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In brief: Line 6 today announced that it will be giving away a free ReFill each month to users of Propellerhead Reason music software.... Waterfield today announced its new travel play-through case ($150, shown at right) for Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.... Big Fish Games today announced that it has expanded its reach from PC games to include a comprehensive Mac games section.... Denon is shipping its S-Series home entertainment systems -- the S-301 and S-101 -- and is claiming that its 2.1 channel home theater systems are the world's first home entertainment products to offer universal connectivity with iPods as well as other MP3 players.... One upset user wrote of his sour experiences with Apple's iPod, and lists three "great scams of iPod...." The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released the Classrooms for the Future grant request for proposal, which will provide high schools with the funding for laptops for every student and teacher in core classes.
Mozilla.org's open-source Firefox browser has grabbed 10 percent of the Web browser market. Data released yesterday by Web audience-measurement firm NetApplications.com show that just over 10 percent of users use the Firefox browser, up almost 2.5 percent from from February. Microsoft's Internet Explorer led all browsers with 84.7 percent of users in March, while Apple's Safari browser was third with 3.2 percent. Computerworld reports that "in the past year, Firefox has gained 3.3 percent share while introducing Version 1.5 of the browser with improved features. Internet Explorer has lost 3.9 percent as users wait for Internet Explorer 7, which boasts improved features and security and is due out this fall." The report says that Netscape was the fourth most-popular Web browser, with 1.05 percent of the market, followed by Opera with 0.54 percent and Mozilla with 0.34 percent.
Rumors are flying once again that Apple will debut a Bluetooth iPod, and one U.K. retailer says the Cupertino-based company has been putting the finishing touches on just such a device. Stuff Magazine suspects that the iPod maker is set to unveil a host of accessories for its line of digital media players, with Bluetooth-enabled headphones being a primary candidate. A Bluetooth-enabled iPod would allow users to broadcast music through vehicle speakers without the need for plug-ins or FM transmitters, and may enable owners of the device to transfer tracks wirelessly between iPods. Sony Ericsson recently launched its W950i Walkman phone with the optional HBH-DS970s, a flash-based phone offering 4GB of storage and Bluetooth connectivity, which some industry watchers say is set to offer the iPod stiff competition. Apple will need to roll out a wireless-capable iPod to stay on top of mobile phone competitors, according to the report.
Apple and Microsoft need each other to resolve both company's "impossible" problems, according to one columnist. A TechNewsWorld column explores the possibility of Microsoft acquiring Apple, as well as a simple partnership between the two firms. Citing Microsoft's terrible reputation and image alongside Apple's inability to penetrate the desktop market, Rob Enderle spells out how he believes both companies could thrive by working together. "What if Apple worked with Microsoft to make the iPod 'Plays for Sure'-compliant, and Microsoft worked with Apple to make the Mac OS a true peer platform to Windows? The end result would be more competition for both companies, and it probably would grow the overall markets as well and remove a lot of the foundation driving the litigation plaguing both firms." The columnist also mentions the growing threat of a Linux desktop, which could hit Apple hard should it see widespread adoption.
Apple has been queitly making improvements to its popular MacBook Pro line, following reports of several different issues. While not acknowledging any of the problems publicly, the company has made at least three or four revisions to its MacBook Pro in an effort to address some of the oustanding quality issues, including issues with AirPort reconnections and signal strength, LCD flickering, and heat. Daily Tech says that the aforementioned problems "do in fact exist, and are not just isolated issues." The report, which claims to have confirmed with Apple sources many of problems, says that Apple has been quietly updating the motherboard in its MacBook Pro line, calling those with serial numbers that start with 'W8611' revision D, while those with 'W8610' revision C; however, MacNN has learned that while Apple may have updated the laptop logic boards, the serial numbers are simply based on production week, rather than differing logic boards. [updated]
Picture Rescue 1.2 ($60) is the latest iteration of the digital picture recovery software, compiled as a Universal Binary to offer native support for Intel Macs. The application works with any USB or FireWire camera, and all media card formats and adapters. The application can recover all types of image files including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, and Raw formats from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Kodak, Minolta, Fuji, Sigma, Foveon, Casio, and Sony cameras. Picture Rescue can also recover AVI, MPEG, and MOV files. [Download - [form]] Synergy 2.7 ($10) is a small Cocoa application for Mac OS X 10.2 or later that puts previous track, next track, and play/pause buttons in the menubar to control iTunes. The software also provides users with visual feedback about the currently playing tune. The update fixes a typographical error in the "Composer" tool-tip, and adds translation for "Composer" to French localization of preferences. [Download - 1.3MB] Birthday Buzzer 1.0 ($9) reminds users of upcoming and already-missed birthdays by integrating with Apple's Address Book. The application boasts a variety of reminder options, such as automatically at login, or at a specific day and time. Version 1.0 is a Universal Binary that natively supports Apple's Intel-based Macs, and supports Growl. The update also displays the number of days until the next birthday on the Dock icon. [Download - 628KB] Apache Server Watcher r0.9.5 (unknown) monitors network devices such as Apache Web servers, file servers, routers, and other active network equipment. The current release adds Workbench commands to execute UNIX tools through Workbench item contextual menus, as well as an SQL-based repository for UNIX commands. Release 0.9.5 offers network device discovery, and includes shell support for multiple shells including Csh and Sh. [Download - 3.8MB] WinSwitch 3.2 (donationware) updates the replacement software for Apple's Fast User Switching menu, bringing full Universal Binary status to natively support Intel Macs. The update includes numerous bug fixes, as well as updates to localizations. Version 3.2 updates the WOHotKey framework, corrects a rare problem where some user pictures would appear shrunken inside the menu, includes minor refinements to the Spanish localization, and comes with the WOTest unit testing framework. [Download - 1.5MB] iBank 2.0.5 ($40) is a personal and small business financial application that utilizes "smart import rules," a portfolio view, and smart accounts. Version 2.0.5 improves searching, adds support for Google finance, and incorporates several other minor enhancements. The update also features stability improvements. iBank 2 requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.
Analysts are continuing to soften their outlook on Apple with both Lehman Brothers and Standard & Poor revising their price targets downward -- following a similar move by UBS earlier today. The company's stock dropped $1.38, or 2.2 percent, to $61.27 after Lehman Brothers cut its price target to $73 from $80, according to The Wall Street Journal. Lehman said that the stock will likely stay range-bound "until evidence emerges that new products will be exciting enough to drive sales higher." The firm said that data shows Apple experienced weakness in the PC and iPod sales in the March quarter and that the "halo effect" that should have boosted PC sales was "not as strong as some bulls have asserted," according to the report. Meanwhile, analysts for Standard & Poor cut its 12-month target price on Apple to $68 from $83 to reflect a revised valuation analyses, according to AppleInsider. The firm said that the cut reflects "slowing sales related to maturing of the iPod and MP3 player market, and margin pressure as iPod becomes larger percent of Apple's sales mix." Unlike UBS -- which maintains a 'buy' rating on the stock, Standard & Poor maintains a 'hold' rating.
Inform 1.0 ($80) is a new drawing and design application that is specifically developed for Mac OS X; Inform supports vector graphics, featuring tools such as Bezier editing tools, Boolean operations, great typesetting, artistic strokes and a CMYK preview. Inform supports transparency, gradients, compositing, free transform, outline, PDF/EPS export, bitmap export, drop shadows, freeform text flow, and more. It is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. A limited demo is available. [Download - 1.3MB] F-Script 1.3.2 (free) is an open-source scripting language specifically designed forCocoa, the Mac OS X object system. F-Script provides interactive and scripting access to Cocoa objects through a graphical environment and an innovative high-level programming model. It improves performance of the graphical object browser and now allows users to explore the class hierarchy graphically. In addition, it features enhanced code completion system and updated examples. [Download - 12MB] RAW Developer 1.4.7 ($100) updates the RAW image conversion software with support for the Canon 30D and Olympus E-330 cameras. This release also features much improved detection and elimination of "dead" columns and "dead" pixels for recent Phase One digital backs including the P45. RAW Developer is designed and optimized specifically for Mac OS X and provides the ability to view, non-destructively edit and convert RAW image file formats from over 100 digital camera models. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later; Universal Binary Intel support is due soon. [Download - 6.2MB] Grammarian PRO X v1.7 ($40) is now a Universal Macintosh application and input method component for use on an Intel-based Macintosh. This major update also adds grammar-lite spell checking, correct-all functionality, new grammar and punctuation syntax error checking, and more. Grammarian PRO X v1.7 is a Grammar, Spelling, Dictionary, Thesaurus, AutoType writing tool that works in every application. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 13.4MB] iCamShare 2.0.3 ($15) is an update to the webcam application for sharing videos and pictures with family and friends. Users can capture videos and pictures from an iSight or other webcam, and send them in e-mails, publish them on a .Mac HomePage, drag and drop them into other applications, and more! Version 2.0.3 now also supports Apple's new Intel-based computers and the latest .Mac revisions. iCamShare includes support for trimming of unwanted portions at the beginning or end of videos, and access to camera and audio controls. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 1MB] Stimulus 4 ($20) is a media browser that provides an easy way to manage and enjoy any collection of digital music, photos, and video clips. Featuring a new UI, it now supports 24 popular file formats and "works intuitively like a file browser, allowing you to select and view/play all of your favorite images, audio files, and video clips from within a single application." Version 4 is Tiger-compatible, supports thumbnails, Apple's AAC format, and more. A Universal Binary version is due later this year as a free update for all registered Stimulus customers. [Download - 3MB]
Apricorn today launched its MicroKey portable storage device for users on-the-go. The MicroKey is offered in 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB capacities with a aluminum alloy case for protection. Weighing 2.5 ounces and measuring 3.4 x 2 x .5-inches, the device incorporates a USB 2.0 connector with a slim design that swivels to allow access to most USB ports in confined spaces. The MicroKey is plug-and-play, offering hot swap capability. The package also includes a protective carrying case, a one-meter USB extension cable, Second Copy 2000 Synchronizing Software, and Cryptainer Encryption Software. Cryptainer uses Blowfish 128bit encryption, while Second Copy 2000 allows for file sharing between multiple systems. Apricorn's MicroKey ships with a one-year warranty for $150 (4GB), $170 (6GB), and $200 (8GB).
Motorola and Skype today unveiled the Motorola Talk & Tunes Wireless internet Calling Kit with stereo, allowing Skype users to simultaneously and wirelessly listen to music and manage calls over the internet from a PC. The kit works with Skype's free unlimited internet calling to other Skype users anywhere in the world. The Talk & Tunes Kit includes the Motorola Bluetooth Stereo Headphones HT820 for audio streaming and the Motorola Bluetooth PC Adapter PC850, which enables users to roam up to 30 feet away from a computer while controlling both music and voice calls at the touch of a button on the headset. When a call comes in, the music automatically pauses to allow communication with the calling party. Motorola will be showcasing the new Motorola Talk & Tunes Wireless internet Calling Kit during CTIA Wireless 2006 in Booth 2606. The kit is slated for shipment in the first half of 2006, with details to be announced upon availability.
KeynotePro today released OM for Pages, bringing a print-inspired styling of the OM Theme for Keynote to Pages with a full suite of adaptable templates. OM for Pages includes up to 12 complete Pages Templates (Pro Version), in both US Traditional and ISO Metric formatted template bundles. The suite includes bundles from the basics of Letterhead, Memo, Envelope and Brochure templates to the new Poster and Newsletter templates. The Vertical and Horizontal Brochure templates included in the Standard Edition contain a complete set of 24 Page Masters each, providing a wide range of text, photo and mosaic layouts options. OM for Pages is available for download in both Pro ($30) and Standard ($20) editions. A Standard edition Bundle with two other themes/templates is also available for $50.
Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.6 update, released on Monday, fixes an important security issue for Intel-based Macs. Along with a slew of other bug fixes, Apple said that the latest update fixes an issue that could allow the firmware password to be bypassed on Intel-based Macs. "Prior to this update, a person with physical access to the computer could bypass the firmware password and access the "Single User Mode". According to Apple, this problem did not affect PowerPC-based Macs. This update addresses the issue by enhancing the security provided by the firmware password." In addition the update fixed problems with login and authentication in a variety of network environment, AFP file sharing, connecing to Cisco VPN servers using IP/Sec, Bluetooth wireless devices, and problems searching iWork '06 and Microsoft Office documents when using Spotlight. [updated]
Research firm UBS today lowered its price target on Apple's stock, but maintained a 'buy' rating despite possible weakness in iPod sales. UBS analyst Ben Reitzes said that the company's stock price already reflects slightly below consensus earnings for the March quarter as well as cautious guidance. "Weak iPod unit sales (9 million units or lower) may be expected. However, we still believe company guidance of $4.3 billion in sales and EPS of $0.38 is conservative given strength in 'other music' sales. We believe that March quarter EPS over $0.40 could be considered a positive given the recent plunge in shares," Reitzes wrote in a research note to clients. The analyst estimates that Apple will earn $0.43 EPS on revenue of $4.46 billion, slightly below consenus estimates of $0.44 EPS on $4.6 billion. Reitzes said that he expects iPod sales of 9.6 million and a year-over-year Mac unit decline of nine percent to 979,000 units; however, he believes that Apple's "solid" 'Other Music' segement would help bolster the quarter with nine percent revenue growth -- helped by both accessories sales and growth in iTunes.
In brief: Apple this week will open its newest retail store in the U.S. The company announced it would open its eighth store in Southlake, Texas on Saturday, April 8, 2006.... IMSI's TurboCAD 12 Professional is now LWA-enabled, providing users with better visualisation capabilities and the ability to use LightWorks Archive materials (LWA).... SoftCare is teaming up with Tansa Systems of Norway in an effort to ensure compatibility and interoperability between K4 Publishing System and Tansa Text Proofing System 3.... iPod owners are more likely to listen to music on their mobile phones, according to a new survey.... REAL Software is opening a European headquarters office in France, and says it plans to offer a French-language version of REALbasic.... O'Reilly Press has released a new book entitled "Ajax Hacks," offering developers who use Ajax tips and tools.... A new research report suggests that Google may be nearing the launch of its own version of the iTunes Music Store.
Mac users will soon be able to run Windows along side other operating systems on their Intel-based Macs. Virtualization software company Parallels said it will announce a virtualization product for Intel-powered Macs, with more details becoming available later this week, according to a Techweb report. The company said its virtualization solution would enable users to run multiple operating systems, such as Linux and Windows simultaneously with Mac OS X. "This is not simply a "dual-boot" but instead gives our users the ability to use Windows or any other operating system at the same time as Mac OS X, enabling users to enjoy the comfort of their Mac OS X desktop while still being able to use critical applications from other OSes," according to the report. Parallels, a privately held, US-based software company, launched its first virtualisation tool, Parallels Workstation, last year. Last month, users were able to dual-boot Intel-Macs with Windowx XP as well as run Windows alongside Mac OS X using open-source software.
In its second exclusive announcement today, Warner Bros. Records Apple today announced that the new double album "Stadium Arcadium" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and concert tickets for the band's North America tour will be offered through an exclusive pre-sale on the iTunes Music Store. Beginning today, customers can pre-order "Stadium Arcadium" from iTunes for $20 to be downloaded on May 9 when it is released. The band and iTunes have teamed up with Ticketmaster to offer a special concert ticket pre-sale for their upcoming North American tour. Fans that pre-order the double album will receive a download of the new single, "Dani California" immediately at the time of the pre-order. On May 9, fans participating in the pre-order will also receive additional iTunes bonus content, including an exclusive audio interview with the band, a video chronicling the making of "Dani California" and a full color digital booklet.
Lava Software is now shipping PC-Mac-Net FileShare v6.0, a fast and efficient file sharing, data backup and remote media playback controller which operates over LANs and the Internet. Versions are available for Windows, Mac OS X, Mac OS Classic and Linux. This new version offers incremental data backup with scheduling, improved remote folder synchronization, greater robustness in transferring large groups of files, better diagnostics for setting up Internet file transfers, significant fixes in the Linux and MacOS Classic versions, faster launch times, reduced CPU utilization, an enhanced user interface, and increased compatibility with non-English Windows operating systems. It is a free upgrade for all users. PC-Mac-Net FileShare v6.0 provides powerful data backup and recovery functions to help protect users from data loss. A limited, free version is available, while pricing starts at $15 per computer.
Waterfield today announced its new travel play-through case for Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. The iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case is fully padded, provides complete play-through functionality and has five pockets for all the iPod gear. A solid plate of impact-resistant plastic protects the front grill and speakers and a comfortable shoulder strap helps to lighten the load. The case is made from custom-designed and domestically produced ballistic nylon, high density foam, YKK locking zippers and durable metal hardware. The inside of the case is layered with a soft, scratch free liner. The case provides a chamber for the iPod Hi-Fi and additional pockets for the iPod and its accessories, including a front oval opening lets users play their music without having to take the speaker out of its case and a covered slot at the bottom for plugging in the power cable and the "audio in" jack. It will ship on April 18 for $150 and is available in black ballistic nylon with Lead, Taxi, or Blue Indium trim.
Dave Matthews Band and Apple today announced the availability of the entire Dave Matthews Band catalog on the iTunes Music Store, allowing fans to purchase and download individual songs from the band's catalog for just 99 cents per song exclusively from iTunes. "We're excited to offer Dave Matthews Band fans our entire catalog on iTunes for downloading to their computer or iPod," said Dave Matthews. "After releasing 'Stand Up' on iTunes the band received such great feedback that we decided to make all of our music available on the iTunes Music Store."
Apple Computer on Monday defended the comapny's right to use the Apple logo in conjunction withe sales from its iTunes Music Store. Apple Computer executive Eddy Cue took the stand in the ongoing lawsuit filed by The Beatles’ record company for allegedly breaching a trademark agreement. Cue, vice president of iTunes at Apple Computer, sought "to deflect Apple Corps’ charge that the computer company violated a 1991 agreement that it would stay out of the music business," according to CIO Magazine. Cue admitted that iTunes carries "temporarily exclusive" songs, but said that the practice was no different from other services. Apple Corps lawyer Geoffrey Vos used the opportunity to confirm that iTunes offered exclusive music via iTunes, negating Apple's argument that it is merely using the Apple logo in conjunction with a data transfer service. Last week, Apple Computer argued that "any moron" could distinguish between the use of the logos by iTunes and Apple Corps, the Beatles' recording company.
A new report from The Commercial Times appears to substantiate rumors of a 13.3-inch Intel-based iBook, which will reportedly ship in June 2006. As the fourth of five product lines to be transitioned to the Intel architecture, it will move Apple one step closer to completing the transition, which it said would happen by the end of 2006. AFX News Limited reports that Taiwan's Asustek Computer has secured a contract from Apple to produce the new Intel-based iBook. The contracted production run is for an estimated 1.2 million units initially. The Commercial Times said that the new consumer laptops will be powered by Intel's microprocessors and will be equipped with 13.3-inch liquid crystal display panels, confirming circulating rumors. "Apple Computer will start selling the notebook PCs from June, while contract suppliers of panels to start deliveries from April. The US firm will source the panels for the laptops from AU Optronics Corp and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp as well as South Korea's LG Philips LCD." The report said that AU Optronics is expected to supply Apple with about 40,000-50,000 LCD panels a month.
IK Multimedia on Monday announced full support for Apple's Intel-based Macs. The company says it has been testing products for use with the new processor architecture and will start shipping compatible products during the second quarter of 2006, enabling IK users to combine the increased processing power of the new Intel based platform with IK's line of music production tools. "The blazing speed of our new machines provides a significant performance boost to all Universal applications running natively. We¹re thrilled that IK Multimedia will ship Universal versions of its award-winning products, to offer Mac users powerful audio creation and production tools." Late last month, the company began shipping AmpliTube 2.0, an update to its popular guitar amp and effects modeling plug-in.
Dymo on Monday joined forces wih online postage provider Endicia to deliver DYMO Stamps, which can print postage direct from a DYMO LabelWriter printer connected to any PC or Mac -- without paying a monthly service fee. DYMO Stamps allows small business users to quickly and conveniently print postage, such as First Class, Priority Mail, Postcard, and International Airmail (up to 1 oz.) postage. DYMO Stamps software works with DYMO's high performance LabelWriter 400 Turbo, LabelWriter Twin Turbo and LabelWriter Duo printers, a series of small, fast, and economical thermal printers that never require ink or toner.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
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