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: 116.72 ( -0.34 )
Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE