Nuvvo, a free, on-demand elearning web service, today launched the eLearning Market, an online course marketplace where instructors can advertise their Nuvvo courses to the public for free. The eLearning categorizes listings by interest, offering details such as course name, portal, instructor, start/end date, and price (over 50 percent of current Nuvvo courses are free). "Nuvvo was the first elearning web platform to incorporate AJAX, and it continues to innovate by using RSS--with flawless Safari 2.0 integration--to syndicate course listings in the eLearning Market."It also brings Skype integration, allowing Nuvvo instructors to conduct live audio and video sessions with their students; however, the Mac version of Skype is currently limited to audio. Developed almost entirely on PowerMacs and PowerBooks, Nuvvo is e-learning's answer to Web 2.0, increasing usability and accessibility in online education, according to the company.
Microsoft says it is no longer developing a Mac version of its Windows Media Player for Mac, following the announcement of a separate five-year agreement with Apple to develop Office for the Mac and Messenger: "We have no plans to provide future updates or product support for Windows Media Player for Mac," Adam Anderson, Microsoft public relations manager, told CNET News.com. Microsoft said that it had a made a "business decision" to halt development and product support because it was re-examining its business priorities: "Our focus really is in delivering the best experience to Windows customers." Ironically, the announced followed its public "commitment" agreement to the Mac, but follows an agreement to distribute Telestream's Windows Media Components for QuickTime.
MindVision today announced that it has added Universal (universal binary) support to its Mac OS X installer product: VISE X 3.0, rewritten with Xcode, is described as a "major release" focused on allowing developers to build Universal installers that will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. It also brings new search/install locations based on the location of the installer bundle and new AppleScript commands for automating the process of building installers and updaters. Beause of the transition to Xcode, developers will need to convert their existing external code to CFPlugins. Pricing starts at $650 per year for commercial use and $500 for non-commercial use, while educational institutions can pay a one-time fee of $1000. A demo is available.
Netopia has announced that Timbuktu--its remote computing and collaboration software--is to add Skype integration with its expected February release of version 8.6. Skype integration will allow Timbuktu users to use Voice-Over-IP technology to speak to one another in real-time, and will add a sound component to distance learning--another application for Timbuktu--, according to The Mac Observer. The update will allow audio-only connections to users of Skype clients not running Timbuktu, and will be available for free to all currently existing customers of any version 8 product.
Fujitsu Computer Products of America is showcasing its ScanSnap easy-to-use color scanner at this week's Expo. The scanner boasts the ability to quickly convert paper documents to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The USB 2.0-enabled device features a dual 600dpi color CCD optical array, and includes the Fujitsu ScanSnap 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF). Fujitsu's ScanSnap scans 15 pages per minute, and offers automatic color detection with automatic blank page detection and deletion. Automatic de-skew and paper-size detection accompany its one-button scanning to PDF. The device is available for $500.
Our third showfloor gallery offers photo highlights from Logitech, Sonos, Insider Software, Logic3, AMCC, Softchaos, DLO, Fujitsu, FileMaker, Microsoft, and others. Sonos was showing off its new Zone Player, which was released last week, while Logitech displayed its upcoming wireless keyboard for the Mac. We also have a galleries of the pre-show, Keynote by Steve Jobs, the Apple Booth, and other parts of the showfloor.
Analyst Mark Stahlman today of Caris and Company reiterated an "above average" rating on Apple, but addressed some concerns for the company. The analyst noted concerns based on "less-than-exciting Mac sales growth as Apple transitions to Intel processors." Stahlman raised earnings-per-share estimates for fiscal years 2006 and 2007 to $2.59 and $3.06, respectively, from $1.91 and $2.33, according to a report from Forbes.com. Apple's updated guidance for the first quarter of fiscal 2006 displays a revenue split of two to one in favor of iPods over Macs, compared to "roughly even" sales in 2005.
XtremeMac announced the availability of the MicroPack for all dock connecting iPods. MicroPack includes an integrated Universal Dock, female Dock connector allowing iTunes synching, digital headphone amplifier that powers two headphone jacks, each with independent volume control, line out and video out, travel pouch, and Lithium Polymer battery technology to provide 80 extra hours of power to iPod. The battery charges using Apple's 30-pin cable and and USB power source. MicroPack will ship this spring for $100.
FileWave, provider of Mac OS X and Windows systems management software announced the release of the latest version of its software management suite, FileWave 2.5. The new features of FileWave 2.5 include upgrading a computer from Mac OS X Panther to Tiger, automated first-time network-based deployment of the FileWave software, management of software deployment based on hardware and software rules, remote control features through ssh, and Timbuktu and VNC support for transform files in the Patch Installer feature of the FileWave WinClient. In addition to these new features, FileWave has improved its cross platform compatibility with its client software running on Windows NT 4.0 through Windows XP, and Mac OS 10.2 to the latest release of Mac OS X Tiger. The multithreaded UNIX-based server daemon FileWave XServer runs on the latest release of Mac OS X Tiger, giving FileWave the ability to deliver and manage software on Macs and PCs from a central Mac OS X based server. Pricing is available by contacting FileWave.
Spiderweb Software today released Avernum 2.0, its fantasy role-playing game designed for anyone "who longs for an epic quest, enjoys a fascinating tale, or misses the classic days of Ultima and Wizardry." Players begin the adventure having been cast down into the dark, volcanic pits of Avernum. The pits are filled with foul monsters, constant warfare, and thousands of fellow prisoners. The new version offers full Mac OS X native support, and works on both registered and unregistered versions. The game features 3D 16-bit graphics, 80 towns and dungeon levels, a large outdoor area, and a complex storyline. Avernum 2.0 is available for $32.
MaxUpgrades today announced MaxConnect, its PCI bay internal storage expansion assembly for G5 Power Macs. The mounting assembly allows two additional disk drives to be housed in the PCI bay of a Power Mac G5 system, and is constructed from Aluminum to increase heat dissipation. When the storage assembly is used in conjunction with the CPU Bay mounting assembly, a total of seven disk drives can be installed which enables users to set up RAID 5 inside the system with five SATA hard drives alongside a separate boot drive. Pricing ranges from $80 to $120.
Boinx (booth 413) has updated both FotoMagico and iStopMotion. Boinx FotoMagico 1.5. Version 1.5 has ten new transitions which run natively on the new Intel iMac or MacBook Pro as a Universal Application, and allows users to use songs in live presentations and make slideshows match the length of the music track. FotoMagico runs on Mac OS X Panther and QuickTime 6.4, but OS X Tiger and QuickTime 7 are highly recommended. It is available for download immediately from FotoMagico with new license Keys priced at $80. iStopMotion also runs on Intel iMac and MacBook Pro as well as PowerPC based Macs and creates animated "flipbooks," which can be printed. The new Boinx iStopMotion 1.9 is available for immediate download. New license keys are $40 for the DV version and $350 for the HR version. A five day demo license for evaluation for either program can be requested at the website, and both are free for current license holders.
Our second showfloor photo gallery features Intuit, GizMac, OWC, Harmon Kardon, Quark, Gluon, MicroMat, EtchaMac, OmniGroup, Altec Lansing, and others. Products include JBL On Time, a new speaker/alarm clock system; Solio, who showed off a black version of the Solio solar charger and new hand-made Tread cases for both iPod nano and a laptop sleeve, and more. We also have a galleries of the pre-show, Keynote by Steve Jobs and the Apple Booth.
Some avid Mac users recently discovered that Apple's latest iTunes update--version 6.0.2--quietly communicates information over the internet about every song played, to Apple and apparently to a marketing company named Omniture. The traffic flows only as long as the iTunes MiniStore remains open, and only when users click on songs. An Apple representative--rumored to be Steve Jobs himself--said at the Expo that Apple discards personal information transmitted by the iTunes Ministore to the company while iTunes is in use. At first glance the information appears to be collected to display albums and tracks for sale by the artist whose song is currently playing, according to BoingBoing.net. [updated]
Apple has filed to trademark the term "Mobile Me." On January 5th, the company made four separate filings on the term, covering a wide range of technologies and services. The first filing presents "Mobile Me" as a computing device which could include "computer services; computer data recovery; data analysis being computer services; computer programming; updating of computer software; maintenance of computer software, computer and communications networks, and computer systems; research and development of computer hardware and software; website design, creation, hosting services."
In brief: Griffin Technology has announced that numerous copies of iFill LE software will be available free to Expo attendees at booth 1951.... Griffin today also announced SmartShare, a headphone/audio splitter designed for iPod users.... Small Dog Electronics today unveiled its Hippod carrying case ($25), a hip-mounted case and speaker combination for Apple's iPod.... Layers magazine today announced its Layers MacBook Sweepstakes, offering participants a chance to win Apple's new MacBook Pro featuring an Intel processor.... The hypnoticnetwork has posted its first look at Apple's iLife '06 software.... JanSport has announced that its Fall 2006 collection will feature several new backpacks and apparel--some of which will support Apple's iPod.
Slide announced today the release of the beta Slide Player for Mac OS X. Features for the Mac version Slide Player include scrolling player for watching RSS feeds from any website, feeds from Slide partners, photos from Slide members, automatic delivery of news feed items, alerts for new items, built-in managing and sharing capabilities, and instant creation of photo feeds by dragging-and-dropping from iPhoto or the desktop into the Slide Player. All Slide Players are linked to the Slide.com website where members find and subscribe to feeds as well as create and share their own photo feeds.
Research in Motion (RIM) and Information Appliance Associates (IAA) today announced a liscensing agreement whereby RIM will offer PocketMac for BlackBerry to Mac users. PocketMac for BlackBerry is a desktop application that enables Mac users to synchronize data between their BlackBerry devices and Macintosh applications including OS X Tiger applications and Microsoft Entourage. PocketMac for BlackBerry synchronizes the email, contacts, calendar, tasks and notes of Microsoft Entourage, OS X's Address Book and iCal, Now Contact and Now Up-to-Date, DayLite, and Stickies, among other applications. It is expected to be available as a free download from BlackBerry beginning in February.
InterServices New Media today announced the immediate availability of Mediaboard ONE 1.4, the media cataloging and asset management application built for Mac OS X. Mediaboard ONE enables creative professionals and power users alike to manage their images and movies. It keeps track of the locations of media files (whether they are on a CD/DVD, an internal disc or on a network server), catalogs and organizes them and provides ways to find them fast when the user need them. New features include support of Surveillance Folders (Hot Folders) to repeatedly check Mac OS X folders for changes, Light Table to compare images and run up to 4 movies at a time on a split screen, definable maximum thumbnail size based on file type, and Smart Folders to save search results. Mediaboard ONE 1.4 is available in English and German starting today. The upgrade is free for existing users. New licenses can be purchased online starting at $40 per Client. The 5-user Workgroup Server is available for $600 and the 10-user Workgroup Server for $1,100.
Neuros made available the new MPEG4 Recorder . The recorder is a digital VCR from which the user can create open digital files to use on all MPEG-4 compatible devices like the iPod video and Sony PSP. The recorder works like a free-standing VCR that hooks up to a TV and records onto digital memory cards instead of VHS tapes so that the created MPEG-4 video files are directly playable. The recorder works with iPod video, but MPEG-4 files must be transferred from the recorder to a Windows PC before downloading to the iPod. The recorder features four recording quality settings, upgradeable firmware from Neuros Technology, and three resolution settings. Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 is priced at $150, shipping immediately.
Accellion announced Mac OS X support for its Courier File Transfer Appliance. Accellion's FTA supports browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Netscape Communicator, and Internet Explorer for Mac OS X to provide users with an intuitive interface, end-to-end file security, and policy-based file lifecycle management. Accellion's Courier FTA allows users to transfer information by offloading files from email and FTP servers onto the Accellion secure file transfer appliance. File transfer recipients receive a link from the sender, through which they can access the file without putting strain on the IT resources of their organization, and can be used in multi-site enterprise environments (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
XtremeMac today debuted its HomeShow and RoadShow cable kits, designed to turn Apple's iPod players into home or auto entertainment centers. The HomeShow cable package can connect iPods to most speaker or video playback devices, while the RoadShow is an all-in-one cable that connects the video iPod to in-vehicle DVD entertainment systems as well as the DC power system. The RoadShow and HomeShow will be available in mid-January for $50 each.
Objective Development today unveiled Universal Binary versions of LaunchBar and Little Snitch, while Cocktail 3.7 has also added support for Apple's new Intel-based Macs. The update to Cocktail also offers enhanced Automator actions, and addresses compatibility issues. LaunchBar is a utility that provides instant access to applications, documents, contacts, bookmarks, and more. Little Snitch informs users any time an application attempts to send information over the internet, which can reveal spyware and adware, as well as trojan horse infections. Cocktail is a general purpose utility for Mac OS X that offers a mix of maintenance tools and interface tweaks, accessible via a comprehensive graphical interface and toolset.
Small Dog Electronics has announced the immediate availability of their Hippod carrying case. This is in addition to several recent products releases from Small Dog intended to accompany the iPod. Small Dog carries iPod accessories from many companies as well as their own iPod accessories, like the Hippod. Hippod for iPod is a hip-mounted carrying case and speaker combo. The Hippod for iPod includes a 1-year factory warranty and is priced at $25.
With the success of Apple's iPod, an industry of accessories for the digital media player has sprung up around it. Now there are lines of clothing being announced. Levi Strauss expects to debut the RedWire DLX jeans this fall, priced at $200. There are jackets with iPod-sized pockets inside and control pads built into sleeves, and gloves (pictured at right) with special material at the thumb and forefinger tip for controlling the iPod's clickwheel-- entire companies are being formed to create accessories for the digital lifestyle. Apple has embraced this market, with its "Made for iPod" initiative, in which companies are encouraged to develop merchandise that works with the music player, and are given the marketing label in exchange. Apple announced that there are more than 700 products bearing the "Made for iPod" logo on the market or in development, assuring customers that an electronic accessory has been designed specifically to connect to iPod and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.
Looking forward to Intel-based Macs, many hoped that they would be ableo dual-boot Windows XP and Mac OS X. However this is not the case, according to a report from BetaNews. The report says that Apple's use of the extensible firmware interface (EFI) rather than BIOS, current Windows releases will not run on the new Macs. Limitations in Windows itself will prevent its use on the new Macs, and Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said the company would not specifically block the use of Windows on Mac hardware.
Apple is closing in on Dell's marketcap. Following its record $5.7 billion revenues and 14 million iPod shipments in the December/holiday quarter and new Intel-based Macs, Apple's stock is trading at an all-time high--near $85--giving the company a market cap of $72.29 billion. As of market-close yesterday, Dell was closer to $73 billion. According to one blog post, Gateway's marketcap is $1 billion, while Microsoft is around $288 billion--or about 4 times that of Apple's. Given the company's record holiday quarter, several analysts have raised their fiscal 2006 and 2007 estimates as well as raised their price targets. The official December quarter financial results will be released next week on Wednesday, January 18, 2006. [Marketcap numbers drawn from Yahoo!]
After years of bad publicity and dubious sales, it appears that Apple can do no wrong. Examining "The Media's Crush on Apple," a BusinessWeek columnist says that scores of media articles are written predicting outcomes of sales, product innovations, and speculations into Steve Jobs' personal life. Even when Mac sales are sluggish in comparison to iPods, or Apple continues to fail to capture the corporate-computing market, the stories about Apple that are actually covered are the positive. Even the Associated Press deems Apple product announcement worthy of their breaking-news wire feed: "Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveils an iMac computer based on Intel Corp.'s chips, just six months after the historic partnership was announced between the two once-unlikely Silicon Valley bedfellows."
Apple has posted a Safari Update 1.3.2 for Mac OS X Panther users, bringing many of the same changes as the updated version in Mac OS X 10.4.4, which was released earlier this week. Apple says the update improves website compatibility, application stability and support for third-party web applications. The 3.8MB file is available via the Web and the Software Update in Mac OS X.
Apple's latest advertisement--which aired for the first time during Jobs keynote speech at the Expo on Tuesday,--apparently took Intel by surprise. The ad claims that for years, Intel's chips have been "trapped inside PCs--dull little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks." Apple's ad says that the Intel processor will finally be set free, but Intel's vice president Deborah Conrad responded to these claims yesterday in an interview. "Never would we characterize our customers that way," Conrad stated. The exec said that Intel cooperated with Apple for some particulars of the TV spot, but added, "We didn't know what the end result was going to be," according to a report from CNET News.com.
Tune Belt (booth 2047) announced the availability of new Open View Armbands for iPod nano and iPod video (pictured at right). The design fits the iPod right-side-up or upside-down so that the iPod screen is viewable when on the arm. All new Open View Armbands also feature a clear protective window cover that allows users to operate the Click Wheel, and openings to access the hold button, insert the earbud jack, and a flap to store excess earubg cord. The armband strap on the iPod Video model can be adjusted up to 20 inches, while the Nano version adjusts from 8-18 inches, and both models are priced at $18.
Merill Lynch has raised its guidance for AAPL, following similar upgrades by Morgan Stanley and UBS (yesterday) as well as Bear Stearns (today). However, Merill maintained a 'neutral' rating on the stock, saying that the Intel transition brings both opportunities and risks. Raising the firm's estimates for iPod sales, analyst Richard Farmer said that the majority of the increased guidance is driven by Apple's higher-than-expected iPod sales, which were ahead of Merill's expectations for the hoiliday quarter.
Research firm Bear Stearns upgraded Apple stock to outperform from peer perform, citing an improved revenue and earnings growth rate, reduced risks for transition to Intel and an increased clarity into new products, according to MarketWatch. "The stock was last up $1.05, or 1.3%, at $84.95 in Instinet pre-open trading, after closing at an all-time high on Wednesday. Analyst Andrew Neff has set a price target of $105, and raised his 2006 earnings estimate to $2.53 a share from $2.12 and his 2007 forecast to $3.14 a share from $2.42, due to a less-than-expected seasonal decline iPod sales in the fiscal second quarter and an earlier-than-anticipated transition to Intel. According to the reort Neff feels the risks to the transition to Intel chips have diminished since Macs represent a lower portion of total revenue than a year ago.
Griffin today announced SmartShare, a headphone/audio splitter designed for iPod users. The accessory enables users to share music and videos with a friend and is designed for "car trips, plane flights, waiting rooms--anywhere you're in the mood to share. Plug SmartShare into the mini-jack of any iPod, MP3, CD, portable DVD player or laptop computer and invite a friend to a party of two. Since some partygoers like their music and soundtracks louder than others (you know who you are), Griffin has integrated a slim volume control slider into each of SmartShare's output jacks. Share your music, not your volume preferences." It is priced at $20 and will begin shipping in February.
IntelliScanner today unveiled the new IntelliScanner Pro 400, its complete solution for business inventory and barcode scanning on Mac OS X and Windows. IntelliScanner Pro can be used with popular business applications such as FileMaker Pro, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel, or with the product's included IntelliScanner Business Essentials commercial software suite for inventory control, media management, and asset tag creation. "IntelliScanner Corporation delivers innovation in 2006 for small and medium sized businesses with the IntelliScanner Pro 400," said Travis J. Hicks, Product Manager. "It's everything you need to track assets, automate business processes, and do more with barcode technology." IntelliScanner Pro 400 includes the scanner, software package, and pre-printed asset tags, and is now available for $400. The scanner requires a USB 2.0 port (also USB 1.1 compatible) and Mac OS X 10.3.
Freeverse today announced it will be publish Heroes of Might and Magic V for the Macintosh, under exclusive worldwide license from Ubisoft. Currently in development for the PC, Heroes V brings the popular strategy franchise into a new era with "cutting-edge technology and a breathtaking, fully 3D animated world." Due after the after the release of the PC version, the Mac version will offer a scalable turn-based battle system for challenging tactical combat as well as the option of a new Active Battle System for faster play. Players will be able to choose from more than 200 skills, 170 creature abilities and 40 spells to build up heroes and armies.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE