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Mac sales to stay strong; more 3G iPhone rumors; Amazon No. 2

Planned purchases of Macs should buck a drop in computer spending created by a poor economy, according to a new study. Meanwhile, Digg's chief now claims to have additional evidence of a 3G iPhone, Amazon's music store is catching up to iTunes, ASUS' Eee PC has gained multi-touch, and Apple has updated a security fix for Aperture users.

ChangeWave sees Apple untouched by economic slump

If a client survey accurately reflects buying habits, Apple will have little to fear from a downturn in the US economy, according to new data collected by ChangeWave Research.

The analyst group notes that the percentage of respondents looking to buy a Mac has only dropped slightly from all-time highs set in January, with 31 percent of notebook purchasers (down 2 percent) and 28 percent of prospective desktop buyers (down 1 percent) intending to pick up a Mac.

Apple also continued to rate the highest for satisfaction among ChangeWave customers, with 53 percent saying they are "very satisfied" with Mac OS X Leopard compared to next-best Linux at 44 percent. Just 8 percent of Windows Vista Business said the same of their software.

Digg head claims more knowledge of 3G iPhone

In a terse message through the micro-messaging service Twitter, Digg founder Kevin Rose on Wednesday claimed to have received more information about a 3G-capable iPhone from a purportedly high-level vice president at a company that does business with Apple.

In contrast to his original source, which gave only a vague release window and mentioned video conferencing, the new contact narrows that timeframe to June and further suggests that the device will have some form of GPS navigation.

Again, Rose has had an inconsistent record with rumors but obtained legitimate information regarding the first-generation iPod nano just before its launch. The news also follows comments by a Gartner analyst who on Wednesday was reportedly aware of orders for 10 million 3G iPhones as well as past analysis predicting an upgraded phone by mid-year.

Amazon MP3 takes number two spot behind iTunes

Although it's been an option only since September, Amazon MP3 is now in second place behind iTunes in the US for downloadable music sales, USA Today says.

No independent explanation for the jump is available, though Amazon digital music chief Pete Baltaxe points to a larger DRM-free library of 4.5 million songs that allows all its music to work with any portable player, including iPods.

"They appreciate that everything is DRM-free and so comprehensive," Baltaxe claims.

In contrast, Apple has only 2 million unrestricted songs and only obtains major-label music from EMI versus additional support from Sony BMG, Universal and Warner at Amazon.

ASUS second after Apple to offer multi-touch trackpads

Apple's early, near-exclusive access to multi-touch technology in notebook trackpads may have already come to an end, according to one FCC filing.

The user manual for a variant of ASUS' upcoming Eee PC 900 points to "multi-finger gestures" that allow the miniature portable to both scroll with two fingers — a staple of Apple's portable line since late-model PowerBook G4s in 2005 — as well as to make pinching motions to zoom in or out while using certain Linux programs, including Adobe's PDF reader and OpenOffice. Until the revelation, Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were the only computers known to offer this last feature.

ASUS has said it will release the new Eee PC during April and will make it available in the US.

Security Update 2008-002 1.1

Apple on Wednesday issued a fix for Security Update 2008-002 to address a specific software problem.

Valid only for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2 (Client, Server), the patch mends reliability problems when using Aperture 2.0's "Printer Settings" button.

No changes to security have been made along with the fix, the company says.