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In brief: The Iconfactory today announced a new Stock Icon Add-on category targeting the banking, finance and online commerce markets representing concepts such as billing, checkout, deposit, transaction, shipping, and more.... appleLoops.com launched today, offering royalty-free sample loops for Logic, GarageBand, Soundtrack Pro, and other audio applications with featured producers Steve Stoll, Chris Guy, Rennie Foster, and more.... Belkin today announced four new cases for the fifth-generation iPod: The Kickstand case ($30), the Classic case ($20), the Holster Case ($20), and the Flip case ($30).... David Bowie has teamed up with Canadian band Arcade Fire, by releasing their live duet as a limited edition download from iTunes--for one week--starting November 15th with all the proceeds going to Hurricane Katrina relief charities.... Belkin has announced that its TuneCast Auto is compatible with the iPod nano and video iPod. [updated]
Apple today released Xcode 2.2, an update to its set of developer tools for Mac OS X. Available to registered members of the Apple Developer Connection, version 2.2 provides overall stability and performance enhancements to the Xcode IDE, as well as improvements to debugging, workflow, and the Xcode build system. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.x.. Apple also released WebObjects 5.3.1 for Mac OS X Server 10.4, which updates the Application Server components in Mac OS X Server 10.4 to WebObjects 5.3.1.
The National Consumer Council (NCC) is adding its name to a major European campaign advocating consumer rights in the digital age, reports Macworld UK. Many Europeans are concerned over the criminalization of sharing copyrighted files online, as well as the lack of interoperability between between existing services and devices. The latter includes the way songs are protected using Apple's FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) system and Microsoft's DRM. The campaign includes a declaration of what consumer bodies feel should be consumers' digital rights. These include: the right to choice, knowledge and cultural diversity; the right to the principle of technical neutrality; consumer rights in the digital environment; the right to benefit from technological innovations without abusive restrictions; the right to interoperability of content and devices; the right to the protection of privacy; the right not to be criminalised.
Sir Robin Saxby Chairman of the UK-based microprocessor comany ARM, says that the iPod photo is his favorite gadget, because "it allows me to take 'my world' on my travels. This includes recordings of my son's band, as well as my early vinyl records and photos going back years." When asked what Sir Robin Saxby would change about the device, he cited the difficulty connecting to other devices, such as big-screen TVs, according to a report from Forbes.com. "I don't want to carry iPod docking stations and chargers with me, so I would like to see connectivity become standard and ensure that all the consumer devices I use have the same interface."
Belkin today announced four new cases for the fifth-generation iPod, designed to reinforce the device while maintaining functionality. The Kickstand case ($30) integrates a stand display to ease the process of watching videos, and provides a detachable carabineer clip to secure the device to clothing. A protective plastic screen cover offers full access to the screen and clickwheel. The Kickstand case is constructed from fine-grain leather, and will be available in black as well as white.
MacSoft, a division of Destineer, today announced that the Mac version of Microsoft’s top-selling Zoo Tycoon 2 has gone "gold." As an added extra, the Mac version includes a bonus DVD featuring film segments and trivia from the National Geographic Totally Wild series. Zoo Tycoon 2 is described as "a wildly fun game in which you build and operate your very own zoo. Zoo Tycoon 2 cranks up the excitement with 3D first-person views that get you up close to the highly detailed giraffes, tigers, crocodiles, elephants, and more than 25 other types of animals in your zoo." Zoo Tycoon 2 is scheduled for release in November 2005 for $40.
M-Audio today announced its new Podcast Factory professional podcasting solution. The Podcast Factory bundle includes all the hardware and software required to create broadcast-quality podcasts: the bundle includes the Podcast Factory audio interface with microphone preamp, a 2 x 2 mobile audio interface delivers professional audio fidelity up to 24-bit/48kHz. The first of two audio channels is a dedicated XLR input for the included dynamic microphone, complete with gain control and signal LEDs. The 3/4-inch input on the second channel toggles between instrument and line levels to accommodate a wide variety of signal sources. It will ship in November for $180.
Belkin today announced that its TuneCast Auto supports the iPod nano and 5G iPod as well as with iPod 3G, 4G, and photo. The device allows you to listen to the music from your iPod through your car's FM radio. "Unlike other FM transmitters, the TuneCast Auto powers and charges through your car's cigarette lighter--eliminating the need to drain power from the iPod itself. Its new design and ample features make for an easy, convenient solution to listen to your iPod on the road." The TuneCast Auto features two programmable memory slots, which allow users to toggle between two channels. A blue, backlit LCD provides for easy viewing day or night, and a VELCRO tie reduces cable clutter. The TuneCast Auto will ship in North America in late November 2005 for $60.
CHUD 4.2.3 (free) is a suite of applications and tools for measuring and optimizing software performance on Mac OS X, as well as for hardware "bringup" and system benchmarking. Version 4.2.3 fixes a variety of bugs and adds support for Quad PowerMac G5 machines in the performance. [Download - 32MB] Font Showcase 5.0 ($25) views and prints a complete font collection with an easy-to-use interface. Font Showcase prints fonts that aren't yet installed, and can print a catalog of a font collection to view large lists of fonts, negating the need to memorize the visual appearance of each font. [Download - 2MB] FolderGlance 1.7 (donationware) is a small Contextual Menu Plugin for the Finder, offering the ability to control-click or right-click on folders to see and open their contents, as well as examine the contents of sub-folders down an unlimited number of levels. The update allows further customization of sort orders, dims the appearance of invisible files slightly, and more. [Download - 292KB] Mail Factory 2.2 ($40) updates the utility that designs and prints envelopes and postcards, as well as address and shipping labels. Version 2.2 supports three different label printer manufacturers (DYMO, Seiko, and Brother), and adds new postcard designs. [Download - 21.3MB] Bosco's Screen Share 2.0b1 (free) is a cross-platform desktop sharing utility using a peer-to-peer protocol. The application uses JPEG image compression, and depends on TCP/IP for error correction to minimize interruptions. [Download - 3.5MB] MutantMaker 1.0 ($40) helps researchers performing site-directed mutagenesis screen their potential mutants with restriction enzyme digests, rather than costly sequencing. The oligonucleotide sequences suggested by MutantMaker will create or destroy restriction sites while both creating the desired mutant and retaining flanking amino acids. [Download - 761KB]
Sol Robots today released The Road Trip Effect 1.5, a significant update to its application designed to generate transitions for travel videos. The application supports high definition output, and provides control over how movies are compressed. Both 720p and 1080p in a 16-to-9 wide screen aspect ratio allow transitions to have more clarity on High Definition systems. The update offers full access to Quicktime's built-in compressors, allowing movies to be scaled to a more manageable size. The Road Trip Effect 1.5 is available for $9, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
An analyst today raised her price target for shares of Apple over 16.5 percent to $70 from $60, and maintained an "overweight" rating on Apple Computer, anticipating a strong holiday season and continued portfolio expansion with the possible introduction of Mactels next year. Rebecca Runkle of Morgan Stanley said "Apple is evolving into a growth-driven portfolio franchise," and expects calendar fourth-quarter 2005 results to be "impressive," driven by an expanded iPod installed base, new iPods, extended digital content, and CPU refreshes, according to a report from Forbes.com. "As the portfolio strategy expands, margins have the potential to increase similar to other secular growth stories. As a result, upside exists to current expectations and Apple shares continue to look attractive over the next 12 to 18 months," Runkle said.
Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said a strong Apple is a "good thing," in a recent interview with Silicon.com. Chizen said Apple is has a "very stable, loyal customer base," and he said despite some competition from the Mac maker, he still considers Apple to be a "friend." On the topic of Apple's transition to Intel processors, he said: "In the long term it's great because it allows production of faster, more powerful computers that can be more affordable than today. Plus, in theory, because we work closely with Intel we should be able to take advantage of the optimisation that we do around Intel at the native level, especially for graphics and video applications. The challenging part will be the switch. It will take coding and compiling time - and that's work."
In brief: The MacNN team has reviewed the iPod Flip Cases from Pacific Design (shown at right), designed to provide protection in sharp, contrasting color designs without sacrificing use and accessibility.... ProjectWizards has released Merlin 1.3.6 to commemorate the application's one-year anniversary, and is offering 25 percent off Merlin licenses from November 9-20th.... Difusi has been chosen to be part of the celebrity gift bag for the 33rd annual American Music Awards, which will offer stars both an iPod nano and a leather case to protect the device.... Central Park Media has made the entire first episodes of "Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight," "Descendants of Darkness," and twenty minutes "Black Jack" available for free via download.... The Portland Mac Filmmakers' User Group December meeting is set to look at professional photography solutions using Apple's Aperture software.... Digital-Tutors released its Introduction to Macromedia Flash 8 training kit ($46), a training tool for emerging digital artists.
Softpress recently released Freeway 4 Express, its Macintosh Web design software made for anyone who wants to create websites without having to learn to write HTML code. Features include a reworked interface, Unicode support for multi-lingual sites, automatic .Mac uploading, Spotlight support, new text and graphic effects, improved transparency options, nested layouts, in-flow HTML items, support for Type-one fonts, and more. Freeway 4 Express offers a range of actions, including built-in FAST packs as well as a selection of third-party actions. Freeway 4 Express is priced at $90, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
MacSpeech yesterday released a new ScriptPak for BBEdit from Bare Bones Software that installs over 450 commands into iListen, allowing users to do virtually anything in BBEdit they could normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. ScriptPak for BBEdit can instruct the application to format documents, check syntax, navigate between and within documents, comment and uncomment text, and more. ScriptPaks work with iListen allowing dictation anywhere one would normally type, and ScriptPaks enhance iListen's command and control capabilities by teaching it about the individual keyboard and menu commands in a specific program. ScriptPak for BBEdit requires iListen 1.6.5 or later and BBEdit 8.x, and is available for $20.
Bell Microproducts is now Apple's third product distributor in the United States. The company said Tuesday it would distribute Apple's Xserve rack-mount servers and RAID solutions. Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data has been carrying Apple's entire line since the companies signed a distribution deal in early 2000. And Ingram Micro, which signed with Apple in 1992, is currently the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker's largest distributor, accounting for about 70 percent of Apple's products sold through distribution, said a spokesperson for the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor.
Apple's iMac G5 is TIME magazine's Gadget of the Week. While saying that the machine does "everything well," the column notes several shortcomings of Front Row, Apple's bundled application that offers an easy-to-use, remote-control triggered interface to Apple's digital media applications: "It's easy to use and for the most part enjoyable. I was dismayed that the software didn't bookmark TV shows, so that I could go back to the spot where I had previously left off. I was surprised that the music program listed bands starting with 'The' under 'T', since iTunes is (famously) smart enough to list them under the proper letter—that is, The Rolling Stones should appear under 'R' and so on.... While Front Row does turn your valuable collection of iTunes into a more easily accessed jukebox, it's a little weak on the video side."
Sonic Impact has introduced i-Fusion, its new rechargeable and portable speaker case system with docking station for the iPod and iPod mini. i-Fusion is described as a mini boom box built within a rugged storage case for all variations of the iPod, including the iPod nano. In addition to the speaker system and docking station, the compact 2.75-inch high case features a pop open door for storing any size iPod and a second compartment with a lithium ion battery and room for storing earbuds. The system also features a built-in iPod Docking Station Connector for playing, downloading and recharging. Sonic say the i-Fusion can play music up to 15 hours on the built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery and also features an AC adaptor. i-Fusion, which carries Apple's "Made for iPod" moniker, is available for $150.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko