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XRB enhances iDrum
Glaresoft today released XRB, its collection of 256 new kits and 2,057 new beats, designed for use with iDrum, its software drum machine. XRB includes over 2,000 drum and effect samples in industry-standard AIFF format, and each type of drum is neatly organized into a set of easy-to-navigate directories. Included sounds and beats cover a large range of popular styles -- from breakbeat to house to hip-hop -- along with cutting edge genres like glitch and retro-electro. Use of the AIFF sound format extends XRB's usefulness to users of third-party drum machines and samplers. XRB is available for $70, as is iDrum. iDrum requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Bias Mac writers?
Microsoft is getting the short end of the stick as far as media coverage, because today's newspaper and magazine tech writers know little about computers and are all Mac users, according to John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine. The top columnists in the news and business magazines fit this model as well, while tech writers and tech columnists for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Fortune are all Mac users, according to Dvorak. "This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer." Dvorak says that probably the best thing Microsoft could have ever done was copy as much of the Mac OS look-and-feel as it could, and says that "Microsoft should make some headway with this biased crowd once the fanciful Xbox 360 arrives. It's got a creative GUI, is easy to use and navigate, and kind of has a Mac look to it. It also interfaces perfectly with the iPod."
Apple, ABC a turning point
Video content services, despite stiff competition from other sources, will become a leading-edge portion of all premium subscription services offered via the internet, and the recent deal between Apple and ABC marks a major turning point for video over the internet, according to In-Stat. The research firm predicts that by 2009, non-adult video content delivered as subscription or pay-per-download over the internet will have a worldwide retail value of $2.6 billion. "The video desires of most consumers will continue to be served by free-to-air broadcast TV, and by pay-TV services like cable TV and satellite, but a thriving premium video market will develop over the internet. Really Simple Syndication (RSS), audio podcasting, and upcoming video podcasting initiatives will certainly drive demand for lots more video on the internet." said Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst.
A Swedish Mac website has posted benchmarks for the new dual-core Power Mac G5 2.3GHz. The dual-core machine was only marginally faster than a previous-generation liquid-cooled dual-2.5GHz Power Mac. "The largest difference is in memory performance, not in the actual processors according to our tests with Xbench. We want to point out that this testing method isn't completely failsafe but should mostly be seen as a hint of the new machine's performance." Apart from the new processor, Apple have also transitioned to DDR2 memory. The new machine features a total eight DIMM-slots.
5G iPod doubts by analysts
Some analysts are skeptical of the potential success of Apple's fifth-generation (5G) iPod with its video capabilities, some suggesting that the company risks identifying itself with a project that could flop, while the author of one article from The Christian Science Monitor posed the possibility that the gadget is simply "Steve Jobs' folly". "Uncertainty surrounding the level of demand for the product, the sources for compelling content, and its possible use to view pornography seems to leave more question marks than exclamation points." Randy Giusto, however, a follower pf mobile and consumer markets for IDC said "yes, it's the next step in the video evolution, it makes perfect sense to put certain types of videos with the [iPod] audio. It's a natural fit." Avi Greengart, principal analyst of mobile devices for Current Analysis said "the screen isn't large enough to be a real video iPod," but noted that the new device is "really not a video iPod -- it's an iPod with video."
iMic USB audio adapter
Griffin Technology today unveiled its new iMic USB audio adapter, improving on the old design with support for modern hardware. iMic connects virtually any microphone or sound input device to iBooks, PowerBooks, Power Macs, or other Mac/PC systems with a USB port. iMic supports both mic and line level inputs via a selectable switch, as well as a variable level output for connecting speakers or headphones. iMic requires no driver software installation, and is expected to ship in mid-November for $40.
Apple at NYC special event
One day before the PhotoExpo Plus--where Apple is expected to have a large presence--Apple used its NYC special event to debut new higher resolution 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks with improved battery life (available today from the Apple Store); new dual-core, dual-processor desktops called Power Mac G5 Quad with improved storage, PCI bandwidth, and DDR2 memory capacity; and a new software application called Aperture, which is described as the "first all-in-one post production tool designed to provide everything photographers need after the shoot. Apple also reduced pricing on its Apple Cinema Displays to $1,299 for the 23-inch ($200 drop) and $2,499 for the 30-inch ($500 drop) model. Earlier this week, Apple began shipping the video iPod and we posted an initial set of iPod video photos.
Feyna\'s Quest RPG released
Eldwood Games today announced Feyna's Quest, its next role-playing game (RPG) for Mac and Windows systems. "Cast into darkness ages ago, the Drow have developed into a civilized society. The humans who dwell on their surface, however, have come to believe that the evil threat that lives beneath them must be exterminated. You must guide Feyna on her quest to escape the human assault on her home and then into the great world which was only read about in books. The fate of your kind rests in your hands." The 2D side-scrolling RPG offers seven chapters, 40 different monsters, and 10 bosses. The Feyna's Quest soundtrack consists of over 20 composed pieces of original music. Feyna's Quest is available for $15 (system requirements were not available).
Cinema display pricing
Apple on Wednesday reduced pricing on its Cinema Display line, lowering the 23-inch model by $200 and the 30-inch version by $500. The 20-inch version sells for $800 and offers a 1680 x 1050 optimal resolution. The 23-inch model costs $1300 with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200. The 30-inch display -- which requires an ATI Radeon 9650, Radeon X850 XT or NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT DDL Card -- now sells for $2500. The 30-inch model has a resolution of 2560 x 1600. All the displays are VESA mount compatible. Each display also features 2 USB ports and 2 FireWire 400 ports.
Power Mac G5 Quad
Apple today unveiled its new Power Mac G5 line featuring the Power Mac G5 Quad, providing quad-core processing with two 2.5 GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors. All Power Mac G5 models now feature dual-core processors, a new PCI Express architecture and higher performance graphics options including NVIDIA's Quadro FX 4500. "The Power Mac G5 Quad delivers the workstation performance our creative and scientific customers demand," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With quad-core processing, a new PCI Express architecture, and the fastest workstation card from NVIDIA, the new Power Mac G5 Quad is the most powerful system we've ever made."
Apple introduces Aperture
Apple today introduced Aperture, to be available through the Apple Store, the first all-in-one post production tool designed to provide everything photographers need after the shoot. Aperture features powerful compare and select tools, nondestructive image processing, color managed printing and custom web and book publishing. "Aperture is to professional photography what Final Cut Pro is to filmmaking," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Marketing. Compare and select tools in Aperture allow photographers to easily sift through massive photo projects and quickly identify final selections, and the application automatically groups sequences of photos into easy-to-manage stacks based on the time interval between exposures. Aperture will be available in November for $500 (system requirements were unavailable).
New Apple PowerBooks
Apple today introduced new PowerBooks with higher-resolution and brighter displays and longer battery life on the 15- and 17-inch models. In addition, every new PowerBook now includes a DVD burning SuperDrive with prices starting at $1,499. Providing significantly more screen working area , the 17-inch PowerBook features a 1680-by-1050 pixel resolution -- 36 percent more than the previous generation -- and the 15-inch PowerBook offers a 1440-by-960 pixel resolution -- 26 percent more than the previous generation. Apple also said the new displays are up to 46 percent brighter on the 17-inch model and that both updated models also provide up to an additional hour of battery life. Prices are $1,499 for the 12-inch mode, $1,999 for the 15-inch model, and $2,499 for the 17-model. All new models are available today.
Video iPod reviews
Commenting on Apple's fifth-generation iPod, David Colker of latimes.com remarks that the device "is clearly superior to that of other hand-held video players," but says "it might be prudent to wait [...] especially if you already have an iPod." Colker cites the fact that video content currently available for the player is meager, but states that "the screen was so good, that after a half hour or so, the novelty wore off. Suddenly, I wasn't conscious of watching a tiny screen, or testing out a new toy. I was just watching the ladies of Wisteria Lane." David Pogue of The New York Times wrote about the new video-capable devices, saying that "they play back beautifully, with no network logo in the corner, no yearlong wait for the DVD, and no commercials." Pogue calls the device "deliciously thin," and also remarks on the screen size -- noting that "watching video on the tiny, 2.5-inch screen (320 by 240 pixels) is completely immersive." Pogue points to the lack of included accessories as a definite downfall.
Apple Store goes offline
Apple's online store is down ahead of the planned special event taking place in New York at 12 noon EST. The store displays the traditional "We'll be back soon" message. The event, which takes place at the same venue as PhotoPlus Expo 2005, brought a new generation of high-resolution PowerBooks, faster-quad processor Power Mac G5, and new software for professionals called Aperture for working with RAW format.
Ad-free videos at iTunes
Apple move to sell ad-free video content for its iPod via iTunes 6 is worrying the advertising industry. Reuters says that the pay-per-ad-free episode strategy has the industry rethinking its reach to users with portable media players. "The announcement sent a new chill through an advertising industry struggling to reach consumers amid an explosion of media outlets. ABC and rivals like Viacom's CBS are seeking new ways to deliver entertainment out of the television box, whether on the Internet or with new devices. The bigger fear, and some say opportunity, for advertisers is how to keep their brand messages in front of consumers as iPods, other portable media players and increasingly sophisticated cellular phones pick up speed and vie for time once dominated by television and the 30-second commercial."
iPod Updater, Awaken
iPod Updater 2005-10-12 (free) includes new iPod Software 1.0 for iPod video. The update offers no improvements for all other iPod models over iPod Updater 2005-09-23. The update is available via Software Update, or the web with a (free) Apple ID.
A Better Finder Rename 7 ($40), available as a public beta, updates the Finder enhancement software to take advantage of the Cocoa application framework, and supports combining numerous different rename actions into a single rename. A Better Finder Rename shortens the tedious and time-consuming process of renaming multiple files in the Finder.
Awaken 2.1 ($9) is a digital alarm clock that wakes you up by playing the iTunes playlist of your choice. New features include an redesigned user interface to match the iTunes 6 style, a date/time display, alarm notes to display custom messages with alarms, a preferences window with volume control, volume fade in for alarms, volume fade out for the sleep timer, and more. [Download - 1.8MB]
CCLims 1.0 ($2,500) manages all facets of a cell culture laboratory's records, offering a comprehensive transactions log that maintains lists of all subcultures, freezes, and thaws along with all growing conditions and a complete procedure listing. The CCLims has a unique frozen cells log that tracks frozen cells throughout a laboratory's full complement of freezers and dewars.
Inquisitor 2.0 (donationware) is an instant search extension for Safari, combining as-you-type instant search, search term prediction, and multiple-engine searching in a refined interface. Version 2.0 offers integration with Safari, faster speed, higher quality results, and a customizable interface.
MenuControl 3 for FileMaker 8 ($60) includes an entire suite of menu and security functions not found in the default FileMaker 8 installation. Advanced custom menu features include modification of the default FileMaker main menu or creation of your own menu sets, customization of context menus for fields/layouts/files, creation of pop-up menus with cascading sub-menus, changing of specific menu items on-the-fly, and more.
Eskape Labs has released myTV.PVR, a new TV tuner and MPEG video encoder solution designed to work with the Mac. The USB 2.0-based PVR (personal video recorder) device offers a 125-channel cable-ready TV tuner and a full FM stereo radio tuner and it includes composite and S-Video inputs. The onboard MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video encoding offers a maximum frame rate (capture and play through) of 29.97fps for NTSC (720x480) and 25fps for PAL (720x576). Like all PVRs, users can instantly rewind/pause live TV and can playback video in full screen or via a resizable window. In addition, it leverages the internet Electronic Program Guide TitanTV to view and schedule TV programs. It includes a remote control transmitter, a wall mounted power supply, a one-meter USB cable, and a FM radio antenna. The $150 external solution, now available, requires a G4/500MHz Mac and Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later.
iTunes wins award in UK
In Brief: Apple'siTunes Music Store won a coveted Digital Music Award last night--for the second year running at the annual BT Digital Music Awards.... In a recent TIME magazine interview, Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about how the product design process can go wrong.... CBS announced Monday that it is making some of its content available as audio podcasts for free via iTunes.... Pacific Design today announced that its iPod nano flip case collection will be going on sale at Circuit City, Radio Shack, and Ultimate Electronics on October 22nd.... Tunewear today announced new cases for the fifth generation ("5G") video iPod, including the Icewear 5G series and the Prie Ambassador for 5G iPods.
Tunewear 5G iPod cases
Tunewear today announced new cases for the fifth generation ("5G") video iPod. The new Icewear 5G series brings the Icewear line of high-density transparent silicone cases to the new iPod 5G digital music players. The Icewear series uses the same high density silicone found in diving masks which allows for both scratch protection and a clear view of the iPod 5G's original color. The caseo ofers access to all ports including the headphone jack, dock connector, hold switch and click wheel. It is available in both 30GB and 60GB models and includes Tunefilm protective coverings for the screen, clickwheel, and back. Icewear 5G will ship in November for $25. Tunewear also announced that it would produce a 5G version of its Prie Ambassador, a versatile genuine leather case that can be attached to a belt loop or strap, around your neck (strap not included), or as a protective case (by removing all the hooks, straps, and clips). The Prie Ambassador for iPod 5G will be available in November for $50.
Eminem iPod ad
Several Apple fans point out the similarity between Apple's Eminem "silhouette" ad and a Lugz footwear spot from 2001. Ad Freak looks at the issue closer, and concludes, "First and foremost, the similarities between the Eminem/Apple spot and the Lugz spot are striking--nay, stunning--and worth taking a second to check out." After Apple premiered that ad at a special event where it unveiled new iPods, the company mysteriously pulled the link from its website. However, the ad was played on television over the weekend, and appears to be returning to the Apple home page. A small Eminem icon has been added to the "TV ads" section, but it still directs users to the ad featuring U2.
iTunes for Australia
Apple may be preparing to launch iTunes for Australia later this month, according to a report by AppleTalk. The blog reports that Apple has organized a press briefing on October 25th, where is Apple's vice president of the iTunes Music Store and iPod Marketing will appear: "Apple Australia has organised a major briefing on Tuesday at which the worldwide head of iTunes Music Store and worldwide head of iPod Marketing will appear. It's highly unusual for Apple to hold a press briefing unless a product announcement is being made, and it's hard to imagine the head of iTMS flying from the US to Australia for any other reason than the announcement of iTMS Australia. Other corroborating evidence is that Australian music video producers have recently shot some videos specifically for playback on small screens - likely to be iTMS exclusives for the launch."
\"OMG\" game dev contest
iDevGames today announced the "OMG Cup," a new contest that is open to any and all game developers that seeks to identify the best original Mac games (OMG). "The OMG Cup is designed to help developers successfully release their games and to help the Mac game market evolve with innovative new game concepts." iDevGames says that all qualifying entrants will receive a free game from Freeverse Software, and the top three finalists will be awarded cash prizes. The first place winner will also receive an option to turn their winning entry into a finished product -- either as a shareware or retail product. The deadline for entry is November 28, 2005, after which users will publicly vote on the top six entries. A nominating committee will choose the final three winners on December 12, 2005.
Xserve RAID Admin Tools
Apple has released Xserve RAID Admin Tools 1.5, an update to the Java-based Xserve RAID's remote management software that provides an interface for creating protected storage volumes, logging events, managing preferences, and monitoring storage hardware from TCP/IP-based computers. Version 1.5 now correctly displays state when Xserve RAID is JBOD mode, addresses issues related to slower performing hard drives; changes procedure for adding drives and moving arrays to prevent inadvertently overwriting array drives; allows Write cache flushing to be disabled to prevent throughput drops when used in realtime applications (such as video capture); and addresses compatibility related to certain fibre channel switches and devices with FC-4 type, symbolic port, and node name registration, and Extended Link Services PLOGI and ADISC. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later and is available via the Web or the Software Update.
120GB portable drive
US Modular today announced that the company's Dragon Drive is now available with 120-gigabyte of storage space. The bus-powered portable external storage drive system is offered in sizes of 20GB to 100GB and comes in a stainless steel package. Dragon Drives, offering a portable auto-detectable combo (USB 2.0 + FireWire) hard drives in a 2.5-inch form factor, are less than one-inch high. The drives are powered through the two included USB 2.0 cables or via a FireWire connection. The drives support UDMA5 (ATA100), driver-less installation on Mac OS 9/X, and USB 2.0 transfer rates up to 400 Mbps. The 120GB drive, available later this month, will be available for $400 with other drives starting at $100; all include a one-year warranty with 24/7 tech support.
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