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National Public Radio has dropped Audible.com in favor of Audiofeast. Audible and Apple have worked together to bring Audible content to iTunes and the iPod. Unfortunately for iTunes and iPod users, Audiofeast does not offer iPod, iTunes, or Mac support. "Currently AudioFeast only supports Windows 2000 and XP. We don't have plans for Mac support at the present time." The following three shows will no longer be available: "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition," and "Wait...Wait...Don't Tell Me" (Thanks to iPodNN reader Stuart for the tip). Meanwhile, iPodNN reader Joe Felder notes that the latest Coldplay album at the iTunes Music Store contains a video interview with the band and a PDF booklet (presumably the same booklet you get when you buy the physical CD). The video and PDF are only available when you purchase the entire Album.
Fool.com on Apple-Intel
Apple's real target, Dell and other PC companies, was the driving force behind Apple's Intel Switch, according to a Motley Fool columnist. "Apple's real enemy is Dell, plain and simple. The Intel deal aims to lure those buying computers from Dell -- or Gateway, or Acer, or even iPod partner HP -- into trying a Mac. Everything else is a distraction." The article also says that Mac clones will never be on Apple's roadmap, that "dramatically" cheaper Macs are unlikely because Apple's has spent years creating a "premium experience," and that Apple in the future will also turn to AMD, who is "at least 18 months ahead of Intel in one key area: dual-core chips for servers." Meanwhile, a Fortune columnist says the Intel Switch is the "Ultimate Power Move," which will enable Apple to grow its marketshare, tout head-to-head performance comparisons with Windows on similar hardware, draw more switchers (than the number of lost Mac faithful), and could lead to Mac OS X licensing to other PC manufacturers.
The Toshiba gigabeat MEG-F60S is a new iPod competitor that features a large vertically oriented color screen and white, plus-shaped control surface. Just slightly taller and thicker than the Apple iPod, the gigabeat packs 60GB into a stylish enclosure. In its review of the player, PC Magazine says "our initial enthusiasm for the plus-shaped control surface, which Toshiba calls the Plus Touch, was quickly dampened when we realized that it's just five touch-sensitive switches. There's no sliding function or pressure sensitivity in the arms. Forward- and back-scanning happen at a fixed pace. There's no acceleration or ballistic function, and sliding your finger around doesn't change the rate of progress. Ditto for the volume control.[...] We'd forgive much of the above if the gigabeat were a great music player, but it's only listenable with the EQ turned off."
Mac Finder withering?
Tiger's Spotlight search technology could be the beginning of the end for the Macintosh Finder, according industry experts. Spotlight along with the growing number of application with built-in file management functions could signal a shift in desktop computing--similar to "Google-shift" for online users. Wired News reports that "user-interface experts at one of the world's top design houses say Mac OS X Tiger is the beginning of the end for the Macintosh Finder -- the era of organizing files in nested folders is over." The article notes that the paradigm shift not really obvious because it offers the same search interface as previous generations of Mac OS X (e.g., Sherlock), but that "the quality, scope and presentation of the results are significantly better, so users get good benefits without having to change their behavior."
Charity auction, TransPod
iPodNN roundup: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters anounced today new Black and Siver versions of the TransPod Direct Car Solution ($70) to match more car interiors.... Led by designer and Board Member Marc Ecko, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has partnered with leaders in fashion and entertainment to host an online charity auction featuring one-of-a-kind iPod cases created by some of today's most notable designers.... One UK college is using iPods as an incentive for students to complete special job-training classes.... PC Magazine has reviewed the Toshiba gigabeat MEG-F60S, which features a large vertically oriented color screen and white, plus-shaped control surface. For all the latest iPod, iTunes, digital music, and Podcast news, visit iPodNN.
Mactel to dethrone MS?
Apple's "parnership" with Intel is nothing less than an attempt to dethrone Microsoft, according to technology columnist Robert Cringely. In reveiwing the announcement from earlier this week, Cringely says Jobs ignored the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage and the 64-bit advantage of the PowerPC chips (which is only available in high-end Intel chips), made no mention of the AMD alternative ("which equals Intel's power specs, exceeds Intel's performance specs and does so at a lower price point"), and un-characteristically pre-announced a move that no effect on consumers, which is at least one-year away: "This isn't a story about Intel gaining another three percent market share at the expense of IBM, it is about Intel taking back control of the desktop from Microsoft."
TransPod black, silver
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters anounced today new Black and Siver versions of the TransPod Direct Car Solution ($70) for iPod and iPod mini. The DLO TransPod Direct provides customers with a direct connection to their car stereos that integrates the high-quality line-out audio signal from the bottom of the iPod. The TransPod comes with a built-in charger for the iPod, a cradle to position it for easy access to its controls, a cassette adapter and a mini plug cable. The new Black and Silver TransPod Directs now match most car interiors.
iNews 1.0 reader
iNews 1.0 ($25) is an RSS/Atom reader that allows users to organize, categorize and read thousands of RSS and Atom news feeds on from multiple different Web sources. Feeds are automatically updated, so you can easily follow the latest news without having to check for the updates manually. Users can search and add a feed from the iNews database or simply drag and drop an RSS or Atom URL to iNews. It has its own advanced search engine that can process thousands of feeds. "You need to only type a keyword or a phrase in the search field and click on the return button," the developer explains. iNews will search for all matching feeds without additional input. In addition to searching the entire iNews database, the application can search within particular categories. Be sure to check out the MacNN and iPodNN news feeds.
Style and Sound
Led by designer and Board Member Marc Ecko, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has partnered with leaders in fashion and entertainment to host an online charity auction featuring one-of-a-kind iPod cases created by some of today's most notable designers. The auction is currently live on eBay Live Auctions and will conclude at 8:00pm on Wednesday, June 22 at a party hosted by Ecko and Carolina Herrera, the initiative's co-chair. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC), a philanthropic initiative of the CFDA Foundation, which, since its inception in 1994 has raised more than $40 million for distribution to breast cancer organizations in 13 countries.
Slurpee Summer Prize Fest
Apple is giving away up to 8 million songs with its new Slurpee Summer Prize Fest promotion, which offers a free song with the purchase of a 32 oz. Slurpee from 7-Eleven convenience stores around the US. Specially marked 32 oz Slurpee cups feature a free 12 digit alphanumeric code redeemable for one free song download from Apple's iTunes Music Store. The sweepstakes ends on July 31, 2005 and songs must be redeemed by August 31, 2005. Users will require a valid iTunes account to redeem each song; however, a credit card is not required.
Compression Master 3.1
Popwire Technology has released Compression Master 3.1, an upgrade that includes enhanced features, extended format support as well as Mac OS X Tiger and QuickTime 7 compatibility. Version 3.1 aso brings support for H.264 (AVC) video, Windows Media MBR, High Definition (HD) support, Flash video and full QuickTime video integration. The new product upgrade will be free for existing customers. Compression Master enables media produces to produce content for DVD, Internet, Cell Phones, Music Services, Television or any other type of digital media. The software brings the reliability and speed of server-based video encoding to the desktop; it converts to and from all common formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, QuickTime, DV, H.264, 3GPP, Flash, Windows and Real Media. The full software is available for $400.
In brief: "Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration" ($50) is a book from O'Reilly for IT administrator using Mac OS X Panther.... Runtime Revolution and Fourth World Media Corporation have announced the line-up of the Fourth free online programming conference for Revolution users (June 11th).... Merlin, a model tool for project management, has been updated for Mac OS X for Intel.... Ars Technica CPU expert Jon Stokes looks at Intel's road map and draws some conclusions as to where Intel's CPUs fit into Apple's product line.... Toolfarm today announced distribution agreements with leading Adobe After Effects plug-in manufacturers, including: The Foundry, Conoa, Boris' Continuum Complete, Buena Software, and Cycore FX.
Intel Mac performance
Apple's Developer Transition Kit features a Pentium 4 660 processor running at 3.6 GHz, according to various online reports. Engineers said the Pentium 4 660 would not be used in any production Mac. Rather, one should look to Intel's roadmap for an idea of what future Macs might include. The Developer machine uses DDR-2 RAM at 533 MHz, SATA-2, and Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics. Production Macs will likely ship with off-the-shelf PC video cards. Manufacturers such as ATI and nVidia must simply provide drivers for the cards. The test machines support 64 bit extensions, but Apple's software does not yet support that technology. The developer units include FireWire 400 and USB 2. USB 2 booting is supported, but FireWire booting is not.
North Plains Systems has announced that TeleScope Enterprise, its digital asset management application, now supports Mac OS X Tiger Server and Xsan, Apple's 64-bit cluster file system. The scalable solution offers an end-to-end digital media supply chain for the creation, management and distribution of rich media along with SOAP-based APIs and XML gateways. TeleScope, with a native Mac client and full AppleScript support, provides functions for data modeling, metadata management, workflow/process automation, version control/file transformation, user/workgroup management, digital asset security/forensics, rights management and business privileges, and device/storage management.
WebKit Open Source Project
Kodak debuts Easyshare 5.0
Kodak today introduced Kodak Easyshare 5.0, an update to its free software that helps users organize, edit, share and print digital pictures. Available now for Windows and due later this summer for Mac users, the software is compatible with all popular brands of digital cameras, as well as the most widely used digital picture/video file formats. Version 5.0 features new video editing tools, including the ability to trim, splice, rotate and add music to digital videos (captured by digital cameras). as well as improved automatic red eye reduction and better one-click image enhancement.
\'The Boom Box\' for iPods
Sonic's Roxio division has officially launched The Boom Box, a Mac software suite comprised of five premium applications designed to personalize and customize iPod content. First noted by iPodNN earlier this week, the suite includes CD Spin Doctor (for digitizing vinyl recordings), MusicMagic Mixer (generates custom playlists), Audio Hijack (captures audio from any Mac application), iPodderX (manages/subscribes to podcasts), and iSpeak It (converts documents to audio files). The Boom Box, available for $50, offers users a significant cost savings over the cost of each application separately; it is available today online and will be widely available at retail stores later this month. The suite also includes special discount coupons and offers from Wiley books, Audible.com, and Belkin.
Mossberg on Apple-Intel
Technology columnist Walter Mossberg says that Apple's move to the Intel chips is good for everyone, including switchers, those considering switching, and even for Windows users: "In the long term, the change will strengthen Apple and the Mac, which is good news for anyone devoted to that platform or considering switching to it. That's because Intel's processors and other chips will give Apple more options than IBM's products could for building Macs that run faster and cooler, and have longer battery life.... Even consumers who use Microsoft Windows, which runs on the vast majority of computers, will benefit, because the Mac's impact on the industry is vastly greater than its market share. Apple is the most innovative major computer maker, and the only one largely dedicated to serving consumers instead of large corporate customers. Almost everything it does is later copied by the Windows PC makers, so keeping Apple strong and innovating is good for Windows users, too."
IA-shift may spur changes
Apple's move to Intel-based Macs holds several challenges for the company, including a departure from its unique product introduction strategy, according to a BusinessWeek column: "Until now, Apple has announced products on Jobs's timetable -- when they met his stringent demands. With Intel defining the hardware guts, he'll have less flexibility. 'Apple faces the risk of becoming [just] another player coming out with new products at the same time as everyone else,' says Forrester Research analyst Simon Yates. Still, hooking up with Intel is worth the risk. So long as Apple is growing, software developers are likely to adapt their programs to run on the 'MacIntels.' And in the long term, Macs with Intel inside could spark growth. For starters, it could help close a speed gap in the fast-growing laptop market."
iPods for students?
One UK college is using iPods as an incentive for students to complete special job-training classes. Forbes.com reports that Bournemouth and Poole College is offering students Apple's popular digital MP3 music player if they complete courses aimed at helping them find work. The program is called "Step Up For Summer" and has been accused "bribing" students. "The people who are organizing the course must feel the youngsters don't really want to go, otherwise they wouldn't feel it was necessary to offer them iPods," Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. "It tells teenagers they don't have to do anything unless they are getting a sweetener." According to the report, a college spokeswoman argued that school had to use the program to bring back "disaffected" students, giving them "an incentive to get them back in to learning."
Refurb iPods at Apple
The online Apple Store is offering refurbished previous-generation 20GB iPods with Click Wheel for $250 along with the non-Click Wheel 40GB version for $330 and several colors of the previous-generation 4GB iPod mini for $170. (The previous generation models include a FireWire cable.) Other refurbished items include the 14-inch iBook ($1,300) and two 12-inch SuperDrive PowerBook models for $1,300 (1.33GHz/256MB) and $1,500 (1.5GHz/512MB). Apple is also offering refurb iMac G5s: 17-inch (80GB/SuperDrive) for $1,000 and 20-inch (160GB/SuperDrive) for $1,400 as well as a 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 for $1,300; refurbished Cinema Displays are $1,300 (23-inch) and $2,600 (30-inch), while refurb versions of the AirPort Extreme Card ($70) and AirPort Express BaseStation ($100) are also available. Update: Apple has added several models of refurb non-clickwheel iPods: 15GB ($180, without a dock), 20GB ($250), 30GB ($280), and 40GB ($300) as well as more 12- and 14-inch iBooks starting at $800. [updated]
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