will add the iPad/iPhone Zone. This zone is especially designed for iPad and iPhone developers and...

| Read more »
Feb 18
Swann's new DVR kit compatible with the iPhone

Swann Security (http://www.swann.com) has released a new DVR kit that features remote viewing on a variety of smartphones, expanded hard drive capacity, remote control, a mouse and higher resolution cameras. Debuted at the 2011 International CES, this all-in-one DVR kit includes all of the equipment and software necessary to install a surveillance system.

For the first time, Swann offers a DVR that allows users to view live video remotely using a number of 3G-enabled smartphones. Now you can see what’s happening at your home or business live at any hour on your phone. Supported smartphones include the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile 6 and Symbian, as well as the iPad.

This new DVR kit also boasts a e 500GB hard drive capable of recording up to 30 days of non-stop video from four cameras simultaneously (depending on settings, longer with motion detection). It also has controls clickable using...

| Read more »
Feb 18
SoftRAID releases SoftRAID 4.0.2

SoftRAID (http://www.softraid.com) has released SoftRAID 4.0.2, an update to its RAID product for Mac OS X. The upgrade includes several additions to the 4.0 feature set.

For instance, 4.0.2 has specific support for Advanced Format disks. These are the latest generation of disk drives that have larger sectors (1, 2 or 4 kbytes). By using these larger sector sizes, disk drive manufacturers can increase the number of gigabytes per platter and offer greater error correction. SoftRAID version 4.0.2 is the first software RAID package on Mac OS X that correctly supports these drives, says Tim Standing, president, SoftRAID, LLC.

SoftRAID version 4.0.2 also includes better support for SSD drives, adds a feature to create read-only volumes, and improvements to the email notification features in SoftRAID. It includes online help, so that users can be guided on each feature as they use SoftRAID.

...

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Feb 18
iFunia Video Converter Pro available on the Mac App Store

iFunia has updated iFunia Video Converter Pro Converter to version 2.9.1 and is offering it on the Mac App Store for US$34.99. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.

iFunia Video Converter Pro is a tool for Mac users that converts video into numerous video/audio formats for use on personal computers or portable players. Users can preview and edit video clips before converting them, trim or crop the video, and can also add text or images as a watermark on the movie. A demo is available at the iFunia web site (http://www.ifunia.com/video-converter-mac.html).

| Read more »
 
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