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Apple is offering refurbished models of the new Intel-based iMac. The online Apple Store offers the iMac 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo for $1,099, a $200 discount from normal retail price and the iMac 20-inch 2GHz Intel Core Duo for $1,449, a $250 discount off the retail price. As with all Apple-refurbished Macs, they carry a full 1-year warranty and are available with free shipping. Older G4-based models of the PowerBook are also available as refurbished items as well. The refurb 15-inch/1.5GHz/Combo PowerBook is $1,399, while the 15-inch/1.67GHz/SuperDrive is $1,549. Both models are discounted more than 30 percent from their original prices, while a third, more recent 15-inch/1.67GHz/SuperDrive PowerBook is $1,599. Larger 17-inch SuperDrive PowerBooks are avaiable for $1,699 (1.5GHz), $1,849 (1.67GHz/100GB), and $1,999 (1.67GHz/120GB). Refurbished G5-based 17-inch iMacs are available for $949 (2GHz) and $1,099 (1.9GHz/iSight), while a 20-inch G5-iMac is $1,149 (1.8GHz) and $1,249 (2GHz). Apple also has the refurbished 14-inch iBook for $999 (1.33GHz/SuperDrive).
Apple's iTunes again helping lead the online video industry, by becoming the exclusive distributor of NBC's primetime "Scrubs" comedy. While other television shows have been made available via iTunes, the current deal represents a "first" in inter-network partnerships to deliver online content, according to Reuters: "While TV series for network broadcast are routinely produced by and licensed from studios of competing media companies, the 'Scrubs' deal marks the first such partnership for a prime-time program offered via the Internet for commercial download, NBC and ABC said on Wednesday." NBC's primetime hit comedy "Scrubs" is produced by the sister studio of rival network ABC: Disney-ABC Television Group's Touchstone Television. While Apple has recently expanded its 'Season Pass' offerings, bundling all past and future episodes for a given season for a discounted, price, the new NBC offering only is available for $1.99 per episode or ($31.94 for all 16 episodes). Separately, the company has added a 'Season Pass' option ($12) for Comedy Central's South Park (and is offering additional seasons for a minimal discounted bundle price).
Attorneys representing iPod owners in a national class-action lawsuit today said that by introducing a limitation on volume control, Apple has acknowledged that its iPod line is flawed. "It is good to know that Apple finally acknowledges that there is a serious flaw with its iPod product, and is giving U.S. purchasers the same protection it has been giving French purchasers since 2002," said Steve Berman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. "Unfortunately, this patch doesn't help the millions of people who own older models -- it is a jack-legged workaround that falls well short of what consumers demand and deserve."
The Omni Group has released an update to its disk cleaning utility: OmniDiskSweeper 1.5 is a Universal version that runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, optimizing the application for Apple's latest hardware. OmniDiskSweeper is a utility for finding and deleting unneeded files on user's hard disks. It highlights the biggest files on your disks, and notes which are used by the system so you don't accidentally delete important files. Directories and files are sorted by size, so you can quickly locate and delete large files to make more space available. The update includes a number of improvements and fixes, and is free for existing license holders. A new license is $15.
Norada today announced that its Solve360 communicating and collaborating Web solution for small business is compatible with Safari 2.0 (Tiger) and Safari 1.3 (Panther). "Following the release of Safari 2.0 for OS 10.4 and 1.3 for OS 10.3, we set to work optimizing the service so that all the features -- email, team scheduling, contact management and CRM tools, personal and group file sharing -- work as seamlessly in the Mac environment as in the Windows world," says Norada CEO Steve Ireland. Solve360 integrates business-class email, CRM contact management, group calendar, task, document management, and invoicing into a single, robust, easy-to-use Web-based application. Pricing is offered on per-user basis for an off-site hosted solution. The first account with 1GB of email and 5GB of share file storage is $20 per onth, with additional "standard" users priced at $6/month (large users are $10/month).
Monkey Byte Development along with Sacred Tree Software today announced that Galactica Anno Dominari 3: Fog Of War! is in the final stage of development. Players build starships and use them to colonize the galaxy, protect discovered territory, and defeat other players in combat. Higher levels of technology allow ships to move faster, giving them an advantage in combat over ships built with lower technology, and helps star systems to defend themselves from attacking ships. "You thought you could see the future. You thought it was all clear. Now the fog has descended. And new dangers are growing out of site. Prepare your planets for battle. Collect your fleets. War is upon you." Galactica Anno Dominari 3 requires Mac OS 8.5/9 or Mac OS X. (pricing was unavailable).
Democratic Representative Edward J. Markey today publicly lauded Apple for releasing its iPod software update that allows users to limit the volume on the popular music player. The software update followed several reports on possible hearing loss caused by the iPod and a recent lawsuit against the company. Markey, a senior official on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said that the move will help consumers protect themselves from hearing loss. "I commend Apple for taking this important first step in giving consumers the tools they need to protect themselves from possible hearing loss," said Rep. Markey. "There is no doubt that consumers have benefited from the remarkable innovation we have seen in portable music players over the past few years in terms of both choice and value, but we need to make sure to avoid preventable hearing damage that could turn consumers off to these devices permanently."
Altec Lansing today unveiled the inMoion iM9, which the company claims is "the SUV of portable iPod speakers." The hard shell enclosure combined with the backpack-style carrying case is designed for users with on-the-go lifestyles. The iM9 is roughly the size of a lunch box, and features a sleek black design with a rear kick-stand. The system includes dual 2 3/4-inch drivers with 1-inch tweeters, as well as MaxxBass technology. A built-in handle improves portability, alongside the ability to power the device via AC or batteries. The inMotion iM9 works with Apple's iPod nano, iPod mini, color iPods, and iPods with a dock connector. An Auxiliary input allows users to plug in other audio devices, such as CD players or portable DVD players. The inMotion iM9 portable speaker system is priced at $200, and is slated for shipment this month.
Apple today quietly began shipping Final Cut Studio 5.1, a Universal Binary version of the professional video application suite, making good on its promise to deliver a native version for Intel Macs by March. As noted by AppleInsider, The Apple Store now lists Final Cut Studio 5.1 ($1,299) as available within 24 hours. The professional software suite includes Universal versions of Final Cut Pro 5, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2 and DVD Studio Pro 4. The applications are no longer bundled separately; however, Apple customers who own the current versions of DVD Studio Pro, Motion, and Soundtrack Pro will be eligible to upgrade to the entire Final Cut Studio 5.1 suite for $200. Registered owners of v5.x can upgrade to the Universal version for $50. AppleInsider also notes that Final Cut Pro 5 license holders may pay $99 to upgrade to the entire suite of Pro apps and that the status of the Universal version of Final Cut Express HD -- a slimmed down version of the video editing application -- is currently unknwon. [updated]
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Griffin PowerBlock ($30, shown at right) from Griffin Technology, its AC charger for USB devices.... Sprint Nextel is planning to offer its own music subscription service for a flat monthly fee, according to iPodNN.... MacSpeech today announced its Florida Road Show dates, and certified two new microphones as well as a USB adapter from VXi.... FontDiner.com is celebrating its 10th year in business with four new retro fonts, a dingbat font to create invitations for all occasions, and more than 220 vector images.... A show about an Apple nerd who has always been unlucky in love is set to open April 13th at Improv Olympic in Chicago, directed by Richard Kline from "Three's Company."
Apple Corps today delivered opening statements in a high-tech courtroom filled with computers, sending a clear message to the iPod-maker. "Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use the Apple [trade]mark to do it," Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening statement. Vos demonstrated the iTunes software by downloading the song "Le Freak" and playing it for Justice Edward Mann, a self-professed iPod owner, according to Reuters. Vos said the Apple Computer logo is "intimately associated with the process" of purchasing a song from iTunes, and played a TV advertisement featuring the band Coldplay clearly displaying the logo. Apple Computer lawyers are expected to deliver their opening statements on Thursday. [updated]
Savvica today launched "Nuvvo Plus," the company's first premium version of the Nuvvo ASP e-learning service. Instructors receive their own e-learning portal from which to build courses and teach online. The system includes content creation tools, integrated multimedia, blogs, iCalendar feeds, and Skype integration for synchronous training. Nuvvo Plus offers users e-commerce features to charge for courses, ad control to keep their portal ad-free or insert their own Google ads, and 100MB of storage for course files. Instructors charging for courses conduct transactions via PayPal integration, set the course fee as desired, and keep 100 percent of the payments. Nuvvo Plus is priced at $10/month, and can be upgraded with more storage space or the removal of ads on the portal page.
Zengobi today released a Universal version of Curio, its brainstorming and document management application for the Mac. In addition to native support for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, Curio 3.1 includes new features like search term highlighting, idea space hoisting, and improved PDF display options. "Curio gives the imagination the tools and space to run free. Anything you can do on a whiteboard or in a sketchbook, you can now do in Curio. Place anything anywhere on the page to create freeform collages of text, images, outlines, checklists, documents, sketches, and movies. Define your project goals and constraints using Curio's customizable dossier." Version 3.1 is a free upgrade for Curio 3.0 customers; the full version is available in Professional ($130), K-12, Home ($80), and Basic ($40) editions.
Western Digital today introduced the WD Passport Pocket Drive, a miniature digital storage device boasting a capacity of 6GB. The device is roughly the size of a matchbox, and weighs 1.6 ounces. Measuring 0.37 x 2.41 x 1.80-inches and housing a one-inch WD hard drive, the WD Passport Pocket Drive features a unique flip-out, rotating USB 2.0 connector that allows usage in tight spaces. The USB connector is designed to be thin enough that two drives can be used at the same time in the tightly spaced USB ports found on notebook computers, and the drive itself is powered by the computer, negating the need for a separate power supply. An activity light on the drive glows when it is connected and flashes when the device is storing data. Western Digital's WD Passport Pocket Drive is available for $130.
Fujitsu today announced that it expects to roll out a 200GB laptop hard drive in the third quarter. The drive may be available in systems for end users this year, according to a report from Computerworld. Fujitsu's highest capacity 2.5-inch hard drive currently offers 160GB of storage, and the new drive will utilize a Serial ATA (SATA) interface not unlike its older sibling. The market for laptop PCs and non-IT products -- including music players and digital video recorders -- is expected to see strong growth over the next few years and will become a focus of Fujitsu's efforts in the hard disk drive market, according to the report.
Monotype Imaging has introduced its ITC Library, OpenType Edition featuring the complete works of the International Typeface Corporation. The ITC Library includes more than 1,650 typefaces in 1,320 OpenType files on one CD, along with 100 new typefaces and over 650 exclusive designs. OpenType fonts offer flexibility and convenience, such as cross-platform compatibility between Mac and Windows systems, the ability to access alternate characters without switching to a different font, and the ability to replace multiple characters with ligatures automatically. Adding to the ITC Stone family, the OpenType edition of the ITC library features the ITC Franklin Gothic, ITC Officina Sans and ITC Conduit text families, and the ITC Edwardian Script and ITC Bradley Hand display designs. New releases include the ITC Resavska, ITC Tactile and ITC Stone Humanist typefaces. A 10-CPU library license is priced at $4,000, while a 20-CPU license is available for $6,000.
Sonoma Wire Works today announced it will bundle IK's AmpliTube LE with the next version of RiffWorks Standard, its realtime effects package that includes an InstantDrummer function for authentic drummer back-up recordings and the ability to "dial-in the right amount of intensity and variation without tedious drum-machine programming." Version 2.0 will also offer several new recording features, such as the new RiffLink online collaboration technology and RiffCaster one-click podcasting capabilities. With the addition of AmpliTube LE, users can access more amp models, effects, and a built-in tuner. The award-winning AmpliTube guitar amp and effects processing plug-in allows users to add creative effects and processing to music. RiffWorks Standard v2 will be Mac OS X compatible with any Core Audio device and will be be available as a Universal Binary for Intel Macs. It is currently in beta and will be available soon. (Pricing is to be determined.)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is more than the CEO of two hugely influential companies, according to a new report that lists the top CEOs in Barron's hall of fame. "He's an outright legend. No single person in Silicon Valley more fascinates the investing public. No tech CEO alive is more closely scrutinized." Jobs was indentified as one of the top 30 CEOS based on profit growth during a CEO's tenure and stock-price gains as well as leadership strength and industry stature. Barron's said it sought CEOs "who've made a difference to their organizations and who would be missed by investors if they departed. To qualify, the CEOs needed to be on the job for three years. We talked to investors and relied on the knowledge of our staff."
Native Instruments (NI) has unveiled Kontakt Player 2, the second generation of its platform for sample-based software instruments. The software features more than 70 instruments based on Kontakt technology, and integrates the Kontakt Script Processor (KSP) of Kontakt 2. The player is designed to produce authentic emulations of acoustic instruments with natural articulations; drum and percussion instruments that include their own step sequencer; synthesizers with integrated arpeggiators and chord generators; and more. Further features of Kontakt Player 2 include polyphony, up to 64-part multitimbrality, advanced surround capabilities, integrated effects including convolution and master effects, a versatile library browser, and optimized DFD technology (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Native Instruments today offered more details on Kore, which it says is the world's first Universal Sound Platform. Announced earlier this year and due in stores soon, the system is touted as "a new kind of host system for software instruments and effects [that] has been specifically developed to increase the efficiency, flexibility and ease of working with music software in the studio and on stage." Kore is an integrated system consisting of a host software for VST and Audio Units plug-ins, and a tightly integrated hardware controller that includes a professional USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interface. It can be used both as a standalone instrument host as well as a plug-in within any Audio Units, VST and RTAS compatible sequencer program. All major functions of the system can be controlled without the need to touch or even see the computer that runs the software, according to the company. The software is due in early May for $580/€500.
Red Giant Software today released Magic Bullet Suite 2.1, an update to its software plug-in that now supports Adobe After Effects 7. Magic Bullet Suite 2.1 also includes the robust DeepColor RT GPU render engine, which runs up to 7x faster than the CPU alone—allowing users to do real-time film look treatments on the desktop in standard definition. Comprised of 18 After Effects plug-ins, Magic Bullet Suite delivers a complete production pipeline for processing digital video footage for output to DVD, TV, or film. Applying expertly-designed technology created by the innovative post production studio, The Orphanage, users can de-interlace and de-artifact footage, apply film treatments, crop footage to any standard format, and ensure compliance with broadcast TV standards. It is a free upgrade. The SD/HD version is $800, while render-only licenses are $500.
Apple today announced a software update for the iPod nano and fifth generation iPod, allowing customers to easily set their own personal maximum volume limit. The software update also gives parents the ability to set a maximum volume limit on their child’s iPod and lock it with a combination code. “As the leading provider of digital music players, Apple continuously brings iPod customers innovative and easy to use solutions,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “With the increased attention in this area, we want to offer customers an easy to use option to set their own personal volume limit.” The update also provides unspecified bug fixes.
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Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF