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NaviPlay Bluetooth headset
Ten Technology announced that its naviPlay Bluetooth stereo headset--which is capable of streaming high-fidelity stereo music from Bluetooth stereo-enabled MP3 players or mobile phones--is packaged with the naviPlay Bluetooth Adapter for iPod, and is available from Apple's online store and other retailers. The naviPlay headset allows users to make and receive calls with most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, creating a hands-free wireless music experience. The device incorporates a discrete DSP and Wolfson Codec chipset similar to those used in Apple's digital media players, while the unit's headband wraps over the wearer's head rather than behind the neck. The headphones fold flat for easy storage, and boast three-axis adjustment. The naviPlay Bluetooth Headset kit for iPod is priced at $200, and works with all recent iPod models including the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano.
MOTU ships PCIe 424 card
Motu today announced that it is shipping a new PCI Express version of the PCI-424 card, allowing users of the company's PCI-based recording system to take full advantage of newer PCIe-equipped systems. A fully-equipped PCI-424 core system with four 24-channel 424 interfaces can deliver 96 simultaneous channels of both input and output at sample rates up to 96kHz. Alternatively, a core system equipped with four HD192 interfaces can deliver 48 channels of both input and output at 192kHz, and all I/O channels operate as a unified mix matrix under the PCI-424 card's CueMix DSP mixing engine. The earlier PCI-X 3.3 volt version of the PCI-424 card is also still available, which is suitable for older computers that have 3.3-volt PCI-X slots.
Speaker Dock 2 ships
Nyko Technologies has begun shipping the Speaker Dock 2 for Apple's iPod, a charging cradle that allows iPod owners to listen to the device while simultaneously charging it. Designed as a lightweight, compact docking unit, the Speaker Dock 2 features a round base with two built-in acoustically balanced BDD Pro speakers. An included line-in audio cable allows the device to be used as external speakers for many other audio devices. A pass-through audio cable dock connector located in the back of the stand allows file transfers, while iPod video owners can tilt the stand to view videos at various angles. The cradle can be powered by the AC adaptor or four AA batteries, which are included. Speaker Dock 2 is compatible with all iPod models, and is priced at $100.
EzGold Video Cable ships
EzGear has begun shipping the ezGold Video Cable for video-capable iPods, claiming the device is the easiest way to share your iPod's videos and photos with friends and family. The cable allows the iPod to perform like a VCR, DVD player, or DVR, according to the company. Users plug one end of the ezGold Video cable into the earphone jack of an iPod and the other to the back of a television. The cable is constructed from shielded wires with protective sheathing to reduce signal loss and interference, while gold plated connectors provide an improved connection to both the iPod and television. The ezGold Video Cable for iPod is available for $20.
Intel transition difficult
Shares of Apple today fell nearly two percent to $66.37, while Thomas Weisel issued a research note stating that the transition to Intel is "proving difficult." The firm said its checks with Apple specialist resellers across the U.S. found soft demand for Macs, and a lack of supply for Intel-based notebooks, according to MarketWatch. A majority of the resellers expect the transition to have a negative impact on Apple's current quarter, according to Weisel. The analyst firm maintained its peer perform rating, as well as its current earnings estimates. Weisel dubbed the stock's valuation "high but reasonable," growth opportunities considered.
Bluetooth iPod gateway
Tekkeon has announced that myTalker, which the company claims is the first Bluetooth gateway for iPod, is available in stores. The small device pairs with any Bluetooth mobile phone to enable users of MP3 players--such as Apple's iPod--to make and receive calls while listening to music. Rather than requiring a dedicated headset, myTalker uses the music headphones to carry phone call audio. The microphone, which clips to a shirt or collar, and the phone controls are built into myTalker, negating the need for direct access to the phone. Buttons on myTalker enable users to increase, decrease, or mute the call volume, or use advanced calling features such as last number redial, voice dialing, conference, and call waiting. MyTalker is available for $80, and is compatible with all iPods, as well as any MP3 player equipped with a standard audio jack.
Notebook wall-mount kits
Hubbell Automation today launched a new series of wall-mount kits for Apple notebooks called the "Book mount," and revamped its existing line of Mini mounts for Mac minis. The Book mount is available for of Apple's currently-available laptops, and optionally ships with a backlighting feature to produce a glow around the notebook. The company has added cable management to its Mini mount product, which is now available in clear, white, fluorescent green, and fluorescent orange. The Book mount is priced at $80 for all iBooks and 12-inch PowerBooks, or $105 with backlighting. Alternatively the Book mount is available for $125 or $100 for the MacBook Pro and 17-inch PowerBook model with or without backlighting, respectively. Hubbell's Mini mount is available for $50, or $70 with the backlighting kit.
G5 chirps, AAPL in Torino
In brief: Ars Technica has published a commentary on Apple's usage of low quality analog electronics, which can produce a "chirping" noise from the power supplies of some Power Mac G5 systems and a hissing sound from the new MacBook Pro.... NBC's graphical effects within its coverage of the Olympics in Torino is powered in part by 15 Power Mac G5 computers running on an Apple Xsan over a Fibre Channel network.... Actor Louis Lombardi, who plays the role of computer guru Edgar Stiles on the FOX show 24, spoke in an interview about the problems with his Mac and his experience with Apple support.... Denon recently spoke out against devices such as Apple's iPod Hi-Fi, stating that "these are all just overgrown boom boxes and they only work with iPods".... One MacNN reader received his copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 4, noting that "its a dream, what a grreat new tool".... The iTunes Music Store was named best digital music store at the Music Week Awards 2006 in the UK.
Apple retail in Toronto
In Brief: A third Apple retail store may open in Toronto by the end of the year in Sherway Gardens mall, following reports of second (unopened) store in the Eaton Centre... The Beijing Macintosh User Group, Beijing's international Macintosh community, is launching a new English-based MacInChina.com website dedicated to the Mac in China.... Big Nerd Ranch Europe announces the popular PHP 5 Bootcamp in Germany , which takes place from May 8-12, 2006; it covers the "ins and outs of PHP 5 development" and costs $3500 for lodging, all meals, original instruction materials, 24-hour lab access, and transportation to and from the airport.... HappyBirthdayApple.com is collecting tributes and messages for inclusion in a commemorative book to be presented to Steve Jobs and the crew at Apple for their 30th Anniversary in April.... Apple Computer last month filed for a trademark on the term "MacBook," which may hint at a re-branding of its iBook consumer notebook product line later this year... A $67 billion deal to buy BellSouth Corp. puts AT&T back on top of the telephone industry -- but this time, it is just one of many rivals in a high-technology race to dominate telecommunications, television and the Internet.
Pope gets new iPod nano
A group of Vatican Radio employees gave Pope Benedict XVI a new iPod nano loaded with special Vatican Radio programming and classical music according to a Pocket-Lint report. The custom Nano had "To His Holiness, Benedict XVI" engraved in Italian. "We don't have a huge gift to give to the Pope, but we do have small signs of our work" to give him, said Vatican Radio's general director Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. The report says that that the Pope replied by saying that "Computer technology is the future". Pocket-Lint notes that the Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight different languages.
BBEdit 8.2.5 fixes bugs
Bare Bones today released BBEdit 8.2.5, a maintenance release that fixes reported issues and adds minor refinements to its HTML and text editor. BBEdit v8 introduced over one hundred new features and improvements, including a new Documents Drawer and Navigation Bar interface for working with multiple documents in one window, new Text Factories for intra-application text processing automation, numerous enhancements to the product's signature HTML markup tools, improved Unicode support, integrated support for Perforce and Subversion, integrated support for Automator, and much more. The BBEdit 8.2.5 update package is available free of charge to all registered BBEdit 8 customers. BBEdit 8 requires Mac OS X 10.3.5 or later and is available for $200. A crossgrade price of $100 is available to any registered TextWrangler user, and to owners of Mailsmith, Adobe GoLive or Macromedia Dreamweaver.
Creative Manager Pro 8.2
Creative Manager has released version 8.2 of its Creative Manager Pro flagship software. The update includes a redesign of Billing Worksheets module, which now electronically routes the billing worksheets to Account Executives for online review and comment. "Account Execs are now able to electronically mark up these forms and quickly re-route them back to accounting for final review and billing. And since the process is entirely online, Account Execs can make their comments from any location (even while on the road). AE's can print billing worksheets to a PDF file or paper on demand when needed. The company also said it has streamlined the entire billing process. In addition, the web-based software offers full Project Management, CRM, Digital Asset Management, billing and accounting, and Extranet functions. (Pricing not available.)
Inquisitor, Netflix Freak
Inquisitor 2.5 (€5) updates the Safari search extension that brings live instant search results, suggestions, and user-configurable alternate search engines to Apple's Web browser. Version 2.5 allows users to configure the instant results search engine to a local variant, and includes a space-saving search engine dispatch widget for users with many alternate search engines configured.
[Download - 296KB]
Netflix Freak 2.3 ($15) updates the application designed to manage rental queues for the Netflix service. The update offers support for Netflix Profiles, a simplified experience when adding new movies to the queue, and Keychain support for securely retrieving saved Netflix passwords. Version 2.3 also provides quick IMDb, Google Movies, Rotten Tomatoes, or Amazon searches. [Download - 1.2MB]
Energy Schedule 1.0 (free) reveals a Mac's queued power events, which are manipulated by software applications that use those events to aid automation and schedule changes in the computer's power state. The Dashboard widget presents a small disc showing a summary of the next event, and allows users to flip the widget to reveal all pending events. The widget displays due time, the event, and who scheduled the event. [Download - 90KB]
DropWaterMark 3.5 ($17) is a cross-platform application designed to easily watermark images to protect them from theft. The update features shadow, beveled, or embossed text. Version 3.5 also offers a redesigned "configure watermark" option for faster loading/saving, a new default image preference, and numerous minor bug fixes. Watermark options include two different line text marks, an image, or set borders for pictures. [Download - 2.2MB]
ViewTunes 1.0 ($12) is a new music player designed to offer a better way to enjoy the iTunes Music Library. An intuitive interface allows users to visually browse music collections with album artwork, organized by artist or album name. ViewTunes is not meant as a replacement to iTunes, but rather complements it with the ability to manage large amounts of information through an interface that focuses on the music itself. [Download - 4.1MB]
FretPet 1.0.3 ($30) is a unique guitar-oriented music sequencer, and an educational tool for learning music theory. The application serves as a controller for software-based synthesizers, while providing a reference for things relating to notes, chords, keys, and scales. The update is available as a Universal Binary, offering native support for Intel-based Macs. Version 1.0.3 also adds visual feedback to the circle palette. [Download - 3.2MB]
Iogear MiniView USB KVM
Iogear today launched its new low-cost, 4-port MiniView USB KVM Switch (model# GCS634U). The new KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) allows users to share their favorite music and video files among desktops and laptops. It connects to HDTV (High Definition Television) with VGA (Video Graphics Array) input. "By linking a USB wireless keyboard and mouse to the KVM switch, users can watch home videos, play their favorite CDs, surf the Internet and control computers' desktop functions from the comfort of their couch." The compact KVM switch stacks directly under the Mac mini and fully supports multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Sun and Linux. It comes equipped with two built-in cables and features two extra ports and two additional detachable cables. The device comes with a unique USB 'Sniffing Technology,' allows multiple computers to be booted simultaneously, and supports 32-bit color resolutions of up to 2048 x 1536. The self-powered 4-port MiniView USB KVM Switch is priced at $130 and is available immediately.
Apple retail stores in UK
Apple may be moving to significantly expand its retal operations in the UK by adding up to 20 new stores, according to a new report. Cushman & Wakefield director Chris Braithwaite told the Scotsman that Apple has asked the real estate firm to find new locations, which the publication speculated would "more than likely" include Glasgow and Edinburgh, once Apple can secure prime locations: "Apple wants to open in the 20 best retail locations in the UK. It has told us just to get on and find the space," Braithwaite told the Scotsman. Apple's managing director in the UK, Mark Rogers, noted that Apple has been succeeding in the education markets: "One of his most significant achievements has been in the education sector, where Apple has recently displaced the PC manufacturer Dell to take the No1 spot in western Europe, with a market share of 15.2%. It represents a particular win for Rogers given that, in the US, Apple remains second to Dell." The report notes a similar increase in Apple's marketshare in the UK education market, which is at 12.5 percent. Earlier today we noted a report on plans for new Apple Stores in Germany and a third location in Toronto.
Mac OS X compromised
One hacker was able to gain control of a Mac OS X machine within 30 minutes, according to a new report. ZDNet Australia reports that Mac OS X was hacked within 30 minutes using an unpublished security vulnerability. The "gwerdna" hacker, who was able to quickly gain root access to the Mac, was responding to a "rm-my-mac" challenge issued in late February by a Sweden-based Mac enthusiast. While the hacker said that the Mac could have been better protected, he said that it would not have made a difference, as he exploited a vulnerability that has not yet been made public or patched by Apple, according to the report. "Gwerdna" said that Apple's OS--often touted as more secure than its Windows counterpart--is "easy pickings" when it comes to vulnerabilities and that relatively low marketshare leaves most hackers uninterested in the platform. Although Apple has quickly responded to new virus and security threats published in the past month, other researchers still believe that old flaws in Mac OS X leave the OS vulnerable to attacks.
Keyspan TuneView system
Keyspan today announced its new TuneView system (remote, dock, and adapter) which users to control an iPod as well as Apple's iTunes software. Featuring an LCD screen and two-way RF connectivity, the TuneView Remote displays the contents of your music library. On display at CeBIT (Hall 25, Stand E62), it offers ability to play/pause, adjust volume and change tracks as well as view the contents of the iPod. The included dock features a powerful ARM7 processor and two-way radio, while the remote features a 2-way radio and color LCD screen. "Keyspan's TuneView technology enables information about your music to be transmitted from the iPod dock to the remote's LCD, allowing you to control the iPod as if it were in your hands."
AOL opens AIM platform
In Brief: Apple now employs an ally of Tom DeLay, a Republican lawyer well versed in redrawing congressional districts: "The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker now employs Joby Fortson, a former aide to Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, according to The New Yorker Magazine."... AOL today announced the creation of a new Open AIM initiative designed to allow developers to build new plugins and custom communications clients based on the popular AIM platform using its new AIM SDK, which features support for AOL's proprietary protocols.... One of this year's top short comedies created during Campus MovieFest was featured on The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, and CNN. "55: A Meditation on the Speed Limit" was created using Apple laptop with iLife, camcorder.... An Infoworld blogger notes that Apple's online support site does not support early beta versions of Internet Explorer 7.... Modiba Productions today announced that the trailer for "Africa, New York," its first feature length film, is now available for the iPod video.... Apple general manager and vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Pascal Cagni will speak at the Jupiter Research Plug.IN Digital Music Forum in London on March 15.... A Japanese website has posted a screenshot of a 1.5GHz Intel Core Duo-based Mac mini, although Apple only offers a single-core version for particular processor speed model. [initial entry corrected]
Apple retail in Germany?
Apple is planning on opening a new retail stores in Germany and is also prepping a third location in Toronto, according to new reports. AFX reports that the company will "open several retail stores in Germany," citing a report by WirtschaftsWoche: while the report offered no concrete details, it cited "unnamed real estate industry sources in an advance copy of an article to appear in this week's edition. The sources said that Apple has registered the Apple Retail Germany GmbH corporation in Munich and that it could open shops there as well as in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin." Meanwhile, new job postings for part-time and full-time employees indicates that a third Toronto store is in the works, while another report says that it will open by the end of the year in Sherway Gardens mall on the city's west side--about 10 miles equidistant fromt the existing Yorkdale and future Eaton Centre stores.
QuickerTek today announced The PowerBook Connect, which it says is the easiest way to get increased wireless performance without disassembling a PowerBook. The external device sets up simply using a web browser, enabling AirPort and AirPort Extreme-enabled PowerBooks and desktops with increased wireless range without opening up the computer or attaching to the internal AirPort cards. It requires power, but can connect to an USB port USB or use an AC adapter or an optional internal battery model. PowerBook Connect ampllifies the wireless signals going in and out of the computer, offering 200mW of power--more than six times the power of the PowerBook's 30mW in the PowerBook--and features a 2dBi antenna. QuickerTek says the device offers many other advantages over the AirPort Express, including a larger buffer for improved performance, better mobility with both USB- and battery-powered options, easy access to the RF port connector, and a more sensitive receiver than the AirPort Express. It is available for $200 or $230 (with battery).
PPC-7448 PBG4 upgrade
Daystar Technology has announced a new PowerPC 7448-based processor upgrade for the 1.67GHz PowerBook G4. The "XLR8 MAChSpeed 7448 Aluminum" is a factory installed upgrade and is expected to be available within the next month. The first "customer" upgrade has already shipped as a "pre-release" edition of the forthcoming product, according to the company. The new upgrade offers a 1.83GHz G4 processor and 1MB of Level-2 cache for optimal performance, but is limited to the 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 due to hardware restrictions that prevent the use of the 7448 in earlier systems. In real-world (Photoshop) benchmarks, the 7448 performs 20 to 30 percent faster than a 7447A at the same MHz. Overall the XLR8 MAChSpeed 7448 Aluminum provides 30 to 60 percent more performance for PowerBook users, according to the company. The upgrade requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later. The upgrade includes shipping, testing, installation and "100 percent quality assurance." (Pricing not available.)
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