Media Rage 2.5 ($30) is a collection of tools for media enthusiasts designed to run on Mac systems. Version 2.5 is a Universal Binary, adds a preference to show only desired columns as well as new columns in Media Scrubber windows, and includes a bug fix related to tag creation. [Download - 3.2MB] Xupport 3.2.2 ($20) is a multi-purpose system utility for Mac OS X that allows users to configure hidden Mac OS X and Unix options. Xupport 3.2.2 offers German localization for the help manual, and includes compatibility for Japanese characters in Login as well as AFS Login greeting texts. [Download - 2.7MB] WebPics 2.8 ($16) is designed to quickly and easily build Web page galleries from digital pictures. The update adds a watermarking feature, standard font groups for selecting text fonts as well as fallback fonts, and new support for setting up tiling or repeating background images. [Download - 2MB] Launcher 1.1 ($15) is a tool for quickly launching applications in Mac OS X that runs natively on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The software features sub-second application launching, hotkey support, Spotlight integration, and an intuitive interface designed to keep things simple. [Download - 348KB] iClip lite 2 (free) is a Dashboard widget based on Inventive's iClip productivity application. The widget is designed to improve user efficiency and productivity for various computing tasks with multiple clipboard and scrapbook support. iClip 2 lite features automatic clipboard recording, widget resizing, and a new design. [Download - 581KB] On The Job 2.1 ($25) updates the user friendly time tracking software for Mac, adding the ability to drag tasks between jobs. The latest version enables users to add flat-rate tasks, includes a new help book that explains the application's features, and offers several improvements to the invoice window. [Download - 815KB]
Bear Stearns today lowered estimates for Apple based on iPod seasonality, but maintained its "outperform" rating due to valuation and predicted second-half strength. "Our view is that investors should take advantage of current weakness, viewing Apple as a compelling second-half play, though the risk is that our outlook is somewhat based on products not announced or seen yet," analyst Andrew Neff wrote. Cutting his fiscal third-quarter iPod unit estimate from 8.9 million to 8 million, Neff said Intel-based Macs and music will drive earnings in the second half of the year, according to Forbes.com. Neff lowered fiscal 2006 and 2007 earnings-per-share estimates from $2.15 and $2.75 to $2.06 and $2.65, respectively.
Apple is selling refurbished iPod nanos in black or white with 2GB or 4GB storage capacities for $169 and $219, a 16 percent savings on both models. Refurbished fifth-generation iPods with video capability are available in black or white with 30GB or 60GB storage capacities for $259 and $339, a discount of 14 percent and 16 percent, respectively. The Cupertino-based company is still selling refurbished iPod shuffles with 512MB or 1GB storage capacities for $49 and $79, a 51 percent and 47 percent savings. The company is also offering refurbished iPods with color displays in 20GB or 60GB storage capacities for $199 and $279, 34 percent and 38 percent off, respectively. Refurbished Apple merchandise comes with free shipping and a one year warranty, with the option to extend the warranty to three years on any of the afore mentioned iPod models for $59.
Apple's video iPod has seen widespread adoption across the U.S., and now the portable player appears to have made its way into the major league. The Colorado Rockies has adopted the video iPod as a means for players to review plays and cram information before games. "It's a good way to refresh yourself on how you got guys out," said pitcher Jason Jennings. "It's an amazing concept." Teams from Florida and Seattle have called the Rockies to investigate their innovative use of Apple's portable player, according to a report from CNN.com. "It wasn't like we invented the wheel," Rockies assistant video coordinator Brian Jones said, who developed the concept following the video iPod's release. "We're using Apple's technology as best we can. We figured if you can watch music videos by rock 'n' roll and by country, why can't you watch at-bats by San Francisco and pitches by Jason Schmidt?"
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the USB 2.0 Clip Flash Drive from Imation ($30-120, shown at right), a portable storage device featuring a shock-resistant tire-like rubber case.... MacNN has also reviewed the Part and Parcel Laptop Bag from Crumpler Bags ($145), a 15-inch water resistant shoulder bag that comes in five colors.... Speck Products has begun shipping its SpeckTone Retro, a tabletop stereo speaker system for Apple's iPod available in three colors.... Runtime Revolution -- the creator of the Revolution development tool -- today announced a cooperative relationship with U3, a company that transforms flash drives into a "smart medium" for portable applications.... 22Moo has unveiled the VG-SD ($260), its lightweight video glasses that support direct connectivity to Apple's video iPod as well as other A/V output devices.... Mp4converter.net has released iPod Video Converter for Mac in beta form (free until June 30th), its easy-to-use audio and video conversion software.
Microsoft is developing a portable audio and video player to compete with Apple's iPod, and is readying its own music service. An executive at Microsoft who headed development of the company's Xbox video game business, Robbie Bach, is handling the project, according to Reuters. Microsoft has already held talks about licensing with the music industry, and is currently demonstrating the product. The recent launch of Urge -- a joint effort between Microsoft, MTV Networks, and Viacom that provides an online music offering compatible with portable players other than Apple's iPod -- signaled a major move by Microsoft and others to take on the Cupertino-based company in the digital music industry. An online music service from Microsoft would suggest a shift in strategy for the company, which in the past has provided software for other music services such as Urge.
FastMac today began shipping a plug-and-play internal Bluetooth upgrade for select PowerMac G5, PowerMac G4 and iMac G4 systems. The upgrade adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity between desktop computers and the growing array of Bluetooth-enabled personal digital assistants, mobile phones, cameras, printers, headsets, keyboards, and mice. The Bluetooth module fits directly into the Mac's main logic board, attaching to the built-in Apple antenna. No drivers or software are required, and the upgrade is available for $26. FastMac's Bluetooth upgrade comes with a one-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.
Cheetah3d.com has released Cheetah3D 3.3, allowing users to render depth of field in the Mac 3D software. Cheetah3D offers a wide range of 3D modeling tools that include polygon modeling over subdivision surfaces and spline modeling, as well as a fully integrated multi-threaded raytracer that provides options for radiosity. The update adds a "blue print" object that eases the process of working with blue prints, and enhances the "UV unwrapping" tool enabling users to unwrap only a certain polygon selection rather than the entire mesh. Cheetah3D 3.3 includes a "background image" property, the ability to record all parameters via double click, FOV zoom, adds a "sampler" property to the renderer preferences, and features numerous bug fixes. Cheetah3D 3.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available for $100.
TextSoap 5 R1 ($30 for standard, $40 for deluxe) is a maintenance update to the text processing utility, addressing issues related to contextual menus, the BBEdit plug-in, custom cleaner upgrades, and custom cleaner editing. The update also allows users to change the look of the clipboard workspace window. [Download - 10.6MB] FretPet X 1.0.4 ($30) is a guitar-oriented music sequencer, composition tool, and musical toy with a dynamic interface. The latest version offers improved French localization, fixes the "Instrument Picker" command in the instrument popup menu, repairs an issue where volumes with recent documents would auto-mount, and more. [Download - 3.2MB] Pyro 1.0 (free) enhances Campfire, a Web-based business group chat service. Pyro accelerates the Campfire website's performance on Macs by displaying the number of unread messages on the Dock as well as in growl, and adds AppleScript support coupled with drag-and-drop file transfers. [Download - 503KB] EasyTask Manager 1.6.0 ($20) enhances the to-do list application that supports a "Getting Things Done method." Version 1.6.0 offers drag-and-drop support, larger notes fields, and improved keyboard support. The application also includes various bug fixes and minor feature additions. [Download - 520KB] FoxTrot Personal Search 1.1 ($35) utilizes the FoxTrot search engine to locate data stored in files on Mac OS X systems. FoxTrot 1.1 offers faster previews of large documents, adds the ability to preview highlighted terms within the previews panes' "in-context" popup menu, and fixes a bug where the indexer could quit unexpectedly when the system went to sleep. [Download - 6.2MB] KnowledgeMiner X 5.2 ($40) is an artificial intelligence-based data mining tool. The update adds a new modeling algorithm to build dedicated classification models by self-organizing GMDH networks, offers extended AppleScript support, includes dedicated graphics support, and fixes inconsistency when copying/pasting between different applications. [Download - 6.3MB]
Mp4converter.net has released iPod Video Converter for Mac in beta form, its easy-to-use audio and video conversion software. iPod Video Converter changes AVI, MPEG, WMV, MOV, MP4, VOB, DivX, XviD, AAC, AV3, and MP3 into formats supported by Apple's video iPod: MP4, M4A, MP3, and others. Users can push several buttons to complete a conversion, producing a file ready for playback on the portable device. Multi-threading and batch conversion help to speed the conversion process, and users can set parameters for the video or audio codec rather than using the default settings. The software is free to use until June 30th, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Pomfort has released Pomfort FrameCalculator 1.0, an expression-based calculation engine for timecodes and intelligent conversion. The calculator evaluates timecode calculations on-the-fly, supporting flexible input methods while allowing users to mix frame rates and convert frame numbers to timecodes or vice versa. All calculations are performed in two calculation modes: The "preserve time" mode computes on a basis of time independently from the result frame rate, while the "preserve frames" mode computes the result on a basis of frames. The Pomfort FrameCalculator can convert the results of such calculations into disk space usage, network transfer time of various digital formats, and into footage of different film materials. Pomfort FrameCalculator 1.0 is priced at Ä20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
22Moo has unveiled the VG-SD, its lightweight video glasses that support direct connectivity to Apple's video iPod as well as other A/V output devices. The glasses deliver a virtual 35-inch screen at a range of two meters, offering a resolution of 320 x 240 to match the video iPod's playback capability. The device features an automatic on/off switch for the video signal, and supports NTSC as well as PAL video signals. The glasses weigh 120 grams, offering a viewing angle of 26-degrees. VG-SD glasses boast 4-5 hours of battery life, and are priced at $260.
CASE Apps has announced the final release of Sofa Control 1.0, its application for Mac OS X 10.4 that enables users to control any application on the Mac with the Apple Remote Control. "With Sofa Control you are able to control any application on your Mac and trigger the actions you like. Sofa Control gives the control back to you. Sofa Control uses application scripting to control any application installed on your Mac. It's fully extendible and adoptable by the end user with its own scripts. Sofa Control provides specially designed user interface elements to do even more than just control your app. Through the file chooser you can open a document in Preview or a movie in your favorite movie player. The application switcher provides an easy way to switch between applications." In addition, users can create their own menus and control them with the Apple remote control. Sofa Control ships with support for a number of applications, such as Eye TV, Preview, iTunes, Adobe Reader, Keynote, VLC, Quicktime Player, Powerpoint, NetNewsWire, and more. It is available for $10.
The major networks continue to turn to Apple's iTunes Music Store for co-marketing and TV series launch opportunities. ABC Family says it will use iTunes to help launch its upcoming series Kyle XY in its first repurposing pact with Apple, according to News MultiChannel. "Beginning on June 20, six days before the show makes its linear network debut on ABC Family at 8 p.m., users will be able to download the pilot to their video iPods via the iTunes Music Store. After June 27, installments of Kyle XY will be available for purchase at $1.99 per episodes, according to officials at both companies. On June 30, those tuning into ABC will get a chance to see or relive the showís first episode at 9 p.m." Four days after they premiere on the cable service, the broadcast network will repurpose the first four episodes of the series, which "follows the journey of Kyle (Matt Dallas), a mysterious teenage savant who is devoid of such human instinctive behavior as anger, joy and love, and the family who found him.
Mariner Software today released a Public Beta of its screenwriting software for Mac OS X: Montage provides professional and novice screenwriters with a live script outline, a view of characters, locations, tasks, research, and more. Included with Montage are several templates for film, television, and theater that automatically format the script to industry standards. Montage Smart Views allow writers to visually filter the script to the desired content, based on criteria. Montage also includes the ability to create, submit, and track query letters, a script synopsis, and script submissions to hundreds of included industry contacts, when the script is completed. In addition, Montage also imports Final Draft documents. During the remaining beta phase of Montage, a special price of $100, a discount of over 30 percent off the list price of $140, will be available. The price also includes complimentary technical support. The initial version will be available in English with other languages to follow.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl