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: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives