Authorized Apple resellers in Canada began receiving shipments of Apple's new iPod as early as this morning. Shipments to international stores had not been expected until Friday, as originally projected by Apple.
Alsoft has released DiskWarrior 3.0, an upgrade to its popular utility for the Mac that adds several new major features, including native Mac OS X directory rebuilding for Mac OS X Extended disks, as well as disks running under earlier versions of the Mac OS. Also new to this version are significant speed improvements, support for journaling, and a component that uses a drive's built-in S.M.A.R.T. technology to monitor drive hardware, giving users the opportunity to back up data when hardware is in danger of failing. The new version retains its ability to compare the existing directory with the rebuilt one, showing users which files and folders have been affected by directory damage before any changes have been made to their disks. DiskWarrior is $80; upgrades are $40.
Destineer’s MacSoft today announced that a ‘Beta Tech Demo’ of the highly-anticipated Unreal Tournament 2003 will be released this evening as a free download. Unreal Tournament 2003 was created by Digital Extremes in collaboration with Epic Games. It is being ported to the Mac by Epic Games and published for the Mac by MacSoft. The Beta Tech Demo will be available beginning at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time; download links will be provided at that time. Update: the download is now available.
TC Works today shipped Spark XL 2.8 with support for Apple Audio Units as well as compatibility for all included VST FX-Plug-Ins, hosting of Audio Units Plug-Ins, and a new Loop Window that provides crossfade looping, Loop Edit tools, a Set-tempo feature and key mapping information for samplers. The workflow has also been improved with a new Overview File management and improved database handling in Spark's Browser View, while the Batch Converter is now ideal for processing complex libraries with nested folders by maintaining the original folder structure for the target files. It also provides completely user assignable key commands and support for long file names. The $600 application only supports Mac OS X. Upgrades from 2.x are $100.
Apple's Phil Schiller says the iTunes Music Store is designed as part of Apple's digital-life strategy, according to a BusinessWeek Online interview: "e're not looking at it in terms of a stand-alone business. It's part of all the things we're doing at Apple. And first of all, I hope it can drive more iPod business....In addition, it's part of the whole digital-life strategy, and it has been very successful for us. iTunes has become the most popular application used by Mac customers -- more popular than mail or word processing. To date, we have distributed 20 million copies of [iTunes software]. I explain that as a way to point out that digital-lifestyle applications are becoming a reason for purchasing a computer. And music is probably the most important one."
Rogue Amoeba has updated Audio Hijack Pro 1.2 its audio utility with functions for grabbing and enriching audio. It allows users to record Internet streams, capture DVD audio, or convert between any audio format (Real, WMP, AAC or any other) to AIFF and MP3 formats. Version 1.2 adds Pipe Dream plugin, VU meters, German localization, and options for excluding applications. [2.4MB] The Omni Group released OmniGraffle 3.0.1b1, which contains bug fixes for the most commonly reported problems since the 3.0 releases, as well as some preliminary performance enhancements and additions to the online help. The fixes added include better shadow printing, improved import of and export to Visio's XML format, and increased application stability. [OG, OG Pro] XRG 0.2.1 is an update to the open-source system monitor application for Mac OS X. XRG will monitor your CPU usage, memory usage, network activity, disk activity, local weather, and stock market data. New features in the 0.2.1 release include interface refinements in the preferences panel, the ability to save and load color themes, version checking, PPP traffic graphing, and separate disk read/write graphs. [588KB] SQL4X Manager J 2.5 Enterprise Edition for Mac OS X is a $60 professional database tool for administrators and web site developers. The new release can execute stored procedures (Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase); run anonymous PL/SQL blocks (Oracle); easily create MySQL/PHP web pages to list tables; it the ability to graphically enter and modify stored procedures, functions, triggers and many other objects (Oracle); and an improved SQL Console and Viewer. [5.4MB] XML Editor 2.0.1 fixes several bugs and adds a series of user interface improvements to the XML editor that supports XML, XSD, XSL, and DTD to offer flexible XML editing it allows users to manage all XML related documents. A 30-day demo of the $75 Java-based application. [12MB]
MCE has released a DVD-R/RW video authoring and data solution for Apple's PowerBook (FireWire) and PowerBook G3 Series – 1999 (Bronze/Lombard) machines. The MCE Expansion Bay DVD-R/RW drive includes Macintosh DVD-authoring software for the creation of DVD-Video discs, playable in most home and computer DVD players, in addition to software for burning data DVDs of 4.7GB and CDs of up to 700MB. The drive fits into the PowerBook’s right-side expansion bay slot. It writes/rewrites to DVD-RW media at 1X speed, writes to standard CD-R media at 16X speed, and writes/rewrites to CD-RW media at 10X speed. The drive reads standard DVD-ROM media at 8X speed, reads CD-ROM media at 24X speed, and reads data stored on DVD-RAM discs at 2X speed. The drive is $450.
FirewireDirect has introduced its new FireWire 800 1394b PCI Host Adapter Card, the first new product to ship in a series of upcoming FireWire 800 products from the company. The new 3-port FireWire 800 card, shipping in mid May, is one of the first cards announced early in the 1394b new product rollout. It has two fully compliant bilingual 9-pin FireWire 800 ports and a single legacy 6-pin 400Mbps FireWire connector for existing FireWire devices and cabling. The $80 card is a lower profile PCI host adapter.
MSNBC's review of the iTunes Music Store says that music quality is not up to par with the overall experience: "All hail Apple’s iTunes Music Store. It’s very well thought out, and beautifully executed. If only as much thought had gone into the sound quality, which is far from beautiful."
Apple has posted both Mac OS X 10.2.6 update as well as Mac OS X 10.2.6 Combo Update for older system versions. [10.2.6, Combo] XMMS Remote is a two part software solution that uses web-services to remotely control and display the status of the xmms media player: "This requires xmms, xmms-shell, perl 5.6.0 or higher, SOAP::Lite, xmms must be running. You may want to see the support article before you try to set it up." [client, server] IGG Software's iBank 1.03 is a feature-rich financial manager that syncs with iWork. New features in iBank 1.0.3 include significant speed improvements, better tabbing behavior between transactions and numerous small bug fixes. The $20 software runs on Mac OS X. [1.3MB] Mireth Technology has released ShredIt 5.0 for Mac OS 8/9. The $20 privacy utility functions as an electronic document shredder, securely deleting files, folders and disk free space. New in this release is optional standards compliance, with the option to shred to Department of Defense 5220 standard, NSA standard or Gutmann standard. [2.4MB] Bruno Blondeau has released Watcher'84 1.2, a $15 shareware automated web page watcher for Mac OS X. The utility monitors a list of favorites web pages and notifies you when something gets updated. It offers improved news detection for many popular web sites, better advertisement detection, drag & drop suppor, and improved performance. [356KB] IP in menubar 1.0 is a freeware utility from Monkey Bread Software that displays the current IP of your Mac in the top right area of the menu bar. [832KB] Northern Softworks today released Jaguar Cache Cleaner 1.8, its Mac OS X maintenance and utility application. The $8 shareware offers flexible system cache cleaning, Finder cleaning, repair disk permissions functions, and other system functions. Version 1.8 can now rebuild the Services menu without the need for a logout or restart and now allows for automated maintenance. [2.4MB]
OpenOSX today began shipping a new 5.0.2 version of its Grass GIS CD and has published the official Grass 5.0.2 Mac OS X binaries. The new version brings updated software, an improved all native (Cocoa-based) graphical user interface, along with additional enhancements and improved stability. Grass (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is a complete multi-platform Geographical Information System (GIS). The new version fixes several potential issues discovered with previous versions of the product and includes Tcl/Tk 8.4.2 to support the native Mac OS X Aqua interface. Grass and all of the required and optional libraries have been compiled utilizing gcc 3.1 for impressive native Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2.x) performance. The product is completely compatible with Apple's X11 application and includes an optional XFree 4.3.0 installation. The CD is $50, while upgrades are $20.
Memorex has announced its new CD and DVD label maker software, exPressit SE 2.1 with support for both PC and Mac OS X platforms. Users can easily design and print labels as well as CD and DVD inserts using exPressit's extensive image library and ability to import images. It includes more than 600 images--300 of which are licensed from the Hemera image library. Design templates include those for CD and DVD cases, pocket CDs, mini discs, e-business cards, VHS videos, audiocassettes, floppy disks, and ZIP disks. Users can import and manipulate graphics, add text, format designs and automatically fit designs onto 15 templates. A full version of the software is now available in all related Memorex label maker products including LabelMaker Pro, LabelMaker Compact, labels, wallets and jewel case inserts.
Apple has been nominated twice in the Product Design category in the prestigious D&AD awards for 2003, according to Macworld UK. Apple's flat-panel iMac and its Xserve are among the four products that have been nominated along with a Casio digital camera and Nike's PSA Portable Sports Audio Collection.
Apple's PowerSchool is among the winners of the 2003 Codie Awards. The Web-based student information was honored in as the 'Best K-16 Education Administration Solution' at the 18th annual presentation of the Software & Information Industry Association's Codie Awards. More than 330 companies nominated more than 650 products. First round judging was completed by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from the industry trade press, mainstream technology writers and industry experts. Second round judging was based on votes from SIIA members. Member companies were allotted one vote per company in each Codie Award category. Apple's FileMaker 6 won as the Best Numeric/Database Application. Macromedia Flash MX took home the award for the Best Business Productivity Product or Service and the Best Internet-Based Communication/Collaboration Solution.
PeopleSoft has announced plans to certify Apple's open source-based Safari web browser: "The Safari browser delivers the fastest web browser performance in the Mac OS X environment and once certified will enable PeopleSoft users to be more productive. Users of PeopleSoft applications will be able to take advantage of unique features of Apple's Safari including SnapBack navigation [and] tabbed browsing..." Apple Safari browser support will be provided in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Aspyr announced that "Law & Order: Dead on the Money" will soon be available on the Mac with conversion being done by TransGaming Interactive. The interactive, 3D mystery game allows fans to realistically solve an original Wall Street murder case: "The compelling CD-ROM game is set in the realistic world of criminal investigation and legal prosecution, where crime and justice are viewed from a dual perspective." It is expected to ship later this month for $30.
WiebeTech has announced the DuoGB, which allows users to easily use two drives from within a single external FireWire enclosure. The two drives will mount as separate drives or can use Mac OS X's built-in RAID functions to stripe or mirror the drives. A single OXFW911 bridge supports two drives with full ATA-6 support (up to 250GB each). The aluminum offers EMI protection and ruggedness for prices starting at $180 (case only). It will also be available in 240GB ($450), 360GB ($640), and 500GB ($870) using two identical capacity drives. Stock of each model is expected within a week.
Virtix has released Virtix iBubble for iMovie, a package of 13 titles with its own custom user interface that "allows you to place these titles anywhere you want them! Virtix iBubble contains 'Thought Bubbles' and 'Speech Bubbles'. These cartoon-like images allow you to make it look like a person is speaking certain words or is thinking certain thoughts. You can move these bubbles around so that they look like they are associated with one person in particular. Virtix iBubble also has "Labels with Arrows". You can use the custom user interface to place the labels and direct the arrows to certain objects." It is compatible with Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and works with iMovie 2 and iMovie 3. It is $25.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl