Apple has released PowerBook G4 Graphics Update 1.0 for its 1.67GHz 15- and 17-inch PowerBook G4 Macs. According to Apple, the PowerBook G4 Graphics Update 1.0 improves graphics stability for some 1.67-GHz PowerBook G4 computers. "The installer guides you through the steps to install the PowerBook G4 Graphics Update 1.0. Installation of the PowerBook G4 Graphics Update requires Mac OS X 10.4.2."
In brief: MacJams announced the second week of free Apple loops in connection with its "five weeks of free loops" promotion.... Speck products announced Metal iPod Protection, its first hard case for the iPod shuffle.... Pacific Rim announced shipment of the iDiddy for all iPods.... LoadPod announced a new in-home service enabling the trasfer of iPod music back into iTunes ($100 for iPod mini, $150 for other iPods).
Sony today introduced two new product lines to its StylePro and DeluxePro series of LCD displays. Both offer multiple model configurations aimed at meeting the specific needs of the business professional while providing a cost effective solution and are engineered specifically for corporate, government and education markets. Available in both 17-inch and 19-inch sizes, the displays allow more than 15 feature combinations to meet office computing needs. The Sony StylePro Series displays include digital inputs and one-touch height adjustment, as well as tilt and 350 degree-swivel for easy viewing. Front-panel headphone jacks provide convenient access to computer audio and Sony's ErgoBright technology for simple luminance adjustment. The DeluxePro series displays include digital inputs, height adjustment and stereo speakers as standard features while also offering a switched USB hub in select models for power-users who frequently need to switch between two computer systems.
3D-Space VFS 1.4 ($30) combines Launcher, Dock and Finder features with elegant 3D drawers to provide easy point-and-click access to files and applications which eliminates the need to sift through folders. Full drag-and-drop support allows traditional finder operations such as moving, copying, deleting and renaming files and folders. [Download - 339KB] Proteus 4.12 ($15) is a free update for registered users of this multi-protocol instant messaging application supporting AIM (including .Mac accounts), MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber, iChat Rendezvous, Gadu Gadu and Sametime. Improvements include the ability to know when users are logged in with a mobile device, bringing back status floaters and the ability to send ICQ file transfers. Numerous bugs are also addressed. [Download - 6.2MB] MiMac 1.6 ($10) is a major update to this backup, cloning and data synchronization utility for Mac OS X. Version 1.6 provides assignment of unique option and filter settings for each backup set instead of the global settings used in previous versions. The interface has been condensed and the backup set selection process has been streamlined, as well as several other improvements and additions. [Download - 602KB] SafariSnapShotter 1.1 ($7) offers the ability to save and share tab-states in Safari windows with one click. New in version 1.1, Tiger and Panther 10.3.9 compatibility and review/search saved URL functionality. [Download - 1.6MB] DVD Database X 1.6.1 ($20) is a powerful, easy-to-use DVD collection manager with IMDB and Amazon integration. Version 1.6.1 adds iCal integration for lending management, and includes iCalMail for emailing borrowers automatically on due dates. Free demo is limited to 10 DVD records. [Download - 2.6MB] MacMemoriesManager 3.0 ($70) is an update to the Amateur Radio memory manager software. MacMemoriesManager saves multiple memory files for different situations and switches easily between profiles. Version 3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or higher and a serial port or USB serial adapter and a cable for the radio interface. [Download - 2.6MB]
Steinberg today announced the upcoming availability of its Studio Case II entry level music production system. Studio Case II includes a high-performance sequencer and six VST instruments: HALion, The Grand, Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition, D'cota, Groove Agent and Virtual Bassist. Cubase SE3 offers the same 32-bit floating point audio engine, automatic latency compensation and advanced user interface as its larger siblings using technologies from Cubase SX3. Cubase SE3 also features 48 audio tracks, full VSTi support, and a full range of audio MIDI effects. Studio Case II will be available for Mac and PC in September. (Pricing was unavailable.)
Encyclopedia Britannica today announced the 2006 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannicaís Ultimate Reference Suite. The reference guide, now available on DVD and CD-ROM, is the latest version of Britannicaís multimedia software, which includes Homework Helpdesk, a collection of special features aimed at helping students complete assignments at home. Helpdesk has guides to preparing papers and oral presentations, learning games and activities, and easy access to statistics on the countries of the world, among other features. The 2006 edition offers an updated interface, improves performance, and also includes features on history, people and animals that are updated daily (via the internet). It will be available later this month for $50.
Bias today announced the availability of Peak Pro 5 professional edition, its audio editing, processing and mastering software. Peak Pro 5 enables creation of dance loops and remixes, optimization of audio for podcasting and internet streaming. Conversion of tapes to CDs, ultra-portable AAC (MP4), MP3 files and more formats is supported. Also featured is simultaneous document viewing with window tiling, unlimited undo/redo with graphic edit histories and multithreaded processing capability. Peak Pro 5 is available for $600 and is compatible with any G3, G4 or G5 Macintosh (400MHz or faster) with 256MB of RAM (512MB recommended) and MacOS 10.3.9 or later.
PresenterNet today released survey evidence identifying Firefox and Macintosh as key enablers to web conference success. The conclusion was based on user surveys, analysis of system logs and interviews with key corporate customers. The report, "Survey of Web Conferencing User Requirements and Preferences" found that the population of users not using Windows or Internet Explorer represents a critical success factor. Also shown is the fact that a significant number of potential users cannot accept downloaded plug-ins to accommodate multiple platforms.
Piper Jaffray today maintained an "outperform" rating for Apple, citing the "halo effect" and iTunes online music sales growth. Apple's domination in digital music is said to be a critical piece to the story, however iPod revenue is not believed to be the only growth avenue for the company. iPod sales will continue to be a foundation for growth in other parts of Apple's business. iTunes is assumed to account for five-percent of Apple's total revenue with downloads numbering at 1.365 billion by 2006. Over 35 million iPods are expected to have shipped by the end of 2005, further fueling the iPod's "halo effect." Based on the one-million plus tracks sold in Japan over the first four days, pockets of untapped demand are said to remain in the international market for digital music. Risks cited include the fact that Apple is highly dependant upon spending trends in the education, consumer and creative professional markets.
Pacific Rim Marketing today announced it is now shipping the iDiddy, a wearable, leather case and integrated earbud combination that eliminates tangled wires. The first in a family of products, the iDiddy provides the user with enhanced quality earbuds and a hand sewn designer-styled leather case brought together in a single unit. "No more loose wires, no more wishing for a third hand. iDiddy gives you freedom to walk, run, or lounge. Because it's wearable, you can keep it conveniently under a shirt, jacket or sweater if you don't want prying eyes to see it. IDiddy let's you enjoy your iPod...more." The company also announced expanded distribution partnerships in Japan and South Korea.
Recordare has released its Dolet 3 for Finale, the popular music notation program. It reads and writes MusicXML 1.1 files for "the highest-fidelity" translation available between music notation programs. Dolet 3 also includes batch translation features to automate the process of moving music notation files from one program to another. Dolet 3 supports Finale 2000 to 2006 on Windows and Finale 2004 to 2006 on Macintosh OS X. Recordare's Dolet plug-ins serve as "universal translators" betweenmusic notation programs. While Finale 2006 and Sibelius 4 both read MusicXML 1.1 files, Dolet 3 for Finale is the first program that can write MusicXML files that include the new 1.1 formatting features, according to the company. The full version is $120, while upgrades start at $50.
iSuppli today issued a press release describing the teardown of Apple's Mac Mini, featuring a 1.25GHz G4 with 256MB of DDR333 SDRAM and a 40GB hard drive. Concluding that it featured a "cutting-edge design that showcases Appleís aplomb for developing elegant systems, iSuppli said that the Mac Mini was a PC that is designed and built like a laptop, with an estimated bill-of-materials cost of $275. Some features specific to notebooks discovered include the power supply which is external, and major components including the hard drive and the optical disk drive which employ the laptop form factor. The Semiconductors used in the Mac mini are highly integrated, particularly the core-logic ASIC, which integrates the functions typically found in separate Northbridge and Southbridge chips into a single device, according to the release.
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced that Roger Adler, the company's music guru, has opened a new studio in Crystal Lake III. The studio offers lessons and features a number of rotating products such as speakers, amps, plug-ins, drives and processor upgrades. Visitors can record tracks and try Mac hardware/software before they buy. The new studio operates in several recording formats including Pro Tools, Pro Tools M-Powered, Reason, Ableton Live, Mastering and multichannel remote recording. Open houses will be held every Saturday in August from 9 a.m. to noon.
In Brief: Brian Stucki is offering a $30 gift card to the iTunes Music Store to the person who sends in the most screenshots of different Dashboard variations.... Internet service provide British Telecom is spending £6 million on a major advertising campaign to promote its new free iTunes offer for customers who sign up for broadband service.... The Tribeca Grand hotel in NYC offers a "Directorís Cut" package--with a free Shuffle to the first 50 people--that includes iStudio accommodations and use of a hand-held digital video camcorder as well as an in-room iMac G5 computer and iLife software to add special effects, cut unwanted scenes, lay a soundtrack and burn a DVD of their film.... UK-based Computeract!ve's review of Mac OS X Tiger, concludes: "We've had our doubts about some of the previous upgrades to OS X, but Tiger suggests that Apple is really hitting its stride right now, and we can definitely recommend it as a 'must have' upgrade for anyone that owns a Mac."
Global reasearch company Strategy Analytics (SA) concludes that Apple's iPod is not threatened by the current generation of mobile music devices. In the company's latest mobile application benchmark report, "Apple iPod Blows Away Mobile Music Challengers," the firm said its advanced wireless buyer panel benchmark evaluation concluded that first generation mobile music devices "receive a failing grade on both sound quality and feature usability." SA performed head to head benchmarks of the iPod against 4 leading mobile music enabled devices, including the Samsung E720, O2 XM, SEMC V800 and the SPV500. "The 02 XM leads for music feature usability, while the Samsung E720 was rated best overall among a relatively weak set of music phone contenders."
At least one user has managed to hack Apple's Mac OS X for Intel authentication scheme, which was design to prevent users from running Mac OS X Intel on non-Mactels. MacBidouille reports that the Apple Developer kit version of Mac OS X x86, released to developers in early June, has been "hacked" to work with a PC notebook. The report includes a video showing Mac OS X x86 booting natively on a Pentium M 735-based notebook. In recent weeks, several reports have surfaced noting that Apple has tried to use a special authentication scheme using a special TPM chip (Trusted Platform Module) to prevent Mac OS X from running on third-party computers. The report noted that users were able to install other operating systems such as Windows and Linux on Intel-based Macs, but that it was not possible to install from the DVD containing the Intel-based Mac OS X on similar x86-based PCs (i.e., systems that lacked a TPM).
Mesa Dynamics today released Amnesty Screen Saver 1.0, a free screen saver module for OS X. Amnesty Screen Saver is a screen saver module that allows Dashboard widgets to animate around the screen while remaining functional and active, such as getting information from the web or checking the status of the computer's various settings. "Although the screen saver design prevents direct interaction with widgets, the high polish of the typical Dashboard widget user interface is a natural fit for an animated environment." Amnesty Screen Saver is built upon the same technology used in Amnesty Widget Browser, the company's utility to allow widgets to run outside of the Dashboard environment (as well as under Panther) with extended features. Amnesty Screen Saver 1.0 is available free of charge and runs on both Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
Microsoft executives said that the iPod will face increased competition this holiday season, as it works with its partners to release products that are more competitive with the iPod. In an interview with Bloomberg News, the head of Microsoft's Digital Media Division said the company was working with Royal Philips, Samsung, and Creative Technology to design and test music players that rival iPod: "Come this fall there is going to be a number of devices that get close to competing with Apple's iPod," Huggers said in an interview in San Francisco yesterday. By the second quarter of next year "there is going to be a whole lineup of products that can compete with Apple in industrial design, usability, functionality and features."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl