A man who sent 850 million junk e-mails through accounts he opened with stolen identities was sentenced to up to seven years in prison on Thursday; Tammy Lafky, a sugar mill worker and single mother in Bird Island, became the first Minnesotan sued by the recording industry this week for allegedly downloading copyrighted music illegally; A bill under consideration by the California senate would place strict privacy restrictions on e-mail providers in the state, but it appears to fall short of barring Google's new service.
iSticky 1.2 ($23) is an application that makes it possible to stick notes on your desktop, or the desktops of others. The new version comes with many improvements, including the ability to send notes via Rendezvous, improved note customization, and note management. [Download - 2.8MB] FileWave X 1.6.1 is an automated software distribution tool for Mac OS X. This update includes a number of speed increases to the FileWave XServer and FileWave XAdmin, a new multithreaded FileWave Booster, and UNIX based daemon. [Download - form] Money 1.3 is a $25 application for Mac that offers an simple and uncluttered approach to basic accounting and personal financial management. Money version 1.3 features scheduled transactions, subcategories, transaction types, "action" tool, label rename, CSV format support, improved printing, search, QIF support, and more. [Download - 524KB] SQLiteManager 1.1 ($40) is a database manager for SQLite databases. With SQLiteManager users can create and browse tables, indexes, and views, insert, remove, and edit table records, and execute arbitrary SQL statements. [Download - OS X, Classic] Compost is a utility that enhances the Mac OS trash can. Using Compost, users can specify the length of time that files are allowed to remain in the trash or the maximum size to which the trash is allowed to grow. [Download - 44KB] Cheap Impostor 2.0 ($35) is a simple yet powerful alternative to expensive page imposition applications. Version 2.0 adds a completely new PDF parser, and support for incrementally-saved PDF files. [Download - 329KB]
Business Week Online columnist Alex Salkever notes that while Apple's iPod is a "bona fide hit," its 25% global marketshare number may be overblown: "Too bad their assumption is off base: The iPod's global market share may actually fall well below the 25% mark....Very little good data exists on international sales of consumer electronics -- digital-music players included. With the exception of Japan, information out of Asia is sketchy. According to one of [the MP3] chipmakers and to industry analysts, worldwide shipments of digital-music-player chips hit about 15 million last year. An April, 2004, report from investment bank CIBC on this market estimated global sales of flash and hard-drive music players at 17 million. If that's true, then the 1.5 million iPods sold in 2003 gives Apple 8% to 10% of the global market."
Apple won a Silver Award from the D&AD (Design and Art Direction) last night for its PowerBook G4, according to Macworld UK: "The product took a Silver (affectionately known as a 'Yellow Pencil') in the Products for Work or Industry sub-group of the Product Design category. ...D&AD is a UK-based educational charity that works on behalf of the international design and advertising communities."
Microsoft will begin selling portable music players for as much as 80 percent less than Apple's iPod, according to The Denver Post. "The Microsoft-branded devices will 'look and feel' as good as the iPod for as little as $50, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN at Microsoft Corp., at the Goldman Sachs fifth annual Internet Conference in Las Vegas. The iPod sells for $249 to $499. Microsoft will release a number of music players when it launches its online music service later this year, giving customers more choices than Apple, Mehdi said."
EI Technology Group has launched Electric Image Animation System 5.5, an update to the cross-platform professional 3D animation application. It includes dozens of new features, including caustics, a built-in scripting tool, new shaders, HRDI support, an array of new Animation capabilities, new deformation tools, and GrangerFX Plug-in support. The software also features Radiosity, multi-processor support, Match Move, Material Library System, Macromedia Shockwave support, unlimited network rendering, character animation tools, global illumination, and more. It runs on Mac OS 9/X. Upgrades from v5.0 are $300 and $500 for other versions.
IDG World Expo and the Berklee College of Music today announced "Dream Studios", an interactive exhibit at Macworld Expo in Boston (July 12-14) that "will simulate state-of-the-art music studios based on the Mac. Designed and developed by Berklee faculty and students, the Dream Studios will provide attendees with an opportunity to experience the most sophisticated and innovative tools for audio production. The Dream Studios will showcase the latest hardware and software available to build cutting-edge music production setups. Music students, hobbyists, songwriters, cover bands and professionals will be able to take self-guided tours of the Dream Studios, participate in demonstrations and listen to presentations by Berklee faculty."
MacSpeech today released an updated German version of its iListen speech recognition application, offering the ability to learn new words faster, improved transcription functions for Medical & Legal Professions, a special adaptation feature for poor pronunciation, new "Hands Free" correction functionality, larger font size support, new voice commands for Mac OS X, dictation and correction directly into virtually any application, and improved recognition and performance. It is a free update to all current users.
Independent record labels in the UK, France and Germany have signed a licensing deal with Sony ahead of the company's launch of its Sony Connect online music store in those countries next month, according to Reuters: "The deal comes as Sony races to launch in Europe ahead of Apple's leading iTunes Music Store, which may have the necessary licensing contracts to launch in Europe by the middle of next month, according to sources familiar with Apple's plans."
In brief: Wired has published a look at how Pixar became an animation superpower and "left Disney in the dust"; LimeWire was the top download for Mac on CNET Download.com this week, with 91,203 downloads; AMG will soon be releasing its ExpansionPack for GarageBand, a massive collection of software instruments for use with Apple's GarageBand software.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.74 ( -1.09 )
WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel