Yet another music service plans to offer a flat-fee monthly pricing model as a way to lure more customers. Sprint Nextel said it plans to boost its mobile music business this year with a new subscription scheme for downloading songs onto cellphones, and expand its partnership with Sirius Satellite Radio, according to Reuters. As the first mobile operator to launch a mobile phone music service -- something many analysts believe could cut into the industry leading Apple's iTunes Music Store, Sprint currently offers its songs for $2.50 each and reaches over 1 million users. Verizon and Vodafone followed suit with a competing service in January of this year. In move that could foreshadow the same by iTunes, Sprint said it hopes that the new subscription music service will increase demand and generate more revenue.
In brief: Ars Technica today noted that Apple has quietly upgraded its 30-inch Cinema Display, updating the brightness to 400 cd/m2 (from 270 cd/m2) and its contrast ratio to 700:1 (from 400:1) -- making it the same as Dell's 3007WFP offering, which Apple edged out in CNET's tests.... Apple has added a 'Season Pass' option on iTunes for ABC's popular Lost and Desperate Housewives.... O'Reilly press today unveiled another book entitled "iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, Fourth Edition" ($25) for iPod owners.... The Flux is allowing users to vote for their favorite film from the company's iPod Film Festival, and is offering free downloads of all submitted entries.... Strata Systems today introduced the new iBikeMount (pictured at right), which quickly and securely mounts the iPod nano to handlebars of bicycles, exercise machines, strollers and other surface.
Microsoft's Windows Vista delay could help Apple as the company preps its next Mac OS X "Leopard" release. Apple's next generation operating system could be released by Christmas this year, giving Apple yet another edge during the busy holiday season, while Microsoft continues to delay Vista into the year -- amid calls for the ousting of its CEO and possible further delays. Credit Suisse's Robert Semple, which says the delay will hurt the PC industry, revised industry growth downward to 8 percent (from 9 percent). Semple also said that Apple could "steal some of the spotlight" and marketshare from Dell and others. Speaking about Dell's recent acquisition of Alienware, the analyst said that a pre-Vista and holiday launch of Leopard -- which will probably be previewed at WWDC in August -- "would likely translate into further share gains in the consumer PC segment as Apple will be better positioned," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Strata Systems today introduced the new iBikeMount, which quickly and securely mounts the iPod nano to handlebars of bicycles, exercise machines, strollers and other surface. "The new mount eliminates the inconvenience of digging the iPod out of a pocket, removing it from an armband, or bringing a dangling lanyard up to the face in order to make selection or setting changes. iBikeMount keeps the nano safely in plain sight and within easy reach." The lightweight mount is designed specifically for the iPod nano, easily attaches to a variety of handlebar sizes (22 mm–26 mm), and requires no tools to attach or remove. It is available immediately for $30 in black and comes with a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee.
Troll Touch today announced the immediate availability of the company's internally integrated touch solution for both the 17- and 20-inch iMac Core Duo. Troll Touch customers can purchase complete touch-enabled machines directly from the company or supply their own previously purchased machines (shipped to its facilities). Troll Touch seamlessly integrates its PSR-1 touch technology on a variety of Macs, including the iMac, eMac, iBook laptops and the Apple Cinema displays. The company's touchscreen technology operates with any non-sharp pointing device, such as a stylus, fingertip or gloved hand. Troll said that the touchscreen conversion turnaround time is currently 10-15 business days, which is carried out at Troll Touch's Valencia, CA. facilities. Pricing is either $2,275 or $2,675 for new full-touch enabled, 17- and 20-inch iMac Core Duos or $869 and $1045 for the service (with user supplied iMacs), respectively. The price includes both outbound (to the facility) and return shipping.
Apple has added a 'Season Pass' option on iTunes for ABC's popular Lost and Desperate Housewives. Several readers note that the iTunes Music Store now offers an option for the Season Pass, which is $35 for each series. Both shows offer a 'Season Pass' that includes all current and future episodes of Season 2 as well as an option to buy all of the previous Season 1 episodes for $35 as well. Earlier this year, Apple launched a multi-pass option, which lets users buy TV shows on a monthly basis -- including 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and 'The Colbert Report' and
RE:Vision Effects has updated its morphing and warping plugin RE:Flex with High Dynamic Range image support and a major performance upgrade for Adobe After Effects 7.0. RE:Flex 3.1 uses both open and closed splines for its free-form interface rather than a mesh-based solution. RE:Flex is especially easy to learn because it uses the After Effects' own drawing and masking tools to direct the warping and morphing, according to the company. RE:Flex 3.1 offers HDR (floating point) image support when running within Adobe After Effects 7.0, Professional edition well as introduces a new temporally coherent warping technique which the company says "eliminates the jittery results users sometimes saw with RE:Flex even whentheir spline animations were obviously smooth. The new method is slightly more compute intensive, but can substantially improve the results on some animations."
Stellar Technologies today announced Quote$ v1.0, a new sales tool for the Mac. Targetted at the SOHO market, it offers a simple compact interface to multiple, comprehensive price quotes saved in a fast, efficient SQL database. Users can import file price lists or build their own as well as edit/add fields and quotes. "Now, with Quote$, sales people can search for products among all their vendors and find the best pricing for their customer and their own profit. For sales people, that often translates directly into commissions. Another benefit of Quote$, for sales people, is time savings. Preparing a pricing quote takes time. The highest payoff activity for sales people it getting in front of customers" It offers Spotlight/Address Book integration, RTF support, a comprehensive history function with smart folder support, and XML export. Quote$ ($200) is a Universal application that requires Mac OS X 10.4.4.
Mac Pilot 2.0.5 ($10) updates the tinkering tool designed to modify hidden or previously inaccessible options in Mac OS X. Version 2.0.5 adds options to enable bundles in Mail, change a bundle compatibility version in Mail, and allow iPhoto to always request permission to launch when inserting blank media. The update enables users to include the Debug menu in Sherlock, and users can disable the scrollbar in Terminal. [Download - 2.8MB] InspectorXL 1.0.3 ($90) updates the plug-in analysis suite, affecting all InspectorXL plug-in formats including VST, RTAS, and Audio Unit. Version 1.0.3 repairs graphical issues experienced by some users, and is recommended for all Mac users. InspectorXL is a professional audio plug-in analysis suite featuring six plug-ins integrating spectrum analyzers, phase scopes, a balance meter, a correlation meter, stereo image mid-side meters, peak and RMS level meters (including K-system and IEC Digital PPM support), and more. [Download - [form]] Postino 1.0.1 ($25) is a minor update to the RSS reader application that offers improved stability, better RSS management and support for OPML. Postino features include tabbed browsing, smart lists, and auto-discovery feeds. The application requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is available as a Universal Binary. [Download - 1.3MB] Intaglio 2.7 ($90) is a drawing application that builds on the 2D graphics, text, color, and scripting capabilities of Mac OS X. Version 2.7 adds "Smart" guides, a reflection effect, and MacDraw II file import capability. The update also enables users to export EPS, export paths directly to a forthcoming version of Cheetah3D via the clipboard, and adds an option to display the page margins. [Download - 3.4MB] ShelfMenu 1.2.0 (free) is a small dockless application that resides in the system menu bar designed to store numerous types of information. Supported information storage types include images, URLs, text, file paths, lists, and more. The default action when users click the menu item corresponding to a copied object is to move that object to the clipboard, and all objects are stored in a file which is reloaded when the application launches. [Download - 205KB] MacInvoice 2.0 ($50) is an intuitive invoice and billing application for Mac OS X. The software supports estimates, invoices, and time tracking projects. MacInvoice 2.0 also includes customer management with Mac OS X Address Book import capability, basic inventory, services, and reports. [Download - [form]]
Apple has become a member of BAPCo, the industry-standard Windows benchmarking consortium, according Gearlog. BAPCo oversees the SYSmark 2004SE and MobileMark benchmark suites used by computer industry trade magazines such as PC Magazine for testing PCs and it also produces the webserver test WEBmark for server-oriented testing. Gearlog reports that the consortium includes other big computer industry names such as AMD, Intel, ATI, nVidia, Dell, HP, Toshiba and Microsoft as well as other media outlets such as Ziff Davis Media and CNET. The companies work together to determine and develop testing methodologies, using industry standard programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and 3ds max, while SYSmark and MobileMark benchmarks are used as performance tests by media outlets, corporations, and government agencies, according to report.
The Flux is allowing users to vote for their favorite film from the company's iPod Film Festival, and is offering free downloads of all submitted entries. "This is a great opportunity to discover fresh independent content on your iPod. Short films are the perfect media for iPod video viewing," said Ryan Ritchey, Flux Producer. Entries from eleven countries are available for download and iPod playback in three categories which include student film, indie film, and music video. Voting will be open to the public until April 15th, and those votes will determine the winner of a MacBook Pro, as well as iPod winners in each category. All entries are pre-formatted for playback on Apple's fifth-generation iPod with video, and can be viewed online.
Toybox Games and Macgamestore.com have announced the release of Toybox's latest Mac game, Flip or Flop Home Edition. "Poor Granny has gotten herself in trouble again. She forgot to pay her taxes and now the Government has taken beautiful house. Now you have to help your poor Granny and start buying, renovating and selling houses. This is no easy task with over 99 houses to improve and make money selling you will have to match your way through tons of hours of gameplay to achieve your goal." It features three modes of difficulty for three times the replay ability, over 100 renovating levels, 10 different renovation pieces, and four different neighborhoods to renovate and explore. Flip or Flop Home Edition is available for $20 as a digital download. Macgamestore.com also announced the availability of The Sims Complete Collection, Luxor: Amun Rising, and Tumblebugs.
Prosoft today announced that the latest version of its Data Backup software now supports Intel-based Macs. Data Backup 2.1 is a powerful backup utility that offers basic backup and restore operations as well as advanced functions such as bootable backups, schedules, file exceptions, versioned backup, incremental backup, synchronization, and optional compression. Users can backup to or restore from any mounted drive including CD, DVD, ATA, SCSI, FireWire, USB, or networked volumes. "We're excited to provide this new version that is now compatible with the new Intel machines,” says Greg Brewer, CEO of Prosoft Engineering. “Universal Binary is an exciting and innovative new change for Apple.” The software is available as a free update to current users and is priced at $60. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later; a free demo is available online.
ColorBurst today announced version 4.1 of its line of Mac PostScript RIP software. Version 4.1 of the ColorBurst software RIP line now includes SpectralVision Pro 2.0, a fully functional output profile creation software package that offers tools such as Total Ink Control, UCR/GCR control, Black Ink control, and full Bezier curve control over black generation. In addition, SpectralVision Pro v2.0 also provides the measurements for ColorBurst new Print Certification technology, which delivers a means to ensure that each print meets user specifications for color accuracy and color quality via a color control bar that can be measured and verified by SpectralVision Pro v2.0. SpectralVision will also print all data and a verification sticker to Dymo Label Writers.
Blizzard Entertainment today released the World of Warcraft (WoW) patch 1.10.0, adding weather to various areas of the fantasy world and offering players new high-level armor sets as well as all-new boss encounters. Mac-specific changes include a bug fix that would cause the sky to be improperly rendered when the user-interface overlay was shut off in full screen mode, and improvement of the Mac sound engine to handle "multiple simultaneous buff" events without excessive audible distortion -- such as the "Warchief's Blessing" in Orgrimmar. The patch repairs an issue which could cause "doodads" in the Dwarven District to be incorrectly fogged; fixes a bug that could cause terrain to be improperly rendered if "Enable All Shader Effects" was on but "Terrain Highlights" was off; corrects a problem that would sometimes cause a selection circle under a character to be drawn as a double image; and improves smoothness of mouse input for camera turns.
IK Multimedia has begun shipping AmpliTube 2.0, a major upgrade to the guitar amp and effects processing plug-in. AmpliTube offers 14 preamps and 14 amp EQs, seven power amps, 16 cabinets, six microphone models with four replacement options each, 21 stomp effects, and 11 rack effects. The plug-in includes five separate modules that include "Tuner," "Stomp," "Amp Head," "Mic'd Cabinet," and "Rack Effects" on two series or parallel guitar rigs. IK's new DSM (Dynamic Saturation Modeling) technology is the workhorse behind AmpliTube 2's unique sound, offering the capability to accurately model the real sonic qualities of hardware gear to provide enhanced tones. Version 2.0 features more than 80 guitar gear emulations, with popular amp models based on Fender, Vox, Marshall, THD, Supro, and others. AmpliTube 2 is priced at $400, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Stunt Software today released On The Job 2.0, announced an iPod giveaway contest, and unveiled its redesigned website. On The Job 2.0 updates the time tracking software, adding extensive invoicing functionality with support for PDF, text, XML, and CSV invoice creation. The update also offers idle time checking, job archiving, keyboard support, and dock status to view the timer via a dock icon. Stunt Software will be giving away one free On The Job license as part of its contest, as well as one complimentary iPod nano to a customer who purchases a license of On The Job every day throughout April. On The Job 2.0 is priced at $25, is available as a free upgrade for existing users, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
OpenOSX today updated its WinTel software to version 2.1.3, boasting the capability of installing Windows XP in less than one hour on Intel-based Macs. WinTel is designed as a standalone application for configuring and utilizing the underlying open source "Qemu" and "Bochs" software, which allow use of x86-based operating systems on Mac OS X systems. With the included Qemu software, instructions can be dynamically translated to dramatically enhance performance, especially on Intel Macs. WinTel 2.1.3 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Apple today launched eight products in the Indian market, expanding the company's offerings overseas. Products offered include the 1GB iPod nano, iPod AV connection kit, iPod Hi-Fi, iLife '06, the Intel Core Duo iMac, Mac mini, iWork '06, and the company's MacBook Pro notebooks 1.67GHz and 1.83GHz. The products were all recently launched in the U.S., but were unavailable to Indian customers until today, according to a report from CRN. The products are being offered to consumers via the Apple's existing network of distributors and dealers in India.
Lismore Software Systems today released Guest PC 1.8, an update to the Mac OS X application that enables users to create and manage a virtual x86 system on a Mac. Users can install a Microsoft Windows operating system, and can access applications available only for Windows compatible computers. Version 1.8 brings support for USB devices, and Guest PC supports ActiveSync to synchronize and install applications for PDAs, as well as SmartPhones. The software enables users to download maps and receive waypoints or tracks from GPS units, can scan images, print to USB printers, connect external USB storage devices, and utilize other USB-based devices. The update also fixes several bugs related to OpenOffice failing to run, incorrect IDE disk detection in OpenBSD, and some CPU/FPU emulation errors. Guest PC 1.8 is priced at $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Asbru Software today released an update to its Asbru Web Content Management system (CMS), adding support for Apple's Safari Web browser without the need for plugins. The system offers optional community, e-commerce, database and statistics add-on modules for creating, publishing and managing websites with dynamic end-user functionality. All versions offer 100 percent browser-based website administration, a toolbar for easy access to all functionality, direct website browsing/editing, the ability to enable or disable individual website administration features, and context-sensitive help. Asbru Web Content Management system is priced at £100 for the personal edition, £500 for the small business edition, and £1,000 for the professional edition.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Folee XM Laptop Bag ($200, shown at right) from Booq, a notebook carrying case that can stow various accessories within its padded pockets.... MacNN also reviewed memory upgrades from Crucial Memory.... Apple today launched iLife '06 in India, a major upgrade to the company's suite of digital lifestyle applications.... Graphicxtras.com has released "symbols pack 2," 800 grid symbols for use in Adobe Illustrator, CS2, or CS1.... PopCap Games has launched a new service offering its customers the ability to purchase a CD backup copy of their download game purchases in a single transaction.... The Portland Mac Photographers' User Group is set to hold its first meeting on March 30th from 6-8 p.m. in the MacForce Theatre, with Apple's product manager for Aperture kicking off the event.... The Bowdoin College Music Department has launched a music feed within iTunes, offering tracks from its recent 2006 Mozart's Birthday Faculty Concert as well as songs from some of its commercially produced CDs.
Martian Technology today released SlingShot 1.2, an update to its network file and folder synchronization application for Mac OS X. SlingShot 1.2 more than doubles the speed of sync operations, adds a new "menubar mode" that keeps the main app window hidden, and includes several UI tweaks and fixes for bugs reported by our users. The software helps users keep files in sync between two or more Macs as simple as a few clicks. By incorporating Apple's "Bonjour" technology, SlingShot makes finding and connecting to other computers on a network easy. SlingShot supports both simple one-way "mirroring" of files from one computer to another, as well as more complex two-way synchronization arrangements, in which files are updated on all participating computers. SlingShot 1.2 is available as a Universal Binary; it requires Mac OS X 10.4 or newer; it is a free upgrade to current users, while new licenses can be purchased for $30. A free trial version is available online.
Mark/Space today released a Universal version of The Missing Sync for Palm OS for native execution on both Intel- and PowerPC- Macs. The Missing Sync 5.1 provides the most complete synchronization for users running Address Book and iCal in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," replacing Apple's iSync Palm Conduit and synchronizes all the fields on the latest Palm OS devices--even those that iSync misses, such as work address, IM address, birthday, calendar categories and more. The software supports Apple's Sync Services technology for maximum compatibility. In addition, the free update enhances Sync Services support for better syncing of Address Book and iCal data, added extra handheld backup options and improved the handling of calendar events assigned to specific time zones. Upgrades from v4.0 or older are $25, while new purchases are $40 (electronic) or $50 (CD).
Stairways Software today released Interarchy 8.0, an update to its internet application. Version 8 is available as a Universal Binary, adding support for WebDAV (including iDisks), HTTPS, SSL-TLS, Automator actions, Dashboard widgets, mirror dry runs, merge folder uploads, and a combined input window. The flexible Internet application for Mac OS X can download and upload files via FTP (the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol), SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), WebDAV (including iDisks), and FTP over SSH (FTP/SSH) and SSL-TLS. In addition, it can download files or whole web sites using HTTP (the HyperText Transfer Protocol) as well as provide a wealth of information about any Internet connection. Interarchy 8.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or greater; it is a paid upgrade from previous versions. Customers who purchased Interarchy 7.x after 1 January 2006 will be issued a free upgrade, while others must pay $20. The full price is $40.
Apple's Chief Technology Officer Avie Tevanian is leaving the company to "pursue other interests," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Apple, who didn't offer any other details behind Tevanian's decision, said that the executive plans to leave at the end of the month to take some time off. Tevanian played a key role in developing Mac OS X, according to the report. "Tevanian, who is considered an operating systems whiz, began his career at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was instrumental in the development of the Mach kernel. There he met Steve Jobs, who showed a divine interest in his skills and Mach." An Apple spokesperson said that "He plans to take some time off in the interim. He hasn't left yet, though. His last official day is March 31." Tevanian became the company’s chief software technology officer in 2003 in a joint announcement that also promoted Bertrand Serlet to senior vice president of Software Engineering.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives