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Apple has signed yet another one-to-one initiative with the Vestavia Hills Board of Education in Alabama, the first of its kind in the state. According to The Birmingham News, Sixth graders and faculty members at Cahaba Heights Community School will will receive 12- and 14-inch iBooks (respectively) as "part of a pilot program designed to improve learning among students of an increasingly digital generation. Through an agreement with Apple Inc., the system will pay about $127,000 over the next three years to lease 75 iBook laptops in a program called Apple 1 to 1 Learning. The money also will cover related software and training." The pilot program is designed for 35 students at the school, but the director hopes to expand the program in January 2005 to all of the system's sixth-graders and sixth-grade faculty, which will involve an additional 360 students and cost about $515,000 over three years.
Griffin Technology today announced three new additions to its Clear Choice line of cables, including a 6-foot FireWire 400 connection ($15), a 6-foot FireWire Extension ($15), and "the problem solving" Ground Loop Isolator (GLI) cable ($20)--all offering a stylish appearance that "meshes beautifully with any Mac desktop setup." The GLI cable is designed for situations where "two pieces of audio equipment connected together but plugged into separate outlets will create a low, audible hum called a ground loop. Simply connect the new Ground Loop Isolator cable between the sources, and the problem will be solved. The Ground Loop Isolator cable works by lifting the power that is circling between the devices and allows only the audio to pass through." It works with Griffin's iMic and PowerWave audio devices.
In Brief: Architosh reports that AutoVue, a Java-based app, makes short work of viewing Autocad files on Mac; the U.S. Department of Energy has updated REScheck to version 3.6 for Mac OS X; TunesTracker.com is a free tool that searches the iTunes Music Store daily for your favorite artists and e-mails you; the New York Times has posted a positive review of Airport Express; Apple's iTunes Music Marketing page offers information on how to submit music for inclusion at the iTunes Music Store and more.
Mariner Write 3.6.3 ($80) is the latest version of the popular alternative word processor for the Mac. The latest version introduces several bug fixes, improved language support, and other enhancements. [Download - form] Color Spec Cubed ($100) is a new InDesign plug-in that reduces workflow errors by creating visual annotations that show color, font and placed graphic usage in InDesign documents. Color Spec Cubed is used by creative departments, graphic studios, publishers and graphics layout professionals. [Download - 2.0, CS] Optipix 3.0, a suite of Photoshop plug-ins for the Mac, includes tools for correcting common problems in digital images. The demo version includes a low-resolution version of the Optipix Guide and several Photoshop Actions. [Download - 2.7MB] Easy Barcode Creator 1.8 is a new update to the $128 EPS vector barcode generation software for Mac OS X. The revision adds Barcode Copier, along with a number of application-wide refinements. [Download - 1.4MB] Panopticum Rulers 1.0 is a new plug-in for After Effects Mac OS X. With this set you can "art up your video" with various types of scales, clock-type dials, rulers and more. It costs $72. [Download - 1.5MB] iTmsBackup 0.7 is a Mac OS X application that backs up audio files purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Beta 0.7 sports a custom icon for the application, error messages that more closely follow Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, and support for localization. [Download - 1.3MB]
Apple Knowledge Base roundup: Apple says that Safari may not work properly after an archive and install procedure for restoring a machine's operating system...Choosing and using a WEP password can been a challenge, because WEP is an older security protocol that was developed before members of the Wi-Fi Alliance had agreed on a uniform way to treat passwords...On-The-Go playlists are automatically synced to your Mac when your iPod is attached...Using an iPod (Click Wheel) to copy or save files in disk mode may delay screen updates as part of its normal operation.
Afternoon tech news: Sony has won a case against sellers of 'mod chips' in Britain, opening the door for future lawsuits to quash "chipping" in other regions; meanwhile, NPD says sales of video game consoles and software fell in dollar terms, though actual units sold rose marginally; sellers of pirated compact discs sold over 1 billion illegally copied CDs last year, turning a black-market trade into an estimated $4.5 billion industry, a new study said on Thursday.
Microsoft today announced that Virtual PC 7 is currently expected to ship in October, but would be delayed further if the company is unable to ship the Windows XP Service Pack 2 in the expected early-August timeframe. Microsoft's Mac unit, the Mac BU, told MacNN that the company would wait until Microsoft released the final version of its much-anticipated Windows update to deliver the "most secure version of Windows XP to Virtual PC users. "Based on this, we anticipate that Virtual PC 7 with Win XP Professional and Home will release to manufacturing in September and be on store shelves by early October. Virtual PC 7 with Windows 2000 and the Standalone and Upgrade versions will be available a few months after this debut."
Apple may soon make some inroads into the corporate/enterprise markets, according to one analyst who rates Apple's stock as a "buy" based on a strong solid financial position, the successful iPod/iTunes combination and its ability to shape "the digital lifestyle" era, the easy DVD-creation functions available to Mac owners, and Mac OS X, which has relatively fewer viruses: "'All it will take is one or two high-profile companies to migrate to Apple to open the floodgates for other IT managers to realize that they, too, should consider moving to a new platform," Pile says. "Now that Apple has a legitimate offering in this space, it would not surprise me if at least a few companies are contemplating a switch.'"
In Brief: The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group is asking all FCP users to vote for their top ten favorite FCP feature requests... DashboardShare.com is a new site that will serve as a distribution point for third-party widgets for Mac OS X Tiger... Celebrity Cruises has been renting iPods to passengers for $10 a day, who can choose from about 47,000 songs to put on the device... A MacNN Reader reports that his new 20GB iPod order, originally scheduled to ship July 21, has been delayed until July 26 for unknown reasons.
Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal finds few things wrong with Apple's AirPort Express, except for the glaring omission of a remote control to manage music from wherever you are. "That's just unacceptable in a device of this kind... it's surprising and disappointing that a company renowned for ease of use shipped a music-streaming product without those crucial capabilities," Mossberg writes. Otherwise, Mossberg found that AirPort Express functioned well as a base station with "decent but not exceptional" range and that installation was easy and straightforward, except when he needed the unit to connect to a Linksys router, which required additional configuration. Time meanwhile picks the AirPort Express as its Gadget of the Week with a positive review, minus complaints about difficulties encountered connecting the device to a Microsoft router.
MacJams has announced MacJamboree, which offers each reader 500MB of storage on the site for Garage Band songs and marks the beginning of the MacJams MEGA-Contest, featuring 28 winners and over $1,000 in prizes. Winners will be chosen based on the quality of their songs -- entries must be received by August 15 -- while a Contributor contest awards prizes to those who earn the most MacJammer points, which are received by contributing to various parts of the site.
Apple is in danger of blowing an opportunity to score big with millions of tech- and status-symbol-crazy Chinese, according to BusinessWeek. The article suggests building an Apple Store in Beijing: "Perhaps the next round of Yao Ming commercials for Apple should run in China rather than in the U.S. and feature iPods. Picture the big National Basketball Assn. star palming an iPOD mini. At the same time, Apple should make sure that its hot products make it quickly to Chinese retailers both online and off and that its Chinese customers get easy access to online sales of iPods."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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