Aurora Video Systems showcased its new Pipe family of video capture and editing cards using its own custom designed PCI Controller, which it says was designed with HD in mind and also for future upgradeability via a simple Flash update. The QuickTime-comaptible Pipe cards leverage Final Cut Pro's RTExtreme and each feature Extended Mac Desktop on all of the video outputs, offering previews of any content--especially useful in those applications that do not support a QuickTime Video Output Component such as Combustion and Photoshop. The line features Pipe ($500), PipeSDI ($500), PipePRO ($800), and PipeHD ($1500) cards.
Waterfall Software and Diversity Games today announced the development of Diverse Empires, a new multiplayer online role playing game for Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, Linux, and Windows. Diverse Empires is a new graphical 2D game where players can "co-interact and explore the magical world of Feneril," the land of Diverse Empires. Within the game players will be able to collect items, fight battles, or just enjoy the scenery. The estimated release date for Diverse Empires is Christmas 2004. However, a public beta is expected to be released before then.
Apple and Digidesign are sponsoring a 20-city, worldwide tour on "why there's no better way to make music than on a Mac." The Motivated by Music Tour will take place in the US and Canada and will also be coming to other countries, such as France, Germany, and the UK: "Learn how combining the industry’s finest audio solutions - from GarageBand to Pro Tools|HD and Logic Pro - with the muscle and features of the Power Mac G5 equips you with the ultimate audio production environment."
New Zealand reseller, Logical Systems, has acquired the agency to supply Apple products to Fiji, which will see the company setting up the only Apple centre in the Pacific nation. Logical Systems managing director, Daven Naidu, said he noticed a gap in the supply of Apple in the country during a trip there and decided to gun for the agency. The agreement started at the beginning of this month. “This outlet would be great as it has a high profile in the country,” Naidu said. Until domestic dealers are signed up, Logical Systems Fiji will sell directly to end-users.
RealNetworks CEO Glaser continued to his attack on Apple's "closed" iTunes/iPod model at NAB: "Glaser didn't disappoint those looking for controversy, showing a giant mockup of Jobs and referring to iTunes closed system as 'The Soviet Model.' In Jobs' world, 'you can go to any store you want, so long as its iTunes,' said Glaser. 'That"s not going to fly in mainstream markets' and will ultimately cause a 'morass of incompatibility.'" Glaser touted its own Rhapsody service with 450,000 subscribers (up 300 percent in one year) and said that the entire industry (as well as all of video entertainment) would be harmed if Apple didn't work with the industry on open standards.
Ben & Jerry's will offer up to 50,000 free iTunes song to US residents who take an "Oath to Vote" as well as a chance to win an iPod and iMac as part of its 26th Annual Free Cone Day. It will offer free ice cream as well as an opportunity to register to vote in local Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops. Users can visit the company's website on that day to take the "Oath to Vote" and receive a free song from the iTunes Music Store (on Monday, April 26th) as well as register for a chance to win a sweepstakes with the Grand Prize of an iPod, iMac and a trip to Vermont to spend a day as an honorary Ben & Jerry's Flavor Guru to create a batch of their own personal flavor. (Site not updated)
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: members' opinions on the new Apple PowerBook G4 models released today; Apple's recent statement that a G5-equipped PowerBook is some time away; impressions of the new iBook line from Apple; Apple's new Airport Update 3.4 update for Mac OS X users; one customer's report on the numerous problems found in some Power Mac G5 units; speculation about a possible upcoming update to the iMac line.
Apple's iApps are appear to be the inspiration forthcoming applications by Linspire, according to OS News: "Michael Robertson of Linspire (née Lindows) preannounced two new applications, Lsongs (screenshot) and Lphoto (screenshot). Although details are scant, the applications appear to fill a gap in the Linux world currently being filled by iTunes, WinAmp, RealPlayer, iPhoto, and other apps on other platforms. The latest Michael's Minute has more, as does this flash presentation on Lphoto."
Popwire today announced shipments of its server-side media coding software, Compression Engine 1.6. Version 1.6 offers broader file format support and better performance. Popwire's Compression Engine, a server-side media coding solution for the Solaris and Mac OS X, also includes Popwire Monitor for Mac OS X, a graphical tool for monitoring and managing the Engine. Other new features include using full-motion videos as watermarks, improved deinterlacing quality through edge detection interpolation, and a range of new output formats, including MPEG-2 improvements, DV, DVCPro, and more. Pricing is $500.
Apple's iTunes Music Store has been nominated for three times for the 8th annual Webby Awardds 2004, which it says represents the 'best of the web." The iTMS was nominated in the 'Commerce', 'Music', and 'Services' categories: "The Webby Award nominees and winners are selected by Members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.... Evaluated against six criteria, sites undergo a rigorous six-month, three-tiered process to win the coveted Webby Award." The criteria include Content, Structure and Navigation, Visual Design, Functionality, Interactivity, and Overall Experience. The winners will be announced online May 12, 2004.
Ultimate Pen 1.2 ($20) offers the ability to draw on top of any application. Version 1.2 adds multiple display support, a moveable tools palette, equal ratio shapes, etc. Other features include the ability to hide the menu bar, automatic save, the ability to export images, a system-wide hotkey, and pen tablet support. [472KB] Acquisition 108.3 ($15) brings several bug fixes to the peer-to-peer file sharing client (based on the Limewire engine, but with a Cocoa front-end). It adds proxy server preferences for HTTP, SOCKS v4 and v5 proxy servers; improved network connection speed, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [2.8MB] eLister 2.5 ($40) updates the offline auction listing assistant for use with eBay. The new interface accommodates new eBay options. It also supports larger image previews, over 40 new templates, and includes support for eBay's temporary implementation of "Authentication & Authorization" login process which they are requiring of all API-enabled applications by May 1, 2004. [Classic, OSX] RsyncX 2.1 (free) is an implementation of rsync with HFS+ support and configuration through a command line (Terminal) or graphical user interface. It allows users to sync files between two machines. Version 2.1 features enhanced error reporting, update and two-way sync options, a new script generator, several new assistants, and enhanced chflags support. [516KB] RsyncXCD_v2.1 (free), based on the latest release of bootCD, allows you to "pull down from your network server a loadset image folder to a machine that has only its hard drive and CDROM as possible boot sources. This CD will let you connect to your server as an Mac OS X client, and cleanly install your image folder onto a volume that later you will boot from." [175MB] Edge Detect 1.1 is a free iMovie plug-in that turns clips into pencil drawings. It has been updated with an improved interface and multi-threaded core as well as a new installer. histogram 1.0 (free) is an iMovie plug-in that calculates, and then displays different types of histograms (statistical data) regarding your clip basedon the clip’s brightness, red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yello, hue, saturation, brightness, etc. [ED, histogram] Mac Minder 2.5 ($30) regulates computer usage in Mac OS X. Version 2.5 adds remote administration, easier import/export of settings, and new separate password for improved security. Other features include the ability to tally application usage by day/user, limit usage of certain application (groups), limit overall computer usage, export usage data, etc. [3.2MB]
Gucci has introduced its own designer iPod carrying case, according to PC World: "Available online through Gucci's U.S. store, the iPod case is available in multiple colors and costs almost as much as an IPod--$195. The case is available in this season's Gucci colors--beige/ebony GG plus with dark brown leather trim, green/red/green web carrying handle, and silver hardware. '[Apple] has over 100 percent connect rate of cases to IPods. This means everybody buys at least one and many buy more than one.'"
MUG News: The UMass Amherst Mac User Group (UMAMUG) will be holding uSwitch '04, an expo-style event geared towards the advantage of switching to the Mac platform. The event features hands-on booths, presentations and speakers, as well as many giveaways (including an iPod Mini). The event, which runs from 3 pm to 9 pm, is free and is supported by Apple, OmniGroup, and others.
Camp at the Apple Store "provides an opportunity for kids and families to participate in fun and engaging activities. Each Camp Workshop consists of two hours of hands-on learning doing cool stuff on Macs. Campers will work on completing their own project that they will take home on CD or DVD. There are four different Camp Workshops to choose from and all are recommended for kids ages 8 to 12." Three different skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) are available for "Meet Your Mac", "Photo", "Movie" and "Music" workshops during the month of July.
Mackie has introduced Onyx, a new family of FireWire-capable analog consoles that includes "extremely low-noise microphone preamps and circuitry, tremendous durability, plenty of direct instrument inputs, and combines them into a modern footprint that includes a FireWire option for integration into any computer-based system [via an optional FireWire card for $500]." They will begin shipping in second quarter, starting at $640.
XtremeMac today announced special NAB pricing on its Xrack and XtroVERT, offering free shipping to anywhere in the continental U.S.--a savings of up to $195. XtremeMac's Xrack ($1800) is a Noise Reduction Enclosure specifically designed for Apple's Xserve and Xserve RAID, providing 12U (21.0") of industry standard 19" rackmount space in a desk-height enclosure. XtroVERT ($300) is a vertical enclosure for Apple's Xserve RAID that features a pedestal that is made of extruded heavy-duty aluminum. The offer is good on direct orders placed before the end of May.
Realmac Software today released Button Builder 4.0, its button design package that users to create buttons for the Web, Multimedia and FileMaker projects. The fully native Cocoa application now includes color overlay, smooth drop shadows, smooth scaling, export to png, multi document support, text & button transparency, and over 50 new button templates as well as an improved interface. It is $20 for a single-user license and is available as a $10 upgrade. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
SRS Labs today announced SRS Circle Surround TDM Pro encoding software plug-in for Digidesign's Pro Tools workstations. It features an SRS Circle Surround encoder and a decoder for monitoring surround mixes, enabling Pro Tools users to offer matrix-encoded surround sound final mixes to clients. The technology enables Pro Tools users to not only encode up to 6.1 channels of audio, but how they can precisely monitor what the audience will hear through the real-time decoder built into the software. The software will be available this quarter for $800.
Apple is previewing a new HD video codec dubbed h.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, at its booth at NAB: "unlike other codecs, h.264 is scalable, allowing content creators to write their content for everything from 3G phones to HD and everything in between. Frank Casanova, Apple's director of QuickTime product marketing, told the website: 'This is a very flexible and very high-quality codec. It's based on a whole new engineering base - it's not today's MPEG-4 tweaked,' before adding, 'We are working on it, as are many other companies - here there are dozens of announcements and demonstrations of h.264. Everywhere except in the Microsoft booth.'"
On the heels of Apple's acknowledgement that licensing hang-ups have postponed the European launch of the iTunes Music Store, Napster's CEO today cast some doubt on the company's plans to launch its UK store by the end of summer. "We intend to launch before the end of summer. I am ever hopeful it will happen, but it has been very challenging to get the rights together," Christopher Gorog, CEO of Roxio, Napster's parent company, told Reuters. Napster also remains in the preliminary stages of negotiating deals with countries in continental Europe, and indicated that the company is also looking at Japan, but didn't indicate when the service might launch in either of those two regions.
Along with the various AirPort updates released yesterday (see: AirPort 3.4, AirPort Management Tools 1.0,AirPort Base Station with Power over Ethernet and AirPort Client Monitor), Apple released AirPort Extreme Firmware Update 5.4, which works in conjunction with AirPort 3.4 to improve antenna output control, enhance logging from the base station, and delivers performance improvements for WPA security implementations. Additionally, Apple released AirPort Admin Utility for Windows 3.4, which offers similar enhancements. Yesterday evening we noted a Bluetooth Firmware update, as well.
Canon yesterday introduce two new 2.2-megapixel camcorders, the Optura 30 and Optura 40, combining both DV and digital camera features in one. Both camcorders feature an RGB Primary Color Filter for enhanced colors, improved audio processing, a high resolution 16:9 widescreen mode, selectable focus points, continuous shooting for up to five frames per second, and PictBridge printer compatibility. The Optura 30 features a 12x optical and 240x digital zoom and will sell for $900, while the Optura 40 features a 14x optical zoom and a 280x digital zoom and will cost $1,000. They are both slated to ship in May.
Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told the BBCNews in an article yesterday regarding Apple's updated laptops that a PowerBook G5 won't be released in the forseeable future. "In the very long run, the G5 is part of our long term processor roadmap, but it will be some time before that processor will be in a notebook," Mr. Joswiak said, without elaborating further. Apple has consistantly said that the cooling and power requirements of the G5 pose significant engineering obstacles for packing the chip into a portable.
Text Count 1.0 ($100) is a Quark XTension that performs word counts and empty space word count estimates in QuarkXPress. It gives user full control over overflow text length, simplifies assigning space to future content and accelerates accounting connected to text materials. [v50, v60] PhotoToolCM 1.1 (freeware) is a contextual menu plugin that helps you manage/organize JPEG photo image files. It can display Exif info, copy Exif info of multiple images to the clipboard as text, performs lossless transform (rotate/flip) on selected multiple JPEG photo image files, and batch rename multiple JPEG photo image files. [548KB] MacQibla 3.0 ($20) is a Mac OS X-compatible version of the Islamic calendar and prayer time calculation tool. It allows usrs to determine the direction of Mecca from any city in the world, offers accurate prayer times, plays user-selected MP3 audio, has date conversion between Western and Islamic calendars, and includes a database of 10,000 cities. Upgrades are $10. [807KB] Snard 2.1 ($10) is an application launcher utility that provides many of the functionalities of Mac OS 9's Apple and Application menus, and also can be customized. It can be used as a system menu, from the dock or as a hot key activated popup menu. [menubar, dock] SimplyProjects 1.3 ($25 per user) adds an Project Assistant to help streamline the creation of a new project and also allows users to define minimum hardware and system requirements for each project feature. SimplyProjects is a project management system for small-scale and shareware software development. [2.3MB] EZxslt 1.5.2 ($130) simplifies the generation of Microsoft Word and RTF documents using data stored in FileMaker Pro 6 and FileMaker Pro 7 databases. It adds label row suppor, adds several additional character encodings, better import functions, and other bug fixes. Upgrades start at $30. [form] Pyramid Design's FTP Suite 3.2 is an upgrade to the company's FTP solution for REALbasic applications. Version 3.2 features text encoding support, additional FTP commands, REALbasic 4.5 support, etc. It is a gree upgrade for v3.0 owerns and $10 for others. Hobbyist and Professional pricing are $30/$60, respectively. [1.7MB] SQLitePlugin 1.5 ($40) is a simple-to-use database plugin for REALbasic that is built on top of SQLite, an embeddable, stand-alone SQL database library written in C with support for on-the-fly indexing and ACID transactions. SQLitePluginPro 1.06 ($120) supports REALbasic's database API and its database classes and controls. [Lite, Pro]
Knowledge Base roundup: Apple notes that Mac OS X 10.3 automatically recognizes which type of Wi-Fi security (WPA vs. WEP) is being used and gives you the correct prompt; offers notes on troubleshooting portables that won't turn on or start up; describes how to optimize PowerBook G4 AirPort reception; offers tips for maximizing battery life on your PowerBook or iBook; discusses LCD display pixel anomalies; and offers advice on troubleshooting USB devices.
RealNetworks today released a beta version of its new Real 10 Export Plug-in for Mac OS X, a user-installable QuickTime Export module that can create high-quality RealAudio and RealVideo directly from many popular applications, such as Final Cut (Pro/Express), iMovie, Adobe After Effects, Avid Xpress Pro and QuickTime Player Pro. RealNetworks says it will add support for more applications including Adobe Premiere and Discreet Cleaner in the final version.
MacNN reader Terry Musgrove has informed us that the D-Link USB/Firewire Hub model DFB-H7 is not compatible with the Power Mac G5. "I found this out the hard way after purchasing the unit and hooking it up. There is no warning on the packaging, documentation or D-Link's product specifications on their web site about this problem." The D-Link support Web site, however, does provide information on the subject. The Power Mac G5 "uses a firewire bus with a voltage rating that is incompatible with the DFB-H7 and will damage the unit."
Virtual Programming has announced X2: The Threat ($54), the new Mac version of the "smash space simulation critically acclaimed throughout the industry." It is the "ultimate test" of combat, tactical, navigational and entrepreneurial skills, and "is a space simulation of breathtaking depth and scope." Virtual Programming says: "Trade your way through the space lanes and achieve mogul status [...] Fight your way through dozens of interlinked missions within an all-new storyline [...] Think if your next move could be your last as the Universe reacts to your actions."
Optibase today announced that its MPEG video encoder, the MPEG MovieMaker 200S, is being enhanced to support the Power Mac G5 and Mac OS X. MPEG MovieMaker 200S PCI cards offers both analog and digital inputs as well as the company's fully featured encoding management application, which features VTR controls, batch mode encoding, encoding preview, and support for high end DVD compliant MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital encoding. The application will work with DVD Studio Pro for simplied workflow and easy content creation. (Pricing or release schedule not provided.)
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN