Miniot has unveiled a limited edition of its natural protection for Apple's 30GB video iPod and special U2 iPod, dubbed iWood Red. Users who purchase the iWood case can choose a monogram along with a personalized two-line message to be carved into the case, and the iWood offers accessibility to the iPod's headphone jack (up to 10mm) as well as the dock connector. A concealed steel hinge and small magnets keep the wood tightly shut to protect the player within, and the iWood Red allows users to sync the iPod while it remains inside the case. Crafted from natural red padouk wood, iWood Red is available for $100 until June 30th.
JS8 Media has released ReelBean 1.1, an update to the company's media converter and player software. ReelBean converts movies from numerous formats to those which will play on Apple's video iPod, and offers support for exporting movies to many of the most popular formats, according to JS8. ReelBean 1.1 adds extra video and audio conversion types to the export drawer. The update improves the appearance of the export drawer, and adds a button for saving the current video frame in an image file. ReelBean 1.1 also fixes a bug with the sizing of shadows in movies with a very small width, which previously caused the time field to overlap player controls. ReelBean 1.1 is priced at $10, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Case-mate has launched the Patriot case, a protective cover for Apple's iPod that features an American Flag or Camouflage designs. A portion of the proceeds from the Patriot case line goes directly to the United Service Organizations of Georgia, which funds 120 locations around the world. The form-fit cases are made from genuine Napa leather, featuring an injection molded plastic shell for protection. The case offers cutouts for access to all iPod functionality, such as the clickwheel and Dock connector. Patriot cases ship with a removable belt clip, a full face screen protector, a scrollwheel protector, an applicator card, and a micro fiber cleaning cloth. Patriot cases are available for fifth-generation iPod with video ($30) as well as iPod nano (25).
REAL Software today released the French version of REALbasic Release 2 for Mac and Windows systems. REALbasic is a full-featured software development environment suited for creating all kinds of applications, and offers cross-platform compilation capability to create software for Mac, Linux, and Windows systems. "We very recently established our European headquarters in France and now we are releasing the French version of REALbasic," stated Geoff Perlman, president and CEO of REAL Software. "This launch confirms our commitment to the French-speaking community and underscores our intent to become a major provider of cross-platform development tools and services in Europe." REALbasic 2006 Release 2 is available from $100, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
BOOQ today introduced its Python XM bianco, large-capacity backpack designed for Apple's 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro as well as other 15-inch laptops. Each Python XM bianco features a white ballistic nylon exterior and a walnut brown interior with beige stitching. The backpack offers a rigid frame laptop compartment, a variety of padded compartments for miscellaneous items, and a dedicated iPod pocket with a non-scratch lining. BOOQ's pack measures 17 x 16.5 x 8-inches, and weighs four pounds. The Python XM bianco is available for $200, and usually ships within 24 hours.
Belkin today debuted TuneDeck, offering an all-in-one in-car audio solution for mounting, powering, and playing Apple's iPod nano. The device plugs into a cassette deck to play audio through the car stereo, and includes a mounting option that rotates to allow easy viewing of the Nano's screen. The accessory works with most car tape players, powers as well as charges the iPod through an included mobile power cord, and secures the iPod with a custom cradle. TuneDeck for iPod nano features an inner-magnetic shake-resistant design, and is priced at $50. TuneDeck is slated for shipment in North America in July of this year, with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow shortly thereafter.
Scientists at the CERN international particle physics laboratory in Geneva have turned to Apple technology in a major global project to help improve humankind's understanding of the structure of the universe. Intel Macs will be used to measure what happens when particles collide at near the speed of light. The ALICE experiment (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is one of five engineered to create collisions produced by CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator that will collide beams of protons with 14 TeV of energy. The five experiments will handle nearly 10 petabytes of data per year, or as much data as the entire European telecommunications network handles today.
Despite the bright future with Apple's new line of Intel Macs, another school is moving away from the Mac platform and some teachers argue that the administrative decision is not the best thing for the kids. Baltimore City Schools are replacing the Macs in their graphic design and multimedia labs with Windows-based PCs, according to The Baltimore Sun. "During spring break, the school system converted Mac computer labs at the Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, where Peach teaches. By fall, 11 programs at 10 schools will move to PCs, at a cost of more than $1 million, said Rhonda Hoyman, supervisor of technical programs in the Office of Career and Technology Education." The administration claims that the move will save tech support money in the long run by standardizing on a single platform. The school reportedly considered keeping a few Macs in each classroom but abandoned the plan because of the cost.
iDictionary 1.1 ($7) enables users to create a custom dictionary and/or thesaurus for a third=generation or newer iPod. The update adds a "Created Dictionaries" window that allows users to view and select all previously created dictionaries to easily copy them to an iPod. iDictionary 1.1 also features user interface improvements to dictionary as well as iPod selection tables. [Download - 1.1MB] ImageBuddy 3.6.0 ($20) is a free upgrade to the photo printing program that adds enhancements to Page Layouts with custom image sizes. ImageBuddy 3.6.0 enhances photo watermarking for both Contact Sheet as well as Page Layout printing, and offers drag-and-drop support from iPhoto. [Download - 6.1MB] Synergy 2.9 ($10) updates the iTunes accessory that puts three buttons in the menubar to control iTunes. The latest release brings the ability to export downloaded cover art back to iTunes for embedding in tracks, as well as numerous bug fixes and enhancements. [Download - 1.6MB] Name those Files! 2.1 ($13) is a batch file renaming utility, allowing users to rename large numbers of files or folders on a Mac using advanced numbering, trimming, and search/replace capabilities. Version 2.1 adds the ability to use date strings of any format in the prefix or suffix, and improves the speed as well as the stability of the actual item rename routine. [Download - 672KB] SymbolTexture vol. 9 ($15) is a major update to the plug-in set that includes numerous new features for abstract art, texture, animation, and frame designs. The plug-in uses symbols, and comes with a large selection of royalty-free starter symbols. [Download - 624KB] Booxter 1.8.7 ($20) is an easy to use application designed to manage a book collection. Booxter 1.8.7 improves iSight barcode scanning for built-in iSights such as those found in the new iMac, MacBook, and MacBook Pro. The update fixes searches at Angus & Robertson as well as the British Library. [Download - 3MB]
In brief: One MacNN reader has posted photos of the Apple Store under construction on Lincoln Road in South Beach, Miami, Florida.... Recent job postings on Monster.ca for retail/wholesale full time employees suggest that Apple is preparing to open a store at Chinook Mall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.... Several readers note that Apple's website now references the recently released Parallels Desktop for Mac, rather than its own Bootcamp technology.... The developer of DigiTools and previous founder of MegaWorks has launched Fastforward, a new Mac software company, and is seeking programmers.... Architosh has reviewed Arlantis R, an advanced rendering and animation application boasting many relationships with architectural CAD and modeling programs.... OneToad Design today opened its doors for business, and is the second design company launched by a graphic designer who specializes in icon design for Mac OS X software developers.
BigBlueLounge.com today released BigBlueLounge.com Widget 1.0, a collection of tools for musicians and recording engineers in the form of a Mac OS X Dashboard widget. Designed and programmed by the founder of www.bigbluelounge.com and studio manager of the Sydney Opera House Recording Studios, the widget grew out of the needs in real-world sessions over the past two years. BigBlueLounge.com Widget 1.0 provides five separate tools which include "Keyboard," "TapTempo," "MediaCalc," "DigiTool," and "SonicSpeed." The widget is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Rival Computer today began shipping custom Mac mini systems with 1.83GHz, 2.0GHz, and 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processors. Consumers can choose a 60GB (included), 80GB ($50), 100GB ($100), or 120GB ($175) 5,400 RPM hard drive, or alternatively a 100GB ($200) 7200 RPM hard drive. Custom Mac minis include 512MB of memory, but are upgradeable to 1GB or 2GB capacities for $100 and $300, respectively. Each system ships with a slot loading Combo Drive, which users can swap out for a slot loading SuperDrive for an additional $50. Keyboard/mouse combinations include a Logitech Cordless Desktop for $50, an Apple USB keyboard and Mighty Mouse for $80, or an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse for $100. Rival's 1.83GHz Mac mini systems start at $950, while its 2.0GHz and 2.16GHz Mac minis are priced at $1,100 and $1,250, respectively.
Hiphop rap star 50 Cent is currently in negotiations with Apple's CEO Steve Jobs to produce a line of affordable home computers to inner-city residents, according to a new report. Referencing a report from Forbes, the popular rapper is negotiating the branding deal with the computer /software giant. "I'm creating a foundation that will be around for a long time, because fame can come and go or get lost in the lifestyle and the splurging," Fifty Cent explained to Forbes. "I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business." Manager Chris Lighty of Violator management, also working with 50 Cent, said that Jobs "is setting a new standard in the music business.... Let's just say we get each other."
With Apple's dominance of the digital music world, the film industry is worried that Apple's enormous clout will extend to the digital movie world, as the company negotiates contracts with various studios. A report on Variety, which touches upon about the secrecy of Apple, Steve Jobs' wealth, and his management style, says that the Apple CEO personally heads up most negotiations, while Apple VP Eddie Cue takes up some of the slack as competing studios are wary of doing business with a member of Disney's board. "Studios have resisted Jobs' initial insistence that feature films be priced at the easy-to-remember $9.99. After all, library titles are typically sold to Wal-Mart and Best Buy significantly cheaper than new releases. Studios now are trying to convince Apple to sell similar content at multiple price points, something the company has never done." The report notes that the film studios are trying, simultaneously, to work out deals with a host of other distributors, including Amazon, Movielink and BitTorrent, in part to make sure that one company does not dominate. The publication expects most major studios to add movies to its iTunes Music Store by the end of the year.
ProjectWizards is running a beta test of Merlin 2, the second generation of its project management application for Mac OS X. The updates brings a revised interface and optimizes several functions. "Merlin 2 offers now a unique comparison of actual to real dates in the project planning shown graphically," according to the company. "Merlin 2 is the first project management software on the Mac that projects an expected project progression onto the Gantt chart." The application also supports Microsoft's Entourage as well as the ability to link several projects to each other to analyze and evaluate them together and review the resource utilization with significant histograms. Version 2 also improves import/export (e.g. MS Project, NovaMind, OmniOoutliner, MindManager) and offers real-time sync of data with iCal. In addition, it sports completely revised search, print and reporting functions. Merlin 2 is €145 for a single-user license. Upgrades are €75 (free for purchases after June 1st). [corrected]
iPod component manufacturer Foxconn Electronics has denied a recent report alleging that the company was making iPods in sweatshops. A spokesperson for the company said that there were "huge discrepancies between the truth and the claims in the report," according to the Digitimes. Last week, the UK-based The Mail claimed that iPods were being made in Chinese factories by employees working in "slave" conditions. "The paper alleged that one factory at Longhua -- a town just outside the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen -- employed 200,000 workers, each of whom had to work 15 hours a day for a monthly pay of US$50. The paper said the workers lived in rooms which housed 100 people each. However, Ding pointed out that Foxconn has a workforce of only about 160,000 employees worldwide [and] maintained that Foxconn abides by the employment law in China." The company also said it has continued to make improvements to workers' living conditions, providing safe and well-equipped dormitories complete with free laundry service, sports facilities, libraries, and other facilities. Apple last week said it was investigating the claims of labor abuse and that it maintains a strict code of conduct for its suppliers.
MacSpeech today announced that it has released iListen 1.7, the 7th major release of its speech recognition application. The application allows users to use voice control to control applications and other system commands. iListen 1.7 is now Universal Binary that will run natively on Intel- or PowerPC-based Macs. It also boasts faster training and enhanced accuracy: according to the company, users can now be up and running in as little as five minutes. Version 1.7 also has improved voice commands and will now support multiple user accounts in Mac OS X. In addition, there are also several bug fixes and several other minor enhancements and cosmetic improvements. iListen 1.7 still sells for $100 for a software-only version or starting at $150 for a version that includes a noise-canceling microphone. Registered users of iListen 1.6 or later can upgrade for $40. (Customers who purchased after April 1, 2006 will receive a free upgrade.)
Script Software today announced that iStar Composer combined with iVisualize is now available for Mac OS X. iStar Composer is the only Mac software that synchronizes lyrics/text with songs/audio content. iStar Composer can be used for editing and displaying lyrics, opera, plays, musicals, karaoke, jokeoke (where people imitate a comedy routine), poetryoke (poems done to music), children's stories or children music, church music, lyrics/text for the hearing impaired, translation of text/ lyrics, text for podcasts, display of text for any audio track. iVisualize has been added to iStar Composer, allowing anyone with a Mac and iTunes to view lyrics full screen in iTunes. iVisualize also makes it possible to make new visualizers for iTunes: it comes with several graphic visualizations for iTunes that show song info, album art and some include lyrics from iStar Composer. It is available as a Universal Binary for $30.
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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