Topics on the MacNN Forums today include: comparing Power Mac G4 upgrades.... An interesting PowerBook G4 review.... Putting a faster hard drive in the Mac mini.... speculation about the next iMac G5 update.... iPod shuffle order status.
MBS plug-in 5.0 ($110) comprises a collection of several plug-ins that extend the REALbasic development environment with over 450 classes and 4 controls featuring over 9000 documented functions. Major changes in the new version include: QuickTime time code classes, classes to use the Stuffit engine, Rendezvous support, and Ghostscript classes. [Download - 20.6MB] iBiz 2.3 ($30) is an intuitive time-billing and invoicing application with Address Book and iCal integration. New features in iBiz 2.3 include a new client status column, client filtering, greatly improved iBank integration, improved contextual menus and several other enhancements. [Download - 3.9MB] IconLab 1.0 ($25) is a Photoshop plug-in that adds full support for Mac OS X's native icon format to Adobe Photoshop. IconLab allows icons to be constructed with the full power of Photoshop, automatically flattening layers and resizing images to produce professional quality icons. [Download - 3.9MB] RF Toolbox 3.2.0 ($20) is an antenna design package for amateur (ham) radio operators, and other radio enthusiasts, as well as those in the communications professions. The latest version adds a tool for designing helical (helix) antennas. [Download - 1.4MB] PhoneValet Message Center 2.1.6 ($200) provides multi-line multi-mailbox voice mail, conversation recording, a searchable call history, talking caller id, caller-activated AppleScripting, a fax controller and voice dialing. The new release allows users to select the audio output device of their choice when screening messages live as they are being received. 3D-Space VFS 1.1 ($30) offers a three dimensional interface to "all your favorite files, folders, and applications in one place, so you can quickly and easily get to each one of them." Version 1.1 brings the following changes: the ability to store actual files and folders, improved triggering of viewpoint changes, better drawer automation, and more. [Download - 272KB]
SYPECom has announced a major update to its Collaba product line, a new Web site, a new online store, and the introduction of an unlimited technical support service. Collaba 4 is a significant update to its multimedia communication and collaboration servers. Collaba 4 adds a new Blog feature, major enhancements to forums, a new Collaba Client Engine, support for the del.icio.us social bookmarks manager, a new server-side unzip option to file transfers, much more powerful mail rules (filters), dual-port SMTP-Auth server, a new licensing system, and more. Single user licenses start at $100 for a year.
In brief: As anticipated this morning, Best Buy will begin selling the 1.42GHz Mac mini and 512MB iPod shuffle within 30 days.... SNL IR Solutions announced today that Apple has launched a new investor relations Web site.... "In an age when human help of any kind is hard to come by, the eight or nine Geniuses on duty at any given time here [at the Apple Store] are a welcome anomaly".... PalaeoGraphics, an authorized Mac dealer in Australia has received its first units of the new Mac Mini today along with iPod Shuffle and iLife '05.
iSkin today announced the iSkin Wild Sides eVo2 protector for the iPod, featuring vibrant colors banded with white stripes that glow in the dark. Made from a durable, form-fitting silicone, it provides protection against damage as well as includes a "funky" version of the company's Wheel Cap, which offers a full-coverage barrier for the touch-sensitive Click Wheel. Also included is a matching colored ultra-clear screen protector and the removable iSkin RevoClip to rotate the iPod. It is available in three color combinations: Rebel (deep blue with white), Diva (hot pink with white) and Verve (bright green with white)--all with glow-in-the-dark stripes. They will support Apple's fourth-generation iPods (20GB/40GB) as well as both iPod photo models and will be available for $35. A version for the mini is expected later.
Using his new iPod Stories website, Markus Giesler, a 28-year-old assistant professor of marketing at York University (Toronto), says he is conducting a study of iPod users and their music-listening habits and hopes to create an ethnographic study called "iPod Therefore iAm." Wired News reports that Giesler may be the next "Professor iPod": "Michael Bull, a lecturer at Sussex University, is considered a leading academic expert on the impact of digital entertainment devices, earning him the 'Professor iPod' moniker -- but now he has some competition. Markus Giesler, a 28-year-old assistant professor of marketing at York University in Toronto, is fast becoming a bright light in high-tech consumer research." Giesler argues that the iPod is leading the charge toward 'cyborg consumerism,' in which technology is married to the body and we plug into a vast 'hybrid entertainment matrix.'
In Brief: Apple's Mac mini may be two decades late, but still may offer enough to provide a good alternative to Windows users.... Designed for small businesses, 2ndSite's Mac-compliant web-based billing service now offers new pricing and enhanced reporting to suite of online invoicing, billing, and organizational tools.... Readers continue to note the availability of new Pepsi/iTunes promo bottles, despite the fact that Apple website still says the contest is "coming soon."... Peachpit has released a new Apple-certified guide for Logic Pro 7 and Logic Express 7 ($45).... The History of the iPod chronologically explains the MP3 player's history, covering all asects from codenames, release dates features and pricing.
Net Tool Box 3.0 is an update to the multi-purpose networking utility for Mac OS X. Dubbed the "swiss-army knife" of networking tools, it features over two dozen tools, including Mapper (geographically locate computers by their IP address), Ping & Ping Scan (check connectivity to remote hosts), DNS Tools, IP Terminals (with support for TCP, SSL and UDP.), Internet Tools (web server responses and use advanced email), Traceroute, Port/Service Scanning, Netstat (live view of all network connections), Whois (look-up domain names), Traffic Watcher (view actual network data), and Rendezvous Tools. Version 3 adds network statistics, an SMTP tool, traffic filter sets, Rendezvous discovery, ARP table display, support for all network interfaces, and more. It is a free upgrade to the $38 utility for Mac OS X 10.2.3 or later.
Best Buy may begin selling Macs again, which in turn could accelerate the iPod halo affect, according to a report released by Merrill Lynch. The analyst firm said that the consumer electronic retailer could begin to sell Macs--specifically the Mac mini-again by the end of February, based on information relayed by a retail manager and indications on Best Buy's Website that the Mac mini would be available soon at retail stores; however, the firm said that neither Best Buy nor Apple would confirm such a move. The firm said that while Apple and Best Buy had previously decided not move forward following a pilot program in 48 different US stores, the new lower $500 point of the Mac mini would make the program more successful the second time around.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE