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Kinemac 1.2 goes Universal
Kinemac 1.2, a 3D real-time animation and presentation software for Mac OS X, is now available as a Univeral Binary application. The software allows users to create professional 3D animations with the simplicity of a 2D presentation tool--it plays the animations in real-time at full screen and can export them to a QuickTime movie file or to a series of single still images. Version 1.2 adds support for importing 3DS files, allowing users to drag & drop 3D models into their animation. Users can then apply a variety of textures on each surface of the model, including on/off, color, reflection, specular, shininess, image texture and movie texture. It also improves display performance by adding both "Polygon Fill" and "Polygon WireFrame" to the "Views" menu to optionally view wire frames for faster rendering. Version 1.2 adds multiple object selection; the ability to align positions, anchors, or text; a new sprite library that includes few sample objects; and control via the Apple remote. It is a free upgrade to the $250 application.
Unity goes Universal
Unity3D has released Unity 1.5, the largest update the company has released to date that brings native compatibility to Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. Unity is a fully integrated production environment designed for easy editing. Developers can hit the play button to test work without delays, and can modify the world while the game is running. Key new features of Unity 1.5 include a Windows Web-browser plug-in, a new animation system, high-speed car physics with a dedicated wheel collider that simulates the traction model of real vehicles, and additional full-screen filters. The update also offers full access to all vertex data via a mesh script interface, the ability to generate or modify textures on the fly with a textures script interface, a particle script interface, and Lightmap support. Unity 1.5 is priced at $250 for the "Indie" edition, or $1,500 for the Pro version. Unity 1.5 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Refurb MBPs, MacBooks
Apple is offering refurbished 15.4-inch Intel Core Duo MacBook Pros with slot-loading SuperDrives that include the 1.83GHz model with 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM, an 80GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 128MB of GDDR3 memory for $1,549, a $450 savings; the 2.0GHz model with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 100GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory for $1,949, a $550 discount; and the 2.16GHz model with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 100GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory for $2,149, $650 off the original price. Apple is also selling refurbished 13.3-inch MacBooks with a built-in iSight camera which include the white 1.83GHz notebook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and a Combo drive for $949, $150 off; the white 2.0GHz notebook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,099, a $200 savings; as well as the black 2.0GHz notebook with 512MB of memory, an 80GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,299, a $200 discount.
iPhoto 6.04 update
Apple has posted iPhoto 6.04, an update to its photo editing and organizing utility. Bundled with new Macs (and a part of the $79 iLife suite), the free update to iPhoto contains a variety of new Greeting Card and Postcard themes for use with Apple print services, including invite and thank you card designs for summer parties, weddings, birthdays, etc. It is 35MB and available via the Web or via the Mac OS X Software Update.
SFX Machine goes Universal
The Sound Guy today released Universal Binary versions of SFX Machine RT 1.0 and SFX Machine Pro 1.01, its sound design plug-ins. The company is also offering a coupon via its website good for $25 off all products until the end of June. SFX Machine Pro 1.01 fixes a bug running under MOTU's Digital Performer, and adds more than 50 new effects that bring the software's total number of effects above 300. A Modular Preset Editor allows users to create their own effects from scratch, while Host Tempo Sync matches LFO frequencies to delay times in music. The update also includes an Output Limiter, further enhancing the "Swiss army knife" of audio utilities. SFX Machine RT is priced at $100, while SFX Machine Pro sells for $200. SFX Machine RT requires Mac OS 9.2/Mac OS X 10.2 or later, while SFX Machine Pro requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Avid Media Composer ships
Avid Technology today announced that it expects to ship the new family of Media Composer products on Wednesday, June 21. Introduced in April at NAB 2006, the new Media Composer family is now available to editors in a range of flexible configurations, including a software-only application, which offers portability and the option to add hardware acceleration as required. All products in the Media Composer family feature version 2.5 software, which delivers improved dual-platform functionality, with the addition of broad HD capabilities and real-time multi-cam support on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. In addition, the new Media Composer family is designed to offer workflow-intelligent features that support team-based collaboration through the Avid Interplay system - the world's first nonlinear workflow engine - which is expected to ship in Q3 2006.
TextWrangler, PopChar X
TextWrangler 2.1.3 (free) is a maintenance update to the general-purpose text processing tool that fixes reported issues and offers minor refinements. TextWrangler features multi-file find-and-replace functionality with optional regular expression ("Grep") pattern matching, function navigation, and syntax coloring for numerous programming languages.
[Download - 9MB]
PopChar X 3.0fc1 ($30) is the final candidate for the forthcoming PopChar 3 application. PopChar 3 is a completely re-designed version of the special character insertion tool, allowing users to inject special characters into the text of any application. The update runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and includes more than 25 new features. [Download - 1.6MB]
MacProgramGuide 0.31b (free) updates the electronic program guide for North American TV listings. The software offers off-the-air cable and satellite program channel listings, displaying program descriptions as well as episodes. Version 0.31b enhances the EyeTV and iCal scheduling, improves schedule downloading, and fixes several bugs. [Download - 784KB]
Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview 3 ($13) enables users to fully control a Mac via its included remote controls. Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview 3 adds support for the Keyspan RF Remote for Front Row, introduces a deluxe version of "Behaviors," allows virtual mice to emulate a two-dimensional mouse wheel, and includes a new filesystem browser with an integrated launcher. [Download - 1.1MB]
Eyeballs 3.2 ($10) is a "desktop critter" for Mac OS X offering a set of eyeballs in the menu bar or on the desktop that watch the cursor move around as users work. Appearance and behavior are configurable, and the eyeballs are skinnable. Eyeballs 3.2 runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and adds several new skins with an assortment of Anime-style eyes. [Download - 1.9MB]
English-Italian Dictionary 8.6 ($25) is the latest release of the all-in-one dictionary and phrase book for Mac OS X in both English and Italian versions. The update is a significant revision that includes a variety of code and interface tweaks which improve support for words containing diatrical characters. [Download - 4.9MB]
Apple IT issues
Apple has admitted that corporate IT employees complain about its secretive product roadmap, and warned that the only way to stay ahead is to attend its annual developer conference. "People always complain that Apple doesn't give systems administrators or systems architects enough of a roadmap of where our technologies are going," Craig Bradley said, head of Apple's Asia-Pacific developer relations. The official Apple line was backed by David Colville, technology director for Key Options Technology, an Australian systems integrator focused specifically on Mac OS X, according to a report from ZDNet Australia.
SecuriKey Pro 1.50 ships
SecuriKey has launched SecuriKey Professional 1.50, an update to its two-factor user authentication and computer security system. The heterogeneous token-based security solution offers support for Intel-based Macs, controlling access to numbers of mobile and stationary computers while also providing complete backwards compatibility with older PowerPC-based Macs, as well as cross-platform compatibility with Microsoft Windows systems. SecuriKey combines USB token and password technologies to provide secure, user-friendly computer access control. The product functions essentially as an "ignition key" for a laptop or desktop computers, requiring users to insert the token in any available USB slot and enter the correct password to access the system. SecuriKey Professional 1.50 is priced at $130.
Saturn Apple Store?
General Motors subsidiary Saturn aspires to make its dealerships like Apple's retail stores, MacNN sister site Leftlane News reported today. General Manager Jill Lajdziak said that the changes will give Saturn showrooms a "more contemporary, more interactive look and feel - like an Apple store." Not surprisingly, technology will play a role in the showroom makeover. The so-called "Sky Dome" will feature a domed room "with pictures of the sky flashing on the ceiling and a silver Saturn Sky roadster in the middle of the floor," explains one analyst.
Game Cafe and Big Fish Games today released Mah-Jomino for Mac, blending the challenge of Mahjong and Dominoes into a unique two-sided mahjong game. "For the past decade, archeologist William McEndri has dedicated his life to uncovering the secret whereabouts of twelve ancient artifacts that could prove the existence of the lost city of Atlantis. The time has come for his daughter Helen to carry on his adventure. Journey with Helen into the unknown in this truly exciting Mahjong experience." The game features four challenging modes, and more than 250 boards to master. Mah-Jomino is priced at $20, requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is available via Macgamestore.com.
ConceptDraw VI released
CS Odessa today released ConceptDraw VI, the latest iteration of its diagramming and drawing software. ConceptDraw VI features texture filling, export to Scalable Vector Graphics format (SVG), a new extended set of shape libraries/samples, and improvements to software usability. The ability to export ConceptDraw documents to SVG, the XML-based graphic standard from W3C, sets the stage for document exchange with nearly any application that supports vector drawings. ConceptDraw VI Professional is priced at $300, while the Standard edition is available for $150. ConceptDraw VI requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later.
Civilization IV to ship
Aspyr Media today announced that the Mac version of Civilization IV has been declared Gold Master, and is scheduled to begin shipping Monday, June 26th. Civilization IV features multiplayer support over LAN, the internet, and "Play-By-Email" for competing or cooperating with live players. Key features of Civilization IV include fast-paced game play for a more streamlined experience, greater accessibility via an easy-to-use interface, a flexible tech tree allowing players more strategic choices for developing civilizations through unique paths, and more. A 3D world brings dozens of fully animated units and customizable armies, as well as cities and wonders. Designed from the ground up for "modability," the game includes a powerful map editor with XML and Python support. Civilization IV will ship on Monday for $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
NanoGo wallet ships
Pacific Design today announced the retail availability of NanoGo, a multipurpose case for protecting Apple's iPod nano while carrying daily essentials. The case holds the iPod in place upside down via a carabineer clip, while an included wrist strap offers users an alternative carrying method. The NanoGo features integrated cord management with clasp notches to enfold ear buds, and the case offers a clear ID compartment for storing cash or other personal belongings. The NanoGo is constructed from Italian-sourced polyurethane material that gives the case the soft feel of full-grain leather while providing protection from the elements. The case boasts sleek, contrasting color designs including black with red finishing and hot pink with white finishing detail. The NanoGo is priced at $30.
Expanded Automator actions
Automated Workflows has released its expanded Automator actions, as well as updates to several of its existing actions. The company offers Automator actions in application-specific packs that include Automator, FIleMaker Pro, Finder, InDesign, iPhoto, Photoshop, Preview, QuarkXPress, System, and TextEdit. An "Ultimate Productivity Action Pack" is available for users looking to achieve maximum efficiency, containing a complete set of Automated Workflows' Automator actions. Individual action packs for Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and QuarkXPress are priced at $15. Individual packs for Finder, Preview, and TextEdit are priced at $5. The Ultimate Productivity Automator Action Pack is available for $40.
Opera 9 released
Opera Software today released Opera 9, its newest Web browser available in 25 languages for Mac, Linux, and Windows systems. Opera 9 enhances the way users access, share, and use online content by including widgets -- small and useful Web programs -- as well as support for the BitTorrent (BT) file distribution technology. The software features saved sessions, a trash can to recall closed tabs, and the ability to start browsing exactly where a surfing session left off when Opera last closed. Opera 9 features a stronger popup blocker, as well as a security bar to prevent scams such as phishing. Users can change the look and feel of the browser by downloading new skins, altering buttons, and improving how individual sites behave by blocking advertisements on a site-by-site basis. Opera is available for free, with one year of premium support via email priced at $30 (system requirements were unavailable). [corrected]
New stores, checkout lines
In brief: Apple is set to open a new retail store in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday, June 24th, following the company's announcement to open its seventh retail store in Japan.... Apple is attempting to abolish checkout lines in its latest New York Apple Store retail location, approaching customers with portable credit card devices and offering receipts via email.... Asustek and Quanta Computer are expecting Apple to ship at least 2.3 million laptops by the end of the year, as a result of the company's notebook boost.... The Codebook -- a major collection of cheats for Mac games -- is no longer supported, though the author is offering free codes to unlock the software.... The Big Nerd Ranch has announced the latest addition to its roster of five-day, intensive courses for programmers and system administrators, OpenGL Bootcamp with instructor Rocco Bowling.
Foxconn iPod audit
Apple has begun "a thorough audit" of the Chinese iPod plant operated by Foxconn, following allegations of labor abuse. The company on Monday told Reuters that it had already begun investigating a newspaper report that indicated that iPod supplier Foxconn was violating local labor laws as well as Apple's own code of supplier conduct. "Apple has begun a thorough audit of the manufacturing plant operated by Foxconn in Longhua, China," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told the publication. The report says that the audit will look at "employee working and living conditions as well as include interviews of employees and managers, compliance with overtime and wage regulations, and other areas as necessary to insure adherence to Apple's supplier code of conduct.
Brave Dwarves Mac Ed.
Exclusive Games LLC and GameOver-Games have released Brave Dwarves - Back for Treasure Macintosh Edition 1.01, an adventure arcade that "offers you an every-minute gripping adventure, where you are the one to help the brave dwarves fight the devastating Evil out of their beautiful caves and stop the ever-so-close end of the world. That won't be easy, as on your way to the Gate you will have to stand up to mighty forces and complete a hard task of collecting hundreds of gems to seal this Gate to the world of Evil forever. Brave Dwarves - Back for Treasure is your pass to the world of fantasy, magic and mystery." It features a new character mode that allows users to be either a Warrior or a Wizard; it offers 100 levels with Power Orbs and more than 1300 well-developed screens. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available for $20.
Apple releases Shake 4.1
Apple today released the first Universal version of its compositing software Shake 4.1 as well as dramatically reduced the price from $2,999 to $499. Touting the new low price, Apple said that Final Cut Studio editors can "now take advantage of Shake for sophisticated 3D compositing, keying, image tracking and stabilization for the price of a plug-in." According to the company, Shake has been the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create visual effects including this year's Oscar winner, "King Kong." Shake 4.1 offers a full range of operations from simple re-touching to complex 3D compositing can be launched directly from the Final Cut Pro timeline to add elements such as smoke, sparkles and fire to sophisticated multi-plane 3D composites. Shake 4.1 is available for $499 from the Apple Store. Owners of Shake 4 can take advantage of a crossgrade to Shake 4.1 for $50.
Three Targus iPod locks
Targus today announced three new security locks for Apple's iPod, including the Mobile Security Lock for iPod, which it says is "the only theft protection solution currently available that can be used while on-the-go" as well as the Desktop Security Lock for iPod and the Eyelet Security Lock for iPod. Featuring a keyless, user-settable three-digit combination for added convenience and protection, the new Targus security locks are designed for use with iPods configured with a dock connector, including the fifth-generation, Nano, iPod photo, fourth-generation iPods, iPod mini and third-generation iPods.
Apple ambient light sensor
Mac developer Amit Singh has posted details on Apple's ambient light sensor found on Apple's MacBook Pros (and some newer PowerBooks). Although Apple has not provided any details on the API for the light sensors, which are used to adjust the brightness on the notebook's illuminated keyboard, Singh has offered details on its operation and some example code. In particular, the developer offers details on retrieving readings from the ambient light sensor, retrieving and setting the LED brightness value of the backlit keyboard, and initiating an LED fade to a target brightness value over a specified duration. Singh says he has tested all of the code on a MacBook Pro, but that it may work on some newer PowerBooks as well. In addition, Singh offers cource for retrieving and setting a display's brightness, although he says has not yet tested it. Singh was the first to offer details on Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor, which lead to the development of an application interface that allowed other developers to develop innovative uses for Apple's notebook sensor, including the SmackBook software, which produces a horizontal transition to a new desktop when a user taps ("smacks") the notebook/screen on either side.
Interarchy 8.1 released
Stairways Software today released Interarchy 8.1, an update to its Universal Binary version of its powerful, flexible Internet application adds support for accessing Amazon S3, Amazons's Simple Storage Service giving users direct access to unlimited amounts of disk space and bandwidth, as well as adding support for Auto Uploads to multiple remote directories, allowing a file to be dropped on Interarchy and uploaded to multiple remote sites in a single action. Interarchy can download and upload files via FTP (the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol), SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), WebDAV (including iDisks), and Amazon S3 as well as FTP over SSH (FTP/SSH) and SSL-TLS. In addition, it can download files or whole web sites using HTTP, provide a wealth of information about your Internet connection, and help users work with remote servers across the Internet. It is a free upgrade for owners of Interarchy 8.x; a single-user license is $40, while a 5-user license is $95.
EC holds off on iTunes
Despite rising pressure, European competition officials told Reuters they are wary about proposals to force Apple to make its iTunes Music Service compatible with other music players. Recently, countries such as France and Norway have begun to pressure Apple on its closed iTunes/iPod ecosystem as well as other consumer right issues. Reuters reports Philip Lowe, director general of competition at the European Commission, said that he wanted to wait, despite mounting pressure from other European countries. "We wouldn't at this stage regard this as an instance of major concern until we've seen further market developments," Lowe told reporters this week. In addition, the EC official said Apple had obtained its strong market position in open competition with many similar players, including some with their own Web sites. Along with US officials, EMI last month backed Apple in its stance against a new French law that could force the Cupertino-based company to open up its FairPlay DRM to competitors, which could lead to Apple shutting down iTunes in France.
Apple Store opens in Japan
Apple today said it plans this weekend to open its seventh retail store in Japan. The Apple Store Sapporo is located on Sapporo Ekimae-dori, next to Sapporo Mitsukoshi department--about a one-minute walk from Odori station on the Nanboku Subway Line, the Toho Subway Line or the Tozai Subway Line, through Sapporo Mitsukoshi department, according to the company. It will open in orthern city of Sapporo on June 24th at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, ifostore reports that the unannounced Stamford Town Center (Conn.) retail store will hold its grand opening on July 1st and Macworld UK notes that Apple is recruiting for new shops in the Bentall Centre in Kingston, for a new store at Manchester's Arndale Centre, and for staff for its West Quay shop in Southampton. The company currently has six stores open in the UK. On Monday, we noted photos of the Apple Store under construction in South Beach, Miami and Apple retail job postings for a store at Chinook Mall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Advance Auto vidcasts
Advance Auto Parts is offering its instructional car repair videos as free downloads for Apple's video iPod. The company is distributing more than 20 "how-to" video podcasts initially, showing viewers how to carry out numerous automotive maintenance procedures. Fix-it topics include changing or installing shocks/struts, changing oil, and replacing brake pads, among others. "The video downloads are an indispensable tool that provide vehicle owners with mechanical instructions from the comfort of their driveway or garage, without them having to navigate difficult instruction manuals or paperwork at the repair site," Bryan Gregory said, director of consumer education for Advance Auto Parts.
iPod speaker docks launch
Logic 3 has launched three new i-Station speaker systems for Apple's iPod. The i-Station 3 features a docking station for charging an iPod, offering six Watts of sound output and a stereo line-in cable. The i-Station 7 boasts 12 Watts of sound with a 2.5-inch woofer, and ships with an infrared remote control that operates both Apple's iPod and the i-Station, according to Gearlog. i-Station 8 (shown at right) features a backlit display, produces 22 Watts of sound, and supports both S-Video and Composite Video. The iStation 3 is due to ship in the U.S. in August for $60, while the i-Station 7 and i-Station 8 are already available for $80-100 and $180, respectively.
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