M-Audio has announced M-Audio O2, an ultra-thin USB MIDI controller for use with software such as Propellerhead Reason and Ableton Live. "Small enough to fit in a bag along with a laptop, the compact M-Audio O2 is perfect for throwing down bass lines, programming drum patterns, triggering effects and tweaking virtual studio parametersówhenever and wherever the muse calls." It features 25 full-size, half-action, velocity-sensitive keys, along with eight MIDI-assignable knobs, eight MIDI-assignable buttons, and assignable volume slider as well as a sustain pedal input. It is available now for $180.
Electric Rain today announced Swift 3D Xpress for Mac OS X, its 3D extension for Macromedia Flash MX 2004. It allows users to select any vector object on the stage in Flash, open it into the Xpress editing interface, customize their 3D scene by extruding, rotating, lighting and animating the vector object, and then render it out to a self-contained Movie Clip in either vector or raster form. Currently available for Windows 2000/ME/XP, the Mac OS X version will ship along with the release of Swift 3D 4.0 standalone for Mac OS X, scheduled for mid-October. Swift 3D Xpress will be priced at $130 or $40 when purchased with Swift 3D 4.0 standalone.
Apple has dropped its legal counsel in the lawsuit against Beatles' record label over use of the 'Apple' name: "The latest installment in a long-running series of legal scraps between the two sides had been due to go back before the courts in London this autumn. However, it now looks likely to be delayed as Apple Computers' new legal representative, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, gets to grips with its new case. It is believed that Apple Computer decided to switch legal teams after Linklaters raised the possibility of a settlement said in legal circles to be close to US$35.65 million, far higher than Apple Computer's expectations." The report says that its previous law firm Linklaters was advising its client on a $30.3 million settlement, one of the largest in legal history outside a class-action suit and that Apple has retained Freshfields to take a new look at the dispute.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: members sharing Power Mac G4 upgrade lists and specs.... members' various uses for their Apple PowerBooks.... the accuracy of delivery date estimates from Apple.... speculation about future Apple interface design trends.... the latest Mac OS X themes and interface modifications.
In Brief: To help celebrate its annual Halloween makeover, Iconfactory has announced October's first freeware icon release: "Eat Me" by David Lanham.... Author Wallace Wang has released a new title dedicated to the controversial world of online file sharing called: "Steal This File Sharing Book: What They Won't Tell You About File Sharing" ($20).... A MacNN reader reports that BBC's new video and audio news service (News Player) only offers Real Player and Windows Media Player formats, leaving QuickTime users out in the cold.... AppleInsider reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs intends to give away a 17,000 square-foot Spanish Colonial mansion, instead of demolishing it.
Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack Pro 2.1 is a free update the audio utility that allows you to record any application's audio (from internet streams to DVD audio) as well as apply various effects, including industry-standard VST and AudioUnit audio effects. It includes several new features, including the new Channel Tweaker plugin, Sample Rate settings in AIFF recordings, a new output device selector for audio device sources, variables in recording ID3 Tags, and 800x600-resolution compliance. It also dozens of bugs, including issues with AAC recordings. A demo of the $32 application is available online. Upgrades from v1.x are $10.
Harris & Baseview has announced CirculationPro 3.1, an update to its circulation management software application. It brings outside mail list management, flexible reporting, automated software updates, customizable subscriber letters, design-your-own renewal forms and more. CirculationPro leverages a web-based interface along with a powerful SQL database. Version 3.1 supports easy import and management of data from outside lists, direct printing of postal service indicias and permits, a new software update function, twelve new reports, customizable renewal forms, and personalized subscription letters. (Pricing and availability not available.)
SoftCare today announced K4 Publishing System v5.1, an update to its editorial system for Adobe InDesign CS and Adobe InCopy CS. Expected to ship by the end of the year, it will include improved support for regional editions and multi-language publications, as well as object rules and virtual layouts for seamless integration with asset management, ad layout and page planning solutions. SoftCare will offer a preview at IfraExpo, which runs October 11-14 in Amsterdam. Version 5.1 allows every frame in an InDesign document to house multiple variants (e.g. different localizations or different ads) of text, images, ads or multimedia objects, increasing its adaptability to different types of publications.
Soliloquy Learning today began shipping The Reading Assistant Manager, a new network software program that works with children individually at their own pace to improve their reading skills. It provides a guided oral reading experience to students in grades 1.5 to 6 through the use of its propriety Speech Recognition/Reading Verification technology. The program listens to students as they read, provides intelligent intervention when they need it, and reports their performance to their teacher. Soliloquy says it "uses extremely accurate speech recognition that can be matched only by human reading assistants and teachers."
Taking aim at Apple's iTunes, AT&T Wireless has launched its own download music service, offering subscribers the ability to purchase songs using their cell phones and later download them to a computer. The company is expected to offer roughly 750,000 tracks priced at 99 cents each, while full albums will start at $9.99, according to the AP. Songs as well as ringtones can be purchased from users' mobile phones and then allow customers to download songs over the Internet from a Web site in the Windows Media Player format. Developed by Loudeye, AT&T Wireless is also "marrying the service with its Music ID feature, which can recognize songs played into a phone's speaker and send text messages to users with information on the track."
Phelios today released its new, strategic puzzle game for Mac, Little Soldiers, described as "a mind bending, strategic-puzzle game that places you and your compatriots on a range of challenging, classified military missions. Armed with rocket missiles, bullets, building materials, pick axes, and your own mind muscle strength, you must build carefully placed fortification, explode bombs, plan cautiously thought out routes in order to proceed safely to your desired escape areas." It offers 8 free levels (up to 36 levels in the full version), an in-game tutorial, four original soundtracks, and OpenGL graphics. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 and is available for $15.
Near-Time has released Near-Time Flow 1.1 as well as an early access version of the Near-Time Relay collaboration server, offering improved flexibility, usability, and security to its content and knowledge management system available for Mac OS X Panther. Flow 1.1 adds Weblog publishing capabilities with APIs for Blogger and MetaWeblog and the ability to quickly post any page or selected text to a Weblog. It also adds an option for users to customize their output (including customizable style sheets), allowing them to integrate documents from Flow with other applications. Version 1.1 also adds SSL-level security and enables full use of the Near-Time Relay collaboration server.
Extensis today released Suitcase Server X1, which provides administrators added control over the usage of fonts across a workgroup or an entire organization. Administrators have the ability to manage their font libraries centrally, manage their font licenses and compliancy effectively, and ensure all workgroup members are using the identical versions of all fonts. Suitcase Server X1 offers greater control over the usage of fonts on client desktops with a series of permissions to allow individual-users to control specific client features, such as the ability to automatically remove all non-approved fonts, the power to save finds and the authority to override system fonts on local machines, and more. The English version of Suitcase Server X1 is available for $1,200 for the Server (with a complimentary client license). Additional clients are $130 per seat.
Xnet Communications today released Captain FTP 3.5, a new version of its multithreaded FTP/SSL-FTP/SFTP client. It features support for unlimited simultaneous connections, an attractive metal interface, Quick Connect, virtual folders, contextual menus and an Address Book to store favorite sites. Other features include accelerated segmented transfers, resuming, auto-reconnect, large file support (2GB), AppleScript support, folder sync, Rendezvous support, remote file editing, and more. Version 3.5 offers a summary for multiple selected files/folders, the ability to modify permissions for multiple selections, improved Address Book export, abort/pause of downloads, color-coding for different file types, and more. It is available for $25.
Griffin today announced it has begun shipping SecuriKey Pro for Macintosh, which it says is "the first-ever" USB-based authentication solution for individual Macintosh users. Featuring a USB token that acts like an 'ignition key' for any Mac, SecuriKey is a convenient and reliable way to protect Macs from unwanted use. "By combining a security solution the user 'has' (a USB token) with something he or she 'knows' (a password), SecuriKey assures strong two-factor protection. Rules-based user controls are included as well, providing additional flexibility."
FileMaker today announced a new "Buy One FileMaker, Give One Free" holiday special: from now until December 15, 2004, for every individual who purchases a copy of FileMaker Pro 7, the company will provide a second copy of the product to a friend, colleague, customer or a charity. The company said that FileMaker Pro 7 is the No. 1 selling database software for managing people, projects, images, assets and other information. To assist with charitable product contributions, FileMaker has partnered with Gifts In Kind International, the world's leading charity in product philanthropy.
Zengobi has released Curio 2.0, the latest version of its environment for brainstorming and idea management. Curio 2.0 features new support for outline lists and to-do lists which can contain any type of information including text, images, and movies. It also features user-definable flags and ratings; a more powerful integrated asset library; support for instantly embedded external documents; and grouping and locking of figures. In addition, Sleuth, Curio's Internet research assistant, now allows users to create their own custom search sites. A single-user license key sells for $130, with upgrades priced at $50 for v1.x owners.
In Brief: The Apple Store online is offering price matching of up 10% off of its pricing.... Zacks.com has released its latest list of highlighted stocks, which includes Apple, that are currently members of the coveted Zacks #1 Ranked list which has produced an average annual return of +33.1% since inception in 1988.... AT&T Wireless is launching a new online music service that lets subscribers buy songs using their cell phones and later download them to a computer. Bare Feats' webmaster Rob Morgan was barred from using Apple equipment at his local Apple retail store for test purposes, but will receive an iMac G5 loaner from Apple.... MacSpeech will perform presentations featuring iListen at Apple Stores in the Memphis, Chicago, and Indianapolis areas as well as for The Northwest of Us.
iClip 3.3 ($20) updates the multiple clipboard, scrapbook, and launcher application for Mac OS X 10.2. Version 3.3 adds the ability to set multiple "Hot Keys" for different functions and the ability to set multiple "Hot Clicks" to control various functions of individual clippings. iClip offers a floating window that allows users to store and retrieve various clippings (text, pictures, URLs, file aliases, movies, etc.) for better organization. [4.4MB] Comixware 2.1 ($40) is an interactive storytelling software that combines multimedia presentation and editing as well as offers interactive player/editor functions. Version 2.1 offers performance enhancements, broader media compatibility, improved asset linking engine with user authentication for private/public sharing, and unlimited private sharing in Comixware's online Gallery. [form] ConvertIt Pro 2.0 ($17) is a unit conversion program that features a built-in scientific calculator, list searching, online dictionary, and nearly 2300 units in 29 categories (currency, computer, length, weight, acceleration, cooking, electricity, etc.) Users also have the option of adding an infinite number of custom units. [1.3MB] Safari Magic 1.1 ($20) allows Safari users to selectively collect and edit/organize text, graphics, and pictures from multiple web pages and non-contiguous sources. It also enables users to instantly and selectively save or print anything they find on the Internet as well as instantly add their own notes and time-date stamps to their data. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.7MB] NetBeans IDE 4.0 Beta 2 (open-source) is now available as both an individual download and also bundled with the newly released production version of Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition Development Kit 5.0 (J2SE 5.0 a.k.a. "Tiger"). The second beta fixes over 900 bugs, improving performance. The NetBeans IDE provides a pure Java technology integrated development environment. [33MB] Amju Super Golf 2.0 ($20) is a game title that "shares many similarities to miniature golf with a few important additions," including targets to hit for bonus points, targets that make parts of the map move, and wandering critters that offer additional bonus points. Version 2 offers single/dual player games, different skill levels, a new camera mode (to move the camera), and a demo mode. [3.8MB]
Levelground Media has updated its three audio plugins: Vintasion 2.1, and Fattenizer 2.1, and CrunchEQ 1.1. The Audio Unit-based plugins offer new features, performance optimizations, and bug fixes. Vintasion is an efficient and accurate analog tube simulator which adds vintage coloration and warmth to audio. Fattenizer is a bottom-end enhancer which places necessary overtones into audio providing a fattening of the audio signal. CrunchEQ is a combination graphic equalizer and parametric equalizer with added grind/mild distortion. The updates offer performance improvements and enhanced audio processing engines to improve the clarity of processed audio. They are available for $80 each or in a bundle for $150.
MetaCommunications has announced an upgrade to its production platform for printing, publishing and creative development: Virtual Ticket 6.0 features a new Mac OS X native client application with complete support for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. Version 6 also brings the ability to create custom SQL queries directly from within the product and enhancements to the built-in MetaScript scripting engine. Virtual Ticket enables organizations to centralize information, eliminate paper job tickets, manage production files, traffic and schedule jobs, notify/alert users to changes, manage digital assets and archive files. Due at the end of October, pricing starts at $1000 with free upgrades to customers with support agreements. The company also announced Virtual Ticket Web Server 1.5.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has quietly returned to work full time after taking a leave of absence to recover from cancer surgery, according to a brief report in The Mecury News: "Jobs has been participating in high-level staff meetings over the past month and corresponding by e-mail with analysts and Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak. 'All I can say is that he was in excellent spirits,' wrote Wozniak in an e-mail when asked about his old friend. Those expecting the intensely private Jobs to offer an Oprah-worthy glimpse into his battle with a rare but treatable form of pancreatic cancer will be disappointed. mployees and others who have had dealings with Jobs since his return say he never acknowledges his illness or recovery. He is the same old Steve and just as intensely driven as before."
Spherico has released Playlist2FCP, an application that automates the transfer of non-AAC audio files from iTunes to FCP. Helping organize temp music in FCP during production, it uses the Final Cut Pro XML interchange format to import track, artist and album information from iTunes into Final Cut Pro. It can organize multiple tracks by automatically sorting the iTunes playlist into album or artist bins when the resulting XML file is imported into FCP; it can also track reference files for converted media or copy/move original tracks to the Final Cut Pro media folder. Playlist2FCP can be used as a simple droplet to automate the entire process or as a standard application to edit the playlist and fine tune the conversion to XML. It is available for 10Ä (33% discount) through November 6.
Sonnet Technologies today announced price cuts and improved performance on its Piccolo line of USB flash drives. The company has added USB 2.0 support to its Piccolo flash drives, offering faster data transfer rates when used with USB 2.00-enabled Macs (while remaining compatible with USB 1.1 connections). Sonnet also now priced its 256MB drive at $50 ($50 off) and its 512MB model at $100 ($80 off). Sonnet says that Hi-Speed USB 2.0 support requires Mac OS X version 10.2.7 or higher.
Microsoft today announced the immediately availability of Virtual PC 7 with Windows XP Professional as well as Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Professional Edition, folllowing shipment confirmations reported by MacNN last week. Virtual PC allows Mac users to run Microsoft Windows and work with PC-only software, files, networks and devices directly on their Macs. Version 7 brings much-anticipated G5 support, improved performance by up to 30%, better graphics handling, "Fast Save" to quickly save the PC state in the background, a new setup assistant for installation, easier printing with zero-configuration under Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, and more. Virtual PC 7 with Windows XP Pro is $250, while Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Pro Edition is $500. An upgrade version of Office 2004 Pro Edition is also available for $330.
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