Microsoft has acquired new digital photography software application iView, giving the software giant a mid-to-high-end photography application that in some ways rivals Apple's Aperture. iView MediaPro is more powerful than Apple's consumer-level iPhoto, positioning Microsoft to offer a Windows-based alternative to match the Cupertino-based company's multimedia software that ships with new Mac systems. iView touts its application as a visual database for all media files, enabling users to create a customized, centralized and searchable repository to manage a wide variety of digital files. iView MediaPro is priced at $200 and works with both Mac and Windows systems, whereas Apple's Aperture is only compatible with Mac OS X and is priced at $300.
Apple today released the MacBook Pro 17-inch SMC Firmware Update, adjusting fan behavior in the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Many MacBook Pro owners reported overheating issues shortly after the units began shipping, and the OSx86 Project recently put out a call to all MacBook Pro owners experiencing heat issues in an effort to draw Apple's attention to the high running temperatures of the laptops. Apple's firmware update prior to this latest release appeared to fix some overheating issues in MacBook Pros, which was said to address intermittent boot issues at the time of its release. Users began reporting an increase in the usage of the fans in their notebooks within hours of the update, however. The update released today requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, and is only designed for 17-inch MacBook Pros.
Apple is offering more refurbished 13.3-inch Intel Core Duo MacBooks, each featuring a built-in iSight camera, as well as refurbished 17- and 20-inch G5 and Intel Core Duo iMacs. Apple's refurbished White 1.83GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive, and a SuperDrive is available for $949, a savings of $150. The White 2.0GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive, and a SuperDrive is priced at $1,099, $200 off. The company's refurbished Black 2.0GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, an 80GB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,299, a $200 discount.
Apple has released Mac OS X 10.4.7, addressing numerous security issues in the operating system, as well as specific fixes. The update affects Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.4.6, as well as Mac OS X Server 10.4 through 10.4.6. Mac OS X 10.4.7 includes security fixes to AFP, CLamAV, ImageIO, launchd, and OpenLDAP. The update is available on Apple's support downloads Web page, as well as via Mac OS X's built-in software update feature. [updated]
CaptureWorks today released JobCapture 6.0, the latest version of its utility software for both Mac and Windows systems. The update offers a History Palette for the operating system as well as Document Shepherding designed to provide a new approach to asset management and organization. "JobCapture is designed for organizations that need to accurately track time and activities in computer-intensive workflows. The software brings a new level of precision and completeness to records by using a patent pending method to track document-specific work activity in a automated way that almost impossibly satisfies both users' needs for privacy and control over their time records and managers' needs for accurate, timely data." JobCapture is priced at $200 per tracked machine, which includes the Manager and Antenna software. The application requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Web Design in a Nutshell ($35) from O'Reilly Media, a book covering everything from Windows XP to C++.... MacNN has also reviewed the PodFreq FM transmitter ($100, shown at right) from Sonnet Technologies, offering iPod owners a way to play audio content through a home FM stereo.... Apple has launched a localized version of its "Get a Mac" ad page for UK visitors.... 22Moo is currently completing testing of its VG-SD+USB Video Glasses System ($250), lightweight glasses that support direct connectivity to Apple's video iPod as well as other A/V output devices.... Boinx Software has placed entries in its slideshow showcase on "virtual display," depicting one father's recollection of a perfect day along with the crowning of a Nigerian chief.
PodShop today announced that it is celebrating Independence Day a week early by launching its new website, as well as a special sale price on iDrops, its cleaning, polishing, and scratch-removing product. "A refresh of the podshop.com website has been long overdue, and I felt it was time to break free of the boxed software site creation programs and start over from scratch," said Christopher Anderson, founder of PodShop. "I wanted to give the site uniqueness and character." The new website was designed and coded by the company's sole employee featuring XHTML and CSS exclusively. To coincide with the launch of the company's new website, PodShop is also offering its iDrops solution for cleaning, polishing, and scratch removal for $12 until July 4th.
AVerMedia Technologies today announced Mac compatibility for its AVerVision Document Camera software, enabling Mac users to connect their AverVision document camera to any Mac system. Users can control the camera directly from a computer, and the AVerVision 300i as well as the AVerVision 300p already offer Microsoft WHQL compatibility. "The compatibility of our AVerVision software with the MAC operating systems is key to expanding the availability if our exceptional AVerVision presentation products to the large market of MAC users," said Winny Ledin, Product Manager for AVerMedia Technologies. "Combined with the official Windows WHQL XP logo certification, the AVerVision Document Cameras can now be used with virtually every computer available." The software is available for free via download from Aver.com.
Formac ElektroniK today introduced its Disk Mini line of storage solutions, a portable hard drive for Apple and PC systems boasting a dual interface. The Disk Mini range of bus powered drives offer USB 2.0 as well as FireWire 400 connectivity in 60GB, 80GB, and 120GB capacities. The drives are housed in a lightweight, shock resistant casing that features a sleek black color. Disk Mini drives are pocket-sized, measuring 3.25 x 5 x 0.75-inches and weighing just over six ounces. The devices require no software installation when used with Mac OS or Microsoft Windows, and are designed for users who require convenient, portable storage. Disk Mini drives are available for £80 (60GB), £90 (80GB), £115 (120GB) excluding VAT. All Disk Mini models are slated for shipment in early July.
Parallels today released Parallels Compressor, an easy-to-use universally compatible management tool designed to help companies utilizing virtualization conserve hard disk resources and optimize performance. The application reduces the size of virtual hard disks up to 50 percent or more by automatically deleting temporary and unnecessary files within Windows, compressing the actual virtual hard disk image file. Parallels is making Compressor available to any individual or enterprise using Parallels, VMWare and Microsoft solutions running Windows 2000, 2003 and XP. The company plans to expand its portfolio of tools over the coming months, and pledges to make those tools compatible with all of the industry's major virtualization solutions, including the open-source Xen hypervisor, and a broader variety of operating systems. The software is available in two versions which include Compressor Workstation ($50) and Compressor Server ($180).
Coca-Cola is inking a deal with Apple to offer Coca-Cola-sponsored content on iTunes, and is offering its customers discounts for the online store. Music has been one of the primary battlegrounds between Coca-Cola and rival soft-drink maker Pepsi, with insiders believing that the iTunes deal could help Coca-Cola maintain its edge in the competitive UK soft-drinks market, according to DigitalBulletin. Pepsi in 2004 entered a similar partnership with Apple as part of a US promotional effort, promising to distribute 1 million songs through Apple's iTunes.
GizMac Accessories today began shipping its 4U XRackPro noise reduction enclosure rackmount cabinet, designed to use and store equipment such as Apple's Xserve and Xserve RAID systems. By reducing noise levels, the 4U XRackPro2 rackmount cabinet allows users to place computer, audio/video, medical, and other equipment in areas that require low noise levels. The 4U XRackPro rackmount cabinet features locking front and rear doors, protecting the rackmount systems from unauthorized tampering. The unit ships with legs instead of wheels to provide extra stability, which offer adjustable height with a protective material to help avoid leaving marks on furniture. Optional carpet-safe casters will be optional for customers who require mobility. The cabinet is available for $500.
TransMedia today announced the upcoming launch of automatic PC-to-PC-to-Cell Phone Sync for files, contacts, and calendars as well as new browser based applications, Glide Calendar, and Glide Write. Glide's synchronization technology is designed to provide up-to-date, on-the-go access to users' photos, music, videos, documents, contacts, and calendars from PCs as well as SmartPhones. Users can sync or access home files, work files, contacts, and calendars through the "Glide Effortless" service. Glide Sync supports manual synchronization of home as well as work computers to automatically back up, convert, and protect files (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Many iPod shuffle owners are becoming increasingly frustrated with the small players, and are banding together with the hope that Apple will recognize their problem. One student from Vancouver, British Columbia has already purchased his fifth iPod shuffle, two of which failed due to a symptom he calls "the flashing orange and green lights of death." A thread on Apple's own support forum which is titled similarly has seen more than 36,000 visits since late October, according to PC World, spanning more than 550 posts from disgruntled Shuffle owners experiencing the generic "error." While some users are able to fix their Shuffles by following Apple's reset instructions via iPod Updater, others report that their small iPods aren't recognized by the updater software or iTunes, eliminating the option of resetting or restoring the player.
Apple has said that the state of a Mac OS X-compatible open source x86 Darwin kernel is "in flux," and while Apple stands to lose hardware sales to software pirates, there are ways to counteract piracy without closing Mac OS X, according to one blogger. "Mac developers and power users no longer have the freedom to alter, rebuild and replace the OS X kernel from source code," wrote Tom Yager of InfoWorld. "Stripped of openness, it no longer possesses the quality that elevated Linux to its status as the second most popular commercial OS." Yager notes that users in demanding fields such as biosciences and meteorology frequently hack operating system kernels to trim, alter throughput, and open the resources of massive grids. "Even if I don't need to hack the kernel, knowing that I can affords me a level of self-sufficiency and insulation from vendors' whims that fixed system software, such as Windows', does not," Yager adds.
Dejal Systems has released Caboodle for Mac OS X, a new application that allows users to easily store, organize, and track information. "Everyone comes across information that they want to refer to later. Maybe gifts you've received or sent, product serial numbers, recipes, directions to someone's house, a photo of your pet, or anything else. Caboodle is a tool to help store and organize such varied bits of information," the company said. Users can arrange the items in an outline-like hierarchy, and include both structured fields and free-form text and pictures in each entry, along with web links, lists, tables, PDFs, and any other kind of file as attachments. In addition, entries can be encrypted to hide sensitive information. The Universal Binary application requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. It is available immediately for $15 (single-user) or $20 ("Household") license or $100 (site license).
Power Support today introduced the newest addition to its line of iPod accessories: the Kimono Cases for iPod with video. This new line combines intricate designs and stunning aesthetics with the functionality and attention to detail that has made Power Support a top-seller of accessories in Japan for Apple products for over a decade. "Inspired by majestic temples, gardens and palaces, Kyoto craftsmen and artists have been admired the world over for creating beautiful works of art for thousands of years. Within Kyoto lies the historic district of Gion, uniquely known for its living art, the Geisha. Famous for their beauty and revered for their mastery of dance and performance, the colors and elegance of the Geisha can now be wrapped snuggly around the userís iPod." Expected to ship next month, the Kimono Case will be offered for $40 and is compatible with either iPod video.
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