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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: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ