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Mac growth at 25 percent
Apple's worldwide Mac shipments were up nearly 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, nearly doubling the overall PC growth rate in the same quarter. IDC said that worldwide shipments of PCs grew 13.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004 on strong demand from small- and medium-sized businesses as well as holiday shoppers. Apple's tremendous growth rate was driven in part by the new iMac G5 and the "halo effect;" however, it was not enough to land Apple among the top PC vendors in terms of marketshare and overall unit sales for the quarter: Dell (17%), HP (16%), IBM (5.7%), Acer (4.3%), and Fujitsu/Siemens (4%) were in the top 5, respectively. IDC forecasts growth in worldwide PC shipments will moderate to about 10 percent this year, according to the AP report.
Mac mini, shuffle ship
Apple today began shipping the Mac mini and iPod shuffle to customers who placed early orders from the online Apple Store. According to a shipment confirmation received by one MacNN reader, the Apple Store is now shipping Mac mini from its contractor's plant in China: "I ordered my Mac mini on 11 January 2005 (the day it was announced) at 3:01 PM PST, once Apple's store had calmed down from the Macworld traffic overload. Today, I checked my order and found it had shipped from Shenzhen, China via FedEx! It looks like the early Mac mini orders will arrive before the end of the week." Apple had said that it expected the Mac mini to be available at stores on January 22. Another reader reported receiving shipment confirmation of his 512MB iPod shuffle, while another reports receiving his player. [updated]
Darwin audit finds flaws
A source-code audit of the open-source Darwin revealed four vulnerabilities of varying severity, according to ImmunitySec, the security firm who conducted the audit. CNET News.com reports that the flaws affect Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, which is built around Darwin. A security advisory released by the ImmunitySec says the bugs mostly affect remote systems with multiple users and that since Mac OS X is most often used on the desktop, the flaws will not be overly important on most people's systems. The company originally found the flaws in June, but only published them to a private list of customers and not notify Apple. On Monday it publicized the flaws, which include "a bug in Mac OS X's SearchFS function, several kernel memory overflows and a logic bug in the AT command, which is used to schedule tasks by the operating system."
Briefly: Bare Bones awards
In Brief: Digital-Tutors today released "Modified Street Racer" - the latest release in a collection of modifications and add-ons for existing car modeling training kits for digital artists.... Bare Bones Software returned home from Macworld Expo San Francisco 2005 with three awards for its new TextWrangler 2.0 text editor, which it released for free last week (the company's 20% show discount ends this Friday).... Peachpit has recently published "Apple Pro Training Series: Getting Started with Motion" ($35) and "Motion for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide" ($25).... In a quick-turn "product teardown" analysis, Portelligent, has confirmed that Apple's iPod Shuffle player employs SigmaTel's D-Major STMP3550 MP3 audio decoder chip for audio processing.
Vue 5 Pro Studio ships
e-on software has begun shipping Vue 5 Pro Studio, the latest addition to e-on software's suite of solutions for the creation and rendering of natural 3D environments. Vue 5 Pro Studio is designed for advanced digital artists seeking extended control over the creation of natural 3D, offering the abiity for users to create your their plant species, fine tune lighting, take full control over scenes with advanced resource management, import animated Poser content and render creations accross a network of computers. Complementing its existing Mover 5 ($100) animation expansion module, e-on software also released new modules for Vue 5 Esprit: Botanica (create/edit vegetation, $70), DeepAccess (enhanced browser display, $60) and LightTune (advaned lighting, $40). They are available as individual module upgrades to Vue 5 Esprit users or as a four module bundle in Vue 5 Esprit Studio ($400).
Apple: no video iPod now
Apple's director of iPod marketing worldwide, Stan Ng, has ruled out a video-capable version of the music player anytime soon. "There is no legal way today of taking a DVD and making it viewable on a portable device," he said, and "for a player with a 3 1/2-inch screen, you have to wonder if it would be worthwhile." Ng concludes that "fundamentally, at a corporate level, we've been clear about our involvement in music and photos - we'll see what happens with video over time," Mr Ng said.
IDC on \"halo-effect\"
The iPod music player has not budged sales of the company's core Mac computer line in Australia, according to analyst IDC. The Mac has lost market share even as resellers talked up the "halo-effect" of pull-through sales from the music player, IDC says. According to IDC, Apple's share of units shipped in Australia fell from 3.3 per cent in 2003 to 3.1 per cent in 2004. Apple corporate affairs manager Martha Raupp contests the IDC figures, however. "You've got to be kidding," she said. "We just reported the highest quarterly revenue and net income in Apple's history."
Second Pepsi/iTunes promo
Apple has quietly announced its second Pepsi/iTunes promo, as anticipated yesterday. The promotion will offer 200 million free iTunes song codes and will giveaway an iPod mini each hour between February 2nd and April 11th. To be eligible to win the iPod mini, users must redeem iTunes song codes found under 1 in 3 bottles of Pepsi products. Apple has limited participation to 10 codes per day and 200 total codes; they must be redeemed by May 23, 2005. Apple's promo page, which will notify customers of when the promo begins, briefly appeared on Apple's website yesterday, offering some details of the promo. Pepsi is expected to kick-off the iTunes promo with a commercial during SuperBowl, according to AdAge who notes that Pepsi has 2.5 minutes of airtime, which "will focus on corporate branding in addition to spots for Diet Pepsi and a Pepsi/iTunes promotion."
LA Times on iPod success
Los Angeles Times has published a brief editorial on Apple's successful iPod and the future of the company. "Apple's market share in computers is still small, but there are two reasons to believe its future is bright. The first is the iPod ... which showed that Apple can leverage its creativity and the hipness of its brand to enter and dominate new segments in the consumer electronics field. The other is that despite its own strategy, Apple is starting to benefit from enhanced PC compatibility, thanks to the Web." Additionally, "the iPod is a success that Apple can replicate on many fronts."
iPod shuffle backordered
The Apple Store is quoting a four-week wait on some models of the iPod shuffle. CNN reports that "there is a two- to three-week wait for the $99 iPod Shuffle, which holds about 120 songs, while customers face a wait of three to four weeks for the $149 model, which has double the capacity," while all other models of the iPod are estimated to ship on the same (business) day as the order is placed. Earlier this month, Taiwan manufacturer Asustek said it expects to reach 400,000 to 500,000 units a month, due to the aggressive pricing and brand recognition for Apple's iPod music players.
MemoryCell, XML Editor...
MemoryCell 2.0 (free) is a MenuExtra for OS X that provides a quick overview on the memory (RAM) being used by each of your applications. LineIn (free) is a simple application for OS X to enable the soft playthru of audio from input devices. [Download - MemoryCell, LineIn]
XML Editor 5.1 ($13) is the latest version of the Schema editor and XSLT debugger. Version 5.1 adds source folding, code templates, better Relax NG support, Schematron validation and the possibility to use MSXML and XSLTProc as XSLT transformers. [Download - 18.3MB]
TopXNotes 1.0 ($20) is a modern note pad for Mac OS X loaded with handy features. It offers color text, style, font and font size, automatic saving, RTF saving, and an advanced table of contents. [Download - 2.2MB]
Battorox 1.3 (free) monitors easy and simple the Battery information in your laptop including its capacity, amps, current capacity, voltage, flags and current capacity in percent. [Download - 34KB]
EasyBatchPhoto 1.5 ($25) makes repetitive tasks such as batch converting, resizing and stamping images easier. Version 1.5 adds the option to set output resolution, and to set text size for EXIF overlay. [Download - 1.2MB]
Veenix: Design & Type Tools 2.3 ($40) is a collection of 18 essential utilities and tools for print and Web designers, illustrators, and other graphic professionals. The latest version adds tools to view, activate/deactivate, sample, and compare any font(s). [Download - 600KB]
VVI DAQ Plot 9.7.1
VVI today released DAQ Plot 9.7.1, which adds plug-and-play low-cost and high-precision data acquisition hardware and other realtime data processing features. DAQ Plot can be used to view data from sensors and laboratory equipment with voltage connectors. Version 9.7.1 adds plug-and-play USB DAQ hardware, realtime backup of collected data, a realtime streaming data logger for access by other custom applications, realtime data processing (bin and running averages, trigger detection, counters, etc.), and multimode interface for helping beginners and dynamically adapting to the attached interface. DAQ Plot is available immediately and includes USB DAQ device hardware. (Pricing not available.)
CrystalDiffract 5.0 for Mac OS X is an application for visualizing and understanding x-ray and neutron powder diffraction patterns: the diffraction "fingerprint" routinely used to identify and characterize crystalline materials. It can be used to compare measured and real diffraction patterns for quick phase identification and detection of impurities. A new interface features a Structures Drawer, into which files and folders can be dropped for rapid cataloging, browsing, etc. Other key features include tools for moving, arranging and customizing individual patterns - and on-the-fly simulation of multi-phase mixtures. It is available for $190 (single-user academic version).
NewTek LightWave 3D 8.2
NewTek today released LightWave 3D 8.2, an update to its 3D animation application. Version 8.2 includes major changes to the renderer core to implement new technologies for anti-aliasing as well as new options for image reconstruction filters (to improve final render output). Version 8.2 also features a completely redesigned UV engine in the geometry core to make creating and editing UV maps easier and more powerful. Other enhancements include an improved IK Booster System and an improved SDK with 22 new functions and enhancements. It is available now for $1600 or as a $500 upgrade. RealViz's ImageModeler 4 ($1380 value) is available for no additional charge with new purchases/upgrades (while supplies last).
MWSF: SmartDeck, AirClick
Last week at Macworld San Francisco we had the opportunity to look at several interesting new peripherals and accessories for the Mac. In this report (the second of three), we look at Griffin Technology's SmartDeck, AirClick, and Delicious Monster Software's Delicious Library.
Captain FTP 4.0 debuts
Xnet Communications tody announced Captain FTP 4.0, an update to its FTP client for Mac OS X. Version 4.0 will allow local network FTP users to share files directly between each other. "Users will now benefit from an Address Book consisting of local Network users, public FTP entries that can be shared, and private FTP entries. This innovative solution is complimented by a graphical tabbed interface supporting multiple FTP connections which greatly facilitates FTP session management." A $15 "upgrade protection" plan offers 12 months of free upgrades to existing customers. Version 3.0 is available now for $24 or $34 (with 12-month upgrade protection).
Ciphire Mail beta released
Ciphire Labs has announced Ciphire Mail, a new secure email communication software that is offered for free to consumers and non-profit organizations. Designed for maximum-security and built for non-technical users, Ciphire Mail protects email privacy, prevents identity theft and minimizes exposure to common email scams such as spoofing. The Ciphire Mail client works in the background to transparently encrypt/decrypt and digitally sign email communication using digital signatures--without prompting the user or requiring additional steps or processes. Ciphire Mail requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and supports SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4. A beta of the Mac port (from Unix) is available now.
Another Japan retail store
The grand opening date of Apple's third retail store in Japan will take place later this week. ifoAppleStore reports that the Nagoya Sakae (Nagoya, Japan) store will take place on Saturday, January 22nd; however, the English versions of the pages have not been updated. "The grand opening event includes T-shirts for the first 1,500 persons, a music DJ, but no Lucky Bag sale." Apple opened two retail stores in Osaka (Shinsaibashi) and Tokyo (Ginza). The report also notes that Apple will open its US retail stores one-hour earlier this Saturday in ancitipation of the release of iLife '05, the Mac mini and iWork.
Luxology ships modo 102
Luxology has released modo 102, the latest version of its 3D subdivision surface and polygonal modelling platform. It features more than three hundred enhancements, including improved realtime performance, a more user-friendly interface, workflow improvements, Maya data support, and an improved advanced toolset. New functionality includes bridge, paste and loop slice which enables users to create new geometry faster and with greater control, according to the company. It also features improved organic tools, new support for the LUA scripting language as well as extended script functions that feature new file and information dialogs, a new progress meter and more. Modo 102 is available for $900 with a $200 introductory discount. Upgrades are free.
iPod shuffle to hit big?
Countering some of the negative remakrs by Apple's competitors, one technology columnist believes that Apple's new iPod Shuffle is "about to be the next must-have product." Detroit Free Press columnist Mike Wendland says that the shuffle feature will drive its popularity: "Now, critics contend that's a reverse psychology thing, aimed at covering up a big drawback in the Shuffle -- the lack of a display screen that lets you see and choose the songs you play. But the criticism doesn't take into consideration the way most people I know use personal music players. Shuffling is the way most of us like to play CDs. We like randomness. The lack of a display screen is a nonfactor, I believe. The Shuffle offers the simplicity and ease of use that Apple engineering is so justly famous for."
ClickBook 3.0 for Mac OS X
Blue Squirrel today released ClickBook 3.0 for Mac OS X. ClickBook automatically reduces, rotates and realigns computer files into convenient, portable books. Designed to print Web pages, photos, spreadsheets, documents, presentations, contact lists, PDFs, etc. as double-sided, convenient booklets, it offers more than 130 layouts, including the side-by-side folded booklet, doorknob hangers, post cards, tri-fold brochures, CD inserts, bookmarks, labels, and more. Version 3.0 offers 30 new layouts, supports import/export, features automatic metric/US detection, offers a new interface, supports PDF creation/printing, and includes a Printer Setup Wizard to simply setup printers. It is avaialble for $50; upgrades are $25.
Wired Rave Awards
Steve Jobs and Apple have been selected as nominees for Wired Magazine's sixth annual Wired Rave Awards, which celebrate "The People Changing Your Mind" in over 14 categories including the new "Blogger" category. Steve Jobs has been nominated in the Business Leader category along with Alex Bogusky (Crispin Porter + Bogusky), Shigeyuki Hori (Toyota), Yuanqing Yang (Lenovo), and Jong-Yong Yun (Samsung). Apple's Industrial Design Team was nominated in the Industrial Designer category for its work on the iMac G5 and the iPod shuffle; other nominees include Yves Behar (Jawbone Headset, Fuseproject), Naoto Fukasawa (Plus Minus Zero Collection), Paul Pierce and Motorola CXD team (Razr V3 Cell Phone), and Burt Rutan (SpaceShipOne, Scaled Composites). Winners will be honored on February 22nd at the legendary Fillmore theater in San Francisco.
NFL content on iTMS
The National Football League today announced it will offer entire audio broadcasts of the NFL's Super Bowl as well as both the NFC and AFC Championship Games to NFL.com, audible.com, and selected other online retailers for download the morning after the game. Audible's content, available at the iTunes Music Store, is available for download to many compatible MP3 devices, including the iPod. The NFL audio broadcasts are available as audio highlights of weekly (single) NFL games for $0.95. The content includes recaps, interviews, and commentary in a single 2-5 minute audiobook. A bundle of the weekly highlights is available for $3.95. Pricing for full game audio books of the AFC/NFC games later this week, has not been announced.
ProClip USA today announced it will offer automotive mounts for Apple's iPod photo--both the 40GB/60GB. The clips will securely hold the iPod photo in cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. ProClip mounts are clip-on brackets that attach to the vehicles dashboard or console, and can be self-installed in seconds. Once the bracket is in place, a custom designed holder is attached to provide a perfect fit for the Apple iPod. "Securely mounting handhelds like the Apple iPod, without damaging a vehicles interior, is what we do best." The standard holder is $25, while a version with tilt/swivel functionality is $35.
A Mac mini in your car
A New York-based company has plans to install the new Mac mini into car dashboards. Classic Restorations, who was already working to install Mac laptops into cars, says the dimensions of the diminutive desktop "were just about perfect to fit into the space automakers allot for car stereos....What exactly anyone would do with a Mac in the car is not totally clear, but Benzaquen said there are lots of possibilities, from logging in to one's home network to playing music or movies. Equip the car with Wi-Fi, and it might be able to get Internet access from the parking lot of a Starbucks or McDonald's, he said. GPS navigation and voice-activated programs are other options," according to CNET News.com.
Apple, resellers battle
Apple is slowly driving its resellers and other partners out of business, which may be part of a larger plan to control the Apple experience, according to a VARBusiness article that examines the Channel's Battle With Apple. "The fate of these and other Apple partners begs an interesting question: At a time when Apple is on the rise, why are the Apple businesses of so many Apple partners falling down? The answer, some believe, is a master plan by Apple to control as much of the Apple market as possible. That includes everything from where customers large and small buy products, their experiences with the Apple brand, how they are serviced and the types of solutions they eventually deploy."
Mesa Dynamics today released Tickershock 1.1 ($20), an upgrade to its animated, interactive RSS/Atom news headline reader. Featuring scrolling crawl and billboard displays, it pushes news headlines across the top of the desktop, offering one-click access to any news headline via its integrated browser. Version 1.1 can quickly preview all the stories in a news feed and can automate the delivery of the news on designated timetables. Separately, JS8 Media has also released MiNews, a new (free) RSS-based news aggregator application that provides a sortable table of news items; MiNews offers a built-in web browser and integrates with users' address book to easily notify friends of relevant/interesting stories. (MacNN has an extensive list of RSS news feeds available in dozens of categories.)
Apple site No. 48 on Web
The popularity of the iPod is driving traffic to Apple's website, according to a new report from comScore Media Metrix. Apple and other retailers experienced large surges in internet traffic, as holiday-related content dominated and seasonal sites accounted for 8 of the top 10 gaining properties. According to the report, Apple in December experienced a 28-percent increase in traffic to the iTunes portion of its site, enabling Apple to rank in the Top 50 internet properties--at No. 48--with more than 12.5 million unique visitors for the month. Yahoo! (119M uniques), Time Warner Network (114M), MSN (113M), Google (71M), and eBay (66M) were among the top 5 properties, while Dell (No. 33, 16.1M) and Sony (No. 35, 15.6M) were the two PC vendors ahead of Apple.
Closer look at iWork debut
Apple's new iWork suite may be its biggest sleeper announcement from last week's Macworld Expo, according to The Washington Times. "The biggest news from Apple Computer last week might not be the $99 IPod Shuffle or the $499 Mac Mini. The big news might well be a $79 software package that received somewhat less attention: IWork combines Apple's already-sound Keynote presentation software (now called Keynote 2) with a new word processor/document publisher called Pages. Oh, and did I mention the $79 retail price tag for both, 20 percent less than Keynote alone originally cost two years ago?" While the application may not represent a credible threat to Microsoft's Office suite for the Mac, the article notes that iWork may be "good enough" to put some pressure on Microsoft among the extremely budget-conscious.
Mac Mini pricing in EU
Apple's pricing for its "most affordable" Mac--the Mac Mini--has drawn a storm of protest from European shoppers, who are petitioning Apple to rethink its EU pricing, according to CNET News.com. Users have started an online petition asking Apple to reduce the European pricing, which may be inflated due to the strong Euro (compared to the US dollar) and because of the included VAT (valued added tax), which is required by European Law (and not mentioned in the report). "We'd like to make an appeal to Apple on the pricing of the new Mac Mini in the European Union. Basing on the last long-term rate of exchange of U.S. dollars to euros (and vice versa)--which is 1.3293 on the spot market, so let's say 1.32--both announced prices of the Mac mini in Europe, 489 euros and 589 euros, respectively, are much too high."
Stairways Software has released Interarchy 7.3.1, the latest version of its Internet application for Mac OS X. Interarchy can download and upload files via FTP, SFTP, and FTP over SSH (FTP/SSH) as well as HTTP. It can also offer details on your Internet connection and help you work with remote servers across the Internet. Version 7.3.1 primarily includes structural changes to remove dependence on the legacy Open Transport protocol, better Mac OS X support, a new Kagi registration module, a new column view with support for click rename, new regular expression driven list parsing and support for new list formats, new Help Viewer documentation, and more. Interarchy 7.3 is a free upgrade to the $40 application.
iTerminal ($5) provides a GUI to Mac OS X's terminal. The application provides faster navigation of terminal commands, especially for users inclined to graphical interfaces. For the advanced user, iTerminal allows you to create scripts to run several tasks concurrently. [Download - 257KB]
SideTrack 1.1 ($15) is a replacement driver for PowerBook and iBook trackpads. It enables users to remap the main button, and various areas on the track pad to perform different functions. Version 1.1 adds per-application corner tap configuration, independent vertical and horizontal scroll speeds, and more. [Download - 552KB]
Skype (free) is a peer-to-peer Internet telephony system available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Users can also make calls to regular phone numbers using the low-cost SkypeOut service. [Download - 6.0MB]
ThumbBorker (free) is a picture browser that lets you create thumbnails from your image files. It can also generate an HTML page to show off your new thumbnails. [Download - 428KB]
iTunes2Web (donation) is a Mac OS X application that converts an iTunes music library to an html interface that resembles iTunes. Unlike many scripts that perform a similar task, iTunes2Web does not require that the hosting Web server have CGI scripting capabilities. [Download - 89KB]
Image Interlacer ($12) allows users to create image interlacing effects, including images for use with 3D glasses. Version 2.0 adds a reworked interface, a help window, and a Batch Save feature. [Download - 1002KB]
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