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BofA: AAPL still \"neutral\"
Analyst Keith Bachman of Banc of America Securities maintains his "neutral" rating on AAPL, and its target price to $35, according to New Ratings: "In a research note published this morning, the analyst mentions that the company is poised to witness customer base expansion in the forthcoming quarters. The analyst expresses his concern, however, regarding Apple Computer's limited presence in the low-end markets," but said that the company's fundamentals "remain healthy."
Mozilla.org has released Camino 0.8, an update to the open-source browser effort. Version 0.8 features a new look and icon set (with a graphite set expected shortly) as well as an upgraded Gecko HTML rendering engine, which it says offers performance and web page rendering enhancements, as well as a large number of bug-fixes. It also includes an entirely rewritten bookmark system that is capable of importing Safari, IE, and Mozilla bookmarks; offers Rendezvous and Address Book integration; multi-level undo support; bookmark searches; and a "Top Ten" bookmark collection, based on the ten most-visited sites. Other features include better cookie handling, more precise pop-up blocking, and more.
M-Audio launches GrooveLab
M-Audio today announced GrooveLab, a bundle of hardware and software that "empowers anyone to create professional-quality music." GrooveLab ($130) bundles its Transit USB interface, a headset with built-in microphone, Ableton's remixing software and music loops. The LIve Delta software features drag & drop support for creating mixes; the ability to change tempo, pitch, and loop points on-the-fly; built-in effects processing; and the ability to record one or more vocals. The mobile interface offers a compact, bus-powered design with a 1/8-inch stereo output and an optical digital output for pass-through of AC-3 and DTS surround-encoded games and movies. It runs on Mac OS 9/X, but requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 or greater for 96kHz or 48kHz operation.
eMac firmware update
Apple today released eMac HLDS Combo Updater 1.0 designed for eMac computers with an internal HLDS Combo drive. The update prevents the blank CD-R discs from automatically ejecting after audio-ripping in iTunes. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.3 or later. [345KB]
ProCare software discounts
Apple is offering members of its ProCare a 10 percent discount on several software titles at its retail store locations. ProCare, a membership service launched in April, offers exclusive discounts, services, and faster repair turnarounds for an annual fee of $100. The current offer, which expires July 3, offers discounts on Final Cut Pro HD, DVD Studio Pro, Office Standard (Upgrade), Adobe Creatie Suite Premium (Upgrade), Adobe Photoshop (Upgrade), Adobe Acrobat (Upgrade), QuarkXpress, MYOB AccountEdge, and QuickBooks 6.0.
Alpine Interface Adapter
Alpine today announced it would ship its Alpine Interface Adapter for iPod (model KCA-420i) this fall with a target retail price of $100. First introduced in January 2004 at CES, the interface enables users to "experience superior sound tuning and control of their iPod music using any of Alpine's 2004 Ai-Net in-dash head units." Alpine's Interface Adapter for iPod enables users to access the in-dash receiver's exclusive Bass Engine technologies for better sound quality and control of their digital music files in the car.
Xgrid agent for *nix
Daniel Côté earlier this week released a new Xgrid agent for Unix architectures, allowing environments to leverage other Unix systems in an Xgrid computation cluster: "This article introduces the first working Xgrid agent for Linux and other Unix systems that can be integrated in any XGrid cluster (managed by OS X). The agent will compile and work on Linux (at least Debian and RedHat), Solaris (minimal testing) and Darwin (tested). You still need an OS X machine for the controller and for using the actual XGrid (with XGrid.app)." In March, Apple released a second preview of the Xgrid cluster software for Mac OS X.
Corel sells Bryce to DAZ
Corel today said it was selling Bryce to DAZ Productions, a company that specializes in the creation of 3D digital content. In an email to customers, Corel said it has been focusing its attention over the past year on promoting the launches of its main business lines, lead by CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, WordPerfect Office and the next release of Painter (due later this year) and that it has fielded several questions about the future of the 3D landscaping application: "We recognize that Bryce inspires considerable passion and loyalty within the design community. That's why we carefully considered a number of factors before making the decision to sell Bryce to DAZ." Corel said that DAZ will release new Mac and Windows versions of the product in the coming months.
New iMac at WWDC?
Following reports on AppleInsider, a report from Merrill Lynch today anticipates that Apple could be ready to unveil its latest generation in iMac models at the Apple Worldwide Developers conference in San Francisco next week. The brokerage firm also reiterated its "buy" rating. "AAPL has enjoyed an uptrend since March 2003, more than doubling in value in just over a year. The shares are now trading at levels not seen since late 2000. In fact, the stock notched a new annual high in Monday's trading before succumbing to the late-session sell off that plagued the broader market." Schaeffer's Investment Research continues: "there remains a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding the shares... AAPL also stands to benefit from future upgrades from Wall Street," noting that only six of the 15 analysts following the security have named it a 'buy.'
Another iBook program
The Quaker Valley school board in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania yesterday approved a $3.1 million contract with Apple to lease 1,200 laptop and desktop computers, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The school board last night voted 8-0 to approve a $3.1 million contract with Apple Computer Inc. to lease about 1,200 laptop and desktop computers. The four-year lease provides laptops for use at school and at home to students in grades nine to 12. Selected as one of the state's three 'digital school districts' three years ago, Quaker Valley had been providing laptops to students in grades three to 12 for use on a school wireless network and at home. A state grant funded the program."
Homeworld 2 hits beta
Aspyr today announced that the Mac version of Homeworld 2 has hit beta status and is projected to ship in August. "The game continues the epic struggle of the Hiigarans and their leader Karan S'jet. Many thought their hardships would end when they returned to Hiigara, yet fate has not been so kind to the Exiles. Now the Hiigarans face a new and bitter enemy, a renegade clan from the eastern fringes of the galaxy, who wield the power of the ancients. Homeworld 2 chronicles the valiant journey of the Mothership and its crew into the oldest regions of the galaxy to confront their new foe and discover the truth behind their exile." It requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later and runs on a G4/G5 machine (800MHz or faster) and only supports Mac-to-Mac network play. It is available for pre-order for $50.
New QuickTime codec
Apple today announced that the DVD Forum has ratified the H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) to be included in the next generation High Definition (HD) DVD format. The H.264/AVC codec was jointly developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has been ratified into the MPEG-4 specification as the next-generation video codec. H.264/AVC is based on open-standards and will ship in Apple's QuickTime software in an upcoming release next year.
Agfa Monotype has added several new type foundries to its online Fonts.com website, including FineFonts, PixieType, RJH Productions, Typebox, and Ultimate Symbol. The collections total over 100 new fonts: "This is an exceptional crop of Fonts.com releases," said Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Agfa Monotype. "From pixel-based screen fonts, to progressive display designs and practical image fonts, these new collections will satisfy many of our customer's existing needs while inspiring new solutions."
CopyPaste Lite, iNotePad..
AeroFacsDisplay ($10) is the aeronautical facilities display for Mac OS X 10.3, providing information on all of the airports included in the standard A/FD as well as every landing facility listed in the FAA's airport database - airports, heliports, and gliderports. It also includes an extensive navaid database that covers the US and bordering Canadian areas, Central America, and the Caribbean. [1.7MB]
McIDAS-Lite 1.5 (free) is an image viewer that provides a simple tool for working with image files that are in McIDAS area or MODIS HDF format. It can be used with data on the user's computer or remote data from public data sources. A list of publicly accessible data sources is updated each time McIDAS-Lite is started, assuring the user easy access to free data. [18MB]
Art Museum Screen Saver ($20) is a compilation of "some of histories greatest art. Beginning with Renaissance creations and traveling through the Impressionists, this screen saver has some of the most famous paintings ever created." It runs on Mac OS 9/X and is available on CD for $25. [form]
CopyPaste Lite 1.01 ($15) is trimmed down version of Script Software's multiple clipboard editing and display utility. It offers access to hundreds of clipboards via keyboard, menubar, contextual menus or floating palette. It features a simple interface, a dock-less application, and a $15 upgrade path to the full version of CopyPaste-X 2.0. [1.9MB]
Meteorologist 1.4b (free) is a weather program for Mac OS X that allows users total control over their weather viewing, including simultaneous interlaced weather reports from multiple weather servers, multiple weather locations, weather alerts and much more. [262KB]
iNotePad 2 ($14) is an alternative to Apple Classic NotePad. It can store text notes with styles and pictures, print them, export them to iPod, etc. Version 2 features iPod export, iPublish to a .Mac or FTP account, AES-128 encryption, locked notes and folders, tabs, spell-checking, hyperlinks, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [337KB]
Sophos Anti-Virus for OS X
Sophos today released Sophos Anti-Virus, which is designed to protect Mac OS X 10.2 (or later) from all known viruses. It is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese, allowing users to perform on-demand scanning of files and folders and its on-access scanner safeguards computers by detecting and disinfecting both Macintosh and non-Macintosh viruses. Any file that is identified as being infected will not be allowed to run. It features automatic updates of all desktops, the ability to send reports to a remote location, central configuration of updating and anti-virus settings, the ability to manually administer virus identity files, and a command-line version.
iTunes Europe sales soar
Apple today announced that the European version of its iTunes Music Store sold more than 800,000 songs in its first week of operation. Apple touted the success of its industry-leading online music store against other music services, saying that music fans in the UK, France and Germany have purchased and downloaded more than sixteen times the music than Appe's nearest competitor, according to the press release: "After selling over 800,000 songs during its first week, iTunes is Europe's top online music store," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "In the UK alone, iTunes sold more than 450,000 songs in the last week -- 16 times as many as OD2, its closest competitor."
Celemony Software has released Melodyne 2.5, an update to its multitrack audio recording and editing application. It now supports the Digidesign RTAS plug-in interface (among others) and includes the new Melody Manager to work with phrases and melodies from the Melodyne library. Version 2.5 also includes the ability to route the internal MIDI output directly to VST instruments hosted by Melodyne as well as improves AudioUnit, VST and ASIO software interfaces, adds keyboard shortcuts, improves export peformance, supports 32-bit audio (WAVE, AIFF, SND), and improves ASIO compatibility. It is free for registered users and runs on Mac OS 9/X. Melodyne ($450) can edit 8 tracks simultaneously and supports files up to 48Khz/24-bit files, while the Studio Edition ($800) supports unlimited tracks, 32-bit/192kHz files.
Synk 5.0 for backup/sync
Ben Rister today released Synk 5.0, a major new version of his synchronization and backup application. Synk 5.0 is a full rewrite, offering "dramatically" improved compatibility with foreign filesystems and networking protocols, comprehensive inclusion/exclusion rules, a sophisticated new preview panel, integrated scheduling, and full alias and symbolic link support. It also offers archiving functions, can bypass permissions/ownership, and includes a safe copy mechanism to help prevent data loss. A 30-day trial for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther is available. It is available for $20 (personal/home) or $40 (commercial).
Samples4 June releases
Samples4 has introduced eight new products for Mac OS X, for the month of June, including many new loops, instruments, and synths.
Rancho Cucamonga store
According to a MacNN reader, Apple is seeking various retail positions listed for Rancho Cucamonga, CA, which may be located in a new "open-air" mall, called Victoria Gardens, that is under construction in the city. It is expected to open in the fall of 2004. On Apple's Jobs Web site, there are various positions listed for Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: speculation, rumors, and discussion leading up to the 2004 Apple World Wide Developers Conference; Apple's recent sale of over 1500 Xserves to the U.S. military, forming the world's second-fastest super computer; one member's bad experience with an Apple Store's repair service, regarding PowerBook G4 "white spots"; opinions on the future of the iMac; availability of the demo version of XIII, Feral's new game for Mac.
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