Apple has begun blocking users of outdated versions of iTunes from accessing the company's Music Store. Users must have version 4.5 or later of iTunes to access the store and purchase songs. iTunes 4.7, the latest version, is a free download, and users of blocked versions are asked to update their software.
Parliant today announced a new release of PhoneValet Message Center (PVMC). Version 2.1 significantly enhances PVMC's voice mail system by letting users listen in live as callers leave messages. It also enhances PVMC's ability to host informational services (like theater listings and club info lines). "Through a new real-time call screening capability, PVMC 2.1 gives you the flexibility to take important calls immediately while ensuring that callers left in voicemail continue to be treated to a professional telephone experience." PhoneValet costs $200.
Elemental Audio Systems today announced the availability of the newest versions of its two flagship audio equalizer plug-ins, Firium and Eqium. In addition to new features and improvements, these new versions include improved Audio Unit support for better compatibility with Apple Logic 7 and other up-to-date Audio Unit applications. Firium and Eqium support a range of common plug-in formats and are compatible with popular host applications including Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, and BIAS Peak. Both plug-ins are available individually for $129 each or bundled for $169. The updated versions are free to registered customers.
After comparing Apple's new iPod Photo to the 20GB iRiver H320, renowned Wall Street Journal columnist, Walt Mossberg, writes: "The iPod Photo was just as easy, and satisfying, to use with photos as it is with music. It's a winner, if a little pricey. But the iRiver player is complicated and clumsy, designed by techies for techies." In conclusion, Mossberg says he cannot recommend the iRiver for average, nontechnical users. "But the new iPod Photo is a great choice for storing and sharing digital photos. We just hope it comes down in price."
Aspyr announced today that it is bringing id Softwareís blockbuster hit, DOOM 3, to Macintosh. The game is under development for Macintosh by id Software, and will be published by Aspyr. "The ruins of an ancient Martian civilization have unlocked the secrets to teleportation and the Union Aerospace Corporation will stop at nothing to harness this world-altering technology. As part of a Marine detachment sent to protect the facility, your duty seemed simple enough Ė until the invasion. Now, in an epic clash against pure evil you must fight to understand who is with you, who is against you, and what must be done to stop this nightmare from reaching earth." The game, which requires a PowerPC G5 1.5 GHz or faster microprocessor, is available for pre-order for $50.
A BusinessWeek column looks at the future of Apple's dominance in the digital music player sector. "Apple has to continue to out-innovate a growing crowd of contenders ... Although they haven't much dented the iPod's appeal so far, a horde of rivals, including Dell, Sony, Virgin Electronics, and Samsung, will offer north of 100 iPod wannabes this holiday season." The article warns Apple's dominance could be short lived as other companies move in "Just look at Palm in PDAs, Nintendo in game consoles, and Apple itself in PCs. Already, rival music players offer more features at lower prices."
Propel Software Corporation announced today it has developed Propel Accelerator for Macintosh, a fast Internet accelerator for the Mac OS X platform. The software improves the Internet experience by accelerating the delivery of web pages to the user's browser. Using proprietary, patent-pending technology, Propel Accelerator downloads the highest quality Internet content (both graphical and text-based) with minimum latency and maximum speeds over low-speed connections. "Instead of simply converting its Windows application version to the Macintosh, Propel has designed its Macintosh accelerator as a system-level utility that is simple and intuitive to use." Propel Accelerator is designed to work with OS X 10.2 and higher. The software will be distributed through ISPs in December 2004 for an additional service cost of $8 a month.
The VideoLAN team has released VLC Media Player 0.80, an update to the very useful utility for playback of various video and audio files. The new version adds an audio equalizer, Vobsub support, multichannel audio downmixing, a new plugins cache system to speed up launch time, Windows Media Server RTSP support, support for iTunes Music Store previews, and improvements to the subtitles/OSD subsystem. The new version also includes vastly improved DVD support, a new screen capture input plugin, multipart JPEG webcam and muxing support, and complete re-writes of the input and transcoding layers. The player is a free download.
Several media outlets this morning are quoting Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Steven Milunovich, who claims that Apple may sell as many as 2.68 million iPods in the December period, almost four times the year-earlier total. "Demand for the music players, which let users download, store and play thousands of songs, made Apple the second-best performing stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index this year." The computer company said last month that sales will rise to as much as $2.9 billion in the period that ends Christmas Day, as gift buying fuels a "marked increase" in iPod shipments and customers snap up a new version of the iMac computer released in September.
Lemke Software has released GraphicConverter 5.3, which boasts nearly 20 new features including xmp metadata support, extended AppleScript support, new hand as caliper rule tools, an improved browser toolbar, and more. The new version of the shareware image editor also updates a dozen existing features and corrects several known and potential bugs. GraphicConverter costs $35 and is available for both Mac OS X and Classic. [Classic -7.3MB] [Mac OS X -11.1MB]
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