Members of the MacNN Forums today discuss a number of topics, including: testing a PowerBook or iBook's battery capacity (which degrades over time); an ongoing thread for users to post photos of their PowerBook setups; discussion of an article that criticizes the intuitiveness of Apple's Mac OS X; continued discussion of Mac OS X GUI customization, and new themes; speculation and discussion of the upcoming OmniWeb 5 browser; the latest news on the Mac OS X version of the highly-popular Halo.
Mozilla.org has released Mozilla 1.5.1, an update to the open-source browser. New features include a spellchecker for MailNews and Composer, additional MailNews improvements, improvements to Mozilla Composer, an overhaul of the ChatZilla IRC client, improvements to tabbed browsing, and other enhancements.
Japan Consuming provided a report on the upcoming Apple Store in Tokyo: "Apple will open its first directly operated store outside the US in Tokyo November 30. Split over five floors the store has sales space of about 1,000 sqm and is located in central Ginza. At a press conference at the Ginza store Thursday, Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple will open its second store in Japan in Osaka in the fall of 2004. Apple has been raising its profile in Japan as much as elsewhere and finding considerable success both as a recognized brand and for its new high tech gadgets. The iPod in particular has found a strong following in Japan, and Apple has backed this up with TV advertising and in store events across the country."
The Wild Bits has released Ask The DJ 1.5 ($30), analyzes beats to perform truly seamless transitions between tracks. This new version improves the tracks browser by adding iTunes-like appearance: "Ask The DJ matches beats and adapts tempos whenever needed so the music always flows, even when cross-fading between tracks with different bpms. It also automatically cuts unrhythmical intros and outros, and levels volume as well as produces seamless transitions--even when mixing tracks with different tempos. It requires Mac OS X and plays files in MP3, AAC or AIFF format.
Sig Software has released Drop Drawers X 1.6.3 for Mac OS X, bringing full compatibility with OS X 10.3 (Panther). Drop Drawers provides floating drawers on the sides of monitors to store text, URLs, aliases, scripts, pictures, sounds, movies and anything else. Information in drawers can be viewed, edited, inserted and launched by clicking or pressing a user-defined key. Version 1.6.3 for Mac OS X fixes aesthetic issues with OS X 10.3 and adds text editing in Japanese and other multi-byte languages. The $20 application is available in English, French, German and Japanese versions.
SquidCam 1.5 is a video phone/video chat application intended for use with broadband connections. It enables you to have a conversation with one or more people using SquidCam over a network (LAN and/or Internet) connection, supporting audio and video connectivity, as well as text messaging. It supports both USB and FireWire devices, offers "extremely low latency compared to other video and VoIP applications," and has a LANcast mode for multi-person conferences over a local network. The $25 application runs on Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later. A limited time offer of 2 separate registrations for $15 is available.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE