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This week iTunes and iPod were awarded top honors at design event INDEX:, because "iPod together with Apple's iTunes software is truly changing the way people experience their music." Author Leander Kahney published "The Cult of iPod," examining the phenomenon behind the wild success of the iPod. Despite rising popularity of the device and the iTunes Music Store, Warner's digital strategy chief said that record labels might have no other choice than to cut off Apple's digital music sales if Apple doesn't show more flexibility in pricing at the iTunes Music Store.
This week Apple Senior Vice President and executive team member Jon Rubinstein implied that iPods are for music, while phones are for communication when he stated his belief that the iPod, cell phone and digital camera will all continue to cater to their individual markets for at least another 10 years, and cited the fact that most people still take photographs with a digital camera rather than their cellular phone because it takes better pictures. After several wordy exchanges between Apple's CEO Steve Jobs and the record labels regarding album pricing, Warner's digital strategy chief said that labels might have no other choice than to cut off Apple's digital music sales, leaving the iTunes Music Store without many of its popular tracks. The next day, however, a report surfaced suggesting that Apple's iPod market advantage may enable the company to constrain the supply for flash chips this holiday season--thereby controlling the MP3 player market even more--making it an even strong powerhouse when it has to negotiate with the music labels.
Radical Breeze has announced six new REALbasic developer components, designed to simplify and speed the software creation process for developers who use the REALbasic Integrated Development Environment. Bryan Lund, president of Radical Breeze, states: "all of our components are written in 100-percent pure REALbasic. No declares. No plug-ins. Just solid, cross-platform REALBasic code." The new components consist of RadJabber 1.0, RadGraphics 1.0, RadAutoComplete 1.0, RadRSS 1.1, RadColorBar 1.0, and RadPicView 1.0. The Radical Breeze components require REALbasic 2005 R3 or later and are available with one year of free upgrades for $30.
Apple has begun shipping Mac minis that in some cases have improved processing capabilities and other enhancements but which are not discernable from advertised models, according to a report from ZDNet UK. Apple said in a statement, "some Mac mini systems may contain components that slightly exceed the published specifications, there are no changes to the published specifications or part numbers," according to the report. Apple is not labeling the upgraded machines, so customers have no way of knowing if they are receiving one of the improved models. Apple would not confirm exact specifications, however previous reports indicate that some models were shipping with 1.5GHz processors, a faster DVD burner, more video memory, and improved Bluetooth wireless capabilities.
IDG World Expo today announced that attendee registration is now open for Macworld Conference and Expo, taking place January 9-13, 2006 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Early bird pricing is $25 for exhibit access. Keynote access starts at $300, as a part of the "Market Symposium" package. A keynote is scheduled for January 10th, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has not yet been confirmed as the speaker. The event features several conferences, hands-on MacLabs computer training for key applications and tools, and new day-long Market Symposiums designed to help people in specific markets get the most out of the Mac computing experience. Feature presentations include "Macworld Live!" with New York Times columnist David Pogue, "DROIDMAKER" with author Michael Rubin, "MacBrainiac Challenge - The Rematch!" with Chris Breen, "The Russel Brown Power Hour," and "The Podcast Economy" presented by Chris Pirillo.
The US Patent and Trademark Office this week week endorsed a Web-browsing patent Microsoft is accused of infringing, dealing a setback to Microsoft, according to Computerworld: "In a decision unveiled Wednesday, the office reconfirmed a patent held by Eolas Technologies Inc. that allows interactive content to be embedded in a Web site, which is a common practice on the Internet. Eolas is a spin-off of the University of California....the patent office completed a "re-examination process" on the original patent, which was published in November 1998, and plans to issue a re-examination certificate to uphold its validity." Microsoft says it will present its side of the argument at the retrial as scheduled and is "confident it will achieve a successful resolution."
Aspyr Media today offered more information its upcoming Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse game title. "Stubbs The Zombie is a third person action game that uses an updated Halo engine to deliver a stirring take on one manís hunger for love, justiceÖ and brains. In the game, players step into the shoes of the rebel himself; former door-to-door salesman Stubbs is now a wisecracking zombie terrorizing the ultra-modern city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania circa 1959, using nothing but his own carcass and the weapons of his possessed enemies. The gameís tongue-in-cheek humor, innovative combat and strong storyline keep gameplay as bizarre and unpredictable as its namesake." It will ship in November for $40.
Sony and SanDisk Friday announced a smaller Memory Stick card format, called Memory Stick Micro, that is designed to be used with mobile phones. IDG News reports that "the Memory Stick Micro measures 15 millimeters (mm) by 12.5 mm by 1.2 mm, that makes it significantly smaller than the Memory Stick Duo card format, which measures 31 mm by 20 mm by 1.6 mm." They will begin licensing the new card format starting next week, while the first Memory Stick Micro cards are expected to be available in the first half of 2006. The new media format has a maximum theoretical capacity of 32GB and a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 160Mbps and the companies will also develop an adapter to allow users to use the cards with any device that supports the Memory Stick Pro format, according to the report.
Tunewear today announced Tunetag Edge, a dog-tag style silicone case for Apple's iPod nano digital music player. Due at the end of October 2005, Tunetag Edge is a dog-tag style silicone case for the iPod nano. It comes with a removable ball-bearing style chain so users can attach the Nano to a belt loop or bag strap etc. Users can also use their own strap (not included) to hang Tunetag Edge around their neck. "Compared to traditional silicone cases, Tunetag Edge uses the same high density silicone as ICEWEAR which allows scratch protection and a protective bumper around the edge of your iPod nano." The design offers full access to the headphone jack, hold switch and click wheel as well as full view of the color screen. (Pricing not available.)
Griffin on Friday announced that it is now shipping the SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter for iPod. SmartDeck allows users to control their iPod using the built in controls of their cassette player. The SmartDeck uses a new technology to determine which commands the cassette player sends to the iPod. It achieves "truly seamless integration between iPod and cassette deck." Users can utilize the cassette deck's forward and rewind buttons to advance to the next or prior songs in the iPod playlist. In addition, pause and stop buttons do what pause and stop buttons are expected to do. When the user hits the cassette deck's Eject button or switches from Cassette to Radio, Griffin's SmartPlay technology automatically pauses the iPod. The device will costs $30 and works with standard iPods and the iPod mini (third generation iPods do not support the Play/Pause feature).
Virtual Programming today released 'Gates of Troy' as a digital download. Gates of Troy is the sequel to the award winning Spartan and is an epic turn-based strategy game that covers the Trojan Wars, and lets players take control of mighty heroes such as Achilles and Hector and allows them to assault the Gates of Troy and build the Trojan horse. Players can also refight the battle of Thermopylae on a one for one scale, as Leonidas, leading the might Spartan warriors to their glorious fate. Gates of Troy includes 6 campaigns, 19 heroes, over 50 units and a number of great features not available in Spartan. In addition, it offers diplomacy improvements, Greek colonization, extra mod features, improved auto-resolution of battles, AI improvements, and more. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and is available now for £20.
Vidvox has released GRID Pro a video mixing and sampling program for VJs, editors and other video artists. Developed with live performance in mind, users mix audio, video, and text without interrupting the video output. Featuring a modular FX system, audio & video analysis, a revolutionary new control system, and the ability to the scrub back in time on a live video input (including DV). "Grid Pro offers laptop VJs the same thing that software has offered laptop DJs, the ability to outperform old analog hardware that is more expensive and less flexible." Other features include a thumbnail media browser, video buffering, a FontSynth character generator, MP3 list support, direct-to-disk recording, over a dozen composition modes, more than 80 customizable effects, MIDI support, hardware controller support, video sequencing, and more. It is $250 with a $75 discount for previous owners (and $50 discount for students).
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Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Herm√©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir