Speck Products today launched the iKitty, its rubberized toy and case for iPod and iPod mini. Features include a screen protector and bendable tail. "Nothing could be cuter or more fun for your iPod, iKitty is the latest iPod toy -- the purrfect iPod pet for people who can't get a real cat," says Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck Products. iKitty provides full access to the headphone jack, hold switch, and controls of the iPod while retaining Dock functionality. iKitty is available for $35 from Speck Products' website.
e2Sync released e2Sync 2.5, bringing Entourage contacts, tasks and calendar items to over 60 cell phone models, as well as multiple Macs, iPods, PDA, iCal, AddressBook and .Mac. A new feature unique to Tiger syncs contacts, events, and todo's by category or personal choice. Licenses allow installation on two personal systems, and syncing between two Macs is accomplished using a .Mac account. e2Sync 2.5 ($40) requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Microsoft Office 2004 or newer. Academic discounts are available in addition to standard pricing.
The Mac mini is among the "elegant underdogs" in the tech industry, says James Fallows of the New York Times. "The devices or solutions that don't lead their markets but are in many ways more admirable than the ones that do." For years, the Mac has "defined this category." Fallows' review explains why the Mac mini reinforces this idea. "Less than five minutes after I had taken the mini out of its box, I was sitting at my desk typing on my usual keyboard, looking at the usual flat-panel display, automatically connected to the Internet through the usual Wi-Fi link, with pages coming out of the usual printer - but now I was using Mac software, under the Apple operating system OSX. No configuration was required for anything."
MacPractice today unveiled MacPractice DR, its new integrated ability within MacPractice DDS for digital radiography. MacPractice DR utilizes native Mac drivers for VisioDent's RSV Mac Solution sensors, and MacPractice is creating software drivers for the Soredex OpTime flexible phosphor plate unwired solution. MacPractice DR is expected to be released later this year, while MacPractice Tooth Charting will be available in the first half of 2006. Introductory pricing for MacPractice software is available until November 15, with MacPractice DDS starting at $1500 per user. MacPractice software requires a MySQL database installation.
Optibase today announced that it will sell its Media 100 division to Boris FX, a leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film production. In an effort to focus on the IPTV market, Optibase says it has a signed a definitive agreement for the sale of its non linear editing product line, including all service, warranty and maintenance obligations. Under the terms of the agreement Optibase and Boris FX will share revenues derived from any future sales of these products and services of up to $2 million (2,000,000) and Optibase will supply Boris FX with manufacturing services for the Media 100 HD boards. In June of last year, Optibase completed its $2.5 million purchase of Media 100 and then sold Final Effects Complete to Boris FX in June 2005.
William Bright, a website designer, shrunk the digital maps of subway systems in 12 cities so that they could be displayed on an iPod's 2-inch color screen, but was contacted shortly afterwards by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The authority's senior associate counsel wrote: "you must cease and desist immediately, take the NYC subway map off your website and confirm to me by e-mail that you will not do this again," according to the report from The Los Angeles Times. A week later, the manager of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district's website also demanded that Bright stop offering a map of the BART system, according to the report. Bright asked permission from the cities to create and offer downloadable maps, but so far only the Metro system in Washington, D.C. has agreed. The New York MTA demanded $500, but Bright developed a new map of the Bay Area commuter system from scratch, and he might do the same with New York's subways as well, according to the report.
EMC today released Dantz Retrospect 6.1 with enhanced support for Mac OS X 10.4. The free update offers new functionality that boosts information security. Retrospect 6.1 incorporates backup and restoration of access control lists (ACLs), used to control which users can access or modify files stored on a Mac OS X Tiger server. Support has also been added for Mac OS X Tiger's extended attributes that will be used by future Macintosh applications. Retrospect protects all networked desktops and notebooks with automated backups, instead of relying on individuals to manually copy their files to a network server. Retrospect requires Mac OS X 10.4 (pricing was unavailable).
Apple may produce and sell more than 10 million iPod nano digital music players during the three month period ending in December, says UBS Investment Research. For Apple's quarter ending in June -- the last fiscal quarter in which it has released results -- the company sold a combined total of 6,155,000 iPods, which is the most iPods its ever shipped in a single quarter, according to AppleInsider. UBS had been modeling Apple to sell 8.3 million total iPods in the December quarter, but recently met with industry sources in Asia who said those estimates may prove to be conservative. The firm's sources indicate iPod nano build orders for the quarter could exceed 10 million units. Apple's other iPod models would only add to this figure. "In short, our meetings were very positive for Apple into year-end and next, in terms of potential new iPods and possible build plans," said analyst Ben Reitzes in a research note released to clients on Monday.
Sales of digital music tripled in the first half of 2005, spurred by Apple's iTunes Music Store, the iPod popularity, and mobile "ringtunes"--even as global music sales fell 1.9 percent. According to Reuters, digital music now makes up six percent of total sales, or $790 million, and sales of CDs and music in other physical formats continued a long decline that the music industry blames on piracy, falling to $13.2 billion from $13.4 billion one year earlier. The IFPI reportedly said that lower CD prices, flagging DVD music video sales and competition from other entertainment sectors also contributed to the decline. In the United States, which is the world's biggest music market, physical music sales fell 5.3 percent by value,
Apple has been quietly but consistently leasing tens of thousands of additional square footage in its hometown of Cupertino, beginning at the end of 2004 and continuing into this year, according to public records and commercial real estate sources. In total, Apple has paid city business license fees or filed an application for a business license with the city of Cupertino on locations totaling more than 2 million square feet, city records show. That total includes its six-building world headquarters campus at 1 Infinite Loop, which represents about 850,000 square feet of the total. In fiscal 2004, Apple's employee headcount grew by 23 percent to nearly 13,500, according to the Hoovers reserach firm. "Apple is very quietly going around and taking 20,000 feet here and 30,000 feet there and really doing it quite quietly," regional real estate broker Jim Beeger says. "Ironically, a lot of these buildings Apple moved out of in the 1990s."
In brief: Photoshop Elements Techniques has tripled its lineup of classes and launched two new learning centers ($20) to provide a first look at the features of Adobe's new versions of Photoshop Elements (not yet released for Mac) and Premiere Elements .... The first
Apple's flash-based iPod Nano is predicted to be Apple's best-selling iPod ever, and with flash memory capacities on the rise as prices continue to drop, some analysts are predicting the demise of the ultra-portable hard drive market. Flash memory, which contains no moving parts, uses less battery power than its hard drive counterpart--approximately 30 times less, according to Billboard. Flash memory is also much smaller and more durable than hard drives, and prices are still dropping while capacites of 16GB are expected by next year. Analysts believe falling flash prices are key to the evolution of the MP3 player as a mass-market device, and Jupiter Research estimates there will be 56 million MP3 players in the world by 2010, with more than half of these being flash devices that hold 1,000 songs or less, with roughly 5GB capacities, according to the report.
FileMaker today announced "overwhelming" response from the first wave of developers who have used FileMaker Pro 8 and FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced, the newest versions of the most-awarded desktop database, citing time-saving development features, increased customization capabilities, rapid development, and additional ease-of-use benefits for users. FileMaker Pro 8 offers new ways to work faster, share and manage information of all types. The new PDF Maker in FileMaker Pro 8, featuring the Adobe PDF Library, licensed via Datalogics, allows users to convert graphic-rich reports of their data into PDFs. FileMaker Pro 8 users can also save data as a Microsoft Excel file. The software includes many powerful new features designed to allow advanced users and developers to add greater customization to their databases. Lastly, FileMaker Pro 8 includes the ability to customize menus and add custom Tooltips, as well as robust troubleshooting and database analysis tools. The standard edition is $300 and the "Advanced" version is $500.
Corel today unveiled Corel Painter Essentials 3, a complete home art studio application built using Corel Painter IX technology. The latest addition to Corel's digital imaging portfolio, Corel Painter Essentials 3 includes "everything new users need to get started with digital art and create stunning paintings from their photos.... Ideal for digital camera enthusiasts, art, decor and scrapbook enthusiasts, and art students and teachers, Corel Painter Essentials 3 enables users to create beautiful, handmade digital-art keepsakes that are perfect for framing, craft projects, and special gifts for friends and family." It features an easy-to-learn interface, dynamic painting palettes, improved digital art tools, new dra/paint tools (eraser, rubber stamp, etc.) and extensive training resources. The software is now available from Corel for $100 and will be available in North America later this month.
Other World Computing today lowered prices on its existing Neptune line of FireWire hard drives by as much as eight-percent, and added a 400GB 7200 RPM model. New pricing affects the 80GB with 2MB data buffer ($105) as well as the 160GB ($140), 200GB ($165), 250GB ($180), 320GB ($220), and new 400GB ($300) OWC Neptune 7200RPM models with 8MB data buffers. The drives measure 1.5 x 9 x 5.5, and weigh less than three pounds. Each model ships with FireWire cables, Intech HD SpeedTools and EMC/Dantz Retrospect Backup, and are supported by a one-year warranty.
Music managers will today wade into the row over online royalties with the claim that artists are being unfairly squeezed in the digital era. The Music Managers Forum is unhappy that artists typically receive less than 6 percent of royalties from stores like Apple's iTunes Music Store. Jazz Summers, the manager of the Snow Patrol, and chairman of the Music Managers Forum, said: “Sale prices and royalties have gradually been eroded to the point where an artist needs to sell in excess of 1.5 million units before they can show a profit, after paying for recording time and tour support.” The forum is hosting a special conference in Manchester today in an attempt to raise awareness of falling royalty rates, called the Know More! campaign. Headed by Mr Summers, the meeting will include managers behind acts such as Oasis, Radiohead and Jamelia.
Savvica has released the first public release of Nuvvo, an on-demand web-based learning management system. Developed virtually entirely on Macs, the learning management system offers instructors "all the tools they need" to deliver courses online, including curriculum development, calendaring, blogging, private messages, evaluation, and more. Nuvvo features integrated e-commerce, which allows instructors to set the price of their public course offerings and earn money on each student enrollment. It currently offers full support for QuickTime, while future versions will bring support for iCal and Safari RSS. The usage fee is $5 per student, per course, per month, payable by either the instructor or the student. Instructors can sign up and use the system for free.
Sunburst Technology has announced that it is shipping Key Skills for Reading: Vocabulary Development, the newest title in its Key Skills Learning System software series for schools. The series targets fundamental reading skills from the "No Child Left Behind" and "Reading First Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction" legislations and provides a comprehensive assessment and management tool for teachers. It is designed for students in grades 1 through 3 to improve their vocabulary as they progress through a series of fun and engaging educational activities--each of which focuses students on a specific skill. Through a Management Tool, the program also enables teachers to target, assess, and remediate the exact skills they need for their students.
Tunewear has announced Tunewallet nano, a business card-sized case and Tunetag, a luggage-tag style leather case for iPod nano. Tunewallet (pictured at right) nano is made from smooth ultra-high quality genuine leather. With the flip-cover closed the Tunewallet nano provides protection against dirt and scratches. It also includes a card slot inside the flip-cover to fit credit cards, business cards and more. Tunetag, Tunewear's luggage-tag style genuine leather case, offers a transparent vinyl sheet which covers and protects both the iPod screen and click wheel, but enables full control of the clickwheel. Tunetag has a luggage-tag style belt strap which can be used to attach the iPod nano to the strap of shoulder bag or purse, belt loop, etc. Both Tunewallet ($40) and Tunetag ($30) are expected to begin shipping on October 11th and will be available in three colors: black leather with red stitching [B/R], black Leather and white stitching [B/W], white Leather and white stitching [W/W].
Speck Products has announced its GripSkin for iPod and iPod mini. GripSkin features ribbed grippy sides that "feel great and help you grip your iPod, offer screen protection, and include a swivel belt clip. "Grippy ribbed sides make it fun to hold your iPod. " said Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck Products. "It's cute and cool, and gives your iPod great protection and portability." Both the screen protector and swivel belt clip are remoeable for added flexibility. The GripSkin for iPod or iPod mini is priced at $20. The Black version is available now, while the clear version will be available soon.
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Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ
Spotify deploys new $15 family plan
Spotify has today launched a new family program. Up to six family members can have individual accounts for $15 per month for the group. All current "Premium for Family" members will be migrated to the new program. The new plan is available today globally, minus Canada. http://spoti.fi/1OSJrCK
Speck CandyShell Clear with Glitter case
Speck today announced CandyShell Clear with Glitter. Thousands of tiny pieces of glitter are embedded within the case, with what the company calls "military-grade drop protection in a slim profile." CandyShell Clear with Glitter is available now on Speck's website for $40 and up. http://bit.ly/1OSHIgM
Three UK nudges MMS users toward apps
British carrier Three has suggested its users take advantage of messaging apps, as part of an announcement regarding multimedia messaging (MMS) price rises. While the price of a message will increase on June 13 from 17.4p ($0.25) to 40p ($0.58) per MMS, Three notes that customers can avoid the hefty fees by using Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other services. http://bit.ly/1Rk0TKM