Topics on the MacNN discussion forums today include: speculation about future PowerMac G5 offerings featuring the IBM 970FX processor; "cost of ownership" associated with the PC platform compared to the Mac platform; the Power Mac G5 computers being sold off by Virginia Tech and MacMall for an unusually high price; troubleshooting a PowerBook G4 that locks up inexplicably running Mac OS X 10.3; first impressions of Unreal Tournament 2004 demo for Mac OS X; expected shipping dates for the iPod Mini.
Afternoon tech news: Intel plans to unveil next week a prototype consumer portable computer that blurs the line between desktops and notebooks by shedding the traditional clamshell laptop design; a programming error has been identified as the cause of alarm failures that might have contributed to the scope of last summer's Northeast blackout, industry officials said; consumers should not submit their e-mail addresses to a Web site that promises to reduce unwanted "spam" because the site is fraudulent, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said today.
Marketcircle has released version 1.5.5 of DayLite its contact and sales manager. This new release includes a new streamlined contact creation process, new XML Web Lead import keys, smarter quick filter fields and significant performance improvements. DayLite v1.5.5 is free upgrade for registered users. DayLite sells for $150 per user.
Innobits has updated BitVice 1.5, its $300 MPEG2 software encoder application available for both G3- and G4-based Macs. Version 1.5 adds speed improvements (up to 400% faster in the first pass), improved chroma resolution/registration in interlaced mode, and a smart and motion adaptive de-interlacing feature. [Classic, form] iTunesWriter is a simple program that allows you to burn more than a single iTunes playlist on a digital media: "In this way you can keep well organized your growing MP3 collection by mean of using different sessions on a CD." It is freeware and runs on Mac OS X. [474KB] SizzlingKeys4iTunes 1.0 lets you control all aspects of iTunes with hot keys you define. The hot keys are fully customizable via an intuitive Preference Pane plug-in. The freeware runs Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [180KB] Nattress 1.2 is the latest update to Film Effects, the $100 24p film effect solution for Apple's Final Cut Pro. The free update offers improved intelligent de-interlacing for PAL users, and higher quality 24p for NTSC users. Version 1.2 also offers a film lab dissolve transition that emulates 5 different types of film dissolve and is fully configurable. Splendid City 2.7 helps organize team sport or game events, managing sport schedules of any size and complexity. It adds support for cross-divisional scheduling, support for Swiss Round Tournaments, adds a project schedule merge panel, and includes a schedule game calculator. Pricing starts at $36. [3.0MB] iTunesSaver is a basic screensaver to display the artwork (if available) and track information of the current iTunes track. It supports a range of features, such as fixed positioning, scalable artwork, and automatic starting of iTunes. Version 2.2 restores text movement, offers adjustable artwork size, and an option to start iTunes when the screen saver is invoked. [91KB]
CEI has released its Ensight software suite for Mac OS X, with optimization for Power Mac G4 and G5 sytems. Included in the suite are EnSight, EnSight Gold, and EnLiten, which run under X11. The company's EnVideo is already native for Mac OS X. CEI's products cover key aspects of model pre- and post-processing, visualization and communication.
A 2.5GHz version of IBM's new PowerPC 970FX, featured in the Xserve G5 and presumably in future Power Mac G5 systems, will be announced next week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference, according to c|net. The chip is manufactured utilizing IBM's new 90nm processing, reducing the chip's need for power, among other advantages. "It's logical that Apple would select the flexibility of this chip for a next-generation notebook computer," Richard Doherty, research director at Envisioneering, told Reuters, hinting at the possibility of a PowerBook G5.
Mac customers remain important to PalmSource, despite the company's discontinuation of built-in Mac support in the next version of the Palm OS. "Palm OS provides an open and flexible architecture and allows its licensees to decide whether to ship a Mac compatibility solution with their Palm Powered device. One such solution is provided by Mark/Space," PalmSource said in a statement given to Macworld UK. "We are continuing our efforts with Apple to provide compatibility between Palm OS and Macintosh."
Feral Interactive today announced that the Mac version of XIII, a comic book-based first person shooter, has reached beta status and is expected to ship in April. In honor of this milestone, the company has posted a short teaser of the game on its site. XIII was released on the major gaming platforms last November.
SubRosaSoft has released CDRestore 2.0, a utility that recovers data from damaged or scratched CD and burns a new disc. Version 2.0 includes Audio CD support, CD burning capability, and a new and streamlined interface. Users can also remove songs, or change play order on audio CDs. CDRestore 2.0 sells for $25; it is a free upgrade to v1.x owners and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Tech Superpowers, the company behind Boston's largest free wireless network, is soliciting Mac users to donate their unused or broken AirPort base stations for use in a new, and currently secretive, WiFi endeavor. "Donate your airport base station and we'll promise to use for the good of the free WiFi community. Once your Base Station is used for the good of the world around, we'll send you a picture of what it doing in its new life."
The University of Bergen in Norway will be home to the first Xserve G5 cluster in that country, according to a note (in Norwegian) posted on OfficeLine EDBergen, the Apple reseller that will be providing the four Xserve G5 systems. The cluster will be capable of performing 16 gigaflops per second and will be utilized by the Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology to calculate protein sequences.
Casio's new Exlim Pro EX-P600 digital camera is a 6-megapixel camera that features a 4x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom with quick startup and release time lags and a high-speed continuous shutter. The camera can be used in conjunction with the three commercially available Canon conversion lenses, offers a large, high-definition 2.0-inch TFT LCD monitor, and includes a wireless remote control for slow shutter and self-timer photos. The EX-P600 will sell for $650 when it ships in April.
Along with an affordable 5-megapixel camera announced Thursday, Concord Camera has introduced the Eye-Q 2040 and Eye-Q 3040, 2- and 3-megapixel cameras that feature 4x digital zoom and carry $110 and $130 price tags, respectively. Also introduced were four VGA and one-megapixel cameras that double as webcams. The Eye-Q Splash, Eye-Q 640, Eye-Q 1000, and Eye-Q 1200 range in price from $40-$70.
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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