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MS Office and Tiger
Microsoft today announced that it has worked with Apple to bring added functionality to the Office suite under Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger." Upon installation of the new OS, Spotlight will be able to index Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats. Support for additional features such as sync services will be enabled by a future update. Additionally, Microsoft is collaborating with Apple to identify potential issues when running VPC 7.0.1 on Tiger and will conduct final testing upon Tiger's availability. Microsoft will release a free update within the next two to three months to address any issues
Firm on Apple software
UBS Investment Research said today it believes Apple's software business may become the company's next big "multiplier" as revenues approach $1 billion in 2005. Echoing research firm Piper Jaffray, UBS said Apple should benefit from two full months of Tiger sales in its fiscal June quarter. It also expects key "Tiger" features such as Spotlight, Dashboard, and iChat to fuel Mac growth in the near term.
HP iPods updated
Hewlett-Packard has updated its line of HP-branded iPod music players to reflect recent changes to Apple's line. The Apple iPod from HP is available in two sizes -- 30 gigabytes ($350), which holds up to 7,500 songs, and 60 gigabytes ($450), which holds up to 15,000 songs. In addition to a music library, the new players can each store up to 25,000 digital photos and can display them in high-resolution color. "HP offers consumers simple, fun ways to enjoy and personalize their music and photo experiences," said Siobhan O'Connor, vice president, Consumer Brand and Marketing, HP. "Along with products such as our new Media Center PCs, now available with an integrated iPod dock and pre-installed Apple iTunes software, these new iPods round out a complete music solution from HP." The new iPods are also compatible with HP Printable Tattoos, HP's innovative way to allow consumers to personalize their iPods with artwork, designs and photography.
Piper Jaffray on Tiger
Piper Jaffray maintains its "outperform" rating for Apple, following the official announcement of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" (Caris & Co today downgraded Apple following the announcement). The release "could add slight upside" to June financial results. "Based on Tiger shipment timing, we believe our June quarter software segment estimate is too low and we will likely need to add around 2% to our overall Apple revenue estimate for June." A late April launch will allow for two full months of shipment in the June quarter, according to the firm. Mac OS X "Panther" shipped in late October 2003, with two months remaining in the December quarter, and resulted in a sequential revenue increase of $50 million. "Based on continued strong demand being met by what we expect will be more consistent supply, we believe June quarter guidance will be above Street consensus."
Mesa Dynamics today released theConcept 1.2, its data mining application for quickly finding information in search engine results, websites and local desktop documents. theConcept processes electronic documents, including HTML, PDF, Word, and RTF files into an Index, a semantic network representing the original source text. Using theConcept, it is possible to build representative keyword lists, identify significant words and phrases, and generate informational reports of citations from the source text in real time. Applied uses of theConcept include clustering results from search engines such as Google, summarizing large documents and performing SEO keyphrase analysis. Version 1.2 adds the ability to "deep search" the Index for specific keyword matches, source list sorting and general improvements to its data mining engines.
Apple is offering Mac OS X 10.4 bundled with iLife '05 and iWork for $250. Users save close to $40 with the offer, which was announced today alongside the operating system update. iLife includes iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, and iDVD. iWork includes Keynote and Pages. The offer is available until the end of May. Apple also launched today its latest Up-To-Date program for purchasers of new Macs. Customers who buy a new Mac on or after April 12 can upgrade to Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" for $10.
MacSoft ships Close Combat
MacSoft today began shipping Close Combat: First to Fight, the highly anticipated game title that is based on a training tool developed for the US Marine Corps. The authentic military simulation will "show you exactly what a Marine fire team leader goes through in today's urban combat. [It] gives players the unique opportunity to experience the effects of their leadership on the psychology of the enemies. Using this psychology model, the air and ground assets, and the authentic formations your men automatically follow allow players an entirely new experience. We wanted to go beyond accurate weapons and vehicle models, we wanted to model the driving force of war, the human will to fight." It will be available in retail outlets later this week for both Mac OS X and Xbox for $40 (with the Windows version expcted to ship on April 19th).
Mac mini upgrades
Other World Computing is offering three internally-installed upgrade options for the Mac mini. A 1GB memory upgrade is available for $130. 5400RPM and 7200RPM hard drives with 60GB to 100GB storage from $120 that are over 40 percent faster and 150 percent higher capacity than stock 4200RPM factory options, according to OWC. An 8x DVD-R SuperDrive is also available for $150, which is twice as fast as the stock option SuperDrive and has Dual Layer DVD burn support. For those who are comfortable doing the installation themselves, OWC has created a free QuickTime video demonstrating proper installation. For a $100 service fee, OWC offers a "72-Hour" upgrade program. Customers will receive a proper packing box for shipping their mini to OWC complete with a return FedEx Overnight shipping label. Within 24 hours of receipt by OWC, the customer's Mac mini is returned via FedEx Overnight with upgrade installed. The original components are returned with the upgraded mini. Alternatively, the customer may take advantage of OWC's trade-in rebate program and get cash back instead.
20GB Kanguru Zipper Pro
Kanguru Solutions today announced the release of its latest portable drive, the 20GB Kanguru Zipper Pro. The Kanguru Zipper Pro offers a blend of storage and portability. The USB 2.0-enabled drive provides a greater storage capacity than competing Flash Drives, while remaining more compact than a 2.5" external hard drive. Featuring a 1-inch, 4200rpm mini-drive, it weighs only 40g and is "small enough to fit comfortably in your shirt pocket," according to the company. The drive features a USB 2.0 swivel-style plug that unfolds from the side of the device. The "extremely" rugged exterior alloy enclosure is able to withstand up to 1500Gs of shock, according to Kanguru. It is available now for $200.
TLA releases DragThing 5.6
TLA Systems today released DragThing 5.6, a new Tiger-compatible version of its popular alternative dock application for Mac OS X. Version 5.6 includes full support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", including displaying the contents of Smart Folders and numerous other improvements and fixes as well as support for VoiceOver and other assistive technologies. TLA also said that it is now rebuilt with Xcode 2.0, offers improved image previews (e.g., support for clipping files and icons), and new support for online bug reporting direct to the developer using Zonic BugReporter. It is a free upgrade to v5.x owners. Upgrades from DragThing 2/4 are $12, while a full version is $30.
iSale eBay tool
Aspyr announced today that it is bringing iSale, an eBay helper utility for Mac users by Equinux, to retail locations in May 2005. iSale works with iPhoto, iSight, and iDisk to make navigating and updating auctions easier. It allows users to use iSight to take pictures of items for sale, and iPhoto to manage and upload images associated with an auction. iSale can keep an overview of the current status of running and finished auctions. It lets users organize auctions in "smart groups" and manage multiple auctions at a time. iSale also enables users to prepare auction offline, then send to eBay with one click while online. It works with eBay USA, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK, and Austria. The utility will retail for $30 and is expected to ship in May, but will be available for pre-order sooner.
iPod shuffle extension
ezGear today unveiled the ezLink extension cord for iPod Shuffle. The ezLink Shuffle connects to a standard USB 2.0 computer port and can be routed to a more convenient spot. "Its great when you have a laptop on your desk and you can plug your shuffle right into your computer, but if the only ports are on the back of your computer on the floor, it becomes incredibly inconvenient to crawl under your desk every time you want to charge or synchronize your iPod." The ezLink Shuffle comes in white and is 4 ˝ feet in length. It includes an ezclasp clip to secure it to your desktop, computer monitor, or other surface. The retail price for the ezCharge Shuffle is $14.
\'ram din\' for iPod
SiK announced today that it is accepting orders for ram din, a portable line-out and FireWire adapter for iPod, iPod photo and iPod mini. Access to iPod's line-out audio is provided via a gold-plated right angle stereo-mini plug. ram din allows users to connect an iPod to an external headphone amplifier or other device with line input. The FireWire port allows users to power and/or sync iPod as needed. The device features a 6-pin FireWire port (female) on 7-inch cable. ram din is available in black or white for $22.
AAPL falls on downgrade
Shares of Apple fell $1.82, or 4.2 percent, yesterday, to close at $41.92. This comes after Caris & Co. analyst Mark Stahlman lowered his rating on Apple to "Average" from "Above Average." He said another iPod-dominated holiday season is unlikely with a wave of new video-game systems expected to flood the electronics market later this year, as well as the launch of several alternatives -- both media players and services -- to Apple's iTunes music store, which supports only iPod. He also said that rival Microsoft will soon reveal a new version of Windows that addresses the operating system's major security shortcomings. Security flaws in Windows are fueling Mac "switchers," according to many analysts. "There is a sense that the current enthusiasm might have overrun the realities," Stahlman wrote in a research note.
Ovolab Phlink 2.1 coming
Ovolab today announced Ovolab Phlink 2.1, a forthcoming update to its telephony software. Version 2.1 will bring support for the three Tiger technologies, including Spotlight, Dashboard and Automator. The company said that the new Spotlight search technology will instantly locate information about past phone calls, including all call-related information. The update will also include two Dashboard widgets to display recent/dialed/missed calls as well as to dial phone numbers directly from the Dashboard. Phlink's Dashboard widgets also offer control of Phlink running on another Mac on the network. Ovolab will also include actions for Automator to easily automate workflow. Version 2.1 will be available on April 29th as a free update to existing users of v2.0 or as a $30 upgrade (from v1.x) or for $150 (full version with USB telephone adapter).
Apple's iPod made it to CNN/Money's "5 inventions to change your life." Also on the list are the Screwpull corkscrew, the Sonicare toothbrush, the toll-booth E-Z Pass, and the TiVo video recording system. "Portable, handheld audio devices date back to the 1970s, even earlier if you count transistor radios... So how did the iPod -- which is, essentially, just an update of the long-forgotten Walkman -- capture about 70 percent of its market, and turn once-fading Apple Computer into the hottest company in Silicon Valley? Only by being brilliant in every way. Now, I walk for blocks each day through Manhattan with those signature white earbuds firmly in place. Seemingly every other pedestrian I pass, or nearly so, does the same thing. It's a little big idea that changed my life -- and set it to music. "
Tiger Server due April 29
Apple also announced Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger" will be available on Friday, April 29--the same day as it will ship the desktop/client version. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Server integrates over 100 open-source projects and standards-based software applications along with easy-to-use management to deploy for Mac, Windows and Linux clients. The update brings over 200 new features including native support for 64-bit applications, iChat Server to deploy secure instant messaging within an organization, Weblog Server to publish and share weblogs (blogs); and Xgrid to turn a group of Macs into a virtual supercomputer. It will be available for a price of $500 (10-client license) or $1000 (unlimited clients).
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger debuts
Apple today announced that Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" will go on sale Friday, April 29, beginning at 6:00 p.m. during special events at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The next-generation of the Mac OS X operating system has more than 200 new features and innovations including Dashboard, an updated iChat, a new Automator workflow application, Safari with a built-in RSS reader and Spotlight, Apple's new desktop search technology that lets users instantly find anything stored on their Mac. "Mac OS X Tiger is the most innovative and secure desktop operating system ever created," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Tiger's groundbreaking new features like Spotlight and Dashboard will change the way people use their computers, and drive our competitors nuts trying to copy them." It is available for $130 for a single user license or as a family pack for $200 (single-residence, five-user license).
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