Apple is likely to unveil a video-enabled iPod at next week's Macworld Expo, says industry analyst Rob Enderle. "This time analysts don't expect any major computer introductions, in part because there is a good deal of Macintosh inventory in distribution channels," explains a Forbes article. Several analysts suggest that Apple is not likely to introduce and handheld computer at this time, and will instead focus on iPod-like devices.
Freeverse Software today made available preview releases of eight new Internet-ready board games for the Macintosh. The games -- which will continue to be offered as freeware even after the previews expire on February 1 -- offer online play and ranking via the GameSmith opponent matching service. "We're offering these eight games in gratitude to the entire Macintosh community for its unwavering support of Freeverse over the years," said Ian Lynch Smith, President of Freeverse. Full support for Apple's Rendezvous networking technology is planned for the final releases, which will debut before February 1.
charlieX Screen Rulers 3.1 is a minor update to the $15 set of on-screen rulers and desktop measuring tools for Mac OS X. Version 3.1 fixes problems with the 'Help' file display, updates the dragging ruler interface, and improves Mac OS X 10.2.3 compatibility. [Download - 1.8MB] Chaotic Software today released FridgeMagnets 1.0, a free application that allows Mac OS X users to place virtual "fridge magnets" over their desktops. "We just thought it would be fun to write (and it was), and thought you might enjoy it," says the developer. [Download - 914KB] MacDICT has been updated to version 2.5. This release includes access to an encyclopedia, and functions better under Mac OS X. MacDICT is a $10 client for the DICT protocol. It connects to dict.org to provide access to a number of databases, including Webster's Dictionary and the World FactBook. [Download - Classic, OS X] PhotoRescue 22.214.171.124 is a maintenance update to the digital photo recovery solution for Mac OS X. Version 126.96.36.199 of the $30 application incldues an unspecified number of enhancements. PhotoRescue will recover data from from Smartmedia, Memory Stick, and CompactFlash media. [Download - 240KB] Brightness Control 1.0.2 introduces a more compact interface, and adds new features to the free Mac OS X utility for rapidly adjusting screen brightness. Version 1.0.2 also adds the ability to restore brightness to the normal setting when the application is closed. [Download - 250KB] Ken Winograd and Space-Time Associates today released Hang3000 2.0.3, an update to the Mac-compatible version of the classic game that includes two new categories: Country Music and Jazz. The "secretly educational" game costs $25 to register, and is compatible with Mac OS 9 and OS X. [Download - 1.2MB] Added: Stone Design today released PStill 2.5, an update to its $70 PostScript to Portable Document Format (PDF) conversion program. New features include the ability to combine multiple PS, PDF, and graphic image files into one PDF document, and the ability to redistill PDF files to create smaller files. Additionally, the developer released StampInStone 2.0 ($50), an update to the native Mac OS X PDF watermarking application. [Download - StampInStone, PStill]
Apple next week will announce a plan to charge for upgrades to its "digital hub" software, according to c|net. "Apple is expected to announce at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco Tuesday that consumers will have to pay for new versions of iDVD, iPhoto and iMovie, which will be sold together as a bundle. Previously, Apple had offered upgrades to its digital media, or 'i' applications, for free...The move to charge up to $50 for the software trio is potentially the first step in charging for all six "i" applications, which would continue to be bundled for free with new Macs."
KAUi Software is offering full-day, fee-based seminars on Final Cut Pro, Microsoft Office v. X, Mac OS X, QuickTime 6, DVD Authoring, Acrobat 5, and Digital Workflows with Adobe. "All classes provide workbooks, CDs, and real-world examples of solutions using each product," explains KAUi. Most seminars cost about $600 per user. A complete iCal-compatible schedule is available.
The recently-formed Final Cut Pro User Group Network will hold the world's "largest" gathering of Final Cut Pro users next week at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The event -- which will be held at the Marriott Hotel on January 8 -- will bring together leaders from the Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Cupertino FCP user groups, as well as dozens of other FCP gurus from the USA and abroad.
Wired News talks about the future of Macworld Expo tradeshows, noting that next week's show may be the last as Apple prepares to move to series of smaller, regional conferences (much like Macromedia): "If Apple pulls out of the summer 2003 show in New York, which looks likely, other big exhibitors are liable to follow suit. If so, the show could suffer the same fate as Macworld Tokyo, which was cancelled after Apple withdrew. According to Macworld organizer IDG World Expo, Apple will make a decision about attending the summer show in New York by the end of January. A cancellation could also spell the demise of the San Francisco show, the largest of the Macworld events in the United States, say longtime Mac watchers and industry hounds. The rumor is that Apple is planning to organize its own, smaller, regional conferences. "
Crywolf and Noren Products have announced new enclosures to "meet the specific needs of Apple customers for noise reduction, heat dissipation, size, style and affordability." The CoolMac Silencer enclosures utilize Noren's proprietary heat pipe and air flow technologies to provide 100% silent cooling which eliminates the need for external fans. The company claims that compuers inside the CoolMac Silencer actually run below their normal (i.e. natural convection) operating temperature and that the enclosures reduce the noise of an Apple Xserve from 82 dB to 38 dB and a PowerMac G4 from 65 dB to 37 dB. The gCab is designed for PowerMac G4s that must operate in environments requiring near silence, such as a sound or video production studio. It holds "a few external optical drives" and features a slide out tray. The xCab 7U rack mount system can be configured to hold up to 6 Xserves or any non-Apple rack mount server 31" in length.
Alias|Wavefront is now shipping Maya Personal Learning Edition 4.5, a special version of Maya that provides free access to Maya's 3D and animation functions for non-commercial use. Version 4.5, as noted by Loop Rumors, offers a watermark-free wire frame mode, open native Maya ASCII and binary files, advanced NURBS modeling and subdivision surface from Maya complete 4.5, and Japanese documentation. A Maya|Beginner's Guide ($20) includes the software and a one-hour DVD learning guide and booklet, while a free download is available online.
Blue World has released its Lasso Professional 6.0.2 Update witih enhanced support for JDBC data sources, allowing the Lasso Database Browser to instantly browse enterprise-level databases such as Sybase, Frontbase, OpenBase, Oracle and more on all supported platforms. Users can also now utilize the Site Builder, Form Builder and other Lasso productivity wizards to build data-driven Web sites backed by enterprise-level databases. It is a free update to the $1,200 Web development and deployment application. Blue World also posted step-by-step directions for connecting Lasso to Sybase and FrontBasevia JDBC on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. [30.5MB]
iCal Script Integrator 1.1 allows you to use AppleScript straight out of iCal's events by modifying its "e-mail notification" script, allowing iCal to schedule tasks or start applications for you. [123KB] Hamrick Software's VueScan 7.6 is a $40 scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce high-quality scans with advanced color fidelity and color balance, the ability to restore faded colors, and batch scanning options. It adds description and copyright fields to Files tab, increases scan speed on some Epson scanners, supports Photoshop Elements as a photo viewer, and has other enhancements. It runs on Mac OS 9/X. [2.0MB] NYRO Technix is shipping NXRAID v1.1, its software-based RAID 5 solution that offers partition- based RAID for IDE, FireWire, SCSI and Fiber Channel systems under Mac OS X.. This latest release includes new features, such as four-drive advanced configuration for the Xserve, auto-degrade on the Xserve and select fiber channel systems, and GUI with authentication on all systems. A special discount of $20 is available on the $190 product at Macworld Expo SF. Summary 2.3.2 adds more support for search engines, new language codes, the ability to run on "headless" Macs (OS X command Line version), and other changes to Jason Linhart's log file analysis software. It is available in Basic ($60, support for 3 domains), Plus ($250, 50 domains), and SP ($700, 1,000 domains) versions. [Classic, OSX]
Readers note that Apple will introduce an online address book for its .Mac customers on January 7th as noted by a graphic on the Website. It will offer the ability to sync the Mac OS X 10.2 Address Book with the online service through iSync.
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Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv
CarPlay comes to Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche has revealed that its new 718 Cayman series will be the latest vehicles in its range equipped with support for Apple CarPlay. The new Porsche models joins the recently announced 718 Boxster, the 2017 Macans and the 2016 model of the 911 in offering support for Apple's iOS in the car interface. Both are fitted standard with an eight speaker sound system and the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system. The entry-level Cayman starts at $53,9000, while the faster S variant starts from $66,300. Although already on sale, the won't reach US dealers until late November. http://prn.to/1Tj1EW7
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6