In Brief: It appears Microsoft will be the first major company to unleash its next-generation home console, tentatively codenamed "Xbox Next" or "Xbox 2;" ComputerWorld has published benchmarks comparing Apple's two high end PowerBook G4 offerings; Publishing software giant Adobe Systems reported an expected sequential drop in quarterly profit and revenue, fueling fears that the company--currently between major product releases--may be entering a lull; AppleInsider has published detailed diagrams that show how Apple's new liquid cooling system works.
The Pleasanton school board voted Tuesday to keep a pioneering high school program that equips every student and teacher with a wireless iBook. But Superintendent Alton Fields said there was "a good chance" the issue would come up again when the board meets in July. A crowd of about 150 people broke into applause when the vote came down, ending speculation that the new school board, elected in May, would kill the project. The $2.2 million project with Apple includes 1,207 wireless iBook laptops, training for staff, and additional equipment such as video and still cameras, projectors and color printers. No other public school in the San Antonio area has given wireless laptops to all its pupils.
Gizmodo has published new details of Apple and BMW's new 'iPod Your BMW' campaign. "First of all, most BMWs on the road won't be able to use the BMW iPod connection kit. Not only does the kit only work with 2002 or later 3 Series, X3 SAVs, or Z4 Roadsters, any car with optional built-in Navigation system, cassette deck, satellite radio, or CD change won't be able to use it, presumably because of the lack of dash space for the digital readout and because the auxiliary audio wiring is already taken up [...] The iPod slips inside a dock in the glove box and controls are on the steering wheel, and they look to be pretty basic, with only an track up/track down selection and what looks to be a mute button." As for pricing, "our source has a lack of info on exact price, although dealership installation charges are being quoted at around $235 [...] Hopefully that includes the hardware."
As many as 50 percent of PC buyers who considered a Mac over the last 12 months actually ended up purchasing one and many those who didn't choose Apple chose based on price, according to MacNewsWorld: "The study, Hidden Opportunity for Computer Manufacturers, showed that from May 2003 to April 2004, nearly 26 million Americans purchased a computer. Of those purchasers, 73 percent opted for desktops over laptops, while 56 percent were replacing an existing system. Although 50 percent of potential Apple customers ended up purchasing an Apple, 22 percent purchased a Dell instead, the study showed. The study also noted that, although Apple sold 900,000 computers over the length of the study, it could have potentially sold 800,000 more during that time period."
Giga Designs is now shipping its 1.5GHz G4 processor upgrade for the Apple's G4 Cube. The new "M series G-celerator" uses the latest G4 (7457) processor available from Free Scale (Motorola Inc), which boasts lower power consumption (up to 1/3 less than that of previous G4s) and has a larger (512KB) on chip L2 cache. The M series features a new "PowerShare" architecture, in addition to the original adjustable speed and voltage settings, allowing customers the ability to maximize the Cube's performance. They ship with a 3-year warranty and are available for $600 (1.5GHz) or $500 (1.4GHz).
Afternoon Tech News: Intel on Thursday will offer an early look at its latest chipsets, which will be used in stylish "lifestyle PCs" and in "entertainment PCs;" A key U.S. congressional panel on Thursday endorsed a bill designed to crack down on deceptive "spyware" that hides in users' computers and secretly monitors their activities; people who buy prescription medicine on the Internet risk taking drugs without proper instructions or even getting counterfeits, according to a new U.S. government report.
ibizzi bv today officially launched the international version of Crm4Mac, its unique application that brings together information from the standard Apple apps Address Book, Mail and iCal, presenting the information within an iTunes-like interface. It offers linking betwenen contacts, mail, and events and global sorting for improved information organization. Version 1.0.4 runs on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and is available in English, German, French, Dutch and Norwegian localizations. It is available for $50.
Aspyr today announced that Shrek 2 has gone "gold" and will begin shipping June 28. "Shrek, the loveable green ogre is back and this time he’s bringing friends. Play as Shrek and 4 of his pals, both familiar and new, as they go adventuring through their twisted fairytale world." Players can explore moments from the new movie as well as new locations, unlock special "mini-levels", solve puzzles, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later on a 700MHz G3/G4/G5 Mac. It is expected to be available in stores nationwide July 2.
Tecplot today announced Tecplot 10 Release 3, an update to the visualization product. It offers technical plotting with extensive XY, 2- and 3-D capabilities for engineers, scientists and researchers visualizing data from analyses, simulations and experiments. New features include enhancements to the Add-on Developer's Kit (ADK) and the Tecplot GUI Builder (TGB); and new data loaders for loading Hierarchical Data Format 5 (HDF5) and CFD General Notation System (CGNS) data files. It is available or Mac OS X with pricing starting at $1,600. Tecplot also released CFD Analyzer 4.0, an add-on that offers functions for post-processing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results.
The Guardian has posted a transcript of an interview with Steve Jobs, in which he notes that the UK music market is "very, very, tiny" with only about 50,000 songs sold per week, while more than 2.5 million are sold each week by Apple in the US. Jobs also notes that the majority of iPods sold are used on Windows: "We brought the iPod to Windows. That was a big decision. That was basically a decision not to use the iPod to drive people to Macs. We’re going to use it as a music device, and we’re going to put it on Windows." The article also says the difficulty in bringing iTunes to Europe was the issue of distribution "rights" and not negotiations with the labels.
Word Stars 2.0 ($12) is a collection of 8 word games and puzzles with multiple difficulty levels; teachers and parents can provide lists of spelling words, science terms, geographic locations, etc., which can be used in word games. Students may also allow the computer to choose words and word lists from Word Stars 2.0's built-in dictionary of over 127,000 words. [4.5MB] Kids GoGoGo 8.5 ($30) for Mac OS X 10.1.5 offers an improved database structure, improved performance during dataase updates (up to 300%), a new installer, a better thesaurus in many languages, and more. The software prohibits the browsing of adult-only content on the Internet as well as disable applications, checks browser history, and can record the screen. [2.9MB] iProfile offers the ability to add an AIM user profile while using Apple's iChat. The Java-based utility provides a simple interface, customizable content through the use of HTML, and single-click, as well as automated, publishing. [986KB] HotApp 1.8.2 ($15) is an update to TruSoft's application launcher for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. This new version add a floating toolbar palette to quickly launch applications and documents, new system actions (hide current application), an improved application launcher user feedback, better keyboard layout support (Dvorak and others), and more. [1.3MB] MP3 Trimmer 1.5 ($7) allows users to edit MP3 files without re-encoding. Users can select trim in-point and out-points as well as add a smooth fade-in or fade-out to the new MP3 file. It adds support for MP3 file variants, an improved 'analyze and repair' function, the ability to drag & drop several MP3 to the 'join' window, and more. [1.3MB]
Belle Nuit Montage today released Imagefilter 1.0, its new visual application designed to batch-process image sequences. It contains a node-based interface to build process trees for applying several transformations, such as file import, color correction, filters, transformations, and graphic effects. It also supports PDF-rendering, image capture from still photo cameras and text import for merging graphics and text. Supported color corrections include RGB Matrix, Color Temperature, Look Up Tables, Mimikri and Color Space conversion. Imagefilter also supports proxy resolutions, human-readable XML files for outside automation, and non-square pixel formats (PAL, NTSC, 16:9) for video applications. It runs on a G4/G5 under Mac OS X 10.2 or later. It is $120 ($600 for a site license).
Destineer's MacSoft unit today announced that it will release Rise of Nations for Mac, the critically-acclaimed real-time strategy game. It combines the epic scope of traditional turn-based strategy (TBS) games with the fast-paced action of RTS games, allowing players to create new cities, improve their city infrastructure and expand national borders. Players have the option to win through military might using everything from slingshots to cannons to stealth bombers, or they can corner the market on key commodities as they wheel and deal with a wide variety of nations. The Mac version has been under development since February by Westlake Interactive and is scheduled for completion this summer.
NewTech Infosystems this week introduced Dragon Burn 4, a new version of its CD and DVD burning application. The new Dragon Burn multi-burning engine allows users to simultaneously write multiple CDs or DVDs as well as fully supports new 4x DVD-R and advanced CD writers including recently released 52x CD-R and 24x CD-RW drives. Version 4 introduces video mastering for creation of VCD/SVCD from MPEG-1/2 files, the ability to create picture CDs, DVD+R DL support, creation of Movie DVD from Video_TS files, and new dynmaic drive support to support a wide range of CD and DVD burners ("including those not supported by Apple's own software"). It is available for $40 and runs on Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later.
Bitstream is releasing its ninth set of fonts from the New Font Collection (NFC) program. The new release features display and text fonts, including Ecliptica (Robert Bell), Fat Albert (Ray Cruz), Irakly (Oleg Karpinsky), Wavy Rounded (Hajime Kawakami), Hombre (Thomas Oldfield) and Kooky (Allen Zuk). All of the fonts are available in OpenType format, which is supported in Mac OS X and Windows XP and 2000. They are also available in PostScript Type 1 format for Windows or the Macintosh.
Intego today announced the launch of ChatBarrier X3, a program that works in conjunction with Apple's iChat instant messaging software to provide two-way, real-time encryption of text chats using 512-bit encryption. "Apple’s iChat instant messaging is not a peer-to-peer technology. Text messages are sent in clear text, and go through the AIM server, as well as through dozens of others before finally being routed to the intended correspondent. No one knows how secure or reliable any of these servers are." ChatBarrier X3 ($40 for two licenses) uses a stream cipher to encrypt messages as soon as they are sent. It runs on Mac OS X 10.1.1 or later. [pricing, product link added]
Linden Lab has released a new version of its 3D online world, Second Life 1.4, which it says "delivers a variety of new features enabling Residents to more fully develop and personalize their identities and online experience through sound and motion." The virtual online digital world is built, shaped, and owned by its participants and offers the ability to create, explore, connect, and compete with others. Version 1.4 offers custom character animations with support for the .bvh file format, live streaming audio support to link to Internet audio sources, support for live relay on the Internet via XML-RPC, a new "parter" profile option. A beta version is available for Mac OS X. Pricing starts at $10 (basic) or $10/month (Premium).
In Brief: Apple has a listing of USB printers compatible with the AirPort Extreme Base Station as well as a listing of Mac OS X version builds included with Macs since 1998. Sonnet says it is developing a G5 CPU upgrade for Power Mac G5 systems and that it intends to use the newer PowerPC "G4" 7448 in future G4 processor upgrades, although it has no timeframe for either product, according to MacGadget; Audio e-tailer Musician's Friend is now an authorized Apple retailer; and Realmac's "Rock with RapidWeaver" contest offers an iPod mini for the best designed theme.
Apple has posted a QuickTime/MPEG 4 replay of the iTunes Music event in London where the company debuted iTunes for UK, Germany, and France. "The biggest story in music is about to get even bigger. Tune-in to see Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, launch the Apple iTunes Music Store in UK, France, and Germany from the Old Billingsgate Market in London, UK." Update: The iPod TV ad introduced yesterday featuring "Walkie Talkie Man" by Steriogram is available online.
BusinessWeek columnist Alex Salkever says that "Apple must craft a plan to rebuild and reinvent its ties with small resellers. First, it needs to be honest and admit that Apple stores are hurting the resellers' business and that not all of them will survive. Second, Apple has to treat those that do hang on as integral parts of its organization and sales effort. Finally -- and most crucial -- Apple needs to ease the pain by coming up with programs to encourage these longtime partners to help it accomplish goals it can't achieve on its own."
J2S has released J2STask 1.2, an image processing server application for improving image workflow under Mac OS X. "J2STask is a robot used to batch process images: No need for scripting development skills! It simply scans a local or ftp source folder at regular intervals and processes the files it contains according to the task settings. The files are then sent to one or two target folders." It can rotate, set file resolution, apply a watermark, apply an IPTC file, and covert files to TIFF or JPEG. Version 1.2 offers the ability to trigger a default task by drag&drop and to launch AppleScript scripts. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 only.
Lemke Software has released GraphicConverter 5.2, an update to the popular graphics utility for Mac OS 9/X. It supports Mac ASCII code conversion for IPTC data, support for 12-bit color table TIFF files, disables the energy saver during slideshow playback, improved WMF export/import, can now email unsaved images, adds a new metal look option, etc. Registration is $30. [Classic, OSX]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl