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Apple today released DVD Studio Pro 4.0.2 Update, which it says addresses isolated stability issues. According to the release notes, the most significant areas addressed are font size in PAL templates, menu duplication when Text Objects are active, simulation of long PAL MPEG2 stream with MP3 audio, and an isolated issue with recognition of certain media. The 6.1MB update requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and is available via the web or the Software Update to owners of DVD Studio Pro.
Big media is determined not to repeat the mistake it made when it ignored blogging. The industry hopes to capitalize on podcasting -- which lets nearly anyone "broadcast" on the Internet. Podcasts are recorded audio files, distributed via Internet download. "Everyone from Disney to Newsweek to National Public Radio is now offering podcasts, and Apple Computer, Inc. last month made it a whole lot easier to find them and download them to iPods [...] While profits remain elusive, there's a bigger prize out there -- the company that manages to become the go-to Web site for podcasts could gain enough leverage to strike favorable deals with proven content providers, and generate cash by charging for subscriptions and advertising."
Apple is expected to extend its retail store hours by 46 percent in the coming weeks, according to an ifoAppleStore report. Under the plan, stores would operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. Stores are now open about 62 hours a week, compared to 90.5 hours under the new schedule. ifoAppleStore also reports that Apple's retail segment vice-president and COO Bridget Ryan Berman has resigned under amicable conditions. Berman was a 12-year veteran of Polo Ralph Lauren, serving as president of their retail group before taking the position at Apple.
Apple is working to integrate its iPod with Japanese cars, following successful iPod-ready stereo system upgrades from other car manufacturers. The company intends to begin working with Japanese automakers later this year to develop car audio systems that use iPod digital music players, according to a report by Nikkei. "A similar collaboration is already underway between Apple and automakers to develop iPod-based audio systems for cars sold in the U.S. BMW cars have steering wheels with built-in control buttons to operate iPods attached to them. Similar audio systems are being used on Mercedes-Benz models of DaimlerChrysler AG and Toyota's Scion car. Nissan is also selling cars with iPod stereos."
IDG, which organizes the Macworld Expo series, said last week that it has committed to holding the East Coast Macworld Conference & Expo in Boston for the foreseeable future. Apple has refused to attend the July Macworld Expo since IDG moved it from New York to Boston. The summer trade show was arguably the most popular event for Mac enthusiasts when it was held in New York. The show traditionally brought major product announcements from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Since Macworld's move to Boston, Apple has used it World Wide Developers Conference or other special events to make important announcements. IDG is likely to continue hosting the expo as long as it remains profitable. "As long as Macworld Expo works, we’ll continue to do it," said David Korse, IDG World Expo President.
Apple "extended its string of upside revenue and earnings surprises" in the third quarter, Needham & Company said today in a report for investors. The iPod's continuing popularity was a driving factor behind the better-than-expected earnings. " The two key drivers of the Apple story continued to work—the iPod and halo effect." iPod shipments rose to 6.16 million units, up 616% year-over-year. The iPod "continued to lure Windows users into the Macintosh fold." Mac unit shipments rose 35%, three times the PC market growth rate. "We’re raising our 2005 and 2006 earnings estimates, maintaining our buy rating and price target of $52."
In Brief: We've posted a review of BaseOne 2.01, an easy-to-use Mac development tool for small to medium-sized web applications.... Tivoli has introduced the iSongBook iPod radio/speaker music system for the iPod (pictured at right).... iMojo today announced the availability of shuffle Sweats: an armband for the iPod shuffle made from absorbent, machine washable cotton.... Headset maker Plantronics has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Altec Lansing Technologies, maker of high-end portable and powered audio systems.... The success of the iPod in Apple's latest quarter is confounding analysts, according to a report that notes that the average selling price fell to $179 (from $191 in the previous quarter and $290 a year ago) and that Apple has increased its points of sale to 25,000 stores--up from 21,000 in the second quarter primarly to the addition of Wal-Mart as an authorized retailer).
Tivoli Audio has introduced the iSongBook, a portable, weather-resistant music system for the iPod. Expected to be released later this year (near the December holidays), the radio/speaker system is white and gray and measures 6.2" x 11" x 2.2". The device, which offers high-fidelity stereo sound, is capable of running on both AC or DC power. The company says that the iSongBook is "built around our popular portable digital radio," offering a flip-down docking station to the unit's left, a detachable speaker to its right, and an backlit clock radio, alarm, and sleep timer. The company says that users can set the alarm to wake to either the iPod, radio, or tones. It includes a remote with Album and Playlist controls, integrated cable management, and a built-in charger for NiMH and NiCAD batteries. It will ship in the Holiday 2005 season for $330.
Kerio today announced Kerio MailServer 6.1, which adds Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Spam Repellent and dual anti-virus scanning to its existing spam-fighting tools. Designed primarily for small and medium-sized businesses, Kerio MailServer simplifies email, contact and group calendar management to provide improved collaboration for all types of organizations. Kerio says that version 6.1 features significantly improved underlying email security technology with the addition of SPF, a popular method of email domain authentication. This augments the already included Caller ID, a similar technology developed by Microsoft. The company also said that the new Spam Repellent feature "effectively fights off both spam and viruses by inserting a delay in the SMTP handshake, which causes a virus or spam-sending zombie to give up the connection attempt."
Belkin today announced its new Wireless G Travel Router, a pocket-sized device that lets you wirelessly share a wired or wireless broadband access. The palm-sized Travel Router features 802.11g technology, network security, a wireless networking range up to 300 feet, and backwards-compatibility with 802.11b Wi-Fi networking. The Travel Router can be used as a wireless adapter or an access point. As an adapter, it adds wireless capabilities to a computer so you can use it to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots. In access point mode, the Travel Router expands the coverage area of an existing network. It will ship at the end of August 2005 for $60 and includes a travel kit and a lifetime warranty.
Redco, a maker of custom rack and cabling solutions, has designed a rack mount for the Apple Power Mac G5. The G5-1210 allows one (or two) G5s to be rack mounted standing upright. Redco's vertical rack mount for the G5 is made of 16 and 11 gauge black powder texture coated steel, is easy to install and requires no modification to the G5 case. The space to the right or left of the G5 can either support computer peripherals like external hard drives, CD or DVD burners, and so on. Alternatively, users can vertically mount up to 5 1U rack mount devices. "This [new] version of our G5 Rackshelf now includes Securing Clips to hold the G5 chassis securely onto the shelf bottom. This allows the unit to be used for mobile applications, as well as stable studio environments." The system costs $150.
Standard & Poor's Equity Research reiterated a "hold" rating on Apple after a report stated that the company may introduce a video iPod by September. "We believe the evolution of the iPod as a platform for video content was largely expected, and market speculation, we believe, started with the introduction of a color screen on the iPods last year," the research firm said. S&P Equity Research stated that music videos were already available on Apple's iTunes music store. "We believe that like the music service, Apple will make money from device sales versus content sales." The research outfit said the Apple is "fairly valued given our view of its strong cash levels, iPod leverage." Earlier, Analyst Henning Wagener of AC Research reiterated his "accumulate" rating on Apple stock.
Inquisitor 1.0 (free) is a novel search extension for Apple's Safari web browser that adds live, predictive search features to the standard Web search field in Safari. As you type, Inquisitor offers suggestions to complete your query based on your own personal search history as well as the search history of every Google user. [Download - 165KB] xBack v3.5 ($10) is a utility that allows users replace the desktop with a screen saver. "With xBack, you can bring your desktop to life." The latest version adds quartz composer support and a preference for running xBack at a lower priority. [Download - options] xSort 1.0.1 ($40) is a Card Sorting tool for the Mac OS X. Version 1.0.1 is a maintenance release, correcting some minor issues. xSort allows users to model and conduct a card sorting exercise in a graphical view that simulates a table with physical cards that can be dragged around. [Download - 1.7MB] ArcadeEngine ($50) lets developers create multimedia applications and games, quickly and easily for every major platform. ArcadeEngine makes it easy to animate objects using simple and complex movements, alter movement speeds and detect collisions. [Download - 1.4MB] MacLoggerDX 4.1.1b5 ($95) logs into any Telnet or TNC DXCluster and as DX Spots are received, tunes the radio to the spot, looks up the call and displays the DX station on the real time grey line Map with distance and bearing from the station. The new release adds ILGRadio support to Schedules Panel, bandplan.dat for user-configurable band plan, and Volume & Squelch control & tracking to the Kenwood TS-2000 & TS-570. [Download - 10.9MB]
In Brief: Analyst Henning Wagener of AC Research has reiterated his "accumulate" rating on Apple stock.... Mac users are looking for a third-party developer to create a Mac client that would sync the Plaxo online contact service with Mac applications and services, such as MS Entourage, Apple Mail, .Mac, iSync, etc. .... Zen Internet, a UK-based ISP is launching a dedicated Apple support team that will offer advice on the setup of internet applications, hardware, connectivity and wireless on Mac OS X Panther/Tiger (as well as provide limited support for older versions of the OS).... Intego, a developer of Mac security products, today announced that it will port all of its Internet security software to be compatible with Intel processors.... Humbled by Apple's success in music, Microsoft is mending fences with the film world as it tries to conquer the home entertainment market..... iMojo has introduced the shuffle Sweat for the iPod Shuffle.
KAE Labs has released VocalWriter 2.0, an update to the music application that now brings support for Mac OS X, increased vocal polyphony to 20 voices, new PDF documentation and lower pricing. VocalWriter, available as $40 shareware, is "the first" music application that can automatically sing unrestricted English lyrics. It combines an advanced software vocal/instrumental synthesizer with an interactive music editor, offering an MIDI file editor, player and synthesizer in a single integrated environment. "Users simply type the English lyrics for each note and VocalWriter automatically figures out the word pronunciation from its on-line 100,000 word phonetic dictionary as well as determines the syllable timing and synchronization and the required vocal tract model parameters to sing the lyrics.
iMojo today announced the availability of shuffle Sweats: an armband for the iPod shuffle made from absorbent, machine washable cotton. The shuffle Sweat is designed to be worn on the forearm, offering "high performance and comfort in one simple design," according to the company. It comes with a cable wrap made from high-tensile strength silicon to keep extra headphone cord out of the way. "Unlike other armbands worn above the elbow, the iMojo shuffle Sweats don't create any friction against your body when running or exercising... They are also fully compatible with all T-shirts-- unlike other armbands, sleeves don't get in the way of the shuffle controls or the cable." It is available in black or white in 2-packs for $19.
Bains Software has released SpamSweep 1.0, a new spam filter for Mac OS X. SpamSweep is an advanced bayesian spam filter with a simple, easy-to-understand interface. SpamSweep seamlessly combines many filtering technologies, including domain and relay blacklists, sender whitelisting, and a bayesian filter to automatically delete spam messages before they're downloaded by your email client. SpamSweep can notify you when you have new good mail by playing a sound, displaying the new messages in a floating window, or launching your email client. The $20 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later; a 15-day trial is available online.
Apple may be looking to sell music videos as the next step in the evolution of its iTunes Music Store. The company has recently held discussions with major recording companies, seeking to license music videos to sell through the iTunes Music Store, according to a Wall Street Journal report that speculates the negotiations may be a possible prelude to the September introduction of a new video iPod. "Any foray into video would represent a major gamble by Apple that it could translate its smash success in digital music into a broader entertainment franchise. If successful, such efforts could help create a significant new source of income for media companies that are stepping up efforts to distribute video content on the Internet, in part to counteract the growing volumes of pirated movies, television shows and other programs being traded online." [subscription required]
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ