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Yahoo music price hike?
Steve Jobs is betting that Yahoo! will soon raise prices on its online music service launched earlier this month. In early May, Yahoo! debuted a new subscription music service which starts at $60 per year for unlimited music service, which "rents" an unlimited number of songs to users as long as they pay their monthly subscription fee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jobs said that Yahoo is charging "substantially" below its costs and will likely increase the price in the coming months. "Mr. Jobs then claimed Apple employees had a betting pool on when Yahoo would raise the $5-a-month rate, with Mr. Jobs putting his money on five months....Mr. Jobs proclaimed himself a solid believer in the 'halo effect' of iPod sales fueling Mac sales, pointing to strong growth in recent quarters. Asked when Apple would reach a 10% market share - up from the low single digits -- he said he didn't know. But he added that 'it's possible ... if people learn about our products, many of them choose them.'" [subscription required]
WireTap Pro 1.1
Ambrosia Software has released WireTap Pro 1.1, an update to its system utility that allows users to save digital recordings in the popular .mp3, AAC, QuickTime, and AIFF file formats. WireTap Pro can record any audio on the Mac--from any running applications, as well as from any microphone, line-in, headset, and other device. Version 1.1 brings Mac OS X 10.4 compatibility, a "dual recording" mode that allows you to record both Microphone and Mac audio simultaneously (e.g., recording Skype conversations), a new built-in equalizer with presets, a new Tivo-like "one-off timed recording" feature (to record with a time delay), support for Automator actions under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and other bug fixes. Wiretap costs $20.
Xserve RAID Driver Update
Apple has released Xserve RAID Driver Update 1.0, which it says "should be installed by all Final Cut Pro users using an Xserve RAID. The update reduces I/O WRITE latency by overriding behavior to periodically force the Xserve RAID to write its buffer cache to the hard drives. Lower I/O WRITE latency improves performance during video capture and is required to avoid dropping frames regardless of the video resolution used. Since the frequency of Xserve RAID cache flushing to the hard drives is reduced, it is strongly recommended that an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) be used with the Xserve RAID to guard against the possibility of data loss in the event of a power failure."
iCon on iPod, iTunes
While Apple CEO Steve Jobs was "gunning down perfectly viable products with Billy-the-Kid abandon," he recognized the need for "something stunningly new to revitalise Apple." He was looking for something that held the promise of becoming "the next big thing." That next big thing was the iPod, according to "iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business." The book chronicles the creation of the iPod from the acquisition of SoundJam, to the initial technological hurdles, all the way to first iPod production run. When it came time to launch the iTunes Music Store, "the toughest part hadn't been the technology but the co-operation of Sony, Warner, Universal, EMI and BMG."
RipDigital to sell iPods
RipDigital, a CD-to-MP3 conversion service, today announced that it is selling a variety of iPods pre-loaded with customers' CD collections in time for Father's Day. "By combining the leading digital music player and leading CD conversion service, RipDigital has created the easiest and fastest way to make the jump to digital music." RipDigital takes customers' CDs, encodes them as MP3s, and uploads them to the customer's iPod. Today's announcement takes the service one step further by selling new iPods to customers who don't already own one. "Instead of spending this summer with a to-do-list that still includes 'convert CD collection' on it or 'get a new iPod', let us help you with both in one shot." The service costs approximately $1 per album.
Bono on iPod ads
iPodNN headlines: [Added] "iCon Steve Jobs," the unauthorized biography of the Apple CEO, explores the creation of the iPod and iTunes.... U2's Bono said he is proud of the iPod television ad featuring "Vertigo," the first single from the band's newest album.... In a research note published this morning, analyst Steven Fortuna of Prudential Financial mentions that 63% of all iPods sold were in the last two quarters, suggesting that the iPod's success is in its initial phase.... While Bill Gates doubts the future of the iPod, the Wall Street Journal reports that several obstacles lie ahead for any company that hopes to "push Steve Jobs & Co. off the top of the digital-music heap."... Tesco, a UK supermarket chain, will start selling iPods as part of its expansion into the digital goods market.... RipDigital, a CD-to-MP3 conversion service, today began selling iPods for customers who don't already own one. iPod enthusiasts are encouraged to visit iPodNN for extended coverage the latest iPod, iTunes and digital music headlines.
Tesco to sell iPods
Tesco, a UK supermarket chain, will start selling iPods as part of its expansion into the digital goods market. It is part of Tesco's plans for its non-food sector which last year saw a 17% sales increase, with home entertainment sales up 20%. Digital products from the "best known brands" such as Apple, Sony, Creative, Phillips, Kodak, Olympus and Canon will go on sale in Tesco's larger stores across the UK. Its MP3 players range includes the Apple iPod Shuffle and the Creative Zen Micro. The UK's lucrative MP3 market grew by 400 percent last year and is expected to double in 2005, the retailer said. Shoppers can also download music online at Tesco.com.
iPod success to grow
In a research note published this morning, analyst Steven Fortuna of Prudential Financial mentions that 63% of all iPods sold were in the last two quarters, suggesting that the iPod's success is in its initial phase. Apple does not consider subscription-based music downloads as a threat to the iTunes/iPod success, the analyst said. According to Prudential, the iPod market is expanding at present, with iPod accounting for 76% of all MP3 players sold in the US. Fortuna maintains his "overweight" rating on Apple. The target price is set to $55 a share.
WSJ on iPod future
While Bill Gates doubts the future of the iPod, the Wall Street Journal reports that several obstacles lie ahead for any company that hopes to "push Steve Jobs & Co. off the top of the digital-music heap." The Microsoft chairman told a German newspaper, "I don't think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term, however good Apple may be,[...] Apple was once extremely strong with its Macintosh and graphic user interface, like with the iPod today, and then lost its position." While cellphones may ultimately provide the strongest competition to Apple's iPod, "it's a big leap of faith to think handset makers can approach the iPod's ease of use with a jack-of-all-trades device," reporters Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry write. "Apple's competitors haven't managed [to best Apple] with their standalone devices, and they've had years to try."
Bono on iPod commercial
In an interview published by the Chicago Tribune, U2's Bono discusses the use of his band's songs in commercials. Bono said he is proud of the iPod television ad featuring "Vertigo," the first single from U2's newest album. "We looked at the iPod commercial as a rock video. We chose the director.[...] I'm proud of the commercial, I'm proud of the association." Bono describes turning down $23 million for a commercial once: "We thought we could do a lot of good with that money. Give it away. But if a show is a little off, and there's a hole, that's the one song we can guarantee that God will walk through the room as soon as we play it. So the idea that when we played it, people would go, 'That's the such-and-such' commercial,' we couldn't live with it." Bono also said the iPod commercial was a good way to promote the new album. "We thought, how are we going to get our single off in the days when rock music is niche?"
WellRounded ($40) is a Dreamweaver extension that creates easily resizable rounded rectangles for framing content. The rounded rects are not single static graphics, they are sliced graphic pieces in combination with modern CSS code, offering "an infinite variety of looks" based on choice of color, stroke, border, drop shadow, corner radius, etc. [Download - 265KB]
PowerMail 5.2 ($60) is an alternative email client for Mac OS X. PowerMail now supports the searching of its database using SpotLight. It also includes support for secure transport on SMTP. The Spam filtering architecture adds integration with Intego Personal Antispam. [Download - 6.1MB]
ProjectForum 4.4 ($230) is an easy-to-use suite for online team collaboration. Version 4.4 adds two new capabilities for creating and managing richer content in group forums. First, new formatting options make it easier to work with tabular information. Second, simple Web-based slideshow presentations can now be created from forum pages. [Download - form]
Business Card Composer 3.1 ($35) brings Tiger compatibility to the popular business card tool. Version 3.1 delivers Tiger compatibility, adds new paper layouts from Avery, and supports new card stock from Conqueror. It also fixes a bug in printing cards as vector on layouts with bleeds. [Download - 16.7MB]
DisableTigerFeatures! 1.0.1 (free) is a simply utility to disable Spotlight and Dashboard. This maintenance update improves text in both of the application's windows, now deletes the hostconfig file, and removes the "done" button in the dialog that appears after changing the spotlight setting. [Download - 120KB]
KidsBrowser 3.2 (EUR 20) is a parental control Web browser for Mac OS X, developed with Xcode using Apple Computer's Cocoa Frameworks. Version 3.2 is optimized for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, maintains compatibility with Panther, and fixes a bug involving CutX. [Download - 6.0MB]
iCruze, Logic 7
In brief: Monster Cable yesterday reported that iCruze, its kit that connects an iPod directly to a car's stereo, is now shipping and available via multiple dealers nationwide.... macProVideo.com has released Understanding Logic's Environment, a guide to Apple's Logic 7 for $15.... Feature presentations at Macworld Conference & Expo Boston on July 11-14 will include an address by popular Mac columnist, Andy Ihnatko; The MacBrainiac Challenge, hosted by Mac industry pundit and Macworld 911 columnist Chris Breen; and the Macworld Town Hall with Mac industry luminaries..... Verbatim announced today that it is now shipping 2-4x DVD-R Dual Layer media for consumers.... A plug-in called ml_iPod allows Windows iPod users to bypass iTunes and manage music collections in Winamp instead.... Dave Matthews Band fans report difficulty copying the group's latest album to iTunes for Windows.
iCruze for iPod
Monster Cable yesterday reported that iCruze, its kit that connects an iPod directly to a car's stereo, is now shipping and available via multiple dealers nationwide (see January announcement). Monster iCruze provides a way for a "direct connection" to most car audio systems. By acting as a virtual CD Changer, existing OEM radio/CD controls (including steering wheel controls) can access different playlists and songs. As an additional benefit, iCruze charges the iPod while driving. The cost of the main iCruze unit is $250. The optional display for iCruze is $100. Additional interface connecting cables that match specific car models may also be required, which range in price from $30 to $160 depending on the complexity of the OEM stereo. Monster also announced that it has recently reached an agreement with MobileToys Incorporated to become Monster's National Service Provider for iCruze. Alternatively, iCruze can be self installed by experienced users.
iTunes protected CDs
Dave Matthews Band fans report difficulty copying the group's latest album to iTunes for Windows. The problem is with the copy protection technology used on the disc. The issue is not limited to the Dave Matthews' "Stand Up" album, but affects works from other artists as well. One fan contacted the copyright company that makes the CD protection technology and received a response detailing how to get around the protection. The company says it has already contacted Apple about the problem: "An easier and more acceptable solution requires cooperation from Apple, who we have already reached out to in hopes of addressing this issue." In its reply to fans, the company asks that users "contact Apple and ask them to provide a solution that would easily allow you to move content from protected CDs into iTunes or onto your iPod.
K4 Publishing System 5.5
SoftCare today announced K4 Publishing System 5.5, an update to its InCopy/InDesign soluiton that brings compatibility with Adobe Creative Suite 2. K4 is a standard editorial system for magazines and creative agencies that combines layout and design software InDesign CS2 with InCopy CS2, a professional writing and editing program that tightly integrates with InDesign. The software leverages new InCopy CS2 features such as the ability to place and scale images, dynamic footnote support with preferred numbering and layout options, links to multiple user dictionaries, and more. In addition, K4 XML-Exporter is a new optional add-on production tool that exports all K4 objects to a standardized output format.
Lismore Guest PC 1.4
Lismore Software Systems today released Guest PC 1.4, an update to its Mac OS X application that allows you to easily create and manage virtual x86 computer on your Mac. Guest PC allows users to install Windows (not included) and access applications available only for Windows compatible computers. Version 1.4 brings Tiger compatibility (including networking and printing fixes); support for Linux/Unix installations; new German, French and Italian versions; better stability and compatibility; and improved modem/serial port options. The full version is available for $70, while updates from any previous version (including Blue Label Power PowerEmulator) are $35.
Aspyr CSI: Dark Motives
Aspyr Media today posted information on CSI: Dark Motives, its forthcoming game title for Mac OS X based on television series. "Become a forensic investigator, and join the CSI team. CSI: Dark Motives is the second game based on the hit television series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Work in the field with the CSI cast, featuring the actors, atmosphere, voices and music from the show. Piece together evidence and discover the truth behind five grisly new crimes. Find the killers by using real-world forensic tools, such as fingerprint dusters, UV lights, a magnifying scope, and an enhanced microscope. Compare and match evidence in the improved crime lab, using examination techniques that will test your investigative skills." It is available for pre-order for $30, requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later, and is expected to ship on June 27th.
Winamp iPod plug-in
A plug-in called ml_iPod allows Windows iPod users to bypass iTunes and manage music collections in Winamp instead. Justin Frankel, creator of Winamp and Gnutella, developed ml_iPod, but programming was taken over by U.K. computer science student Will Fisher. Fisher and other developers have added the ability to sync multiple iPods with Winamp, create smart playlists and copy songs from an iPod to a computer. iTunes prevents users from copying songs from an iPod to a hard drive in an effort to reduce music piracy. "A lot of the feedback I get is people thanking me for freeing them from iTunes," said Fisher. "It shows the dissatisfaction people have with iTunes."
A lab of 20 PCs running Debian GNU/Linux will be replaced by G5 iMacs at the University of Melbourne's Trinity College. The compelling reasons for the migration is Mac OS X's "slick user interface" and ease of use, according to Trinity College systems administrator Tim Bell. "Looking at the maturity of Debian as a desktop and it's not quite there, particularly compared with Mac OS X, which has come a long way," Bell said. "It has a good user experience and is reliable [so] Mac OS X wins." All the required applications are available for Mac OS X, according to Bell, including Microsoft's Office suite. "Under Linux we have been using OpenOffice which is great, but the interoperability is not quite there." An additional 33 eMacs are being purchased for the library and Xserve RAID storage systems will be used for backups.
Mac mini accessories
OWC and NewerTech today began offering four new acrylic accessories for the Mac mini: the NuStand mini, NuClear mini, NuBlue mini and NuShelf mini. Prices range from $25 to $40. The NuStand mini ($40) is a curved acrylic stand that allows you to slip the mini underneath and a monitor on top. The stand supports CRT displays up to 22 inches and LCD displays up to 30 inches. The NuShelf mini ($35) attaches to the bottom of a desktop or shelf and allows users to slip the Mini inside. The NuClear mini ($25) is a precision cut 0.75-inch piece of acrylic plastic that raises your mini off the desk. The NuBlue mini ($30) offers the same base but with a cool blue glow. OWC and NewerTech also began offering NuPower replacement batteries for the PowerBook G4 17-inch. The batteries retail for $140 (60 watt-hour) and $170 (67 watt-hour) and offer up to 21 percent more capacity than the original battery shipped by Apple.
Apple, Pixar stocks
Tech and entertainment shares surged as investors yesterday welcomed Apple's reported talks to use Intel chips in its computers. Though entirely unconfirmed, investors seemed to embrace the rumors, which if true, could lead to less expensive Macs. Also boosting the Dow was Pixar, the animation studio run by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The company was upgraded to "overweight" by Prudential Equity Group, with a new price target of $75 a share, on the belief the company eventually will produce more than one major animated film each year.
E-Book Systems today released Mac FlipViewer, an application that allows Mac users to read publications in a 3D page-flipping format. The Digital Flip technology can convert any PDF, Quark, PageMaker, FrameMaker, Word and HTML files into its XML-based page-flipping format. Mac FlipViewer's intuitive page-flipping interface lets readers "turn" pages, rapidly skim pages and go directly to a certain page number, just like a printed publication. The streaming download function also lets users begin reading the publication without waiting for the entire file to download.
Palm name acquired
In brief: palmOne has agreed to acquire a controlling share of the Palm brand name for $30 million from PalmSource, and will unveil a new logo and design treatment this summer.... Safari Video Networks has announced the acquisition of the product assets of eZedia, maker of software for multimedia presentations, digital portfolios, electronic slide shows, interactive CD-ROMs and Web sites.... Automated Workflows today announced the availability of the "Mac OS X Technology Guide to Automator" ($30), a book with perspective for both users and developers.... Alias announced today that its Maya software was the chief 3D animation technology -- and only non-proprietary animation solution -- used to create key characters and scenes in the recently released Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Apple pressuring IBM
Analysts say that the reports of Apple-Intel talks, which surfaced yesterday, is purely a ploy to pressure IBM into fixing its own chip supply problems and that customers should not expect "Intel Inside" stickers on their Macs anytime soon, according to The Mercury News. "Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of newsletter Microprocessor Report, said he smells an orchestrated media ploy by Apple to pressure IBM to improve its supply problems, which have led to delays in some Apple products. 'I believe this is a purely negotiating move by Apple to grab some attention and headlines and to point out that they're feeling underappreciated by IBM,' Krewell said.... Apple has reportedly been frustrated with IBM's inability to manufacture its PowerPC processors quickly enough. And Apple has so far been unable to build a laptop that can successfully tap IBM's G5 Power PC processor, which runs hot and uses a lot of power."
DJ-1800 v2.0 is an update to the complete, self-contained professional DJ system for the Mac. The software solution offers professional music control, including emulation of four CD players, custom cue points, pitch shift/blend functions, song scan/search with a jog dial (and support for Griffin PowerMate), and more. It also offers a full, four-channel software mixer with multichannel crossfade and also multiple outputs and modes. Version 2.0 brings support for QuickTime 7 and Mac OS X Tiger as well as faster iTunes synchronization, improved audio reliability, tighter synchronization between live and headphones, improved pitch shifting quality, and new localized versions (Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Swedish in addition to English, French, German and Dutch). A free demo of the $60 application is available. Upgrades from v1.0 are free.
BoardRoom for Keynote 2
Keynote HQ has released BoardRoom for Keynote 2, a new theme that blends design, layout, and color while maintaining a professional look. BoardRoom includes 45 Master Slides in 800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions, 10 highlight bars, a focus box, 3D chart overlays, a preformatted table, unique photo Master Slides, and a sample presentation. The theme also includes 90 color coordinated navigation buttons plus four styles of 3D overlays, giving users 360 different buttons for navigation and presentation lists. BoardRoom is available for download for $20. Keynote HQ is also offering the free 800x600 theme "So Blue" for users that register at the Keynote HQ web site.
Mac Drive Enclosure Kit
AZIO Corp today announced its new Mac Drive Enclosure Kit, which "combines both the function and the coveted Mac style to blend seamlessly with existing Mac desktops, laptops and peripherals." Featuring a resilient, high-impact acrylic case in sleek white with brushed metal case rivets, the drive enclosure converts any 3.5-inch IDE Hard Disk Drives (UDMA 33/66 or ATA-100/133) into a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 external hard drive by simply connecting the drive to the cables inside the enclosure. The drive offers a stackable design, external 5v/12v power supply, an ultra-quiet ball bearing fan, and a rear-micro-slot for security. It is available immediately with a black or white acrylic top for $45.
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