Earth VideoWorks has released a new product for Apple's iPod photo: iCandy is a visual collection that ships on CD with 42 different slideshows. It features 1200 unique slides from its DVD library, including over 500 Kaleidoscope images created especially for the iPod photo. Earth VideoWorks, who has been publishing fine art and nature DVDs for over three years, features an extensive digital photo library of over 25,000 images. iCandy is available now for $15.
The Iconfactory has released an update its plug-in filter for creating icons with Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks: IconBuilder 8.0 has been re-designed from the ground up in Cocoa. Version 8.0 allows designers to create icons up to 1024 x 1024 pixels in size for both the Mac and Windows operating systems; the ability to save Multiple File Formats with a single click; support for both standard or customized layout grids and presets; and new verification tools. It also supports adjustable alpa thresholds when creating 8-bit resources, revised/expanded documentation, new keyboard shortcuts, and more. IconBuilder 8.0 is available today for Mac OS 10.3.9 or later for $80. Upgrades are free for purchases after April 1 and $30 for others.
iPartition 1.1.2 ($50) is a disk utility allowing users to repartition HFS+ disks quickly and easily without losing data. iPartition works with all types of hard disks including removable media, such as Iomega Zip disks and external USB/FireWire drives. [Download - 1.9MB] StoryWritingAssistant 1.0 ($40) makes it easy to produce well thought-out fiction by taking formatting concerns away from the user. StoryWritingAssistant provides the ability to add notes and to-dos at any level of the text, as well as a place to keep track of characters and their appearances. [Download - 993KB] TidyUp! 1.1.2 ($30) searches out duplicates in the iTunes and iPod songs databases. TidyUp! requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4.0 or later, and is Mac OS X Tiger compatible. [Download - 1MB] FTP Suite 4.1.2 ($80) is a collection of classes and code modules which allows REALbasic applications to implement the FTP protocol. New in version 4.1.2 is a bugfix that prevented StartGetDirList and GetDirList from working properly, as well as three new "smart" commands: AbortTransfer, RestartGetSingleFile, and RestartPutSingleFile. [Download - size]
Speck Products today introduced the SkinTight Armband for the iPod shuffle. Featuring "rubberized skin" to provide Shuffle owners with the freedom to perform hands-free physical activity, the shatter-proof ABS plastic cradle allows an iPod shuffle to snap in and out while being worn. Cable clips keep headphone cords out of the way and a comfort fit Velcro adjustable strap secures the cradle. It comes with a free clear SkinTight rubberized skin and fits all iPod shuffles- both 512MB and 1GB version. It is available now for $25.
QLogic today announced that their SANblade Fibre Channel HBAs (host bus adapters), SANbox switches, and SANsurfer software now support Mac OS X and the Xsan file system. QLogic's SANBlade HDA's boast 1.7 million hours between downtime and come with a five-year warrenty, while the SANbox 5200 recently won Storage Magazine product of the year. SANsurfer HBA device drivers, HBA management software and switch management software offer the capability to manage HBAs, switches and disk arrays from a single console.
The latest copy-protected CDs from major music lables continue leave iPod users without a solution. CDs by Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews Band recently released by Sony BMG contain new anti-piracy technology which renders them incompatible with Apple's iPod. Despite the incompatibility, however, the disks are reportedly selling well amidst a backlash from some fans, according to Reuters. The protection scheme prevents users from importing music onto iPods because Apple's Fairplay DRM software is incompatible with Windows. One record label executive said "It's up to Apple to flip the switch", but Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris stated "We have not announced any plans to license Fairplay technology".
MCE Technologies today announced a new slot-loading 8X DVD-Recordable internal SuperDrive upgrade with both DVD+R DL ("Double Layer") and, for the first time in an iBook drive, DVD-R DL ("Dual Layer") support for Apple's iBook G3 and iBook G4 laptops. In addition to recording to 4.7GB DVD-R/RW and 4.7GB DVD+R/RW media at up to 8X speed, the MCE 8X SuperDrive can write to DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media, recording up to 8.5GB of information at up to 4X speed on a single side of this media. The MCE 8X SuperDrive upgrade with Dual/Double Layer support carries is available immediately for $200.
In brief: Dozens of readers are reporting a problem with the lower memory slot in newer aluminium PowerBooks, where installed RAM is not recognized by system and a petition has been created.... One reader noting an upcoming Apple Store in Pittsburgh (PA)--in the South Hills Village Mall in the southern suburbs of Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon.... Yahoo has begun testing a new feature which will search through millions of songs offered by online music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.... The Apple Developer Connection has posted an introduction to open-source scripting on Mac OS X.... The Mozilla Foundation has launched the Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary.... Readers report that Quicken 2005, released earlier this week, has some compatibility issues with Mac OS X Tiger, causing application crahses, as confirmed by Intuit tech support; Intuit has not acknowledged the issue or provided a resolution.
Marc Ecko Enterprises and Monster Cable Products today introduced a unique iPod case designed by Marc Ecko to promote awareness and raise funds for the FTBC (Fashion Targets Breast Cancer) initiative. The light-blue leather case fits all iPod models produced in three sizes, all of which feature FTBC's bull's-eye logo and ship with information about breast cancer awareness. It is available for $30; all net proceeds will benefit the FTBC.
Apple's Steve Jobs, who launched iTunes for Japan earlier today, said he was "super excited" about the service: "The future looks very, very bright for the iPod in Japan," he said during the launch event. Jobs reminded users that while Sony shipped 2 million PSP digital music players last quarter, Apple shipped more than three times as many iPods--nearly 6.2 million in total for the second quarter of 2005. While the service launched to much fanfare, offerings from Japanese artists on Sony labels aren't available on iTunes, though a deal may soon be in the works, according to a Sony representative who said that Sony is currently in talks with Apple, but has yet not reached an agreement.
A new posting on Sony UK's website indicates that the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) may be compatible with the Mac OS X. The article in Sony's magazine says that the company has not finalized an operating system for the PS3, which is expected next year, but may be further delayed into 2007. The PS3 gaming device will use a new multi-core 3.2GHz Cell processor developed jointly by IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba will support a variety of operating systems, such as Linux or Mac OS X Tiger. While many rumor sites have speculated that the Cell processor could run Mac OS X, this is the first time Sony has officially mentioned support for Mac OS X. Sony's website says the PS3 is expected to offer optional hard drives of up to 80GB or 120GB, but that it "remains to be decided whether the standard version of the PS3 will come complete with a hard drive. The operating system has also yet to be clarified. The integrated Cell processor will be able to support a variety of operating systems (such as Linux or Apple's Tiger)."
Yahoo today has begun testing a new feature which will search through millions of songs offered by online music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. The service bears an index of over 50 million audio files including newscasts, speeches, online interviews, and podcasts. Yahoo has reportedly received permission to index downloadable songs offered by virtually all of the top music services on the internet, according to the Associated Press.
Sony and Dell toppped the annual Harris Poll, which asked 2,339 U.S adults to rate the their three brands. Apple didn't even make the top 10, according to the recently released results; industry competitors such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard as well as several car companies and Coca-Cola were among the top cited brands. The poll simply asked the adults to provide a brand without providing a suggested list. Sony topped the poll again for the sixth consecutive year, while Dell and Kraft each moved up a spot to second and third spots, respectively. Coca-Cola, Ford, Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Microsoft, HP, and Procter & Gamble, rounded out the top 10. Harris said that the figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the US population.
FileMaker today launched a new resource web page for creative professionals within the advertising community and also said its free Creative Pro Starter Kit, available online as a try-before-you-buy product, includes several solutions which enable creative, business, traffic and production professionals to discover how FileMaker Pro 7 can be used to "more effectively and efficiently manage client details, job status, digital assets, time sheets and project activities." It includes ClientTracker, Praesto Jr. (job and client tracking), Asset Tracker (digital asset management), Job Time Tracker (time tracking solution), and JobCharge Timesheet (collecting and managing hourly charges). The Creative Pro Starter Kit was released last November as a free product, while FileMaker Pro 7 is $300; upgrades from v6.0 are $150.
Thought Out today announced the new FlexPed, a flexible pedestal designed to cradle portable devices such as Apple's iPod (with or without skins) in cars, boats, on walls, and more. The FlexPed, to be available in September, offers the flexible mounting and positioning of the popular PedHead and will ship for under $50.
Apple enthusiasts, analysts, and industry-watchers have been speculating that Apple will introduce a new video-enabled iPod this fall; however, at least one analyst believes that Apple's 'home-run' product will be an iPod mini with a color screen and that the video iPod will not be released this year. In its most recent note to clients, Piper Jaffray maintained an "outperform" rating with a $52 price target on Apple, saying that it expects the company to launch a number of new products by the end of the year--in time for the holiday season and possibly as early as Apple Expo in late September. Forbes.com reports that the firm believes Apple will debut a higher-capacity iPod Shuffle and color screen iPod mini. "In our view, a color screen iPod mini would be a home-run product for Apple in the upcoming holiday season."
Industry pundit Rob Enderle says that both Linux and Apple are unlikely to benefit if Microsoft's Windows Vista is a Dud, according to his latest column. "In the end it will come down to Microsoft and their partners' ability to build and sustain demand. If they can't -- and either Linux or Apple can address their current shortcomings -- they could lose share. This is unlikely. What is more likely to happen is that people will just stick with what they are running. Under that scenario it is very likely the press coverage for Microsoft will look a lot like the press coverage now does for Sun. If they can drive a massive sales event for Vista, Apple might take a significant hit, the PC market would get a lot healthier, and AMD, in particular, would get a nice shot in the arm."
In Brief: Henrico County has decided that its residents should get first shot at the iBooks and has delayed the iBook firesale.... Creative yesterday launched a video-enabled MP3 player, in an effort to "outclass" and better compete with industry leader Apple.... Northern Softworks today released its updated free Alaska Desktop Photo collection, a collection of scenic Alaskan photos edited for use as Mac OS desktop pictures.... Ars Technica has posted photos of the inside of Apple's Mighty Mouse, saying that the "top half of the mouse contained the most interesting features to examine."... Internet provider British Telecom is offering free iTunes songs (and a discount on iPod hardware) to new broadband customers until October 23..... MacJams.com has announced it will give away a new, free collection of over 20MB of Apple-format audio loops each of the next five weeks.
As part of its iTunes for Japan launch, Apple today said it has added early Abkco catalog titles from classic artists such as Sam Cooke and The Animals, as well as the entire catag of the Rolling Stones, which it said "makes iTunes Music Store the only online music service in the world to feature the complete digital music catalog of the Rolling Stones." Apple also included audiobooks and Japanese-language podcasts as part of the launch. iTunes also now offers users the opportunity to pre-order a special version of the new Rolling Stones album "A Bigger Bang" with an exclusive bonus video and an exclusive track from Rent along with the trailer of the upcoming movie.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R