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ReelBean 0.97 (free) signals the latest iteration of the movie converter and player software. When extracting an audio track from a movie directly into iTunes, users can specify a segment of the track, rather than the whole track. Version 0.97 also allows users to extract a section of a movie using a start and end time.
[Download - 1.5MB]
Foxtrot 1.0.9 ($35) updates the personal search software for Mac OS X, adding native support for Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. Version 1.0.9 offers support for Entourage 11.2.3 indexing of email messages, contacts, and events. The latest version displays decoded third-party applications in the result list which properly map their data to the appropriate Spotlight UTI types. [Download - 6.2MB]
SQLite3ProfessionalPlugin 1.1 ($170) is a new SQLite 3 database engine plug-in for the REALbasic integrated development environment. Version 1.1 fixes numerous bugs, adds the CreateUTF16DatabaseFile method to the RBDatabaseAPI.rbp example, and includes a special version for REALbasic 5.5 console applications. The update also includes various minor fixes and optimizations. [Download - 1.4MB (download not updated)]
GraphicConverter 5.8.2 ($30) converts pictures to different formats, and contains numerous features to manipulate pictures. The update offers label support inside XMP metadata, an option to ask for a color profile when opening files, and a contextual menu that can sort into date folders. Version 5.8.2 adds a convert and modify function for conversion of XMP files into ANPA resources, and includes a function to delete raw files if no matching JPG is available. [Download - 18.6MB]
UniSudoku 1.3 ($15) allows users to play the popular game of Sudoku on a Mac. The update offers the ability to navigate the puzzle from the keyboard, as well as an option to hide marked possible guesses from all but the highlighted cell. An intuitive interface supports "pencil marks" that can be used to fill in guesses while staying in the flow of the game. [Download - 161KB]
iTrip review, Amplitube 2
In brief: LeftLane News has reviewed the Griffin iTrip for iPod, a portable FM transmitter designed to wirelessly play iPod music through a car stereo.... IK Multimedia today announced that its AmpliTube 2 modeling guitar amp and effects processor software has begun shipping.... Yahoo has halted its Java-based chat, requiring users to use Yahoo Messenger -- which does not support Mac OS X -- to enter chat rooms.... Chaos Control Digizine has made issues #2 and #8 available for download, which were originally released for Hypercard and distributed via Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) prior to the existence of the Web.... Ondecktech has posted documentation explaining how to deploy Oracle 10g and RAC with Apple's Mac OS X Server software, Xraid, Xserve, and QLogic fiber channel switches.... Marware today rolled out the Sidewinder ($30, shown at right) and Trail Vue ($35) cases for fifth-generation video iPods.
FinalTouch 1.5 plug-ins
Nattress today released Advanced Plugins for FinalTouch 1.5, a suite of plugins that enhance the capabilities of Silicon Color's FinalTouch SD, Finaltouch HD and FinalTouch 2k software applications. The update offers a total of 21 plug-ins, ranging from "G 2 Strip" to G S-Curge RGB." Advanced Plugins for FinalTouch 1.5 includes a new plug-in dubbed "G Smart Denoise," a noise reduction tool that utilizes an adaptive edge dependent averaging function to remove noise or grain without blurring edges. "G Smart Denoise" can also function as a sharpening tool that only enhances edges, by adjusting its settings. Advanced Plugins for FinalTouch 1.5 is priced at $500, though the upgrade is available for free to existing users.
Apple faces questions
Apple's quest to discover the indentity of a journalist source took an important step today as a three-judge appeals panel in the State of California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, heard oral arguments from each side. Apple appeared to face the brunt of the Court's questioning, who hinted that at the very least it may remand the case to lower court for reconsideration, according to CNET News.com. The judges questioned Apple's investigation as well as its classification of the unreleased Asteroid product--a FireWire breakout box--as a trade secret, asking Apple lawyers rhetorically if they believed it was worthy of trade secret status. "You don't really claim this is a new technology?" the presiding judge, Conrad Rushing, asked Apple's lawyer. "This is plugging a guitar into a computer."
Mac OS X security holes
A security professional says he has been dissecting various Mac OS X applications, and has submitted a slew of security vulnerabilities to Apple's product security team. The vulnerabilities, which were reportedly submitted to Apple at the beginning of 2006, afflict Mac OS X 10.4.5, BOM ArchiveHelper, Safari 2.0.3, and Mac OS X 10.4.6. Apple recently released a firmware update for Intel Macs that addressed a security vulnerability in Java for Tiger, and offered Java Standard Edition 5.0 the following day, which also repaired a number of security issues. The company to date has chosen not to repair the vulnerabilities discovered by Security-Protocols.com, however, which has posted seven advisories for the weaknesses already discovered. "From what I have been told, they 'will be fixed in the next security release,'" Tom Ferris wrote, researcher for Security-Protocols.com. [corrected]
Analyst lowers estimates
Merrill Lynch today lowered its June quarter iPod sales estimates from 10.7 million to 9.2 million based on a deceleration in March. The firm cut fiscal year 2006 iPod sales estimates from 47.1 million to 43.4 million, and adjusted June quarter revenue and earnings per share estimations to reflect Apple's financial results during its second quarter. Merrill Lynch expects Fiscal 2006 earnings per share to total $2.13, down from $2.20, and fiscal 2007 estimates fell to $2.84 from $2.94. "Our June quarter revenue and earnings per share estimates are revised down to less than the typical excess of actual results over guidance," analyst Richard Farmer wrote. Farmer expects Apple's management to focus on growth by increasing features and capacity at constant price points, which will increasingly cut into the company's margin over time.
Nova Media today unveiled launch2net, a "wizard" designed to help users set up cellular connections via HSDPA, 3G UMTS, EDGE, or GPRS with a Mac and a compatible mobile phone or PC Data card. Launch2net offers support for Intel-based Macs, an integrated "Connect" button for quick connections to spare the use of the built-in internet connect program, and the first HSDPA support for Mac OS X, according to Nova Media. The software supports a variety of mobile phones and most PC Data cards, with more than 300 connection settings for networks around the globe. "Most network operators are not Mac-friendly and Mac customers are often rejected from the operators support centers. For these customers, this means a long and tedious search for settings and configurations," said Jan Fuellemann, spokesperson at Nova Media. "This is why we developed launch2net with automatic device and network detection and connection settings already included." The software features custom connection settings, and can display connection time as well as speed. Launch2net requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is priced at €75.
UBS drops estimates
Investment firm UBS today lowered its price target to $90 from $95 on Apple shares, but maintained its "buy" rating on the stock due to beliefs that the second quarter could mark the "trough" in revenue for the calendar year. Analyst Ben Reitzes believes growth in Mac sales during such a tough transition quarter bodes well for future share gain potential, even as iPod sales numbered 8.5 million units, well beneath his estimate of 9.6 million. "We are adjusting estimates to reflect lower iPods, partially offset by higher Mac sales," Reitzes wrote in a research note. UBS estimates revenue of $4.4 billion for the third quarter of 2006, down from $4.6 billion. The company predicts that 2006 fiscal year revenue will amount to $19.3 billion, down from almost 20 billion, with earnings per share of $2.03 -- down from $2.10.
Needham maintains \"hold\"
Needham & Company today maintained its "hold" rating on Apple shares, saying that it will continue to do so until the company's transition to Intel-based Macs is closer to completion. "Apple escaped the first quarter of its transition to Intel processors, delivering results in line with our forecast. The company faces at least two more quarters where demand could be time shifted to subsequent quarters," analyst Charles Wolf wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "However, once the transition is complete by the first quarter of fiscal 2007, we believe Mac shipments have the potential to surge on the strength of the Mac's newfound ability to run Windows applications along side Mac applications." Apple shipped 8.5 million iPods during its second quarter, which proved modestly higher than Needham's forecast of eight million units. The analyst also noted that Apple's gross margin of 29.8 percent was far higher than expected, saying that falling flash prices were largely responsible for the $0.09 upside in earnings per share.
Altec Lansing headphones
Altec Lansing is offering 10 new headphones this year that consist of ear phone, over-the-head, ear clip, behind-the-neck and active noise reduction models, including the AHP612 wireless headphones. Altec Lansing's AHP612 ($150, shown at right) is a 900MHz wireless headphone system that connects to a variety of home electronics, as well as portable audio devices. AHP625 Over-the-Head Studio offers SRS simulated surround sound and ships with a carrying bag ($80). The AHP524 Over-the-Head Light Studio offers DJ-style monitoring capability for $50, while the AHP423 Behind-the-Neck Sports is foldable and ships with two extra foam pads in different colors, as well as a carrying bag for $30. Additional models include the AHP322 ($20), AHP227 ($15), AHP223 ($15), AHP122 ($10), and AHP121 ($10). Due in late summer of 2006, Altec Lansing plans to offer its AHP812 high-end noise cancellation headphone system for $200.
Apple\'s music business
Apple's music business posted very strong growth during the March quarter, netting the company about 50 percent of its total revenue and helping Apple post its second best quarterly earnings. The company's iPod continued to gain marketshare, despite slower sales, primarly due to seasonality and lower average selling prices. Apple said its 'Other music revenue' increased 125 percent year-over-year, providing a strong boost to its music business; the company argued that its iPod numbers, which dropped sequentially by about 40 percent in terms of both units and revenues, were actually inline with the projected 30 percent seasonality dropoff expected in the post-holiday quarter for consumer electronics. The company noted that the December quarter had 14 weeks, while the March quarter only had 13, which contributed to the larger-than-expected apparent sales dropoff.
MacNN review, IRS phishing
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the BlueWave Bluetooth Headphones ($90, shown at right) from MacAlly.... The Internal Revenue Service has posted a "Taxpayer Alert" regarding new criminal phishing attacks that have occurred over the past two days.... Ergonis Software today announced the Macility Productivity Bundle ($50), offering 30 percent off the combined prices of PopChar X, keyCue, and Typinator.... The Onion has featured Apple on its front page, with Steve Jobs depicted standing on a stage as he introduces the future of home-video viewing.... MacWay has begun offering Kimono cases by Miyavix, enclosures for various iPod models that are hand made in Kyoto, Japan.... FreshTracksMusic today launched a subscription-based digital music download service boasting unrestricted, unlimited downloads of iPod-compatible digital music for a flat monthly fee.
Apple retail profit down
Despite the second best quarter ever, Apple's retail segment suffered its first setback--earning less profit than it did in the year ago quarter Though it posted increased year-over-year revenues of $636 million, profit dropped by more than 30 percent; the company, however, said it would continue its expansion with plans to open 40 new stores during its fiscal 2006 year (which ends in September)--a little more than 30 of which are expected to be in the US. Apple said that its retail segment earned a profit of $29 million, down from $42 million in the year ago quarter, reflecting a sales pause due to the company's transition to Intel-based Macs. Apple, which opened six new stores during the quarter to end with 141 total retail outlets, said that traffic to its stores increased during the March quarter from 13 million to 18.1 million visitors, which translates to about 10,000 visitors per store per week.
Marware rolls out 5G cases
Marware today rolled out the Sidewinder and Trail Vue cases for the fifth-generation video iPod, which are available via the Apple Store. The Sidewinder for the video iPod is a hard case featuring a retractable kickstand, headphone cord wrap, and flip–open dock connector cover. Sidewinder also includes a spacer to accommodate the 30GB or 60GB iPod with video. The Trail Vue expands to accommodate both the 30GB and 60GB video iPod models, and each case offers access to the headphone jack and a durable Velcro closure strap. Interchangeable bungee cords in five mood–matching colors provide convenient headphone storage. The Trail Vue ships with a removable belt clip for $35, while the Sidewinder is priced at $30 (shown at right). [updated]
XC Connect goes Universal
Xchange Network today released a Universal Binary version of its XC Connect collaboration software, which includes XC Connect for Entourage and XC Connect for iCal. The Entourage variant manages the transfer of data between Microsoft Entourage and the Xchange Network (XCN) Server. Users can share Address Book, Calendar, and/or Task data with others using any supported XC Connect client. The iCal application manages the transfer of data between the Apple iCAL and Address Book applications and the Xchange Network Server, offering the same benefits and features of the Entourage application. Both the XCN Server and XC Connector software require Mac OS X 10.2 or later. "Having achieved universal binary support with XC Connect, Xchange Network continues to be the only company that enables users to synchronize calendar, address book, and task data across the heterogeneous desktop environment," said Bill McManus, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Xchange Network.
Sound design bundle
Galbanium today announced a joint effort to offer software bundle pricing for both MetaSynth Pro 4.0 and Architecture Volume One. MetaSynth is a visual paradigm for music composition, synthesis and sound design that applies advanced image processing techniques to an audio rendering engine. The software applies a visual processing metaphor to additive synthesis, subtractive filtering, modulated effects processing, spectral analysis, multi-sampling, frequency modulation, granular processing, wave-shaping, and wavetable design allowing users to "paint sound." Architecture Volume One is a resource library for U&I Software's MetaSynth, offering a new preset, sample, and resource library individuals interested in sound-design and synthesis techniques. The resource contains more than 10,000 audio samples, graphic files, and high level presets capable of creating a wide range of audio atmospheres. Through April 30th, both MetaSynth Pro 4.0 and Architecture Volume One are available together for $550.
FreshTracksMusic today launched a subscription-based digital music download service boasting unrestricted, unlimited downloads of digital music for a flat monthly fee. Music enthusiasts can locate and download thousands of songs from independent bands for free, and pay $5 per month to own unlimited downloads of unencrypted, iPod-compatible MP3s. FreshTracksMusic allows and encourages users to burn and play music on any Mac, PC, or MP3 player, including Apple's iPod -- and share them with their friends. "We have created an innovative approach to digital downloading in FreshTracksMusic.com that will fill the gap between today's music industry and its most valuable audience, music fans," said John Wanzung, President of FreshTracksMusic. "Our digital downloading hub provides music fans with a diverse selection of music and offers a way for them to discover and download as many iPod-compatible MP3s as they wish for one low, flat fee."
Speed Download 4 released
Yazsoft today released Speed Download 4, the fourth generation of the company's download manager for Mac OS X. Building on Speed Download improvements, version 4 is a Universal Binary optimized to run natively on Intel-based Macs. The update includes a new user interface, a re-engineered "universal" download engine optimized for performance, a database to manage transfers, and an FTP client with support for Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Version 4 also offers a P2P file sharing utility with encryption capability, as well as .Mac iDisk integration and auto-resuming file transfers all of the time. Speed Download 4 is priced at $25, with upgrades costing $15 for registered users of previous versions. Speed Download 4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later.
StorCenter network storage
Iomega today announced the release of two new StorCenter network storage products: the StorCenter Wireless Network Storage 1TB, and the StorCenter Network Hard Drive 500GB. Designed for secure data sharing across the network in small business and home settings, Iomega's latest network storage desktop products offer easy access to data, easy expandability, RAID data security, automatic data backup, and the convenience of built-in print server and media server features. The Iomega StorCenter Wireless Network Storage 1TB (pictured at right) is available worldwide for $900, and the Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive 500GB is also available now for $500.
PortalPlayer iPod setback
Apple is not expected to use chips from longtime supplier Portal Player for the upper end of its future iPod product line. PortalPlayer, whose chip sales are virtually driven by Apple, said that it has been dealt a major setback, as Apple has begun notifying its suppliers of orders for future iPod products. Apple is apparently switching media processor chip vendors in its iPod lines, according to the EE Times. "PortalPlayer generates over 90 percent of its sales from Apple’s iPod; it makes the media processor for the MP3. But PortalPlayer said that it has recently been advised that the follow-on to its PP5021 media processor chip has not been selected by Apple for use in its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods.... The chip company believes that the PP5021 will continue to be used in other members of the iPod family." The next-generation chip, the PP5024, was due in the second half of 2006 and was rumored to be the company's entry into the MP3-based flash arena.
Linux/WinXP on MacBook Pro
In Brief: Intel reported a 38 percent decline in first-quarter profit as PC sales slowed and it lost marketshare to its rival, Advanced Micro Devices; it also slashed its revenue forecast for 2006, though not as much as analyst expected.... The reduction, which assumes demand and Intel market share will improve in the second half of the year, wasn't as extreme as some analysts had expected, sending Intel shares up 1 percent in after-hours trading.... "Triple Boot," as the OnMac.net Web site calls it, adds the ability to run Linux on a MacBook Pro, relying on the newly-released Boot Camp, Apple's dual-boot utility to "chainload" Linux from an already-installed copy of Windows XP using the "LILO" bootloader.... Apple specialist Expercom is now selling MacBook Pros preloaded with Windows XP, featuring a 20GB Fat32 partition with WinXP and a licensed copy on CD.... Apple's flagship 17-inch MacBook Pro may make its debut at NAB, where the company is also expected to tout the recently released Intel-native Final Cut Studio 5.1.
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