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Logic Pro 7.2 for Intel
Apple is showing an Intel-native version of its high-end audio application, Logic Pro 7 at the NAMM music show in Anaheim, Calif, according to a new report. Ahead of schedule in its development, Apple reportedly will release the new Logic Pro 7.2 update in February 2006, according to Macworld. The professional audio application was shown on the NAMM show floor with exceptional performance: "The performance is stunning and has met my already high expectations," said Dr. Gerhard Lengeling, Apple senior director and lead architect audio/music apps. Version 7.2 also increases compatibility with important third-party hardware and software as well as brings a host of other new features, such as improved support for Pro Tools, ReWire, and Garageband 3. Crossgrades to the Intel-native Logic Pro 7.2 will be $50.
\"Gadget of the Week\"
Apple's new iMac Core Duo is TIME magazine's Gadget of the Week. The mini-review of sorts touts the speed and performance of the new iMac as well as the revamped iLife '06 suite and the new video option that provides an extended desktop for greater workspace area--rather than just mirroring the contents of the main screen: "Perhaps you're thinking about upgrading to one of the new Intel Macs, either the iMac or the 15-in. MacBook Pro due out in February, but you're worried that your old software won't work well. Here's the deal: Apple has asked its software partners to compile programs in a "universal" format, which means they'll have two sets of execution code written side by side. Anything that isn't written for Intel will be handled in the computer's background. You won't have any kind of "Classic" environment popping up. The catch is that a few of Apple's higher-end programs won't work this way, including Final Cut Pro, Motion, [etc.]"
NewsFire 1.3 (16 pounds) updates the RSS feed reader by adding a streamlined borderless appearance and support for site icons, as well as compatibility with Apple's new Intel-based Macs. Version 1.3 improves ease-of-use with newly-designed Web- and search-feed addition panels, a "next new item" button, and an improved menu layout. The update also offers a new, more fault-tolerant and feature-rich RSS/Atom parser.
[Download - 739KB]
Xfolders 1.0 (free) is the first non-beta release of the file manager for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The application supplements the Finder and offers compatibility with Norton Commander. Version 1.0 has been completely rewritten for Tiger as a Cocoa application, and features drag-and-drop support between both file lists and the Finder. Additional features include an info dialog for changing file/folder attributes, intelligent path nagivators for both file lists, and bookmarks for folders. [Download - 957KB]
EditLab Pro 5.0 ($100) is a digital photo color correction utility available as a standalone application or an Adobe Photoshop plug-in. The update offers one-click black/white conversion, one-click Sepia tone, the ability to define neutral preferences, and the ability to view clipping of shadows/highlights. Version 5.0 offers advanced toning controls, sharpening, and noise removal functionality.
Switch 1.05 (free) is an audio file format converter for Mac OS X that can convert audio files from many different file formats into MP3 or WAV files. The application is designed to be easy to use, allowing users to add files to a list for conversion and allowing selection of the preferred format. Switch converts WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, AAC, WMA, AU, AIFF, OGG, MSV, DVF, VOX, ATRAC, GSM, DSS and other formats into MP3 or WAV. The MPEG Layer-3 encoder supports constant or variable bit rates from 8 to 320kbps with optional error correction and stereo modes. [Download - 842KB]
dbSketch 1.0 ($100) is a new programmer-oriented database design tool available for Macintosh that supports the popular Mac open-source databases such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, in addition to the most popular commercial db, Oracle. It features instant SQL import and export, in-place and modal editing, and extensive presentation-oriented options. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is compatible with Universal Platforms. [Download - 1.7MB]
Bookit 3.7 ($12) synchronizes bookmarks between multiple browsers, and creates identical bookmarks for all browsers. The update adds Shiira browser support, fixes numerous bugs with the Bookmark Menu support in Camino, and adds icons as well as live-updates to the preview menu. The new release also restores Mac OS X 10.2.8 support, and fixes a bug that would cause upload procedures to .Mac to fail for some users. [Download - 912KB]
Apple\'s mini packaging
In Brief: Apple is now shipping its new iWork '06 and iLife '06 software on DVD-only disc in new mini packaging (also available from the Apple Store).... ShaggyMac has updated its line of laptop accessories with Kool Feet ($5), which provide a straight-forward solution for missing, worn or deficient original laptop feet.... Jumsoft's today released Process 2.0 Beta 2, a new version of its outlining/project management applications that offers Smart Projects, Collaboration (via Bonjour), Styles, Multiple sources, iCal sync, Spotlight support, etc.... A new tutorial shows how to record a Podcast in Garageband using 2 USB headsets.... A new study found that using the iPod--or similar MP3 device--can greatly improve doctors' stethoscope skills.... Saunders has announced a new hard case for iPod nano and Video: the Rhino Skin (pictured above).
iTunes usage skyrockets
Traffic to Apple's iTunes website and use of its iTunes application has skyrocketed 241 percent over the last year, from 6.1 million unique visitors in December of 2004 to 20.7 million in December of 2005, reaching nearly 14 percent of the active internet population across the globe. A recent study by Nielsen NetRatings found that teens are disproportionately represented among iTunes users; 12 to 17 year-olds are nearly twice as likely to visit the iTunes website and use the application as the average internet user. iTunes users are also more likely to be male, according to the study; the iTunes website traffic is 54 percent male and 46 percent female. "The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace," said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics for Nielsen NetRatings. "Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time," Gibs said. [updated]
IK Multimedia releases
IK Multimedia is starting off the new year with many new product releases. IK is celebrating its 10th anniversary by releasing its first hardware line, a range of controllers and audio cards for the guitar and bass market-- AmpliTube 2 and Ampeg SVX, AmpliTube StompIO, and Classik Studio Reverb. Also up for future release is the "Bundle Series" collection of music production tools, which include the Guitar and Bass Bundle, Workstation Bundle, Effects Bundle, Studio Bundle, Effects Bundle Deluxe, and Studio Bundle Deluxe. Each bundle contains between two and seven of IK Multimedia's production software applications (pricing and availability were unavailable).
Podcasting spec changes
Apple today sent an email to podcasters, letting them know about its revised and expanded guidelines: "Since you've got an active podcast listed in iTunes, we would like to let you know about a few valuable new resources: First, the technical spec has been revised and expanded. Check here for all questions or problems related to your podcast, or if you're interested in enhancing the appearance of your listing with iTunes-specific tags. There is also an Apple Discussions Forum exclusively for podcast producers. If you have a question or a problem that the technical spec cannot answer, the community of iTunes podcasters there should be able to provide valuable guidance."
New FileShare 5.5
Lava Software is now shipping PC-Mac-Net FileShare version 5.5, a file sharing and remote movie and music playback controller. It operates over Local Area Networks (LAN) and the internet, allowing one computer to simultaneously control movie and music playback on multiple remote computers. The software offers instant playlist creation, the display of music track, title, and artist information, and workgroup reconnection, turning the user's computer into a media center and file server. Versions are available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux for $15 per computer.
OS X Tiger books
Two new books helping users understand and use Mac OS X Tiger are now available. Peachpit has released a new book by Adrian Mayo, Mac OS X Unix 101 Byte-Sized Projects ($35). The book covers basic Unix commands and concepts; how to browse the file system and work with filenames and file content, basica and advanced sell scripts, and more. O'Reilly's latest book, Running Mac OS X Tiger ($40) intructs readers how to create accounts for users and system processes, schedule tasks and monitor the system, look in-depth at HFS+ and Tiger's Journaled file system, tweak preferences by hacking plist files or using default commands, establish Open Directory and Directory Services, and more.
Intel iMac teardown
Apple's new Intel-based iMac carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) cost of $873, and uses Intel's mobile 945 core-logic chipset to support Intel's Core Duo processor. The teardown--performed by iSuppli--reveals an estimated microprocessor cost of $265, while the two-device chipset carries a cost of $45. Intel's CPU and Mobile 945 chipset together account for 35 percent of the new iMac's total BOM, and the chips are designed for use in notebook PCs rather than desktops. The new iMac carries a $25 manufacturing/test cost, raising the BOM to $898. The cost estimate does not, however, account for other items included in the box with the iMac such as the keyboard, mouse, and documentation. Apple's new low-end Intel-based iMac is shipping for $1,300 from the company's online store.
Disney looks beyond iTunes
Walt Disney said it has sold 1.5 million downloads via iTunes, but will look to expand beyond iTunes, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter. Disney executives have admitted they are seeking iTunes competitors, such as Google, to further their distribution abilities. Disney Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs noted that using iTunes "has not been a giant mover in terms of the bottom line," but that iTunes is "an important catalyst for where the business is going." The company noted that iTunes sales were not reducing the value of the shows' other income streams, including advertising and syndication.
Rhino skin for Nano
Saunders announced a new hard case for iPod nano, the Rhino Skin. Made with a 100 percent aluminum backing and clear polycarbonate front, the Rhino Skin case is shatter- and heat-resistant. The case offers easy access to the Click-Wheel, function buttons, charger port and headphone jack, while providing protection. A lanyard and removable belt clip are included. The Rhino Skin is available for $30 for the iPod nano and $35 for both the 30GB and 60GB iPod video models.
iMac Duo vs. iMac G5
In Brief: In addition to Apple's free DTK-for-iMac upgrade, Apple's ADC Hardware Purchase Program offers Premier developers up to 10 discounted Intel iMacs, while Select and Student developers are entitled to one discounted iMac.... Apple says that Widgets/Internet plug-ins should be compiled as Universal Binaries, as Rosetta will not be used because the DashboardClient process behind each widget launches natively.... A reader video comparing iMac startup times demonstrates that the iMac Core duo is significantly faster than its iMac G5 couterpart.... BeLight Software has released Universal Binary versions of all of its productivity applications, including Swift Publisher, Mail Factory, Business Card Composer and freeware Image Tricks.... Apple has confirmed that that Final Cut Pro and other FCP Studio applications will no longer be available separately.... XtremeMac has expanded its line of Sport Iconz iPod cases to include Major League baseball as well as new versions for the iPod video. [updated]
M-Audio\'s new Podcast app
M-Audio today introduced Podcast Factory Deluxe, the company's latest podcasting solution. Included in-box is an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, two Nova condenser microphones with desktop stands, Ableton Live Lite 4 software to record audio and add a soundtrack to the recording, and Red Square Podifier software to generate an RSS feed for posting to the web and user subscriptions. The MobilePre USB offers users a new feature that allows for routing of VOIP services through the driver in order to record phone interviews. Podcast Factory Deluxe will be available in early 2006. M-Audio currently anticipates that Podcast Factory Deluxe will begin shipping in February 2006 with a price of $300.
ML lowers FY05 estimates
Merill Lynch today reduced its 2006 earnings estimates for Apple, while offering an increased March quarter estimate compared with Apple's "conservative" guidance. The stock, which reacted negatively to the company's March outlook, is currently trading down more than $3.00 (3.7 percent). Merill analyst Richard Farmer, who said that the Intel-transition could affect the company's sales and maintained a "neutral"-weight rating on the stock (with a "high" volatility risk), while saying that higher-than-expected stock-option expenses would reduce the company's overall fiscal 2006 earnings. Normalizing the 'historical conservatism' by Apple, Merill estimates that the company will earn $0.50 per share on revenues of $4.8 billion, which is higher than management's outlook of $4.3 billion and $0.38.
Music dominates earnings
Apple's December earnings were driven by record sales of iPods and its strong music business. The company posted a profit of $565 million, which was driven by sales of nearly 14 million iPods, and revenues of just over $5.7 billion--both of which were historic milestones for the company, surpassing all other quarters in its history. The 207 percent year-over-year increase was fueled by demand across the globle from over 35,000 points of sale and along with over 2000 accessories, generated 59 percent of the company's overall revenue. Apple also previously announced it had sold 850 million songs and 8 million videos via the iTunes Music Store, which operated at just above "break-even" for the quarter. Despite the historic earnings, the company's stock price fell due to a conservative forecast, in part driven by Mac sales pause as people waited for the new Intel. Analysts noted Apple's conservatism and offered higher guidance, but some saw Apple's stock expenses weighing down earnings for the 2006 fiscal year, while others increased estimates, but cut their target price.
Basesoft has announced CodeLine, a new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing full-fledged native Mac OS X applications in object-oriented BASIC language. It includes support for system frameworks like Cocoa and WebKit, and can produce Universal Binaries. CodeLine uses standard GCC (compiler) and GDB (debugger) also used by XCode, can import NIB files, transparently generates intermediate Obj-C code that can be imported in XCode projects, has Dead Code Stripping, and smart compilation that only compiles classes and modules that have been modified, among other features. CodeLine is still under development. A 'Public Preview' will be available in a few weeks and promises regular updates until the release of CodeLine 1.0. (Pricing not available.)
Digital music tops $1B
Digital music sales have broken the $1 billion barrier, and Apple's iTunes Music Store is still leading the way. Apple sold 14,043,000 iPods during its last quarter alone, while the iTunes Music Store accounted for 83 percent of legally downloaded music in the month of December. The IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry) said digital music sales tripled to $1.1 billion from $380 million in 2004, and predicted "further significant growth" this year, according to a report from the Financial Times. Music lovers legally downloaded 420 million tracks in 2005--20 times more than two years ago--even as music licensed by record companies doubled to more than two million songs. Digital music now accounts for roughly 6 percent of record companies' revenues. iTunes currently reaches 90 percent of the global music market and has sold 850 million songs and 8 million videos to date.
Digidesign at NAMM
Digidesign (booth 6606, Hall A) today introduced a range of new products designed to work with Pro Tools 7 software as well as the purchase of Trillium Lane Labs, a developer of effects and utilities plug-ins for Pro Tools systems, including the TL Space convolution reverb and the TL EveryPhase phaser plug-in. Pro Tools 7 is a digital audio workstation solution with recording and editing capabilities for audio and MIDI, supporting a full array of hardware interfaces and peripherals, for which Digidesign is releasing several new products.
MacNN review, PC sales
In brief: MacNN has reviewed FotoMagico 1.5, Boinx Software's that creates slide shows from digital photos.... Two market research firms--IDC and Gartner--have said lower prices and preferences for notebook computers should continue to lift sales this year.... Five Speed today updated its iGet Mac file transfer software, adding support for Intel-based Macs.... The only working anti-virus software currently known to run on Apple's new Intel-based Macs is reportedly VirusBarrier from Intego, leavingClamXav and Norton Antivirus 10 users without a current upgrade pathway.... GBM Digital Technologies and Apple are set to host two free seminars in the UK to showcase Aperture, Apple's all-in-one post-production tool for photographers.
TechRestore 160GB upgrade
TechRestore has begun offering a 160GB laptop drive upgrade as part of its overnight upgrade service for PowerBooks, iBooks and PC Laptops. The new upgrade features the first 160GB drive upgrade available for laptop users, which was announced earlier this week. The service includes overnight pickup of the customers laptop from any location in the continental United States, installation of the new drive with data transfer within 24-hours and return overnight shipping back to the customer. In addition, the company returns the customer's old hard drive with a backup of their data. Customers can also choose to have their old hard drive installed in a portable case for $20. The 160GB overnight upgrade is $490, which includes all shipping costs and installation as well as a one-year warranty from TechRestore and a five-year warranty from the manufacturer.
\"Actual\" video iPod coming
Needham and Co. analyst Charles Wolf today raised his earnings estimates for Apple, but reiterated a "hold" rating with a $71 target due to Apple's current valuation-- despite higher targets by both Citigroup and Piper Jaffray. Wolf expects new product introductions by Apple to accelerate in 2006 and that the Intel-transition will "materially" increase Mac sales; he also said that the "actual" video iPod will make its debut in the the first half of 2006. Many believed that the first iPod video model, which debuted in November, was a "holdover" to grab attention and marketshare, while the company was feverishly working on an improved version for release at a later date. The analyst also said that Apple will announce new "major content deals" in the coming months as well as try to move into the living room with a revamped Mac mini, although he does not expect the much-rumored "iPhone" to be introduced in 2006.
Fiber optics cables
Gefen has announced new DVI and HDMI all-fiber cables for HD displays. Most HD devices are subject to electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can corrupt data and slow down information processing, but the use of fiber optics in lieu of copper helps to remove those issues, according to the company. All-fiber versions of both DVI and HDMI cables are available in varying pre-cut lengths with either DVI or HDMI connectors on both ends to support digital video computers, audio/video sources and displays. Prices vary from $105- 3,075 , depending on cable length (25-1000 feet) and cable-type.
$103 target for AAPL
Piper Jaffray today said it viewed the weakness in Apple stock--following record earnings but a "disappointing" Q2 outlook--as a buying opportunity, holding steady on its end-of-2006 price target of $103, despite cuts by other analysts. "We would be buyers of AAPL shares on the pullback today as we believe March quarter guidance will prove to be conservative given that Apple's strategic plan, competitive position, new product roadmap, and market opportunity, remain unchanged." Acknowledging the sales slow down in late December as users waited for the new Intel-based Macs, analyst Gene Munster said his own research showed the Intel slowdown in December "was a reality, but muted." It expects the that Apple's second fiscal quarter ending in March will benefit from the demand around the new Intel-based MacBook Pro, which it says should more than offset the impact of customers waiting for Intel-based PowerMac and iBooks.
MLB Sport Iconz cases
XtremeMac today expanded its line of Sport Iconz iPod cases to include Major League baseball. The Iconz Sport MLB joins XtremeMac's other lines of limited edition sports casings for iPods. The cases are molded to the iPod's specific size, featuring fully licensed team graphics on the front, protecting the iPod from scratches and nicks. The Sport Iconz cases allow for Click Wheel play-through, and are usable on iPod video for $30, and iPod nano for $25. [updated]
Citigroup cuts AAPL target
Citigroup cut its price target on Apple from $85 to $82, after the company offered a conservative outlook for the second quarter and despite record first-quarter results. Shares of Apple were down since Wednesday's marketclose, when Apple reported its earnings. According to NewRatings.com, the broker said Apple's revenue guidance of $4.4 billion was well below its estimate of $5.1 billion, but "chalked a significant portion of the gap to conservatism." The firm said that Apple's stock would represent a buying opportunity if the stock dipped below $70, but that the firm sees no near-term positive or negative catalysts, according to the report.
AmpliTube 2.0 due in Feb
IK Multimedia today announced that it will ship AmpliTube 2.0 in February. The sequel to IK's award-winning guitar amp and effects plug-in, AmpliTube is a major upgrade and a completely redesigned new application, offering "everything needed to craft your own signature guitar tones with 5 separate modules, including Tuner, Stomp, Amp Head, Miked Cabinet and Rack Effects on 2 series/parallel guitar rigs." Version 2.0 features 14 Preamps and EQs, seven Power Amps, 16 Cabinets, six Microphones, 21 Stomp Effects, and 11 Rack Effects make. It also includes over 80 guitar gear emulations with popular amp models (based on Fender, Vox, Marshall, THD, Supro, etc.) as well as 21 stomp effects available from accurate modeling of rare vintage effects pedals. Users can also choose between serial or parallel connections between two simultaneous guitar-rigs. AmpliTube 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and will ship in February for $400 (€330).
Ampeg SVX due in Q1
IK Multimedia and Ampeg have have offered new details on Ampeg SVX, the first bass amp plug-in that features over 20 bass gear emulations, including classic Ampeg bass amp models like the SVT Classic, B15W Portaflex "Flip Top", BA500 and SVT4 PRO. Powered by AmpliTube's unique DSMTM (Dynamic Saturation Modeling) technology, it can be used to emulate analog and tube circuitry. The bass-rig plug-in features multiple amps, cabinets, stomps and tuner, allowing users to mix and match between amps and cabinets to produce 24 different bass amp combinations. Ampeg SVX features four modules (Tuner, Stomp, Amp, Cabinet +Mic selection/placement), four signature Ampeg-modeled bass amps (SVT Classic, SVT 4 PRO, BA500 and the B15 Portaflex), and six signature Ampeg cabinet models (1x15, 2x10, 2x12, 2 models of 4x10, and 8x10) as well as eight analog-modeled stomps on six slots with flexible routing. It is due in the first quarter of 2006 for $400 (€330).
Classik Studio Reverb
IK Multimedia today announced Classik Studio Reverb (CSR), will ship later this month. CSRTM offers a suite of 4 high-end studio-quality reverb plug- ins modeled after popular outboard classics. "Now everyone can afford the high quality and superior sound of signature reverbs once only found in expensive world-class studios." The complete suite of studio quality reverbs offers four high end reverb plug-ins. Hall, Room, Ambience And Inverse--all of which are designed to emulate the sounds of acclaimed high-quality outboard reverb units. CSR offers both Easy and Advanced modes along with more than 100 editing parameters as well as a Modulation Matrix with an 8x8 structure, enabling users to manipulate eight modulation sources and eight destinations. It also features four customizable Macro controls which allow complex sweeping changes in Classik Studio Reverb's effects. It runs on a 866MHz Power Mac G4 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. It will ship later this month for $400 (€330).
WSJ on Disney-Pixar
Disney is in "serious discussions" to buy Pixar after months in which the two animation giants have been exploring ways to continue their lucrative partnership, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report says that Disney would pay a "nominal premium to Pixar's current market value of $6.7 billion in a stock transaction that would make Pixar [and Apple CEO] Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney, according to people familiar with the situation. That would vault Mr. Jobs into an even more influential place in the media world, where he already holds tremendous sway as head of Apple." The agreement would help bring the most successful producer animated movies, while its Disney's feature animation department is in the midst of a still-uncertain transformation and would also give Disney greater access to a stable of new characters that could be leveraged across the Disney empire. Jobs is the largest shareholder in Pixar, with slightly more than 60 million shares, or 50.6 percent. [registration required]
USBPhone for Mac OS X
Chwang Yi Company today announced the availability of the USBPhone, which the company claims is the first USB phone handset for Skype users to include full-featured control application software for Mac OS X systems. "While the USBPhone works perfectly with either Mac OS X or Win XP systems, the key value it offers today is to users of OS X 10.3 and 10.4, because of the USBPhone control application that is included. Until now, doing things such as adjusting ringtones, assigning keypad buttons, setting number presets and so forth have not been possible for these Mac users. Now, they are, with this new phone and software." The USBPhone works with any Mac or PC running OS X 10.3 or higher, or Win XP. The USBPhone includes a CD with the Win XP software. The Mac OS X software is a free download from the Chwang Yi web site. The USBPhone is shipping starting today for $24. [updated]
\'Universal\' Finale coming
MakeMusic has announced that the next version of Finale, its popular music notation software, will be released as a Universal application, with native support for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. "Many of our Macintosh users are very excited about the recent release of new Intel-based Macintosh computers," stated MakeMusic's chief marketing officer, Ron Raup. "We want to let all our Macintosh users know that we're committed to supporting this important and exciting development for Macintosh in Finale 2007 once it is released later this year." While a release date for the next version of Finale has not yet been announced, MakeMusic typically releases a new Finale upgrade annually -- the most recent version, Finale 2006, was released on July 25, 2005, according to the company.
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