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Apple buys Polar Rose face-recognition company

Apple has once again opened that $40+ billion bank account and, according to reports, purchased Swedish face-recognition company, Polar Rose.

The Malmö-based company specializes in developing technology which makes facial recognition, not unlike what Apple already has and uses iPhoto for Mac OS X. Through sophisticated algorithms, manages the software of the Arctic Rose to recognize faces in images and the company offers three different products using this solution. Two of the (Face Cloud and FaceLib) them seem to be very interesting for Apple.

Likely yet another talent and technology acquisition, will this simply be used to bolster the existing iPhoto/Aperture Faces feature, or could Apple have grander plans for facial recognition? They do have iSight on Mac and front-facing cameras on iPhone and iPod touch, and likely iPad as well soon.

[Mac1 via 9to5Mac, additional video via MacRumors]

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Facebook is absolutely working on a phone (or they're nuts)

Facebook phone was the big internet flurry of the weekend -- are they making one, are they not making one, what does a Facebook phone even mean?

Techcrunch, who claim the Nexus One vindicated their longstanding assertions of a Google phone, now say Facebook is also working a branded device.

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware.

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iPhone 4 coming to China on September 25

Apple announced last night that iPhone 4 would be headed to China on September 25, availability will be via:

Apple Retail Stores including the new Apple Store® Hong Kong Plaza in Shanghai and the new Apple Store Xidan Joy City in Beijing opening on the same day. iPhone 4 will also be available on Saturday at China Unicom retail stores for qualified buyers with a new two year contract.

And pricing:

iPhone 4 will be sold in China through Apple’s retail stores for a suggested retail price of CNY4,999 for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 for 32GB model without a contract. At China Unicom stores, iPhone 4 will be available for qualified buyers with a new two year contract, sold separately. For pricing and tariff information please visit www.10010.com.

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 19 Sept 2010

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Newton OS running on iPhone, iPad via Einstein emulator

Forget iOS 4.2, what you really want is Newton, Apple's original handheld OS, running on your iPhone and iPad, right? Well, if you're one of the many uber-passionate Newton faithful, you probably do and there's a project underway to make it a reality.

Einstein is an open-source project to run (via emulation) the Newton OS on modern hardware. It was written and released by Paul Guyot several years ago. It’s quite an amazing piece of work.

The project got a shot in the arm earlier this month when Matthias Melcher got it up and running on iOS and posted a video of himself running it on his iPhone. Being a Newton fan since my original MessagePad in 1993, it was quite a sight to see.

Matthias mentioned he didn’t have an iPad yet, so I grabbed the source and built it for my iPad so I could take a little movie and share

Right now it's slow and required a Newton ROM that can't be legally distributed outside Apple, but there's seldom a obstacle smart, dedicated developers can't hurdle to get cool stuff done.

If you've wanted your Newton to live on beyond the original hardware, check out the video after the break.

[Steven Frank/Panic, TUAW]

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Google Voice app, Basic interpreter hit App Store. New era begins?

A Google Voice app, GV Connect, and a Basic Interpreter, by way of Commodore 64, have both been approved and are now in the iTunes App Store.

These types of apps have been rejected, left in limbo, or pulled in the past. Following Apple's recent change of developer license and publication of plain-language approval guidelines, they're in the store.

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Is AirView Apple's TV attack on traditional media?

Is AirView going to be Apple's go-to-marketed strategy, using an iOS 4.2 iPad or iPhone and Apple TV one-two punch combo get around tradition media? Following up on the discovery that iPad Netflix will stream to Apple TV, Seth Weintraub figures out the following:

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Best Buy CEO: iPad cannibalizing laptop sales by 50%

iPad may be cannibalizing laptop sales by as much as half according to Best Buy CEO, Brian Dunn:

Mr. Dunn also said internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%

It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, they cannibalize iPod and MacBook purchases, and if they're in it for the long haul or the cannibalization stops when most of the people who want an iPad get one.

[Wall Street Journal]

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Warners: $0.99 iTunes TV rentals too cheap

$0.99 TV show rentals are too cheap according the Warner CEO Barry Meyer, and would hurt full season TV show purchases.

Meyer said the deal was not a good value for the studio subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., which sells permanent downloads shows such as "Gossip Girl" on iTunes for $2.99 each.

I'm running out of quips to make about the oblivious myopia of old media. Seriously.

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