Forbes.com speculates on the upcoming release of updated iPods in its business roudup for upcoming week: "...the Apple rumor mill is bubbling up with buzz about an upgrade to Apple's popular iPod digital music player. Japan's Toshiba is said to have developed a 40-gigabyte version of the 1.8-inch hard drive that would be the heart of the new iPod. Neither Apple nor Toshiba has said anything about either the iPod or the existence of the drive... new iPods do see the light of day, chances are it will happen on a Tuesday. If the last few months are any indicator, Apple tends to favor Tuesdays for new product announcements."
PodPod, an elegant easel for your iPod, is now available from Chally Micro solutions for an introductory price of $13: "For as little as one third the price of alternatives, the PodPod protects the iPod's surface with small rubber bumpers to apply wherever you like, and holds it at a comfortable and convenient angle. It works great with most covers, such as the Groove Jacket."
The Iconfactory has released IconBuilder Pro 4.0, its professional icon construction filter for Adobe Photoshop. Version 4.0 adds support for Open/Drop folder states in Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar, featurs to improve speed and ease-of-use with QuickBuild, an expanded User's Guide with new tips and tricks, and improved user interface. Upgrades to the $70 product are $20. It requires Photoshop 7 and Mac OS X. [2.7MB] DiVA 1.0b3 features new GUI layout, datarate calculation improvements, improved framerates with NTSC, and new aspect ratio calculation based on ITU standard. DiVA is High Speed, High Quality MPEG-2 to QuickTime transcoder which features an all YUV graphics pipeline and pro-level image scaling, for maximum image fidelity. The built in crop/scale panel and support for NTSC 3:2 pull-down makes video manipulation simple: "Combined with 3ivx D4 4.0.3 DiVA achieves framerates in excess of 40fps on a Dual-1GHz G4." [581KB] Black Cat Systems has released Diet Sleuth 4.0.1, which includes improvements to the report package, as well as several bug fixes to the company's $35 nutritional database and personal health logbook. It allows you to keep track of what foods you eat each day, and their nutritional value. [Classic, OSX] The freeware PictureMe 0.98 provides an easy way to add pictures to the people in your Address Book: "Simply open a picture file or drag a photo from iPhoto. Crop the picture and drag and drop on the Address Book panel. Perfect for adding multiple people images into your Address Book from one group photo." It works on Mac OS X 10.2 only. [196KB] August Software has updated its Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) networking system, ODBC Router, adding full support for the new ODBC features built-in to Mac OS X 10.2 and FileMakerPro, as well as providing substantial performance improvements, a free evaluation mode, enhanced network database browsers and special support for applications that pass images as SQL query-parameters. ODBC Router connects Macs, Linux boxes and PCs to standard Windows database drivers installed on a central Windows computer. Pricing starts at $100.
REAL Software today released REALbasic 5 for Macintosh, its development tool for creating software for Macintosh and Windows. The new version includes enhanced support for Mac OS X version 10.2 "Jaguar" including drawers, brushed-metal windows and toolbars.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R