Apple is offering more refurbished iPods, PowerBooks and iBooks via its online store. Two models of the Apple's latest generation 12-inch PowerBook are available: the 1.5GHz/Combo ($1,300) and 1.5GHz ($1,500). Apple is also offering three 12-inch iBook models: 1.2GHz/CD ($800), 1GHz/Combo ($800), and 1.2GHz/Combo with AirPort Extreme ($850). As noted last week, several different refurbished iPods are also available, including the 4GB iPod mini ($150), 6GB iPod mini ($180), 20GB Clickwheel iPod ($250), iPod U2 Special Edition ($350), and older generation, non-Clickwheel iPods: 15GB ($180), 20GB ($250 with dock or $230 without dock), 30GB ($280), and 40GB ($300). A 20-inch iMac G5 (1.8GHz/SuperDrive) and 20-, 23-, and 30-inch Aluminum Cinema Displays for $700, $1,300, and $2,600.
The first signs have started to emerge this week that Apple's must-have iPod music players are "actually not that great," silicon.com says. The article looks at iPod quality a "damaged brand" as factors contributing to this sentiment. The article cites Duke University's iPod program as evidence of the latter. "Only" one third of freshmen used their free iPods for academic purposes. As for build quality, the article points to poor battery life on some test units. "The battery on one unit now lasts for just an hour after a full charge and the click wheel has given up the game, rendering the iPod mini virtually unusable." Brand experts claim "Apple has cheapened the image of the whole iPod range with an average product like the Shuffle. We're betting the mini's dead batteries and broken click wheels didn't help, either [...] Is this the first wave of an iPod backlash?"
In Brief: We've posted reviews of Marware's SportGrip for iPod shuffle and eBay Photos That Sell, a handbook of real-world application, practical instruction and budget.... Fool.com has posted reader responses to contributor Tim Beyers'bold predictions about the future of Apple.... Runtime Revolution has pledged support Apple's new MacTel Architecture with a future version of Revolution, its developer tools for creating cross-platform applications.... Apple will be exhibiting at the fourth annual Digital Video Expo East, which will take place at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from July 18-21.
The following stories appeared on iPodNN today: Apple is standing in the way of Sony's latest CD anti-piracy measures.... Apple plans to emphasize its link with music and popular culture with a launch at Glastonbury Festival this week.... Creative's Technology founder Sim Wong Hoo, of Singapore, is facing his toughest challenge since boldly stating he intended to rival Apple as the world's leading maker of portable music players.... Griffin's iFill streams audio files from thousands of free radio stations directly to an iPod.... FastMac today announced an iPod battery upgrade that utilizes nanoparticle technology to "dramatically extend battery lifespan."... BT will not be launching an 'iPod killer' today, as widely reported in the media.... J&R Electronics is offering custom-painted iPod minis in Ferrari Red, Smoke White, and Lamborghini Yellow.... iPod-Party.org.uk has announced an iPod Party on Worcester's favorite riverboat "The Pride of the Midlands," taking place July 8th.... For the latest up-to-the-minute iPod headlines, don't forget to visit iPodNN.com.
Apple is standing in the way of Sony's latest CD anti-piracy measures. "[Sony's] use of the software, which is designed to limit consumers to making no more than three copies of a CD, reflects an effort to alter a format that is two decades old and contains music that can be readily copied and digitally distributed," the New York Times reports. The companies have been pressing Apple to amend its software to make it compatible with the tools used to restrict copying. The restrictive software Sony BMG is using on CDs -- like it did earlier this year with Stand Up by the Dave Matthews Band -- is not compatible with Apple's popular iPod. "It's just a proprietary decision by Apple to decide whether to play along or not," Thomas Hesse of Sony BMG said. "I don't know what more waiting we have to do. We think we need to move this forward. Time is ticking, infringement of intellectual property is happening all over, and we've got to put a stop to it I think."
Apple plans to underline its link with music and popular culture with a launch at Glastonbury Festival this week, Macworld UK reports. "While details remain scarce, third-party reports suggest the plan will emerge on Friday June 24 at the East Dance stage," where the first act up is called, "iTunes present..." The Dance stage will be opened up by the winners of a competition run between iTunes and Hit40UK. This asked entrants to create a five-song iMix of tracks they felt would be ideal to open the Dance stage this year.
Creative's Technology founder Sim Wong Hoo, of Singapore, is facing his toughest challenge since boldly stating he intended to rival Apple as the world's leading maker of portable music players, reports AustralianIT. Although Creative is still selling millions of portable music players, profits are slumping because consumers don't consider Sim's products as cool as Apple's iPod, analysts say.Locked in a fierce price war with Apple and other electronics giants, Creative's net profits in the March quarter fell 72 per cent to $15.9 million from $57 million a year earlier. In contrast, Apple's profits for its March quarter shot up six-fold to $290 million, driven mainly by the iPod.
Griffin's iFill streams audio files from thousands of free radio stations directly to an iPod. You can choose several stations at once and select from many different genres. "Since iFill goes directly to your iPod, it won't clutter up your hard drive with extra files," explains Griffin. "iFill is a great fit for your active lifestyle. With iFill, you can go to bed while charging your iPod, and wake up to an iPod full of new music, ready to go jogging with you." iFill includes features "specifically designed to help you in your enjoyment of streaming webcasts." For example, many online radio stations send song information that's not in sync with the audio. iFill provides an intuitive graphical editor that allows you to correct the syncing. A one-week trial is available.
ScreenTime Media today announced Screentime for Flash 2.6 for Mac OS X. Screentime for Flash converts Macromedia Flash MX files into screen savers. Version 2.6 adds support for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and offers multiple monitor interactivity. The update also greatly improves performance, according to the developer. There are also numerous ?"under the hood"? improvements to Internet connectivity, XML parsing, Flash remoting and event handling. Screen savers can also include customized installer and settings windows. Screentime for Flash for Mac OS X starts at $200. Upgrades to version 2.6 are free for users of version 2.5, and $100 for other older versions.
FastMac today announced an iPod battery upgrade that utilizes nanoparticle technology to "dramatically extend battery lifespan." This upgrade is available for first, second, and third generation iPods and comes with a 2-year warranty and 30 day money back guaranty. The FastMac upgrade replaces the iPodís original internal Lithium-Polymer or Lithium-Ion battery with a larger capacity and longer lasting "advanced power cell." The upgrade offers up to 70 percent more capacity than the original and up to 7.5 times as many charge cycles, according to the manufacturer. "This is accomplished through the use of patented nanoparticle technology codenamed TruePower, which significantly slows the degradation of the battery." Pricing ranges from $30 to $40.
A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP) today began offering a version of Imposer Pro 1.0 for Adobe Acrobat. This version provides a very powerful imposition solution for users of Adobe Acrobat. Imposer Pro handles PDF imposition by creating a newly imposed PDF file. "This method allows for on-screen previewing before printing, which provides an efficient imposition, allowing errors to be detected before materials are wasted." Imposer Pro 1.0 is priced at $400. Imposer Pro features imposed page configurations from 2-up printer spreads to 8-up printer flats, as well as multi-page signatures and multiple sheets.
BT will not be launching an 'iPod killer' today, as widely reported in the media, according to silicon.com. However, it is reportedly looking into the possibility of doing an iTunes-type download store for mobile devices next year. The company launched a pilot of its mobile TV project, called BT Livetime, starting today. The company is now trialling the service with 1,000 Virgin Mobile customers, allowing them to watch a selection of satellite channels and listen to more than 50 DAB digital radio channels. A BT spokeswoman said the telco might look at putting together a service for release in the first half of next year but "it's not designed to compete with the iPod."
ByteTaxi today announced the release of FolderShare 2.5, a file sharing and synchronization service that works with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers. The FolderShare service allows customers to securely share and automatically synchronize folders between computers and network devices through the Internet, and enables private, remote access to files via a Web browser. When a shared file is created, changed or deleted, FolderShare automatically ensures that each computer and device sharing the file has the latest copy. FolderShare 2.5 includes several enhancements over previous versions, to improve the efficiency of sharing and syncing files across multiple computers. FolderShare is currently available starting at $50 a year.
Alias today launched SketchBook Pro 2, the latest version of its paint and drawing software application. The application can "turn a digitized pen tablet or Tablet PC into an intuitive, mobile sketchbook." The new version of SketchBook offers many improvements. Enhanced brush controls allow users to resize each default brush or the option to create and store up to 28 custom brushes, based on individual needs. Improvements to image layers results in unlimited layers extending graphic possibilities. A layers window provides Marking Menus to add, hide, lock, clear, name, move, order and change the transparency of layers. Now, users can move, rotate, scale, mirror or flip layers. SketchBook Pro 2 costs $200 and will ship June 29th.
FretPet 1.0b1 ($30) is a powerful guitar-oriented music sequencer, composition tool, and musical toy with a unique dynamic interface. Use FretPet to make chords, choose fingerings in any tuning, build chord progressions, sequence picking patterns, and quickly create coherent musical compositions that you can use for web, multimedia, and professional recording. [Download - 2.1MB] SecuritySpy 1.1 ($50) is a multi-camera video surveillance suite for the Macintosh. With features such as motion detection, real-time compression and network video streaming, SecuritySpy has "everything required" for demanding video surveillance applications. Version 1.1 adds support for sound recording, remote administration, a more efficient Java applet for viewing live video, and more. [Download - 1.4MB] pzizz 1.5 ($40) is an alarm application that "can create more than 100 billion combinations of uniquely soundtracks (personalized by you) that can be exported to an iPod or other MP3 player to be listened to anywhere at any time." Version 1.5 offers a "sleep module" 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." [Download - 88.1MB] Live 5 beta is a music-production solution that allows you to "spontaneously compose, record, remix, improvise and edit your musical ideas." Version 5 "adds our usersí most sought-after features along with an abundance of innovative new sound-shaping and organizational tools." [Download - form] PictureSync 1.3 ($14) introduces an integrated annotation editor with enhanced IPTC and XMP import, wider support for movies and additional services including Fotki, YouTube, Zoto, FTP, and batch export to folders. PictureSync is utility that simplifies uploading images and movies to online galleries and photoblogs, whilst keeping valuable annotations and metadata. [Download - 875KB] Bookpedia 2.1 ($18) is a book cataloging software for Mac OS X. Version 2.1 includes access to z39.50 servers. z39.50 is an international standard defining a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval which means Bookpedia can now access hundreds of libraries from all over the world so users can retrieve even more information about their books. [Download - 4.2MB]
J&R Electronics is offering custom-painted iPod minis in Ferrari Red, Smoke White, and Lamborghini Yellow. The company is offering the 4GB version of the iPod mini for $250. Paint jobs are done by professional painter ColorWare. The coating renders it stronger & more scratch-resistant than the original case, according to ColorWare. The custom painted iPod has a 1 Year "Colorware Warranty." The iPod's Click Wheel is also painted, but maintains the "same durability and sensitivity" as an unpainted version. The custom painted iPod mini will not fit into the iPod mini Dock. J&R is an Authorized Apple Reseller.
iPod-Party.org.uk has announced an iPod Party on Worcester's favorite riverboat "The Pride of the Midlands," taking place July 8th. According to organizers, the party is the first ever U.K. iPod Party to be held outside of London. "Simply bring your iPod or other MP3 player along loaded with a three track playlist and when your turn comes you get to make your way to the decks and jack your white and chrome beauty into our sound system and share your tunes with the rest of the boat." Organizers have teamed up with iPodX.co.uk to bring "loads of great prizes including iSkins, T-shirts, iPod Shuffles and Altec Lansing inMotion speakers." There's a free drink for everyone that brings an iPod or other MP3 player to the party.
Digigami today announced it is now shipping MPressionst.X Pro HD 3.0, with new tools for both high and standard definition MPEG, statistical and comparative picture quality, and bitstream analysis. Used by scientists working in the field of image and video compression, the frame-difference analysis features of make a "more reliable and scientific approach to DVD picture quality possible." The latest version makes finding compression artifacts easier. A new 'picture difference' or 'delta' feature, allows the DVD author to 'watch' the compressed movie as per-pixel differences from the original source material. In addition to 'per-pixel difference/delta' analysis, the comparative features of version 3.0 also includes side-by-side split monitor analysis for comparing the actual moving picture.
In Brief: Asustek Computer has signed a contract with Apple to make 14-inch iBooks, offering "a major price discount" outbid its main manufacturing competitor Quanta Computer, which made the laptops in the first quarter to March.... Digigami has posted a Mac-produced HD MPEG-1 VBR Sample, which it says reaches Linux, Windows, and pre-QuickTime 7 destops as well as offers bitrates and quality are comparable to the other HD formats (H.264 in QT7, WindowsMedia9).... Queen Elizabeth II has purchased an iPod.... Through July 4th, users of Poser 5 or later can receive a limited time discount of up to $150 on Mojoworld, Pandromeda's 3D graphics software with native support for Poser.... UK Telecom giant BT is taking on Apple's iTunes music service for a share of the multi-billion dollar music download market.
TechRestore today announced its new lifetime iPod battery replacement service, which it says eliminates "the headaches and high costs associated with replacing their iPod battery, for as long as they own their iPod." The TechRestore iPod Battery Freedom service is available starting at $100. All full-sized iPod models are eligible for the service as well as the iPod photo and iPod mini series. The service includes installation of a replacement high capacity iPod battery with at least 30% more capacity than the original iPod battery and return overnight shipping for the first battery replacement. The users old iPod battery is recycled in conjunction with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX