Apple is expected to introduce new PowerBooks and iBooks early next week, according to MacNN sources. Apple will introduce revised 12-inch PowerBooks (two models), two revised 15-inch PowerBooks, one new model of the 12" iBook, two new models of the 14" iBook, and a single high-end 17" PowerBook configuration. The laptops are expected to be available early next week in limited quantities. Sources report that each model will feature speed-bumped G4 processors, while some models will feature larger drives and upgraded graphics cards.
Afternoon tech news: Dell is back as the number one PC maker, according to preliminary figures from research firms IDC and Gartner; companies that break Britain's antispam law are likely to get away with it until at least next year because the information commissioner doesn't have "stop now" powers; RealNetworks is facing increasingly stiff competition in online music, analysts said on Thursday, as rivals seek deals with larger players and longtime adversary Microsoft Corp. gears up to launch an online music store later this year.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: nVidia 6800 Ultra support under Mac OS X; the possible reasons for lower than expected Power Mac G5 sales; speculation about future PowerBook G4 specs and possible release dates; member feedback on Apple's recent eMac revision; the eMac's impressive performance to price ratio compared to that of the iMac; delays surrounding the availability and shipping of the iPod Mini.
iSkin has started shipping the iSkin mini protector for iPod minis, featuring form-fitting silicone, a screen protector, and RevoClip rotating belt clip. The iSkin mini also features an integrated dock connector port cover and is compatible with accessories that connect to the top of the iPod, such as Griffin's iTrip. The accessory is available in five opaque colors and four glow-in-the-dark colors and costs $25.
Red Giant Software today announced Primatte Keyer for Avid AVX, which brings the power of the Primatte keying algorithm to Avid systems while preserving simplicity. Users can now sample foreground and background areas directly in the sequence window, making Primatte Keyer AVX the easiest to use keyer for Avid editors. It includes functions for sampling foreground and background areas, eliminating spills, correcting imprecise edges, generating mattes from any color background, adjusting properties of sampled foreground colors, and keying transparent objects. It will ship in June for $500.
Despite running into some delays, Apple remains comitted to launching a European iTunes Music Store this year. "When we launch in Europe, we want to do it well. There can be no compromise on the ease of use, the depth of the catalogue or the responsiveness (of the Web site)," Apple's European chief Pascal Cagni told Reuters. "This is going to be so important for the future that a few months' delay is not essential."
IBM has confirmed its PowerPC G5 CPU yield problems, noted in this week's conference as the reason for the delays in the Xserve G5s: "One of the problems is ongoing yield issues within the company's 300-mm fab in East Fishkill, N.Y. For months, IBM has been struggling with yields in the fab, a 130- and 90-nm plant. 'We do see demand, but we need to make the products,' Joyce said. 'We need to improve our yields in our 300-mm plant. Our yields did see some improvement, but not as fast (as the company had hoped).'"
The Hungarian version of Mac OS X 10.3 is now available for download. The update currently only supports Mac OS X 10.3.0, requiring users to install 10.3.0 first and then apply the localization patch. Additionally, only system applications have been localized; iApps and Help menus remain in English. Hungarian localizations supporting Mac OS X 10.3.2 and 10.3.3 are currently in development.
PlayFair, the application developed to remove the DRM code from iTunes Music Store tracks, has been temporarily removed from Sarovar.org, India's open-source project website, after the site received a notice from Apple. "[PlayFair] is contrary to our clients' terms and conditions governing availability of the service and is causing them enormous potential loss of revenue and reputation," the notice, which can be read in its entirety on the site, says. Sarovar.org said it is investigating the matter and has removed the project until it has consulted with its lawyers. The Playfair project was previously hosted on Sourceforge, a similar open-source project hosting service based in the US, but was removed after Apple sent a cease and desist notice.
Apple has reportedly turned down RealNetworks' offer to license its Fairplay DRM technology, and a meeting that RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser sought with Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week to discuss the matter is not taking place. "Steve just doesn't want to open the iPod, and we don't understand that," a RealNetworks spokesperson said. Apple declined to comment on the matter. Earlier this week Jobs told The Wall Street Journal, "The iPod already works with the No. 1 music service in the world, and the iTunes Music Store works with the No. 1 digital-music player in the world," he said. "The No. 2s are so far behind already. Why would we want to work with No. 2?" Meanwhile, an article in today's Journal reveals that Apple has previously turned down other partnership proposals regarding the iTunes Music Store. Last year, Rio Audio approached Apple to open the store so that other hardware players would be compatible with its Fairplay AAC files. Apple turned that offer down. "We can do nothing," a Rio Audio vice president said.
Small Tree Communications today released its 802.3ad Link Aggregation networking software, which "enables true enterprise class network solutions by bonding or trunking multiple Ethernet ports on a single computer into one virtual interface. This virtual interface provides higher bandwidth, higher availability, and more efficient utilization of the physical links than is otherwise possible." Small Tree says it is the first company to offer such a solution on the Mac. Pricing starts at $300 for 2 ports/1 group and ranges up to $700 for unlimited ports and groups.
Now AAPL Stock: 97.9 ( + 1.47 )
Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ