This week Apple dominated Amazon's top-selling list of computers, and Steve Jobs was recognized as one of America's top 25 leaders, n that Jobs has been a commercial innovator, cultural inspiration, and entrepreneurial icon for nearly 30 years. Later, Apple's executives cashed in on the recent strength in Apple's stock, with CFO Peter Oppenheimer exercising 750,000 options to gross $32 million. Apple was cited as a top pick for investors despite the "difficult" fourth-quarter looming ahead, and the company's wireless routers received this years highest overall score of 8.9 in a survey on home networking routers. Apple also reduced pricing on some its refurb Macs, including its 12-inch iBook; the 12-inch 1.2GHz/Combo iBook (with AirPort Extreme), its 23- and 30-inch Cinema Displays, etc.
Forums roundup: Some users discuss new features of the quad-core Power Mac G5.... Laptop users discuss the effect of a 7200-rpm hard drive on PowerBook battery life.... Apple fans speculate about another possible update to the PowerBook G4 before Apple's switch to Intel chips.... Forum members continue to discuss the new iMac G5, released earlier this month.... Mac OS X users talk about the future of the OS, and the possibility of "Mac OS 11".... Gaming fans continue to discuss the forthcoming Playstation 3.
Sprint Nextel is due to launch its new music-download service on Monday, October 31st, which will compete with Apple's own music download service, iTunes. The service will be supported by new mobile phones from Samsung and Sanyo, and subscribers can purchase individual tracks for $2.50 each, according to a report from Forbes.com. Phones can be used to download music directly to the device, which can later be transferred to a PC. The new service will not support music downloaded via iTunes, and its initial launch will see approximately 300,000 songs from EMI Group, Warner Music Group, Vivedi Universal's Universal Music Group unit, and Sony BMG, according to the report.
photo Drop 1.0 (free) creates small, customized droplets that turn the tedious task of modifying a folder of images into a simple drag-and-drop operation. Droplets can resize an image to new dimensions, convert the original image to a new format, or flip the image horizontally. [Download - 447KB] EarthComet Screen Saver (free) displays a slowly rotating Earth with real-time cloud cover (internet connection required), the Moon, and a flaming comet orbiting the Earth. EarthComet demonstrates the power of Core Image and OpenGL available through the Quartz Composer. [Download - 2.6MB] syncupx 1.4 ($20) is a backup application that performs "smart backup configuration" using Tiger's smart folders as backup sources, or for file exclusion in addition to ordinary files and folders. Version 1.4 offers an improved sync-engine and a new "one click restore" feature. syncupx supports multiple backup sets and automation using iCal or Automator. [Download - 242KB] PCalc 3.0.1 ($20) is a fully featured scientific calculator for Mac OS X with support for hexadecimal, octal and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, parentheses, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit conversions. The update adds support for using parentheses while entering expressions, an option to show thousands separators in the Dashboard Widget, and more. [Download - 1.4MB] GeoParty! 1.0 (free) tests your trivia knowledge with question-and-answer files that can be pre-built, retrieved from an online repository, or created from scratch. GeoParty! can be used by teachers to help motivate students by posing fun trivia questions. [Download - 3.8MB] SMTPit Pro 4.0.4, CNS Image 1.0.4, and CNS Menu 1.0.3 (each $65) are updated versions of Comm-Unity Networking Systems' "Pro Plugins", offering several core plug-in bug fixes. [Download - SMTPit 9MB, CNS Image 10.5MB, CNS Menu 2.9MB]
Apple's iPod scored first overall, first among MP3 players in the first year of ownership, first among flash players, first among mini hard-drive players, and first among big hard-drive players in a recent survey of MP3 players conducted by PC Magazine. The iPod received scores among the highest in any category in the survey, and Apple earned slightly better sound quality scores for its hard drive models than for its iPod shuffle; despite the fact that testing found better sound quality with the shuffle. The survey states that readers may be responding to the shuffle's lack of equalizer features. Only Apple and iRiver scored better than average among flash players, and only Apple scored better than average overall on mini hard drive and hard drive players, according to the survey. Also noted is the iPod's unusually high repair rate, with nine percent of iPod users reporting that their units needed repair in the past 12 months.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed XtremeMac's iPod shuffle TuffWrap and SuperHook (shown at right), a protective case made from silicone.... REALbasic PDF is a set of reusable classes that allow programmers to easily add PDF creation to REALbasic projects.... One MacNN reader informed us that the eMac has been removed from Apple's UK website, as well as the Apple store.... iPodNN noted that Contour Design unveiled the iSee nano, its clear iPod nano case that offers protection and headphone organization with a "Cablegrip".... Following yesterday's reports of Mac users being second class citizens, another MacNN reader informed us that the Old Navy and GAP websites don't support Safari, with Old Navy offering a message that states: "we're working on supporting Safari. Please check back soon." Apple is finally offering the Nvidia GeForce 7800 GT as a build-to-order option at its online Apple Store (the card, now in final testing, has not been available as a BTO option, but was listed on Apple's spec pages).
Left Lane News today noted that Autobytel's CarTV has announced a download center where users can get free automotive video content that will play on Apple's new fifth-generation iPod. CarTV's initial menu of downloadable Video iPod content includes expert third-party new vehicle reviews, step-by-step car maintenance tips, and a weekly automotive news program covering late-breaking industry announcements, trends and issues. "iPod users are a prime car-buying demographic, and Video iPods are an ideal platform for the dynamic, hands-on automotive content CarTV produces."
Paul Thurrott has withdrawn his initial assertion that Apple's Front Row was a "rip-off" of Microsoft's Media Center. "I'll have to change my own opinion about Front Row and note that while the software is clearly aimed--or will some day be aimed--at the same general market as that for Media Center, it is only peripherally related to Media Center. That is, both software products provide a remote control-friendly, TV-viewable interface to digital media content. But Microsoft's approach is more powerful, with TV viewing and recording functionality and other features, while Apple's is simpler and arguably better looking, aiming for the iPod crowd, and not a high-end home theatre audience."
The Wall Street Journal has posted an overview of the latest iPod accessories. "The iPod craze has spawned a mini-industry of accessories for the device. From cases that let you take your tunes under water to a gadget that can turn humble iPod users into disc jockeys, these companies are busy making what they think will be the must-have add-ons for Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod this holiday season." With the launch of the third-generation iPod in 2003, Apple adopted a standardized connection outlet so just about any company could make add-ons that would link with the digital-music player. Today, Apple boasts more than 1,000 different accessories have been made for the 28 million iPods sold since the device hit the market in 2001.
Apple wireless routers received this years highest overall score of 8.9 in a survey on home networking routers. "This is especially noteworthy given that, in general, wired routers outscore wireless," the survey noted, according to PC Magazine. The average overall rating for wireless routers was 7.8, up 0.2 from last year. The survey suggests that part of Apple's high ratings may stem from ease of setup, because Apple routers tend to be connected to "simpler-to-do-everything Macs." Both Apple and Linksys earned Readers' Choices for wireless routers, and with the exception of Apple, wired routers received higher ratings on both overall rating and reliability.
RadTech today rolled out its Omni (shown at right) work-in armored sleeves, and I-Sight Personal Illuminator. Omni is a lightweight, poly-reinforced work-in armored notebook sleeve. Features include work-in functionality with unrestricted access to all ports and drives while in the case; an integrated flip-out riser stand to provide an ergonomic typing angle for comfortable and efficient keyboarding; two surface-mounted handles; and an adjustable/detachable minimalist shoulder strap. Omni's are available starting at $42 in two sizes and six colors, and will fit most sub-17-inch notebooks.
Contour Design today unveiled the iSee nano, its clear iPod nano case that offers protection and headphone organization with a "Cablegrip". The iSee nano is an impact-resistant polycarbonate hard case featuring easy access to all controls, connectors and the headphone jack; a wrap-around cord management system with headphone organizer; and a detachable belt clip. Headphones double as a lanyard by hooking the headphone cable through the unique Cablegrip on the back of the case, and the Cablegrip can shorten the length of the headphone cord. The iSee nano is expected to be available during the first week of November for $20.
Fun Pause today released Fairies, its latest game set in a mythical backdrop of forests and elfin lore. Fairies features hand-drawn illustrations, 3D graphics, and an original soundtrack. By sliding rows of fairies that have been captured in jars to match sets of three or more like-colored fairy jars together, you gain wizardly power to free even more of these jailed fairies and can continue a journey through more than 200 levels of game play within five worlds and four different selectable game-play modes. Additionally, images of fairies are imbedded in each world of "Adventure" mode. After solving a level, you remove a partial fragment of a covered image. Once all fragments are removed, the entire image is revealed. The 10 images, once revealed, can be viewed in the "photo album of fairies". Fairies is available for $20.
Apple's video iPod delivers an consumer experience unmatched by other devices, according to Businessweek. Along with the release of the new video-enabled device, Apple has gone the extra mile by providing a central place for locating and purchasing content: iTunes. "Perhaps most important, Apple has again done consumers a service by playing the trailblazer, persuading a top-tier studio to provide good content despite its fears of piracy and disruption to its distribution model. Competitors, especially Microsoft, won't just back off while Apple locks up the video market, but they face a big challenge. In digital entertainment, with so many irons in the fire, Microsoft has been unable to duplicate Apple's single-minded focus on consumers. The software giant's partners, mainly engineering-driven Asian manufacturers, design great hardware. But so far they haven't been able to match Apple's user-friendliness."
Toby Rush today released MIDI Keyboard Lab Suite, a set of programs for Mac OS X which assist students in applying music theory skills to the piano keyboard or any other MIDI instrument. MIDI Keyboard Lab 1.0 comes with over 100 exercises ranging from basic note reading in four different clefs to the transposition of chord progressions using chromatic harmony. The suite also includes MIDI Keyboard Lab Score Receiver, a program which allows the easy creation of a fully-automated keyboard lab testing center and MIDI Keyboard Lab File Creator 1.0, a program which provides the complete customization of files included with MIDI Keyboard Lab. MIDI Keyboard Lab File Creator can also allow users to create new exercises from scratch. MIDI Keyboard Lab ($40) and MIDI Keyboard Lab File Creator ($115) are available. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE