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: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives