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Apple today announced that Nissan, Mazda and Daihatsu in Japan have joined BMW, MINI, smart and Alfa Romeo in Japan to deliver iPod integration with their car stereos for 2006 model lines. "Seamless integration of iPods in cars allows music lovers to enjoy high-quality sound through their car's stereo system, easily access their entire music library and take their music with them everywhere they go," according to a statement released by Apple. "We're delighted to have such a wide variety of car companies in Japan offering iPod integration," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing.
Apple today launched the Japanese version of its iTunes Music Store, which it says delivers music fans the same "innovative features, breakthrough pricing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world." The company says the store carries one million songs priced at •150 and •200 per song. "iTunes and iPod are leading the digital music revolution," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We are thrilled to be bringing the iTunes Music Store to Japan, and hope music fans here love it as much as others around the world do."
The Sound Guy has released PlayLyrix 0.9, an application that searches the user's iTunes collection and automatically creates a new playlist of all the songs whose lyrics contain specified words or phrases. PlayLyrix can be used to create playlists of songs with lyrics that reinforce a wide range of moods or themes. "After creating a new iTunes playlist, PlayLyrix will also create a list of songs containing the specified lyrics, including songs that are not in the user's iTunes library [with links to the iTMS for purchase]." PlayLyrix is available for $5. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4.5 or later.
TurboCAD 3D for the Macintosh has been released. Implementing a Mac-friendly user interface and design approach, it contains all of the 2D drafting tools available in TurboCAD Mac while allowing users to create complex surfaces (including NURBS) with the surface modeling engine. The "standards manager" enables utilization of international standards such as ANSI, DIN and ISO for dimensions and allows customization to suit individual preferences. TurboCAD Mac 3D can display planer properties like perimeter, area and moments, as well as mass properties such as center of gravity. Available for $500, additional features include nine different 3D primitives, holes, bosses, shelling and more. It is available now for $500 (along with a free trial version).
L-Soft today released Listserv for Mac OS X, its email list management software. The Mac version of Listserv provides "all the power and functionality" available on Linux and other UNIX systems, and includes a free edition for hobby users. With more than 110 million subscriptions worldwide, Listserv is billed as the reference in the email list management market. Eric Thomas, CEO and founder of L-Soft stated "today, 48 percent of UNIX Listserv installations are based on Linux, and there is a real opportunity for the Mac in that market, especially once the Intel servers are released". Listserv scales seamlessly from small organizations or workgroups to the most demanding enterprise workloads. U.S. prices range from $450 to $12,000, depending on capacity, edition, and level of support.
Daystar is now shipping its 1.35GHz iMac Flat Panel G4 CPU upgrades, which were announced last month. The upgrade utilizes the most powerful G4 CPU available and delivers more than 2x performance for iMac G4 700 owners. The upgrade utilize the highest performing 745x series CPU available, the Freescale 7457, which outperforms any 7457 shipped by Apple, according to the company; it features a large 512KB internal L2 cache, which allows the iMac G4 to perform at full speed, even without an external L3 cache. The "full system upgrade" requires customers to ship their iMac G4 to Daystar via Daystar's custom shipping container, which they receive after placing their order online. The upgrade is $550 before shipping costs (estimated at $95).
MOTU today announced the availability of its Symphonic Instrument plugin that includes an 8GB sound library, 500 instrument presets, 200 multi-instrument ensembles and 26 built-in convolution reverbs. The MOTU Symphonic Instrument also provides a 16-part "multitimbral" operation, and flexible instrument programming, ADSR amplitude envelope controls, an LFO, two filters, tone controls, pitch controls and velocity response. Convolution reverb can be applied to any instrument or ensemble for realistic acoustic space treatments, from small stages to concert halls, to large cathedrals. The MOTU Symphonic Instrument is currently shipping for $300.
iStumbler R95 (free) is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X which provides plug-ins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices and Bonjour (previously Rendezvous) services. Release 95 adds the Spectrum Widget which displays the signal strength history of all visible wireless networks, graphically showing overlapping networks and performance trends. The Bonjour plugin is updated for Tiger to support wide-area Bonjour and adds a database of more than two hundred Bonjour service types. [Download - 557KB] The Sims 2 (1.0 Rev A) (free) increases the file limit size in The Sims 2 and in Body Shop, fixing the problems caused by having many packages installed. Optimized in-game video capturing and rendering, fixes for problems related to mirrors rendering reflections improperly and unofficial in-game Italian language support are included. [Download - 19MB] WindowShade X 4.0.1 ($10) brings additional window management capabilities to Mac OS X, such as "windowshade" and "minimize-in-place" functionality as well as custom shadow control. This minor update fixes the Dutch and Traditional Chinese localizations and prevents a debug log entry to the console. [Download - 1.7MB] Graphics Finder 2.0 is an application enabling users to visually locate, copy, and organize electronic artwork files and is accessed using any web browser. New features include multi-tiered access levels, photo editor module allowing digital photo submissions to be rated and evaluated, customizable categories and more. Chatalog 1.0 ($13) seamlessly stores iChats directly in Apple's Mail.app email client, compiling lists of the links and images and building them into convenient web pages for users to browse. Features include the ability to find important files and web links instantly, image browsing, storage of vital communications in one place and quick access with a Dashboard Widget. [Download - 4.8MB]
Despite Apple's marketshare increase of 37 percent in the past year, the company will have to add new features and improvements to maintain its current growth rate and compete with Windows Vista, according to a report by eWEEK. Apple's next version of Mac OS X, "Leopard," and Microsoft Windows "Vista" will both ship in late 2006. Vista has many features similar to those found in Mac OS X Tiger, such as the user interface dubbed "Aero" versus Apple's "Aqua". Vista's search icon reportedly looks almost identical to Apple's "Spotlight" icon, the only difference being that the magnifying glass is turned around.
A new update to Mac OS X Tiger is expected this summer which will address some of the persisting remaining problems with enterprise networking which still persist, according to an eWEEK report. The update will also reportedly fix continuing problems regarding integration with Microsoft's Activity Directory and SMB file sharing--all of which are being reported in discussion forums at Apple's Web site and around the internet.
Following the buzz generated by the upcoming iBook firesale and its expected popularity, the county voted to give residents the first opportunity to buy the iBooks and postponed the sale by one week. The Henrico School had planned to sell-off some of its remaining iBook G3s for $50; the laptops were used by high school students as part of a one-on-one laptop initiative. The Henrico County Board of Supervisors today passed an ordinance 4-0 to allow taxpayers to buy county property (including iBooks) sold at a fixed price before the property is offered to the general public, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Now scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday August 16, the sale is open to anyone who resides in or pays taxes on property in Henrico.
In Brief: Runtime Revolution today announced that Alex Tweedly will present the eighth free online programming conference on 6th August at 15:30 GMT.... The Fast Icon Studio has released Vol.2 of the Comic Tiger Icon set, with 50 freeware icons for the desktop that were designed in cartoon style, was inspired in the look of Mac OS X Tiger.... Brainwave today announced plans to donate 50 percent of all sales from pzizz 1.5 software, its revolutionary power napping software, to UNICEF in an effort to help stop the worsening hunger epidemic in Niger.... QuickerTek today announced that consumer electronics and software reseller Small Dog Electronics is now a full distributor of the QuickerTek line of wireless products.... RealNetworks posted a profit of $0.03 per share on a 36 percent increase in revenue, after 11 consecutive quarterly losses.
Luxology today unveiled modo 201, a new version of its flagship modeling product. Slated for general availability in Q4 2005, modo 201 is described as a "remarkable advancement in speed and integration for the 3D design industry." modo 201 delivers integrated of modeling, painting and rendering technologies as well as a cutting-edge toolset, advanced software ergonomics and a streamlined learning path, according to the company. modo 201 features advanced modeling, integrated painting tools, accelerated rendering technology, and workflow improvements. It will ship later this year; however, the company is offering introductory pricing on the current version along with free upgrades to modo 201 when it ships: the full version is $700, while upgrades are $300.
Duke's iPod First Year Initiative has helped the university realize the value of digital audio and technology in the classroom and other facets of college life. In an interview with Duke's CIO and vice president for Information Technology, Tracy Futhey said that the iPod project has made it "made clear to many of our faculty and in many of our courses, the value of digital audio in a whole host of domains. And those who have started to use the iPods have said, in a large number of cases, that this has been an important enough experiment that they absolutely need and want to continue it. And weíve had interest from other courses that havenít yet tried it." The university is also looking to expand beyond digital audio into digital video, tablet computing, and collaborative areas and is shifting the project from class-based to course-based, according to Campus Technology.
ArsTechnica has posted a first look at Apple's Mighty Mouse, a new corded, four-button mouse released yesterday. The review notes that the mouse offers aural feedback via the Mac for the "subtle clicking sound" as you roll the scrollwheel and the "faint click" when squeezing the mouse, while the mouse click is generated from the mouse itelf. "When all is said and done, all of the the Apple PR on the Mighty Mouse product page is a bit much. As a poster in the Mac Ach succinctly observed, 'this thing isn't as revolutionary as one may think. It's just nice to have an Apple mouse with a frickin' scroll button and right click.'" The author concludes that Apple should package the Mighty Mouse with new Macs, but notes the short cord, lack of wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and poor posiitioning of side-buttons as cons. (AppleInsider and DetroitMac have also posted detailed reviews.)
While the iPod has contributed to Apple's recent resurgence, its retail initiative has also contributed significantly to the company's bottom line over the past few years. A columnist at TheStreet.com notes that although Apple has managed to post some incredible retail growth numbers, future growth may limited by the number of "desirable" locations and also by typicall retail store limitations: "The benefits [of Apple Stores] go beyond just raw sales and income figures, analysts say. Apple launched the stores at a time when other retailers were cutting back on shelf space they had devoted to Apple products, or had stopped carrying them altogether...But the longer-term costs may be more of an issue. The company has been able to show such rapid growth from retail partly because of the relative youth of its stores; more than half the stores are less than two years old....Typically, in the retail industry, individual stores show their greatest sales growth in the first four years before that growth starts to tail off."
Alias today announced its latest addition to the Maya Silver membership, offering, Learning Tools. Downloadable DVDs are available for members at no cost to support ongoing learning on a variety of Maya topics. The Maya Silver membership program allows users to learn more about Maya via access to online resources, Maya expert weblogs, and discussion forums. The first DVD, "Learning Maya, Nurbs Modelling" demonstrates how to build "Nurbs" curves and improves understanding of how to create predictable surfaces while the included tutorial focuses on building a hand using a variety of Nurb tools. Learning Tools books and DVDs are targeted at 3D professionals, students and enthusiasts at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels; they are priced from $30 to $70.
Apple is facing opposition for its proposed renovations for an upcoming Apple Store at a second location New York City. The company reportedly leased a 3,550-square-foot space for $800,000 per year and has twice submitted plans to renovate the "unremarkable" pub located at 136 Fifth Avenue in the Ladies' Mile Historic District, but is running into opposition from preservationists, according to the New York Times. "Apple's first plan, to simply replace the aluminum-framed storefront of what had been the Andrews Coffee Shop with a gray limestone facade - its logo of a large once-bitten apple etched into the stone - ran into opposition from Community Board 5, a local advisory body. Its second proposal, said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a nonprofit preservation group, ;presents this flat pane of glass that would be more appropriate to an aquarium.'" [free registration required]
Red Giant Software today released Primatte Keyer 3 and Key Correct Pro. Primatte Keyer 3 works with After Effects, Discreet combustion, and Avid AVX, enabling artists to extract keys from any color background for compositing. Primatte Keyer 3 overcomes matte extraction challenges including uneven lighting, subtle shadows, and edge light contamination (spill) prior to compositing. Key Correct Pro is a set of 15 plug-ins designed to help After Effects users create better composites with built-in keying tools and can be in used in combination with any keyer to better enhance the final result. Primatte Keyer 3 is available for $700, updates to Discreet combustion and Avid AVX versions will be available in the fourth quarter. Composite Wizard customers can upgrade to Key Correct Pro for $150; the standalone version is available for $400.
M-Audio today made several announcements at the Summer NAMM conference, including Fast Track Pro mobile 4x4 audio/MIDI interface (pictured at right), the ProKeys 88 premium stage piano; shipment of Abelton's Live 5 music production software; ProSessions Producer, a comprehensive library of ensembles drawn from the vaults of the renowned sound ware developers at Sonic Implants; ProSessions 24, a new series that builds that delivers 24-bit audio content created in collaboration with major recording artists and producers; and Way Out Ware's TimewARP 2600 virtual synthesizer. The company also announced that its now shipping its new MicroTrack 24/96 digital recorder, an extremely compact--about the size and weight of a deck of cards--rugged mobile 2-channel digital recorder that records WAV and MP3 files to CompactFlash media or microdrives.
Creative today announced the Zen Vision digital music player with a 3.7-inch SharpPix high-resolution 640x480 262,144-color screen for photo viewing and digital video playback. The 30GB Zen Vision stores up to 15,000 songs, tens of thousands of photos, or up to 120 hours of video. Available in either pearl white or black, the Zen Vision measures 4.9 by 2.9 by .8 inches and weighs only 8.4 ounces. It carries a retail price of $400. Speculation continues about a similar video-capable iPod from Apple.
KeynotePro has released Tokyo RPG for Pages. Building on the "bold style" of the recently released Tokyo RPG for Keynote, Tokyo RPG for Pages includes a full range of templates that both complement and extend the original design. It includes seven complete Pages Templates--each available in the three signature Tokyo RPG colors and in both US (Traditional) and ISO (Metric) formatted template bundles. From the basics of Letterhead, Memo and Envelope templates to the Tokyo Brochure template, the templates feature a full range of text-oriented pages and mixed text plus photo feature pages. Tokyo is available for $20 or in a bundle with two other themes for $50.
PB FixIt today announced a complete line of over 80 parts and accessories for the iBook G4. The company also announced free FixIt Guides for iBook 12" and 14" models. The new iBook G4 product line encompasses every internal component in both the G4 iBook 12" and 14" models, over 80 parts in all. "From electronics like logic boards, modems, and LCDs to case components and plastics, PB FixIt carries it." PB FixIt is dedicated to bringing hard-to-find laptop parts to Macintosh users.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
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