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.
Now AAPL Stock: 96.43 ( + 1.21 )
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
Belight Soft launches Art Text 3
Belight Soft has launched the latest version of its graphic design software, Art Text 3. The new version sticks with the goals of the previous iterations in developing a creative art text tool that is easy to use for beginners, but produces powerful results that will also appeal to pros. Among its key features are over 70 customizable templates to assist with logo design, word art, web elements and picture captions. Users can customize 3D materials using over 200 textures, over 140 bump map surfaces and over 80 environment map textures. Users of either of the two previous versions can upgrade to the new version for $30, a $20 savings. New users can also enjoy the $30 price as an introductory offer through the Mac App Store until May 31. http://bit.ly/1U6jFqu
KnowRoaming network now extends to 86 countries
KnowRoaming customers can now use its global SIM sticker to take advantage of its unlimited data plans when travelling in 86 countries. The SIM sticker is, as its name suggests, a special sticker that is applied to the back of an existing SIM card for use outside the US in supported countries. It works in conjunction with the KnowRoaming smartphone app. The latest expansion of its network came with the addition of 12 Latin American countries where travelers can now also enjoy its unlimited data plans, which are available for $8 per day. http://bit.ly/27KkXli
BMW to start supporting CarPlay this fall
BMW will add CarPlay support as one of the entertainment add-on for its X5M and X6M models, the first BWM models to do so, starting from this summer. A German-language catalog for the manufacturer spotted by Bimmerpost advises the option will arrive in August. It is unclear if the support will only be included in European versions of the car, or for further afield. The display in the vehicles will be among the largest thus far seen for CarPlay, at 10.25 inches, and hinted at possible wireless CarPlay support. The X5M currently sells for €96,470 (US$108, 275), while the X6M retails for €99,327 ($111, 453). http://bit.ly/1XnZ4DJ