Archive for September, 2011
Now that Amazon’s mystery press conference is out of the way, we’re eagerly awaiting Apple’s October 4 iPhone 5 event. However, will Apple also be saying goodbye to a couple of devices this year?
Apple said on the invitations that next week’s event is about the iPhone. Most have assumed that this means Apple will finally launch the iPhone 5 (and perhaps the iPhone 4S). However, the fall event is typically for iPods and iTunes, and Apple hasn’t given any inclination that it will be devoting even a small portion of the press conference to music. Instead, it appears as though the end may be near for a couple of the iPod models.
The latest scuttlebutt is that Apple will be killing off some of the iPods we know so well. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the iPod Classic and iPod Shuffle will both disappear this year. The site didn’t name its source, but said that the reasons behind killing off these two versions were to do with numbers (iPod sales make up just 8 percent of Apple revenue) but also the fact that they’re kind of out-dated and unnecessary; the Shuffle is basically a Nano without a screen, while the Classic is devoid of flash memory, instead relying on a platter-based HDD.
The news comes hot on the heels of a report from CNet that Apple might kill the entire iPod line. Don Bell writes that, while it used to be a big money-maker for Apple, now is “really not a bad time for Apple to stick a fork in the iPod.”
“For starters, this year (October 24) marks the 10-year anniversary of the iPod,” he writes. “That’s quite an achievement, but it’s also a nice place to bookend things. I can imagine Apple saying, ‘It had a great run, now go buy an iPhone.’”
Bell also refers back to Steve Jobs’ 2006 advice to Nike CEO Mark Parker. Jobs told him to just “get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” So has the iPod, when compared to the iPhone and the iPad, become ‘crappy stuff’?
SOURCE via TUAW
While testing some new equipment, Neal Patwari of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City discovered that breathing actually affects Wi-Fi signal strength. He came to this conclusion after noticing variations in wireless signal strength in certain parts of a room that were seemingly triggered by chest movements.
To prove his theory, Patwari placed 20 in-expensive wireless units around an occupied bed which were arrayed so that they sent 2.4 GHz waves across the sheet, but with one-thousandth the power of a laptop’s wireless card. The units themselves measured signal strength four times a second, thus the makeshift network was able to accurately estimate the person’s breathing rate to within 0.4 breaths per minute after collecting 30 seconds worth of data.
Ultimately Patwari’s test revealed that wireless signals bent around the subject’s chest as it rose with each inhalation, causing them to travel a longer distance and decrease slightly in power. Naturally this discovery is being hailed as a new way to monitor a patient’s breathing without having to cram tubes down into their lungs (which sucks and hurts). Some disagree however, as patient monitoring mostly depends on more input than just inhaling and exhaling.
But now there’s fear that this new Wi-Fi network system could be placed around an entire room or building in order to track user movements within. This scenario is based on a prior study conducted by Patwari and a colleague which revealed that any movement can affect wireless signal strength, and that these changes in strength can be used to track users within a room even if they’re sitting or lying down. Even more, the changes can be measured when the Wi-Fi signal passes through a wall and into another room.
That said, a similar Wi-Fi network could be tailored to spy on shoppers at the mall, on hotel guests, or restaurant patrons no matter what they’re doing. For more information about Patwari’s discovery, head here.
SOURCE via CNET” target=”_blank”>New Scientist
Few seconds ago they decided to close down their PC department, and after changing a new honcho overnight, they’re back again. Funny? Well, HP does whatever they like and they don’t give a fuck what you think, or so the new CEO doesn’t. Maybe she has a very dark sense of humour, or perhaps there are events that have conspired to produce one of the most serendipitous pieces of product name irony I can remember.
Barely three weeks after announcing to analysts that they were looking to either spin off its PC business as a separate company or sell it off altogether, HP have launched a brand new gaming PC. It’s called the Phoenix. Yes, Jean would be so proud of this new brand.
The HP Pavillion HPE Phoenix to be exact, but the question is whether or not this is a deliberate reference to the fact that HP were hauled over the coals after their statement about the Personal Systems Group (PSG)? It would be a less than subtle reflection of UK PSG MD* Paul Hunter’s defensive statement that “the team in the UK remains committed to creating and supporting great products and services.”
Look, see, you thought we were dead, but we rise again and all that. That’s zombiecalypse for you guys! I suspect, however, that given the length of time it takes to develop product marketing and the fact HP’s announcement was a surprise to almost everyone, this is just one of those instances of perfect timing. So what of the Phoenix itself? A long trained mutant by the CIA?
There’s not much in the way of specs available at the moment, beyond 16GB of RAM and a “250W graphics card” – which is co-incidentally the TDP of a very nice Radeon HD6970. But it looks acceptably garish and – if my GPU guess is right – has an even more attractive price tag of £949. Especially if the monitor and peripherals pictured are included.
It’ll go on sale next month, but there’s no mention of price, yet. Jean wasn’t available for comment at the moment regarding this new product.
The long-rumored “casual MMO” Titan may be revealed at BlizzCon 2011 next month due to pressure caused by Diablo 3′s delay and the release of ST:TOR. M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon firmly believes that Blizzard will finally reveal its much-rumored next-gen MMO — codenamed “Titan” — next month at BlizzCon 2011. There’s no solid proof that this big reveal will actually take place, but there’s talk that Blizzard is under pressure to deliver something big before the end of the year now that Diablo 3 has slipped into a Q1 2012 release window, and EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is officially arriving on store shelves this December.
“If they are holding any juicy details, it’s going to be announced at BlizzCon,” Pidgeon said. “The big news is probably going to be a Diablo 3 date and a possible new announcement about one or more new properties.”
Now that Diablo 3 is essentially out in the open, Blizzard doesn’t have anything to really “wow” gamers with other than additional coverage of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm and possibly content from the next World of Warcraft expansion pack. Revealing “Titan” at BlizzCon 2011 would seemingly take the focus off Diablo 3′s delay and the impending Star Wars MMOG.
Previous reports have indicated that “Titan” will be a new casual MMO based on a completely new IP, but it will be more complimentary rather than competitive in regards to Blizzard’s other MMOG, World of Warcraft. A leaked Blizzard roadmap also showed that the game is slated for a Q4 2013 release alongside the fifth World of Warcraft expansion pack.
“While people do have a limited amount of free time that they can devote to these types of games, we do think that people will want to check out the new and the old,” said Blizzard COO Paul Sams. “We think the new one is very compelling and is going to capture a lot of hearts and minds and will be very successful for us.”
While competing MMORPGs have added free-to-play, microtransaction-based models to their service lineup (City of Heroes, EverQuest 2, DDO, etc), Blizzard has yet to address this demographic with World of Warcraft. The closest its come to this model is with the release of a “demo” Starter Edition which allows gamers to play World of Warcraft for free, but limitations include a level cap of 20, a maximum of 10 gold, the inability to trade in the Auction House and more.
Will the casual “Titan” MMO address the free-to-play market? If Pidgeon is right and Blizzard plans to reveal the game during BlizzCon 2011, we’ll find out all the juicy details on October 21 – 22.
Tuesday Zotac said it plans to release PCI and PCI Express x1 cards based on Nvidia’s GeForce GT 520 GPU. For those with (really) old systems — especially those still sporting an AGP slot — this is an ideal way to beef up the graphics to DirectX 11 levels without having to shell out money for an all-new barebone system.
“Upgrading your graphics card is the easiest way to boost your system performance and gain new capabilities. The new Zotac GeForce GT 520 PCI and PCI Express x1 graphics cards shows that you can experience good graphics without upgrading the rest of your system,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International.
Both cards will come packed with DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs with dual simultaneous independent display support for an instant dual-monitor upgrade. The cards will also be clocked at 810 MHz and feature 48 unified shaders, a shader clock of 1620 MHz, 512 MB of DDR3 memory, a memory clock of 1333 MHz and a 64-bit memory interface. They’re also hardware accelerated Blu-ray ready and support Shader Model 5.0.
So far pricing and availability is unknown, but similar cards with 1 GB of DDR3 and a PCI Express 2.0 x16 interface cost around $57 to $60 USD on Newegg.
We know that Apple won’t be unveiling its next superphone for a few more days, but we may have a tasty tidbit about the iPhone 5 ahead of schedule. So the story goes, China Unicom’s Deputy Director Huang Wenlian was making a presentation at Macworld Asia, and stated that the new iPhone would utilize the company’s HSPA+ 21Mbps network. Now, we aren’t saying it’s a sure thing, but it appears that Tim Cook could deliver a handset with thrice the data speeds of its predecessor next week. Then again, remember that AT&T was fitting an Apple Store with some LTE equipment? And yet there was a contradicting report way back earlier in the beginning of the year that Apple’s Tim Cook mentioned that Apple will not be looking into LTE as of yet. Anyway, all will be known this coming Tuesday.
SOURCE via Impress Japan
IT specialists in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong better start polishing their resumes, because Google is rolling into town. Yesterday, Big G announced plans to build a brand new data center in each of the three Asian locales, as part of an expansion slated to cost at least $200 million.
When completed, these complexes will represent the company’s first fully owned and operated data centers in the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region — where, according to Asia policy communications manager Taj Meadows, Google is “seeing large numbers of new users coming online every day”. The facilities in Hong Kong and Taiwan are expected to cost around $100 million each, though the price tag for the Singapore branch remains a mystery.
Google hopes to finish construction in one to two years, though it didn’t say when it would begin — nor, for that matter, whether seawater tunnels would be involved.
SOURCE via Wall Street Journal