Feeder 1.3 ($30) is an application for creating and publishing RSS feeds, including iTunes-compatible podcasts. Version 1.3 features the ability to tag audio and video podcast files, image uploading, more flexible publishing and many other new features and improvements. Feeder validates feeds to the RSS 2.0 and iTunes specifications and can publish using FTP, SFTP, .Mac or folders on disk. Feeder 1.3 is a free upgrade for v1.x users and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 2.9MB] AudioFinder 3.9.5 ($70) is Universal Binary version of the digital musician's workflow accelerator, sample management system, and music production hub. It can build a catalog of every sound, save it, and search it instantly; it also offers powerful file renaming tools, support for bookmarks/history/favorites, and other navigation tools, playback with mouse and MIDI input for pitch control, integrated trim/loop/fade editor, peak analysis and pitch analyzer functions, and more. [Download - 5.1MB] xBack v3.5.4 ($10) is a utility that allows you replace your desktop with a screen saver. Users can quickly start/stop the desktop screen saver, easily change the desktop screen saver, and configure/preview screen saver preferences without having to open System Preferences. It offers Quartz Composer support (under Mac OS X v10.4+ Only ) and is Expose Compatible. This version now works as a native application on Intel-based Macs. [Download - 1.0MB] Process 2.0.1 ($40) is the latest version of its latest "To-Do-to-Done" project management application; it will now run on Intel-based Macs as well as PowerPC versions. The Universal Binary update is available free to recent purchasers of Process 2.0 leverages Mac OS X 10.4 by adding a host of versatile, customizable functions, including Shared Projects and Smart Projects. Version 2.0.1 also features minor bug fixes and improvements. [Download - 5.3MB] GarageSale 2.1 ($25) updates the eBay auction manager, adding more advanced scheduling functions (e.g. define the start time of their auctions and arbitrary intervals between auction starts) as well as 10 new graphical auction designs and the ability to leave feedback for eBay buyers from within the application. It offers multiple listing designes, integration with iSight cameras, FTP/.Mac image serving, offline support, and more. A family version (up to five users) is available for $45. [Download - 7.5MB] iSynCal 5.5.2 ($25) is built to synchronize events and todo from iCal calendars between two or more Mac computers using the standard Apple File Sharing shipped with Mac OS X. Using iSynCal, users no longer need a .Mac account neither to publish calendars on an external FTP or WebDav server. It features improved unicode support, full compatibility with iCalendar files generated by Mozilla Sunbird and the Calendar extension for Firefox and Thunderbird, a new option to specify the location of .ics files, and more. [Download - 1.6MB]
IK Multimedia today announced that the Miroslav Refill Series for Reason 3 is now shipping. The Miroslav Refill Series from Sonic Reality are six new titles and a Miroslav Refill Gold bundle containing collections of high-end Orchestra and Choir sounds from the archives of Miroslav Vitous. The six refill titles include the Miroslav String Ensembles Refill (1.79GB), the Miroslav Solo Strings Refill, the Miroslav Brass Refill (1.47GB), the Miroslav Woodwinds Refill (1.64GB), the Miroslav Choirs Refill (1.27GB), and the Miroslav Percussion & Keys Refill (1.4GB). Sounds are custom tailored specifically for Reason 3 users, and each Miroslav Refill comes on a DVD featuring a variety of performance articulations and special performance programming designed to add a professional symphonic touch to any track in any style of music. The Miroslav Refill Series for Reason 3 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, with individual refill titles priced at $200 each. A Miroslav Refill Gold Bundle that includes all six refills is also available for $700.
As of yesterday iTunes had escaped the French Authors Rights Law, which after heated debate was passed by France's National Assembly and left digital content distributors free to impose DRM restrictions on music sold online. Today, however, amendments to the bill would offer rivals access to the previously exclusive file formats which form the core of Apple's music business model, forcing the company to make its FairPlay DRM work with competing services and players, according to the Associated Press. Lawmakers in the lower house voted to approve the amended bill early today, and will hold another formal vote on Tuesday next week before sending the law on to the Senate for its final reading. While critics of the bill say legislators have no right to force Apple to share its proprietary format, consumer groups are arguing that customers will have real choice only if restrictions are lifted. "It's an essential condition for consumers and for the market itself," Julien Dourgnon said, a spokesman France's primary consumer organization, UFC-Que Choisir.
Splasm Software today released Podner 1.5, an update to its iPod video processing application that includes a new cropping feature, as well as significant DV performance improvements. The update offers iMovie HD project support, better iPod compatibility when users customize their encoding settings, new preferences to enable/disable DV "deinterlacing," and some minor fixes. Podner boasts faster video clip preparation for iPods than QuickTime Pro's Movie to iPod 320 x 240 option, with users able to drag movie files to the Podner window and optionally tweak settings before starting file conversions. Version 1.5 also prompts for an output location before each process, and is available for free to registered users. The application is priced at $10 for new users.
Apple's annual shareholder's meeting is set to begin on Thursday, April 27th at the company's Town Hall Auditorium, and all seven members have been nominated for re-election. Apple recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to hold the controversial meeting at home. As part of its agenda, Apple will use the meeting to approve the appointment of KPMG as its independent auditors for the present fiscal year, according to AppleInsider. There were 851,679,185 shares of common Apple stock issued or outstanding as of February 28th, and each share is entitled to one vote on all matters brought forth at the meeting. The annual meetings, however, have become a popular event for those opposing Apple to stage protests or demonstrate frustration with the company, according to the report.
Digital Rights Management technology, such as Apple's FairPlay DRM used to protect tracks purchased from the iTunes Music Store, reduces battery life significantly on digital media players across the board. A recent CNET column compares various players from different companies, noting playback time while considering numerous factors such as backlight usage, track quality, and listening/viewing patterns. Music rented from Napster or Rhapsody subscription networks arrives in the WMA DRM 10 format, which "takes extra processing power to ensure that the licenses making the tracks work are still valid and match up to the device itself." CNET recently tested the Creative Zen Vision:M, which boasts a rated battery life of up to 14 hours or audio or four hours for video playback. Playing only MP3s, the Vision:M played for almost 16 hours, but upon playing back only WMA subscription tracks the player died just after 12 hours. Apple's iPod, by comparison, when playing only FairPlay AAC tracks, underperformed MP3 playback time by roughly eight percent.
Xinet has announced its new "Uploader" tool and upgrade to Xinet WebNative, the company's digital asset management solution. Uploader is a stand-alone application that allows vendors and contractors to transmit photography, artwork, and other deliverables to a client's Xinet WebNative or WebNative Venture database via drag-and-drop onto a desktop icon. Uploader can require vendors and contractors to enter metadata details before uploading files, and the WebNative Venture database will automatically ingest that metadata to trigger email notifications, as well as other actions to streamline the workflow. The update offers users the ability to review digital assets, supports RAW camera files from 80 professional digital camera backs, versioning for Illustrator CS, and more. At IPEX 2006 Xinet will demonstrate its complete digital asset management solution at Stand #B-56 in Hall 6 with Xinet's UK integrator Turning Point Technologies. WebNative and WebNative Venture require a FullPress license on the server (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Elgato Systems today released EyeTV 2.1 as a Universal Binary update that natively supports both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. This version expands support for full-resolution playback of HDTV to Macs with Intel Core Duo processors -- a feature which it says was previously reserved for owners of high-end dual Power Mac G5 computers. The full 720p and 1080i HDTV experience is now available the MacBook Pro and the new iMac Core Duo, as well as the Mac mini with Core Duo processors. In addition, Elgato has improved the speed of exporting television shows to iPod on both processor platforms. EyeConnect 1.1 ($50), also available as a Universal Binary, is the first UPnP AV media streaming solution that runs natively on all Macintosh platforms. High definition content recorded with EyeTV can be streamed from any Macintosh to a HDTV compatible UPnP AV media player connected to a living room television. EyeTV 2.1 is a free update for existing EyeTV 2 users or $80 for others (before a special $30 discount that ends on March 31st).
Econ Technologies today released DayChaser 2, an update to its calendar and scheduling application for Mac OS X that runs natively on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. Version 2 completely overhauls calendar entries, allowing users to open multiple entry windows for easy comparison of scheduled events. The application keeps track of projects with to-do items, allows customization of calendars by changing the appearance of individual entries, and enhances the entry repeat command with new options as well as perpetual repetitions. DayChaser 2 imports and exports iCal files, enabling users to exchange data with iCal calendars while providing access to hundreds of free calendars available online. DayChaser 2.0 is priced at $30, and is available as a free upgrade for existing users.
Sound Vision Library today released a free trial version of escore for Mac OS X, offering a wide range of loops, logos, and tags specifically created for internet and multimedia application developers. "The Sound Vision Library is a boutique royalty free production music and sound effects library created by SkillMedia Master srl, a Padua-based Italian audio production company founded in 1990. The Sound Vision Library offers fresh production music, world-class sound design and cutting-edge categorization and search tools. Designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding audio professionals, the library currently contains three market-oriented series: AudioVideo, eMedia and Broadcast." A full .wav version of escore is available for purchase from SoundVisionLibrary.com for $180.
In Brief: Apple is offering new iChat AV icons to members of its paid .Mac service, which will be available through June 1st.... Apple has posted a new iPod TV commercial, which touts the "1,000 songs in your pocket" tagline and aired last night during the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.... Griffin today released a number of new accessories for The PlayStation Portable, including the iFM transmitter ($50) and the iTrip for PSP ($50).... The Iconfactory has released Contour Multimedia & EPS stock icon sets, with Contour Multimedia consisting of 52 add-ons to extend the original collection into the audio and visual realm.... DontCrack has announced that audio software firm Nomad Factory has chosen DontCrack.com to promote and sell its software via download.... Honest Technology has developed what it calls a software version of the SlingBox, which is a tool to stream television content over the internet remotely to users.
Despite slow Mac sales concerns for Apple's second fiscal quarter, analysts at Morgan Stanley today maintained their "overweight" rating on Apple stock with a price target of $90. NewRatings.com reports that the firm said that "the current weakness in Apple Computer's share price, on account of data related to the company's component supply chain and point-of-sale, is overblown." The firm notes that the February NPD point-of-sale data "does not reflect initial robust shipments of Apple's MacBook Pro and/or sell through of the new Mac Mini," according to the report.
Bear Stearns today said that Apple's future looks bright despite slow Mac sales during its second fiscal quarter due to the Intel transition. Maintaining "outperform" rating, the research firm lowered the price target and estimates for Apple to reflect the Intel Mac transition issues. The firm said it was confident in demand for iPods, Macs and more innovative products, according to Forbes: "We continue to view the stock pullback as a buying opportunity, with Apple's price-to-earnings at 17 times our calendar 2007 operating earnings-per-share estimate," wrote analyst Andrew Neff in a research note Thursday. "Looking ahead, we remain optimistic," the analyst said. "Our expectations include an Intel-based iBook, true video iPod, wireless iPod, other innovations in coming months."
AssistiveWare today announced VisioVoice for Mac OS X, a product designed for blind and vision-impaired Mac users that adds multilingual support to Apple's VoiceOver technology as well as providing a number of other speech and vision related features to enhance access to Mac OS X. "With VisioVoice we want to remove visual barriers by making it possible for non-English vision impaired users to make use of Apple's VoiceOver while boosting access for all vision impaired users. VisioVoice will also enhance VoiceOver with the naturally sounding, high quality voices of the Acapela Group." VisioVoice will be demonstrated at next week's CSUN conference in Los Angeles and is expected to ship in June. Initially, a limited number of languages will be supported; the company is accepting user input regarding which languages to support through a survey on its website.
Parliant is now shipping its major new release: PhoneValet Message Center 4.0 updates the company's Mac telephony product for small businesses, homes, and home offices. PhoneValet supports unlimited voice mail boxes, call blocking, logging and screening, automated dialing and Interactive and Voice Response (IVR) capabilities. Version 4.0 now records all inbound and outbound calls and stores them in a database for easy search and retrieval. The release also adds the ability to archive recordings to CD or DVD -- complete with an index for easy viewing. It also brings support for Intel-based Macs and features Automatic Gain Control in its custom built hardware for superior voice recording capability. PhoneValet 4.0 retails for $170 per line and includes software and Parliant’s USB telephone adapter. It is a free upgrade to v3 owners and a $30-per-line upgrade for others.
The Pixel Farm has announced a new Intel-based version of PFTrack 3.5, its 3D Match Moving and analysis system. The release wil be the first ‘MacTel’ application from the company with others following as new releases appear: “We are been working for sometime to transition our code base to support the new Apple hardware.” Mike Lancaster, Product Director at The Pixel Farm commented. “All our products can now run native on Mac Intel hardware and as we release new versions of our applications we will be adding Intel versions to our current support for both G4 and G5 systems. We found the transition very easy and are fully committed to working with Apple on some really exciting new applications during this year.” The Pixel Farm already provides G5-optimized versions of its software.
Media 100 today released updates to its professional video editing software: Media 100 HD v10.1.4 and Media 100 sw v10.2.1. The software releases add bug fixes and new software compatibility the familiar Media 100 interface. Media 100 HD makes it easy to work in the hybrid environment of mixed formats and codecs. Media 100 sw version 10.2.1, also a free download for existing users, can be used to edit, composite, mix and export to DVD or Web. Both versions now add an option to export to After Effects v7.0 and fix an error in the importer plugin that caused it to fail on some timelines. The updates fix I/O playback errors when importing audio CDs with duplicate long titles, timecode errors when importing video with linked audio, will be preserved, and errors when using the scan audio playback feature on systems with slow disks. Users can also choose the iPod preset in the QuickTime Export dialog.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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