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In Brief: Apple VP Ron Johnson noted that Apple's new mini stores were the same size as retail outlets in airports, hinting at future possible locations for its retail outlets.... Apple is offering .Mac members 300 free Apple Loops from GarageBand Jam Packs 1, 2, and 3 as well as a "buy two, get one free" offer for its GarageBand Jam Packs, allowing them to purchase all three packs for $200.... Readers are noting that the Apple Store is beginning to ship the 30-inch Cinema Displays (along with the Nvidia GeForce 6800 GPU), following months of delays.... Apple's stock is up more than 13% to $44.98 at market close, following better-than-expected earnings and a strong FYQ1 2005 outlook.
Destineer's MacSoft today announced that it would release Rise of Nations as a "Gold" edition to include the recently released Thrones and Patriots expansion pack. Rise of Nations is an historical realtime strategy (RTS) game which combines the epic scope of traditional turn-based strategy (TBS) games with the fast-paced action of RTS games. The game allows players to create new cities, improve their city infrastructure and expand national borders. Players have the option to win through military might using everything from slingshots to cannons to stealth bombers, or they can corner the market on key commodities as they wheel and deal with a wide variety of nations. It will ship in November for $50.
Apple today unveiled its new "mini" retail store, an all-new design featuring stainless steel walls and seamless white floors and ceilings. The mini store is half the size of Apple’s smallest store to date, which Apple says will allow it to be placed in a variety of new locations to "introduce Apple’s innovative products to even more customers." Apple will open its first six mini stores this Saturday at 10 a.m. in Palo Alto, CA; San Jose, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; Tukwila, WA; Bridgewater, NJ; and Rockaway, NJ. Apple's CEO Jobs attended the news conference Thursday to unveil the new stores at a shopping mall near Palo Alto, marking his first public appearance since he underwent a successful operation on his pancreas in late July.
Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 150 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. The 150 millionth song was "Ex-Factor" by Lauryn Hill and was purchased by Beth Santisteven from Ignacio, Colorado. Apple said iTunes users are now downloading more than 4 million songs per week, a rate of over 200 million songs per year. The company also announced the immediate availability of iTunes gift cards at all Best Buy locations. iTunes gift cards were previously available from Target stores, Apple retail stores and the Apple online store.
In Brief: Apple has scheduled a press briefing today (Thursday) at one of the upcoming "mini" Apple Stores--at a mall near Stanford University--near the existing retail outlet in downtown Palo Alto, Ca.... The next MacBUS (Philadelphia) meeting will be held on October 26, 2004 with a look at 4th Dimension.... The USPTO on Monday issued Apple a patent for the ornamental design of its professional Power Mac G5.... The Playlist Club will hold its next event at the Progress Bar in London on October 23 where attendees can bring in their own 15-minute playlist on an iPod.
Alex Salkever of BusinessWeek discusses Apple's refusal to open the iPod/iTunes sytem, saying that Microsoft, other cell phone carriers, and thinning margins could challenge the company's longer term future in the music industry: "If Apple licenses FairPlay, it could sacrifice some sales and profits from its iPod line in the near term. But over the long haul, sowing the seeds of mass adoption of its DRM standard and its iTunes music software will help ensure that Apple's own future hardware offerings aren't marginalized. Jobs should sacrifice some of control and integration to make sure Apple has a seat at the table -- and a say in cutting up the larger, more lucrative digital-content pie."
Web UK today announced that its TouchSTAR pSeries17 touchscreen enhancement for Apple's 17" PowerBook will be available world-wide beginning November 15, 2004 for €500. The new TouchSTAR pSeries17, first shown at the Apple Expo in Paris, is the first in the new line of TouchSTAR products for Apple's portable and desktop LCD displays. TouchSTAR products allow Apple users to easily add or remove touchscreen functionality to their displays without system modification using a patent-pending slipcover design. The TouchSTAR frames are made of durable aluminium that matches Apple's designs.
PowerProduction Software is shipping the new Mac OS X version of StoryBoard Artist 4, the professional imaging software for turning ideas into creative blueprints and storyboards. The software allows pre-production ideas to be presented using a combination of imaging techniques, including drawing, photo import, other graphics, or using one of hundreds of bundled pre-drawn characters/props/locations. It includes drawing tools wih support alpha channel and color transparency as well as library palettes of new pre-drawn images. It offers a new Pan and Zoom feature to add intraframe pans, tilts and zooms as well as interframe timing and transitions, sound effects and music in the visually intuitive timeline. Quick ($280), Artist ($800) and Artist Studio ($1600) versions are available.
Griffin today began shipping its iBeam Flashlight and Laser Pointer for iPods. The iBeam package consists of two separate devices: a snap-on flashlight and a class III laser pointer. Both units come with a snap-on protective cap that can be attached to any keychain for convenient portability and accessibility. The iBeam lights are intended for intermittent use when they connect to the top of the iPod in place of the iPod’s headphones. The new Griffin iBeam package that includes both the laser pointer and flashlight, costs $20.
Archos today announced its Gmini XS200, which it says is "the world's smallest" (2.9" x 2.3" x .7") 20GB hard drive-based digital audio player. The ultra-portable player features a 2.2" gray-scale LCD screen and includes an easy to use icon-based interface. The new player also features the proprietary ARCLibrary advanced music management program, which lets users delete, rename, copy and move files, and create folders directly on the device -- without using a computer. It also offers support for MP3, WMA, and WAV music files, can store data, offers USB 2.0 connectivity, and more. The Gmini XS200 will be available later this month for $250.
Blackmagic Design today announced its DeckLink for Macintosh v4.5 software update, which provides broadcast-quality realtime HD down conversion to standard definition and DVCPRO HD support. The company says that all DeckLink cards are compatible with this new broadcast quality down conversion, which also delivers full broadcast quality and retains full 10-bit video bit depth throughout the processing path. Support for DVCPRO HD compressed video provides high-quality compressed video capture and playback in a format that is suitable for online mastering, but has a data rate low enough for realtime storage on standard computer ATA hard disks. This DVCPRO HD codec is included as part of Final Cut Pro HD; all DeckLink HD cards now fully support this format.
Merrill Lynch overnight raised its price target on Apple stock to $49 from $44 after the PC maker delivered higher-than-expected earnings for the September quarter. Merrill analysts raised the earnings estimate for fiscal 2005 to $1.20 a share from 95 cents a share, saying that Apple's earnings upside in the quarter "was entirely in iPods as Mac sales suffered from continued shortages of the G5 chip from IBM....Because we believe in the halo effect of iPod, the positive impact on Mac sales may still be coming."
Sonnet today announced the Tempo Bridge, which allows users to install a 3.5-inch parallel ATA hard drive inside a Power Mac G5, the first Apple computer featuring the Serial ATA (SATA) drive interface. "Serial ATA, the emerging high-performance drive interface technology, offers greater performance than parallel ATA and uses smaller cables and connectors for better cooling. However, SATA is incompatible with ordinary parallel ATA drives. The Tempo Bridge creates an upgrade path for using a spare drive, or moving one from an older computer to a new G5." It will begin shipping on October 25 for $50.
Pandromeda today released the MojoWorld 3, its artist solution for creating 3D worlds and planets using a number of tools for terrain- and world-building. MojoWorld's unique procedural fractal generation engine instantly creates an entire spherical planet with unlimited detail, complete with sky, sun, moon, stars and water--all of which can be modified, transformed and animated. The Standard Edition ($200) offers PhotoBillboards, high-quality vegetation, river terrains, terran import/export, interactive light sources, MojoFX 2D special effects, SmartGuides, transformation tools, navigation tools, Planet Wizard 3 to mix n' match library of presets, a new layout mode, and more.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ