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Flat-panel iMac upgrade
Daystar Technology today announced that it is completing development of its iMac Flat Panel CPU Upgrade, the MAChSpeed iMFP G4, which is scheduled to ship later this month. The full system upgrade, which will require the user to send their system to Daystar for installation, increases the Mac's xBench score from the low 70's to over 130, making it faster than the fastest iMac G4 ever shipped--or faster than 1.35GHz--according to the company. Daystar said it would provide "effortless" shipping with custom boxes and prepaid DHL shipping options to faciliate shipment to/from the user. It will be compatible with Mac OS 9/X (including Tiger) and also include the company's XLR8 MAChSpeed Control. (Pricing and final specifications are expected to be announced closer to the actual product release date of July 28th.)
Digital Performer 4.6
MOTU has released Digital Performer 4.6, a free update to its audio workstation software with MIDI sequencing. Version 4.6 offers pitch automation features for easily correcting audio pitch, transposing individual notes, and performing wholesale key and mode transposition of entire audio tracks. The new V-Rack feature lets users load plug-ins and virtual instruments once and then access them from all sequences in their project--to conserve CPU power and enable management of a single plugin with the same settings. DP 4.6 also features a new Pattern Gate plug-in; supports the AAF file interchange standard for Pro Tools compatibility; offers single-step QuickTime movie export; includes support for multiple Audio Unit outputs; features new custom click sounds; and has many film/video scoring enhancements. It is a free update to version 4.5 and runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4.
Dual-core G5 chips
IBM today introduced a dual-core version of its PowerPC 70 (a.k.a, "G5") processor, which could find its way into Macs in the coming months. In a presentation at the Power Everywhere Forum 2005 in Japan, the company also annnounced new low-power versions of the PowerPC 970FX, which are currently used in Apple's Power Mac G5 desktops and iMac G5 systems. According to IBM, the dual-core G5 chips will be made available in speeds ranging from 1.4GHz to 2.5GHz, which could find their way into forthcoming models of its Xserve server and/or Power Mac G5 desktops.
AAPL up on iMac, iPod mini
Banc of America Securities today reiterated a "buy" rating and raised its estimates on Apple earnings, according to Forbes.com. The firm revised its earnings-per-share (EPS) estimates for 2005 and 2006 to $1.32 and $1.44, respectively, up slightly from $1.29 and $1.40. Apple, which reports fiscal third-quarter earnings on July 13, is expected to sell 5.4 million iPod units (a 26 percent increase) and see a CPU growth rate of 26-28%, according to a research note released by Banc of America Securities. "We think this range of results will be good enough to hold the stock or mildly positive." However, it says that the demand for the iPod shuffle and Mac mini has been weak, while demand for the imac and iPod mini has been strong,: "We expect a new Shuffle in the next few months, and believe an LCD-based refresh is needed." The firm lowered the stock's price target to $43 from $44.
Intelli Innovations today released IntelliMerge 4.5, an update to its desktop e-mail merge software. Version 4.5 offers the ability to insert embedded images in a custom HTML document by simply attaching the image, includes a new Troubleshooting assistant, offers a new iTunes-style live searching for recipients in any database, incorporates improved Direct Mailing support, brings better support for duplicates, and includes a FileMaker 7 integration examples. IntelliMerge also matches the latest field formats from Now Contact, Entourage 2004, and Mac OS X's Address Book and offers an integrated IntelliMerge Tutorial and FAQ/Help system for fast access to setup and general usage information. The $100 suite is optimized for Mac OS X Tiger users and is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Media Rage, Movie Montage
Media Rage 2.0 ($30) is a collection of tools for media enthusiasts using Mac OS X. Users can read/edit info stored in MP3, AAC, FLAC, BWF, AIFF, WAVE, and Ogg Vorbis audio files. It adds support for editing custom meta data (for Tiger only), easy access to commonly used functions, support for AIFF/WAVE/BWF/EXIF file tags, and more. Upgrades are $10. [Download - 2.8MB]
Movie Montage 2.0 ($15) provides an iPhoto-like interface for movies clips and videos. It offers quick access to movies all in one window, automatic full screen slideshows, easy file renaming, and the ability to save favorite folders. Version 2.0 can quickly rename files, batch export QuickTime movies, supports drag & drop, and more. [Download - 1.4MB]
ThumbsUp 4.2 (free) is a simple, drag-and-drop based utility to create thumbnails for pictures. In addition to support for all QuickTime formats, it offers size, quality, sharpening and antialiasing options. Images can be scaled by percentage or limited to a maximum size. Version 4.2 adds JPEG 200 export under Mac OS X Tiger. [Download - 208KB]
Boom Recorder 1.4 (85€) is designed for "the sound engineer who wants to replace his tape based systems with a hard disk recorder. It was specificaly designed to record on a film-set or for recording of live-events with many channels in high resolution." It offers support for Mac OS X Tiger (only), simultaneous 64-channel recording, SMPTE timecodes, 96kHz sound, pre-recording functions, QuickTime 7, and three devices: MOTU 828mkII, macally iVoiceII, and Apple Built-in Audio. [Download - 149KB]
ClamXav 1.0g (free) is a new virus checker for Mac OS X that uses the popular ClamAV open-source antivirus engine as a backend. It does not yet offer support for Mac OS X Server; new features include support for five languages (Danish, English, French, German, and Japanese), drag & drop support and the ability to monitor folders for changes to their contents. [Download - 6.6MB]
SMTPit Pro 4.0 ($65) is the first release of the next generation email plugin for FileMaker Pro 7, supporting email options to send simple text/HTML- based messages, dymanic attachments, support for large mail lists, header/footer functionality, merge fields (subject, header, body, and footer), and integrated SMTP functionality. [Download - 8.8MB]
Fable: The Lost Chapters
Feral Interactive today said that it would bring Fable: The Lost Chapters to Mac OS X. Dubbed as "one of the year's most anticipated games", the company says it will deliver the PC version of Fable along with some Mac-only features and that the epic RPG is one of X-box's best-selling games. "Lionhead Studios are pushing the envelope again with Fable: The Lost Chapters. The original game has been expanded by about a third, the graphics substantially upgraded and the control system adapted for its release on Windows and the Mac."
BreakQuest for Mac OS X
Red Marble Games today announced BreakQuest, a new arcade game: "BreakQuest is a unique new brick-breaking game that uses realistic physics to produce what GameTunnel.com named one of its Top 5 Indie Games of the Year. Balls of different sizes bounce off springs, dampers, and bumpers of every shape and size. Bricks hang, fall, grow, shrink, appear, vanish, interact with other bricks, and even shoot back at you!" It features 100 levels with different themes, 10 different player ships, nine different weapons, sound effects, and more. An 8-level demo is available, while the full version also offers several customization options. BreakQuest is $20.
Apple loses retail exec
In Brief: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has hired away one of Apple's senior retail executives: Michael Kramer will join the company as the CFO after following his work as Chief Financial Officer of Apple Retail.... An "Automator in Tiger" Birds-of-a-Feather Meeting, an informal discussion group, will be held at Macworld Expo Boston on Wednesday, July 13th, 2005 at 6:00 pm (along with several others).... Mac 3d: Maxwell, new photo-realistic rendering program for Mac OS X, offers multiple platform users realistic lighting oriented render engine and is now in early beta.... Dell and Napster have teamed up to offer discounted computers, software and digital music for US college students.
PrintMagic 4.0 for OS X
Steve Becker has released PrintMagic 4.0, a "completely rewritten" version of the system utility that offers several advanced print options. PrintMagic offers a system-wide shortcut for printing, supports drag & drop printing to a desktop printer, or one-click printing. It also lets users create on-the-fly print "projects" in which users can collect any number of selections of text or images, which be saved, edited, or printed. In addition, PrintMagic offers clipboard printing and annotation features, including time-date stamps, a URL stamp, and user notes. Version 4 adds more preferences for customization, saving of the PrintBoard, image support on the PrintBoard, the ability to automatically add dynamic or custom annotations to print output, and more. The full version is $25, while upgrades are $13.
miniStack for Mac mini
Other World Computing (OWC) and Newer Technology today announced a new hard drive that fits perfectly under or over the Mac mini. Designed to complement its aluminum shell, the miniStack adds more hard drive space, faster storage performance (7,200RPM) and more FireWire and USB ports. Each miniStack features a smart power switch so the drive turns on with your mini; a thermal probe that automatically regulates and varies fan speed according to the temperature of the hard drive; and an integrated 2-Port FireWire and 3-Port USB 2.0/1.1 hub. The 1.5-inch miniStack accomodates any 3.5-inch desktop drvie and is available without a drive for $100 (enclosure only). Other available conifgurations include 80GB ($140), 160GB ($180), 200GB ($210), 250GB ($230), and 400GB ($390). Each ships with a 2-year warranty.
London Apple store closes
Apple's retail store on Regent Street has been closed for the day after four explosions in London's transport system killed at least two people and wounded dozens more in what UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said was an apparent terrorist attack. According to a statement on Apple's website, the company has closed in stores and offers its condolences to the those affected by the attacks: "For the security of our customers and employees, the Apple Store, Regent Street, will be closed for the rest of the day. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this morning's events in central London." As noted earlier this week, a second UK retail store, The Apple Store Bluewater, (Kent) will open on Saturday July 9th at 9.00 am.
NewTek special offer
In Brief: NewTek and e-on software today announced that they are providing Vue 5 Infinite, e-on's flagship solution for the creation of natural 3D environments, and LightWave 3D, NewTek's 3D content creation and rendering package, for a limited-time special price of $1000.... Dr. Bott today began shipping the BruddyClip (pictured at right) cable management accessory for the iPod shuffle.... The IVRPA (International VR Photography Association) has released a virtual tour of the Hynes Convention Center area where Macworld Boston will be held.... Adam Behringer has posted a blog entry with step-by-step instructions for finding and downloading Live 8 concert videos using Apple's Automator tool.... The number of podcast users in the United States is expected to increase nearly 15 fold over the next five years, reaching 60 million by 2010.
BruddyClip for Shuflle
Dr. Bott today announced an exclusive distribution agreement and the immediately availability of BruddyClip for the iPod shuffle. The iPod accessory offers cord management for the iPod shuffle in a clear exoskeleton shell, which Dr. Bott says "drastically reduces clutter and entanglement while providing un-obscured access to all iPod controls. With the integrated horizontal clips on the back or the included 'bull dog' clip, your options with BruddyClip are endless. Attach your iPod Shuffle horizontally, vertically, front, back, high, or low-anywhere you want to go! Simple design provides a lightweight, versatile, protective enclosure that can accommodate a wide variety of alternative clips and lanyards for customization. BruddyClip is the only clip that offers integrated wire management so you can control and minimize all the 'spaghetti' hanging around you." It is available for $15.
Opera 8.02 adds BitTorrent
Opera Software today launched a technical preview of the Opera browser with support for BitTorrent. The company says that integrating the popular file-downloading technology in the Opera 8.02 browser preview offers end users a faster download process by utilizing full bandwidth and reducing the chance of in-transfer delay when multiple users download the same file. "With BitTorrent, Opera hopes to make it easier for users to download the large amount of legal material available, such as Linux software and computer game demos. The Opera browser will also be offered for download as a torrent file." The BitTorrent protocol differs from FTP and HTTP--also supported by Operat--by offering a more efficient method for downloading a large files: individuals downloading the same file are able to assist each other in the download process.
Sidekick USB adapter
Sonnet Technologies today announced the Sidekick, a double-jointed USB 2.0 adapter that bends over backwards and sideways to connect USB devices in small spaces. Sidekick plugs into recessed or closely spaced USB ports with ease, and its extreme flexibility (180˚ rotation left-to-right, 180˚ sweep up-and-down) enables users to position an attached device in nearly any orientation, according to the company. "Sidekick is short and narrow. Unlike using a cable, there's no clutter. Laptop users working in tight quarters can conveniently connect a small USB device, regardless of the port location." It will ship at the end of the month for $13.
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