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Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Speculation about future Power Mac case designs; comparing the various PowerBook G4 models; discussion of the materials used by Apple for the latest iBook case, and its susceptibility to cracking; creating a Web site that details photo paper and ink type compatibility; the merits of the Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" update; suggestions, discussion, reports, and news relating to Adium X Public Beta.
Analysts are looking for signs that sales of Apple's PowerMac G5 computers have improved, when the company posts its second-quarter results on April 14: CBSMarketWatch reports that "the higher-margin PowerMacs are seen as contributing more to Apple's earnings than the iPods, and an upgrade in Apple's creative markets is considered crucial to the company's future performance. analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are looking for the iconic computer company to earn 10 cents a share on $1.8 billion in revenue."
PowerLogix today announced lower pricing on PowerForce G4 single- and dual-CPU upgrades. PowerLogix says it is the sole supplier of 7457-based PowerPC upgrades, which "run far cooler that 7455-based upgrades, drawing 40% less power. The 7457 PowerPC also has twice the L2 cache, as well as higher clock speed, than the older 7455 PowerPC." The 1.2GHz version of the Power Mac G4 Cube CPU upgrade with fan kit is now $370 (was $460), while the 1.35GHz is $540 (new product). The single-processor PowerForce G4 is now $440 and $600 for 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz models, respectively, while the dual-processor PowerForce G4 counter-parts are $700 and $900 for dual-configurations of the same speed processor.
MCE Technologies today announced it has begun shipping shipping internal and external 8X DVD-/+R/RW solutions with full DVD authoring, storage, and backup software for both Power Mac and PC platforms. Each internal and external 8X DVD-/+R/RW drive includes Roxio Toast Lite 5 (Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X 10.2) as well as Toast Lite 6 (for Mac OS 10.2 or later), ImageMixer DVD Authoring Software for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, Dantz Retrospect Express backup software for Mac and PC, and Easy DVD & CD Creator Basic for PC. The 8X DVD-/+R/RW drive includes drivers for full compatibility with iTunes and Finder Burning under Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X and the internal version is also compatible with iDVD under Mac OS 10.2 or later. The 8X DVD-/+R/RW internal solution for Mac and PC is $150 and the 8X DVD-/+R/RW external FireWire & USB 2.0 drive is $200.
Evening tech news: SCO's motion to dismiss a Red Hat complaint has been denied in Delaware; Google hails its new e-mail service as a breakthrough in online communication, but consumer watchdogs are attacking it as an invasion of privacy that threatens to set a troubling precedent; advocacy groups ask FCC Chairman Michael Powell to protect Net phone companies from regulations that blanket traditional phone services; Microsoft may not be planning to ditch the hard drive in its next game console after all.
Avenza Systems today released MAPublisher 6.0. The mapmaking software for Adobe Illustrator can create high-quality maps from GIS data. Version 6.0 offers support for Adobe Illustrator CS, new floating MAP Views palette, improved drag-and-drop projecting, support for Illustrator symbols and styles and import/export support for additional map data file formats. Users can also create/save custom coordinate systems as well as automatically center and re-position anchors. Upgrades are $400, while the full version is $1000--both include 1-year of maintenance release. Boxed versions are expected in a few weeks. Avenza also offers MAPublisher 5.0 for FreeHand, a suite of Xtras that add mapmaking functionality to Macromedia Freehand 10 and MX.
Matias has released its new Tactile Pro keyboard, which brings "quality back to the Mac keyboard market." The Tactile Pro Keyboard is built from the same mechanical keyswitch technology that Apple used in its original Apple Extended Keyboard, widely viewed as the best keyboard Apple has made. “It has the same tactile feel as Apple's older keyboards, but with looks and features that match Apple's current machines,” said Vesna Vojnic, Marketing Manager for Matias. The Tactile Pro Keyboard is available now for $100.
Kelly McNeill of osViews has written an editorial on Apple's struggle with the Open Group over usage of the term "Unix". The Open Group claims that Apple is infringing upon its trademark and that the company was devaluing its asset by not adhering to the strict guidelines that it specified. "If the matter were an issue of simply adhering to a collection of standards, I can't imagine that Apple would have been reluctant to get its OS up to spec to avoid litigation, but [...] I have a hunch that it has something to do with the $100,000 yearly fee that the Open Group requires," McNeill says.
Red Giant Software today released Magic Bullet for Editors, a Final Cut Pro plug-in that enables filmmakers to add film treatments on the FCP timeline. Based on the award-winning Magic Bullet technology, the software delivers film stock emulation, diffusion filter, and easy-to-use film-look presets. Magic Bullet for Editors also includes the film damage creation tool, called Misfire, which accurately recreates characteristics of old film, including grain, splotches, and scratches as well as projection artifacts like flicker and gate weave. In addition to a master plug-in with 13 categories of control and 50 different looks, the suite includes plug-ins for another 13 effects. It is available for $300 and is optimized for the G4/G5.
Kaidan today began shipping its first software application, PiXiMation. First introduced at Macworld Expo, the application allows anyone to "create 3-D QTVR object movies on any turntable, including hand turned lazy susans. Now anyone with a Macintosh, iSight, or digital camera can create object movies of their collectibles, antiques, products or eBay auction items." The $100 application runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later and requires a FireWire-equipped Mac. The company also sells accessory items such as the Kaidan iSight Accessory Kit ($50), PiXi Jr. 9" Turntable ($15), PiXi 15" Manual Turntable ($90), and PiXi 10" Motorized Turntable ($100).
Monkey Tools today debuted two products in its new line of professional audio software tools. Sound Grinder ($40) is an audio batch converter for Mac OS X that offers high sample rate support, drag-n-drop operation, saved presets, movie file previews with audio export, and other advanced features. The company also released Library Monkey ($400), its tool for cataloging, managing and processing your audio assets. It features an advanced database structure, fast searching, CD ripping with true index support, and full conversion options. Both run on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
MetaCommunications today shipped a major upgrade to its Production Pack software for Virtual Ticket. Production Pack 3.0 adds support for Adobe InDesign and the Adobe Creative Suite on Mac OS X. It provides creative, publishing, and prepress staff the ability to access related production and digital asset information from within Adobe and QuarkXPress applications, by automatically capturing detailed multi-page document previews, rich XML metadata, and integrating into MetaCommunications' Virtual Ticket 5.5. The upgrade pricing is based on the number of licensed seats.
Aspyr has released a single-player demo of Command & Conquer Generals, the real-time strategy warfare game set to ship April 12 (and will be in stores April 16). The demo contains one training mission for the U.S. Side, and two complete game missions for the Chinese and the Global Liberation Army. Generals marks the return of the Command & Conquer franchise to the Mac. The game is available for pre-order for $50 (and runs on Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later). The full version supports network play and the GameRanger online gaming service. [Download - 362MB]
The Music Recommendation System for iTunes compares the songs you have rated in your iTunes library against an online database to determine a list of new music you may be interested in. The project, developed by students at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) currently has a limited number of rated songs in its database and thus admits that the recommendations may be "laughable," although as the project grows so should its accuracy. Client applications are available for both Mac OS X and Windows that extract your ratings and submit them to the database.
The Linux on iPod project recently released a new version of its firmware that includes full support first, second, and third generation iPods (but not the iPod mini). Wired News features a story on the subject, including quotes from the developer and reasons why someone would want Linux on their iPod.
Worldsync has expanded the beta test program for SyncDeK 5.0 to FileMaker Solutions Alliance (FSA) members. Beginning today, members can apply to WorldSync to test the upcoming bi-directional asynchronous data replication technology for data in FileMaker databases. Interested parties can apply online.
The Final Cut Pro Users Group will be gathering at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas on April 21 during NAB from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Set to appear on the agenda are Gary Adcock from the Chicago FCP User Group who will present, "HDTV and your Creativity: Using HD for Technical and Scientific Analysis," as well as Ted Schilowitz from AJA and First Assistant Editor Eric Jessen who will show and discuss the workflow that created the soon to be released movie, "SkyCaptain and The World of Tomorrow." Final Cut Pro Product Designer Brian Meaney and Apple's Paul Saconne will also be on hand to present and discuss the latest on Final Cut Pro.
Adium X 0.5 is the latest pre-release version of the forthcoming major revision to the popular instant messaging client. Adium X supports AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, Trepia, and Napster protocols, while the latest version also features preliminary support for file sharing across some services. [3.9MB] Boogie-Woogie Screen Saver 2.0 (freeware) is described as "a stylefull Screen Saver inspired by Piet Mondriaan, a Dutch painter whose works, characterized by intersecting perpendicular lines and planes of primary colors, and writings, notably Neoplasticism." Version 2.0 adds greater compatibility with Mac OS X Panther, solid background colors and a random settings mode. [128KB] A Better Finder Attributes 3.3 ($10) adds the ability to process files in subfolders to the Mac OS X Finder enhancement utility. The contextual menu plugin allows users to change the file date and other attributes of Mac OS X files, including both the modification and the creation date, file extension display, and file "lock". [1.3MB] NewsYouCanUse 1.0 (free) offers an online directory of over 260 news feeds and unobtrusive menubar notifications, allowing users to subscribe to multiple newsfeeds--all of which are accessible from the menubar in Mac OS X Panther. Users can specify RSS feeds, update intervals and alert sounds. [284KB] Gimp.app 2.0.0-2 is a self-contained Mac OS X application bundle of the newest version of the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Vvidget Code 9.3 offers a reliable and versatile way to convert data to graphs for presentation in both desktop and web applications. It includes more reference documentation for developers, support for more data sources (CGI scripts, flat files and form entry, etc.), improved layout options, and other features. It is available for $190. MacGhostView 3.0 ($20) is a general purpose Postscript and PDF previewer for the Macintosh and is based on ghostscript 7.05. Version 3.0 now offers full support for drag and drop, offers instant magnification of files, includes a new interface for setting page size, resolution, and color dept, and now bundles Unix shell script that can be used to launch MacGhostView from a command line under OS X. [7.5MB] 24U SimpleSound Plug-In 2.7 ($37) can record and play custom sound effects, spoken instructions, background music and other audio from within FileMaker. It supports QuickTime formats such as WAV, AIFF, and MP3. Version 2.7 brings performance improvements and support for FileMaker 7. [3.6MB]
FireWire Depot today introduced four new products: the 1394a/USB2.0 32-bit CardBus ($80) adds one 6-pin FireWire 400, one 4-pin FireWire, and two USB 2.0 ports to a laptop; the 4PowerTM Power Adapter ($29) allows Windows users to charge their iPod from a 4-pin FireWIre port; the RAID 5 System ($1,500) features USB 2.0, Serial ATA, and Firewire 800 interfaces and provides RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, 3 and 5 or JBOD configurations; and finally the DigiREC ($150) allows users to watch television on their computer through a USB 2.0 port, although Mac support for the product is still in development.
BusinessWeek says that the Apple Stores are not doing much to help Apple's market share: "Still, the proof is in the number of new Apple users, and that remains discouraging. In tech tracker International Data Corp.'s latest tally of computer market share, Apple's piece of the U.S computer pie slid from 3.5% in 2002 to 3.2% in 2003. The decline also speaks volumes about Apple's campaign to woo switchers -- if they were coming over in any significant numbers, then Apple would be growing faster than the broad PC market."
FileMaker today announced that it will preview FileMaker Server 7 for free to current FileMaker customers starting later this month. The company has started accepting pre-registrations for the preview via its website. FileMaker Server 7 will ship this summer for $1,000 ($500 upgrade), while FileMaker Server 7 Advanced will ship later this year for $2,500 ($1,500 upgrade).
The Wall Street Journal carries a story today on the higher prices customers are starting to face from online music stores. Apple, for example, is charging $17 for N.E.R.D.'s new 12-track Fly or Die album, while Napster charges $14--both higher than the $13.50 Amazon is selling the physical CD for. All five major record labels are also reportedly discussing ways to raise the price of single downloads, from increasing the price anywhere from $1.25 to $2.50, to bundling hot singles with less desirable tracks or charging more for singles of tracks that have not yet been released in stores.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k