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.
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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