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M-Audio FireWire 1814
M-Audio has announced its new FireWire 1814 recording interface, the Company's first FireWire interface with ADAT Lightpipe connectivity. The new unit "builds on the success" of M-Audio's FireWire 410. The FireWire 1814 is an 18-in, 14-out audio interface complete with MIDI, word clock, and a host of other features. The unit features 8 x 4 analog I/O (1/4") at up to 24-bit/96kHz.
Skin Tight Mini Armband
Speck Products has released its new Skin Tight Mini Armband, a case for the iPod Mini that can be carried using an arm strap. It also features headphone clips to keep extra cord out of the way while you walk or jog. The arm strap component is removable, allowing standalone use of the protective case, or easy access to the iPod's screen. The Skin Tight Mini Armband sells for $30 and is now shipping.
Dual-1.4GHz CPU upgrade
Giga Designs is now shipping its 1.4GHz G4 dual-processor upgrades for Power Mac AGP Graphics ("Sawtooth") and "Gigabit Ethernet" models. The new M Series Dual processor family also includes a 1.33GHz model for Digital Audio, Quicksilver 2001, and Quicksilver 2002 Power Macs. The upgrades feature a multi-voltage power sharing architecture that uses both the 12V and either the 5V or 3.3V outputs of the Power Mac's power supply for compatibility with other upgrades. The M Series upgrades feature user-adjustable speed and processor voltage settings, and use two Free Scale (Motorola) 7455B processors--each with 2MB of L3 cache. They include a larger copper heat sink and two "very quiet" 50mm fans for improved cooling. The upgrades carry a 3-year warranty and are available for $700 (1.4GHz or 1.33GHz) or $670 (1.3GHz).
Jobs phone call
In Brief: Reuters reports that Steve Jobs himself telephoned the winner of the 100 million song countdown promo; Bare Bones is offering special Macworld Boston pricing on BBEdit 7 ($30 off) and Mailsmith 2 ($20 off) along with a T-shirt giveaway; Adobe is offering a new seminar series combining both its Adobe Creative Suite seminars and its Tech Talk seminars into a new two-day seminar that will be available in seven major cities between July 21 and August 12. PC Magazine looks at the IE Web browser alternatives, noting that improved security, rendering, and privacy can be better found in other browsers. iDevGames is seeking sponsors for its uDevGames Contest, scheduled to be held in August.
Euro iTMS indie music deal
Apple is on the verge of agreeing a deal with independent record labels that will allow its iTunes music service to sell their tracks, according The Times newspaper: "Citing sources close to the talks, the newspaper said a pact could be announced on Tuesday, ending a feud that has kept independent labels off iTunes since its launch in the UK, France and Germany last month."
\"Dark days\" for Apple
According to Eric Hellweg of CNN/Money "some dark days lie ahead for the wizards of Cupertino." While Apple's products have "never been better," Hellweg cites operational problems and delays as potential problems for Apple as it moves forward. Hellweg says CEO Steve Jobs needs to decide "whether he wants to be the CEO of Apple or the CEO of Pixar -- each of the companies deserves a full-time top boss." He says Jobs should consider hiring a co-CEO to help run the company. Hellweg also says Jobs needs to keep the focus on developing and selling computers, as they represent 60 percent of Apple's revenue.
Afternoon tech news: Sony expects to show off its PlayStation 3 at the E3 trade show next May, increasing pressure on Microsoft to take the wraps off its Xbox successor at that time; Google handed the Nasdaq Stock Market a victory over the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, when the Web search leader said in a regulatory filing that it plans to list its $2.7 billion initial public offering on the Nasdaq; Microsoft will spend $50 million to persuade users to upgrade older apps.
20GB DMC 800 music player
Digital Mind today the DMC 800 portable music player for the US market. The DMC 800 player has been available from Korean manufacturer MultiChannel Labs (MCL) in Europe. The compact digital music player features an elegant mirror finish, support for many file formats (MP3, WMA, WAV, ASF and Ogg Vorbis), 16+ hour replaceable lithium ion battery, studio-quality direct encoding, voice recording, FM Radio (and FM recording) and both PC and Mac compatibility. The base model DMC 800 comes with 20GB of storage--enough capacity to hold 5,000 songs. The DMC 800 ($300) is now available as well as its previously available larger-sized, larger-capacity siblings 40GB ($230) and 80GB ($380) DMC 500 Portable Audio Players. A 40GB version of the DMC 800 is listed as "coming soon."
New Canon scanners
Canon has released three new affordable scanners -- the 3000 ex, LiDE 35, and 8400F -- ranging from $50 to $150. The CanoScan 3000 ex scanner features a maximum optical resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi and an enhanced resolution of 9600 dpi. The CanoScan LiDE 35 scanner will be the entry level in Canon's slim-line family of LiDE (LED InDirect Exposure -- LiDE) scanners. Replacing the CanoScan 8000F scanner, the feature rich CanoScan 8400F scanner is designed for production level scanning with 3200 x 6400 dpi resolution. The three scanners are compatible with Mac OS X.
EFI Colorproof XF for OS X
EFI today announced its new scalable client/server-based proofing solution, EFI Colorproof XF. The "entirely new" platform offers improved functionality, stability and performance with cross-platform (Windows and Mac OS X) support and compatibility with the current JDF (Job Definition Format) standard for open job ticketing. Designed for commercial printers, EFI Colorproof XF consists of several different components that can be joined together in different combinations to create basic or extended configurations. It is expected to ship later this year with support for a wider variety of printers.
DVD Studio Pro 3 review
Digital Producer Magazine has published a review of Apple DVD Studio Pro 3. "Ease of use, flexibility and power [...] these three factors came together in one tight, highly intuitive package known as DVD Studio Pro 2 last year, when, for the first time, we gave the program our rare Must Buy recommendation," says David Nagel, "now, at version 3, it's even more powerful, flexible and intuitive than ever." Nagel credits DVD Studio Pro 3's host of new features, and modest $500 price point: "this is as powerful an authoring system as you can get without spending several--and I mean several!--thousand dollars."
Tiger vs. Panther
In Brief: Macintosh icon/GUI site widget:widget has been revamped and is now offering new icons called 'Pixel : Pop v.3'; Geek Patrol has posted Tiger vs. Panther benchmarks, concluding that "Tiger is as fast (if not faster) than Panther in all areas except for UI performance," but noting that Tiger is still in early alpha development; EveryMac.com now features complete specifications on the Apple's new Cinema Displays, in addition to details on every other Apple display previously released; Apple has added a new tagline to its press releases: "Apple is also leading the digital music revolution with its market-leading iPod line of portable music players and iTunes online music store."; a beta tester of AllMusicGuide.com says that a soon-to-be relaunched website does not officially support Macs/Safari, noting that there are numerous visual irregularities when browsing the new site using Safari; one reader notes that Lian Li Industrial has a Power Mac G5 case knockoff for PC users.
Facetop is a new video conferencing interface that superimposes transparent images of a computer's desktop over video images of the user to allow the user to look at the video and desktop at the same time. This results in a 'ghost' image of the user on the screen. When the user points at something, "his video reflection appears to touch objects on the screen." The computer scientists also developed a two-user version in which the 'ghost' images of the two users appear side by side. Both can alternatively take control of the desktop, again allowing a better collaboration. A Mac version is expected within months and a Windows version in two years.
Apple on Wednesday is expected to announce that its fiscal third-quarter net income rose to 15 cents a share (from 5 cents per share in the year ago quarter) on revenue of $1.95 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson. Apple, expected to report its earnings on Wednesday, will also provide live audio streaming via QuickTime 6 of its FY 04 Third Quarter Results Conference Call, which is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14, 2004, 5:00 p.m. EDT. Meanwhile, Reuters notes that the more than 50% rise in Apple's stock price this year has mirrored iPod sales and retail growth, reflecting "a transformation in the way investors are willing to value the the company."
Black x-type iPod drawing
Jaguar Cars is offering a new iPod promotion on its X-Type website, offering a an opportunity to win a limited edition version of Apple's popular iPod MP3 player. Users who sign up for the X-News mailing list will automatically be entered to win a win a limited-edition black x-type iPod as well as a chance to win tickets to go and see Zero 7, a popular English electronica band. Jaguar is also offering free complimentary downloads of remixed versions of the Zero 7 single "Home", the first release from their new album, "When It Falls". The exclusive tracks will be released mid-2004 on the duos first full CD release, according to the website.
Bigger Disk Extreme
LaCie today announced the Bigger Disk Extreme, a new high-end FireWire storage product that offers up to 1.6TB of storage capacity and transfers data as fast as 85MB/sec using built-in (hardware) RAID 0 functions--up to 50 percent faster than other FireWire 800 drives, according to the company. The 5.25-inch Bigger Disk Extreme offers a stylish, metallic design crafted from a sturdy aluminum alloy and includes a drive stand for upright desktop use (and an optional 2U rack-mounting kit). It includes two FireWire 800 ports as well as a legacy FireWire 400 port. The new drives will ship later this summer with a power supply, FireWire 800/400 cables, and LaCie's SilverKeeper and Silverlining drive utilities. The 1TB (terabyte) model is $1,200, while the 1.6TB model is $2200.
Canon PIXMA inkjets
Canon today announced four new inkjet photo printers - PIXMA iP1500 ($50), iP2000 ($80), iP3000 ($100) and iP4000 ($150) that offer microscopic 2 picoliter ink droplets for virtually grain-free photographs. The PIXMA branded printers are part of the company's new productline designed for consumers and will bring improved photo quality and performance. They feature Canon's exclusive FINE high-performance print heads for higher resolution and higher print speeds over wide areas. Canon says the printers are due in August.
FileMaker 7 competition
FileMaker has kicked off a new international competition for the best new database solution created in FileMaker Pro 7. Entries must be received by July 29 and winners will be announced at the FileMaker Developer Conference, August 29-September 1. One grand prize, worth $12,000, will be awarded, as well as seven other prizes for finalists.
Impression 2.6 ($25) is an update to the backup software for Mac OS X. Version 2.6 offers a new 'imps' hfspax-based restorable archive format which greatly improves backup and restoration speeds. In addition, this new version offers full Unicode support for all catalog, log and session files. The appilcation suports full, incremental and differential backups, encryption, multi-disc/multi-session burning, and more. [640KB]
KidzLog 1.0 ($30) is a Mac OS X weblog publishing tool for children. "Even children who are just beginning to read and write should be able to create a weblog with KidzLog. Each post consists of a picture, some text, or both. KidzLog provides a canvas and painting tools so that children can paint their pictures directly in KidzLog." It supports drag & drop from any application, CSS, RSS, remote server publishing via FTP, and more. [2.6MB]
SoftCare Notes Manager 1.0 ($100) is a plugin for Adobe InDesign CS and Adobe InCopy CS that enables editorial staff to communicate more efficiently by offering additional functions to the built-in notes functions. It offers filters for displaying notes created by a specific user, or notes edited within a certain timeframe as well as improved navigation with direct access to each note location. [650KB]
SimplyProjects 1.4 ($25/user) adds a Report Assistant to help streamline the generation of report documents and also allows users to add date and/or time tags to their
record note entries and to access their contact information when adding
their own bug records. The project management system is designed for small-scale and shareware software development. [2.5MB]
SimpleChord 2 ($7) updates the chord dictionary program with a number of significant enhancements, including MIDI device input, favorites, iPod export, and AppleScript support. SimpleChord is a quick, handy reference to chords for musicians, offering help to learn new chords, build progressions, transcription, and other tasks. [1.6MB]
Eudora Mailbox Cleaner 4.0 (free) is an email migration tool that now sports a direct import into either Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird while preserving message formatting, message attachments, and message status flags. The drag'n'drop application also provides easy one-step migration from Eudora to Mac OS X's Mail.app, directly importing Eudora's mailboxes, filter files, and nickname files. [460KB]
Panther, iLife promo
Apple has launched a new promotion offering a $50 rebate when Mac OS X Panther and iLife '04 are purchased together, or $80 when Family Packs of both titles are purchased. The promo runs from July 12 through September 25.
Design lessons from retail
Writing for Adaptive Path, Jesse James Garrett points out six lessons one can take from Apple's design of its retail stores. "Create an experience, not an artifact," Garrett writes of Apple's glass staircase that ushers shoppers to the second floor. "Honor context" with areas designed according to how people use their computers, "prioritize your messages" with the use of fewer and more carefully placed signs and placards, "institute consistency" between the design of your stores and the design of your products, "design for change" to accommodate future design changes, and finally, "don't forget the human element."
iPod clout & protected CDs
The popularity of Apple's iPod has caused companies developing copy-protected CDs to rethink their strategy. When the Velvet Revolver's new album hit No. 1 earlier this month, it marked the first time a copy-protected CD reached that mark. The CD featured copy-protected Windows Media tracks for listening on a computer or portable device, but that format isn't supported on the iPod. "If you look at the 500 or 600 customer service comments we've gotten, you see that 80 percent of them have to do with iPod compatibility," Peter Jacobs, CEO of SunnComm International, the company behind the copy protection, told CNET. "The rest are, 'Why can't I do what I want with my music.' And a lot of those are really iPod questions too."
iTMS hits 100M songs
Early Monday morning Apple announced that its iTunes Music Store has reached the 100 million song mark-- after launching a 'Countdown to 100 Million Song' promotion earlier this month. The milestone, a first for the online music industry, sets the standard for other music services, as Apple reached the mark only 15 months after launching the service in April 2003. Kevin Britten (of Hays, Kansas), who downloaded Somersault (Dangermouse remix) by Zero7, will receive a 17-inch PowerBook, a 40GB iPod, and a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs. In addition, Apple also awarded 50 special 20GB iPods -- one to the purchaser of each 100,000th song downloaded between 95 million and 100 million songs. Apple said it would post a complete list of winners soon.
MW Boston expectations
The three-day Macworld Expo Boston this week will struggle to find its identity with dramatic reductions in both attendance and exhibitors expected--which is directly linked to Apple's absence from the semi-annual tradeshow: "it will be a very different Macworld than the big Boston shows of the 1990s. Before Apple bailed, the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau predicted that Macworld's return to Boston would draw 40,000 attendees and pump $42 million into the region's economy. Instead, IDG expects 10,000 attendees, and the visitors bureau has scaled back its economic impact estimate to just $8.3 million. By contrast, the 1997 event generated an estimated $65 million in visitor spending."
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