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MacBook HDTV, Trojan
In brief: One website is speculating that Apple's MacBook may be an attempt to provide users with a mobile HDTV media center.... A Windows Trojan with malicious rootkit features hidden in a legitimate software package has been discovered, and is known to hijack login information for multiple online poker websites.... iriver today released the iriver clix (shown at right), a portable media player that will further increase competition for Apple's iPod players.... One MacNN reader noted that Yahoo's new preview page is incompatible with Apple's Safari Web browser.... Google has released the Google Web Toolkit for Linux and Windows systems, a Java software development framework for writing AJAX applications.... Adobe has revealed more details on Apollo, one of the first products of the Adobe-Macromedia merger that will be integrated into Flash Player and Acrobat Reader.
Creative lawsuit will cost
Analysts suspect Creative's new legal action against Apple will disrupt management turnaround efforts despite higher share prices, according to Reuters. Creative on Monday filed a patent complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting that the Commission institute an investigation of whether Apple has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. "The stock price is just a knee-jerk bounce," CIMB-G.K. Securities analyst Jonathan Ng said. "The lawsuit will be a long process, and even if they win, any damages awarded will be a one-off gain. This does not change Creative's business fundamentals and the fact that there is nothing much to look forward to on the operations front."
Jahshaka 2.0rc3 released
The Jahshaka Project has released Jahshaka 2.0 RC3, which it claims is "the world's first" complete, open source, real-time editing and visual effects application. Distributed under the GNU General Public License, Jahshaka is designed for editors and other professionals involved in digital content creation. The post production suite will ultimately include modules for video and audio editing, compositing, animation, visual effects, graphics and paint. Hardware accelerated using OpenGL and built using cross-platform technology, the software runs equally well on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, according to the company. The Jahshaka 2.0 release also includes JahPlayer, a cross-platform media player that eliminates the need to install multiple media player software.
RAW Developer 1.5 released
Iridient Digital has released RAW Developer 1.5, a major update to its RAW image conversion software for Mac OS X. Version 1.5 is a universal binary application with full native support for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Mac systems. This release also features further improvements to RAW Developer's RAW image demosaic algorithm which improve diagonal edge detail and reduce color noise along high contrast edges. In addition, it adds Richardson-Lucy Deconvolution based sharpening (available on Mac OS X 10.4 or later only) applied in 32 bits/channel floating point CIE LAB color space as well as difference of Gaussian sharpening applied in 32 bits/channel floating point CIE LAB color space. Version 1.5 also features a new toolbar control, current cursor position image coordinates display, a new option for luminance channel-based digital exposure compensation adjustment, CIE LCH(ab) Chroma curves adjustment, and more. RAW Developer 1.5 is a free update for all currently registered users. New licenses are $100. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
iPod revamp, Apple growth
A complete revamp of Apple's iPod line will be a key growth driver for Apple in the second half of 2006, according to analyst firm Bear Stearns. "While investors are anxious about iPod data points, we would use the near-term weakness as a buying opportunity," analyst Andrew Neff wrote in a report after meeting with management from Apple. "We came away optimistic about Apple's outlook for the second half of 2006 with potentially a complete refresh of the iPod, 'true' video iPod and other new product launches, though timing is hard to call," Neff said. Neff suspects the "true" video iPod will be offered as a complimentary product to iPods, according to a report from Forbes.com.
Bullet Candy ships
Charlie's Games and Macgamestore.com today released Bullet Candy, a fast-paced arcade shooter for Mac OS X. Viewed from a top-down perspective, Bullet Candy features a true 360-degree experience to keep enemies in view at all times. Bullet Candy's controls allow for great precision of movement as well as aiming, and the game supports dual analog control pads. Game mechanics are inspired by Williams classic Robotron, vertical shooters such as Treasure's Ikaruga and Capcom's Gigawing, and Jeff Minter's awesome Llamatron as well as Tempest 2000. "Huge particle explosions, masses of enemy bullets, and beautiful feedback effects combined with power-ups, score multipliers, collectable friendly ships, laser upgrades and un-lockable bonus games all add up to make a great gameplay experience." Bullet Candy is priced at $20 (system requirements were unavailable).
WiebeTech, 750GB drives
WiebeTech today began shipping 750GB IDE and SATA drives with its storage products. "The new 750GB drives are now shipping, and we've added approximately 27 different configurations of our product line using these new drives," said James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech. "We have everything from USB2 and FireWire 400 drives with a capacity of 750GB to a RT5x2 RAID, which has an unformatted capacity of 7.5TB and uses 10 of the drives." Pricing ranges from $715 for a complete enclosure to $9,900 for an RT5x2-7500 dual RAID unit (shown at right).
Arcade Engine 2.0 released
Runtime Revolution today along with Derbrill Software released Arcade Engine 2.0, a major upgrade to the add-on component for all Revolution-based products. Arcade Engine is designed to be a useful library and reference for adding arcade or simulation features to Revolution's rich media feature set, and is specifically designed to handle tasks relative to fast arcade action games. The engine enables complex, asynchronous animation along paths completely under the control of the developer or designer, and includes several new features for creating games or simulations. The update offers ease in/ease out motion effects enabling developers to tell objects to move from one location to another, Isometric drawing for enhanced line/box objects, callback messages for constrained controls, and 3D wireframe objects. Arcade Engine 2.0 is priced at $50, with $25 upgrades available to Arcade Engine 1.x users. The engine is compatible with Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
Apple refurb G5 systems
Apple is offering refurbished Power Mac G5 systems that include the Dual 2GHz model for $1,699, $300 off the original price, the Dual 2.3GHz SuperDrive for $1,999, a $500 discount, the Dual 2.5GHz 8X SuperDrive 160GB for $2,049, a $950 discount, as well as the Dual 2.3GHz 16X SuperDrive 250GB for $2,149, $350 off Apple's retail price. The company is also offering refurbished Power Mac G5 Quad 2.5GHz systems for $2,799, a 16 percent savings on the original $3,299 price. Refurbished iBook G4 14-inch 1.42GHz SuperDrive notebooks are selling for $1,049, a $250 savings, while refurb Mac mini 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo systems are priced at $699, $100 off the regular price. The Cupertino-based company is also offering refurbished Apple displays including the 20-inch Apple Cinema Display with aluminum enclosure for $699, $600 off the list price, the 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display with aluminum enclosure for $1,099, a $900 discount, as well as the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display with aluminum enclosure for $2,099, $1,200 off the original price.
iriver clix takes on iPod
iriver today released the iriver clix, a portable media player that will further increase competition for Apple's iPod players. The new player supports Windows Media Player 11 as well as the public beta of MTV Networks' new URGE digital music service, which is expected to launch today. The iriver clix features a new "ultra-intuitive" interface, 2GB of storage, a 2.2-inch color TFT display, and a digital FM tuner. The device also offers enhanced photo viewing and video playback capability, as well as FlashLite game support. A built-in voice recorder and programmable "SmartKey" that allows quick access to common functions round out the feature list of iPod's latest competitor, coupled with USB 2.0 connectivity. The iriver clix ships for $200 with an easy start installation CD, a carrying case with screen cleaner, iriver earphones, a USB 2.0 cable, a printed manual, and a one-year limited warranty.
Vicom unveils Vmirror
Vicom Systems has unveiled Vmirror, a new family of high-availability and data protection appliances for Apple's Xserve RAID storage systems. The device is a purpose-built, Fibre Channel appliance that routes and transparently mirrors data from any number of Apple hosts to Xserve RAID storage systems at Fibre Channel line speed. Vmirror appliances operate singly for continuous data protection and in multi-unit clusters for high availability operation with instantaneous failover in the event of storage system outage, preventing interruption of the host system. The Vmirror appliance mirrors one or two pairs of Xserve RAID arrays and presents these to connected host systems as a single, "unbreakable" storage unit. In the event of an array outage, data is made instantly available from its mirrored counterpart through hardware-based mirroring.
In brief: Kodawarisan has posted photos of a disassembled MacBook, revealing the insides of Apple's latest Intel-based notebook.... Apple reportedly released its MacBook laptop with different pricing in Ireland and the U.K., which was later corrected to match pricing elsewhere.... Techcastuk.co.uk has posted an analysis on the minute differences between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook, showing "exactly what you get" for the price difference.... Apple has made a version of Micromat's TechTool Deluxe available via download for customers who are members of its Apple Protection Plan.... Tunewear has launched its genuine Italian nappa leather case ($300) called "Concerto Bianco for iPod Hi-Fi...." A new report suggests that mainland China and Taiwan accessory manufacturers expect to produce over $104 million worth of iPod and related audio accessories in 2006 -- up 37 percent year-over-year.
New mini mounts debut
Jeremy Hubbell Consulting today released updated versions of its Mini mount and Mini mount Shelf, dubbed Mini mount 2 and Mini mount Shelf 2 (shown at right). The original Mini mount and Mini mount Universal are now combined into a single design of the Mini mount 2, allowing users to mount the Mac mini in any orientation similar to the older Mini mount Universal, but with a lower visible profile like the original Mini mount. The Mini mount 2 design features a rounded edge that offers a sleeker look without affecting the strength of the mount, and a new cable management system acts as a standoff from the mounting surface. All mounts are available in clear, white or black for $50. Optional backlighting kits are priced at $
OS X for Intel locked down
Users cannot build a custom kernel for their Intel-based Mac OS X systems. Infoworld reports that Apple has closed down Mac OS X by refusing to release the source code for Intel version of the Darwin open source Mach/Unix core--in part due to the fear of users pirating the operating system for cheaper PC clones. "The Darwin open source Mach/Unix core shared by OS X Tiger client and OS X Tiger Server remains completely open for PowerPC Macs. If you have a G3, G4, or G5 Mac, you can hack your own Darwin kernel and use it to boot OS X. But if you have an Intel-based Mac desktop or notebook, your kernel and device drivers are inviolable. Apple still publishes the source code for OS X's commands and utilities and laudably goes several extra miles by open sourcing internally developed technologies such as QuickTime Streaming Server and Bonjour zero-config networking. The source code required to build a customized OS X kernel, however, is gone. Apple says that the state of an OS X-compatible open source x86 Darwin kernel is 'in flux.'"
Softbank-Apple deal redux
Although Softbank called the report on its recent partnership with Apple "speculative," the company didn't deny that a music-playing cell phone was in its plans, according to a new report. BusinessWeek explores the background of Softbank, which has a significant stake in Yahoo, and the possibilities co-marketing the industry's first Apple-branded iPhone or iPod-based cell pohne. "Teaming up with Apple lets Softbank piggyback on the iPod's hip image -- something that Vodafone never got right with its bulky, dull handsets and constantly changing brand. And if the companies can get the first of the iPod phones in stores by November, they will have a good chance to convert some iPod users to Softbank's cellular service when new rules let consumers in Japan switch carriers while keeping the same phone number. The key will be for Softbank to 'banish memories of Vodafone's inferior brand image'...."
Elgato offers EyeTV 2.2
Elgato has released EyeTV 2.2, an update to its software that allows users to schedule, record, and organize video recordings from PVR devices. Version 2.2 adds new support for EyeTV 250, which features a built-in hardware encoder which compresses audio and video signals to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats (freeing up your computer's processor for other activities) as well as introduces Game Mode. Game Mode is a hardware feature of EyeTV 250 in which the MPEG compressor is bypassed for zero latency game play. In addition, for EyeTV 250 and all supported television receiver/recorders with built-in hardware MPEG-2 compression, EyeTV 2.2 features a VHS assistant that walks users through the entire process of creating DVDs from their VHS tapes. The update also brings support for two TerraTec Cinergy USB DVB-T sticks as well as several bug fixes. The Universal application runs on Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later. It is a free update to v2.0 users and a free update to all v1.8 owners who purchased their device after December 1, 2005. The full software is $80 on CD-ROM.
Karelia ships Sandvox 1.0
Karelia Software today announced Sandvox 1.0, an update to its web publishing tool. Sandvox is weblog- and podcast-ready application, allowing any collection of pages can be organized as a weblog, with automatic RSS generation. The company also said that uploaded media, such as MP3 files and QuickTime movies, become an iTunes-compatible podcast without any additional effort. Sandvox sports a helpful setup assistant for hassle-free publishing on remote hosts via FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV, including .Mac. A Pro version of Sandvox additionally provides for creation of Raw HTML content as pages or pagelets allowing advanced users to integrate additional elements and support server-side scripting. Sandvox sports a plugin architecture (along with a SDK for Cocoa developers to build their own page components as well as a Designer's Kit that will allow web developers with knowledge of CSS to create their own page designs. A single-user license of the Universal application is available for $40 (standard) or $70 (Pro) in an introductory offer.
Fifth Avenue NYC store
Apple on Friday will open its massive 20,000 square foot retail store in New York City on the fifth anniversary of the opening of its first retail store. The New York Sun talks about the still-hidden 32-foot glass cube at the store entrance, tight security, and the company's continued secrecy--in typical Steve Jobs style: "Standing guard at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street is a massive cube covered in matte black construction material. Underneath is reportedly a 32-foot glass cube that will soon become the entrance to Apple's new mega-store." Located about three miles north of Apple's current flagship store in Soho and on one of the most highly trafficked tourist and retail corridors in the world, The Wall Street Journal discusses Apple's unlikely success with its retail initiative, "as Apple prepares to take the wraps off its latest, most ambitious store yet... [...] there are few doubters left about Chief Executive Steve Jobs's retail strategy."
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