Copyright © 2015
After transforming the digital music industry with the iPod, Apple is on a high. But the company has enjoyed success before - only to see it vanish, warns Kieren McCarthy. "This is not the first time Apple has found itself with the best product in a market it has almost single-handedly created. And yet the Mac - launched with the famous TV advertisment 1984, which was aired once during that year's Superbowl - is now no more than a bit player. The Newton is long dead, and the Apple II is a museum piece." McCarthy says Apple's innovation "comes with a price: arrogance and a deep-seated control instinct." Having created a market, Apple's conviction has "frequently mutated into stubbornness and it has seen the market run off in a different direction once competitors have caught up."
In brief: Sony today released PSP Media Manager, new software that transfers digital audio and video to the Playstation Portable (PSP), a move that will increase competition for Apple's fifth-generation iPod.... One MacNN reader has written a patch fixing two bugs [not tested] in GNUtar related to the handling of resource forks.... Napster today reported its second-quarter financial results, posting 150 percent year-over-year growth. Chris Gorog, Napster's chairman and CEO said "we believe our subscriber base will grow substantially in the third quarter and should continue to propel Napster's leading brand position".... Samsung Electronics today unveiled the SPH-V8200, its acclaimed world's first eight-megapixel camera phone.
The Meteo Team released Meteorologist 1.4.4, its free weather program for Mac OS X that provides total control over weather viewing. Features include simultaneous interlaced weather reports from multiple weather servers, multiple weather locations, weather alerts, and more. The update fixes city search for many U.S., Canadian, European, and Australian cities, as well as a crash during initial startup. Version 1.4.4 also contains partial localizations in German and French.
ActiveState today released Komodo 3.5, the first integrated development environment (IDE) with full Ruby support for Mac OS X. Komodo 3.5 offers developers an advanced workspace for programming in Perl, Python, PHP, Tcl, and Ruby. Code intelligence features, such as AutoComplete and CallTips, provide advanced "as-you-type" Ruby syntax checking. Komodo's Ruby code colorizing, folding, automatic end statements, and smart indenting reduce the risk of introducing obvious bugs. Komodo includes a fully integrated graphical debugger for testing Ruby programs that allows programmers to visually set breakpoints, check functions, and edit classes. Komodo 3.5 personal is available for $30, while the professional version is priced at $300 (system requirements were unavailable).
FireWire Depot today rolled out the ES3-F, its five-drive SATA hot-swap enclosure that offers up to 3Gbps transfer rates. Housed in a brushed and anodized extruded aluminum chassis, the device utilizes the Silicon Image SiI 3726 chip which supports host and device link rates of 1.5Gbps, and 3Gbps with auto-negotiation to choose 1.5Gbps or 3Gbps SATA hard drives. A one-to-five Serial ATA (SATA) port multiplier and backplane provide a high performance link between one single SATA host port and five SATA removable hard drive trays, negating the need for internal cabling. The ES3-F includes a special heat management system to maximize airflow, and offers quiet fans with warning indicators that include an audible alarm. The ES3-F is available for $600.
Sony today released PSP Media Manager, new software that transfers digital audio and video to the Playstation Portable (PSP), a move that will increase competition for Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The software runs on Windows systems only, and searches for playable content. The application allows discovered files to be transferred directly to the PSP and converts unsupported formats automatically, accordign to a report from vnunet.com. PSP Media Manager provides for automatic RSS feed updates, and features a backup function to prevent data loss. Supported file types include JPEG, WAV, AVI, MP3, MP4, and MPEG. Files can be transferred at USB 2.0 speeds, and music downloaded from Sony's Connect online music store is easily copied to the PSP.
KavaSoft today announced Shoebox 1.5, an update to its professional Mac OS X application for organizing digital photos by content. The "complete workflow solution" manages large collections of photos. Shoebox allows users to organize your photos into categories according to dates, people, places and things. Version 1.5 can now catalog all photos in one place, even if they are stored on CD or DVD. The software stores a smaller version of each photo, allowing users to browse and search the entire catalog. It also adds easy archiving features, offers a shrink photos feature for screen views and to save space drive space (while keeping a link to the original), and more. Shoebox is available in English, French, German, Dutch and Japanese. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. Shoebox Pro is $80, while Shoebox Express, limited to 10,000 photos, is $30.
iView Multimedia has released iView MediaPro 3, an update to its digital asset management and cataloging solution. Version 3 offers new viewing options, organizational tools, and streamlined automation controls to simplify digital workflows. Additional features include Pro Lightbox to view and label images side-by-side in full screen mode; dynamic import to rename files in batches; web gallery options to create web pages incorporating CSS; Web page pubilshing; visual search directly from MediaPro's main window; customizable catalogs; XML (XSLT) import and export options; slideshow and movie creation; file/folder management; and more. MediaPro 3 is available for $200 via direct download (system requirements were unavailable).
AOL today announced that it has purchased MusicNow -- Circuit City's digital music subscription service -- placing Time Warner's music division in direct competition with Apple's iTunes Music Store. A source familiar with the matter said AOL paid less than $25 million, while the strategy allows AOL to build its online advertising revenue at AOL.com, as well as derive subscription revenue from the music service, according to a report from Reuters. MusicNow will reportedly offer downloads for $1, the same sum that consumers currently pay for tracks at the iTunes Music Store, and will offer monthly subscriptions for $10 allowing unlimited downloads or streaming, according to the report. For an extra $5 per month, customers can download songs to a compatible digital music player; however Apple's iPod is not supported.
Gorilla 3.0 ($400) is film production management software, designed to store information about budgeting, scheduling, crew, cast, profit-sharing, and more. Version 3.0 offers over 70 new features, and over 70 reports. Strider 1.1.1 ($12) updates the RSS/ATOM reader to fix a problem that prevented the application from launching on some Mac OS X 10.3 installations. The feed validator URL is updated, and validator results are displayed in Strider's own Web view. The update also fixes a problem with download URLs not opening properly in the default browser. [Download - 1.4MB] Filegazer 1.0.2 ($20) allows fast navigation through the file system, designed to accommodate the increasing capacity of modern hard drives. Filegazer provides an preview for most major file types such as images, text documents, audio and video files, Web pages, and more. [Download - 1.3MB] DictJuggler 1.0 ($30) is an internet searching and dictionary lookup utility for Mac OS X. DictJuggler looks up language dictionaries, encyclopedias, search engines, maps, and auction sites automatically. The application supports one-click lookup for HTML, text, RTF, and DOC files. [Download - 832KB] FlyGesture 1.0 ($25) creates a single action -- or chains of actions -- that can be invoked by mouse movements. FlyGesture can open applications, type text, call command keys, open files or folders, open websites, run Automator workflows or custom Applescripts, and more. [Download - 657KB] Snippet Mind 1.0 ($15) imports, arranges, searches, and publishes journal entries. Features include the ability to export journals to iPods, perform Spotlight searches, password protect journal entries with AES 256 bit encryption, and more. [Download - 4.6MB]
Apple's stock today climbed to yet another 52-week high, continuing its year-long rise. MarketWatch reports that the stock was up $1.79, or 2.8%, to a 52-week high of $61.74. "American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said, in a research note, that industry checks show better-than-expected sales of the newest version of Apple's iPod, which can play videos as well as songs. On a split-adjusted basis, Apple's shares have risen almost 91% this year."
In Brief: Apple will hold the grand opening of Apple Store Burlington (Burlington, MA) on November 5 in.... American Sign Language (ASL) fingerspelling (free) and Baby-Talk in ASL ($1) are now available at the iTunes Music Store.... The Omni Group's outlining and organizational tool, OmniOutliner 3.0.4, brings support for Accessibility technologies in Mac OS X, improved integration with Spotlight search technology, and improvements to Automator support.... Digigami's MoviesForMyPod 0.992, formerly MovieToGo, has been updated to produce QuickTime movie files suitable for Podcasting (i.e., movie files that can be podcast and sync'd to the iPod without conversion) and also adds watched folders and drag & drop for batch conversion as well as a French localization.... In anticipation of its 10-yr anniversary, IK Multimedia is offering upgrade prices on all IK software for any registered IK User of any IK Multimedia software.
WeatherBug today released WeatherBug Lite Mac as part of WeatherBug Labs, providing current temperature readings and "life-saving alerts" via the menu bar.Users can view weather conditions in multiple cities, easily view forecasts on the Web, and more. WeatherBug Labs also offers WeatherBug RSS, WeatherBug on Skype and AIM, a WeatherBug podcast, WeatherBug Games, and a WeatherBug API that enables developers to integrate live WeatherBug data into applications. An online forum enables participants to discuss and explore ideas that can leverage the proprietary network of 8,000 WeatherBug tracking stations which stream live, neighborhood-level weather. WeatherBug Lite Mac is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Apple has begun selling its popular video iPod in South Korea, but does not have any plans to provide a video content service, despite its success in the US. Company representatives told The Korea Times that it has no intention to sell video content such as TV dramas, movies or music videos in South Korea because "there is no visible market for portable video players" and that it had no specific plan to launch the service in the future, according to the report. "We are just stepping into the uncharted territory with the new iPod," said Tony Li, product marketing director of Apple’s Asia Pacific region, during a media session in Seoul. "No one can purchase music videos or dramas yet, but they can move their private video files and family albums to iPod." Li also said that the company is using the video-enabled portable music player as a test of tech-savvy Asian consumers.
Contrary to previous reports, Samsung today said it has no plans to enter the online music business. Earlier this week, reports surfaced indicating that Samsung would launch an iTunes-like online music service, however, the president of Samsung's digital media business told reporters that it had no such plans. "We are not at all interested in a music service ourselves," Choi Gee-sung, president of Samsung's digital media business. The Associated Press notes that South Korean media had quoted Choi as saying the company planned such a service and that the remarks were later confirmed by the company; however, Choi said that there had been a misunderstanding of comments he made to Korean reporters late last week. The companay, however, said that it would offer technical support to its online music partners such as Napster to help sales of its portable music players.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram has formally announced that it will roll out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in it's iOS app with an update that will bring the program to version 7.1.5. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app, and some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ
View-Master VR device in Apple Store
Apple has started to sell a Google Cardboard-style VR headset modeled on a classic Mattel toy. Initially launched early last year, the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack for $30 is designed to use an iPhone as a display, with a Preview Reel and lever system mimicking the toy's switching between images to take users between different VR apps and scenes. http://bit.ly/1RhJW8y