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."
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE