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Palm Pre To Launch 2 Days Before iPhone Announcement, Cost $200

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Palm’s long-awaited rival to the iPhone, the Pre, will go on sale on June 6, Palm said on Tuesday, and will cost $200 and up with a two-year contract, depending on the plan.

The Pre goes just two days before Apple’s WWDC keynote, where he company is expected to announce the third-generation iPhone.

The Pre looks like a genuine rival to the iPhone. The software looks very slick, powerful and easy to use, and the hardware includes a built-in keyboard, an important distinguishing feature.

But Palm already seems to be pulling consumer-unfriendly stunts with pricing. The $200 price tag is dependent on a $100 mail-in rebate, which is never popular. And the data plans appear to cost between $70 and $90 a month (it’s not clear on Sprint’s page which plan the Pre needs). Plus, Palm is charging an extra $70 for the innovative Touchstone charger, and $30 for a car charger.

Apple of course charges extra for an iPhone docking cradle, but Palm seems to be nickle-and-diming consumers already.

Exclusive: Steve Jobs Will Return, But Not For Long, Says Silicon Valley Psychic

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Like everyone else, I’m dying to know if Steve Jobs will be returning to work at the end of June.

Since I haven’t got a clue, and neither does anyone else, I figured I’d ask someone who might know. Not the usual blowhard pundits, but Barbara Courtney, a corporate psychic known as the “Seer of Silicon Valley.”

Personally, I’m very skeptical of psychic predictions, but Courtney has a long and storied history as Silicon Valley’s leading clairvoyant. Indeed, she’s the only person on record who correctly predicted Steve Jobs’ return to Apple back in 1997.

Speaking by phone from her home in Redwood City, Courtney said Jobs will return to Apple in June as promised — but he won’t stay long.

“My feeling is he will come back,” said Courtney. “I’m not seeing June as too soon.”

Jobs took six months medical leave in January saying his ongoing medical problems were “more complex” than suspected and he needed time off work to concentrate on his health. The company has promised several times that Jobs will return in late June as planned, but many are pessimistic.

On Tuesday, hopes were further dashed when Apple said the WWDC keynote in early June will be given by a team of executives led by head marketer Phil Schiller. The slot has traditionally been Jobs’, and many hoped (and are still hoping) he’d put in a surprise appearance.

Sneak Peek of OS X Snow Leopard Features

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YouTube user LeopardOctober has posted videos, screenshots and information about Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on YouTube since mid-March or so, and in the last few days has put up some interesting clips of a few things we can expect to see when the new OS debuts June 8 at WWDC.

The first video above shows that users will be able to set the default behavior of Spotlight so that performing a search can ‘search this Mac’, search the current folder or use the previous search scope.

In the video below, we see users can assign an application to a space or all spaces, quickly from within the Dock.

LeopardOctober has several additional clips on the YouTube channel with embedding disabled, so you’ll need to head over there to check ’em out.

The videos posted are from fairly late builds of the Beta (10A261 and 10A286), which has reportedly been ‘frozen’ at 10A354 for the final release software.

[Thanks Rafael!]

Rumor: New iPhones will be Bigger, Better, Faster, More

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With less than a month to go before the anticipated launch of iPhone 3.0 firmware and a widely expected upgrade to the hardware, widely reported claims by a poster on a Chinese Apple fan site suggest the next version of Apple’s revolutionary smartphone will sport a faster processor, more disk storage and a much improved camera, among other upgrades.

The next gen device will have a 600MHz processor (up from the current 400MHz unit), 256MB of RAM (up from the current 128MB), up to 32GB of storage, a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, as well as a digital compass and FM radio, all while retaining the same battery, basic shape, and screen size, according to the poster, who claims to have a connection at Foxconn, Apple’s China-based OEM for the iPhone.

Could it be? If you’ve got your ticket to the sold-out WWDC ’09 coming up in San Francisco, you’ll likely be among the first to know.

[The iPhone Blog]

Rumor – Media Pad Could be Apple’s Newest Device Hit

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About a week ago, MacFormat posted a partial image of a mysterious Apple device “without comment”, saying it had been submitted anonymously by email.

It was just a tease, though, as MacFormat Illustrator Adam Benton had submitted via email his case for what you see here, a full-fledged Apple Media Pad, Cupertino’s answer to the world of netbooks.

In Benton’s conception, “Your entire Home folder – all docs, photos, movies and music – would live ‘in the cloud’ on Apple’s servers. Regularly used files would be cached locally, but the system would enable you to keep files in sync between the tablet and your desktop Macs, whilst getting away with a smaller SSD.”

Benton’s idea calls for a that dock would support USB and FireWire, plus Mini DisplayPort, and Bluetooth to be used for peripherals like headsets and keyboards. The OS would be the iPhone and iPod touch OS, scaled up to support the larger display, with integrated 3G connectivity – proper 7.2Mb/sec HSUPA – to keep users connected to Apple’s servers at all times.

See more details at MacFormat and start checking that secondary market for WWDC keynote tickets.

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Thank Heavens This Isn’t the iPhone Nano

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Though we’re still about two months from the WWDC keynote and new iPhone hardware, that hasn’t stopped the most audacious maker of iPhone knock-offs, HiPhone, from creating a rip-off of the still unannounced iPhone nano. Yes, meet the HiPhone nano. On the outside, it looks like an ancient iPod mini, if only Apple had no taste in colors. And then it flips open and has both a touchscreen and a keypad — an ungainly keypad with tiny buttons, at that.

I don’t know what the iPhone nano will look like, when and if it ever arrives. I don know that Apple would never in a million years ship anything like this. Thank goodness.

Ubergizmo via Digg

Wall Street Analyst Expects Apple to Continue Stock Leadership

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There are a number of excellent reasons to be bullish on Apple (AAPL) stock, according to Wall Street analyst Shaw Wu. Despite already having risen 45% on the year, Wu believes Apple could bake another 25% or more of profit into its share price, based on expectations around what the Kaufman Bros. high-tech analyst calls “several catalysts in the months ahead.”

“We anticipate [Apple’s] new iPhone 3.0 software to ship” in time for the 2009 WWDC in June, Wu said in a report released Monday. He’s also expecting consumer interest in Apple to remain strong with the introduction of new iPhone hardware, also in time for WWDC.

The expected launch of Snow Leopard should be a further catalyst for the Mac business, which has already seen a boost from recent desktop refreshes (iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro). “And last,” Wu said, “the potential for a new form factor, perhaps Apple’s answer to the netbook, with a large screen iPod touch-Mac hybrid” could end up pushing AAPL from its current $119 price to something more like $152.

Less than a month ago, on March 24, Wu removed Apple from his “Focus List” citing the appreciating stock (then up only 19%) and the fact that “many of the product catalysts we were looking for, namely the new iMac, have occurred.” But that was at a point just after the overall stock market had been tanking since January; in the last several weeks the market’s been on a tear and some in the financial analysis business believe the worst of the “recession” is behind us.

For a little more perspective on the inscrutable science of stock price analysis, recall that less than a year ago, when Apple was opening its AppStore and releasing the iPhone 3G, Wu and many other AAPL analysts expected the company’s stock to go as high as $225. AAPL had already topped out just over $200 prior to the AppStore launch and nose-dived to well below $100 by January of this year.

Apple Drops “Mac” From “OS X” Trademark Update

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Apple has dropped “Mac” from the name of its operating system, filing new trademark applications referring to just “OS X.” The move could be just the latest effort to rebrand the overall company.

The new trademark applications were filed in Trinidad and Tobago following the June 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference where Apple banners announced “OS X Leopard.”

The move may have been made to distinguish the company’s OS X Leopard computer operating system and the OS X used by Apple’s iPhone, according to Apple Insider.

Three Reasons I’m Actually Looking Forward To Phil Schiller’s Keynote

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Phil Schiller at a WWDC beerbash. Photo by Graham Ballantyne (CC license).

I’m actually looking forward to Phil Schiller’s keynote on Tuesday for three reasons:

1. He is genuinely funny. He’s been great in keynotes past, and he can easily carry a whole keynote alone. See Charles Arthur’s report from Paris Macworld in 2004, after Schiller stepped in for Jobs. The big surprise? Schiller was a gas: The dramatic news from the Apple Expo: Phil Schiller is *funny*!

2. He’s not Steve Jobs. He’s not perfect like Steve Jobs. He seems like a regular guy and a bit of a schlub — and I like that. Here he is at a programmer’s beer bash — the kind of event you could NEVER imagine Jobs attending.

3. He’ll deliver a great “One Last Thing.” Because of the controversy and disappointment surrounding the speech, Phil must go out on a high note. I’m hoping for a surprise appearance from Steve Jobs. Hopefully he won’t announce his retirement from Apple.

Phil Schiller has a posse; CC photo by JL! who snapped the poster near his office — no other info is given.

Apple’s Last Macworld: Don’t Panic

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Apple’s decision not to attend Macworld might mean any of the following:

  • – Yeah, maybe Steve Jobs is really ill. It’s none of our business, though
  • – Apple no longer wishes to indulge the trade show industry
  • – Apple would rather present stuff on its own agenda, to its own timetable, when there is stuff ready to present. And if it wishes to hire a big room in which to do so, it will certainly have the money to do that
  • – Apple would rather devote itself to WWDC
  • – Perhaps, given the success of the iPhone, Apple would rather devote its energies to publicising and marketing the iPhone and the App Store

What Apple’s decision not to attend Macworld might NOT mean:

  • – All of the above
  • – Any other speculation you read elsewhere today

Meanwhile, keep injecting the rumor sites if that’s what grabs you. New Mac minis! Some kind of netbook! iPhones on skis! Yeah yeah yeah; it’s all just hot air and page impressions until Phil Schiller stands on that stage. And even after that, it’ll mostly be page impressions.