In brief: MacNN has reviewed Menuet ($13) from Specere, an iTunes control application, as well as the proporta retractable stereo headphones ($17, shown at right).... FastMac today lowered the price of its PowerBook G3 (Pismo) to G4 processor upgrade by $50.... Big Nerd Ranch today announced the return of Cocoa Bootcamp on Tiger 10.4 for June 19-23rd.... Koyono is due to begin shipping some of its "made for iPod" garments in May, which feature washable fabric control with built-in access to iPod functionality.... A recent poll found that over a third of airline passengers would download songs from the iTunes Music Store, were tracks available to consumers during flights.... Tekkeon today launched a limited edition black version of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPod.
Ambrosia Software today released Darwinia 1.4.2, a Universal Binary version of its real-time strategy game that runs natively on Intel Macs. The update features functional keypad bindings, added difficulty settings, an updated Ambrosia Toolkit for Intel Mac compatibility, and minor enhancements/bug fixes. Darwinia is a virtual theme park populated by sentient evolving life forms called "Darwinians." Darwinians are the product of a decades worth of research into genetic algorithms, but the systems of Darwinia have been overrun by an evil red Viral Infection. The Virus has multiplied out of control and must be stopped, as players are tasked with destroying the infection to save the Darwinians from extinction. Darwinia 1.4.2 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Apple Keyboard Update 1.0 (free) addresses the reliability of keyboard and mouse functionality on certain Mac systems. The update is recommended for owners of any MacBook Pro notebook, early 2006 iMac, or early 2006 Mac mini system. An installer guides users through the steps necessary to install the software, which requires Mac OS X 10.4.6. [Download - 12MB] Intaglio 2.7.2 ($90) is a free upgrade for existing users of the Quartz drawing application, providing native support for Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. Intaglio features CoreImage filters, full AppleScript support, and text manipulation routines. The software converts PDF, EPS, SVG, and PICT files into editable Quartz graphics. [Download - 4.8MB] CrushFTP 3.9.4 ($25) updates the FTP server that features SSL/TLS, multihoming, and virtual servers. The free update fixes numerous bugs related to email, plug-in implementation, labels, remote FTP servers, and more. The software also offers users/groups, ratios, quotas, and load balancing. [Download - 2.5MB] Alarm Clock Pro 7.6.8 ($20) is an iTunes and Web-enabled computer alarm clock application. The update enhances the Stop Watch to include more detailed information on each lap, and adds a system time offset for alarms. Version 7.6.8 also offers the ability to auto-add the relaunch daemon to user login items, as well as numerous bug fixes. [Download - 6.8MB] Mac Pilot 2.0.6 ($10) is designed to unlock more than 225 hidden features and other advanced UNIX commands. Version 2.0.6 offers the ability to set the system umask default file permissions, as well as print the key combo, ports, and error lists. The latest version also allows users to change the default system fonts. [Download - 2.8MB] Password Retriever 5.2.2 ($20) updates the software designed to secure sensitive information using 448-bit encryption, adding a password generator and "Quick Browser." The latest release enables users to dynamically specify variables in the template used for password generation, scroll up or down in the Quick Browser, and copy text directly from the Quick Browser. [Download - 2.6MB]
Running With Scissors has released Postal 2: Share the Pain (STP) and its add-on scenario, Apocalypse Weekend for Mac users with multiplayer support. Players can freely explore full 3D open-ended environments and interact with over 100 unique NPC's (Non-Player Characters) that include Gary Coleman, marching bands, dogs, cats, elephants, protesters, policemen and civilians -- with or without weapons. "Postal 2 is all about choice; experiment with everyone and everything. And remember... it's only as violent as you are!" The Mac version offers a new weapon of mass destruction, additional "Insano" and "Hate Me" modes, and new maps. The Mac edition also features faster load times, as well as native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Postal 2: Share The Pain is available for $20 via digital download from Deliver2Mac, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
Koyono is due to begin shipping some of its "made for iPod" garments in May, which feature washable fabric control with built-in access to iPod functionality. The fabric interfaces that enable embedded controls are made from ElekTex -- a unique five-layer laminate of electrically conductive materials that transforms fabric into an electronic touchpad. The BlackCoat Sport is a hybrid sport coat/jacket/overcoat designed to weather the elements, and is expected to ship on May 2nd for $225. Koyono's BlackCoat Surf Edition is a short sleeve shirt/jacket that offers the benefits of outerwear with a shape and weight that can be worn throughout the summer, and is due to ship on May 20th for $170. The company also plans to ship its BlackCoat Work (shown at right) hybrid jean jacket/sport coat on May 2nd for $250, made from either Nextec nylon or stretch cotton with encapsulated fiber waterproofing.
A judgment in the Apple Computer versus Apple Corps court battle will likely be handed down on Monday, May 8th. Both sides have been arguing their cases since late March when Apple Corps, which is owned by the former Beatles and their heirs, filed a suit against Apple Computer for breaching a $26 million settlement in 1991. Apple Computer agreed to veer away from the music business, while Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name for "creative works whose principal content is music." Apple Computer was allowed to use of the name for "goods and services... used to reproduce, run, play, or otherwise deliver such content." The presiding justice Edward Mann will decide whether to grant an injunction preventing Apple Computer from using its logo within iTunes, according to Macworld UK.
Macgamestore.com today announced that Pocketwatch Games' Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is available as a digital download. The game is a fast-paced simulation set in the African Serengeti. Players build a unique ecosystem by buying and breeding animals, and by balancing the food and water needs of each diverse species. The complete version of Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa includes 11 animals, 25 campaign maps, three levels of difficulty, a story mode, and a challenge mode. Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
A Mac developer has released Su Doku live, a package of three games based on the popular Sudoku puzzle game featured in the games section of Apple's website. An online competitive arcade version of the game lets up to 32 players race against the clock, and enables them to view each other's progress in real-time as they solve puzzles. An Online cooperative version allows players to work together to solve puzzles in a relaxed atmosphere with chat capability, and usually consists of very difficult puzzles. The single player version is near completion, according to the developer, featuring a solver, a puzzle generator, player notes, and a hint system for beginners. The forthcoming version will include a tutorial that can teach users to solve every puzzle, help them through every challenge without resorting to "guessing," and explain well-known techniques. Su Doku Live is priced at $20 (system requirements were unavailable).
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced at the company's annual shareholder's meeting that TV ads centered on the Mac will air next week. The timing marks the start of the May sweeps period, when television networks unveil season finales to boost ratings during a month when local ad rates are set, according to News.com. Jobs announced the plan after a shareholder asked why Apple hasn't acquired more market share over the past few years. The company's market share declined slightly during Q1, partially due to potential customers waiting for the completion of the Intel transition, according to Jobs. The executive said Mac sales will grow once the transition is complete later in the year.
Sony is being accused of underpaying music artists' royalties for digital downloads in a new class action lawsuit. The Allman Brothers Band and Cheap Trick are claiming millions of dollars in damages from Sony Music because the entertainment giant is not paying its recording artists half of the net licensing revenue received in connection with music licensed to digital download providers, such as Apple. The suit alleges that Sony Music handles each download as a sale of physical media, paying on only 85 percent of "sales" due to "breakage of product," and deducts another 20 percent for container/packaging charges associated with the digital downloads. Finally, Sony Music is reducing its payments by another 50 percent for an "audiofile" deduction, which results in a payment to recording artists of roughly 4 1/2 cents per digital download, according to Macworld UK.
A recent poll found that over a third of airline passengers would download songs from the iTunes Music Store, were tracks available to consumers during flights. The poll was conducted in response to recent talks between Apple and in-flight entertainment providers, who considered licensing iTunes media download software in early April. Flightglobal.com found that 38 percent of flyers would download songs from iTunes during a flight, while 62 percent would not, according to a report from vnunet.com. A deal between in-flight entertainment providers and Apple could allow passengers to download videos and music to iPods while in the air, and several airlines have requested building iPod docks into seatbacks.
A school in the UK which recently boasted 100 percent GCSE passes credits its technology infrastructure -- which relies heavily on Apple systems -- as a major contribution to the exam results. Wildern School in Hampshire is home to more Macs than any other school in England, and recently won the government's Future Vision Award for use of technology in its curriculum. In 1997, seven percent of Wildern's departing students had no GCSE qualification, and boys' achievements, as in many schools, were lagging behind those of girls. Many classrooms at the school now link to interactive whiteboards, and the number of Macs has grown incrementally within a school-wide wireless environment. "We have every type of Apple hardware with a full range of video and audio tools," said the school's head, Jeffery Threlfall. "Once youngsters get their hands on a Mac they don't want to go back to PCs. They like the intuitive nature of the system, as well as the modern design-led look... and they love the software."
Tekkeon today unveiled a limited edition black version of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPod. The accessory adds more than nine hours of extra video playback for video iPod owners, and up to 42 hours of extended music playback, according to Tekkeon. The rechargeable lithium polymer battery built into a portable dock case includes FireWire and USB 2.0 ports to sync an iPod, a line out port for connecting to an external output device, and a 5V charging output port to simultaneously charge a mobile phone or any device that requires up to 5V. MyPower for iPod is compatible with third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation iPods, as well as iPod mini and iPod photo. The limited edition black myPower device ships with a USB 2.0 cable, five sets of sizing pads for different iPod models, a clip for the iPod mini, and a user guide for $70.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE