Contour Design today introduced two new cases for Apple's latest generation of iPod digital music players with video, the Showcase video 60 and Showcase video 30. The new clear cases open and close in a "book-style" fashion, and include shock-absorbing rubber to prevent accidental damage from drops. An enlarged headphone port accommodates oversized high-end headphones, and the cases feature a secure streamlined latch. Designed for the active lifestyle, the cases allow for easy access to all of the controls and can be taken anywhere with a horizontally mounted belt clip. Both the Contour Showcase video 60 and video 30 are priced at $33, and the Showcase video 60 is available now. The Showcase video 30 is slated for shipment in late March.
FileStorm 1.9 ($20) is an easy-to-use tool designed to quickly package and deliver Mac OS X software products. The update is free for existing users, and are available as Universal Binaries to provide native compatibility with Apple's Intel-based Macs. The update also fixes issues regarding the background image not displaying, icon positioning not being retained, and icon label placement not being set correctly. FileStorm installers now use WebKit to display HTML tags, and the FileStorm application itself now requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 4MB] Atomic Mac 6.4 ($25) updates the periodic table of the elements and nuclear database for the Macintosh, adding data for the Bulk, Shear, and Young's Modulus, as well as Poisson Ratio information. The Atomic Mac also contains a wealth of nuclear information on each isotope, including half life, decay mode, and daughter products. Overflow 1.5 ($15) allows users to launch applications used on a semi-regular basis without taking up space in the Dock. Version 1.5 is available as a Universal Binary to run natively on Intel-based Macs, and fixes various compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.4. Overflow offers a fully customizable interface, and provides two-click access to applications, documents, or folders. [Download - 264KB] MyProject 1.1 ($15) updates the software that tracks projects, tasks, and to-do lists. Version 1.1 adds a message preview feature in the browser, and fixes some bugs with the send mail function. My Project features customizable labels to easily change project status, and can send mailing lists or import emails from Address Book. The application also offers a customers list, can email selected customers, and boasts a simple intuitive user interface. [Download - 2.3MB] iSale 3.0.4 ($40) is the latest iteration of equinox's application for eBay auctioning, available as a Universal Binary to run natively on Intel-based Macs. Version 3.0.4 is localized for German as well as French, and includes more design templates. The update extends various features such as Amazon and eBay import plug-ins, enhanced picture handling, and Google Map integration for numerous countries outside the U.S. [Download - [form]]
Kensington has unveiled a variety of new accessories for Apple's iPod digital media player which include two new iPod shuffle products, a new Entertainment Dock for iPods, and iPod speakers. The sx2000 Speakers for iPod (£100) is an all-in-one white speaker system that features a built-in dock to recharge an iPod while playing audio via the dock connector. Another product, an Accessory Adaptor for the iPod shuffle (£15) connects to the Shuffle's USB port and emulates the standard dock connection found on other iPods, according to Macworld UK. The Entertainment Dock 500 (£70), which supplements Kensington's existing Stereo Dock for iPods, is designed to form part of a home multimedia system. Kensington has also launched an FM transmitter in the U.S., which the company hopes to include as part of its U.K. offering pending a review of government legislation banning the sale or usage of such devices, according to the report. [updated]
Despite concerns of a sales slow down due to the Intel transition, one research analyst believes that Apple will post March quarter results that in-line with expectations--or perhaps, even slightly better than expectations. Forbes reports that Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster maintained a rating of "outperform" with a 12-month price target of $103; according to the report, Munster told clients that Apple will at least meet expectations this quarter--based in part on his January checks with specialty resellers and unit shipment data from the NPD Group: "Specifically, our checks with Apple specialist resellers last week indicated that they are not experiencing a significant slowdown in Mac sales" due to customers waiting for Intel based Macs, according to Munster." The firm also noted "significantly better" iPod availability and said that Apple was "on track to meet or slightly exceed our iPod unit assumptions."
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Yojimbo 1.0 ($40), an easy-to-use filing cabinet for electronic information.... O'Reilly Press has released a new title dubbed "Photoshop CS2 RAW" ($35), written for anyone serious about digital photography.... MacMonkies is offering two new icon sets from Faneramx and DesignMood, as well as three new Desktops.... Today, February 24th, marks the birthday of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was born in 1955.... PhotoVu today announced a new software release enabling PhotoVu owners to download public content from four popular photo sharing services.... The Thomas Pink tailoring company has added to its iPod compatible shirt with a tie (£50, shown at right) that conceals the iPod nano.
iPod mania is alive and well in Japan--one of the most competitive consumer-electronics markets on the planet--thanks in part to a slick marketing campaign, according to a new report. The company continues to outsell other competitors by a wide margin--including Sony on its own home turf, according to BusinessWeek: "Despite an array of well-entrenched Japanese rivals, such as Sony and Matsushita, the iPod had cornered 51.3% of the digital-music player market as of the end of 2005, up from about 32% in 2004, according to research firm BCN. Sony was a distant second with 16.2%, while Panasonic grabbed just 8.2% of the market." The success has been in part due to Apple's marketing campaign, which was selected by the Nikkei Marketing Journal as the best of 2005; however, the mobile phone threat looms: "A bigger threat is the growing sophistication of mobile phone-based music in Japan. Cell phones are frequently discussed as potential iPod killers, and Japan's carriers are pushing the hardest to make that a reality."
For the most part, Google in the recent past has left Mac users to fend for themselves by releasing very few applications which support Apple's operating system. Now the company has offered good news for Mac users everywhere via its official blog, unveiling three new widgets for Mac OS X 10.4 or later: "the Blogger widget enables quick and easy posting to your blog. Checking your Gmail inbox becomes a matter of pressing F12 with the Gmail widget. And the Search History widget allows you find that website you saw last week while searching Google."
Apple's latest move to keep certain parts of its Darwin source-code secret has some developers wondering about the project's future viability. With the release of Intel-based Macs, the company has begun to limit the developer access to key components of the operating system, leaving many frustrated with Apple's open-source efforts. The move, some speculate, may be related to related to recent hacker efforts to run Mac OS X on generic Intel-powered computers. Noting other frustrating aspects during the evolution of Apple's open-source efforts, Rob Braun of Daemon News says that the company's latest move to not release source to key components of the OS, such as the kernel and all drivers is likely to continue push developers away from Apple's open-source Darwin project. "This means Darwin/x86 is dead in the water; Darwin/ppc has many closed source components and is a deprecated architecture."
Boinx Software today released that Boinx Mousepose 1.3--a tool designed to help draw attention to the mouse during demos at tradeshows, presentations, trainings or high resolution displays--is available for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. The update now supports Intel-based Macs and works with Keynote 3, following changes made by Apple to the application. "With the Mousepose application running in the background, hitting a user-definable hot key turns on the Mouseposť effect, dimming the screen and putting the mouse pointer into a spotlight that makes it easy to locate. The desktop behind it remains functional, so that applications can be used while Mouseposť is turned on." The application is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Apple's former director of video product marketing Mike Evangelist is calling for a boycott of next-generation HD video products--including HD-DVD and Blu-ray--claiming that the industry is trying to take away "fair use" from customers. In a new blog post, Evangelist says said that the industry is moving to taking away content ownership from end-users "I really want you to understand whatís going on with the video industryís push towards HD. They are engineering a complete removal of the concept of fair use. They are setting up systems that will completely control how, when and where you can use content that you buy. Even worse, they can retroactively change the rules!" The post points to an AAC (Advanced Access Content System) announcement that notes an "analog sunset"--an agreement to end support for traditional analog playback after a certain date.
OnScreen Science, today announced a free preview version of OnScreen DNA, its software for learning about DNA structure and function. OnScreen DNA has been designed to give science teachers and learners a fully 3D and dynamic tool for visualizing and understanding DNA. The preview has many features of the full version, including the ability to rotate the virtual DNA double helix in 3D, identify all DNA component, and zoom in/out to obtain different perspectives; it also allows users to go through the beginning of the gene transcription learning activity--the first of six activities in the full versionn. The final version of OnScreen DNA will be released as a Universal Binary in first half of March 2006. The preview runs only runs on non-Intel systems with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The company also offers OnScreen DNA Lite ($50, $174 for 10-pack), which consists of a detailed walkthrough of DNA's structure and the phenomena of denaturation and renaturation; it runs on PowerPC-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.3 or later (a native Intel version is due in March).
Shekinah today released VertiBevel 2.0, a multi-polygon, multi-step beveling plugin for Lightwave 3D. New features include bezier tools, radius round-off tool, per-step surfacing, multiple undos, pre-built custom menus, major CLI enhancements, new beveling modes and more. "The original VertiBevel was a must-have in any Lightwave modeler's toolbox; VB2 even more so. With its ability to accurately create bezier curves and round angles to a specified radius you can quickly create accurate profiles for any task. Add to that the powerful command line interface tools and you can refine your bevels with all the options inside the interface directly in Modeler to get the exact effect you need quickly and easily." Pricing is $100 for new licenses, and $50 for upgrades. VertiBevel 2.0 will be available for download on Monday, February 27th and will run on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
MaxUpgrades today lowered prices on its MaxProtect II, an impact resistant rigid cases for Apple's 12-, 15-, and 17-inch PowerBooks. The MaxProtect II Rigid cases offer maximum protection against shock and impact by restricting the movement of the laptop by providing a snug cushioned interior space. Available to fit all PowerBook sizes, the synthetic leather case features a low size-to-weight ratio, cushioned velvet interior for scratch protection, and a external handle for easy portability. The case weighS just under 2lbs for the 12-inch model, 2.5lbs for the 15-inch model, and 3lbs for the 17-inch model. It is available for $45 (17-inch), $40 (15-inch), and $35 (12-inch).
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl