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 18.104.22.168 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 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199. Skype 188.8.131.52 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.
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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