MacWorld: Apple unveils iSync

Apple Computer unveiled iSync - a wired and wireless synchronisation technology that allows users to synchronise data between...

Apple Computer unveiled iSync - a wired and wireless synchronisation technology that allows users to synchronise data between multiple handhelds, desktop, and laptop devices simultaneously - at the MacWorld show in New York this week.

Using Bluetooth, USB, and/or Firewire, users will be able to synchronise contact and calendar data among a Bluetooth phone, a Palm-based PDA, an Apple iPod MP3 player, and a Mac desktop and notebook all at the same time, said Apple director of product marketing Joey Hayashi.

"The software will also resolve any [version] conflicts," Hayashi said.

The iPod includes calendar and contact software.

Although Bluetooth is not natively supported in existing Macs, the next version of Mac OS 10, shipping 24 August, will have an integrated Bluetooth stack. In the meantime, there are third-party suppliers, such as DLink, that sell a Bluetooth dongle, said Hayashi.

Apple also unveiled a partnership with wireless carrier Cingular and handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson.

The deal will allow Apple to include mobile phones in its overall mobile digital hub strategy, which aims to have digital devices - including cameras, MP3 players, handhelds and now handsets - communicate with each other.

The iSync software will work with the Sony Ericsson T68i phone offered by Cingular to its customers. The T68i includes Bluetooth as well as full PIM (personal information management) software. Although the T68i PIM uses proprietary software, it will now synchronise with organisers on other iSync-supported devices.

Apple will also interoperate with SynchML, a growing synchronisation standard supported by most carriers and handset manufacturers.

The iSync software can also be used to initiate and receive calls from the Mac. A dialog box will appear on the screen and the system will look up the caller's number in the contact database, which then appears in a dialog box on the screen.

If the user chooses not to answer the call, he or she can respond with an SMS message.

The iSync will be available as a free download in September.

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