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Boxee Box Coming Out Next Week, Taking Pre-orders

It’s here–finally. The Boxee Box, manufactured by D-link, is on its way into your home (should you want to fork over the money for it). It’s more expensive than its main competitors, the Apple TV and Google TV, but it still brings your favorite television shows and movies from the internet or your hard drive onto your television, without the computer as a mediator.

We played with this thing at CES, and it was fab back then. The Boxee Box comes with HDMI, optical and RCA stereo audio, WiFi (802.11n), Ethernet, two USB ports, an SD card slot and an RF remote that flips over to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. You can pre-order the device on Amazon for 9.99.

Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


Goldman Sachs Analysts Speculate on Next iPad

Not a day goes by without another salacious Apple rumor making the rounds on the internet. This time, a team of analysts from Goldman Sachs are claiming that their sources have all the information about Apple’s second-generation iPad next spring that will feature a camera, Mini USB port and a lighter design.

Analysts Henry King and Kevin Lu also say that the 7″ iPad is not at all finalized and it’s unlikely that it will be launched ahead of the next iPad update.

Normally, we’d be harping on these sources for even starting the rumors, but we have to admit that this is very plausible. Apple released the iPad during the spring time (Easter weekend of this year, to be exact), so it’s only natural that the company would release an update a year later.

However, we’re still a little unsure about this Mini USB thing. It’s not like Apple to break the barriers of proprietary, and it’s almost doubtful that the company would switch to Mini USB out of the blue. After all, the company makes a profit off of licensing fees associated with their own custom connection hardware.

Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


New Mystery Apple Patent Could Make Your Next iPhone Bulletproof

Apple composite laminate patent
(Image courtesy of Patently Apple)

The best way to keep tabs on what Apple might be cooking up next is to keep an eye on all of the new inventions they file for patents on. One of the latest is a patent for an improved composite laminate that could someday make future devices practically bulletproof.

Patently Apple is reporting that Apple has recently won the patent for an improved composite laminate, which the website claims “could consist of a wide range of materials including glass, synthetics, metals (such as aluminum or titanium) or even epoxy.” The patent doesn’t reveal exactly what Apple plans to do, but the website notes that such material is commonly used in “real-world products ranging from an iPad cover to all manner of sporting equipment such as golf clubs, baseball bats, canoes, bikes, skateboards and more.”

According to Wikipedia, the use of such materials could even be used to make a portable device literally bulletproof, which certainly makes us imagine that Apple CEO Steve Jobs could be living some kind of Batman-esque dual life. (Would that make the iPhone his Bat-Phone?)

Unfortunately Patently Apple chooses to theorize a much more down-to-Earth scenario. “Apple could also be rethinking their use of polycarbonates in their MacBook for a much lighter material and using the sandwich method as shown above,” they propose. “Hmm, who knows — maybe the new Apple TV is already using one of the material variants. I haven’t been able to find out exactly what they’re using. Is it a thermosetting plastic as mentioned in this patent?”

As is often the case with patents such as this, only time will tell.

“Where and how Apple will end up using this material is unknown at this time — simply because of the wide range of products that Apple could apply this to — including future wearable computers,” Patently Apple concludes. “In time, we’ll be sure to hear about this material as it comes to market in some surprising way. For now, all we know for certain is that Apple has been granted a patent for an improved cosmetic surface regarding this material and that it’s paved the way for Apple to now bring it to market.”

Now all that Cupertino needs is a Bat-Signal to announce Apple’s next media event and they’ll be all set…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


iTunes Social Networking Functionality May Be Unveiled at Next Week's Music Event

If you’ve been pining and praying for Apple’s impending music Event to finally herald the advent of iTunes Music streaming from the clouds on high, you might end up a wee bit disappointed, especially if Peter Kafka over at All Things D is correct.

According to Kafka, we’re most likely going to see a major overhaul of iTunes next week, but instead of the from-the-cloud-service that many of us have been dreaming of, the changes to the venerable media application may be aimed more towards social media functionality and the way in which we purchase media from the iTunes Store.

Why no streaming?

Kafka cites a number of facts, chief of which is that Apple has yet to sign any new licensing deals with their music partners that would allow the catalogues we are currently able to download on to our computers to be streamed to our devices anywhere we go. It could be that the negotiations have been going on in secret–Apple does, after all, enjoy a bit of mystery in their upcoming product stew–but it seems unlikely. Just look to the recent rumors that they’re attempting to negotiate dirt cheap TV show rentals for the iTV. It’s easy to see that attempting to launch a product without at least a little product information leaking out has become close to impossible for the company. In recent years, Apple has become to big and too popular to plug every single leak out there when a product is coming down the pike. They’re simply too many ardent fanboys out there that just gotta know what’s going on.

Kafka’s sources speculate that next week when Steve Jobs takes to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, it’ll be to announce, among other things, that iTunes will have some pretty tight integration with a number of the social media applications many of us are already familiar with:

“…people I’ve talked to are making informed guesses. That said, music sources tell me they’re expecting a lightweight, Web-based version of the iTunes store. The new version would be designed to synch up easily with the rest of the Internet and make it much easier for customers to share their musical tastes (but not songs) with friends.”

The All Things D piece also mentions that there is industry buzz around a rumor that wireless music syncing may also be soon be enjoyed by all iOS device users, and not those who have chosen to walk the rocky, but rewarding path of the jailbreaker

So, to sum up, if Kafka and his sources are correct, our attention is being called to bear on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater to reveal that iTunes is gaining a “Like” button and we don’t need to worry about our co-workers stealing borrowing our sync cables anymore? That’s a little bit underwhelming to say the least. Let’s just hope that some other predictions about what will be revealed during next week’s event prove true–we could use some more Apple excitement to balance out all the mediocre that could be close to being laid at our feet


Google Brings Chrome Extension to iPhone, Goggles Could Be Next

If you use Chrome instead of Safari and have an iPhone, we’ve got an extension for you. The Chrome to iPhone extension adds a little button to your toolbar that shares the URL of the page you’re at with your iOS device. Android users have had the extension for a while, with Chrome to Phone.

The iPhone iteration isn’t quite as good as what Android users get–for instance, it doesn’t allow you to send links, maps, selected text, or phone numbers to your deivce, nor does it automatically notify you when you’ve sent content. You have to launch a shortcut created on your iPhone, and it only works with URLs.

But, it is easy, and it is free, so who are we to complain! If you don’t use Chrome and want an alternative app that does a little more, check out PasteFire–it’s also free right now.

Also, another app from Google might be on the way to your iPhone. Google Goggles uses your mobile camera to search the Web.

How exactly does the app work? Just point your camera at a book, and you’ll get a summary of its contents and shopping results. Choose a landmark instead, and get its history. There’s also a Layar style overlay called Nearby Places that overlays labels on businesses in your viewfinder. Sounds like augmented reality at its finest, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately for now, it’s just a rumor. David Petrou, an engineer at Google, just mentioned it in passing while speaking at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford on Monday. He said it could be released for the iPhone by the end of 2010, and even then it would have to survive Apple’s chopping block. But hey, we can always hope!

Source: News