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Apple\'s fourth quarter
Analysts hope that Apple will earn 37 cents per share on $3.72 billion in sales as it delivers its fourth-quarter results on October 11th, and believe that Apple's line of Macintosh computers is gaining strength. Richard Farmer of Merrill Lynch expects Apple's Macintosh revenue to grow 25-percent over the $1.23 billion the desktop and notebook PCs made last year, and attributes the growth to a strong back-to-school selling season where Apple offered a free iPod mini with a computer purchase, according to a report from MarketWatch. Some analysts expect an increase in iPod sales of over 300-percent to 8.5 million players, and after the debut of Apple's iPod nano early last month, retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City are having trouble keeping Nanos on the shelves, according to the report.
Flash Player 8.5 unveiled
Macromedia today unveiled Flash Player 8.5, its high-performance runtime client for rich internet applications that builds on version 8 by improving script execution on the virtual machine. A new, highly-optimized ActionScript Virtual Machine dubbed AVM2 is incorporated into version 8.5, working with the next generation of ActionScript 3.0. The new virtual machine is faster, supports full runtime error reporting, and debugging. Flash Player 8.5 also includes Binary socket support, extending the software to work with any Binary protocol. The latest version also contains AVM1, which executes ActionScript 1.0 and 2.0 code for backward-compatibility with existing and older content. An alpha version of Flash Player 8.5, as well as others tools for non-Mac users, is expected to be available for download on October 17th in conjunction with the MAX 2005 developer conference.
Mactracker 4 released
Ian Page has released Macktracker 4, his application that provides detailed information on every Apple, Motorola, PowerComputing, and UMAX Mac OS computer ever made. Supplied information includes items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options. Mactracker also provides information on Apple mice, keyboards, displays, printers, scanners, digital cameras, iPod, AirPort Base Stations, Newtons, and Mac OS versions. Major new features include a rewritten search engine, "Smart Categories" similar to Smart Playlists in iTunes, color labels, independent database updating, Unicode support for comments, a new category dubbed "This Mac", and the addition of Apple Hardware Test versions. Mactracker 4 is free and requires Mac OS 8.5-9.2.2, Mac OS X 10.2 or later, or Windows 2000/XP.
Mac TetrUSS 2006
NASA Langley Research Center announced the latest release of its computational fluid dynamics simulation and aerodynamic analysis software for Mac OS X, dubbed Mac TetrUSS 2006. The latest version includes an updated geometry manipulation tool, GridToolCocoa (GTC) 2006. Mac TetrUSS 2006 also provides single and double-precision 32 and 64-bit, G4 and G5-optimized, single and parallel-CPU versions of the USM3D flow solver. Parallel USM3D will run on up to 200 G4 or G5 processors, and requires LAM-MPI. The 64-bit USM3D software requires a G5 processor running Mac OS X 10.4, while Mac TetrUSS 2006 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Japanese artists, iTunes
Apple is continuing to struggle with iTunes licensing terms with the music labels in Japan, forcing artists to go direct to make their songs available via iTunes. Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), BMG Japan, Warner Music Japan, and Victor Entertainment still haven't reached an agreement with iTunes Japan to offer their tracks to the masses, leaving artists frustrated and leading them to sign exclusive deals with iTunes. One industry insider noted that "as much as industry people tried to convince the press and the public that iTunes would fail in Japan or take years to get anywhere, the reality is that iTunes is doing very well, and artists and their fans want their material available on iTunes," according to a report from The Daily Yomiuri [updated].
Walter Mossberg addresses recent concerns about the iPod nano's apparent susceptibility to scratches. "Based on my own experience of about a month with the product, and emails I've received from readers, I believe the tiny, thin iPod nano is much more prone to scratching than earlier iPods, even though they, too, picked up scratches." However, Apple says it uses exactly the same clear coating on the nano as on some earlier iPods. The company also says "its engineers have conducted tests that show the nano isn't any more vulnerable to scratches than other current iPods." Company officials speculate that, because of its small size, some users may have carried their Nano in places and ways that differ from how they carried larger iPods, and which increased the possibility of scratching.
Mediaboard ONE 1.3
InterServices New Media today announced Mediaboard ONE 1.3, its media cataloging and asset management application designed for Mac OS X. Mediaboard ONE manages keeps track of images and movies, cataloging and organizing them while providing fast, easy access on demand. The application creates intelligent thumbnails for every image or movie cataloged, while comments, keywords, and license/model/property release information are supported with an AutoFill feature. Version 1.3 adds over 80 enhancements, as well as several bugfixes. Mediaboard ONE 1.3 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available in English for $40 per client, or $600 for the five-user workgroup server. The upgrade is free for existing users.
Cancer research auction
In brief: Five disks full of Mac software donated by various shareware authors are being auctioned off to raise money for the PMC Challenge to fund cancer research, and one auction has already closed.... One software developer has apparently revealed an add-on program that enables Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones to work with Apple's iTunes software.... The Beijing Macintosh User Group (BeiMac) is set to launch BeiPod (the Beijing iPod User Group) at BeiMac's October 15 meeting, to be held in Apple's Beijing offices.... MacMonkies rolled out this week's "Friday Icon Edition", offering three new icon sets from DesignMood, Faneramx, and iAlphan.com.
Ascender font pack
Ascender today released the Ascender Creativity Font Pack for Mac OS X to complement the Windows version announced in September. The new font pack includes a fresh variety of text, display and script fonts licensed from leading type designers, along with an assortment of design tools. The Ascender Creativity Font Pack features 30 world-class OpenType fonts, over 40 professionally-designed templates for Microsoft Word, the Ascender Font Selector utility, and design tips/tricks from author Roger C. Parker. The Ascender Font Selector is a new utility for selecting the right font for the right situation, browsing through font previews organized by personality, occasion and type classification. The Ascender Creativity Font Pack requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is available for $20 via download from the Ascender website.
Wine Collector 150
IntelliScanner today introduced the Wine Collector 150, a personal handheld barcode scanner with included wine management software for Mac OS X and Windows. By scanning the retail bar code found on a bottle of the wine with the USB or Bluetooth wireless IntelliScanner barcode reader, the included software downloads the name, varietal, winery, country, type, color, region, and more in seconds with internet-enabled AutoFill capabilities. Available in two models, the USB package is priced at $200, while the Bluetooth wireless version is $300. Both models require Mac OS X 10.3 or later, or Windows XP.
AAPL target $60
First Albany raised Apple's stock target to $60 from $53 on the belief that iPod nano's success will provide "upside momentum" heading into the fourth quarter. "Despite the stock's run and the inevitability that Apple's growth rate will eventually slow, we think renewed iPod demand/leverage and continued central processing unit share gains should enable sustained stock momentum through the end of the year," said analyst Joel Wagonfeld. The stock closed Wednesday down 97 cents at $52.78, after reaching an all-time high of $55.35 in intraday trading on Tuesday.
Newer Technology is passing along a savings of up to 10 percent on its products. The miniStack external storage solutions for Mac mini now cost $90 with no drive, $140 for 80GB, $180 for 160GB, $220 for 250GB, $260 for 320GB, $360 for 400GB and $480 for 500GB. All miniStack models feature high-performance 7200RPM hard disk mechanisms and data buffers of 2 or 8MB. The line utilizes the latest Oxford911+ chipset in a custom FireWire/USB2 bridge for unrivaled performance and reliability. The miniStack provides significantly better hard drive performance versus the stock Mac mini hard drive while at the same time providing additional USB2 and FireWire ports via its integrated USB2 and FireWire Hubs.
BBC video iPod
Several reports this week suggested Apple may be planning to unveil a video-capable iPod at its special event on October 12th. Yesterday, BBC reportedly stated in a broadcast that “Apple is set to unveil a new video iPod at the BBC Television Centre in London on October the 12th." On Tuesday, Apple sent out invitations to the October 12th event. The invitation shows closed theater curtains with the words "One more thing…" written on top. The event, planned for Wednesday, October 12, is one day after the company announces its financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is known for using the "One more thing…" gimmick to make surprise announcements towards the end of a keynote or special event.
Free InDesign plug-in
Insider Software today announced the availability of a free plug-in for the recently released Adobe InDesign CS2 4.0.1, providing automatic font activation in InDesign for all fonts managed in FontAgent Pro 3. The plug-in is fully compatible with font suitcases created by leading font vendors, as well as by FontAgent Pro and Insider's recently-released multi-function font utility called Smasher. Individual plug-in downloads are also available for various older versions of Adobe products, as well a QuarkXPress.
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