The CEO of Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) Terry Gou today said Apple is close to unveiling the next generation of iPod which makes use of a "none-touch" concept. Gou did not elaborate further, but said he expects Hon Hai's revenue to grow at least an average of 30 percent in the next five years due to rising orders for components from customers such as Apple and Sony. Apple recently punished Samsung for revealing details about its forthcoming iPod before the Cupertino-based company authorized such disclosure, choosing to give more of its business to SigmaTel rather than Samsung following the information leak. Another report recently surfaced claiming that employees working in some Foxconn's iPod manufacturing plants endure grueling conditions for little pay, to which Apple quickly responded, saying that it is investigating allegations of working conditions in the Chinese iPod manufacturing plant.
Microsoft today announced that chairman and co-founder Bill Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role at the company, effective July 2008, to spend more time working on his charitable foundation, according to CNN Money. Gates is expected to work part-time at Microsoft as chairman and technical adviser and will work full time for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the report. Founded with his wife, the foundation focuses on global health and education. "I've decided that two years from today, I will reorganize my personal priorities," Gates said during a news conference, adding,"I have one of the best jobs in the world. I believe with great wealth comes great responsibility - the responsibility to give back to society," he said. The company's chief technical officer, Ray Ozzie, will immediately assume the title of chief software architect.
ProfCast has released ProfCast 1.5, an update to its tool for recording lectures and creating podcasts. ProfCast is designed to provide a low cost solution for recording and distributing lectures, special events, and presentations as podcasts. The latest iteration of the application allows live presentation recording, synchronized slides with audio, RSS generation for podcasting, and publishing support via FTP/SFTP/.Mac. The update also includes integration with GarageBand 3 as well as iWeb, support for audio playthrough, and file size control. ProfCast 1.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is priced at $35.
ColorWare today began shipping MacBooks with a custom color coating that features a glossy finish. The "X2" scratch resistant coating is available in nearly two dozen colors, and adds protection from everyday wear and tear. The coating is guaranteed to be completely stain-proof, and will not fade in time, according to the company. ColorWare also unveiled five new colors to join its current selection which include "Jade Green," "Orange Crush," "Cobalt Blue," "Coffee Brown," and "Fusion Pink." The custom-colored 13.3-inch MacBook is available with a 1.83GHz ($1,750) or 2.0GHz ($1950 or $2,150, depending on configuration) Intel Core Duo processor, featuring 512MB of memory with a 60GB or 80GB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive and a Combo drive or SuperDrive. All color-coated MacBooks ship in approximately 2-3 weeks.
Bitcartel today released ComicBookLover 1.0, enabling comic fans to easily view, collect, and organize digital comics. The software features more powerful smart lists than the beta, color correction, an on-screen display in full screen mode, and bookmarks. ComicBookLover is a Universal Binary that offers support for CBZ, CBR, and PDF comic archives on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. The application provides an improved user interface with sticky table settings, as well as additional help files. ComicBookLover 1.0 is available for $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
One columnist is suggesting that students purchase a Mac rather than a PC before heading off to school. "Unless you have a compelling reason not to go with a Mac, an Apple laptop or desktop offers the best combination of features, ease of use, and value," said Stephen H. Wildstrom of BusinessWeek. "While I have been a Mac fan for years, I have never felt strongly enough to make the Mac a default recommendation." Things have changed, according to the columnist, as Apple's Mac OS X operating system and its bundled applications have steadily improved, even as Microsoft Windows seems "stuck in a rut." Apple's decision to adopt Intel-based chips in its new systems removed the performance gap that once existed between Macs and PCs, and the company's Boot Camp software allows Mac users to run Windows XP natively on their new hardware.
In brief: Wingspan has released a series of commercials that show "How easy it is to use iLoad," and also appear to poke fun at Apple.... Total Training today released its full line of video training tutorials for Adobe Production Studio, a comprehensive toolset for video production for film, video, DVD, or the Web.... Other World Computing (OWC) today lowered prices on its Mercury On-The-Go 2.5-inch USB 2.0 portable storage solutions.... Apple and David Contois, owner of Contois Music & Technology, faced off in front of a federal Judge to define the terminology that could be used in a forthcoming trial.... Apple's iTunes U service has added three more schools which include Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and Ohlone College since May.... Mopar has launched a new podcast and website dedicated to playing videos of Mopar fans, allowing enthusiasts to showcase their lifestyles online.
Coladia today released Postino 1.5, a major update to its RSS news reader with an enhanced interface and support for audio/video podcasting. Postino 1.5 automatically downloads and manages audio as well as video podcasts. A built-in player allows users to listen to audio programs or watch videos without the need to launch another application, and the software offers a choice between a "classic" two-paned or three-paned interface. The update includes numerous performance improvements and bug fixes, as well as full keyboard navigation support. Postino 1.5 is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
LaCie today announced that it will bundle a SATA II PCI-Express (PCIe) card 2E with its compact Two Big two-disk RAID system. The new LaCie SATA II 3Gb/sec PCI-Express Card 2E offers two ports and provides a native x1 host bus interface for use with Apple Power Mac G5s or PCs with PCIe architecture. The LaCie Two Big with PCIe card bundle is available for $450 with 500GB of storage capacity or $900 with 1TB if storage capacity. LaCie also offers a Two Big bundled with a PCI-X card for $500 with 500GB of storage and $900 for 1TB of storage, as well as optional spare drive bundles.
iText (free) is a text editor with simple word processing support written entirely in Cocoa. iText features the basics of Apple's TextEdit along with page numbers, columns, a header/footer, footnotes, and bookmarks for quick navigation. [Download - 3.8MB] Screen Mimic 1.5 ($25) is a desktop recording program that supports Macromedia Flash (SWF), Flash Video (FLV), and QuickTime (MOV) formats. Version 1.5 runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, offers optimized SWF as well as FLV encoding, and features faster QuickTime encoding with the ability to specify QuickTime movie encoding formats. [Download - 585KB] DiscLabel 3.3 ($30) adds support for sharing templates via .Mac accounts to the label creation software. The update uses a single disk image for all languages, and fixes a problem when switching between "Media" and "Edit." [Download - 11.9MB] Amendment 0.5 ($12) offers users a new way to detect and fix spelling mistakes, producing a pop-up panel when a typo is detected. Users can correct the word with one keystroke, rather than control-clicking an underlined word for spelling suggestions. [Download - 458KB] Drills 4.0 ($20) provides an interactive graphical environment for students to learn basic mathematic facts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Drills 4.0 is completely rewritten in Cocoa as a Universal Binary, offers full Unicode support, and enhances Section 508 support to include full keyboard access. [Download - 4MB] RapidoSMTP 1.0 (free) is designed to aid Mac users in setting up a complete SMTP mail server in less than 60 seconds. The software can enable the Postfix SMTP server built into Mac OS X, which allows users to send mail from the command line, from PHP, or from Mac OS X applications such as Apple Mail. [Download - 200KB]
LaCie today announced it will bundle a next-generation SATA II PCI-Express (PCIe) card 2E with its compact Two Big two-disk RAID system. The new LaCie SATA II 3Gb/s PCI-Express Card 2E has two ports and provides a native x1 host bus interface for use with Apple's Power Mac G5s or PCs with PCIe architecture. The LaCie Two Big with PCIe card bundle is available for the lowered price of $450 (500GB) or $880 (1TB). LaCie also offers a Two Big bundled with a PCI-X card for the lowered price of $470 (500GB) and $900 (1TB), as well as optional spare drive bundles. LaCie's Two Big with PCIe achieves a maximum throughput of 110MB/s in Fast mode (RAID 0). Drives are hot-swappable for instant expandability and the unit is hot-pluggable so can be removed without having to power down the computer. LaCie Two Big is also available with an optional spare hard drive.
Atech Flash Technology (AFT) has unveiled the iCarta, a stereo dock for Apple's iPod with a built-in bath tissue holder. The dock features four integrated moisture-free speakers, as well as an audio selector to play an iPod shuffle or another audio device. The device charges the iPod while playing music, and is easy to remove from its wall mount. Users can fold up the tissue holder to use the accessory as a traditional dock, which requires AC power via an included AC adapter. The iCarta features two tweeters as well as two woofers, and is compatible with all iPods that offer a dock connector (pricing was unavailable).
Daystar Technology today added the 867MHz 12-inch PowerBook G4 to its list of PowerBook Aluminum Upgrades. The new MAChSpeed G4 CPU Upgrade allows any 12-inch, 867MHz Aluminum PowerBook to be upgraded to 1.4GHz speeds. The upgrade doubles the size of the internal cache, delivering up to 60 percent more speed than the original PowerBook. Like other XLR8 PowerBook CPU upgrades, the 12-inch CPU upgrade is factory-installed by Daystar's Apple Certified Technicians. Daystar has also simplified the 3-way shipping choices, which includes sending a container to customer, returning the PowerBook to Daystar, and shipping the upgraded PowerBook back to the customer. Free US Ground shipping is now included, while 3-way 2-day, 3-way overnight and Daystar's Weekender service are also available at an additional cost. The 1.4GHz upgrade for 12-inch 867MHz PowerBook is available for $450 (including free ground shipping).
Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro appear to be experiencing solid demand, according to UBS Investment Research. That demand lends support to the firm's 5 percent year over year unit growth estimates for Macs in the June quarter, which the company says may be conservative, and could see support from a new student promotion as well as seasonal education spending. "Checks for Apple show that demand continues to be strong for the new MacBooks and the MacBook Pro into June, which should provide support to our estimates for Apple's fiscal 3Q06," UBS wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. While Apple continues to dominate the MP3 player market with regard to share, checks indicate seasonality of sales for iPods due to a general deceleration in the MP3 player market, according to UBS.
Gamehouse has released Caribbean Mah Jong, a new "tropical treat" from the makers of Aloha Solitaire. "Take a fabulous Luxury Cruise and visit 12 exotic islands while collecting attractive keepsakes and quirky postcards. Or be footloose and fancy free, and Island Hop to any layout with no commitments. No matter how you tailor your island experience, it will be a luscious treat for your eyes! Tile layouts range from easy, to multi-layered monstrosities of 15 layers! But you can breeze through them with powerups like Trade Winds, and use the unique Tile Focusing feature to find matches quickly. So, join the fun and take a Caribbean vacation today!" It features 12 different Caribbean Islands with 96 unique layouts and allows users to ollect Souvenirs on the Luxury Cruise. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and runs on both PowerPC- based and Intel-based Macs. Caribbean Mah Jong is available from Macgamestore.com for $20.
Apple's iPod has been the driving force for the company's growth in the past, but going forward, Macs will become a more signficant part of its future, according to one analyst. Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Farmer has lowered his iPod sales estimates by 12 percent from 8.1 million units from 9.2 million units for the June quarter based on historical sales data. The analyst also lowered full-year sales estimates of the popular portable media player to 39.4 million from 43.4 million units. However, Farmer increased his Mac computer revenue growth estimates "given what appears to be a decent early reception to new MacBooks," according to The Associated Press. "As iPods decelerate, the Apple story becomes more dependent on upside to Mac estimates, which we see as plausible," he wrote. Farmer maintained a "Neutral" rating on the stock but lowered his revenue and earnings estimates to a 2006 per-share profit of $2.01 on $18.9 billion of revenue, compared with prior estimates of $2.13 per share on revenue of $19.9 billion.
Despite submitting revised designs for a forthcoming signature Boston retail store yesterday, the Back Bay Architectural Commission has denied last night's proposal, but given a conditional green light to demolish the existing structure, according to The Boston Globe: "Apple is moving in the right direction with a revised building design for its first Boston store, the Back Bay Architectural Commission told the company at a hearing last night. Giving Apple a conditional blessing, the group approved the demolition of the existing building at 815 Boylston St. as long as the computer maker presents an appropriate building design. But the commission, while complimenting the design changes, denied for now last night's proposal, an expected move for a project of this scope, according to commission chairman Anthony Casendino." The group formed a subcommittee to work with Apple to tweak these designs and come up with additional proposals, according to the report.
In Brief: Apple this morning cut prices in the UK on iMacs and Mac minis by between UK50 and UK100 as well as its iPod nano range and iPod Hi-Fi--similar to iPod price cuts in Canada.... InterfaceLIFT has posted its 1,000th icon set for Mac OS X and now offers over 15,500 unique icons.... Other World Computing (OWC) has reduced pricing on its line of Mercury Elite-AL Pro 800 RAID Stripe FireWire 800/400 Solutions by up to 10 percent.... In honor of Father's Day, XtraLean Software is offering ShutterBug, its WYSIWYG website builder for Mac OS X, at a special discounted price of $30 ($20 off regular price).... Peachpit has released nine new Mac titles, including The Macintosh iLife '06, Apple Training Series: iLife '06, ATS: iWork '06 with iLife '06, ATS: Aperture, Mac OS X Server 10.4 Tiger: Visual QuickPro Guide, ATS: Tiger System Admin, and more.... The Iconfactory has released Contour Database ($180) & EPS Stock Sets ($130), a set of 52 add-ons that extends the original collection into the realm of databases with icons covering such specialized concepts as tables, scripts, records, and many others.
Parallels today released the final version of its Desktop for Mac virtualization software, following the conclusion of a Beta program that generated more than 100,000 testers from 71 countries. Parallels Desktop is billed as the first solution for Intel processor-based Macs that enables users to run Windows XP -- or any other operating system -- simultaneously in isolated "virtual machines" directly on a Mac OS X desktop, giving them the ability to use Windows programs at the same time as Mac applications. The company claims "near native" performance, the ability to run any version of Windows, and support for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, or MS-DOS operating systems. In addition, it supports full-screen viewing, the ability to display the secondary OS on a separate screen, share files between the operating systems and the Mac desktop, "cut & paste" between the OSes, and Parallels Compressor technology to reduce the size of Windows 2000, 2003 and XP virtual drives. The full version is $80, with a special $30 discount extended to new customers for 30 days.
Covenant Eyes has released a Mac version of its system application that monitors computer use and generates a complete report for web browsing, newsgroups, ftp, and filesharing (including timestamps of activity). "Uses of the program include parents who monitor their children's activity; men and women who have had a problem with pornography, and recognize the value of accountability; businesses which desire to monitor productivity of employees; churches which desire to demonstrate integrity through a policy of accountability; and colleges which desire to have their students remain accountable," according to the company. Covenant Eyes, which supports both Fast User Switching and Intel-based Macs, can be used on multiple computers at no extra charge, including a combination of Mac and PC computers. Reports are provided to Accountability Partners by email, or by web access at any time. It is available for Mac OS X 10.4; single user licenses cost $7 per month--with significant for larger groups, such as families ($15/six members).
Now AAPL Stock: 93.74 ( -1.09 )
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv
CarPlay comes to Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche has revealed that its new 718 Cayman series will be the latest vehicles in its range equipped with support for Apple CarPlay. The new Porsche models joins the recently announced 718 Boxster, the 2017 Macans and the 2016 model of the 911 in offering support for Apple's iOS in the car interface. Both are fitted standard with an eight speaker sound system and the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system. The entry-level Cayman starts at $53,9000, while the faster S variant starts from $66,300. Although already on sale, the won't reach US dealers until late November. http://prn.to/1Tj1EW7
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6