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Fusion 400 SATA enclosure
Sonnet Technologies today announced its Fusion 400, the first in a new line of Serial ATA (SATA) desktop drive enclosures. Fusion 400 offers a small footprint, a powerful built-in universal power supply, and ultra-quiet fan for users looking to store large amounts of data in a minimal space. It features four easy-to-use, hot-swap drive trays to quickly add or swap out storage on-the-fly. The SATA II enclosure supports 3Gb/s drives and is backward compatible with 1.5Gb/s drives. It supports up to 2 terabytes (TB) of storage, includes a Universal 90-260V AC power supply, and offers eSATA connectors for cable connection to host controller. It will ship July 1 for $600.
Although Sony's new NW-HD5 "looks suspiciously like one of those Mattel handheld football games that got taken away from you regularly during homeroom in the eighth grade," it has potential to chip away at the iPod's market share, The Motley Fool says. "While it may not be the long-awaited, silver-bullet iPod killer, it could at least eat into the gigantic market share that Apple Computer currently enjoys in that particular -- and particularly profitable -- category." While Apple claims a battery life for its 20-gig iPod models of up to 12 hours, Sony's new device can reportedly keep on keeping on for up to 40 hours. The device will play music files encoded by the user, but when it comes to buying online, it only supports downloads offered by the Connect music store. "Based on its reported battery life alone, the NW whatchamacallit ought to pique the interest of portable music fans everywhere, all the while causing the fat and happy execs over in Apple's iPod division to wring their hipster hands, if only just a little."
In brief: PalmOne's new LifeDrive, a $500 PDA with an internal 4-gigabyte hard drive, is a "very, very good idea" and could become the "iPod of Everything."... The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else ``casual piracy,'' a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution.... Its rivals are getting stronger, but Apple's iTunes continues to be the leader, BusinessWeek says in a review of the service.... Coldplay's new album, "X&Y," topped the sales charts in the U.S. with nearly 740,000 copies sold in its first week, 62,000 of which were downloaded from online music stores.
Windows on Macs
Whether or not users will be able to run Windows directly on Intel-based Macs is still a mystery, according to eWEEK. However, even if full hardware support isn't offered, "there's a fallback position for more enterprising Mactel owners." Virtualization technology built into the next Intel chips will allow the machines to be partitioned to run different types of software or operating systems at the same time. The technology will be available by the time Apple starts offering Intel-based Macs. The desktop Pentium 4 chips will sport built-in virtualization this year and the Pentium Ms will gain it in 2006. "Thus, there is no reason the machines couldn't run Windows or Linux and all of the associated applications on top of Mac OS X." Apple recently stated that it would neither support nor block the use of Windows on Intel Macs.
Top 10 Expansion brands
Apple is among the top 10 brands who have the best expansion opportunity, according to the same market research firm that declared that Apple was the fastest growing brand in the world. The survey, conducted by Vivaldi Partners in New York, asks consumers "whether they think the brand can move into many different categories, only related product categories or has limited reach and then asked which specific products consumers could envision the brand offering. Topping the list was eBay, which 66% of consumers felt had many different expansion opportunities. Close behind was Amazon.com, which 59% of respondents perceived to have many different chances for brand extensions." Apple was No. 7 on the list behind Ebay, Amazon, Samsung, Whole Foods, Google, and Yahoo. Users surveyed said that Apple would have expansion opportunities in the cell phone, car stereo, and television markets. Nike, Coach and Victoria's Secret rounded out the top 10 expansion brands in the survey.
Speck Portfolio Skin
Speck Products today announced the Portfolio Skin ($35), a Rubberized wallet style case that offers protection and modern fashion for the iPod or iPod photo. Portfolio skin features a super-soft, smooth rubberized body and 4 interchangeable colored straps. "The Portfolio Skin features the same fun rubberized material as your basic skin, but it's molded to resemble a high-end leather wallet." The Portfolio Skin features all-around protection when the case is closed, protecting the screen, clickwheel and body of the iPod with soft, shock absorbing Kraton material. The bottom port, headphone jack and hold switch are always accessible. The Portfolio is available in two color combinations- Pink (includes white, black, green and dark pink straps) and Clear (includes blue, black, green and orange straps).
Dell on OS X
"If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers," Michael Dell wrote in an email. It's the first time any PC industry executive has gone on record about selling machines with Apple's software. Fortune reporter David Kirkpatrick said executives from several PC companies have told him of their interest in Apple's Mac OS X operating system. "Sadly my sources would not let me attribute these assertions; PC executives are pretty leery of offending Microsoft, which holds enormous power over their businesses." Dell, however, has not been afraid to upset Microsoft. The company has for several years sold servers loaded with Linux, the operating system Microsoft" reviles and dreads."
Toast 6 Titanium v6.1.1
In Brief: Roxio has released a Toast 6 Titanium v6.1.1 updater to resolve issues related to QuickTime 7, burning audio disc images, the "Toast It" contextual menu, and creating DVD Music Albums.... IconBase has released Isometric Stock Icons ($350), a new icon collection of icons in Angular style that rigorously follows all of Apple's guidelines and specifications.... Peachpit has released several new guide books: The Mac mini Guidebook (David Coursey, $20), Cool Mac Apps (John Tollett, $25), and Creating a Photo Book and Slideshow with iPhoto 5 (Elizabeth Castro, $13).... FileMaker Pro 7 was honored by PC World with a 2005 World Class Award for Best Database, as noted in the July 2005 issue (along with several other Apple products).... One forum posting describes Mac OS X for Intel running on a Tablet PC, after hacking the monitor configuration file--although there appear to be some problems.
PodGenius for iPods
Prosoft Engineering today announced Pod Genius for Mac OS X, which it says will demonstrate along with its four other products (Data Rescue, Drive Genius, Data Backup and Picture Rescue) at MacExpo Germany in Cologne, June 16-18, 2005. Pod Genius is a software utility designed for iPod users with functions for backing up your iPod, optimizing the drive by rearranging songs for minimizing drive access, recovering accidently deleting songs, shredding (i.e., permanently deleting) songs, duplicating your iPod, and scanning the iPod drive for defects. It is available for $60 with availability expected "soon." PodGenius runs on Mac OS X Panther/Tiger.
Keynote Photos 1.0
Jumsoft today released Keynote Photos 1.0, a collection of more than 100 colorful, intricately textured photographs. Photos 1.0 fills the more traditional 'rectangular' niche within Jumsoft's Keynote Quartet '05, a newly upgraded and greatly expanded software suite created to maximize the potential of Apple's Keynote and Pages presentation and publishing applications. Earlier this year, Jumsoft released over 200 powerful animations and photographic still lifes--all with transparent backgrounds--to complement its recent rollout of 27 original Keynote themes. Photos 1.0 offers a selection of photographic backgrounds at 1024x768 resolution. It is available for $40 or as part of Keynote Quartet '05, a $100 package that features Keynote Themes 4.0, Keynote Animations 3.0, Keynote Photos 1.0 and Keynote Stills 2.0.
Recosoft has released PDF2Office Personal 2.0 ($60), a new plug-in for Microsoft Word X/2004 that directly opens and converts PDF documents into fully editable Microsoft Word files. The release of PDF2Office Personal 2.0 for Mac OS X "delivers cost effective, direct PDF to Word file format conversion for the Macintosh platform." Recosoft says PDF2Office Personal is the first cross-platform PDF to Word conversion solution offering integration with both Macintosh and Windows versions of Microsoft Word. PDF2Office Personal v2.0 recreates the original construction and layout of the document -- forming paragraphs; applying styles; regrouping independent graphic elements; extracting images; creating tables; and processing headers/footers, endnotes/footnotes and columns/sections, all automatically -- without any manual intervention.
OWC Elite-AL Pro
Other World Computing today announced the Elite-AL Pro series, a new addition to its popular line of Mercury Elite external storage solutions. These new drives use the same Oxford-based bridge solutions as the existing Mercury Elite line, except in a new all-aluminum case. The drives are available in capacities of 80 to 800GB and priced from $130. "You get a hot new look but with the same cool performance and reliability you've come to expect from our Elites; it doesn't get any better than that," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "We've seen a lot of requests for a design that matches up to Apple's aluminum style and our new Elite-AL Pro is our answer to that."
Prosoft Engineering today announced Pod Genius, a new iPod utility that will be on display at MacExpo Germany in Cologne, June 16-18. Pod Genius is the a comprehensive software utility geared specifically toward iPod users. Recover lost or damaged music, repair corrupted data structures, backup your iPod to an exact copy, permanently delete unwanted files, or optimize the file layout of your music. Features include Backup, Optimize, Undelete, Shred, Duplicate, Scan, and Info.
Belkin faces a major recall of the Power Pack for iPod shuffle, following several customer reports that the device simply doesn't work. An iPodNN reader reported buying two of the devices at a campus computer store, and neither successfully charged the Shuffle. "Both the AC and DC adapters fail to charge the Shuffles indicated by no charging light (yellow or green) as well as the shuffle still showing a red light on the battery indicator button after more than two hours of charging." A Belkin representative confirmed that several units tested did not work. The representative said the company would likely "quarantine all units out there" and contact customers when the problem was identified and resolved.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says innovation is no longer the driving force for many top computer companies, but rather volume sales. Wozniak made the comments while in Singapore for an IT industry event. Although he is no longer with Apple, Mr Wozniak says he continues to advise the company on its new offerings. Channel NewsAsia's Derek Cher spoke to him and asked what spurred him if he thought it was becoming more difficult to innovate. "The computer industry per se has been a little bit harder to be innovative for the last 20 years," he said. "There was a period of about 5 to 10 where there were so many opportunities. Even high school kids in their bedroom could start writing programmes that were useful. They sold them and made a lot of money."
Bluelounge in June began shipping Cableyoyo, a device that it calls "the paperclip of the new millennium." Cableyoyo is a cord management device that "suits everyone with fixed & mobile electronic devices." The device features a stylish design that "blends seamlessly with any electronic device and so discreet it can disappear in-between products." It is also designed to protect cables from damage due to twisting and tangling. Cableyoyo effectively conceals up 6-feet (1.8 meters) of electronic cord. Cableyoyo may be used in transit, as a stand-alone container, or fixed, to neatly store unsightly cables at home and in the office. Cableyoyos are $5 each.
Bluelounge in June began shipping Cableyoyo, a device that it calls "the paperclip of the new millennium." Cableyoyo is a cord management device that "suits everyone with fixed & mobile electronic devices," including the iPod. The device features a stylish design that "blends seamlessly with any electronic device and so discreet it can disappear in-between products." It is also designed to protect cables from damage due to twisting and tangling. Cableyoyo effectively conceals up 6-feet (1.8 meters) of electronic cord. Cableyoyo may be used in transit, as a stand-alone container, or fixed, to neatly store unsightly cables at home and in the office. Cableyoyos are $5 each.
pzizz, TimeLog, CoverBuddy
pzizz 1.5 ($40) updates the sleep program with new pzizz nap technology via a new sleep module ($20). pzizz can create more than 100 billion combinations of uniquely personalized soundtracks that can be exported to an iPod or other MP3 player: "The sleep program has been written to help you to switch off at the end of the day, clearing your mind and allowing you to quickly fall into deep, restorative sleep." [pzizz, sleep module]
TimeLog 3.0 ($20) is a unique iCal-integrated timer solution with an interface very similar to iTunes. It stores data in iCal calendars and can be synchronized between multiple Macs and other devices using iSync and .Mac. The Cocoa-based application offers performance improvements, Tiger compatibility, template-based printing, and an improved UI. [2.5MB]
CoverBuddy ($25) is a new add-on for iTunes that lets users manage their music collection by cover art. the visual music browser indexes music data, groups tracks by album, and displays any iTunes collection as "real" albums complete with cover art. CoverBuddy features a full screen mode, filtering, search, and more. It is available for Panther/Tiger in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German. [3.2MB]
MetaProject 1.0 ($5) is a simple but useful tool for catalogging, evaluating and prioritizing projects. Users can track each potential project and related data, such as Category, Description, Main Advantage, Main Disadvantage, and Next Step; users can also enter estimates for various indices to help compare projects. It requires Microsoft Excel.
iSay 1.22 ($20) helps manage voice messaging on the Mac desktop; It integrates with email applications, offers a streamlined interface, includes hotkeys, supports Bluetooth and 3GP, features iCal integration, and is compatible with cell phones, Windows PCs and various other devices. Users can record and store voice notes as well as add a brief description and a completed status to each note. [2.7MB]
File Synchronization 1.3.1 ($12) has the ability to synchronize multiple pairs of folders or files (and is based on the original File Synchronization tool provided by Apple with the old Mac OS. It features a new label next to the filter button that displays the number of active filters, offers additional logging options, and includes a redesigned error dialog. [2.3MB]
OmniGraffle 4 preview 2
The Omni Group today released the second public beta release of OmniGraffle Professional 4 as well as the first beta of the Standard version. OmniGraffle 4.0 beta 2 includes a number of fixes, primarily concerning multiple undo actions, objects on master canvases and exporting to PDF and SVG formats. First announced in late May, OmniGraffle 4 is described as a "major update" to the diagramming and drawing application, bringing a streamlined UI as well as many new features for brainstorming, drafting, import/export, and document management as well as a new dynamic outline view, diagram styles, a Bezier curve drawing tool, and more. The Professional version adds master canvases, notes, tables, document scale, improved Visio XML import and export, and SVG export, and more. (MacNN published an exclusive Sneak Peek in May 2005.)
Twixtor 4.5 for Shake 4
RE:Vision Effects has released a major update to the Shake version of Twixtor, its popular retiming solution as well as a minor update to ReelSmart Motion Blur 3.2 (RSMB), which adds and removes motion blur based on per-pixel calculated motion. Twixtor 4.5 introduces a complete rewrite of its tracking, offering more accuracy, the ability to track objects farther, and fewer artifacts; it alsoo now includes a smart blending option for pans and zooms to prevent inappropriate streaking or weird artifacts at frame borders. Version 4.5 also adds an option to automatically enhance dark imagery or imagery with poorly defined edges. Twixtor 4.5 for Shake is $800 (including a render license, which is available seprately for $200 per computer) and will be available when Shake 4 ships for Mac OS X/Linux. RSMB 3.2 is a free upgrade, while the full version is $190.
Opera 8 for Mac released
Opera Software today released Opera 8 for Macintosh, an update to the web browser that offers improved performance and more. Dubbed as "the most Mac-like version ever," it offers improved support for Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and full keyboard access functionality and includes the same functionality as its Windows/Linux counterparts, which were released in April 2005. Version 8 offers innovative security solutions, such as the new security field that indicates the level of security and the certificate-owner of a secure site. It also offers support for Native Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG 1.1 Tiny), the abiiity to "delete private data" option, a "trash can" that saves closed pages and blocked pop-ups during a session, and automatic re-adjustment of page content to fit the window width. The free browser is available for Mac OS X 10.2 in 15 languages.
NetCheck 1.2.1 released
Script Software has released NetCheck 1.2.1, a Mac OS X application that provides an array of network monitoring, email alerts, logging, and reporting features. It provides immediate customized alerts to custom groups (via email) as well as historical outage information. Features include advanced logging with search functions (by site name, device name, circuit information, port, and by time period), log file management, reporting with advance filters, device monitoring via ICMP packets, port monitoring, dependency-based verification, and more. Version 1.2.1 offers better memory management, interface changes, more efficient network checking algorithms, enhanced email server support, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. It is available for $38 (ten devices), $75 (25 devices), or $475 (unlimited devices).
QuickerTek iBook antenna
QuickerTek has announced "the first" iBook antenna for models with AirPort wireless capability, including AirPort Extreme. This new antenna is an external device that features 5.5dBi of power and improves the wireless range and signal strength in all wireless environments. "This new antenna adds 25 to 40 points to the MacStumbler rating - a popular application used for measuring wireless performance. Perhaps more impressive is that iBooks now have another 200-300 yards of wireless range effectively doubling the stock capability." It also features connections for other QuickerTek external antennas such as directional antennas. It works with all iBook models and is available for $100 (with a one-year warranty).
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