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Macs to gain market share
A Merrill Lynch research report released late last month said Apple is expected to sell nearly 4 million iPods in the December 2004 quarter. In the report, analyst Steven Milunovich reiterated his 'buy' rating on Apple with a 12-month target price of $78. Offering strong evidence about the popularity of the iPod around the US and other countries, Merrill Lynch said that despite the growing number of "iPod challengers," Apple's share in the digital player market is increasing. With Apple expected to enter the flash-based digital music player market in the near future, Apple could potentially double its iPod-based revenues, the report states.
Improved iPod durability?
Apple is hoping to bolster the iPod's durability with technology that will make the iPod more likely to survive a fall, according to CNET News.com. Citing a patent published on December 16, the report says that Apple has applied for "a patent on technology that would allow a portable media player to detect when it is falling and then stop reading or writing to the hard drive. Such technology would work by detecting the increase in acceleration that accompanies a drop. 'The portable-computing device protects its disk drive by monitoring for such accelerations and operating to avoid usage of the disk drive during periods of acceleration....Through such protection, the likelihood of damage to the disk drive or loss of data stored on the disk drive is able to be substantially reduced.'" Apple also reportedly applied for patents to cover video conferencing technology and the concept included in Mac OS X Panther's Expose feature, where overlapping windows are separated on the same screen as well as the iTunes Producer patent application noted yesterday.
Fobes wants video iPod
Forbes has published a "Tech Wish List" for 2005 by Arik Hesseldahl. A video iPod tops Hesseldahl's list: "Apple Computer iis halfway there with the iPod photo. And Microsoft and its many hardware pals, including Creative Labs, have proven that video can be done in a handheld device--though they've yet to prove it can be done well. Apple, more than any other company, is up to the task of perfecting this. The experience shouldn't be about watching video on a tiny handheld screen. What I do want is to output video from the iPod to a TV. An 80-gigabyte hard drive would make it practical. ... Additionally, I'd like to be able to buy or subscribe to TV shows that I often miss through an iTunes-like service that lets me watch them on my PC or Mac, or save them to an iPod that allows me to watch them on any TV."
Apps: iCab, OmniGraffle...
iCab 3.0 beta (free) is the latest version of the popular alternative Web browser for Mac. This is the first public beta release of the next-generation browser. Details of new features and other improvements were not published. [Download - use auto-update]
NewsFire 0.5 (free) is an elegant RSS news reader for Mac OS X that features a dynamic animated user interface. This new release includes enhancements such as the addition of a new title & summary list view, the ability to chain Smart Feeds together, the ability to hide subscribed feeds, and an improved search feature with as-you-type searching. [Download - 697KB]
OmniGraffle 3.2 Beta ($120) is the latest beta release of the diagramming and drawing program. It supports the OmniOutliner 3 file format, which means OmniOutliner 3 files can be imported into OmniGraffle. Other improvements include a reworked interface for the Action inspector. [Download - Basic, Pro]
iGetter 2.1 ($25) is a full featured download manager and accelerator for Mac OS X. Version 2.1 allows exploration of entire Web or FTP sites. Additionally, Site Explorer displays the Web contents rendered in a separate view below the site tree. A few bugs were also addressed. [Download - 2.0MB]
StevePerfect 6 (free) is a word processor, picture viewer, email client, and dictionary, MP3 player, and more. Version 6 offers a new interface, Mac OS X-style toolbars, scaling in picture viewer, iTunes controller, steaming audio, and speech recognition. [Download - 1.5MB]
MoniTOR 1.0.3 ($20) is a system utility that allows users to test and adjust the most relevant parameters of CRT and TFT monitors. New features include a popup menu with convergence and contrast options, a faster original Geometry option, and the ability to modify the sample text used for the Text test. [Download - 3.0MB]
iTunes Producer patent
Last week, Apple filed a patent application covering the iTunes Producer application and backend architecture, used for managing and sending music to the iTunes Music Store, according to Waxy.org. "The patent includes screenshots of the application, which Apple only distributes to authorized musicians and record labels. One screenshot includes some interesting fields, such as Parental Advisory warnings, BPM, and various sales and copyright information. There's a button for adding Lyrics, which may indicate future support for lyric searching in iTunes Music Store." The site has posted web-friendly images available at the patent location.
Robbery at Apple Store
Thieves swiped $9,000 in high-end laptop computers from an Apple store in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, police said. Surveillance video from Dec. 12 shows someone smashing through the glass front door at the store in the 5500 block of Walnut Street. A man is seen rushing to the back of the building while a woman grabs three laptops from a shelf. Both people then run outside. The entire episode takes just 19 seconds.
Apple Store survey
Apple is offering a $10 coupon for shoppers of its retail locations who responds to an survey about the stores. The discount applies to purchases over $100. "As a valued customer, your opinions are very important to us. That's why we would greatly appreciate your feedback regarding your experience at the Apple Store. Your participation in this survey will help us to improve the retail shopping experience."
Portraits & Prints X-mas
Econ Technologies has released 14 new Christmas templates for use with Portraits & Prints. These templates are classically styled and designed to be printed and placed in standard picture frames. "Take your Christmas photos and turn them into cherished keepsakes to hang on the wall, place on the mantle or give them as gifts to family and friends." The new Christmas templates can be downloaded and automatically installed via the Portraits & Prints Template Manager. Customers can purchase Portraits & Prints Standard Edition for $30.
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