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Forums roundup: Apple fans discuss what will happen when CEO Steve Jobs eventually retires from the computer maker.... Another hot topic is the impending struggle between Google and Microsoft for industry dominance.... iPod nano owners talk about the ease with which the devices scratches.... iPod fans respond to rumors that Apple might release a video-capable iPod.... Meanwhile, PowerBook enthusiasts discuss the possibility of a final PowerBook G4 revision.
MacNN this week
This week Apple sent out invitations for a special media event to be held on October 12th, depicting closed theater curtains with the words "One more thing..." written in the foreground; several reports suggested Apple may be planning to unveil a video-capable iPod at the special event. Analysts have high hopes for Apple as it gears up to deliver its fourth-quarter results on October 11th, which will be broadcast live via the Web just one day before the planned special event. First Albany raised Apple's stock target with the belief that iPod nano's success will provide "upside momentum" heading into the fourth quarter. Adding fuel to the fire, Piper Jaffray said a survey of teens regarding buying patterns for digital audio players and online music indicated that Apple's iPod and iTunes gained market share, rather than plateau or lose share as had been expected.
PiperJaffray on Apple
Investment firm PiperJaffray expects a "very strong" December quarter for Apple, in both Mac and iPod segments. Analyst Gene Munster also expects strong earnings results from the September quarter, slightly ahead of Street consensus. The firm is modeling for nano shipments of 858,000 in September and 5,000,000 in December. "Our 20GB/60GB iPod estimates remain unchanged. For the shuffle, we are lowering our estimates by 10% going forward assuming some cannibalization from nano." PiperJaffray said it expects to see a video iPod or a smaller form factor standard iPod. "We believe that it is most likely that Apple will launch either a video iPod or a smaller form factor high capacity (>10GB) iPod at next Wednesday's [One More Thing] event. If a video iPod is introduced, we would expect new iTunes video content would also be incorporate d in the announcement."
XtremeMac Nano accessories
XtremeMac today announced a variety of cases, chargers, car accessories, a new AirPlay2 FM transmitter, and MicroBlast portable speakers designed specifically for iPod nano. All of the new devices are expected to ship between now and the first week of November. The AirPlay2 FM transmitter (pictured at right) is an updated version of XtremeMac's original AirPlay transmitter, designed to work with iPod nano as well as iPod and iPod mini. The device is as thin and narrow as the Nano; features include three programmable station presets, mono mode for better reception in crowded radio markets, and a vibrant blue display with easy-to-read white characters. AirPlay2 connects through the Dock connecter, features an additional pass-through female Dock connecter, and is available in black or white for $60.
New iPod cases, recycling
In Brief: China has announced plans to develop its own next-generation DVD standard to break the monopoly of foreign companies and avoid paying heavy licensing fees... Freeverse has announced that it will be unveiling new Mac titles and news items each weekday morning from October 10-17.... At MacExpo in London at the end of the month, Intego will be demonstrating its new version of NetBarrier X4, which will bring full compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and will leverage a variety of new technologies.... Tunewear today debuted its Prie Tunetag I.D., an identification tag-style leather case for Apple's iPod nano as well as a Tunefilm, a clear protective film for the Nano .... FastMac has announced an iPod battery recycling program available at no extra charge to all customers who purchase a TruePower iPod battery upgrade from the company.... PodGear today announced the launch of two new case ranges for most flavors of the iPod (Regular, Mini and Nano).
Prie Tunetag I.D. for Nano
Tunewear today introduced Prie Tunetag I.D., an identification tag-style leather case for Apple's iPod nano digital music players. TUNE I.D., due in October, is an I.D. tag-style genuine leather case that has a neck strap and also includes the company's hook which also comes with the new PRIE Ambassador series. "You can use the hook to attach your iPod to a belt loop on your jeans or to your backpack strap and of course a lanyard so you can carry it around anytime, anywhere." Prie Tunetag I.D. is made from smooth high quality genuine nappa leather and incorporates a transparent vinyl sheet which covers and protects both the iPod screen and click wheel from dirt and scratching, while offering full control of the click wheel and full view of the screen. It also features card slots inside to fit credit cards, business cards, train passes and more importantly, your I.D.
DayLite Mail Integration
Marketcircle today released DayLite Mail Integration Module v1.5 (DMI). Engineered to provide Mac-based professionals with fast and efficient CRM functionality, DMI v1.5, an add on for its DayLite CRM application that integrates Apple Mail and DayLite's multi-linking functions, simultaneously streamlines and improves the CRM process. The new version recognizes email addresses not previously added to DayLite or Apple Mail so that users can identify various contacts as customers, business partners, prospects, etc. Version 1.5 can add contacts to DayLite for future use and also allows users to create tasks, appointments, opportunities, and projects for contacts directly from Apple Mail, without having to access the DayLite application itself. DMI v1.5 also offers users unexpanded group handling. A 30-day trial of the $40 application add-on is available online.
Nuendo 3.2 unveiled
Steinberg Media today unveiled Nuendo 3.2, its media production system software that features a range of new control room features unique to software production environments. Nuendo 3.2 features a full control room section that provides up to four separate studio outputs, extra mix, headphone and control room busses as well as configurable input returns and user definable monitor setups. Each Nuendo audio, group, FX return and VSTi channel now includes new studio sends allowing each signal to be routed to any of the four studios. The Nuendo 3.2 update is expected to be available for registered Nuendo 3 users by the end of this year (pricing was unavailable).
Pro Tools M-Powered 7
M-Audio and Digidesign today announced Pro Tools M-Powered 7, an upcoming software release of its digital audio workstation software. The new version extends support to five M-Audio USB peripherals--Black Box, M-Audio Ozone, MobilePre USB, Fast Track USB, and Transit, as well as offers significantly expanded MIDI, audio recording and editing capabilities; greater mixing power and flexibility; enhanced efficiency; and improved ease of use. It features Instrument Tracks for improved integration with virtual instruments and MIDI sound modules; realtime MIDI processing features; and the ability to group any combination of audio and/or MIDI regions together to quickly build alternate arrangements. The release also supports REX and ACID files. Pro Tools 7 software is a cross-platform release, supporting both Windows XP and Mac OS X computers. Current registered Pro Tools M-Powered software customers are eligible for a free update to Pro Tools M-Powered 7 software, which will run with their existing Pro Tools M-Powered 6.8 software iLok authorizations. The software will ship by the end of the month.
PC-Mac-Net FileShare 5.0
Lava Software is now shipping PC-Mac-Net FileShare 5.0, its file sharing and remote folder synchronization product that operates over local area networks and the internet. New features include a complete graphical overhaul of the user interface; full bidirectional file and folder transfers; remote folder synchronization; a chat messaging function with clipboard transfer and audible alert; new streamlined folder navigation controls; detailed file transfer logs; writeable shared folders, inline editing of local and remote file/folder names; local and remote file/folder deletion; local and remote folder creation; local and remote folder book-marking; local and remote free disk space reporting; faster file transfers; file and folder modification display; average and instantaneous transfer speed display; and custom file/folder icons on Mac OS. The upgrade is free, and works on Mac OS 8/9, Mac OS X, and Windows 98/NT/ME/2000/XP. PC-Mac-Net FileShare 5.0 standard edition is priced at $25.
M-Audio debuts ProjectMix
Avid's M-Audio division today announced ProjectMix I/O combination motorized control surface and multi-channel audio interface. The FireWire-based device is designed to simplify system configuration and streamline production by "integrating everything needed to give project studios many of the workflow advantages of pro studios." It features integration of total tactile control, 18 x 14 audio I/O and professional preamps to most major software applications. The unit boots into dedicated modes for Pro Tools, Ableton Live 5, Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase and SONAR. In addition to supporting DAWs, the company says that ProjectMix I/O is the only universal integrated control surface that allows users to record directly into industry-standard Pro Tools sessions in Pro Tools M-Powered. In addition to supporting Mackie Control, Logic Control and HUI protocols, the unit is compatible with WDM, ASIO 2, Core Audio and GSIF 2. It will be available later this month for $1,300.
iPod Battery recycling
FastMac has announced an iPod battery recycling program available at no extra charge to all customers who purchase a TruePower iPod battery upgrade from FastMac. This program is also available to the general public who purchase third party battery replacements and need to properly dispose of their original iPod battery. All disposal fees are covered by FastMac. FastMac will offer all purchasers of TruePower batteries a prepaid padded envelope for return of the original battery at no additional fee. Once received by FastMac, the battery will be properly disposed of at a recycling center where all usable chemicals and components will be recovered. FastMac will also accept iPod batteries from customers of any third party vendors who do not offer recycling options. These customers can ship their battery directly to FastMac for disposal.
SwitchView KVM switches
Avocent today unveiled its new line of SwitchView multimedia KVM switches, enabling users to share peripherals with up to four computers. The SwitchView DVI ($250 for two-port, $350 for four-port, shown at right) manages two USB DVI (digital visual interface) computers from a single USB keyboard, mouse and DVI monitor with video resolutions up to 1600 x 1200. The SwitchView DVI also incorporates audio, microphone, and a built-in two-port USB 2.0 hub. SwitchView KVM switches are backed by Avocent's two-year warranty and technical support.
Docktopus SDK released
Startly Technologies today rolled out the Docktopus SDK (Software Development Kit), providing developers with information about creating their own custom badges for Doctopus, its Mac OS X application which overlays custom badges on Dock icons. Badges are tailored to provide new ways for users to interact with applications, greatly extending the otherwise limited Dock, and increasing the usefulness of those applications as well as Mac OS X itself. Badges can be submitted for review at the Docktopus SDK website, and approved badges will be listed on Startly's website, accessible from the "More Badges" button within Docktopus. The Docktopus SDK is available for free, while Docktopus 1.0.1 includes a new badge magnification feature, additional preferences, and other improvements. Docktopus 1.0.1 is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Jobs\' role at Apple
In a new report, silicon.com asks "What would Apple be without Jobs?." Of course, the article is referring to Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who, after returning from corporate exile, transformed Apple into what it is today. "Dragging the company out of the mire" after his absence, Jobs made Apple into a media company that is dominating the digital music industry. "He crushed the Mac clones, killed the Newton handheld, healed the deep rifts with Microsoft and put the NeXT Openstep technology at the heart of Apple's major operating system overhaul -- OS X." Jobs is also credited for renewing Apple's focus on industrial design. The article questions whether Apple could ever prosper without Jobs: "looking forward, it's hard to imagine Apple continuing on its upward curve without Jobs at the helm."
PodGear today announced the launch of two new case ranges for the iPod, iPod mini and iPod nano. The launch of the JumpSuit Plus and LeatherJacket means that iPod owners can now protect their device from everyday wear and tear while maintaining a fashionable appearance. The Jumpsuit Plus's high quality, skin tight silicon case enables iPod owners to protect their iPod's without diminishing the original styling while the LeatherJacket, gives iPod owners the chance to give their iPod a "luxurious home." The JumpSuit Plus's smooth silicon comes in six vibrant colours to suit everyone's taste while the LeatherJacket's leather and velvet lining is available in four colors.
Comic Life 1.2 released
Plasq today announced Comic Life 1.2, an update to its comic creation software bringing highly-requested "curly tails" for speech balloons and a collection of new built-in "styles". Other new provide templates, as well as a selection of six new built-in fonts. Fixes and improvements encompass image handling, text handling, graphics exportation and iPhoto library integration, and smarter file saving now decreases storage requirements. The update also includes numerous bug fixes and minor improvements. Comic Life offers full integration with .Mac (including RSS feeds) and exports to TIFF, GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats. Comic Life 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3 and is priced at $25, the update is free to existing users.
Sims 2 University
Aspyr Media announced that Sims 2 University is now available for pre-order on the company's Web site. The expansion pack to EA's popular life simulation game allows players to explore a whole new stage of life as young adults and introduces college-related wants and fears that are ultimately tied to their Sims' social life and academic goals. The expansion also introduces influence gameplay allowing players to earn influence points to have other Sims do certain tasks for them such as homework, term papers, cleaning up the fraternity house or even pulling pranks on other Sims. Players will be able to choose from one of 11 majors and open up 4 new career paths as they make their way through University. The Sims 2 University is rated "T" for "Teen" and will cost $35.
Digidesign Pro Tools 7
Digidesign today announced Pro Tools 7 software, which it says is an "evolutionary leap" in the creative power of the industry-standard digital audio workstation software. Pro Tools 7 software introduces a set of new features and enhancements that delivers expanded MIDI and audio recording and editing capabilities, greater mixing power and flexibility, enhanced efficiency, and improved ease of use. Pro Tools 7 will be available for Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered systems and will offer new features and enhancements in all versions of Pro Tools 7 software (i.e. Pro Tools HD 7, Pro Tools LE 7, and Pro Tools M-Powered 7 software). The company said the software is "shipping soon" and will run on Mac OS X 10.4 (as well as Windows XP).
Digital music study
A statement from Russ Crupnick, president of NPD's Music and Movies division supports Apple CEO Steve Jobs' idea that legal digital music sales with low pricing are a key factor in fighting the war on piracy, contrary to the opposing view of major record labels. Crupnick said: "we're seeing a slow shift from illegal P2P downloading to use of legal digital music services. In the early days of digital music, the majority of digital files came from illegal P2P file sharing services. Now we're seeing a rising incidence of legal digital music downloads and a significant slowing in the number of P2P users, as legal services continue to gain traction." Crupnick concluded that "there are several basic prescriptions for continuing healthy growth in legal digital services, they include reaching out to broader demographic segments; continuing to pressure illegal P2P services, while educating consumers to the benefit of legal alternatives; and providing a compelling price-versus-value proposition to the consumer."
E-Rate funding abuse
The Pomona Unified School District has been accused of misspending millions of taxpayer-funded dollars in violation of the federal E-Rate program, purchasing hundreds of PowerBook laptops and other items. According to a Daily Bulletin investigation, the items were bought through a company -- Spectrum -- whose director of research and education, Joseph Jaramillo, happens to be the brother of Pomona School District's director of technology, David Jaramillo. Close to 90-percent of the cost of the laptops purchased from Spectrum was paid for with money from the E-Rate federal program, designed to connect low-income schools to the Internet, while the remaining 11-percent was paid with district bond money, according to a report from dailybulliten.com.
Addonics Storage Tower
Addonics Technologies today announced a compact drive enclosure solution that allows users to mix and match multiple drive interfaces as well as hard drive or optical storage devices inside a single drive enclosure. The Addonics Storage Tower consists of a sturdy aluminum enclosure, with two cooling fans and a 220-watt power supply. The enclosure can accommodate up to four full-height optical drives or five 3.5-inch hard drives; or any combination of these devices or drive interfaces. "The Storage Tower is a simple, affordable and flexible solution for wide range of data storage applications and is well suited for uncompressed pro-video storage and performance demanding backup for small business."
Lasso Development Studio
OmniPilot Software today released Lasso Development Studio 8.1 for Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive. Lasso Development Studio 8 is a Web application development environment for Dreamweaver and GoLive that allows developers to use wizards and a graphical editing environment to build data-driven web sites. The free update now supports Dreamweaver 8 in addition to Dreamweaver MX 2004, requiring the latest version of the Macromedia Extension Manager (1.7) which ships with Dreamweaver 8 (and is also available online). The update also Supports Adobe GoLive CS and CS2 for both Windows and Mac OS X. It also corrects several issues with the GoLive edition and includes the Lasso Professional 8.1 update, which offers bug fixes, performance improvements, and minor enhancements. The full version is available for $200 (either GoLive or Dreamweaver edition).
Antritust probe for flash?
Although Samsung said it would seek ways to reduce the gap of supply price between Apple and domestic MP3 player makers to less than 10 percent, other MP3 manufacturers say that Samsung may not offer the Apple's price to them, which may lead to an investigation by South Korea's government over antitrust allegations. According to the report, Samsung will consider accepting a joint order for flash memory of the MP3 player manufactures, but the announcement may not be enough to prevent South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) from launching an investigation if it finds out any sign of unfair deals between Samsung and Apple. "Many in the industry argue that Samsung has undermined fair competition in the market by supplying NAND flash to Apple at half the price it charges to domestic MP3 player makers. Rep. Kim Hyun-mee of the ruling Uri Party cited iSuppli, a research firm, that the price of 2GB NAND memory for Apple Nano was $54, which is half the market price. Samsung is cornering domestic MP3 brands by doing this, she added."
Flash memory prices rising
Flash memory prices are rising in anticipation of a new Apple product next week. The Digitimes reports that NAND flash prices have been rising steadily ahead of several reports that Apple will roll out a new audio-video product that incorporates flash memory at its "One More Thing" special event next week.. "Prices for NAND flash memory in all segments rose at least 1% yesterday, with the 8Gbit segment increasing 2.8%." The report says that buyers in the spot market are aggressively placing orders to concerns that of a tight supply of memory--the same situation as when Apple launched its new iPod nano. In September, DRAMeXchange indicated that with Apple booking a significant portion of Samsung Electronics' capacity, prices for low-range 4Gbit part were up because only Hynix and Toshiba were able to provide a significant supply of 4Gbit chips to the market.
Tunefilm for iPod nano
Tunewear has announced Tunefilm, a clear protective film for Apple's iPod nano series digital music players. It will be available this month and included free with all Tunewear cases for the iPod nano. Tunefilm will also be sold separately, but pricing has not yet been announced. Each pack will include 3 pieces of adhesive clear film to fit the iPod nano's Color screen, Click Wheel and the sensitive mirror finished back face and provides protection for your iPod nano against dirt and scratching. Recently, there has been much controversy over the iPod nano's susceptibility to scratching. Tunewear also said its Tunetag for iPod nano will be available later this month.
Griffin debuts iFill
Griffin Technology today announced iFill, its new software to record music from radio streams. Griffin's iFill records streams of MP3 music directly on the iPod from any one of thousands of free radio stations and also allows users to boh choose several stations at once as well as select from many different genres. "iFill is a great fit for your active lifestyle. With iFill, you can go to bed while charging your iPod, and wake up to an iPod full of new music, ready to go jogging with you, and without having to search through your record collection, browse the iTunes Store, or rip any CDs." The cross-platform iFill requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later; it is available for $20 or as a free one-week trial version is also available.
Pressure Drop zStand
Pressure Drop today announced zStand, its sleek, stylish monitor stand that includes a USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 combination hub hidden in the back. The zStand is designed to accommodate a Mac mini, providing a place to store the computer safely inside the stand while organizing a user's desktop. The zStand is constructed of solid steel for strength and powder-coated white and silver to perfectly match the Mac mini. "Delivering beauty through its stylish "Z" shape but brawn through its dual, hardened-steel support walls, zStand gracefully elevates monitors weighing up to 50lbs. to a more ergonomically correct height, easing common neck and shoulder fatigue associated with improper monitor positioning." The integrated hub features four additional USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 400 ports. zStand is available now from Pressure Drop's online store for $100 and ships with a choice of 12-inch or 6-foot USB and FireWire cables.
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