Forums roundup: A poll asks users to share their view on Apple's planned transition to Intel processors.... Members speculate about Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the next release of Apple's operating, expected in 2007.... Reports are beginning to surface that PC users have installed developer previews of Mac OS X for Intel on their standard PCs.... One member posts his concerns over Adobe's attitude toward religious organizations, churches, temples, seminaries, political organizations and private foundations.... iPod users discuss the merits of switching to AAC for music encoding.... iPod users also share their success (or lack thereof) stories regarding FM transmitters.
Apricorn today introduced a larger 60GB EZ Bus Mini, a new model for its ultra-portable USB hard drive line. Based on the latest 1.8-inch hard drive technology, the compact mobile drive is the only bus-powered hard drive to receive certification from the USB Implementer Forum (USB-IF), according to the company. The EZ Bus Mini line, now available in 20GB, 40GB and 60GB capacities, features a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity and a 4,200RPM hard drive. The enclosure features an integrated USB cable along with a recessed compartment to keep the cable clear from view when not in use. It is available for $180 (20GB), $250 (40GB), and $350 (60GB).
Aspyr today said the The Sims 2 for Mac has begun to arrive in stores across North America, earlier than expected. The title began shipping last week, and has started to appear in stores across the country. The Sims 2 is expected on all retail shelves nationwide by Friday, June 17. The Sims 2 is the sequel to the best selling The Sims. In The Sims 2, players pick one of five aspirations that will take them through an entire lifetime, from the cradle to the grave. Players will be able to choose from Popularity, Fortune, Family, Knowledge and Romance which will determine how each Sim will lead their life. Sims 2 was developed for the Mac by Aspyr Studios, Aspyr’s internal development team, under license from Electronic Arts.
KB roundup: Under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Smart Groups in Address Book are not syncable, even though many other types of contact information are and some users may also have to change their Keychain password separately if the change their login password; Apple has also posted documents on changing the voltage settings for Apple power supplies, which Apple products require a crossover cable, sharing iTunes music between multiple users on the same Mac, iTunes authorization and deauthorization, and how to copy previously burned DVD-R video discs.
In brief: Apple has posted a document detailing how to move Mac OS software projects from CodeWarrior to Xcode, the Apple integrated development environment.... Paradigma Software today announced the Valentina 2 for Revolution ADK and Valentina Developer Network for Revolution products.... Lexmark has told some users that it has no plans to port X5150 scanner/printer driver to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.... Disguised as an iPod ad silhouette dancer, a prankster bopped around an Apple Store for a full three minutes like he was in an iPod ad (no one noticed).... An iPodNN reader notes that Fox is running an iTunes commercial parody featuring silhouette dancers of FOX sitcoms with the end caption: iLaugh.... Tatuz International today announced the release of its new "Tuscany" Collection of iTatu for the iPod shuffle, as well as the “Proud to be an American” 4th of July promotion.
Steinberg has begun shipping its latest VSTi product, Virtual Bassist. Based on real performances by studio bass players, Virtual Bassist offers a range of bass phrases, grooves and styles and covers musical styles ranging through rock, pop, reggae, metal and hip hop to name but a few. "Virtual Bassist is probably the first product in the virtual instrument world to offer a full virtual bass player within DAW environments that really behaves and sounds like a real bass player." Virtual Bassist offers real phrases played by studio bass players, covering a huge range of musical styles with its vast pool of sounds and grooves. It is available for €240-- as a standalone application and with for all major plug-in formats such as VST, DXi, and AU (as well as ReWire support for easy integration into Pro Tools).
Astroflower Software has released AstroShare 1.5 and AstroView 1.5. The two applications let any two computers connect to each other and use various networking tools. These tools include Remote Control, File Transfer, Voice over IP, Instant Messages, and 2-D Collaboration. The new version adds camera support. Once activated, the camera can be viewed by the other side of the network connection. If both sides of the connection have a camera, users can have a 2-way video conference. The new version also introduces several bug fixes.
Aspyr announced this morning LEGO Star Wars is now live on their website and available for preorder. "For the first time ever, one of the world’s most successful film series meets one of the world’s favorite toys in an epic new video game. Play the whole story of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – three movies in one game!" The game features "Drop in/Drop out" two player co-operative play, which allows a second player to join in or leave the action whenever they want. Players can "use the Force to move and transform LEGO objects, overcome obstacles and defeat your enemies." A unique "Free Play" mode enables you to play with unlocked characters wherever you like, and switch between them at will.
A Korean firm is offering an "upgrade" that will transform a Power Mac G4 Cube into an Intel PC. The U-Power upgrade features 1.5 or 1.8GHz versions of Intel's Pentium-M processor, and is "aimed at PC users who may be wooed by the stylish G4 Cube and thus consumed with a desire to dump their beige PC box," reports the Inquirer. "There are a substantial number of people who love Apple's hardware from a design point of view, but who have no desire to run Apple software [...] This upgrade is theirs. For people out of the ordinary," a representative said in February. The PCube 1.5 and PCube 1.8 run Windows XP are priced at $400 and $450. Since the U-Power announcement, Apple announced it would use Intel chips in future Macs. However, it is unlikely a U-Power-equipped Cube would be able to boot Mac OS X for Intel. Apple has said only forthcoming Intel-based Macs will be able to run the operating system.
Maxtor today unveiled its new Maxtor OneTouch II drive with a FireWire 800 interface. Designed for creative professionals, computer power users and digital content creators, the drive delivers up to 800Mbit per second data transfer rates to quickly transfer and store high-resolution graphics, digital audio/video, heavy multimedia files, photos and more. Shipping this month to major U.S. and Canadian retailers, distributors and online stores, including Apple Retail Stores and the Apple Online Store, the new Maxtor OneTouch II, FireWire 800 Edition features a triple interface for universal connectivity and ease of use. Suggested retail pricing is $260 for the 200GB and $330 for the 300GB. A 500GB version will be shipping later this year.
In brief: Disguised as an iPod ad silhouette dancer, a prankster bopped around an Apple Store for a full three minutes like he was in an iPod ad (no one noticed).... Students who miss lectures at Coventry University can catch up by getting recordings sent to their iPods.... An iPodNN reader notes that Fox is running an iTunes commercial parody featuring silhouette dancers of FOX sitcoms with the end caption: iLaugh.... "The iPod generation" will get the chance to enjoy Beethoven's entire collection of nine symphonies for free from the BBC Radio 3 website.... Various publications have confirmed iPodNN's initial report regarding Wrigley UK's has Extra chewing gum iPod and iTunes giveaway.
Tatuz International today announced the release of its new "Tuscany" Collection of iTatu for the iPod shuffle, as well as the “Proud to be an American” 4th of July promotion. The ‘Tuscany’ Collection of iTatu consist of five new solid colors inspired by "the beautiful natural colors of the Italian countryside." Earth tones consisting of Olive Green, Rust Red, Golden Yellow, Warm Orange and Brown are featured in the set. “Customers have asked us for a wide variety of solid colors to compliment their iPod shuffles, and this is the first of what is sure to be many sets of solid color options,” said Brett Casadonte of Tatuz International.
GarageCube has released Modul8 v2.0, an update to its VJing and realtime video compositing software. Version 2.0 features a new interface for better control over live compositions, several new effects and filters, a logic recording system for recording realtime performances without slowing down the application, a rendering engine to export creations, an integrated interface constructor and script editor, and integrated access to a public online plug-in library. Other features include support for all QuickTime-compatible files (including Flash), five different types of luma-keys to generate real time per-pixel transparency on your media. realtime filters (contrast, saturation, blur, brightness), a 3-D matrix transformer, QT export, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. A single-user license is €300.
Seiko Instruments today announced its first Mac-compatible Smart Label Printers. The new SLP 410, 420 and 430 feature a "sleek new industrial design" and Mac support. The company will unveil the new models at C3 Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City from June 28 to June 30 (booth #3447). Smart Label Printers allow the user to create one label at a time for envelopes, files, storage boxes, floppy or Zip disks, video cassettes, 35mm slides, bar codes and a variety of other office and home applications. It can also make name tags and ID badges for parties, trade shows, conferences and other business or social events. The SLP 410 will sell for an estimated street price (ESP) of $100; the SLP 420 for $130; and the SLP 430 will carry an ESP of $180.
Asigra today announced the release of its Televaulting for Mac OS X solution, which offers agentless backup and recovery architecture and "affordable" pay-as-you-grow pricing. It offers the first agentless backup/recovery environment for Mac desktops and laptops, servers and mixed platform environments. It allows users to protect every system on the network without agent-based license fees, agent installation, agent-induced performance loss and annual agent upgrades. It allows a Macintosh server to back up virtually system, including Mac OS X and machines running Windows, Novell NetWare, Linux or Unix. Due at the end of the year, the solution supports both agent-based and agent-less backups, utilizes compression and security, and uses off-site storage for optimial data protection.
Nokia is developing a mobile browser for its Series 60 smartphone software in cooperation with Apple, the company said today. Nokia said the new browser will use the same open source components as Apple's Safari Internet browser. The browser will be available during the first half of 2006. Nokia said it would continue to cooperate with Apple on other endeavors. In March, Nokia signed a deal with Opera Software to put Opera's mobile Internet software on more Nokia phones, after having licensed Opera for a total of 11 Nokia models in recent years.
Apple's negotiations with Intel were kept a secret from IBM until the last minute and may have been spurred by both pricing and a business decision by IBM to curtail development on its PowerPC roadmap, according to The New York Times: "Several executives close to the last-minute dealings between Apple and I.B.M. said that Mr. Jobs waited until the last moment - 3 p.m. on Friday, June 4 - to inform Big Blue. Those executives said that I.B.M. had learned about Apple's negotiations with Intel from news reports and that Apple had not returned phone calls in recent weeks. Each side disputes what led to the breakup. People close to I.B.M. said pricing was a central issue, while Mr. Jobs insisted on stage Monday that I.B.M. had failed to meet promised performance measures." The report says that Sony also tried (but failed) to convince Apple to use IBM's Cell processor, which will be used in the forthcoming PlayStation 3.
ShowMacster 1.4 (€15) is an extension to Apple's iChat AV which can help users stream pictures and QuickTime movies as well as offers live screen captures during video conferences. It integrates into iChat AV, adding a drawer to the video chat window. It adds a live drawing tool (on a blank sheet or on top of another photo), "Quickdrop" functions for starting a slideshow, and a redesigned interface. [Download - 1.3MB] xSort (beta) is a card sorting tool that allows you to model and conduct a card sorting exercise in a graphical view that simulates a table with physical cards that can be dragged around. It presents you the results of the exercise based on statistical analysis and clustering algorithms. Finally, it allows you to create printable reports with a click of a button. [Download - 1.7MB] Awaken 1.0 (free) is a digital alarm clock that can play an iTunes playlist. Users can create alerts for weekly or specific dates/times, use a customizable snooze timer, and more. It integrates with iTunes and displays current song information and album artwork as well. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 840KB] FmPro Migrator 3.57EE ($100) incorporates an enhanced and simplified FileMaker 7 (FM7) table consolidation feature: FM7 field names now preserve capitalization, spaces and most types of special characters to streamline migrate of calculation formulas. It also adds support for directly reading the structure of FileMaker 2 binary files for migration to FileMaker 7 or other databases. [Download - 2.7MB] Scale 'N' Mail 1.0 (free) is a simple application for scaling images quickly and optionally sending the images using Apple Mail or Microsoft Entourage. The application can proportionally scale images, provides drag and drop support to the Finder and other applications, and integrates to send images via a single click of button. [Download - 969KB] Inquisitor 1.0b3 (free) is a beta version of the predictive-search extension for Safari. It offers a "simple and sensible" interface that augments the Safari web search field with predictive search capabilities, including auto-completion and query suggestion. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger only. [Download - 145KB]
"ASC" has released Astro IIDC v2.0, an update to its Mac OS X Astronomy, Microscopy and High Speed Scientific image acquisition software. Astro IIDC works with a wide variety of low- and high-end, color or monochrome, cameras and spports both 8- or 16-bit images and both FireWire 400/800 connectivity. It can record movies, grab frames, grab averaged frames, grab sums of frames, and offers extensive AltiVec optimization for realtime processing for flat field, dark frame, image alignment and stacking. The software also supports movie recording as fast as 240 frames per second. Astro IIDC runs on Mac OS X 10.2.x or later. It is available for $50 per license.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Sunday delivered "a somber and intensely personal commencement speech at Stanford," according to The San Francisco Chronicle: "Death is very likely the single best invention of life," he said. "It's life's change agent, it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away," he warned the 5,000 graduating students. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." In his speech." Jobs also talked about his biological mother who gave up him up at birth and that unexpected events, such as an early typography course that he attended after dropping out out of Reed College, had helped inspire inspired him to design different fonts in the first Macintosh.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives