The NPD Group, a research analysis firm, said that all models of the iPod accounted for 92.1 percent of the market for hard drive-based music players, up from 82.2 percent a year ago, while players from Creative and Rio were a distant second and third, with 3.7 percent and 3.2 percent of the market, respectively, according CNET News.com: "NPD analyst Stephen Baker attributed the results to a strong launch for new fourth-generation versions of the iPod, which arrived on the market just at the right time to dominate back-to-school buying. 'Back-to-school has turned out to be a very big season for music players,' Baker said. The iPod Mini, the smaller 4GB version of the player Apple introduced last year, continues to sell well, Baker said, but Apple faces credible competition there from new devices such as Rio's Carbon."
Screenography 1.0 ($50) is a simple program to capture your screen to various image, movie and Flash formats. It its "very useful for creating tutorials, training videos/CDs and demonstrations," according to the developer. [Download - 1.8MB] biOpen is a new and unique sequence analysis and structure visualization software based on a plug-in architecture. It features extensive modularity, easy evolution of your configuration, 3D visualization, and more. [Download - form] Platypus 2.6 is a powerful developer tool for creating application wrappers around scripts (creating Mac OS X applications that execute a bundled script). Details of the latest version were not published. [Download - 550KB] TalaPhoto is an "elegantly simple yet powerful" solution for printing and sharing digital photos. "TalaPhoto makes it exceptionally easy to print your photos on your own printer, email them, create slideshows and organize them into easy to navigate Web pages." [Download - form] Sticky Notes 1.1 (£10) is the latest version of the desktop organization utility, which offers Rendezvous-based sharing, window snapping, tiling & cascading, custom colors, and export to iPod functions. Version 1.1 adds drag & drop links to local files, sorting by color, by title or by specified lists, importing form iCal, attaching notes to applications and improved network sharing. [Download - 400KB] Barcode Basics 1.0 ($100) for FileMaker is a fast, easy way to create printable, scannable bar codes from your FileMaker data. It does not require any special fonts or plug-ins. The initial release includes versions for Code39, the most common barcode format; and POSTNET, used to encode zip codes onto mailing envelopes. A Developer version ($300) permits redistribution. [30KB]
Aspyr today announced it will ship Men of Valor in mid-December, following the recent announcement that PC version of Men of Valor has gone gold. Aspyr is working closely with game publisher Vivendi in a collaborative effort to bring the title, a first-person shooter set in Vietnam, to Mac gamers by the end of the year. "With an expected Mac release less than six weeks after the title goes to Xbox and PC, Aspyr has already begun developing Men of Valor and will be vigorously testing the title to keep it on the path for a quick release." Men of Valor will be first Vietnam-based first-person-shooter to be released for Mac. The title will run on Mac OS X 10.3.4 Panther and ill require a G4/G5 processor (1.2GHz or faster).
Aspyr today released a demo of Homeworld 2, its space-based, realtime strategy game--the second chapter in the Hiigaransí galactic fight. The demo features three tutorial missions and the full, first single player mission of the game. The sci-fi strategy game offers players the ability to "control vast armadas of ships battling alien forces. You can research and build new technology and control your battle in true 3D with an innovative camera system that lets you zoom in to see intricate details of ships and zoom out to get a system wide overview of the action." The full version ($50) of Homeworld 2 has a complete single player campaign as well as a multiplayer mode. It requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later and a G4/G5 processor (800MHz or faster).
Quark today announced the forthcoming release of QuarkXPress 6.5, the newest version of the publishing software. Version 6.5 offers new features, increased stability and reliability. It will include QuarkVista, a new XTensions module for image manipulation that extends the capabilities of QuarkXPress to include image editing within the context of the layout as well as support for native Photoshop files, variable data printing, enhancments for large workgroups, guildes on pasteboards on master pages, table enhancements, bleed/OPI settings, and more. In collaboration with Linotype, QuarkXPress 6.5 allows purchase of fonts that are used in a project in addition to a free font bundle valued at $1,000. Version 6.5 will also include a selection of design templates by Stock Layouts. It will be available in the next 30 days as a free upgrade to registered owners.
A BusinessWeek interview with Steve Jobs on the "nature of innovation" talks about his role at the company, the "early days", and Apple's constant effort to stay ahead in the industry: "But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we've been thinking about a problem. It's ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea. And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We're always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important."
Freeverse today announced that it will publish "Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood." Originally developed by Spellbound, the company says the title is in final beta testing stages. "Take on the roles of Robin Hood and his Merry Men and lead them to the battle field against the nasty Prince John Lackland. In doing so you are able to enjoy the fabulous English landscape of 1190 as well as the giant castles and funny characters. The thrilling story is features by an introduction and transfers you directly into the heroís body with the first mission, in which you have to set your captive comrades free." It features more than 30 missions, nine different characters with specific abilities, mouse-based sword fighting, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later and will be available in English, German, and French.
Canto today announced released HELIOS Companion 2.0, its add-on option for its Cumulus digital asset management solution that offers four modules, including HELIOS Synchronizer, HELIOS Filter, HELIOS AssetProcessor and HELIOS Companion Setup. It is available for the Workgroup and Enterprise Editions of Cumulus. Cumulus HELIOS Companion 2.0 combines Canto's Digital Asset Management (DAM) software with HELIOS' file and print server and server-based image replacement solutions. It automatically synchronizes Cumulus catalogs and HELIOS EtherShare and PC Share volumes when users store new files or make changes to existing files in the HELIOS file system.
EMC Corp. today announced the acquisition of Dantz Development, the privately held supplier of backup and recovery software for small and mid-size businesses. Founded in 1984, the company produces popular software titles such as Retrospect, which provides both backup and recovery functions for file servers, desktops, and notebooks for both Windows and Macs. "Dantz is a strategic acquisition in line with EMC's strategy to extend our reach and focus on the fast-growing SMB market of next-generation high-growth customers.." EMC said that that Dantz would continue to operate in Walnut, CA. The cash transaction was valued at less than $50 million, according to the release.
IDG World Expo today announced that the MacIT Conference will return to Macworld Conference & Expo San Francisco on January 12-14, 2005. MacIT is a comprehensive educational event presenting technical training on Apple IT tools and technology. This year's event will feature the first in depth public training on Apple's forthcoming Tiger operating system and its IT implications. Registration for Macworld Conference & Expo is now open; it will take place January 10-14, 2005 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco. In addition to the general session, MacIT participants can choose from more than 40 sessions from five different tracks: Servers and Services, Client Issues, Interoperability, Network Management, and Introductory Material - a track for newer IT managers.
MXS last week announced its Cherry OS software, a software translator that allows users to install Apple's Mac OS X operating system on x86 computer architecture. "To put it simply you can now run Appleís award winning Panther OS on your PC! This breakthrough in OS development now gives home users, software developers and web designerís ultimate flexibility in both the operating system and hardware platform you use for your personal computer or testing environment." The company says that Cherry OS runs Panther as a virtual machine on Windows PC with full network capabilities including the ability to share folders and access the web as well as complete access to the computer's hardware resources including, Hard Drive, CPU, RAM, Firewire, USB, PCI, PCMIA BUS and RJ45/Ethernet and Modem. It is available online for $50.
REAL Software today announced a call for entries for the REALbasic Design Awards. The awards will be presented at REAL World 2005, The REALbasic User Conference, scheduled to take place March 23-25 in Austin, Texas and includes several categories, such as Business, Education Software, Graphic Design, and more. Each winner will receive a "Select" level membership in the REALbasic Developer Program (a $1000 value), an engraved lucite REALbasic Design Award and the right to use the REALbasic Design Award logo in marketing materials. The REALbasic Developer Program membership provides the ability to offer input into REALbasic development, access to REAL Software technical staff and access to REAL Software consulting leads.
The consumer electronics arm of the Virgin Group is introducing a new 5GB hard-disk portable music player as a direct challenge to Apple's iPod mini, according to the AP: "Virgin Electronics hopes its slim Virgin Player, which debuts Tuesday and is smaller than a deck of cards, will rise as a lead competitor to Apple Computer Inc.'s wildly popular iPod players....The Virgin Player has 20 percent more storage capacity than the iPod Mini. It is slightly larger but is a half-ounce lighter at 3.1 ounces. Virgin claims it has eight hours of continuous playback time on its rechargeable lithium ion battery -- the same as the iPod Mini. The player will be available for $249 at the end of October." It sports an FM Tuner and both WMA/MP3 support as well as integration with the Virgin online music store.
The Mac BU today announced the availability of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2004 for Mac via Microsoft AutoUpdate, which it says addresses potential security issues and bugs reported via the new Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol (MERP), which anonymously sends crash data to Microsoft. "A service pack is a tested, cumulative set of security and critical updates following an initial product release, along with fixes for problems found by Microsoft or through MERP data provided by customers and through customer support calls. Customers will be notified and can download Office 2004 for Mac SP1 via Microsoft AutoUpdate. In addition, customers can download SP1 for Office 2004 from the Mactopia site." Last month, the company released Microsoft AutoUpdate for Office 2004 for Mac.
Cinematize 2 ($60) extracts audio and video clips from a DVD movie, offering support for QuickTime, iMovie, and Final Cut formats. It now offers selection of start/end video frames, its own video decoder (no longer requires QuickTime MPEG-2 playback component), a new batch extraction mode, better performance (with G4/G5 optimizations), advanced video/audio sync, and also offers decoding options to fix synchronization problems common on "difficult" DVDs. Upgrades are $30. Netflix Freak 1.3 ($15) is a full-featured application for managing a Netflix rental queue. Designed for Mac OS X 10.2.6, it adds a display of new releases personalized recommendations from Netflix, and both Top 100 and Top 25 (by genre) listings. It offers multiple methods of management, searching, import of entire rental history, custom categories, and more. [777KB] Missing Sync for Palm OS v4.0.1 (free) fixes issues with mounting a Sony CLIE memory card on the Mac's desktop and also adds support for several conduits, including FMSync and Vindigo, adds keychain support, improves support for Tapwave Zodiac handhelds and includes a new version of the MemoPad application with an updated UI and improved synchronization. [12MB] BrickShooter 1.5 ($15) is a new game title: "Its simple rules create a great variety of different game situations, much like chess. The game proved suitable for people of all ages; good for children in developing their creative thinking processes, useful for grown-ups to play during lunch times and perfect for seniors to relax yet keep their minds sharp." [665KB] Lamp Express has released another free software module for its eyeSignal personal notification device, allowing users to monitor any web device with a static IP address or URL. The module pings all devices in the monitor list and turns on the red LED if a server is not answering or the blue LED in case the response time is longer than 500 ms. AquaMinds has released a free new version of the NoteTaker/Ecto AppleScript as well as new script-based support for MarsEdit. The new Ecto script allows NoteTaker to be used used as a database-driven blogging client in combination with the recently released Ecto2, while the new NoteTaker/MarsEdit script similarly offers support for MarsEdit.
Windows- and PC-centric hardware review site Anandtech.com has posted a review of the Mac titled "A Month with a Mac: A Die-Hard PC User's Perspective," which takes a close look at the Mac user experience from the perspective of a avid Windows user who has had largely negative preconceptions about the Mac: "the Apple platform is a tough sell to the mainstream for the reasons that I've already outlined. I took a chance and ended up pleasantly surprised. Maybe more PC users would be pleasantly surprised too - the problem is that even as a second machine, a Mac is an expensive proposition. Maybe instead of switch commercials, Apple should have poured that money into arranging 30-day trials of G5s for PC users. They would've probably gotten more converts that way."
In Brief: Apple has posted an new iPod commercial featuring U2's newly released "Vertigo" track at the iTunes Music Store.... Ars Technica has posted an interview with Dr. Pratap Pattnaik of IBM's POWER5 team, which covers a range of topics in the areas of design methodology, microarchitecture, and future plans.... Several users are soliciting users to send feedback to Apple and Macromedia for a faster version of Flash for Mac OS X.... Macstronomy I is a new Macintosh astronomy workshop scheduled to be held in Chicago on Thursday, September 8th, 2005 in conjunction with Astrofest.... PC Magazine's review of the 15-inch PowerBook says that "PowerBook buyers will like this model, but Apple needs to solve the heat problem to make this an ideal laptop."
M-Audio today announced Fast Track USB, a compact, entry-level audio interface is specifically designed to provide a simple way to record vocals, guitar and other instruments with popular music software such as Apple's GarageBand. The 2x2 bus-powered mobile audio interface offers up to 24-bit/48kHz audio fidelity and a dedicated XLR input for a dynamic microphone--with gain control and signal LEDs. The 1/4" input on the second channel can be toggled between instrument and line levels to accommodate a wide variety of signal sources. Audio outputs include dual RCAs and front-panel 1/8" stereo headphone jack that share a common level control. It is available now for $130 bundled with GT Player Express software.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe