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Nokia MP3 handsets
Standard & Poor's Equity Research today said Nokia MP3 handsets could take sales from Apple's iPod in the coming quarters. The firm reiterated a "hold" rating on American depositary receipts of Nokia and raised estimates. "We expect handset competition to intensify at the mid-range and at the top end, particularly from Motorola this year and Samsung next, keeping handset prices and operating margins under continuous pressure," S&P said. Meanwhile, Motorola is expected to launch an MP3 handset next month at UK's "V Festival," an event sponsored by Virgin Mobile. Citing an analyst report, TheStreet.com reports that the "iPod-inspired music phone -- which Motorola twice pulled from introductions earlier this year, apparently under orders from Apple chief Steve Jobs -- will debut in the U.K. next month."
Unity Widget Challenge
In Brief: The library bookshelf that now occupies the left display window at Apple stores includes "some startling titles for a major American corporation..... The Apple Store SoHo is now stocking Apple logo merchandise and other stores should be selling the items by the holiday season, according to ifoApplestore.... Readers note new photos from the recent Apple Store Shibuya (Tokyo) grand opening, including the long line before its opening.... Photoshop World's advance registration deadline, which offers $100 off the cost of admission, expires in just five days on Friday, August 12th.... The makers of the next-generation game development application Unity have announced The Unity Dashboard Widget Challenge for Widgets made with Unity, which runs through August 22, 2005 and offers prizes in three different categories.
Single-proc G5 issues
G5Freeze.com describes several user-documented problems with the single-processor 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 (late 2004). The site says that at least three problems have been documented by users across the web and on Apple's own discussion forums, although Apple has not formally acknowledged any wide-spread issues nor has issued any sort of recall on the systems. "From the first day I owned this computer one thing was lacking: Stability. But the culprit was the fact that no scenario could be made up to force the G5 to get unstable. The only thing that was sure: sooner or later the system would crash."
Canadian iPod tax refund
Apple Canada will soon begin processing refunds for Canadian customers who paid tariffs for buying digital audio players. The Canadian Press reports that people who bought iPods when levies were being imposed on digital music players will soon be able to get their money back: "Apple is pleased that the Supreme Court of Canada let stand a lower court ruling that blank media levies on iPods are invalid, and will shortly announce a claims process so consumers can request a refund for the levies they paid," the statement from Apple said. At the end of July, the Supreme Court of Canada backed the Federal Court of Canada decision quashing the levy on iPods and other digital music players. The tax, which has been built-in into the price of devices sold in Canada since December 2003, was $2 for non-removable memory capacity of up to 1GB, $15 for 1GB-10GB and $25 for more than 10GB, according to the report. Apple, however, had stopped charging users the iPod tax in December 2004, following the decision of the Federal Court.
Digital player numbers
Digital audio player adoption will reach more than 65 million by 2010, but the number of first-time buyers will decrease, according to a new research report. The Yankee Group DecisionNote foreceast indicates that MP3 manufacturers will face a shrinking market of customers new to the digital music era, as the number of first-time buyers will decrease beginning next year. "By 2010 the U.S. install base for Digital Audio Players (DAP) will reach 65.6 million.... As the total installed based of digital audio players increases, Yankee forecasts the number of first-time owners will decrease. The trend will begin in 2006 and continue to gain speed. By the end of 2007, less than half of digital audio player sales will be to first timers. The precipitous decline in new user adoption will fall to below 5 percent by 2008." According to the Yankee Group's numbers, Apple's iPod represented three-quarters of all players shipped in 2004, which the company expects Apple to maintain--due in part to its marketing and iTunes initiatives.
Apple Switch site updated
In brief: Apple's newly redesigned switch campaign website describes how easy Macs really are, "Simply take a Mac out of its box, plug it in and start surfing, working or rocking. Too good to be true? No, the Mac is exactly that good".... DVDpedia, Bookpedia and CDpedia now have iSight support for scanning UPC's.... Animation Bureau released Animated Desktop Backgrounds.... MaxYourMacs announced the availability of Essentials Learning Series, a set of Mac OS X instructional disks.... XpertMart Retail Point of Sale software will be shown at the Apple Store SoHO in New York City on Thursday, Aug-11 at 7:00 p.m..... Weborial MacStats has posted instructions on running SPSS 10 under OS X, and unveiled the Mac version of Gauss, a crucial econometrics/statistics package with UNIX and Windows versions.... On his last day in orbit, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson sent a podcast from space before the seven-member Discovery crew returns to Earth Monday.
Creative\'s future bleak?
As Apple continues to build on the success of the iPod, Creative Technology's future remains uncertain. The company faces growing competition from competitors and building stockpiles of inventory, according to analysts quoted by Reuters. The report says that the maker of the Nomad and Zen MP3 players, which are designed to compete with offerings from Apple, Samsung, and Sony, will likely report a quarterly loss and write off unsold stock, after consumer demand softened and stiff competition hit margins. Creative is also facing competition from the cell phone manufacturers, such as Nokia, Oyj, and Motorola build MP3 functions into higher-end music cell phones. Despite record revenue and profits (as well as surge in stock price over the last two years) by market-leader Apple, analysts estimate that Creative's gross margin probably shrunk to below 20 percent in the June quarter, from 32.9 percent in the year-ago period, and compared with Apple's iPod margin of around 20 percent.
Studiometry, Lux, OttoMate
Studiometry 3.0.3 ($100) is an application to organize, plan, invoice, track and create with client and project data. Version 3.0.3 implements setting clients to non-active, removing them from lists while keeping their information in the database. Stability and performance are the primary focus of this update.
[Download - 8.9MB]
Lux 5.1 ($25) is a game of strategy and domination inspired by the board game Risk. Control armies to conquer and hold strategic countries on the map. Challenging artificial intelligence from 11 different computer opponents offers varying levels of difficulty. Multiplayer support draws an active user community playing games online. [Download - 7.3MB]
TaskCapture 2.0 ($80) is a time and activity tracking solution focused on accuracy without effort. Assign client, job number, activity details and more with a popup dialog when a document is closed. New features include detailed reports which can be generated for all applications used, cost tracking to enter expenses and more. [Download - 13.3MB]
OttoMate Beta (free) is a suite of four Automator actions containing everything needed to graphically configure automated, repeatable user-acceptance tests for web-based applications. It allows users to direct Safari to visit a site, click links and buttons, fill out and submit web forms as well as offer a report on the existence of success pages/titles/text/HTML source code. [Download - 552KB]
Tapir 1.0 ($15) is a developer tool for creating global Mac OS X status menu item applications to place in the menu bar. Set status menu items to execute a shell command or script and display its output when opened. Alternatively, status menu items are configurable to run a given command periodically, displaying output in the menu title.
Comictastic 2.3 ($15) is a comic strip reader and aggregator similar to NetNewsWire and other news reading applications, specifically tailored for comics. Comictastic fetches favorite strips every day, presenting them all in a convenient interface. Primary changes in version 2.3 include RSS feed support and interface improvements. [Download - 1.8MB]
Market dubbed wrong
An article today released by Morningstar Growthinvestor analyzes Apple Computer, concluding that it has a "fair value estimate" of $29 per share. The value, which signficantly contrasts from Apple's current $42 per share price, is the result of Morningstar's analysis, which assumes 25 percent annual revenue growth over the next five years for Apple; significant iPod growth this year and next; and sales declining thereafter due to lower prices and increased competition: "In our view, iPod revenues will eventually decline as alternative music players emerge and the early-adoption phase comes to an end. At the same time, we think the iPod will drive increased adoption of Apple computers, resulting in the firm's PC market share (1.8% in 2004) expanding to more than 3% in a few years."
SpamSieve 2.3.2 released
SpamSieve 2.3.2 is a free update to the popular junk mail filtering tool. The client-side application offers powerful Bayesian spam filtering to a large variety of Mac e-mail clients, including Bare Bones' Mailsmith, Microsoft Entourage, etc. Version 2.3.1 brings various improvements to increase SpamSieve's accuracy; adds an option to quit when the mail client quits; improves filtering when when Growl notifications are enabled; offers automatic of a dated backup when resetting the corpus; more flexibility in selecting the uncertainity threshold; and more. A free 30-day trial is available; a full license is $25 and updates are free. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Flip4Mac WMV Studio 1.06
Telestream has released Flip4Mac WMV Studio 1.0.6 which adds Windows Media encoding support for Apple Compressor 2. Flip4Mac WMV products are comprised of QuickTime components which enable Mac OS X users to make, edit and play Windows Media from within their favorite QuickTime-based applications. For Apple Compressor users, the Flip4Mac WMV Studio update provides, for the first time, batch encoding of Windows Media files on the Mac. In addition, the newly released Flip4Mac WMV Player Version 1.0.2 adds compatibility with more Windows Media.
SharedPlan Software today announced the immediate availability of SharedPlan Professional Edition 2.0, project management software to enhance productivity and reduce project risk. Version 2.0 features RSS (really simple syndication) support and iCalendar publishing capabilities for easy, efficient communication with team members. Viewing of project activities directly in iCalendar or Microsoft Outlook is now possible, either in Calendar view or the to-do list. Mac, Linux and Windows versions with RSS support are now available for $200.
iVideo 3.0 released
Waterfall Software today unveiled iVideo 3.0, a major upgrade to its utility for storing and organizing your personal movies. Dubbed as "the equivalent of iPhoto or iTunes for your video files," version 3 delivers major speed improvements, an updated user interface, seamless drag and drop to other applications, support for more file formats, and much more. iVideo 3.0 also fixes a numerous amount of bugs from previous versions of iVideo. In addition, iVideo 3.0 brings the ability to save any movie library as a visually appealing web page, letting the user upload it to a .Mac account or any other web server. iVideo 3.0 is a free upgrade to previously registered users. New purchases are $20. iVideo is compatible with Mac OS 10.2 or higher.
FID surround sound
First International Digital (FID) today introduced its irock 5.1 theater sound USB headphones. They are both Mac and PC compatible and feature six speakers--each in individual sound chambers--that provide virtual surround sound for portable home theater and PC gaming applications. Light-weight and measuring 5.1 x 5.1 x 3.2 inches, the headphones provide volume adjustment for each speaker and selection from simulated effects such as Jazz, Rock, Rap, Dance and Vocal. Control for master volume, subwoofer effects--without separate drivers for Mac users. The irock 5.1 headphones connect via USB 2.0 and ship for $60 with a carrying bag and documentation CD.
New Walkman Phone, iPod
Sony Ericsson today announced a new addition to its Walkman phone line, the W550. Offering stereo music and integrating a 1.3 megapixel camera with full internet browsing capability, the new phone is designed to compete with Apple's iPod in the portable music player market. The W550 features 256MB of internal memory and Bluetooth connectivity; Sony also claims 30 hours of battery life; games can be played with the 1.8-inch 262K TFT display positioned horizontally. The W550 will debut early in the fourth quarter; pricing was unavailable.
Second Tokyo store
Over the weekend, Apple opened its second store in Tokyo and its fourth in Japan. Located in the city's trendy Shibuya district, there was a line of 2,000 people--some of whom had been waiting more than a day, according to Macworld UK: "The store is Apple's second in the city and makes Tokyo the first place outside of the US in which Apple has more than one retail location. Apple's first store in Tokyo, which was also its first in Japan, opened in the Ginza district in November 2003....The store opened at 10am, but the first few people in the queue had been waiting since around 5am on Friday morning - 29 hours before the store opened." The report says that Apple has plans for at least two more stores, in Sendai, north of Tokyo, and Fukuoka, in western Japan.
SimCity 4 Deluxe for Mac
Aspyr Media today announced that it will release SimCity 4 Deluxe, a bundle including SimCity 4 and the SimCity 4 Rush Hour expansion pack. "Create the most massive region of cities ever, with a farming town, bedroom community, high-tech commercial center, and industrial backbone. Take complete control of your city's transportation system and solve U-Drive-It missions from fighting crime to tackling disasters. Watch your population skyrocket as you get your Sims on the go. Create the ultimate living, breathing megalopolis -- the most expansive compilation ever." SimCity 4 Deluxe is expected to be released in September. (Pricing was not announced.)
Second iTatu released
Tatuz International today announced the release of its second new iTatu design as part of the company's ongoing five-five-five promotion: five weeks, five new designs, five free iTatu. iTatus are artistic coverings that utilize mild adhesive to allow users to give their iPod shuffle a distinctive personality. The new design, dubbed "Space", is the second new design created by graphics designer Andres Conde of Digital Assault. "Space" is now available for $3.50; online orders ship within 24 hours and all orders through August 15th, will receive a free Gilda Flower iTatu.
iTunes for New Zealand
Apple has moved a step closer to launching its long-awaited iTunes online music store in New Zealand, taking over the itunes.co.nz domain name, according to The Dominion Post. The owner of the site, who previously used the domain to sell iPods via Amazon.com, reached an undisclosed deal in May to transfer the domain; the event, however, was overshadowed by last week's launch of CokeTunes, a music download site for New Zealanders set up by Coca-Cola. "In what's believed to be a first in Australasia, customers can sign up and pay for music downloads using their mobile phones, though only if they are a Telecom customer." CokeTunes offers more than half a million songs for AU$1.75 (albums are AU$18). The report notes that rumors had circulated around the launch of iTunes for Australia last May when several Australian users were able to create iTunes accounts; however, the site was not launched and the accounts were quickly shutdown.
Flash Professional 8
Macromedia has announced Macromedia Flash Professional 8, the latest version of the Flash authoring tool. Designed to create rich interactive content for websites, interactive presentations, and mobile devices, Flash Professional 8 offers major advancements in expressive tools, video, quality user experiences, and mobile content authoring. Flash Professional 8 now includes unique tools for designing graphic effects, animation, text, video, and content for mobile devices. It offers new effects, includes a new custom easing tool that enables precise control over animation, and features FlashType font-rendering engine, which the company says ensures clear, high-quality text. Flash will ship in September in both Basic ($400) and Professional ($700) editions as well as part of the Macromedia Studio 8 bundle. Upgrades to Flash Professional 8 will be $400.
Macromedia web tools
Macromedia today also announced Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, the latest release of its professional web design and development tool. Dreamweaver 8 provides a combination of visual layout tools, application development features, and code editing support. The company also announced Fireworks 8, an update to its application for creating and optimizing graphics for the web. Both Dreamweaver 8 and Fireworks 8 are available as a stand-alone product or as a component of Macromedia Studio 8 (also announced today). Both products will ship in September. Dreamweaver 8 is $400 (with upgrades priced at $200), while Fireworks is $300 ($150 upgrade).
Macromedia Studio 8
Macromedia today announced Macromedia Studio 8, the next version of its suite for web designers, developers, video professionals, and graphic artists. The suite now includes the latest releases of Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, and Fireworks 8 as well as Macromedia's Contribute for easily maintaining websites and FlashPaper for quickly creating Flash and PDF files. The company also said that Freehand will no longer be bundled with Macromedia Studio, but will continue to be available as a separate product. Studio 8 includes a pre-release of the new Flash 8 player, new video encoding tools, CSS enhancements and visual authoring tools for XML, more tools for authoring and testing mobile content, workflow enhancements, and more. Macromedia Studio 8 will ship in September for $1000 (or as a $400 upgrade).
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