UStec today released a new digital home networking solution that enables iMac users to create an audio/video entertainment network for easy access to iTunes playlists, photos and video all through the house. tecStream offers a multi-media, all-digital network that enables users to pull up the three-dimensional Front Row menu from any television in the house. Users can play music lists, view photos and video, and watch DVDs from multiple rooms even as the iMac G5 sits in one location like the study or living room. Once the Front Row menu is selected with the tecStream remote, iMac users can operate it with the iMac remote control or with the tecStream one.
Fluffpod today launched Fluffer, its soft luxury iPod cast made from soft faux fur with a satin lining and white leather boots. Fluffer allows access to all ports and protects the device from scratches. Fluffer fits all fourth-generation iPods, and is available for $35. An optional silver hook ($2) secures the Fluffer to belt loops or other clothing.
Apple's AirPort 2005-001 Update, released today via the Software Update and via the Web, fixes reliability and resolves AirPort compatibility issues with certain third party 802.11 cards and access points for Mac OS X v10.4.3 and later. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later and an AirPort Extreme card.
In brief: Macworld Expo is offering free exhibit hall passes to those registering before Friday, November 4th.... A new report suggests that the "coolness" of Apple's iPod may be waning.... The G5 Drive Bracket Team has announced a one-day special of $40 for its a G5 Drive Bracket until 11:59 p.m. MST on Wednesday, November 2nd.... Flash Forward Films has released Bus Pirates as a video podcast, its episodic comedy about pirates that coexist on the metro system.... Digidesign announced the Pro Tools 7 Software Power to Create Tour, designed to give the public an in-depth look at the collection of new and enhanced features in Pro Tools 7 software.... iPodNN noted that Fluffpod launched Fluffer (shown at right), its soft luxury iPod cast made from soft faux fur with a satin lining and white leather boots.
A new report suggests that the "coolness" of Apple's iPod may be waning. Aiming to deconstruct the iPod's "special sauce", or to identify what specifically continues to make the iPod so much more successful than other digital music players, the study found that the reasons many consumers are purchasing an iPod are more closely related to the interface and brand familiarity than "coolness", or social status -- despite the fact that supply has been unable to meet demand for both the iPod video and the iPod nano. More than 21 percent of those surveyed said that they definitely will not switch to Apple's iPod with their next purchase of a digital music player, while nearly 15 percent are deftly loyal to the iPod. Neutral-standing consumers make up almost 26 percent of the survey, while over 6.4 percent of individuals indicated that they were definitely making the switch to iPod with their next purchase. The report also provides information about why consumers purchased the device, how they use them, and their natural inclination to switch brands with their next purchase.
iKEY-Audio today rolled out the iKEY, its portable USB recorder designed to record live audio in real-time, convert it to MP3 and WAV formats, and save it to the iPod or any other USB-compatible storage device. It offers a record button that, with each consecutive press, creates a new file and users can choose the type and quality of a recorded file with 128- 192- and 256Kbps MP3s or uncompressed WAV for CD quality audio. A level clip LED indicator signals when the input is too high or too low. The device connects to any USB 2.0 storage device and offers RCA inputs that accept any line level audio source (using the included Y-cable). Other features include a dual-function LED to indicate transfer errors; a low battery indicator; a five-bar progress LED indicator to display the occupied space of the connected USB storage device, and more. The iKEY is available for $230.
Winter Wolves Studio recently released an update to Quizland, its trivia game designed to test your knowledge of various subjects. The update adds over 1,000 new questions, as well as support for the Italian and Spanish languages. Quizland features a database of over 1,500 different questions regarding sports, movies, history, science, and more. Additional features include a 15 second time limit, three difficulty levels, and "Jolly" button to eliminate two wrong answers that leaves a 50 percent chance to pick the correct answer. After answering 15 questions, difficulty increases with the next level. Quizland is available for $20.
Lakewood Studios on Wednesday released iList Studio 3.0, an update to its developer's database application that adds compatibility with MySQL 4.0, 4.1 and 5.0, as well as the ability to create databases that don't rely on MySQL and are thus compatible with iList Data, Lakewood's personal database solution. The upgrade also features dynamic reporting, one-click save and recall of custom interfaces, a thumbnail palette for viewing images, integration with iPhoto 5, and more. iList Studio 3.0 is available for $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later with QuickTime 6 or later and MySQL 4.0 or better.
Apple's Safari Web browser became the first browser to pass the Acid2 test. Acid2 is a test page, written to help browser vendors ensure proper support for Web standards in their products. Safari's lead was followed by internal builds of iCab and Konqueror, which both passed the test. Currently, Safari is the only publicly available browser to pass Acid2. The latest preview of Opera reportedly comes close to meeting the strict standards, with only one outstanding bug.
Students and faculty at the University of California Santa Barbara can win prizes for displaying Apple gear as part of a promotional effort to publicize how many UCSB students own Apple products. Apple student representatives Maya Collins and Ian Fisch said they will circle the campus this month in black Apple hats, handing out prize entry forms to students, faculty and staff who are in possession of any fully visible Apple product, according to the Daily Nexus Online. The contest began yesterday and ends on November 23rd, with the final drawing to be held the Monday after Thanksgiving. Fisch said "we want to show how prevalent Apple is on campus, a lot of students use Apple - many people don't know how popular it is. Plus, it's a cool contest... iPods are really popular with students. This will get people excited."
Nextel is teaming up with Comcast, Cox Communications, and Advance/Newhouse Communications to join market each other's products in a deal that will create stiff competition for Apple. The joint venture will offer bundled video, wireless, voice data services, and high-speed Web and cable-phone services at Sprint stores and other retailers, according to a report from Forbes.com. The new deal will create hybrid products that integrate cable services with cellular phones, while the newly-formed partnership is set to investigate the possibility of a new type of high-speed wireless service. "The new Sprint-cable partnerships will forever transform what used to be merely a cell phone into an indispensable third screen in customers' lives," said Gary Forsee, chief executive of Sprint Nextel. Sprint will provide $100 million to fund the project, while the cable companies pool together the other half.
X-ray 1.0 ($20) is a plug-in for Adobe InDesign and InCopy that is designed to facilitate work with InDesign when there are too many panels needed to fit on a single screen. Various opacities can be set for every panel, as well as every tool bar, offering visibility through the tools. [Download - 1.4MB] Password Retriever 5.0 ($16) secures logins, passwords, credit card numbers, and receipts in a customizable database with up to 448-bit Blowfish encryption. New features include unlimited custom fields and categories, an "unfiled" category, color labeling for services, and more. [Download - 2.3MB] Name those Files! 2.0.6 ($13) updates the batch renaming utility with improved Mac OS X 10.4.3 compatibility and more. In addition, the free Preferential Treatment 1.1.5 for checking preference files, also improves compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.3 and adds the ability to specify the username of the admin account when authenticating. [Download - 616KB and 388KB] MailTags 1.1 (donationware) is a plug-in for Apple's Mail.app 2.0 that is designed to go beyond folder filing for organizing mail by enabling metadata tagging. The update fixes compatibilty issues with Mac OS X 10.4.3, adds the ability to tag messages with multiple keywords, offers German localization, and more. [Download - 1.1MB] Word Stars 2.1 ($12) offers a collection of 8 word games and puzzles designed to meet a variety of educational needs. New features include a flash card module, customizable backgrounds (skins), the ability to store word lists on a website to be accessed via FTP, and more. [Download - 5.3MB] Canvastic 2.0 ($80) is a publishing tool with word processing capability, a clip-art browser, and over 200 document templates. Additional features include a document palette, shared preferences, slide shows, movies, new preference settings, and more.
Apple has posted several knowledge base articles about the recently released Mac OS X 10.4.3 update, which contains many new security fixes as well as a new "Live verfication" feature, which allows users to verify the computer's startup disk using Disk Utility--without requiring users to start up from another volume (requires a Journaled Mac OS X Extended Volume). Apple has also posted info on how administrators can modify the system to allow non-admin users to change the time-zone setting; disabled Mail rules following a .Mac sync; problems saving a PDF file as a PICT image; and problems using the Unicode Hex Input keyboard layout. Apple also notes that iPod nano and Fifth Generation iPod will not work when it's plugged into a USB port on the keyboard (as it requires a powered hub) and that under Mac OS X 10.4.3, users can also sync the Address Book contacts' pictures to your iPod and have them display alongside their contact information.
In addition to downloaded tracks, U.S. consumers downloaded 11.3 million albums this year through mid-October, out of 436.1 million albums sold, says White Plains, New York-based Nielsen SoundScan. "It's a blip, not a trend," Paul Burger, 50, president of London music-management agency Soho Artists and the former head of Sony Music in Europe, says of the leveling off of U.S. downloads. That belief has music companies, led by Warner Music, fighting to boost the 99-cent retail price on their most popular songs downloaded on Apple's iTunes Music Store. "The market ought to be able to decide, not a single retailer,'' Warner Music's Bronfman, 50, said in September at a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conference in New York. Days earlier, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, 50, said at a Paris news conference that music companies were being "greedy" by seeking more for downloaded tracks, adding that it would only encourage piracy. "There will be variable pricing, multitier pricing," Universal Music CEO Doug Morris, 66, said Oct. 6 at a meeting of financial analysts in London. "The issue is going to be when and who blinks first."
Kutoka today released Didi and Ditto (First Grade), its learning package designed to help children practice thinking skills, literacy skills, math skills, science, and creativity. Children can play the game as a learning adventure or choose specific skills to practice. Aimed at boys and girls ages five to seven, features include activities designed to reinforce topics that children are learning in School, three difficulty levels, an evaluation report to track progress, and 3D graphics with film-quality animations. Didi and Ditto (First Grade) helps to sharpen math skills such as measuring; natural numbers; skip counting; mental arithmetic; addition and subtraction; shapes, forms and their attributes.
THQ Inc. today began shipping The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer for the Mac (in addition to PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube/Game Boy Advance/Nintendo DS and and Windows). The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer is the follow-up to the original video game, inspired by the Pixar feature film. "When the evil Underminer rises to the surface with a sinister plan to rule the world, it's up to Mr. Incredible and his super cool pal Frozone to save the day. While Mrs. Incredible, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack tare care of things topside, Mr. Incredible and Frozone race underground to put a stop to the Underminer's dastardly plans and bury the diabolitical baddie once and for all!" The all-new, co-operative multiplayer action allows players to work as a team with the ability to change characters at any time while competing for points to upgrade their special moves and super powers. (Pricing and system requirements not available.)
Aspyr Media today announced that it will publish The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie game for Macintosh. "There's trouble in Bikini Bottom! Someone has stolen King Neptune's crown and it looks like Mr. Krabs is the culprit! Though he's just been passed over for the promotion of his dreams, SpongeBob stands by his boss, and along with his best friend Patrick, sets out on a treacherous mission to Shell City to reclaim the crown and save Mr. Krabs life." It features four playable characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Patric Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Mindy. A large 3D world offers powerful enemies, authentic voice talent, and special cameo appearances. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is expected to be released in November, and is available for preorder for $30.
In addition to the iZotope 64-bit Studio Bundle noted yesterday, M-Audio has introduced its limited edition GForce Future Retro Pack collection of GForce virtual instruments. Scheduled to be available through the holidays, the GForce Future Retro Pack combines all of GForce's expert emulations of vintage keyboards in one affordable package, including emulations of the Minimoog, ARP Odyssey, Oxford OSCAR and Mellotron. In addition to the authentic emulation in both sound and function, they offer modern features such as memory, additional modulation and new performance modes. They can be used alone or with most popular host software. Compatibility includes VST 2.0 (Mac/PC including VSTi), RTAS (Mac/PC) and Audio Units (Mac). The GForce Future Retro Pack is available for $450 through the holidays (a $520 value).
The southern California MacFair 2005 is to be held this weekend, November 4th and 5th at the Cerritos College Student Activities Center in Norwalk, California. Over 40 Mac related companies, 25 Mac seminars, 18 Mac workshops taught by some of the world's top instructors (prices start at $90), and a few hundred Mac enthusiasts are participating. This year's keynote address will feature Steve Jobs' controversial biographer, Jeffrey S. Young the author of "iCon Steve Jobs: The greatest second act in business history." A new Mac geek culture documentary film, "Geeks on Board", will see its first public screening during the event, and over $3,000 in door prizes -- including an iPod nano -- will be given away over the weekend.
Apple's stock was dubbed strong by Dan Sullivan, editor of The Chartist, because it outperformed the major averages for the past year. The company's stock is up 119.6 percent over the last 12 months. Last November Apple held its gains after a more than 100 percent run in the previous 12 months, and rallied with the market in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a report from Forbes.com. The company climbed up to $45 in February, slipped down in April and May of 2005, and then retook its 50-day average in July. Apple began hitting new highs again in August, and earned $1.43 billion on sales of $13.93 billion in the past four quarters, according to the report. Revenue in the most recent quarter surged 56.5 percent, while earnings per share of $1.56 were 305 percent higher than the same quarter last year. "Apple has a market capitalization of $47 billion, zero debt and $9.95 per share in cash on the books. It currently trades for 37 times trailing earnings and 32.3 times analystsí estimates of $1.78 per share in earnings for the year ended September 2006."
WiebeTech today announced the RT5x2 which incorporates dual-RT5 RAID systems that offer up to 5TB (terabyte) capacity in a single enclosure. The RT5x2 features dual handles so that it may be transported from location to location. "The RT5x2 was a logical progression from our existing RT5 RAID product. Customers want to maximize the amount of data that can be carried securely in a storage enclosure. RT5x2 delivers on that desire by providing two independent RAID 5 devices in a single enclosure, complete with a handles to allow easy mobility." Pricing starts at $3,200 without drives, while a 5TB system is $9,400. In addition, WiebeTech introduced the new FFK-10 Field Kit ($280), w hich is specifically designed to allow WiebeTech's portable RT5 high capacity RAID to be checked as carry-on luggage. The custom built travel case takes is designed to be carried on commercial flights, the durable Pelican case includes a retractable handle and wheels as well as custom cut foam.
Boenig-Kallenbach has introduced a new USB-based automation and input device: SERVICE USB plus enables measurement and control of real-world devices from a wide variety of standard Macintosh applications. The company says that SERVICE USB plus has been proven in professional implementations for industry, tradeshows and entertainment. It can be used to drive special effects such as flashes or fog machines directly from Macromedia Director MX for concerts or tradeshows as well as used for complex measurement value logging with temperature, liquid, pressure or light sensors as well as remote control of slide projectors, relays, step motors, switches or push buttons. Users can combine multiple devices for up to 128 input and output channels for each Mac. SERVICE USB plus is available for $466 and includes software for both Mac OS 9/X.
Mark/Space today announced version 5.0 of its Mac synchronization software: The Missing Sync for Palm OS v5 is a major upgrade that improves syncing with the Address Book and iCal applications in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", introduces folder synchronization, offers Spotlight searching of memos, and adds synchronization of iPhoto albums and iTunes playlists. Missing Sync provides easy sync and connectivity between Palm-based handhelds and the Mac. The new release leverages Tiger's new Sync Services technology, allowing contacts, calendar events and tasks to be synchronized directly with the master database on the Mac. In addition, it adds support for more database fields, connection-aware conduits for custom syncing in different environments, a new set-up assistant, and more. The Missing Sync for Palm OS is available now as a four-language installer (English, French, German and Japanese) for $40 (electronic) or $50 (CD). Upgrades are $25.
e2Sync, makers of the e2Sync Entourage Sync solution, today released a beta version of its new Plaxo sync application for the Mac. e2xo allows users to sync contacts, calendars and tasks with other Macs and PC. Plaxo has offered a Windows desktop solution, but has not yet provided support for the Mac, although the company says it "recognizes the strong interest in applications for the Mac." First announced in July, e2xo is the first and only solution that allows users to leverage the Plaxo online Address Book, which stores contacts, calendar, tasks and notes in one convenient place. Currently, Mac users can either access the information online or use the Plaxo Toolbar for Thunderbird, an open-source email client. In the future, the company says it will also allow you to remote sync your phone and your Mac. The free beta which allows sycning of contact info between Address Book and Plaxo is available online. (Pricing has not been set).
Griffin Technology today updated its popular RoadTrip FM transmitter, charger and cradle. The company said that the RoadTrip has been updated for use with iPod nano and Apple's newest video iPods. A cradle specifically built for iPod nano ships with every RoadTrip, providing a complete auto solution for all Dockable iPods. The RoadTrip's adjustable cradle, which holds the iPod securely yet easily accessible, plugs into any automobile 12-Volt accessory port. Users can set RoadTrip's transmitter to broadcast iPod music to any FM frequency--from 88.1 to 107.9. RoadTrip's backlit screen shows frequency settings at a glance and users can change the frequency settings as needed via the buttons on the front of the unit. The updated RoadTrip now comes in both white and charcoal. It is available now for $90.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl