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Apple is accepting entries for the eleventh annual Apple Design Awards 2006, which will be announced at its Worldwide Developer Conference in August, where the company will showcase Leopard, the next generation Mac OS X operating system. Apple said that this year's contest focuses on products and solutions developed for Mac OS X Tiger, offering eight different categories that recognize technical excellence and outstanding achievement in software products and solutions for Mac OS X. Apple says that winning developers will receive prizes, and production promotion, as their solutions will be showcased at WWDC 2006, Macworld 2007, and on the Apple website.
Tenon announced today iTools 8.2, a new Universal version of its Apache server bundle optimized for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. Featuring the latest Apache 2.2.0 build, the company says that "The Intel Core Duo Mac mini with iTools yields one and a half times the performance of Apple's Apache on a dual-G5 Mac." iTools offers secure, domain-specific, browser-based web administration for simplified server administration. Apache 2.2.0 brings significantly improved memory and disk utilization, support for files greater than 2GB, a new database API and new database modules that enable database applications to work more efficiently.
The Apple Store SoHo in New York City has served over 5 million customers. The company said that at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, Apple's only retail location in Manhattan welcomed its 5 millionth customer since its grand opening in July of 2002. "To celebrate this milestone, [the] Apple Store staff showered the customer with lots of goodies," according to a posting on Apple's website. Earlier this month, Apple said that overall traffic at its retail locations was up in the March quarter, despite a slower sales. Apple's retail division averaged about 10,000 visitors per store per week during its March quarter. As one of the flagship stores, the Soho retail location has become one of the new hip places to hang out, after the company extended its Genius Bar hours to midnight last summer. The company is expected to open yet another location later this spring: the 25,000 square-foot store will be housed in the underground retail plaza of the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue at the edge of Central Park.
Shazam is hoping to capitalize on the growing mobile music market [subscription required]--which is expected to reach $610 million or 7 percent of the market in 2010--by offering users the ability to purchase iTunes songs instantly after using its technology to identify them using their mobile phones. The company will offer a catalog of more than three million songs from Shazam's partners, including Apple's iTunes, according to the report. The Wall Street Journal that the company offers its song identification service in UK for £3 per month or 50 pence per song and under other brands in other countries, such as T-Mobile. The service, launched in 2002, identifies a song by converting audio signals into digital code then matching its characteristics with those in a vast database of artists, albums and tracks, according to the report.
Samsung on Wednesday said it has landed a contract to supply some of the internal components on the next generation iPod. The announcement comes days after longtime iPod supplier Portal Player said that Apple would not use its chips for its high-end future iPods, although it said Apple would continue to use them in the lower-end flash based iPods. Samsung's coup, the largest LSI chip order for the company, comes at the expense of Portal, which currently generates over 90 percent of its sales from Apple’s iPod, and other suppliers such as SigmaTel, Actions, and LSI Logic--all of whom were were also considered front-runners for the new iPod processor contract. Apple has already sold over 50 million iPods and may sell up to 35 million more by the end of 2006, according to analysts. Ironcally, Samsung also sells MP3 playes that compete with Apple's iPod and has been trying to gain marketshare with new product releases and turned to one of the original iPod architects for the design of its Z5 portable MP3 player.
Apple today released updates to some of its iWork applications. Keynote 3.0.1 addresses issues with three-dimensional charts and textures as well as addresses a number of other minor issues, while Pages 2.0.1 addresses issues with charts and image adjust. It also addresses a number of other minor issues. The iWork ’06 suite, released earlier this year, offers applications for creating everything from school newsletters to business presentations. Pages 2 can quickly create a wide variety of documents, while Keynote 3 can produce cinema-quality presentations, storyboards, and more. The full version is available for $80 from the Apple Store. Earlier this week, Apple offered a GarageBand 3.02 update.
Apple is rumored to be in talks with Sony and other studios to include iPod versions of movies on Blu-Ray releases. The Cupertino-based company joined the Blu-Ray Disc Association in early March of 2005, which was created to broaden support for the High Definition disc format that offers five times the capacity of DVDs. Disney has also adopted the Blu-Ray disc format, and has worked with Apple on video content in the past. Apple's movie offering would expand greatly were it to convince Sony and Disney to add iPod support, according to Business 2.0 Magazine. Blu-Ray discs are easily large enough to store an iPod-ready copy of a High-Definition flick along with the full version, and though Apple would miss out on potential revenues from selling the movies via iTunes, having a massive offering of iPod-formatted movies available to consumers could mean more iPod sales.
Kodak has announced its second dual-lens camera, the Easyshare V610, as well as an updated version of its Easyshare-One wireless-enabled camera and new Easyshare Software 6.0. Dubbed as the world's smallest digital camera with a 10X optical zoom, the V610 leverages a virtually identical design to its predecessor 5MP camera, delivering six megapixels of resolution using two Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon zoom lenses. The combined system offers a total zoom range of 38-380mm. Kodak also says the V610 is the first dual-lens camera that offers Bluetooth wireless technology to easily send photos to nearby wireless devices, such as printers, computers, or other mobile devices.
AquaMinds is now shipping NoteShare 1.0, a desktop application for creating, publishing, and sharing multi-page notebooks. Users can share notebooks with other NoteShare users to present, view, and edit information over the internet. Key features of NoteShare include one-step instant sharing and user-controlled access to data with no dependency on outside hosting services or Web-based portals. The software supports rich content using dynamic interactive plug-ins that feature live Web pages, QuickTime, voice annotations, sketches, and files. Single user licenses of NoteShare 1.0 are available for $150 each, family licenses are priced at $200, and Academic users can purchase the software for $100. NoteShare is a Universal Binary offering native compatibility for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes Apple's iPod will be dethroned by a new generation of mobile phones. "We will soon witness a lot of innovations and changes in portable devices," Ballmer said at a management forum in Berlin. "Portable music is not limited to iPods," the executive added. The head of Microsoft also believes competition with Google is an open opportunity, according to heise online. "Half of the time that we look for something, we don't find it. There is a lot of room for improvement," he explained. The actual innovation that Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page unveiled was not the technological aspect of internet searches, according to the executive. "They were the first ones to realize the potential of online advertising. The Google business model is the actual innovation," Ballmer said.
Digital Eel and Shrapnel Games today launched Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space for the Mac. Players can explore the infinite possibilities of "Sector Prime" for scientific knowledge, a military show of force, or "a healthy dose of space rum and alien parrots with a crew of cutthroat pirates." Exploration is performed in a leisurely, turn-based, one-click mode. Strange encounters in outer space or planet-side are common, ranging from benign to malevolent. "You may encounter a friendly trader, a lost fighter pilot, or other alien vessels. And let's face it, most alien races are rather angry, and they like to take their anger out on humans by blowing them up, enslaving their women, and probe parties. Weird Worlds continues this fine tradition of human-hating aliens bent on your destruction." Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space for the Mac is available via download for $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
KisMAC 0.21a (free) updates the passive stumbler for Mac OS X, offering native support for Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. KisMac 0.21a provides a passive AirPort Extreme mode (which doesn't work on MacBook Pros or new Mac minis), displays IP addresses of clients, offers growl integration, and includes Google Earth export capability. The update also provides advanced search options, reworked Atheros integration, and numerous bug fixes. [Download - 5.1MB] Bling 1.0 (free) is a new dashboard widget featuring various pieces of jewelry, designed to "inspire all of us to never forget about the benjamins." Widget images include a neck chain (Chump Bling), a diamond earring (Ho Bling), a dollar sign pendant (Blingalicious), a marijuana leaf pendant (40 Kilo Bling), a jewelry watch (Straight Bling), and Mr. T wearing numerous gold chains (Mad Bling). [Download - 391KB] Finder Window Manager 1.9.5 ($10) manages Mac OS X Finder window needs, allowing users to create "Window Sets" to remember the size, placement, and numerous view options of open windows. Version 1.9.5 adds Mac OS X 10.4 compatibility, and offers native support for Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The update also includes improved tooltips and help files, as well as minor code and speed optimizations. [Download - 1.2MB] EntourageABMenu 1.4 ($10) is designed as a convenient and intuitive way to utilize Microsoft Entourage address book data through a system-wide menu. The application provides quick access to contacts' phone numbers, email, postal addresses, URLs, and notes. Version 1.4 adds a recently used contacts submenu, support for contact URLs and notes, an option to determine the order of contact submens, and the ability to choose a map source which is no longer limited to Google Maps. EntourageABMenu 1.4 also offers users the ability to determine a field for a group of emails, and adds a utilities menu to handle multiple tasks such as making new items or switching identities. [Download - 944KB] JABMenu 1.1 ($10) allows users to utilize Apple's Address Book data via a system-wide menu. The application offers speedy access to contacts' phone numbers, email, and postal addresses. Selecting a menu item will trigger an action such as displaying the content in large type, copying it to the clipboard, creating a new email, dialing the phone, or showing an address on a map using the Google Maps service. The update adds support for contact URLs and notes, as well as an option to determine inclusion and order of contact data items. Version 1.1 also offers the ability to determine a field for group emails, and allows users to select a map source that is no longer limited to Google Maps. [Download - 824KB] Image Tricks 2.0 (free) enables users to create unique images using an image generator, or apply various Tiger Core visual effects to images. Key features include an easy-to-use interface, nearly 40 Core Image effects and filters, 11 image generators, and roughly 30 unique masks that can be applied to images. The application can export to TIFF, JPEG, PDF, PNG, and GIF formats. Image Tricks 2.0 also includes iPhoto integration, and runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 2.2MB]
Graphisoft today announced that Archicad 10, the next version of its "Virtual Building" modeling solution will launch on both Mac and Windows platforms during the first week in May. Archicad 10 offers flexible modeling design alterations, and includes a new "layouting" process to streamline workflow throughout the entire project lifecycle. The update integrates the entire design/documentation workflow within Archicad itself, which updates instantly across the entire project book to ensure the most effective use of model data. Archicad 10 supports slanted elements, cross-section profiles, and the ability to reshape elements in any view to enhance modeling freedom. The software also utilizes extended drag-and-drop support, smart drawing management that monitors all drawings within a project, and parametric drawing titles that adjust automatically to the associated drawing (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Intelli Innovations today released IntelliMerge 5.0 for Mac OS X, adding automatic subscriber management and the ability to send any Web page as an interactive email message to the email merge software. The application combines a recipient manager, tag-driven e-mail composition program, and mailing system to ease the process of sending dynamic, customized messages. The redesigned message editor system features color-coded sections, integrated tips, and step-by-step documentation. Version 5.0 also features an activity log, a "SmartBar Integrated Tip System" that provides help when composing a new email campaign, "Message Preflight" to catch mistakes before the mailing is sent, and "Smart Bounce Management" to send bounced messages to an alternative email address. In addition, users can schedule business mailings for later times. IntelliMerge 5.0 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is priced at $100 or $180 with the optional AutoSubscriber component. Upgrades are priced at $40, or $90 with the AutoSubscriber component.
SoundTech Professional Audio has launched LightSnake, its intelligent instrument-to-PC cable with an embedded analog to digital converter and signal booster. The LightSnake USB enables users to plug a guitar, bass, keyboard or other electronic instrument directly into a PC. The device features digital quality sound input without the need for a sound card, embedded A/D chip technology with audio signal boost to eliminate the need for additional conversion devices, and patented "Live when Lit" technology cable ends that light up when sound is transmitted. The USB 2.0 device ships with a 10-foot shielded cable, a 1/4-inch mini adapter and 1/4-inch male to dual 1/4-inch female splitter, as well as driver software for older non-plug-and-play compliant systems. The LightSnake is priced at $70 and requires Mac OS 9/X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Aspyr Media today announced that Call of Duty 2 for Mac has hit beta status. Developed by Infinity Ward, Call of Duty 2 attempts to re-define the cinematic intensity and chaos of battle as seen through the eyes of ordinary soldiers fighting together in epic WWII conflicts. The first person action game features enhanced graphics, a new engine, improved artificial intelligence, and choice-based innovations that simulate real warfare. The game feature snow, rain, fog, and smoke, combined with dynamic lighting and shadows to create realistic effects. Call of Duty 2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, is scheduled to ship in May, and is available for pre-order for $50.
In brief: Time Magazine has named DLO's HomeDock Deluxe for iPod (shown at right) its Gadget of the Week.... Logitech has introduced the Logitech LBD-A2FU2/WM external Blu-ray disc writer [Japanese] with support for Roxio Toast 7 Titanium on Mac OS X, as well as two internal Blu-ray disc writers for PCs.... Nokia has announced that it is moving its S60 browser development to opensource.apple.com.... Following a report stating that Quanta Computer was added as one of Apple's video iPod contract manufacturers, a new report says that the order has been shifted to an unspecified EMS provider.... Apple is expected to make a number of changes to its Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger retail product, offering a smaller box format while using change to update the retail version of Mac OS X from 10.4.3 to 10.4.6.... The University of California, Berkeley has announced "Berkeley on iTunes U," a free service offering a growing number of video and audio course lecture recordings available both on and off campus.
Mac gamers won't be seeing any future versions of America's Army, the free team-based first person shooter developed and sponsored by the U.S. Army. Ryan Gordon, programmer for the Mac version of the game confirmed that he is no longer working on the project. "I'm now paid for just the Linux server. The Mac and Linux clients were cancelled several versions ago," Gordon said. The programmer continued to work on the project even after the Army withdrew funding for the Linux and Mac clients, following a hike in licensing fees from GameSpy and other middleware developers, according to Macworld. Although Gordon replaced the GameSpy game matching code with an alternative last year, he decided that paying projects and other work take precedence over free updates to an unsupported project. "Future versions of the game will be adding more middleware that I can't keep up with and for which no one will be footing the bill," Gordon said. "The Army, I think, probably sees these freebie ports as a nuisance, since they're almost always late, and all they see are complaints from the Mac and Linux users about delays in a project they thought they axed several releases ago."
Seagate today announced the introduction of the world's first desktop hard drive to hit the 750GB capacity mark. The new "monster drive" is part of the new Barracuda 7200.10 family built on perpendicular recording technology designed for desktop computers and low-end servers. "Seagate now delivers perpendicular recording technology across its desktop, notebook, enterprise, consumer electronics and retail hard drives. The technology stands data bits vertically onto the disc media, rather than horizontal to the surface as with traditional longitudinal recording, to deliver new levels of hard drive data density, capacity and reliability. The new data orientation also increases drive throughput without increasing spin speed by allowing more data bits to pass under the drive head in the same amount of time." Now shipping, the $560 drive features a 7200-rpm mechanism in a 3.5" low-profile form-factor and a 5-year warranty.
FileMaker has posted FileMaker 8.0v3 updaters for FileMaker Pro 8, FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced, FileMaker Server 8 and FileMaker Server 8. The company said that the updaters address a wide of issues and bugs such as printing, web publishing, network hosting, calculations, and Finds on unstored calculations. Specifically, the update fixes problems with calculations, including the position function, comparisons of Sum or Average aggregate totals; improves recovery to not delete global fields and no corrupt calculations or custom functions that contain variables; and several printing issues. Windows has separate updaters for FileMaker Pro 8.0v2, FileMaker Pro 8.0v2 Advanced, and FMP Advanced Web, while Mac users must use separate updates for FMP Advanced Web publishing and FMP Server as well.
Ergonis today announced PopChar X 3.0, a completely re-designed version of its widely used tool for inserting special characters into the text of any application. The release features new Universal Binary support for native support on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs as well as adds 25 new features and improvements. It features a new quick search for special characters for instantly filtering the list of available characters. a more flexible interface with a "floating table," optimized character/font selection with a display of recently used items, and dozens of other bug fixes. PopChar X 3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer. A public beta version of PopChar is available immediately, with the release version of the product soon to follow.
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Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ