Did Verizon Really Tweet From an iPhone?

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UPDATE: TechCrunch is quite vociferously denying any hanky-panky in this affair. “Hey Cult Of Mac, We Didn’t Photoshop That Deleted Verizon iPhone Tweet,” they say in a new post. TechCrunch notes the original Tweet is still in Google search and that they weren’t the first or only outlet to notice. See here. With apologies for jumping the gun on a bit of a slow news day, we also note TC is likely right that “somebody at Verizon panicked.”

Given the standard pandemonium in Apple-oriented corners of the Internet whenever a special “invite-only press event” is scheduled that might have something to do with the Cupertino company’s products or personnel, it stands to reason a Verizon employee’s tweet from an iPhone on the cellular carrier’s official Twitter account days before the entire tech world expects Verizon to announce it is finally going to start selling iPhones might be seen as a newsworthy event.

But could it also be an opportunity for one of the most widely followed tech blogs on the net to indulge in a bit of traffic-ramping scammery?

Line2 Turns iPhone into an Actual Phone [CES 2011]

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What does it say about the current state of mobile telephony when one of the most exciting booths at CES belongs to a company that makes an app allowing iPhone users to make phone calls?

Line2 makes a tri-mode calling app that uses data, WiFi and even cellular voice connections to make and receive calls on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Start with the 30-day free trial, then the service will cost $10 per month for unlimited calling, unlimited texts and a powerful voicemail system.

In a WiFI area, Line2 uses that connection to make and receive calls and texts. In an area with data (3G or EDGE) available, Line2 uses the data connection for your calls. And it can even utilize your beleaguered cellular carrier’s cell network to make and receive calls when all else fails.

So, for $120 a month you can activate your iPhone with your preferred cell carrier and for just $10 more you can actually make and receive calls!

Isn’t the Future awesome?

AT&T Slashes iPhone 3GS to $49, Braces for End of Exclusivity Deal

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AT&T announced Thursday it will begin selling 8GB iPhone 3GS phones to new and upgrade-eligible customers for $49 starting Friday, January 7. The third generation Apple smartphones continue to be priced at $99 when purchased directly from Apple, while AT&T’s discounted offer will be available online and at its more than 2000 US retail stores.

The price drop has predictably led to much speculation among mobile phone watchers as to both AT&T’s motivation (given there’s no indication Apple has cut its prices to the carrier) and Apple’s plans to announce new phones and possibly new carrier agreements in the coming year.

An obvious key to the unknowns is that new and upgrade-eligible AT&T customers will be required to sign on for new two year contracts with the carrier in order to get the 3GS discounted price. AT&T has been widely derided among iPhone users in the past couple of years for its spotty service, which has in turn led to rampant speculation that Apple could make its phones available to other mobile carriers as early as the 1st quarter of 2011.

AT&T’s pricing move is a strong signal that iPhones are coming soon to another carrier — Verizon appears the odds-on favorite among many with an opinion on the matter — and it’s clearly an aggressive attempt to head off a flood of defectors from its network should such an opening occur.

iPad2 Fakes Leak in China while Tech World Parties in Vegas

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The ever-lovable China-based MICgadget blog waved a red flag at everyone drooling over new and possibly never-to-be-released gadgetry on the CES showfloor in Las Vegas Thursday, teasing web surfers with a headline about leaked photos of the much-anticipated iPad2.

These are pretty clearly mock-ups but with CES in full swing and an Apple vacation black-out in place, they signal a revving of the hype machine and ramping of new-gadget lust that ought to be at a near fever pitch by the time Apple announces a “special event” sometime in late January/early February.

What do you think Apple has in store for us in 1Q11?

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Twitter for Mac 2.0 Coming in App Store Launch [Rumor]

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Those who just can’t wait to see what’s in Apple’s Mac App Store when it launches Thursday morning may be getting all a-twitter about, well, the next version of Twitter for Mac, a purported screenshot from which was leaked a while ago by the site Razorianfly.com.

TechCrunch claims to have verified the screenshot as the real deal, according to “a reliable source,” but we’ll see about that in the morning, won’t we?

Formerly known as Tweetie for Mac (and just Tweetie for iOS devices), the app was acquired by Twitter itself in 2010 and rebranded as Twitter for Mac and iPhone respectively. The new version reportedly features native ReTweet support as well as Realtime updates and Drag and drop tweets.

The screenshot posted by Razorianfly may have come from someone inside Apple, according to the report at TechCrunch, which means no one who really knows anything about the truth of all this is willing to speak until, well, Thursday morning when the Mac App Store goes live.

Yeti Pro Raises the Bar for USB Microphone Quality [CES 2011]

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Proving that news embargoes and electronics trade shows attended by tens of thousands of people do not play well together, word of Blue Microphones’ new Yeti Pro USB microphone leaked from the desert Tuesday night as the giant Consumer Electronics Show began picking up steam in Las Vegas.

The highly anticipated successor to Blue’s successful, top-of-the line USB microphone, Yeti Pro is the first USB mic to combine 24 bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with analog XLR output, making it potentially one of the finest, most versatile recording tools on the market.

Like its predecessor, the plain old Yeti, Yeti Pro features premium condenser capsules set in Blue Microphones’ proprietary triple capsule array, which supports four different recording patterns for capturing a wide range of recording situations.

Yeti Pro looks quite promising from here, an assessment shared by CES judges, who made Yeti Pro a 2011 CES Innovations Winner in High Performance Audio. The mic is set to retail for $249 and should be available at authorized Blue Microphone distributors later this month.

5 Resolutions to Improve Your Mac Experience

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So, you were a very good boy or girl this year and Santa brought you a brand new Mac.

Maybe it was a sleek MacBook Air, perhaps a studly MacBook Pro or a bright and shiny iMac for your desktop. You say it was an old-school Mac Pro workstation? Well, bully for you!

Isn’t it time to make a few resolutions about how you’re going to love and care for your new machine so you can get the most out of it and keep it running in tip-top shape long after your Apple Care subscription runs out?

Here are five suggestions to help you do just that:

1. Have a back-up plan.

The number one mistake made by 99% of the people who wake up one day with an empty feeling in the pit of their stomach as they realize all their photographs, all their music, all their software and the outline for that Oscar-winning screenplay are just…gone — is having no backup.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Apple has left you no excuse for not having your data backed up, at least since the introduction of Time Capsule and its integration with Time Machine, a built-in backup solution that’s been part of OX X since 2007.

A 1 terabyte Time Capsule is only $299 and unless you are one of those Pirate Bay or LimeWire scofflaws you’re probably never going to fill it up.

Don’t want to pay the Apple premium for seamless integration and “Designed in California” panache? Dozens of excellent third-party backup solutions await from the likes of LaCie and Seagate — there’s even an eco-friendly Green solution from Hitachi subsidiary SimpleTech, the USB 2.0 [Re]Drive, made from bamboo and recycled aluminum.

Regular backups for your computer system are like roughage in your diet: just do it and you’ll never never be sorry you did.

2010’s Rockin’est OS X and iOS Audio Gear [Year in Review]

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In the immortal spirit of Nigel Tufnel, our 2010 Year in Review of the best in Audio gear and apps for Mac and iOS devices goes to 11.

If you missed any of these or didn’t get a chance to check them out for some reason or another, don’t fret — they each should be around to help you discover dulcet tones and make sound memories for a long time to come.

11. iDJ – iPad Music App ($9.99)

iDJ’s music management system is a simple, streamlined way to quickly build club-quality playlists using the music in your iTunes library. With patented BPM detection technology, iDJ fuses your music together with the finesse of a professional mixmaster. As you add songs, iDJ analyzes their sonic-waveforms, calculates tempos, and then automatically performs optimal transitions throughout the playlist. Playlists can contain an unlimited number of songs and iDJ supports audio in WAV, MP3, and AAC formats. Plus, your iDJ library can be managed through iTunes. iDJ is the first true music-mixing application for iPad that both beginners and professionals can enjoy.

OBiON is a Seamless Bridge for Mobile, Social, Landline & VoIP Communications [Review]

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OBiON, a free mobile communications app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch now available for download from the iTunes App store, is an exciting — if still evolving — tool that offers more power and flexibility than any similar app available today.

The app is the mobile centerpiece in a new communication paradigm being charted by Obihai Technology, a Cupertino, CA start-up founded by the developers of the first Analog Telephone Adapter, which made “Internet calling” possible without the use of a computer and spawned the growth of Vonage and dozens of other Internet Telephony Service Providers.

Now, in conjunction with the OBiTALK web portal and the company’s Obi110 Voice Services Bridge, OBiON users can leverage the ability to make and receive calls from local or remote landlines, as well as to and from multiple VoIP services on Apple mobile devices.

Donation Ban Puts Jobs, Apple in Scrooge Role

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Steven P. Jobs was recently named (again) the awesomest CEO on the planet, but is it possible he could also be cast in the Scrooge role this Holiday Season?

On a day when 26 year-old It Boy Mark Zuckerberg is making headlines for pledging (along with Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz) to join the likes of former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in giving the majority of his personal wealth to charity, a New York Times news piece recounts the difficulty non-profit organizations have encountered raising funds through in-app donations using iOS mobile apps.

It all leads one to ask: what does the 2nd largest company in the world have against charitable giving?

Diagram of Apple’s Android Patent Battle Looks like a Silicon Chip

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Did you know Apple is currently embroiled in 42 patent litigation actions against two major Android phone manufacturers, Motorola and HTC? As these things tend to do, resolution of the disputes will take years — and the legal battles surrounding Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android will enrich dozens of attorneys and their families in the process.

Outside of those attorneys there may be no one on earth who has followed the litigation more closely than Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Mueller published an exhaustive summary of the current state of affairs last week, and updated it on Monday with the handy graphic pictured above.

Click on the image for a larger view and read Mueller’s updated summary if you dare: it’s a document synthesized from thousands of court filings, organized into 13 “moves” — and fills 25 PDF pages.

[Fortune]

iPhone Helps Take Scrooge Out of Holiday Shopping Season

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Thanks to the number-crunchers and graphics staff at Mobclix we see a nice representation of iPhone’s participation in the Great Holiday Recovery of 2010.

Consumers’ credit-card spending returned to “pre-recession levels” this year on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), traditionally considered the start of the Holiday Shopping season, and overall spending activity saw double-digit increases over 2009.

As reported earlier this week by First Data, overall consumer spending activity at the shopping season’s kickoff has much improved over last year, sparked by aggressive marketing that lured value-conscious consumers to post a 10.1% increase in transaction volume — and it looks like Apple iPhone users played a large role in hitting that number.

Interestingly, the consumer electronics category fared poorly and was down -6.7% compared to last year. The First Data report speculated that consumers may be holding out for lower prices on electronics later in the holiday season.

How Does Your Mac Stack Up? Geekbench it to Find Out

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If you’ve ever wondered how well your Mac performs — against its peers, against similar models, against the latest releases from Cupertino — Primate Labs’ Geekbench might be worth a look.

Geekbench is free software that, as the company states, “provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance.”

The baseline score of 1000 that Geekbench uses to help compare performance among Macs is the score a Power Mac G5 @ 1.6GHz would receive. Higher scores indicate better performance.

It’s also worth noting that benchmarks only measure processor and memory performance which is why, for example, MacBook and MacBook Pro scores are so similar, despite both having radically different graphics adapters.

Check out their periodically updated chart on the web and take a peek under the hood of your own machine.

Cult Favorite: MediaPad Pro for iPad Reinvents Portfolio Presentation

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What it is: MediaPad Pro is fantastically well designed software for the iPad that allows creative people of all types to easily place multiple portfolios of work — including audio, video, still images and websites — onto Apple’s tablet device and present them in professional, fully customized, brand-able fashion to potential clients, agents or patrons, to virtually anyone they’d like to view their work.

Fuze Box Takes HD Group Videoconferencing Mobile

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Fuze Box, the company behind the groundbreaking meeting and collaboration tool Fuze Meeting, raised the bar for easy multiparty videoconferencing Thursday with the announcement of its private beta for Fuze Presence — bringing multiparty high definition (HD) video to Mac iOS and Android mobile devices.

With many video conferencing solutions tied to a desktop-only experience featuring unreliable video quality and poor latency, Fuze Presence moves the current collaboration space into the realm of H.264 codec technology promising multi-party collaboration delivered at 720P, with high fidelity sound and under 200 ms latency. The technology also supports VoIP, screen sharing, content sharing and a full suite of collaboration tools.

Apple Makes Enterprise Headway as iPads Come to Wall Street

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Wall Street investment banking icon JPMorgan Chase & Co. is giving iPads to every associate in its global investment banking division, according to a company e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News. Employees receiving the devices will get to keep them free of charge as long as they remain at the unit until the pilot program ends on May 1, 2011, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Industry analysts viewed the move as a significant victory for Apple in its quest to wrest control of the Enterprise communications submarket away from Research in Motion, Ltd., whose Blackberry handheld devices have been a ubiquitous companion of “serious businesspeople” for more than a decade.

Woz Says He Was Misquoted on Android Prediction

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Clarifying remarks attributed to him by a column in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said today that, based on things he’s read, he does believe Android will eventually come to dominate the smartphone market — but not because it’s better than or has more features than Apple’s iOS platform.

“I [wasn’t] suggesting [Android is] better than iOS… it can get greater market share and still be crappy,” Wozniak said, pointing out that he merely told the De Telegraaf reporter that voice commands on Android were presently more sophisticated, but that Apple would catch up through its recent acquisitions. He went on to say that almost every app he has is better on the iPhone than it is on Android.

[Engadget]

Valuation Theory: Would iPhone Alone Be Nearly a Top 10 Global Business?

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Business valuations are almost always a tricky figure to pin down, but analysts at Trefis figure they have a pretty reliable one for the iPhone, in case Apple and Steve Jobs might be thinking of spinning it off as a separate company.

By Trefis’s numbers, which assume a 140%-of-market-cap valuation for Apple (AAPL) as a whole and iPhone as representing 53% of Apple’s business, then the iPhone business alone would be worth more than all but 10 companies in existence worldwide today.

Interestingly enough, at $209 billion, iPhone, Inc. would be worth just slightly less than the 10th largest company in the world, AT&T.

[CNNMoney]

25 iPads Bring Oohs and Ahhs to Japanese Design Show

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Apple iPads wowed the crowds at Tokyo Designers Week this year in a 5 X 5 configuration where 25 iPads gave onlookers an opportunity to watch video and music synced wirelessly on all the devices. Audience members were also invited to manipulate the sound and videos on the individual iPads, which got things quickly all out-of-sync and challenged participants to work together to return the display to a harmonious state.

The design was commissioned by the Environmental Ministry of Japan as part of a “Challenge 25″ event to mark the 25th anniversary of Tokyo Designers Week and draw attention to human impact on the environment.

See more about the work of the display’s DJ designers as well as a hands-on video that talks about how they got it to work here.

[Tokyo Tek]

A Dozen Great Decals for Your Mac Notebook [Gallery]

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Now that Consumer Reports has deemed pretty much the entire line of Apple notebooks the “Best in Class” in every configuration, it stands to reason you may be seeing more and more of them wherever you go. And not that you’d let your own far enough out of sight to risk its possibly getting mixed up with someone else’s, but there is something to be said for personalizing your Mac. And certainly lots of options exist for doing so — from getting laser etched engravings to getting artful skins to getting brightly colored cases, and more.

Here’s a gallery of a dozen artful, yet subdued decals that make interesting use of the Apple logo and express a bit of whimsy and personality, all of which are available from Etsy. The website has literally thousands of decals to choose from, offered by a wide range of artists, at prices ranging from a couple of bucks to about $15. As always, click on each image for a larger view.

Be sure and let us know in comments about your own favorite decal artists and other outlets for personalizing your Apple gear.

OS X 10.6.5 Has Arrived

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Here’s the link to the Apple Support document describing the update and how to get it.

10.6.5 promises increased performance in playing well with Microsoft Exchange, better image processing with iPhoto and Aperture, adds SSL support for transferring files with iDisk, resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google, allows systems with a Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009) to be put to sleep, and adds RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras — among other things.

See the full support document for details.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon App Debuts on iTunes App Store

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NBC’s Jimmy Fallon is the first American late night TV host out of the gate with a dedicated app for Apple’s mobile device users, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (iTunes link), available free as of Wednesday in the App Store.

Fallon, arguably the most tech-savvy of all the late night talk show hosts in the US, regularly spotlights tech and social media in his show’s skits and jokes and in the past showcased “fantasy” apps such as “Axl Rose Relaxation” and “Moldova Y/N” that actually made it into the production release.

The mobile app — compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch — will also showcase video clips and photos from the TV show along with behind-the-scenes blog posts from the Late Night site.

Get a Custom iPhone Case Made of Your Old Jeans

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Dead Jeans and designer Paul Kruize want to help you hang on to those precious blue jeans that are so ripped up and nasty looking your mother pops a blood vessel in her head every time you try to wear them outside the house. You know, those jeans that are so soft and comfy and hold so many memories you just can’t bear to toss them in the trash even though the slowly growing up part of you says you know you should.

Now, for € 29,90, or about $42 (including shipping from the Netherlands), you can keep at least a remnant of them forever in an ultra-cool, felt-lined pocket case for your iPhone or iPod touch made from their two back pockets. They are sure to be a one of a kind accessory and even more valuable because they’ll have a little bit of your very own mojo sewn right in.

Bookmark Cult of Mac’s New Mobile Site to Your iPhone’s Home Screen [How-To]

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Cult of Mac joined the mobile vanguard Friday with a dedicated mobile version of the site’s content at https://m.cultofmac.com/. An automatic redirect should take mobile users to the leaner, cleaner version optimized for mobile devices but if Internet caching prevents that at present for particular users, simply point your device’s browser to the mobile URL.

Once you’re there, follow the easy steps below to place a Cult of Mac site icon in the next empty space on your (in this illustrated case) iPhone’s home screen, from which you’ll be able to easily access all the great news and information posted here daily.