M-Audio today announced an exclusive distribution deal with GlareSoft, developers of iDrum--a fully programmable drum machine designed exclusively for Mac OS X. iDrum integrates seamlessly with GarageBand, Logic, Digital Performer and other applications that support AudioUnit plug-ins as well as runs as a stand-alone application. iDrum is completely skinnable, offering the ability to change skins on the fly. iDrum features an array of sound-shaping DSP functions such as filters, amp envelope, and crunchy old-school drum machine bit-reduction as well as individual controls for a wide variety of parameters. It is now available for $50.
In Brief: Shares of Apple stock closed up $2.33, or 4.87%, at $50.30, setting a new four-year high.... Several readers note the lack of a localized version of the iTunes Music Store for Ireland. to which Apple said "We are not announcing any new stores beyond Canada in November at this point of time. We are committed to expanding the iTunes Music Store globally and will announce new countries as and when they come on board."... Dracosoft is offering special Halloween pricing ($8) on Amazed 1.1, its maze game for Mac OS X, through end of October.... Apple yesterday offered a crowd of developers, consultants and IT managers here another preview of Mac OS 10.4 Tiger at the O'Reilly Media Inc.'s Mac OS X Conference.
MSN's Slate discusses how the new iPod stacks up against XM's new portable satellite radio, also introduced earlier this week: "My instant take on today's game of whiz-bang one-upmanship is that both companies lost.... This new iPod Photo is the same iPod we're already sick of hearing about. The 2-inch color screen isn't the start of any digital revolutionóall it does is turn your iPod into a camera phone that can't take pictures or make phone calls. XM's MyFi isn't as disappointing as a gadget. Just a week ago, I was wondering why there wasn't a satellite radio that I could wear on my hip;" however, the author notes the lack of custom playlists and selective delivery of news: "So, XM offers live breaking news, but you're stuck with what they pick for you. Apple gives you all the storage space you want, a cocoon against the outside world, and a mostly useless color screen."
Apple's Security Update 2004-10-27 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users, including an updated Apple Remote Desktop: "If the Apple Remote Desktop Administrator application on another system is used to start a GUI application on the client, then the GUI application would run as root behind the loginwindow. This update prevents Apple Remote Desktop from launching applications when the loginwindow is active. This security enhancement is also present in Apple Remote Desktop v2.1. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X 10.3." Readers also note that the QuickTime 6.5.2 is also now available via the Software Update (after being posted on the Web yesterday).
Digidesign today announced Pro Tools 6.7 for its Pro Tools|HD and LE systems. The software expands the company's audio and MIDI feature set to deliver tempo-dependent audio placement, tempo-dependent automation, graphic tempo editing, precise control of meter changes, MIDI step input, enhanced support for instrument plug-ins, MIDI Detective, and Beat Detective LE. Pro Tools 6.7 also adds true cross-platform parity for simplified session transfer with major MIDI functionality enhancements to Windows. Pro Tools 6.7 requires a Digidesign-approved Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools|HD Accel, Digi 002, Digi 002 Rack or Mbox system running on Windows XP or Mac OS X. It is a free update to owners of Pro Tools TDM v6.4 or later and $175 upgrade for others. The download will be available early next month on the Web and from local dealers in mid-November.
Apple is ending a limited time offer that gave customers who own iBooks with a combo optical drive the opportunity to upgrade their optical drive performance by swapping out their existing failed optical drive for a faster performing optical drive, according to AppleInsider. "Only like-for-like combo optical drives will now be accepted by Apple for exchanges," the company said in a message to relevant parties in the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Apple began the optical drive enhancement program in January, after discovering that a batch of faulty optical drives had found their way into a mix of iBook configurations. The discontinuation of the program is effective immediately.
IDG World Expo today announced that the Power Tools Conferences will return to Macworld Conference & Expo San Francisco on January 10-13, 2005. Mac users can choose from 15 separate Power Tools Conferences, each providing two days of intensive training on a specific application or tool. The Power Tools Conferences are separated into two series spanning four days. Mac users can choose to attend two different conferences (Mon/Tues or Wed/Thurs). Power Tools Conference attendees will learn from consultants users with proven expertise on a variety of topics, including Adobe CS, Motion, Mac OS X, AppleScript Studio, DVD Studio Pro, Dreamweaver, Professional Photoshop, FileMaker Pro 7, Mac OS X Security, Advanced Final Cut Pro 4, Developing Dashboard Widgets for Tiger, PDF Workflow, and Corel Painter.
BusinessWeek has a short profile on Steve Jobs as part of its anniversary celebration in which it is presenting a series of weekly profiles of the greatest innovators of the past 75 years: "Jobs's contribution? More than anyone else, he brought digital technology to the masses. As a visionary, he saw that computers could be much more than drab productivity tools. Instead, they could help unleash human creativity and sheer enjoyment. A marketing genius, he conceived of elegant products that captured consumers' imaginations. And as a relentless perfectionist, he came up with creations that actually delivered on their promise -- raising the bar for rivals. 'From the time he was a kid, Steve thought his products could change the world,' says Lee Clow, chairman of TBWA/Chiat/Day and Jobs' longtime ad man."
In Brief: Apple today began shipping its 60GB iPod Photo, according to one reader who received shipment confirmation of his order from the Apple Store.... The Southern California MacFair 2004 has made arrangements with ease e-waste to provide attendees free disposal of their old computer equipment from Nov 13-14 at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California.... WiebeTech LLC, has posted a white paper which analyzes the course of FireWire evolution over the last few years and predicts the future of storage technologies.... Cocoa Dev Central has published a new two-part tutorial demonstrating how to write solid, well-formed Cocoa code using Objective-C.... AppleInsider has more details on yesterday's Special Music Event presentation.
Merrill Lynch has raised its December quarter estimates on Apple, after the company unveiled its iPod Photo--earlier than the research firm expected--and announced the iPod U2 special edition: "Merrill said the prices might seem high for the new iPod models, 'but that was the initial reaction to the iPod Mini.' The firm said Apple believes it is seeing an iPod "halo effect" on the Macintosh computer business and is gaining share in targeted markets." Merrill, citing increased iPod shipments, raised the estimate for the fiscal first quarter ending December to earnings of 42 cents per share on revenue of $2.95 billion, up from earnings of 40 cents per share on revenue of $2.85 billion.
Columnist John C. Dvorak says that Apple's iPod/U2 bundled music announcements open a "Pandora's box" for pricing for digital music, saying that Apple's pricing simple bundles U2 music at its cost in order to sell more iPods, according CBSMarketWatch.com: "The industry is gah-gah over this deal because it appears to lower the price of music on a cost-per-song basis. In fact, this is an illusion. While new music that is sold on a downloadable basis tends to send about 65-cents to the record companies, other deals can be struck for old music... Old cuts, when licensed for a compilation, range in price from 4-cents a track to 18-cents a track with today's average hovering at about 13-cents...Thirteen-cents-a-track almost exactly accounts for the $50 premium on the U2 iPOD which sells for $349. The same iPOD without the music is $299 and quite profitable at that high price. Essentially Apple is giving the buyer the music at its cost to sell more iPODS."
Digby's Donuts ($20) is a new new puzzle game that "invites players to serve catch, stack, and flip colorful donuts into the donut case to earn tips. In Franchise mode, players follow Digby around the country as he opens donut shops, and the challenges increase -- with burned donuts that have to be thrown in the trash, wild flying donuts in bonus levels, and more." It also features arcade mode, built-in high score trackin, and more. [6.1MB] iVideo 2.5 ($20) updates the movie organizing utility that organizes and plays digital movie files. Version 2.5 adds a new "Sharing" feature, which allows you to seamlessly share movies across a local network. It allows multiple library support as well as offers three types of libraries to choose from, a live searching feature, and more. [1.4MB] Machine Wash II Image Filters ($32) offers 60 new filters to texturize, age, and weather layered artwork in Photoshop: "Use the Machine Wash II Image Filters whenever you're working with a design that could use a tactile textured look. Logos, apparel, advertisements, brochures, websites, plus so much more." LayerLink 1.1 ($100) updates the software plugin for Apple's Motion; it brings native multi-layer Adobe Illustrator support to Motion, providing a new command to import an Illustrator file as a Motion project, preserving layer settings, names, and visibility intact. Version 1.1 adds full support for Illustrator CS and contains numerous usablity enhancements. [1.5MB] MacJournal 2.6 (freeware) offers an enhanced user interface, exporting, and blogging functions. The program offers helpful features for creating, modifying, and managing a personal journal and offers features such as toolbars, spell checker, font and color panels, localization, drawers, etc. [640KB] FmPro Migrator 2.35EE ($100) from .com Solutions Inc. has been updated to add repeating fields extraction from FileMaker to MySQL as well as adds the generation of Perl CGI scripts for FileMaker 7 databases. FmPro Migrator quickly and accurately migrates FileMaker Pro databases to MySQL, Oracle, Access, SQL Server, Sybase, DB2, PostgreSQL and FrontBase. [2.8MB]
At its Special Music Event with U2, Apple yesterday introduced its U2 iPod Special Edition (20GB model for $350) and iPod Photo (40GB and 60GB models). The company also launched a U2 Digital Box Set with the complete archive of the band's songs, expanded the European iTunes Music Store to nine new countries, announced the November launch of iTunes in Canada and Nov 20 opening of the London Apple Store, launched a new iPod Store, and introduced new Apple iPod sock carry cases. Jobs pushed the iPod Photo as the 'next big thing' while downplaying video. In addition, Apple released iTunes 4.7, a new iPod Updater, and QuickTime 6.5.2. Apple is also offering a continuous rebroadcast of event highlights via satellite and in QuickTime.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl