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Dutch, Mexican iPhone rumors; Mac hacked in contest; more


Two independent reports claim to know when the iPhone will be available in Mexico and the Netherlands. Also, a report says Cirrus Logic has likely been tapped for the audio in future iPods, an inside job at an Apple store briefly stole 332 iPhones, Adobe released Photoshop Express, and a MacBook Air was first to fall in a major hacking contest.

Rumors point to iPhone for Mexico, Netherlands

Apple may be prepping two new international iPhone launches for the spring, according to separate stories.

The Mexico City newspaper El Universal alleged on Thursday that multiple dialogs with Apple support would have the iPhone launch on Mexican carrier Telcel in June, in time for Apple's planned version 2.0 firmware.

The device may be as much as a third more expensive in Mexico than in the US after factoring in taxes, the report added.

Meanwhile, Dutch Apple reseller The Innovators also posted teasers the same day for a special event to take place on March 29th at 11AM local time. The third-party store was mum on details but dropped hints that it would present on a product that had previously been unsold in the Netherlands and would make it easy to place calls.

While suggestive, the use of a reseller for a presentation would be uncharacteristic of Apple's past iPhone launches, which have only allowed iPhone sales through official carrier stores as well as dedicated phone stores such as the UK's Carphone Warehouse.

Analyst: Cirrus Logic to replace Wolfson in future iPods

Although Wolfson Microelectronics has only just been cut out of new iPods due this year, a successor is already in place, Jefferies analyst Adam Benjamin said Thursday.

Already known for its computer and set-top box audio chipsets, Texas-based Cirrus Logic was predicted as having won a position inside the fourth-generation iPod nano as well as the second-generation iPod touch. No direct sources are cited for the switch.

If confirmed, the part swap is nonetheless poised to boost Cirrus' business by as much as $15 million in the latter half of 2008 and up to $20 million more in 2009, Benjamin estimated.

Apple Store staff caught stealing 332 iPhones

In a relatively rare example of employee theft at Apple, two workers at the company's Rockingham Park store in Salem, New Hampshire were found by their supervisors to have stolen 332 iPhones.

Joshua Garrand and Christopher Nashed were arrested for stealing the handsets with the intent of reselling them at higher prices. At the official $399 price, the iPhones were worth $132,468 to the store, according to the local Eagle Tribune newspaper.

Local police described the case as unique in the history of employee thefts for the area.

Adobe launches web-based Photoshop Express

Belatedly fulfilling a promise to begin a migration to the web for many of its creative apps, Adobe on Thursday launched a public test version of Photoshop Express.

Considered a web-based alternative to basic, offline image editing programs such as iPhoto or Photoshop Elements, Express allows users to organize and publish a gallery of images as well as make simple changes, including crops and color fixes.

The web app is completely free to use and gives users 2GB of photo storage, but requires a browser with Adobe's own Flash 9 animation plugin installed. A paid service is forthcoming and should add more features as well as extra storage space.

Mac hacked first in security expo contest

Apple's track record on security was tarnished on Thursday when Mac OS X was the first operating system to be compromised in a hacking contest at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The mystery crack by Charlie Miller was dependent on visiting a website containing malicious code. The exploit took just two minutes to surface at the start of the day, which also invited guests to hack Linux and Windows systems.

The exploit was presented on the second day of the three-day conference and appeared only once the competition eased rules, permitting hacks to require user actions rather than the strictly automatic hacks that were allowed the day before.

Miller wasn't allowed to publicize how he accomplished the feat, which organizing firm TippingPoint said would be passed on to Apple so it can develop a fix. However, the coding expert received the more immediate rewards of a $10,000 prize as well as the system he had infiltrated — a new MacBook Air.