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Apple cuts iPod prices
Apple has cut the prices of the fifth-generation iPod sold in Canada. The 30GB iPod video, which was CAD$379, is now $30 less at $349, while the 60GB iPod video model is now $459, a $40 cut from the original $499 price tag. The newly updated special edition U2 iPod, also based on the fifth-generation design, sells for $379. According to iLounge, the price drop is an apparent response to changes in international currency exchange rates. The report notes that the iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remain unchanged.
Sonicfire Pro 4.1.1 ships
SmartSound today announced that its Sonicfire Pro 4 software now runs natively on Apple's new Intel-based Macs to deliver the fastest music scoring solution available to Avid and Final Cut Pro video editors. Sonicfire Pro 4 offers a new Mood Mapping feature, which gives editors the unprecedented ability to customize professionally-composed music along a Timeline via a simple Mood Map. Each Multi-Layer music track from SmartSound is delivered with up to eight separate instrument tracks that can be individually controlled to precisely match the music to the mood of the production. In addition, users can cut and resize royalty-free music from its library of more than 1,800 tracks to any length with a perfect musical beginning, middle and ending. Additional features available in the v4.1.1 update include increased audio/video synchronization, the ability to sort between Single-Track and Multi-Layer tracks in the Maestro, and other minor bug fixes. Pricing starts at $200.
Apple turned to Creative?
Although Apple CEO Steve Jobs' marketing genius may have popularlized the iPod, Creative was the leader in the MP3 player market, garnering the attention of Apple before its launched own iPod. Locked in an ongoing legal battle, the two companies are facing a long road ahead, and have not only turned to the courts, but also the U.S. International Trade Commission. After a breakdown in talks, Creative fired first with a lawsuit alleging violation of the "Zen Patent," while Apple coutersued and then filed an additional copyright lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.. A new Wall Street Journal report claims that the Cupertino-based company turned first to Creative [subscription required] before releasing its own iPod.
iPod surpasses beer
Apple may have done what some thought was virtually impossible: displace beer drinking as the most popular thing on college campuses. The company's wildly popular iPod has surpassed beer drinking as the most "in" thing among undergraduate college students, according to the latest biannual market research study by Student Monitor. Only once before has that ever been done in the history of the 18-year old annual survey. The AP reports that 73 percent, of 1,200 students surveyed said iPods were "in" -- more than any other item and a signficant increase from last year; the list also included text messaging, bar hopping and downloading music. The same study conducted in 2005 found that only 59 percent of students named the iPod as the "in" thing--well below traditionally popular alcholor-related activities, according to the report. Facebook.com, a social networking Web site, was tied with beer drinking for the No. 2 spot on the survey, with 71 percent of students' votes. The only other time beer drinking was displaced was in 1997 when more students said that the Internet was the "in" thing.
Spectre 1.0.0 released
Audiofile Engineering today released Spectre 1.0.0, a multi-instrument real-time audio analyzer for Mac OS X. Designed in Cocoa from the ground up, Spectre takes advantage of Quartz, OpenGL, CoreAudio, and other features specific to Mac OS X Tiger. The software uses optimized Quartz, OpenGL, and memory management to resize each meter in real-time without interruption. Each meter includes a set of factory presets, and users can save meter settings for later use. Spectre eliminates the need for the application to run as a plug-in, analyzing inputs from audio hardware and receiving input from network sources using Apple's AUNetSend/AUNetReceive Audio Unit pair. Users can analyze audio from any Audio Unit insert on a multitrack (or other AU host) to Spectre running on the same computer, or alternatively on a remote system. Spectre is available for $90, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Toon Boom Storyboard
Toon Boom Animation today released an early version of its Toon Boom Storyboard, a storyboarding system for visual storytelling. Designed for traditional and paperless methods, Storyboard helps users take an idea and translate it into a visual story that will become a complete animation. The software was designed in conjunction with expert storyboard artists and speeds up production planning, offering increased production integration. Storyboard provides a flexible layer-based panel display with motion camera capabilities, a complete set of drawing tools which include a pressure-sensitive brush tool, and customizable caption fields to insert fully searchable textual content, such as scene descriptions and comments.
BPI calls for open iTunes
Apple's iTunes Music Store is drawing more fire overseas. The British Phonographic Institute has asked Apple to make its iTunes DRM (Digital Rights Management) compatible with other music players, according to The Register. The request comes just one day after a consumer advocate group won a preliminary ruling that could force the Cupertino-based company to change its iTunes terms of service in Norway. "We will not sue you for filling your iPod with music you have bought yourself," said BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson. "Traditionally the recording industry has turned a blind eye to private copying and has used the strength of the law to pursue commercial pirates."
iPod halo effect?
The halo effect may not be working, but Apple's future is still bright, according to analysts who believe that Apple can pick up marketshare with its Intel-based Macs later this year. Forbes.com notes that while the iPod has been wildly successful, the company has still struggled to increase its Mac marketshare so far, but some believe that Apple could increase its marketshare by more than 150 percent by year's end. Gartner's data show that in the last quarter, Apple's U.S. market share dropped to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent in the same period last year and that its worldwide marketshare also dropped from 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent.
iGet comes to Intel Macs
Five Speed Software today released iGet 2.1, a revision of the Mac file transfer tool. iGet 2.1 features a "set it and forget it" automatic update system that keeps the application up to date without manual downloads or user intervention, and offers native support for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The update refines remote Spotlight search capability, which enables users to perform speedy searches of remote Macs, and features better reporting as well as troubleshooting for network configuration problems. iGet 2.1 includes several fixes for issues discovered since the previous release, and is available as a free upgrade to existing iGet users. The software is priced at $50 for new users, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
In brief: Although not yet announced, Silverstudio is offering several free items with pre-orders of Apple's next generation Mac tower systems for professionals, including: a 512MB memory upgrade, a copy of Windows XP SP2, Alsoft DiskWarrior, or a copy of Peachpit's "Optimizing Your Final Cut Pro System...." One columnist believes Apple will soon debut an iTunes subscription service that would allow customers to download unlimited amounts of music for a flat monthly fee.... Primera Technology and Taiyo Yuden today announced TuffCoat with WaterShield, a glossy, water- and smear-resistant inkjet printable media.... TECSoft is offering "no-tears, hands-on" introductory AppleScript training over the summer in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and London.... Maintain today released Cocktail 3.7.2, addressing compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.4.7 on both PowerPC and Intel Macs.... X2 Studios is offering a $1,350 CDN mail-in rebate on checkBox server -- its print accounting and document analysis software that helps users analyze and curtail printing costs -- from June 7th through July 1st, 2006.
16GB Card Drive debuts
PQI today introduced Card Drive U510, a portable storage device in a credit card-sized enclosure. The Card Drive U510 is just 0.12-inches thick, and offers a storage capacity of 16GB. Card Drive uses PQI's patented Intelligent Stick technology with a retractable connector that users can stow away to retain a credit card format, and provides both USB 2.0 as well as USB 1.1 connectivity. Measuring 2.13 x 3.35 x 0.12-inches, the portable storage drive weighs 0.7-ounces and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. The device is shock resistant, and features low power consumption. PQI Card Drive will launch in silver, grey and a limited soccer ball edition (shown at right) next month, according to PQI (pricing was unavailable).
TextSoap 5 goes Universal
Unmarked Software today released TextSoap 5 in standard and deluxe editions, a major upgrade to the text transformation tool that runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The new streamlined interface includes a cleaner palette with "Smart Palette" technology, which is designed to keep the palette out of the way when it is not needed. Users can share custom cleaners amongst each other by simply copying a file, and the application features support for regular expressions. TextSoap 5 includes a custom cleaner editor, as well as dozens of new custom cleaners. TextSoap 5 is priced at $30 for the standard edition and $40 for the deluxe version, with upgrades costing $16 and $21 for the standard and deluxe editions, respectively. TextSoap 5 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Platinum RAID Pro ships
MicroNet Technology today launched its Platinum RAID Pro, the latest addition to the company's Platinum line of professional storage solutions. The Platinum RAID Pro features up to 3.75TB of online capacity with the speed and fault tolerance of a hardware RAID controller, boasting speeds exceeding 110MB/sec with parity protection. The device includes a triple interface offering SATA, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0 connectivity enclosed in a lightweight aluminum chassis that weighs less than 21 pounds. Up to five hot-swappable 7,200 RPM SATA2-300+NCQ hard drives are controlled by a 64-bit RISC-based RAID controller that supports 0, 1, 3, 5, and 0+1 RAID levels. The Platinum RAID Pro is priced from $1,800-5,050.
Yojimbo 1.2 released
Bare Bones Software today released Yojimbo 1.2, an update to the information organizer utility. Yojimbo 1.2 features a new "Copy Item Link" command that enables users to place links to Yojimbo items in other applications, such as Apple's iCal. The update includes a pair of "bookmarklets" that facilitate bookmarking or archiving a page to Yojimbo with a single click, and allows users to highlight search terms when displaying the results of a search. A "Quick Start" movie coupled with a "Getting Started" reference document provide a crash course in how to make the most of the software. Yojimbo 1.2 allows bookmarks to export as clipping files, and includes an enhanced "import" scripting verb. Yojimbo 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, and is available as a free upgrade to all registered users. The application is priced at $40 for an individual license, $70 for a family-pack license, or $30 for an educational license. [corrected]
One columnist believes Apple will soon debut an iTunes subscription service that would allow customers to download unlimited amounts of music for a flat monthly fee. James Kim of CNET's MP3 Insider points to competition as the driving factor that will push Apple to offer music, and possibly video subscription services, as a medium for consumers to get the content they want. "Imagine a subscription-enabled iTunes 7 with all-you-can-stream access to more than 3 million tracks for $10 month," Kim suggests. "You'd also be able to compile playlists manually or automatically using a mix of your own songs and the entire iTunes catalog. You could actually fill up a 60GB iPod with the click of a button."
Virtual TimeClock 5.2
Redcort Software has released Virtual TimeClock 5.2, an update to the time and attendance software. The latest iteration of Virtual TimeClock brings enhanced networking with new support for multiple network interfaces, client connections operating three times faster, and automatic repair of interrupted network connections. A contextual TimeClock menu simplifies and centralizes worker activities, while a new Leave category in the administration control panel allows leave accrual calculation with or without including overtime hours. The update also brings vastly improved printer support for Microsoft Windows systems. Virtual TimeClock 5.2 is priced at $70 for a client computer license, $200 for a server/stand-alone license, or $2,000 for a site license. The Mac version requires Mac OS X 10.2 and higher or Mac OS 9.1 or later. The Microsoft Windows version requires Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP.
oXygen 7.2 released
Syncro Soft today released oXygen 7.2, an update to the company's XML Editor, Schema Editor, and XSLT/XQuery Debugger. OXygen 7.2 XML Editor adds a complete Subversion client to ease the document sharing process between content authors, support for flattening XML Schemata, an XML Schema instance generator, and integration with the X-Hive/DB. The update also offers MarkLogic/TigerLogic XML databases, editing actions on the diagram, rename refactoring action, and search references/declarations actions in XML Schema as well as Relax NG schemata editors. Schema support enhancements include support for flattening XML Schema, rename refactoring action, find declarations or references of XML Schema components. OXygen 7.2 is priced at $180 for the Pro version and $50 for the Adademic/non-profit license. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Techspansion today released VisualHub, a universal video conversion application for Mac OS X. VisualHub allows users to convert nearly all formats of video to formats for playback on iPods, PSPs, DV camcorders, and DVDs. Based on the iSquint interface, VisualHub offers drag-and-drop conversion to nine different video formats including MPEG, MP4, WMV, and Flash video. Users can burn up to 18 hours of video on a single DVD, which is playable in standalone DVD players. VisualHub automatically decides quality levels to fit any amount of video on one disc, and users can burn directly from the program without the need for extra utilities. Nearly every aspect of video processing is configurable for advanced users, and a built-in dynamic preview quickly shows users the expected resolution and compression quality prior to devoting time to a full conversion. VisualHub offers Xgrid support, and is priced at $24.
A Better Finder Rename
A Better Finder Rename 7.3 ($20) is software designed to ease the time-consuming process of renaming multiple files. The update offers interface changes to provide a better experience when using the tool as a stand-alone application.
[Download - 1.8MB]
eOrdering eCommerce line 3.1.0 (Gold $75, Pro $450) adds the ability to include metadata from images within descriptions to the cross-platform applications designed to create eCommerce websites. Version 3.1.0 also enables users to put metadata (EXIF or IPTC) data for watermarking tags, and includes various bug fixes. [Download - 4MB (Gold), 4MB (Pro)]
mail.it 184.108.40.206 ($60) is a maintenance update to the email plug-in for FileMaker 7 and 8. Native FileMaker 7 and 8 plug-ins are available for both Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows, and the update allows users to store attachments in container fields. [Download - [form]]
Rumpus 5.0 ($270) is an internet file transfer server for Mac users. The update adds support for secure transactions, Open Directory user authentication, remote transfer monitoring, and an updated Web interface. [Download - [form]]
MBS REALbasic plug-ins 6.2 (€80) comprise a collection of several plug-in parts that extend the REALbasic development environment with over 500 classes and three controls featuring over 11,000 documented functions. The latest version offers improved CoreGraphics functions, adds faster regular expression searches, and adds a QuickTime Metadata class. [Download - 13MB]
Free Google Video player
Google has released another product for the Mac, allowing users to view both the free video and the previously-unavailable premium video content on a Mac. The free Google Video player allows users to watch videos downloaded from Google Video, view full-screen video, browse scenes within a video using thumbnails, skip to anywhere in the video (even if that portion hasn't downloaded yet), and resume video downloads automatically. It w The player requires a 1GHz or faster machine and a video card with at least 16MB of RAM. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later as Universal Binary for native support on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs.
Rumpus FTP 5.0 released
Rumpus FTP 5.0 is a major upgrade to the internet file transfer server for Macintosh. The company said the update, which runs natively on Intel-based Macs, includes dozens of enhancements as well as significant new functions such as secure transfers with built in support for SSL (HTTPS and FTPS); a new Dashboard widget to monitor server status and displays overall server statistics; a revised Web interface with simplified navigation and more localizations (Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, and Swedish); and Open Directory support for integration with LDAP or Active Directory servers. It also includes a more efficient Rumpus Web server, broader client compatibility, integrated Web-based user administration, better mail server compatibility, and support extended FTP commands, such as FEAT and EPSV. Rumpus 5.0 Standard Edition is priced at $270 ($100 upgrade), while the Professional Edition for larger organizations and ISPs is $450 ($150 upgrade).
Seagate\'s new products
Seagate today introduced the next generation Seagate Mirra Personal Server with Mac support and its Seagate 8.0GB Pocket Drive as well as began shipping its the 500GB eSATA External Hard Drive and 750GB Pushbutton Hard Drive. The Mirra Personal Server allows remote access to digital content from anywhere, anytime via the Internet while maintaining its in-network functions of data protection, file synchronization and sharing between multiple computers. It combines a suite of content protection features as well as free online user accounts allowing secure remote access and file sharing with family, friends and colleagues. The software update, a free update to current users, also features improved PC system performance, folder download and photo slideshow features. The Seagate 320GB ($500) and 500GB ($600) Mirra Sync and Share Personal Servers will start shipping this month, while the Seagate 8.0GB Pocket Drive will begin shipping in July for $150. The Seagate 750GB Pushbutton Backup Hard Drive ($560) and Seagate 300GB ($270) and 500GB ($400) eSATA External Hard Drives are currently shipping.
Sony LocationFree for Macs
I-O DATA today announced the availability of LocationFree for Mac OS-based computers. When installed on a Macintosh desktop or notebook computer, the TLF-MAC/E software package allows the computer to receive and control streaming video from a Sony LocationFree base station. Users enjoy multi-directional wireless transmissions with a range of up to 100 feet in a typical home environment and high-speed broadband Internet access around the globe. Currently, Sony's LocationFree technology allows users to connect a LocationFree base station to a variety of audio visual devices in the home--such as a set-top TV tuner, DVD player, and digital video recorder (DVR)--and then stream content from the Sony LocationFree Player Pak LF-PK-1 and LocationFree TV LF-X11 to Windows-based personal computer or PSP system. I-O DATA's new TLF-MAC/E software package expands functionality to Mac computers. The software will ship later this month for $40 or in a bundle with LF-PK1 Base Station for $310.
Centrify has announced a new solution that enables IT managers to centrally secure and configure Mac OS X systems through Microsoft Group Policy. DirectControl allows IT professionals to use the same desktop lockdown and configuration management tools that they use for their Windows environment, to improve security and to centrally set policy and perform bulk configuration of Mac OS X systems. Centrify also announced today that Centrify DirectControl now supports Mac OS X on Intel-based systems, in addition to its current support for Mac OS X on PowerPC.
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