The success of the iPod are forcing copy-protection companies such as Macrovision and SunnComm to rethink their copy-protection schemes, possibly undermining Microsoft's position in the music industry, as the WMA format is the default digitally encoded format found on most copy-protected CDs: "....they're both making substantial changes in the way CDs are digitally locked, changes that could ultimately be a setback to recent Microsoft strides into the music business.... the subsequent meteoric rise of the iPod--which does not play Microsoft-formatted music--has forced a change in plans: no more reliance on Microsoft's technology, no more second session and an appeal to Apple for compatibility." The article notes that Apple has not yet licensed its iPod-compatible FairPlay digital rights management technology to anyone, although the companies appear to be optimistic about that possibility.
Speck Products today introduced the new Mini FlipStand for the iPod Mini. The see-through case provides easy-access to the scroll wheel, headphone jack, hold button, and FireWire sync port. Users can also flip open the scroll wheel door to transform the case into a desktop stand. "Consumers love the color and beauty of their Minis and want to protect them", said Tim Hickman, General Manager of Speck Products. "The Mini FlipStand case is almost invisible and lets the beauty of the Mini shine through. The case provides the most protection available from a case thanks to it's durable ABS plastic design." It includes a built-in belt-clip and is available for $30. [site not responding]
Silex technology today announced it has officially launched its full line of print connectivity products in the US. The low-cost SX-300U ($100) print server allows multiple computer users to share a USB networkable printer; it offers faster printing speeds through spooling, features automatic e-mail printing, incorporates enhanced security IP filtering, and offers access control security. The 4-port version, SX-5000U2, with USB 2.0 connectivity and support for up to 9 USB devices (via an optional hub) is $230. The H-260U ($300) is an internal print server for EIO hp printers that includes a convenient USB port to connect an additional printer. Silex also debuted its SX-3700WB, a $180 single-port wireless device-to-device server connecting networkable USB peripherals to the network. It will ship on August 15.
Afternoon tech news: Google and others are under scrutiny as advertisers fret about phony ad clicks; Microsoft has paid $20 million to Linux upstart 'Lindows' to give up its name and end a court battle; NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, on Saturday became the first operator to launch a wallet phone, equipped with Sony's FeliCa smart chip, which can be quickly read by passing it over a scanner.
Adobe Designer 6.0 has been optimized with the WebSphere Studio open standards environment, which embraces ebXML, XML, J2EE, and Web Services. [Download - form] Flash Player X 18.104.22.168 is the latest version of the free Web browser plug-in. There's no mention of the changes with this version. [Download - 1.5MB] Booxter 1.5 is an update to the book management application that gathers book information from various sources on the internet to allow you to view, edit, sort, categorize, export, and print books in your collection. Version 1.5 adds the ability to scan in barcodes using an iSight or any other FireWire video camera and also allows multiple layouts to be set and switched from among them quickly and easily. [Download - 856KB] Cylinder Distort is a $9 plug-in for both Photoshop and Illustrator that shows a front view of artwork (such as a label) wrapped around a cylinder. The Illustrator plugin does a true vector distortion and the Photoshop plugin does the equivalent high quality image warp. [Download - form/buy] SonicMood 1.1.0 ($10) is the first major update to the background "mood enhancing program" for Mac. The update adds the ability to edit Moods and create new Moods. The help system is also greatly improved. [Download - 1.1MB] Galactica Anno Dominari 2.2 ($20) is an update to the "game of galactic colonization and warfare." This release adds native packaging for OS X installers, a splash screen with storyline, improved in-game chat, and bug fixes. [Download - 3.7MB] pixel-pull 1.0 ($2.50) is a set of transitions for iMovie that give the appearance of the clip being pulled in or out of the frame on a very elastic surface. The plug-ins support four different pull directions each. [Download - 1.2MB] Imagine BootX 2.3 is a utility to change the boot image shown at the beginning of the Mac OS X startup by a custom color image. The update improves compatibility and fixes bugs. [Download - 524KB] BayAreaFreeFi.com has announced wiPod 1.0, an iPod-based field guide for free wi-fi hotspots in the San Francisco Bay Area. Version 1.0 has nearly 200 listings. [Download - 116KB]
Following the announcement of new iPod models, Greg Joswiak, vice president of hardware product marketing at Apple shot down market rumors of 60-gigabyte iPod models in the pipeline. "We have no plans in regard to announcing 60-gigabyte models," Joswiak said. "We are trying to create a much more compelling lineup with two models for 20 and 40 gigabytes at extremely compelling prices." A report in June said Toshiba had received orders from Apple for the upcoming 60GB version of the hard drive used in the iPod.
In brief: For a limited time, MaBaSoft is offering 33 percent off Application Wizard, its utility that makes working with multiple applications easier (a single user license is $10, site license is $134, and world-wide license is $536); Agilent Technologies, which supplies the optical mice sensors used in Apple's mouse as well as countless others, announced today that shipped its 300 millionth sensor since the product's debut in 1999; Verbatim today announced plans to release 1-16X speed DVD+R media; DV Graphics has released a "4G iPods" set of icons, with six color options.
Apple today announced that this fall Duke University will give iPods to all incoming freshman, according to CBS.MarketWatch.com: "Duke will hand out approximately 1,800 iPods that will be pre-loaded with Duke-related content and will allow students to download supplementary university material in addition to being able to play music."
Aspyr has started shipping the Adrenaline Sports Pack, which includes Wakeboarding Unleashed, Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer, and Tony Hawk's Pro Saker 4. The bundle can be ordered from Amazon for $20; it will appear in stores July 23.
Salling Clicker 2.2 is the latest version of the robust Bluetooth remote control software. Salling Clicker allows users to control various aspects of their Mac, from media playback to cursor control, from their Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone or PDA. Version 2.2 adds new digital controllers for the Squeezebox, EyeTV, and VLC; improved PowerPoint control; Italian, French, German, and Russian localizations; and support for more devices. Salling Clicker sells for $20; the update is free for current users.
Apple has released iPod Updater 2004-07-15, which includes iPod Software 3.0 for Click Wheel iPods, iPod Software 1.1 for iPod minis, iPod Software 2.2 for 3G iPods, and iPod Software 1.4 for original iPods. No new features have been added with this update, which appears to simply combine the various iPod software updates available, including the new Click Wheel, into one.
Sony has reduced pricing on its Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Pro Duo lines of flash media. Beginning today, 256MB and 512MB Memory Stick Pro media will be available for around $90 and $180, respectively, while 256MB and 512MB versions of the smaller Memory Stick Pro Duo will sell for $95 and $250.
Apple today introduced its fourth-generation ("4G") iPod, boasting 12 hours of battery life, improved playlist functionality, and capacities of 20GB and 40GB. The new iPod borrows the iPod mini's click wheel design, doing away with the third-generation's four touch buttons, and is a millimeter thinner than its predecessor. Pricing starts at $300 for the bare 20GB model and $400 for the 40GB model (with a dock). Update: Neither model includes a carry case ($40 option) or wired remote ($40).
Macromedia today launched Contribute 3.0 for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version of the company's web content management tool, due in August, helps non-technical users manage and update the content on websites without knowledge of page design, HTML, or other web programming. The update will include a free access license ot Macromedia's new server-based Contribute Publishing Services management system as well as features integration with Dreamweaver MX 2004, new "send for review" options offering email notifications to selected reveiwers, an updated FlashPaper 2 application, and more. Pricing is expected to be $150 with upgrades priced at $80. A free preview is available online. [updated]
Oranged.net Software today released an update to its organizational tool for studios and freelancers: Studiometry 2.0. Designed as a solution to securely store client data, project data, to-dos, timers, invoices, and payment data, version 2.0 offers support for networking, multiple employees, Mac OS X Status Item, and in-program invoice/report viewing, editing, printing, and emailing. Studiometry also now supports multiple contacts per client, debt specific taxes, multiple currencies, project archiving, and much more. The new multiple employee feature allows projects to be assigned to specific employees, while hidden from others and allows each to maintain their own private list of to-do's. It is available for $70 with additional 1-CPU/3-employee licenses priced at $25.
Market research firm IDC says that Apple's G5 iMac delay, due primarily to IBM's inability to produce and deliver significant quanities of the G5 CPU, will have a small financial impact on the company's bottom line, according to a Reuters report: "The new iMac will miss out on the crucial back-to-school season. Education sales account for about 25 percent of Apple's total revenue...Using 2003 shipments figures as a proxy, Kay said that one month of lost iMac production amounted to about 32,000 units, or about $32 million in sales, Kay said, which IDC translated to a bottom-line hit of about $260,000, after production costs, taxes and other costs. 'We looked at that figure and said it's not that big a deal,' Kay said. 'We think that kind of math is what led the company to make the decision they did (to delay the new iMac launch).'"
Small Tree Communications has posted a free 30-day trial of its IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation product for Mac OS X. Link aggregation offers bonding or trunking multiple Ethernet ports on a single computer into one virtual interface. This virtual interface provides higher bandwidth, higher availability, and more efficient utilization of the physical links than is otherwise possible, according to the company. It requires either a G4 or G5 system running Mac OS 10.2.7 or later, at least two ethernet ports, and an IEEE 802.3ad compatible ethernet switch. The free trial is fully functional for 30 days.
In Brief: The New York Times says that Apple is focusing on making its music service as much an experience as a store, and is enhancing features to turn casual browsers into repeat customers. One reader has posted an article on how to control you Mac from another Mac using virtual network computing (VNC) over a SSH connection. Make Your Own iTunes Web Remote describes how to use the Apache webserver to control iTunes from a remote computer; dincTYPE has posted five high-quality professional typefaces: the Paris fontset includes Champs Elysees, Sexy Eiffel Tower, Tour de Lance, City of Lights, and Rimbaud.
QuickerTek is now shipping the Whip Antenna for the 12-inch aluminum PowerBook. "The exclusive wireless signal technology of the Whip Antenna typically increases signal strength up to 50%, and increases line-of-sight distance by an average of 250 yards. Getting the antenna outside the confines of the small metal PowerBook case greatly improves the wireless signal strength and range." The $90 antenna kit includes a 5Dbi omni-directional whip antenna including all of the necessary connections as well as illustrated installation instructions.
Apple will open a new retail store in Roseville, MN next week. Apple's retail website indicates that the Apple Store Rosedale Center will open on Saturday July 24 at 10:00 a.m. It is located in the Rosedale Center Lower Level, Center Court near Marshall Fields. Another MacNN reader took a few photos of the previously noted Apple retail store under construction at the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, CA.
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, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, 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