Some clever hackers have been able to crack the algorithm Apple uses for their gift cards allowing them to create gift certificate generators. All the sellers are actually selling are the the code which are sent directly to the customer who then inputs it into their iTunes account, and some of these sellers are selling $200 gift cards for as low as $2.60.
According to the owner of one of the sellers the business started about 6 months ago, Apple hasn’t commented on the issue but I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the algorithm for their gift cards rather quickly (especially since it has been receiving a lot of press over the past few days).
What confuses me about this is why anyone would purchase these counterfeit codes anyway when bittorrent is even cheaper and is less likely to be cracked down on. That is unless you are using the purchased code to buy apps in the App Store.
World Of Apple and My Apple Guide previously broke that Apple would be holding a media event on March 24. Although the rumored announcements for the March 24 event have already happened (Mac Minis, Mac Pros, iMacs, etc.) it is possible that two rumors might have been a little mixed and a March 24 event might still be in the works.
Sevenmac.de is sourcing an anonymous tip suggesting that the March 24 event would be used for Apple pro video applications.
I find it hard to believe that Apple would use a media event to announce new pro video applications but then again since Apple isn’t attending NAB anymore (the natural place for such an announcement) it may seem logical that the features in these apps would warrent a demo, at least to the type of media that would be interested in such applicaitons.
According to a Comercial Times report Wintek is supplying touch panels for an upcoming Apple netbook which should ship in 3Q 2009.
Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for.
There doesn’t seem to be any real indication that it is going to be a netbook other than what DigiTimes titles their article, so although it could be a netbook there isn’t any reason I have to believe that it isn’t for a tablet device.
Other than tablet form factor devices (iPod Touch and iPhone) Apple hasn’t shown any interest in touchscreen devices. The only other touch based devices that they have are the touchpads on their notebooks and I think Apple has realized that if you are going to be using a touchscreen you want it on a flat surface, not proped up like a monitor or notebook display.
I just can’t see myself reaching over my keyboard and mouse to touch the screen, that just isn’t how I use a computer and I don’t see any other computer maker coming up with any innovative way to change that.
Bottom line is, unless Apple comes up with a radically new way of doing touchscreen netbooks I don’t think Apple is going to release one.
Here’s a quick run down of what Apple released yesterday:
Apple Keyboard Compact design of the Apple wireless keyboard without the need for battery switching and with the benefit of two USB 2.0 ports
AirPort Extreme Base Station Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi broadcasts on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands so you have maximum range and full compatibility with all Wi-Fi devices. Guest networking broadcasts a second Wi-Fi network for guests to use the internet without having access to all of your network devices.
Time Capsule Gained the same features as the AirPort Extreme.
MacBook Pro Added 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo options.
Mac Pro The entry level is now $300 cheaper, at $2,499. It also received brand new Nehalem processors, and obviously Mini DisplayPort.
Mac Mini 5 USB ports, Mini DisplayPort (exactly as the leaked picture suggested, take that doubters), Geforce 9400M graphics.
iMac Entry level now has a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, 320GB hard drive, Geforce 9400M graphics, for the same price of $1,199. 24″ iMac now starts at $1,499.
Zen Bound is a fantastic game from Secret Exit. The game is described as “a calm and meditative game of wrapping rope around wooden sculptures,” and that is exactly what it is.
The challenge in the game is to wrap the rope around the wooden sculpture so that a certain percentage of the sculpture is wrapped up. You can see what areas are wrapped based on the color change on the statue but you can also see your progress at the top of the screen.
There are three goals that you can reach for each statue, 70% completion, 85% completion, and 99% completion. Flowers blossom on a tree (where all of the various levels live), up to three flowers will blossom for each level (depending on which goal is reached). There are lanterns up the tree that light your way once enough flowers have blossomed. According to the in game help “once you reach the top of the tree, things will be different,” but I haven’t quite reached the top of the tree yet, I’m about 5 or so flowers away from doing so.
Now to wrap the rope around the statues Zen Bound uses a very simple control scheme, you just drag your finger around on the screen to spin the statue, if you want to rotate the statue just use two fingers and rotate it. You may also tilt your iPhone to change the angle of the rope.
The game is incredibly addicting and more difficult once you reach the higher levels, trying to fit the rope into tight corners gets complicated when the statue is split up into several different parts that all rotate together.
The music in the game which is an original score by “Ghost Monkey” and is available to all customers in 320kbit MP3.
The game has 51 levels with an additional 25 levels to come this month.
What is so memorizing about this game is how wonderfully simple it is, that isn’t too say it is easy because it can be hard, but the concept of the game is incredibly simple, anyone can pick up and enjoy this game very quickly.
Zen Bound is the kind of game that you can play for 5-10 minutes and then put down again, it doesn’t take long to complete a level but the replayability appears to be pretty high, it is well worth the $4.99.
World of Apple and My Apple Guide have both heard from sources that Apple is planning to hold a special event on March 24 to release new desktop hardware.
Only My Apple Guide claims to have any specifics as to what Apple will announce, they are expecting a new Mac Mini, iMacs with Nvidia chipsets, Mac Pros, and a pleasant “surprise.” Neither one of these websites are known for leaking news but if it is true I would expect to see all of the above along with at least a mention of Snow Leopard (although the appearance of Mac Pros seems a little sketchy to me).
If I was to tell you what I want (not what I’m expecting) it would be a cheaper Mac Mini. When the Mac Mini was initially released it was priced at $499 and stayed at that price until the transition to Intel processors, I really hope Apple decides to move back to that price point.
App management on the iPhone and iPod Touch is really good already but this concept above would make things a lot easier. But, I almost wish that this was the way that you installed apps on the iPhone, just by dragging the app onto a homescreen and than syncing.
When Leopard was released one of the coolest features was Stacks. Stacks were basically just folders sitting in your Dock that when clicked on would fan out to display all of the contents of that folder. Stacks Folders however is a new feature for Snow Leopard that will allow you to navigate through your computers files system from within those stacks.
There is no indications as to whether or not this will be a final feature of Snow Leopard but if it is I’m sure it will end up much more polished than its current incarnation because honestly, it looks a little messy.
Click the link below for a video demonstration of Stacks Folders:
Apple has announced a public beta of Safari 4 for both Windows and Mac. Apple says there are 150 new features in the browser. I haven’t read through all of the features because that would take a lot of time and since browsers aren’t the most interesting of applications it would also be a little boring (but if you would like to they are all listed here).
The first feature you will probably see when you open up Safari is “Top Sites.” Top Sites is essentially a homepage showing you your 12 most visited web sites, which are automatically generated by Safari.
Apple has also decided to go along with the trend of putting the tab bar above the address bar. I’m still unsure as to whether or not I prefer the tab bar above the address bar or not but I do understand that it saves room and the way Apple has done it does look incredibly slick.
Apple also claims that Safari 4 is faster then any other browser out there. I have heard from others though that Chrome might actually be faster in the real world but according to the tests Apple did, Safari 4 is faster.
Safari 4 now has the ability to not only increase the font size on a web page but also increase the size of the images on the page.
Apple has added a “Smart Address Field” which offers suggestions for you from your browsing history and bookmarks.
Apple has done a very impressive job with Safari 4, they look like they are on the path of a slower release cycle but when they do release they push out a huge list of features making them one of (if not the) best browsers available.
But, I still won’t be making the switch from Safari, I do only have one reason I’m not switching. The reason I’m not switching is that Safari 4 doesn’t have an option to force links that would normally open in new windows, to open in new tabs. This is especially frustrating when I use Google Reader and try to use the “v” shortcut to open the currently highlighted item on its website, in Safari it opens a new window, in Firefox it opens a new tab and that is how it should be. Apple, please add this seemingly simple feature, it’s the only one keeping me from switching.
A Lifehacker Australia reader found out that if you type a z into any area of the iPhone where auto-correct is used you can type immediately before the z and auto-correct won’t attempt to fix anything. This is especially useful for those you occasionally type in different languages.
Ever since the Kindle was released I’ve heard several technology pundits talk about how the iPhone could kill the Kindle by just adding some ebook features. The problem of course is that the mosts critical feature of the Kindle isn’t the fact that it has ubiquitous wireless access, it isn’t the Kindle store, and it isn’t the fact that it has a web browser, the most critical feature of the Kindle is its display.
I’ve harped on this note before but the fact is reading for long periods of time on a display that has a backlight is incredibly hard on the eyes. The reason the Kindle works is because you can read for long periods of time without the level of eye strain as you would receive if you were reading on a display similar to… oh, let’s say… the iPhone.
The iPhone is a wonderful device but it clearly isn’t the be all end all, there are things that it can’t do, being the best ebook reader is one of them.
I don’t claim to know a whole lot about spotting photoshopped images but the the analysis done below does seem to make some sense, the only problem is that now we have a video of the same Mac Mini that these analyzers say isn’t real.
The jury is still out as to whether or not this is the new Mac Mini but we won’t know until Apple actually announces it themselves.