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Software MacKiev today announced today the release of free Universal updates for three of its best-selling Mac software titles: 3D Weather Globe & Atlas ($40), The Print Shop for Mac 2.0 ($60), and the 2006 World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia ($60). The Universal updates allow the three products to run natively on Apple's new Intel-based Macs. Software MacKiev also released benchmark test results that show that the updated products run up to three times faster on the new Intel Macs when compared to the equivalent Power PC machines. All three Universal updates are available as free downloads from Software MacKiev's website.
Microsoft's Windows operating system--not the company's popular Xbox--helped boost profit for the company in its second quarter, along with the successful launch of a new server product. Microsoft this week posted slightly increased--up about 5 percent--earnings of $3.46 billion on increased revenues of $11.84 billion, which were up 9 percent from last year. Meanwhile, Forbes notes that the Xbox reportedly fell slightly short of its sales target. Microsoft loses money with each Xbox, according to AP. The home and entertainment division, which sells the console, posted a $293 million loss for the Christmas quarter, a quarter in which it earned $55 million the year before largely because of the Xbox loss-leader. In contrast, Apple earlier this month reported a record profit of $565 million on on record revenues of $5.7 billion.
Last week, M-Audio announced support for Apple's Intel Macs with several of its USB- and FireWire-compatible products soon available. M-Audio posted beta drivers at this year's NAMM for the entire FireWire-compatible family of products, including FireWire 410, FireWire 1814, and the new ProjectMix I/O, as well as Fast Track USB and Fast Track Pro. M-Audio said that it is currently working on Intel-Mac support for the rest of its USB interfaces (availability and pricing were unavailable).
In brief: Pangea Software announced the release of Otto Matic 3.0 ($20), a new Universal binary version of its popular game.... The new Intel Macs are selling strongly, ahead of Apple's initial expectations.... Apple execs are said to be "thrilled" with the numbers of orders and pre-orders for the new iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro.... Google's attempt to take on iTunes is "stumbling" in its first few weeks, with users reporting difficulties finding prime time TV content... Amazon is set to offer its own version of a video download service. Options on the table include offering video downloads to customers who are waiting for the arrival of their purchased hard-copy DVD... This year's sixth annual MacBowl bowling fundraiser raised $27,000 in cash and equipment directed at San Francisco's Marshall Elementary School, which serves an at-risk community, and stresses a strong emphasis on science, math, and literacy; funds and equipment raised through the MacBowl event allow students to receive training and access to the lastest and best technologies.
Google has admitted making mistakes during the launch of its Google Video store, one of the major competitors to Apple's iTunes. Vice President Marissa Mayer said that television shows available for sale were not promoted well enough, making it difficult for customers to purchase shows like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," and "Survivor," according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report, which also stated that the high bar set by iTunes' video download service is making it rather difficult for other companies like Google to follow suit. David Pogue of the New York Times said that the Google video store is "appallingly half-baked," according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Other problems yet to be ironed out of Google video are the copy-protected shows which block users from viewing them from any device not connected to the internet. Google has recently changed its website design to facilitate easier searching and downloading of video content, according to the report.
Amazon is set to develop a digital download service for the DVDs available on its site. Amazon is considering a few options for its streaming video service which would differentiate its service from that of iTunes, such as allowing a customer to stream a movie and credit the purchase against the price of a DVD. iTunes does not currently link video sales to non-digital content and only offers outright download purchases of content. Amazon does not want to divert sales from its DVDs, according to Variety; however, it wants to use streaming video to help drive DVD sales.
Pubblog.com has released MailSteward 5.0, an upgrade to its email archiving solution for the Mac. MailSteward archives email in a relational database for easy access and safe backup. Version 5.0 now supports non-English languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Greek, etc and also runs as a Universal Binary for both PowerPC- and Intel-Macs. "Email applications, like Apple OS X Mail or Microsoft EntourageX or Eudora, are very good at sending and receiving email, but they are not really designed to efficiently and safely and smartly archive and access thousands of emails." Users can select email by date range, keywords, mailbox, subject or from fields, and more as well save, export, or print results. The application will optionally store attachments and merge several database together. The Cocoa application supports Mac OS X 10.4 and is available for $30.
Nisus Writer Express 2.6 ($70) is an update to Nisus Writer Express, adding a new optional WYSIWYG font menu, smart to straight quote conversion and vice versa, and document selection restoration when reopened. Also featured are German and French localization and a preference to reopen the last set of documents when Express is launched. Nisus Writer Express 2.6 requires a Mac G3 or better with Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - [options]] Sticky Windows 1.2 ($15) is a utility for Panther and Tiger which extends tab browsing into the desktop. Sticky Windows transforms the user's windows into tabs when a window is dragged towards the end of the screen, allowing the user to show and hide the window by clicking on its tab. Each tab displays the window title as well as the associated application icon, and each tab's icon displays a contextual menu with show/hide, close tab, and switch fuctions. [Download - 1MB] BugReporter 1.0.3 ($50) is an update to the developer tool for creating crash logs. BugReporter captures Mac OS X "crash logs" allowing them to be sent directly to the developer, aiding developers in identifying the location and cause of any crash in their applications. It is now a Universal binary, and has improved support within a plug-in environment such as Photoshop. BugReporter can be used from either Carbon or Cocoa applications, and supports both Xcode and CodeWarrior, requiring Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 1.1MB] Troi Text Plug-in 2.8.1 ($40) allows FileMaker Pro to combine sets from two text fields, get unique lines and sort words and lines, make a text sum from a related file that updates without a script, and parse XML text into fields. New features include changing the Sum Text examples back to the original FMP7 format, merger of BookIndex.fp7 and Pages.fp7 into one example file, an updated user guide and FileMaker Pro 8 conversion note, and some bug fixes and corrections to the example files. [Download - 808KB] Pod2Go 1.6.2 ($15) takes any iPod (except shuffle) and expands its capabilities by putting a variety of textual content onto it. Textual content options include news, RSS, weather, movie showtimes, stock quotes, song lyrics, text documents, horoscope, driving directions, gas prices, applications, backup, and more. [Download - 2.28MB] Calendar X 10.2.7 and MoosePad X 10.3.1 are now both available as Universal binaries. Calendar X ($30) is a multi-discipline calendar with diary, astronomical tables, and ISO Week calculator/Day calculator, with several new features and bug fixes. Calendar X requires Mac OS X 10.3 and up. MoosePad X ($20) for Mac OS X is a replacement for Apple's Note Pad and ScrapBook. MoosePad X stores memos in a database using strong encryptions, with each database password protected, and extensive Drag-Drop editing supported. [Download - MoosePad, Calendar]
Parliant today began shipping version 3.1 of PhoneValet Message Center, its Mac telephony product for small businesses, homes, and home offices. In addition to automated dialing, call screening, call blocking, call logging, call recording and forwarding messages via email, the new version of PhoneValet adds an unlimited number of voicemail boxes, the ability to transfer incoming calls and permit any caller to initiate Mac-based remote control processes from anywhere in world. Version 3.1 offers unlimited voicemail boxes and unlimited announcement choices. PhoneValet Message Center's phone adapter hardware and application software combination is available for $200. A download of a PhoneValet 3.1 software upgrade is available to existing PhoneValet Message Center 3.0 customers for free, and $30 per line for v2.0 owners.
The recent fuss and conclusions over iWork's sales numbers is just a distortion of sales data, according to one analyst. While iWork's US retail sales may have surged in 2005--in part due to sales cycles--the recently reported data doesn't paint an accurate picture on the overall sales of the the "office" productivty suites. Countering a recent CNET News.com article suggesting that sales of Apple's iWork is second only to Microsoft Office, Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research says that the iWork sales numbers represent a small fraction of the overall market and are disproportionately larger than other suites because of the products' sale cycles and because the numbers only reflect a single channel of distribution: US retail sales, a fractional part of both Corel WP and Microsoft Office sales.
Chronos today announced that Universal application versions of its entire product line are now available for Intel-based Macs. The company has released native versions of SOHO Organizer ($100 integrated productivity suite), SOHO Contacts ($50 contact organizer), SOHO Calendars ($50), SOHO Notes ($70 digital notes application), SOHO Print Essentials ($50 professional layout applicaton), SOHO Business Cards ($30), SOHO Labels & Envelopes ($30), SOHO Signs (free sign creation tool), StickyBrain ($40 note manager), and F10 Launch Studio ($30 application launcher). "We’ve been using Cocoa for over three years and that decision really paid off when it came to building Universal versions of our applications,” said Robert McCullough, Chronos’s vice president of Development. “All we had to do was flip a switch to compile for Intel processors and the rest is history. Plus, now that all of our software is written in Cocoa, we can just as easily take advantage of future innovations from Apple.”
Apple is becoming the next Sony of the computer and consumer product industry and may be readying new iPod-like HDTV "living room" products, according to a new analyst report. Research firm Bear Stearns said that Apple has multiple growth opportunities ahead, increased visibility into Apple's product roadmap, and reduced Intel transition risk, according to Forbes. "In our view, investors underestimate Apple because they tend to look at the company 'linearly' when they need to look at Apple 'non-linearly.' In light of the recent developments in the film industry, the bigger picture is that Apple is emerging as the nexus of digital lifestyle revolution," according to the company analyst Andrew Neff.
Apple has backpedaled on its plans to charge Aperture owners a fee to obtain the Universal Binary version of its recently introduced professional photography application. Earlier this month, the company announced that users of its professional applications, including Motion and Final Cut Pro, would have to pay $49 for the Universal Binary "cross-grade," allowing them to run the applications natively on the new Intel-based Macs. Apple is now offering a free Universal Binary upgrade to new and current owners, according to a note on its website: "A Universal version of Aperture, which will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Mac computers, will be available before the end of March 2006. New and existing owners of Aperture will be able to crossgrade to the Universal version at no additional charge via Software Update." Users of Apple's other professional applications will still to have to pay the $49 "cross-grade" fee. A report from earlier this month also says that Apple will also no longer sell individual applications within its Final Cut Pro Studio application.
Macs are the top choice of consumer purchasing computers at Amazon.com. Mac systems occupy eight out of the top ten positions in Amazon's "Top Sellers" listing, boding well for Apple's sales number this quarter. Apple's new Intel iMacs appear to be selling well along with the high-end model of the MacBook Pro; however, many of Apple's PowerPC-based Macs, including the iMac G5 are on the list. The top sellers were Apple's 17-inch iMac Core Duo for $1,175 (after rebate) and 20-inch Intel iMac for $1550 (after rebate). Apple's 12-inch iBook ($900 after rebate) is No. 3 followed by the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro ($2,350 after rebate). and the 12-inch PowerBook G4 ($1350 after rebate). Apple's low-end MacBook Pro for $1850 (after rebate) is No. 6, while the previous-generation iMac G5 is No. 7 at $1175 (after rebate) and the 14-inch iBook is $1,175 (after rebate) is No. 8. Sony and HP laptops for $2,100 and $900 (respectively) round out the top 10.
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Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ