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Denon Electronics today announced the first products in a planned family of advanced "S-Series" integrated home entertainment systems. The two Denon 2.1-channel surround sound DVD home theater systems, Models S-301 ($1,600) and S-101 ($1000) are its first home entertainment products to provide simple, convenient connectivity and control of today's portable digital music devices, including the iPod series. Designed as total high-performance home theater entertainment solutions, the new S-Series systems are complete and compact, featuring integrated DVD/receiver units with a stylish remote, dual satellite speakers and high-performance subwoofers. In addition, the S-301 includes a front-panel USB port, while both devices feature an analog connection to all makes of portable devices via their headphone jacks.
System Support Products today released Mail Forward 3.0 for Mac OS X, its e-mail forwarding application for AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo web mail accounts as well as standard POP mail accounts. The company says the updated software now allows users to forward Hotmail/MSN email for all free accounts (previously only supported paid accounts), now supports forwarding for Gmail accounts, improves support for AOL with new IMAP for better, reliability and performance, offers support for secure POP/SMTP connections via SSL, and a new account option that allows forwarding to be disabled for an account without having to delete it. Mail Forward for Mac OS X is currently available for $20 with upgrades priced at $10. A free 30-day trial is available as well.
Speck Products announced today its latest iPod accessory: the iGuy mini. Like its larger sibling, the iGuy mini is a fully function iPod case and toy. The launch of iGuy (for full size iPods) in May "brought on an onslaught of sales, press and publicity for Speck Products- the initial stock of thousands was sold out within two weeks." Since the the iGuy launched, iPod mini owners "have been anticipating the release of iGuy for mini," said Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck Products. "The iGuy mini is even more portable than his big brother. The smaller size makes it much lighter and easier to carry around." The case includes a tough, removable screen protector, and enables full access to the control, headphone plug and hold switch. The iGuy is designed to fit both iPod minis, and retails for $35. Speck encourages iGuy fans to send in pictures of their iGuy's "adventures."
Sibelius today launched Sibelius 4, a major upgrade to its flagship notation software. The upgrade software offers dozens of improvements, no longer supports Mac OS 9, and offers many optimizations for Mac OS X, including drag-and-drop installation, full support for multi-user environments, MLTE and ATSUI for text editing and rendering, Quartz and OpenGL for anti-aliased screen display, and updated printing for faster and sharper output. The company also says that Sibelius 4 is the first notation program to enable you to write music to video, produce teaching materials in seconds, and instantly revise instrumental parts. It features over 1700 worksheets and curriculum resources, a new Dynamic Part feature to produce separate instrumental parts, new Auto Layout functions for easy printing, and more.
In brief: iSkin today released its popular Wild Sides eVo2 iPod protectors.... This year REAL Software is giving each ADHOC attendee a free copy of REALbasic Professional Edition and engineers will be on hand to introduce attendees to using it.... Over 15,000 students this Spring created movies using the latest Apple technologies that were provided during Campus MovieFest.... IBM's East Fishkill, NY plant is "hands-off when it comes to manufacturing its most powerful processors, including chips used by Apple Computer."
iSkin today released its popular Wild Sides eVo2 iPod protectors. Wild Sides, announced earlier this year, offer the same protection as the widely popular iSkin eVo2 and mini iPod protectors, but with the added coolness of wild stripes that glow in the dark and matching Wheel Cap click wheel protector. Wild Sides also include a matching colored screen protector, a clear screen protector (for iPod photo users) and a removable rotary belt clip; they are available now $35 and will be available at selected iSkin resellers around the world within the next few weeks, according to the company.
Apple will reveal its third quarter financial results on Wednesday, July 13th. As usual, Apple will hold an earnings conference call following its financial announcement. The conference call and the announcement will come after the markets close. Apple will provide an audio broadcast of its conference call in QuickTime format. Recently, First Albany this month raised its earnings and sales forecasts for Apple, saying that higher sales from Mac OS X Tiger and increased assumptions for iPod are expected to offset lower sales of the Mac mini. Goldman Sachs in May reiterated an "in-line" rating on Apple, saying the company's business remains healthy.
Extensis today released a free update to Portfolio 7, its Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution for creative professionals. Portfolio 7.0.6 provides compatibility updates for Adobe's Creative Suite 2 and Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Additionally, Extensis has added support for 14 new camera formats on both Mac and Windows versions of Portfolio. The Portfolio Raw Filter 2 update now offers Nikon (D2x, D2hs) Coolpix (8400/8700/8800), Olympus (E300/C8080), Canon (EOS 1Ds, 350D), Canon Powershot (G6, S70, Pro 1), Konica (Maxxum 7D), and Pentax (*ist DS) cameras. Registered owners of Portfolio 7 are eligible to receive the free upgrades immediately via the web.
Keynote HQ today released BoardRoom 2 for Keynote 2, a new theme that for business presentations that blends design, layout, and color while maintaining a professional look. BoardRoom 2 features the same design as the original BoardRoom, with a modern color palette: it 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 4 styles of 3D overlays, giving users 360 different buttons for navigation and presentation lists. BoardRoom 2, available for $20, separately, is available as part of BoardRoom Combo Pack, which includes both BoardRoom and BoardRoom 2 for $35.
Star Wars Battlefront, a single- and multi-player action game, has been declared gold master for the Mac. Battlefront ($50) allows players to relive all of the epic battles from the classic and prequel Star Wars film trilogies. It is scheduled to begin shipping Monday, July 18th. Licensed from LucasArts, Star Wars Battlefront was developed for the Mac by Beenox Studios. "Players can participate in all of the memorable Star Wars battles like never before. Players can select one of the 20 different soldier types from each of the four factions: Rebel Alliance, Imperial Army, Clone Army and Droid Army. Soldier types include standard infantry, scouts, heavy weapons and pilots." Single player modes include "Instant Action," "Galactic Conquest" and the story-based “Historical Campaigns” mode.
The Public Radio portion of the Podcast section at the iTunes Music Store now has links to NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, and News, according to iPodNN readers. While the links are not currently functional, they suggest the four programs will soon be available. There has been a great deal of interest in NPR programs among the podcast community. Science Friday with Ira Flatow is one NPR program that is already available.
Smith Micro Software today announced it has acquired Allume Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Microcomputer Software and maker of the StuffIt line of compression software solutions. The $13.75 million deal includes a cash payment of $11 million and $1.75 million in Smith Micro shares. Allume recently announced the development of a new JPEG compression technology that reduces the size of JPEG images up to 30% in size without any additional reduction of image quality as well as said that it is planning to expand the technology to provide similar compression for MPEG and MP3 files. Smith Micro said that this innovative technology plays directly its "strategy of broadening its wireless product offerings and provides for the first time to carriers and handset manufacturers enhanced compression technology that could reside directly in the handset."
Apple today kicked off its countdown to half a billion songs sold on the iTunes Music Store with an online song counter so music fans around the world can "participate in the race to purchase and download the 500 millionth song." As part of the countdown, Apple is giving away an iPod mini and an iTunes gift card for 50 songs to the iTunes customer who purchases the winning song at each 100,000 interval. The person who downloads the 500 millionth song will win the grand prize—10 iPods of their choice to share with family and friends, an iTunes gift card for 10,000 songs and an all-expenses paid trip for four to see Coldplay on their world tour.
First Albany has raised its earnings and sales forecasts for Apple, saying that higher sales from Mac OS X Tiger and increased assumptions for iPod are expected to offset lower sales of the Mac mini. Marketwatch reports that analyst Joel Wagonfeld raised his fiscal third-quarter earnings estimate to 34 cents a share from 29 cents and also increased his revenue forecast to $3.4 billion (up from $3.3 billion). Wagonfeld said that he estimates that Apple sold about 2.8 million Tiger copies during its fiscal third quarter; he also increased his iPod sales forecast to 5 million units from 4.25 million, but cut his Mac mini forecast to 250,000 units sold from 400,000. First Albany reiterated its "buy" rating with a 12-month price target of $44, according to the report.
MacPractice today began shipping MacPractice 1.5, an update to its software packages for physicians, chiropractors, and dentists. Version 1.5 adds scheduling, e-claims, images, and integrated word processing, perio charting, and other enhancements. MacPractice Scheduling interfaces with iCal, providing doctors and dentists the ability to have their schedule of appointments on an iPod, phone, Palm, or PowerBook, .Mac or the internet. MacPractice's EClaims partners provide online eligibility verification, claim tracking, electronic referrals (medical), insurance estimation (dental), and claims transmission via Internet or modem. The company says it will continue to innovate, adding voice activiation, integration with RSV Mac and other digital radiography solutions, support for SpringCharts EMR, and more in the coming months. Introductory pricing, available through August, starts at $2000 (MD) or $1500 (DDS/DC).
Mesa Dynamics today released Amnesty Widget Browser 1.0, a Mac OS X utility that runs Dashboard widgets directly on the desktop and also Mac OS X Panther users to run third-party widgets. Widgets loaded in Amnesty Widget Browser run completely outside of Apple's Dashboard environment, maintain their own preferences and feature expanded capabilities such as adjustable window level (desktop, standard or floating) and opacity. Widgets can also be arranged into multiple virtual workspaces that can be called to the screen at any time. The company says that Amnesty Widget Browser's performance in Panther nearly replicates its user experience under Tiger. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and is available as a 30-day trial; a full license is $20.
Tunewear today announced TUNECLIP, a headphone cable winder for the iPod and other portable audio players. "All you have to do is wind your earphone cable around the reel-shaped body and snap it into the stopper. Using the clip on the back it is easy to fasten it to a shirt pocket, belt loop or almost anywhere else.Because you can wind the cable to the length that you like, you no longerhave to worry about getting tangled up in excess cable." It features a removable ball-bearing style chain to allow users to attach it to a cell phone strap or key ring. In addition, TUNECLIP can be used for cable management of virtually any device; it is available now for $10.
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Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.