Mediafour today released XPlay 2, a new version of its popular Windows software for iPod users. Version 2 offers new features, including compatibility with Audible files, AAC files, and automatic WMA-to-MP3 conversion. Mediafour also says that XPlay 2 is also much faster than the original XPlay, has improved support for international characters, displays album art, supports play counts, and has a "greatly-enhanced" interface under Windows XP. XPlayoffers Windows connectivity for iPods, including Windows integration for Mac-formatted iPods and compatibility with older versions of Windows, including Windows Me and Windows 98SE. Upgrades to the $30 application are $15.
Iomega today began shipping its new Iomega REV 35GB/90GB drive, a removable storage alternative to tape and other backup and archiving solutions. Iomega says that the REV disks transfer data up to eight times faster than tape, are smaller than a deck of playing cards (10 x 77 x 75 mm), can store up to 90GB of compressed data, and can be rewritten more than a million times (estimated) and offer a shelf life of more than 30 years. The REV drives offer a maximum sustained transfer rate of 25 MB/sec, and use drag and drop random access technology to copy and restore individual files. Both the external USB 2.0 ($400) and internal ATAPI versions ($380) are available.
ListSaver 2.0 adds the ability to rebuild manually updated iPods from scratch, including automatically copying the music files from the local library to the iPod. This allows a user to perform a software restore on a manual iPod, and then return it to its previous state, as well as creating multiple iPods with the same set of music. [1.2MB] Basecamp, a web-based project management tool with RSS and iCal integration, has added file uploading and sharing to its feature set. The hosted service offers project status messages, milestones, to-do lists, project overviews, etc. Pricing starts at $20 per month. Studiometry 1.2 ($55) helps organize Client data, Project data, Project files, To Do's, Debts, Invoices, Reports, Notes, and more. Version 1.2 adds Windows compatibility, allowing users to copy their data file to a Windows computer and access it exactly as they would on the Mac. This update also adds customizable project specs, a completely new Alerts window, multi-threading, etc. [2.6MB] OpenOSX TojanDefuser is an application to disarm variations of the concept Trojan Horse "MP3Virus.Gen" while leaving the data intact. The drag and drop open source Cocoa application "TrojanDefuser" is available as a free download. [1.2MB] Conoa 3D 1.8 ($300) and Conoa EasyShapes 1.4 ($110) both feature improved rendering speed and reduced memory usage. Additionally, Conoa EasyShapes adds separate controls for manipulating the opacity of the front and rear of the objects and the ability to invert texture maps horizontally. Both work as plug-ins within Adobe After Effects 4.1, Final Cut Pro (v3.0 or later), Discreet Combustion 3, and Avid systems. [form] In-Out Board is a new cross-platform employee status tracking tool that allows you to automate your company's In/Out board or other employee tracking systems into a flexible electronic status board. Users can easily set their status as well as leave notes (i.e.how they can be reached, when they'll be back). It features custom categories as well as can connect remote offices over the internet. Pricing starts at $9 per user. [Classic, OSX] Two Due 1.5 ($10) updates the Java-based to-do list manager with a new find command, the ability to mass change from one category, improved web publishing (with a new playback of scripts recorded using TDF Czar), pending status display, import of data from tab-delimited files or HTML bookmark files, and web page validation. [882KB]
BBC News looks at Real Networks and the global roll-out of its latest audio and video player, RealPlayer 10: "for Real Networks the launch comes at a crucial time, caught as it is between the Microsoft rock and the Apple hard place, both of which are pushing hard into the company's market place. Microsoft media player keeps gaining market share, while Apple in recent months has managed to grab headlines with its iTunes service. However, speaking to BBC News Online, Real Networks chief executive Rob Glaser is bullish: 'If having 350m users worldwide is between a rock and a hard place, then it's a very nice situation to be in.'"
IDG World Expo today offered a "first look" at some of the industry-leading companies that will be exhibiting at the upcoming Macworld Conference & Expo in Boston. IDG says that Quark, Harman Multimedia and Xerox as well as a dozen other companies have signed up to participate a the Expo, which takes place July 12-15, 2004 at the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Macworld Boston will also offer a educational program, networking opportunities and hands-on product demonstrations. Other exhibitors include Alias, Belkin, Brenthaven, Disc Makers, DriveSavers, Harmony Remote, IOGEAR, Parliant, Prosoft Engineering, Roku, Sassasfras, Software MacKiev, and Sonnet Technologies.
Creo today released Pandora 2.6, a new version of its step-and-repeat tool for folding carton and label manufacturers. Version 2.6 of Pandora, built for Mac OS X, includes performance enhancers-up to 90 percent over Pandora 2.5 running on Mac OS 9. Pandora uses open file standards such as PDF and JDF to enable seamless integration with many workflow systems. This easy-to-use software features innovative technologies such as SmartMarks and ShopMap˙ software, and dramatically reduces the time it takes to create step-and-repeat layouts.
Other World Computing today has reduced prices by as much as 10 percent on its Mercury Extreme line of G4 processor upgrades. ZThe Mercury Extreme G4 line features Tantalum-dipped components and an ultra-quiet custom cooling system with a pre-attached heat-sink and fan in "order to maximize the reliability and longevity of the upgrade," according to the company. The company cut prices by $30 on its 867MHz-933MHz (now $250), 867MHz-1.0GHz (now $270), G4/1.0-1.1GHz (now $300), and G4/1.25-1.4GHz ($420). The G4/1.25-1.33GHz is now $390 ($10 drop) and the G4/1.4-1.467GHz is $480 ($20 drop).
Keyspan has started shipping its USB Server, which connects USB devices to a Mac or PC via wired or wireless Ethernet-based LAN. The USB server functions similarly to a print server and features four USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port for connecting to networks. The Keyspan USB Server sells for $130.
GUI Galaxy, a Web site "by and for graphic designers," has relaunched today with a new site design, daily news posts, an RSS newsfeed, OS X icons an software, staff-designed apparel, and user-driven newsletter management.
QuickerTek has started offering an AirPort-specific version of the Super Cantenna, a high-performance directional antenna that can double or triple PowerBook G4 AirPort and AirPort Extreme signals. Inspired by the original Pringles can antenna boosters, the 12dbi Super Cantenna features a 12-inch main tube antenna body that can be equipped with an optional mini tripod. Configurations sell for $70 to $150.
Apple's PowerSchool division today announced the availability of PowerSchool SIS 2004. The upgrade to the Web-based student information system includes more than 100 new features, such as walk-in scheduling automation, increased flexibility and usability for meeting NCLB requirements, streamlined reports, and state specific special compliance enhancements. PowerSchool SIS 2004 is scheduled to ship June 25, 2004; interested districts should contact Apple directly for pricing information.
Pantone today started shipping colorist, a new utility that makes it easy for graphic designers to select Pantone Matching System Colors from within applications that don't already incorporate Pantine Libraries. Colorist supports such titles as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Apple Keynote, and Macromedia Dreamweaver and Flash. The software also includes a dynamic, free Web utility called InspireME that offers an array of predefined color schemes created by Leatrice Eiseman, color consultant and director of the Pantone Color Institute. Colorist sells for $50; ColorWeb Pro users may upgrade to Colorist for $20.
Optimistik Animation is offering 50 percent off Handwritten Vol.1, its first LiveFont package for Apple's LiveType and Final Cut Pro 4.0, during NAB. From now through April 24 customers can purchase Handwritten Vol. 1 for $50.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' $74.75 million net gain from stock options in 2003 puts him second only to Colgate-Palmolive's CEO among executives who received the largest pay packages last year, according to The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required). According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting's annual compensation survey, 145 CEOs in 2003 exercised options for a net gain of $1.91 billion, up from $1.68 billion in 2002. We recently noted that should Apple have had to account for stock options as expenses, it would have turned a loss for the year instead of a profit in 2003.
Now AAPL Stock: 109.9 ( + 0.41 )
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