Afternoon tech news: Insensitivity to cultural issues has led to some of the Microsoft's products being banned in some countries; Google made its long-awaited debut on the Nasdaq today; Pharmacy chain CVS on Thursday said it would offer the world's first disposable digital camera with a bright color viewing screen that allows consumers to instantly preview pictures.
PC Magazine has published a review of Apple's Xserve G5 and xServe G5 RAID. "If you have a Mac-heavy or mixed computing environment, the Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID might be the right solution for your company. The overall package presents an elegant alternative to Windows or Linux setups, although you will give up the diversity and cost savings of the more commoditized hardware that supports those other platforms."
In Brief: Members of .Mac can now download a free copy of WingNuts from Freeverse, and get 25 percent off the new AirBurst Extreme; Each attendee of the nik multimedia seminar at the PhotoshopWorld Conference & Expo will receive a free copy of nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 Standard Edition; The Portland Mac Filmmakers' User Group will take an in-depth look at the features of Motion, Apple's latest application; a Mac user has published photos of their new Power Mac G5 dual-2.5GHz.
LogTen 2 ($50) is a pilot logbook system for Mac OS X. The new system has been rebuilt from the ground up using Objective-C and Cocoa to take advantage of the latest Apple technologies. The new version also adds better searching, filtering, and printing. [Download - 924KB] State Capital Quizzer 1.0 ($6) is a tool for anyone studying or memorizing state capitals. It includes built in quizzes, as well as detailed information (population, land area, date of state hood, political figures, largest cities, etc.) about every U.S. state. [Download - 1.5MB] File Buddy 8 is a utility for working with and organizing large amounts of files and folders. Version 8, a major update, brings full Panther compatibility, an Administrator mode, and more. [Download - 1.6MB] The Logitech Control Center (LCC) supports Mac OS X and allows users to program keyboard and/or mouse buttons to perform different functions and to take full advantage of your Logitech keyboard, mouse or trackball. [Download - 1.6MB] Canvastic is a new graphics/text publishing tool for K-8 students. It features easy to understand tools and options with a clear, clean interface. There are no "toy" features, and the program can be customized for age or ability. [Download - 4.9MB] Now Up-To-Date & Contact 4.5.3 ($130) is the latest version of the cross-platform calendar and contact manager. Version 4.5.3 provides numerous updates, including improvements in server performance. It also provides multiple improvements to the public event and contact servers that allow users to share their calendars and contact lists. [Download - form]
HardwareGeeks.com has posted an iPod review by a self-confessed Apple-hater, whose experience with the iPod has made him thinking about getting a Mac: "I guess in the end I am not much of an Apple hater after all. I honestly have no real complaints about the iPod and it's a spectacular product. I am really thinking about getting an iBook since I am on the market for a laptop but since the laptop I was considering cost $800 and the PowerBook G4 with similar specs is in the $2000 range I might have to hold off on that for a while if I do decide to get an iBook. Heck, I maybe even get a Power Mac G5. If the iPod is any indication on the quality of products Apple has to offer then maybe they are worth the high price so many people criticize Apple about."
Apple has agreed to recall about 28,000 batteries used in its 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptop computers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "The batteries, made by LG Chem Ltd . of South Korea (news - web sites), could overheat and pose a fire hazard to consumers, the CPSC said. Apple has received four reports of overheating though no injuries have been reported, the consumer-protection agency said," according to the Reuters report. Update: Apple has posted information on its website relating to the PowerBook G4 Battery Exchange.
EZQuest today began shipping its 16x Boa DVD+/-R/RW FireWire drive offering read/write compatibility with the latest 8.5GB dual-layer DVD as well as read/write speeds of 16x for DVD+/- R; 4x for DVD+R dual-layer and DVD+/- RW; 32x for CD-R; and 24x for CD-RW. The Boa 16x DVD+/- is also available in USB 2.0 and internal models. It includes both burning and backup software as well as a one-year warranty. The FireWire model is available in two versions: one version (K16660) bundles Toast Lite, Retrospect and Easy CD/DVD Creator software for 4200, while the second version (K16661) bundles powerful Toast Titanium 6, Retrospect and Easy CD/DVD Creator for $260. The internal version (K16150) bundles Easy CD/DVD Creator, Toast and Retrospect for $140.
In Brief: Australian wireless ISP has signed a deal with Apple that suggests the Mac maker will soon open its iTunes Music Store down under...Native Instruments has launched User Library for Absynth 2 users, allowing users to freely exchange their own sound creations....Deskop icons and graphics site WatiWorks.com today announced the opening of its online shop selling Flags of the World icons and graphics...RealNetworks is being knocked by Apple fanatics for its "Freedom of Choice" campaign as its own site is not Mac-compatible.
Information Appliance Associates today released PocketMac Blackberry Edition, which it says is the "first ever tool" to sync Mac users' data with RIM BlackBerry handhelds. The PocketMac BlackBerry Edition supports older serial-based BlackBerry 957s as well as newer USB-based models. The tool offers syncing of PIM with Microsoft Entourage (notes, tasks, contacts, calendar), Mac OS X Address Book, Now Contact (contacts, calendar), iCal, Stickies, etc. The application also offers a sync-on-contact function to automatically sync data when the user places the Blackberry in their connected cradle and is integrated with iSync. It is available now for $30.
The iPod is a colossal hit on Sony's own turf in Japan, according to a report by the Associated Press: "The tiny white machine is catching on as a fashion statement and turning into a cultural icon in Japan, much the same way it won a fanatic following in the United States. Apple has launched a marketing campaign in Japan with catchy TV ads and billboards painted on Tokyo trains.... The waiting list for minis is now several weeks' long. Although Apple doesn't release regional sales figures, six of the top eight selling music players in Japan are iPod models, according to Gfk Japan, a market research company." The report says that Apple will offer the Japanese equivalent of iTunes within the next year.
In his public apology to Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek's technology editor Alex Salkever says that the iPod mini "is not a flop. In fact, it's a hit. I can't deny it. So, here's my apology, Steve. The mini is no Cube. I was wrong, and you were right," but continues to argues that the price of the device remains too high: "Do I still think the price needs to come down? Absolutely. The Sony Walkman didn't truly take off until it dropped below $200, and video-game consoles often sell poorly or slowly until they fall below that threshold.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.24 ( -0.95 )
GoPro revenue drops, Karma drone delayed
Action camera maker GoPro announced its first quarter results on Thursday, and the news was largely bad. While unit sell-through of the cameras was close to the year-over-year compare, revenues dropped 49.5 percent from Q1 last year, though was slightly above the company's guidance. Overall, the company lost $107 million in GAAP net income, and margins declined to 32.5 percent from 45.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. The company further announced that it would be delaying its planned Karma drone product until this winter, which will likely further impact next quarter's results. The upside of the delay, said GoPro Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman, is that the Karma will now benefit from debuting just before the holiday buying season. http://bit.ly/1OgpdgD
Netflix iOS app now offers cell-data controls
In a new update to its iOS app on Thursday, subscription entertainment service Netflix has introduced new user controls for streaming over cellular networks to prevent overages, throttling, or other usage issues caused by the high data rate of streamed HD video. Users can choose from a given amount of streaming video that "costs" 1GB of cellular data, which lowers video quality to allow as much as four hours of video per GB (the "automatic" setting provides three hours, while higher quality settings reduce the time to two hours, or one hour at the best setting). In addition, the updated app now offers more 3D Touch options from the app icon, beyond the "peek and pop" previews for video. http://apple.co/24AD1vR
Bentley launches app for Apple Watch
Carmaker Bentley now offers an Apple Watch app for its Bentayga SUV -- a vehicle with a starting price of $229,000 -- that offers some advanced automotive functions not previously seen in other car apps for Apple's wearable. The app allows Watch wearers to control various seat adjustments, environmental controls (including seat massage), and the entertainment system. In addition, various vehicle stats are available at a glance, including distance traveled and vehicle speed. The app is available free on the App Store. http://apple.co/24AyXvs
Lunch with Cook auction nets $515K
The Charitybuzz auction that offered lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple HQ and a pair of passes to a future Apple event (winner's pick) has ended with a high bid of $515,000, the highest amount the annual auction has fetched since 2013. Proceeds of the auction will benefit Cook's preferred charity, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, where Cook was recently named to the board of directors. The winner, who was unnamed, will be responsible for their own transportation and accommodation, and Cook has up to a year to schedule the meeting -- making it possible that the winner will be among the first to dine with Cook in the new Campus 2 cafeteria, which is set to open along with the rest of the new facility early next year. http://bit.ly/236Wf9N
Free Windows 10 upgrade program ends July 29
Ending speculation, Microsoft has officially announced that it will end free Windows 10 upgrades on July 29, the one-year anniversary of the rollout of the OS. Following the 29th, Microsoft's ubiquitous OS will retail for $119 and up. http://bit.ly/1O0a7kA
US tech giants to candidates: support TPP
Tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Uber are among thirteen major US corporations who have written an open letter to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton urging them to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, reports Reuters. Although not yet made public, the letter also asks the candidates to make it easier for the companies to hire tech workers from overseas. Both are not happy with the TPP deal, although Trump is sterner in his opposition to any kind of trade deals between countries. Trump has not rejected outright the idea of importing high-tech talent from overseas, while Clinton has already voiced her support for the idea. http://reut.rs/1Wb0Zwq
Apple mandates June 1 app IPv6 support
Apple has set the deadline for IPv6 support for App Store-supplied software. On June 1, apps thast use a custom networking stack and that are submitted to the app store must support IPv6-only networks. The rule, announced last year as coming soon, will only affect a small portion of submitted applications that do not use the NSURLSession and CFNetwork APIs. http://apple.co/24yBTIY