Apple is planning on launching its much-rumored Apple-branded iPhone in Japan, according to a published report. Softbank Corp and Apple are said to be planning to jointly develop cellular phone handsets that have built-in iPod-like functionality and can download songs directly from Apple's iTunes Music Store. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Softbank President Masayoshi Son and Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs met and reached a basic agreement on this partnership in cell phone handset operations. The companies are planning to first develop a 3G cell phone handset that incorporates the functions of Apple's popular iPod, eliminating the need for consumers to carry two separate devices. The news comes after recent speculation about an Apple iPhone by industry guru Walt Mossberg and a report suggesting Apple was searching for cell phone suppliers.
Apple is offering refurbished 17-inch 1.9GHz SuperDrive iMacs for $999, $300 lower than the original price, 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo iMacs for $1,099, $200 off the official price, 20-inch G5 1.8GHz 256MB 160GB SuperDrive iMacs for $1,099, $800 lower than retail, 20-inch G5 2GHz 512MB 250GB SuperDrive iMacs for $1,249, $550 less than retail, 20-inch G5 2.1GHz 512MB 250GB iMacs for $1,299, $400 off the original price, as well as 20-inch Intel Core Duo 2GHz iMacs for $1,399, a $300 discount. The company is also selling refurbished 2GB white and black iPod nanos for $169, $30 off the list price, 512MB iPod shuffles for $49, $50 off the original price, 1GB iPod shuffles for $79, a $70 savings, and 4GB Silver iPod minis featuring 8 and 18 hours of battery life for $139 and $149, respectively.
France's softened amendment may still keep Apple's iTunes Music Store out of the country, according to one columnist. French lawmakers are easing the language of a draft law that would force Apple to open up its FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management) to competitors, but the regulations may still be too strong. The Director of Public Policy Europe Francisco Mingorance with the Business Software Alliance said that even reworded, the law will have serious effects on technology and media concerns doing business in France, according to columnist Arik Hesseldahl with BusinessWeek online. "No matter the final consolation text, the legislation will have serious consequences," Mingorance said. "Technology companies will have to consider the French market, weighing the profit potential with the possibility of having their technology exposed to competitors."
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Captain FTP 4.5 ($25) from Xnet Communications, a file transfer application that features tabs and file synchronization.... A new Adobe promotion is offering a free iPod Hi-Fi to customers who purchase images from its Adobe Stock Photo service totaling at least $2,000 until June 23rd, 2006.... Motorola has launched the RAZR V3im in the U.K., its new iTunes mobile phone capable of playing digital music.... O'Reilly has released "iMovie 6 and iDVD: The Missing Manual" ($35) covering all of the major improvements in iMovie 6 as well as step-by-step video editing guidance.... JBL has launched its JBL Radial Black ($300, shown at right), a speaker dock for iPod that delivers high- and mid-frequency sound with distortion-free bass.... 3DGarage.com has announced a new video training course for Luxology's modo 201 3D modeling and rendering software, which is expected to be available in June.
iCal Calling iTunes! 4.1 ($10) enables users to schedule times for iTunes playlists to play. The updated AppleScript offers quicker detection of scheduled events, recognition of "on date" as well as "after" end settings in repeat events, and the on-demand status dialog now displays the current playing playlist coupled with the next scheduled playlist. [Download - 409KB] iComment 3.1 (free) adds comments, "TrackBacks," and detailed Web stats to iWeb sites. The application allows users to search in all subdirectories, offers a "StatCounter" feature, and runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. Version 3.1 fixes several small bugs. [Download - 206KB] xBack 3.6 ($10) brings animation to Mac desktops by replacing the stationary traditional background with a screensaver. The update offers a more streamlined interface, a random screen saver mode, the ability to set a different screen saver for each display, and iPhoto album support. [Download - 935KB] BrowseBack 1.2 ($30) updates the Web history visualization and search tool, adding a preference for images to be saved as part of a Web page's stored PDF. Previously, images were linked to the PDF file and downloaded when the PDF was requested by the user. Version 1.2 uses a smaller memory footprint, and includes other minor bug fixes/improvements. [Download - 3.7MB] GameLauncher 1.2 (free) is a utility that quits all running applications before launching one specific application, designed primarily for gamers who need to reserve system resources for CPU-intensive tasks. The update prompts users to re-launch an application should it crash, and improves operation of the zoom button. [Download - 486KB] DepreciMate 1.1.0 ($30) is an asset depreciation tool for Mac OS X, negating the need for users to rely on complicated spreadsheets to manage property depreciation. The update offers a new group summary, a new estimated current value field for each asset, and minor bug fixes/improvements. [Download - [account required]]
FastMac today announced a full line of custom painted Mac mini cases available for pre-order. Consumers will experience zero downtime, and the company includes all the necessary tools for installation. Colors currently offered include Onyx (black), Chili (red), Bubblegum (pink), Midnight (dark blue), Wasabi (lime), Tangerine (orange), and Retro (beige with an original multi-colored Apple logo). Cases are first cleaned and scuffed with a pre-solvent, followed by a coat of epoxy sealer and four coats of special low solids/high pigmentation aircraft quality paint. A final coat of clear urethane and high gloss completes the process, and all paints are two-part catalyzed. Logos are silk screened on using a special low solids/high pigmentation urethane. The customized cases ship with an installation video and PDF instructions available in English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Users can pre-order the custom painted cases for $70.
Tunewear has launched its new Tetran Luminous glow in the dark cable winder for iPod and other portable media players. Tetran allows users to wind an earphone cable around the accessory's body and use the mouth as a holder for earbuds. Spikes prevent the carrier from rolling away, and a removable ball-bearing style chain is included for attaching Tetran to a belt loop, cell phone strap, or key ring. The 23 rubber spikes can massage neck, hands, and feet, according to Tunewear. Tetran Luminous is available for $13.
Skype has released Skype 220.127.116.11 for Mac OS X, bringing native compatibility for Intel-based Macs to the free communication software as a Universal Binary. The software can forward calls to other Skype names or regular phones, pause iTunes automatically when a call comes in, and includes support for enhanced notifications with Growl. Skype 18.104.22.168 allows users to show Skype status on the Web as well as in email signatures, and the update supports Traditional Chinese. Skype has also warned of a known issue where users who created their account on Intel-based computers will not be able to revert to earlier versions of Skype after they install version 22.214.171.124. Skype 126.96.36.199 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is available for free.
FireWire Depot has unveiled a new SATA 3G Host Adapter, SATA enclosure, and two FireWire 800 (1394b) & USB 2.0 Combo-to-SATA bridge boards. The FASTA-2e ($100) 2 port PCI-e SATA 3G Host Adapter offers a high speed SATA 3Gbps connection and allows users to connect two external SATA 3Gbps devices to an Apple Power Mac G5 system. The MB452 ($100, shown at right) USB 2.0 + eSATA combo enclosure accepts 1 x 3.5-inch SATA I / II hard drive, and the housing is compatible with the MB122SKGF, MB123SK, and related SATA drive trays. An included security feature utilizes a power control locking mechanism that allows users to both power down and lock up the storage drive. FireWire Depot's FWBU2-DSATA01 ($90) is a FireWire800 (IEEE 1394b) & USB 2.0 Combo-to-SATA bridge board suited for tailgate interface applications for two SATA drives, while its FWBU2-DSATA01-H ($100) is an e-SATA, FireWire800 (IEEE 1394b) & USB 2.0 Combo-to-SATA bridge board also designed for tailgate interface applications for SATA drives.
4D, Inc. has released of 4th Dimension 2004.4, offering more than five dozen feature improvements to the popular developmen and deployment environment. The 4th Dimension product line offers a full range of Mac OS and Windows products that can be used together to create a fully integrated, Web-enabled, cross-platform database development solution, or as individual components. 4D 2004.4 is a standard maintenance and bug-fix release for 4th Dimension 2004 users. In addition, 4D 2004.4 is certified to run on the new Intel-based Macs. "4D added a significant number of features to our flagship product, 4D 2004," noted Brendan Coveney, president and CEO, 4D, Inc. "Version 2004.4 helps us maintain the stability, power and flexibility 4D developers are accustomed to for deploying robust and high-performing cross-platform business solutions." Licensed 4D 2004 users can download this free update on both the Mac and Windows platforms from the 4D, Inc. via FTP. Pricing starts at $350 for 4th Dimension 2004.
Faronics has announced the release of Deep Freeze Mac 3.0, it software that instantly protects and preserves original computer configurations, eliminating routine maintenance, while allowing complete unrestricted access to the computer. The company says that regardless of the changes made to a workstation, a simple restart resets the computer to its original state. Version 3.0 now offers "ThawSpace" capability, allowing users to save documents and retain changes persistently across restarts. Administrators can create a personal ThawSpace for each user or a shared Global ThawSpace accessible to all users, adding more flexibility when saving data. In addition, it features a new Scheduled maintenance, allowing administrators to configure a maintenance period for Deep Freeze to automatically perform Apple Software Updates. Deep Freeze users can now enjoy all the benefits of a Frozen Mac OS X system while saving data locally and keeping current with Apple Software Updates. Single-user pricing is $45, while volume discounts start at $27 per user.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives