E.R.S. today announced its podcast production suite: Ubercaster is described as a complete production suite for podcasting on the Macintosh. "Producing a show on a Mac can be as easy as everything else. Say goodbye to the laborious combination of programs. Übercaster let podcasters prepare, record, cut and release their shows the way they'd expect it. With its podcasting specific features and its über appealing design Übercaster defines a new standard for integrated podcast production. Übercaster will be available early 2006 and requires a G4 Mac with Mac OS X 10.4 or better.
Apple today posted iPod Update 2005-11-17, which includes new software for the iPod shuffle as well as software for all other iPods. Apple says the update iPod shuffle v1.1.3 software includes bug fixes, but does not provide any specifics. The computer maker does say that it requires iTunes 4.7.1 or later and that Mac OS X 10.3 through Mac OS X 10.3.3 are not supported. In addition, the notes say that Mac OS X v10.3.6 or later is recommended for connecting iPod shuffle to a low power USB port, like on certain keyboards and non-powered hubs. Apple also said that some computers require either the optional iPod shuffle dock or a USB cable extender--without providing any details on models affected. Earlier this month, we noted that iPod shuffle owners were complaining of problems after updating to iTunes 6.01 that would render their MP3 players useless; it is not yet known if the update resolves the issue.
Jeremy Mahadevan of the The Straits Times has reviewed the 5th generation video-capable iPod. Mahadevan criticizes Apple for removing most of the accessories bundled with the iPod, stating, "contrary to past tradition, Apple has decided to send the iPod the way of its smaller siblings and reduce bundled accessories to the nudest of minimums." The iPod can only be charged via a computer out of the box, "which may be acceptable for some users but still scrapes the bottom of the cost-cutting barrel." When it comes to video playback, Mahadevan was mostly impressed: "thanks to the quality of the screen, videos are remarkably nice to watch." He does, however, point to the fact that "you can’t fast-forward or rewind through a video." He also notes "battery life suffers greatly during video playback, particularly for the 30GB model."
Apple has published a tutorial on migrating projects from CodeWarrior to Xcode, its own integrated development environment. Apple covers the similarities and differences between the two environments, noting that the new Intel-based Mac systems, which will cause compatibility issues with Metrowerks projects, are expected to arrive early next year--maybe as early as January, according to some reports. Topics include access/search paths, source trees, build configurations, and Apple's own "Fix and Continue" feature. Another section describes the preparation necessary before importing CodeWarrior projects into Xcode, as well as the act of importing itself. Apple touches on application-specific issues, such as the need to manually add include files. Apple is encouraging developers to get ready now, touting the fact that Xcode includes many of the same features that CodeWarrior programmers are familiar with.
MP3tunes today released Oboe, a music locker that stores an entire personal music library online--making it accessible from anywhere via the internet--and is integrated with iTunes. Music fans can stream music from any machine with an internet connection, as well as sync songs to any computer or device, including Apple's iPod digital music player. A website accompanies each Oboe account that displays artists, albums, tracks and playlists that can be streamed for online listening at 192kbps--near CD quality. Oboe accounts are available for a $40 annual subscription, and include unlimited storage with no extra bandwidth charges.
ThinkMac today released NewsMac Pro 1.2, a major update to its RSS reader for Mac OS X. Version 1.2 employs a built-in tabbed web browser with built-in Google search capability, as well as headline searching which produces its own tab for results. The "Channel Directory" keeps all channels neatly grouped, and channels can easily be added from the main directory to the main library for quick access. The update offers an improved user interface, bundling a number of new updated headline themes. NewsMac Pro is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
CDFinder 4.5.1 ($30) updates the media disk cataloging software to read the new iTunes Lyrics of MP3 and AAC files. The software directly imports Disk Tracker 2.x catalog files, offers full support for Apple's Mighty Mouse, and contains various other tweaks and fixes. [Download - 2.9MB] Audiocorder 4.6.0 ($20) allows a Macintosh to act as a audio recorder that can use a recording schedule. The software can be used as a normal, manually operated recorder or as a volume operated (VOX) audio recorder. [Download - 651KB] Audiomation 1.6 ($25) automates many common digital audio processing tasks. The software builds "file lists" and processes files, folders, or disks one at a time after they are dropped onto the application's icon according to the chosen settings. [Download - 3.1MB] iTunesJoin 1.1 ($10) is a set of applications that reside in the scripts menu of iTunes that can join multiple tracks together, creating a new track. AAC tracks are joined without loss of quality. [Download - 313KB] Toki TC 1.0 ($30) displays a time code over movies that can place the time code anywhere in the picture. Features include the ability to set the start offset and frame rate, choose the font and size of the text, and choose the colors of the text and the background. [Download - 4.1MB] Studiometry 3.1.2 ($130) is a free update to the organizational tool, offering the ability to include non-live items in the Summaries window export. Version 3.1.2 offers numerous speed enhancements to certain areas of Studiometry, as well as a host of bug fixes. [Download - 11.5MB]
Peninsula Group today announced "the world's first" first thermal printer drivers for Mac OS X, which bring support to thermal transfer labelling printers from Datamax, Eltron, Zebra, Tharo, TEC, Brady, Intermec and Peninsula. Users can print using controls for speed, temperature, and other printer options via the standard print dialogs. It adds new options, such as support for cutters and black mark sensors. Users can print any size label directly from applications to most USB printers (as well as those connected via an optional USB->Parallel cable). it is available for $260 for an intial license and $86 for additional licenses. It is compatible with all versions of Mac OS X, including Panther and Tiger.
Native Instruments today announced that Guitar Rig 2, its digital guitar studio software is now available in U.S. stores. The update adds emulated classic amps and cabinets, a full setup of bass gear, an extended selection of distortion pedals and effects units, numerous modulation features, a live looping module, and more. Guitar Rig 2 ships with the new Rig Kontrol 2, a rugged foot pedal unit that offers many practical control and connectivity features, including an integrated USB 2.0 audio interface. Guitar Rig 2 is available for $580, with various updates and upgrades available for the software. Guitar Rig 2 is set to ship in Europe, Australia, Japan and other non-U.S. countries on December 20th.
AnandTech today published a review of Intel's Yonah dual-core CPU, the most likely candidate for Apple's new line of Intel-based PowerBooks to be released next year. The chips run surprisingly cool, and are said to be equal to, if not slightly slower than an Athlon 64 X2 running at the same clock speed without an on-die memory controller. The Yonah and Athlon 64 X2 systems consume relatively similar power at idle, however Yonah uses only slightly more power under full load. A 2GHz Yonah under 100 percent load consumes less power than an Athlon 64 X2 3800-plus that is idling, according to the review. Intel has the advantage of using a much lower power 65nm process, and Yonah will be running at very similar frequencies to what Dothan is running at today, which means users won't be giving up single threaded performance in favor of multi-threaded performance. [updated link]
XtremeMac has released the MicroShield for Apple's fifth-generation video-capable iPod, designed to protect the body and screen of the device while providing unobstructed access to the clickwheel, earbud jack, and dock connector. The crystal clear, two-piece shield snaps securely onto the front and back of the iPod and ships with two rear panels: one with a low-profile integrated belt clip, and one without. The rear panel design allows insertion of an iPod with the earphone jack facing either up or down for easy access. MicroShield is available for $25.
Popwire Technology today released updated versions of its Compression Master and Compression Engine, adding support for media coding to Apple's latest video enabled iPod and Sony's Playstation Portable (PSP). Compression Master 3.2.1 and Compression Engine 2.2.1 allow production of content for DVDs, internet, mobile phones, music services, television, and other types of digital media by reliably converting all common formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, QuickTime, DV, H.264, H.264 main profile, 3GPP, Flash, Windows, Real Media and AAC. Users of Compression Master choose which media file should be coded for the iPod the PSP, or both, and then apply a template, while Compression Engine moves the media coding process to the server space for more efficient media coding. Compression Master 3.2.1 is available for $500 (pricing for Compression Engine was unavailable).
Clear Channel is planning to experiment with video podcasts of its radio stars, and conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is set to be the first. Fans belonging to the Rush 24/7 club--which costs $7 a month and allows users access to commercial-free podcasts of the show, among other perks--will be able to get a daily 60-second videocast starting next month, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Media companies are racing to get their content to customers in new ways, and video podcasting is currently in the experimental stages as TiVo, Walt Disney, Time Warner, and others proceed to test the waters. Clear Channel hopes that the video podcasts will drive up fan loyalty. If the test-run is successful, it plans on expanding its video podcasts to other programs. [subscription required]
Apple may introduce its first Intel-based PowerBooks as early as January, which, together with robust sales of video iPods, should drive earnings higher, according to Citigroup. Analyst Richard Gardner's comments appear to corroborate reports by AppleInsider earlier this month, which reported that an Intel-based 15-inch PowerBook with a built-in iSight camera--much like the one in the newly redesigned iMac G5--is expected at Macworld Expo in January. Reuters reports that Gardner raised his target on Apple stock to $71 from $51 and boosted his earnings forecasts for the next two years, lifting AAPL by 10 cents to $68.20 in active morning trading.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Sonnet's PodFreq mini, an FM transmitter for iPod mini.... PodGear today announced the redesign of podgear.net, as well as the introduction of podgearstore.com--an online store stocking the entire product catalog.... One individual has set up a gallery with photos of the new Apple Store in Sendai Japan that will open on December 10th.... Gefen today announced improvements to its 4x1 HDMI Switcher, improving the HD video integration solution.... Veoh Networks today made available more than 3,000 free videos for easy download and transfer to Apple’s video iPod.... Griffin Technology today announced TuneBuds ($20, shown at right), a combination earbud and lanyard for Apple's iPod shuffle.
How2Share Technologies today launched Flixpo.com, its online source for free Apple iPod and Sony PSP video content which it claims is the largest independent repository available via the internet. Flixpo.com categories include movie trailers, independent shorts, and comedy reviews, among others. "Industry research shows there's not a lot of compelling digital video content available for iPod and PSP users. Our mandate with this site is to make it easy for consumers to get high quality, fast streaming content that is easy to access and is already optimized for their portable devices," said Colin How, president of How2Share Technologies. Flixpo.com video clip genres include "Indie Showcase," "Risque Ads," "Funny Ads," "Wild Kingdom," "Game Machinima," "Open Mike," "The Box Office," "Adventure Sports," "Popular Clips," and "Loading...Ready...Run". Accessing content requires streaming video clips directly from Flixpo.com, then transferring those clips to an iPod after importing them to iTunes.
A growing number of establishments across the U.S. are allowing customers to play their own music--often on Apple's iPod digital music player--to share their tracks in clubs and bars with other patrons. Brian Toro, manager of Bar Louie in Chicago said "everybody wants to be a DJ, people enjoy having a little control in their lives." Toro brings his own music into Bar Louie to play punk and rock songs for customers, while allowing others to play almost anything provided the music is upbeat, according to a report from the DailyNews. Some professional DJs are waiting for technology that will allow them to perform the mixing and scratching they do with vinyl albums on a single portable player, something they already do using laptops and special software or larger media consoles. Susan Barnes, associate director of the Lab for Social Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York sees technology encouraging people to socialize, contrary to many beliefs that the modern "iPod generation" hides in their headphones. "All this stuff is set up for people to meet other people, not isolate," Barnes said.
Apple's iPod was one of the hottest items this year during the Thanksgiving holidays thanks in part to Wal-Mart. The company, which did not carry the iPod last year, said that the company had a "philosophical argument" with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs over whether the iPod player should play music from more varied sources: "He won, we lost. Now we have Nanos in the stores," Fitzsimmons said, referring to the latest, smallest version of the iPod. Wal-Mart said Saturday its Black Friday sales were good, with strong sales of computers, dolls, portable DVD players and video games, although it didn't provide precise sales figures. Wal-Mart estimated that its sales at stores open at least a year - or same-store sales, a closely watched measure of retail performance - rose 4.3% in November, compared with its original forecast for a 3% to 5% increase.
Veoh Networks today made available more than 3,000 free videos for easy download and transfer to Apple’s video iPod. Veoh allows anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to broadcast their own TV show, or channel of shows, in full-screen television quality. Individuals and companies are already broadcasting content--from original cartoons, like Superman and Popeye to feature-length films. According to Veoh, the site features more than 10,000 user-produced videos on virtually every subject imaginable. Veoh is a described as a community of publishers and consumers, where published content is approved by editors.
Iomega today launched a new companion drive for Apple's Mac Mini: the new Iomega MiniMax Desktop Hard Drive is available in 160GB and 250GB capacities and mirrors the look of the Mac Mini. The stackable Iomega MiniMax Drive comes with integrated dual 3-port hubs for both USB 2.0 and FireWire peripherals, offering increased data capacity as well as improved connectivity. The MiniMax Drive is 6.5" square and 2" tall. A smart power switch allows the drive to power up and down in concert with the Mac Mini, and a specially designed active/passive cooling system keeps the desktop virtually noiseless, according to the company. Dantz Retrospect backup software is included for backups and data recovery for Mac users. The new Iomega MiniMax USB 2.0/FireWire Desktop Hard Drive is now shipping for $200 (160GB) and $250 (250GB).
Griffin Technology today announced TuneBuds, a combination earbud and lanyard for iPod shuffle. TuneBuds keep both the earbuds and shuffle handy around the wearer's neck. "Just snap TuneBuds onto the shuffle's USB connector, and you're up and running (or dancing)." TuneBuds' audio cable, integrated into the lanyard, keeps you free of excess cords and tangled lines. Griffin says that TuneBuds make no compromise on sound quality. The comfortable earbuds supply superb audio to please the most discerning listener. Tunebuds are available for $20.
MYOB today announced the sale of its US operations to Acclivity LLC, an entity owned by previous members of the MYOB US management team. Under the agreement, Acclivity will act as the exclusive US republisher for MYOB products and services as of December 5, 2005. Acclivity will "provide the same level of superior service and support that MYOB customers have come to expect, while aggressively seeking to grow its user base." MYOB Ltd. will continue to develop its small business accounting and management software for the US market, following the recent introduction of AccountEdge 2006. Acclivity says it anticipates expanding its existing products and services portfolio through development efforts and strategic partnerships, and will "actively listen to its customers for confirmation that its direction remains in alignment with the pivotal needs of small businesses."
Now AAPL Stock: 97.88 ( + 1.45 )
Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
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