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Faster Core Duo CPU
Intel this week is expected to begin shipping a faster version of its Core Duo processors, which are currently shipping Apple's line of Intel-based Macs as well as other PCs. Following the company's Woodcrest Xeon processor annnouncement earlier this week, the company will begin shipping the new Core Duo T2700, a 2.33GHz dual-core 65nm Yonah-based CPU, specifically targeted for high end notebooks and desktop replacement (DTR) devices. DailyTech reports that the processor is "already shipping at some retail outlets, and should start showing up in high-end notebooks very soon." The processor will be available for $637 in quantities of 1,000, while the price of the previous high-end 2.16GHz T2600--used in the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro--was reduced to $423 on June 4th. The publication reports that neither the T2600 nor T2700 will receive another discount until the Merom launch later this year. The "Woodcrest" dual-core Xeon 5100 may be used in Apple's forthcoming Intel-based desktops for professionals--replacing one of the company's last PowerPC-based product lines, the Power Mac G5. [updated]
Apple "sell" dissected
Analyst Bob Renck of RL Renck, who maintained a "sell" rating on Apple shares since January of this year, recently offered further insight into his bear stance. "The decline in operating margin year-over-year last quarter is not a good sign given the fact that Apple benefited from declining NAND flash prices," Renck said. "Gartner is out in the last day or two with a forecast of a turn in demand and price. In short, in the last two years Apple had the wind at its back. With a headwind leverage can work both ways." The analyst cites competition in the digital music sector as one reason to sell Apple shares, and points to timing of Intel-based Macs as an important factor for the Cupertino-based company, according to one MarketWatch columnist. "Successful transition to the new Intel base Macs may occur, but timing is uncertain," Renck said. "This is now being factored in as a given with little hard evidence. In short, it may not happen quickly."
QuickTime 7.1.2 (free) updates the multimedia software for Mac OS X and Windows systems. QuickTime 7.1.2 addresses an issue previewing iDVD projects, and the update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users. The latest version of QuickTime requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
[Download - 49.1MB]
FeedPopper 1.8 (donationware) brings native compatibility for Apple's Intel-based Macs to the menubar RSS reader. The software shows small popup windows that display the latest headlines from chosen RSS feeds, and is configurable to always stay on top of other applications, ensuring headlines show up when new content is available. [Download - 416KB]
ChronoSync 3.3.1 ($30) updates the automated synchronization and backup application for Mac OS X, fixing several bugs and adding a number of new features. ChronoSync 3.3.1 runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and repairs issues with synchronizing locked packages. [Download - 4.9MB]
FastCut 2.1.1 ($18) allows video editing in real-time, and is re-written from the ground up. The RT-Engine is based on OpenGL to benefit from hardware acceleration, and once video frames are uploaded to the video memory of a graphics card, they are manipulated in real-time on a pixel-per-pixel basis by CoreImage and used as textures on geometric objects in a 3D OpenGL world. [Download - 440KB]
eOrdering eCommerce 3.2.0 ($65-450) updates the entire line of applications that create eCommerce websites. Version 3.2.0 adds the ability to create ad-hoc buttons similar to the PayPal "Add to Cart" buttons which users can place on other Web pages not created by eOrdering. The update also fixes a number of bugs. [Download - 4MB (Pro)]
Postino 1.5.1 ($18-25) is the latest iteration of the RSS reader and podcast player. Postino 1.5.1 offers minor enhancements such as Web security options, and includes some small bug fixes. The update also offers French localization. [Download - 10MB]
PDFpen 2.4 released
SmileOnMyMac has updated PDFpen 2.4, its PDF editing and form-filling utility, and PDFpenPro, which creates fillable forms, with support for comments. The latest version also features the ability to display an index of comments, notes and imprints, which can be used to navigate through a PDF document. Available as Universal binaries, PDFpen and PDFpenPro are the only PDF editing utilities that run natively on Intel-based Macs, according to the company. PDFpen allows users to show PDFs in single, facing-page, multi-page and multiple facing-page views, fill out and save PDF forms, create cross-platform fillable PDF forms (requires PDFpenPro), re-order pages in a PDF by drag & drop, insert/remove pages, and overlay text and images onto PDF (for example, sign purchase orders by applying signature image). It is available in English, Japanese, German, Italian, and French for Mac OS X 10.2.5 or later. Pricing is $45 or $95 (Pro version).
Garmin delays Mac support
Garmin today announced an update on the launch of its application support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger." Despite an announcement in January promising Mac compatibility in the Spring, the company today said that its Training Center software is now expected to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" by the end of 2006. Garmin Training Center software, designed for a range of its GPS devices, allows users to plan, analyze and store data from your fitness activities -- all in simple, easy-to-follow steps from the convenience of a desktop PC. "Also at that time, we will announce the expected completion date for Garmin's other hardware and software applications," the company said.
In brief: Iconkits.com has released its latest stock icon set entitled "Clay Base Kit" ($200, shown at right) which includes 160 "living" icons with soft colors.... FileMaker will showcase a variety of K-12 database solutions at booth #500 at the annual National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).... The Lasso Master Class is set to be held following the FileMaker Developer Conference, spanning two days with special guest Fletcher Sandbeck from OmniPilot.... MacForce is hosting another Portland Mac Film Makers User Group meeting, featuring a look at "vodcasting" on June 28th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the MacForce theater.... Toolfarm today announced the acquisition of Buena Software, a plug-in developer for Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Autodesk's Autodesk Combustion.
Speck ships MobileTune
Speck Products today unveiled the MobileTune FM transmitter and charger for iPod, a shift-knob inspired transmitter that enables iPod owners to play music through any FM stereo. The device is clad in genuine leather with a polished chrome dial, and comes with a built-in antenna to provide a strong signal. MobileTune charges the iPod while in use, and features a self-resetting fuse to protect the accessory from power surges. A tuner dial works with an LCD to offer multiple channel selection options. The MobileTune fits all 12-volt power sockets, offering compatibility with iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod with color display, iPod U2 special edition, the 40GB iPod, and the video iPod. MobileTune is priced at $60.
Phone plug-ins for iSync
Nova Media today updated its phone plug-ins for iSync, offering compatibility with the latest version of Mac OS X and iSync 2.3. "Apple just did it again and changed the iSync structure with iSync 2.3, rendering many third-party plug-ins useless." said Jan Fuellemann, spokesperson for Nova Media. "We already sent a free update to all registered users, and our new release is fully compatible with iSync 2.3." The software supports more than 30 mobile phones from Motorola, Nokia, BenQ-Siemens, and Sony Ericsson to allow smooth synchronization of calendar as well as contact data with an up-to-date Mac OS X system. The Nova Media phone plug-ins are available via download for €10 plus VAT.
New iPods delayed?
American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu said he believes new versions of Apple's video iPod and iPod nano could be delayed by up to six months. "We previously believed that new Nanos and the widescreen video iPod could ship in Q3 and Q4, respectively," Wu wrote in a research note. "However, we now believe that both could be delayed by a quarter or two." The analyst expects a new iPod nano to arrive during the December quarter, pushed back from his previous September quarter estimation. The delay, according to Wu, is due to Apple's shift of its system-on-a-chip suppliers from PortalPlayer to Samsung. The analyst maintained a "Buy" rating on Apple shares, but lowered his price target to $75 from $101 as a result of the equity market's lower trading multiple.
Super Tile Sudoku released
Macgamestore.com and Sli-Fi Gameshave have partnered to announce the release of Super Tile Sudoku for Mac, offering more than 25,000 sudoku puzzles designed for all skill levels. The game features three difficulty levels, varying themes, a game timer, note options, and a hint feature. Super Tile Sudoku includes a check puzzle feature, the ability to clear the board, a solution option, save/load functionality, original music, and documentation that covers rules as well as strategy. Super Tile Sudoku is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
MS cancels Vista feature
Microsoft has cancelled one of the most anticipated features in its next Windows operating system, code-named Vista, which is slated for release next year. Microsoft previously planned to ship the WinFS file system shortly after Windows Vista. In a weblog entry on Friday, however, Quentin Clark -- an executive of the project -- wrote that WinFS would not ship separately, and that some of the feature will be included in a later product. Investors considered WinFS the crucial feature that would encourage upgrades to Vista when Microsoft separated the technologies in 2004 in order to complete Vista by 2006, according to Bloomberg. The cancellation marks the latest change involving Windows Vista, which required Microsoft to restructure portions of the operating system and drop some features.
iTunes movies to falter?
A new poll suggests that most internet consumers are uninterested in purchasing movies online for $9.99. Apple has been lobbying Hollywood to offer full-length movies via its iTunes Music Store, asking for fixed-rate pricing of $9.99 per movie in an effort to replicate the simple pricing structure of its musical offerings. The question posed in the iTWire online poll read: "Would you pay $9.99 for a movie download?" The response sample totaled fewer than 300 people, and while 19.4 percent of those queried answered yes, a majority of 80.6 percent said they would not pay just under $10 for a movie download. Hollywood is resisting Apple's attempts to negotiate flat-rate pricing for movie downloads. The Cupertino-based company proved victorious over record labels with music pricing on iTunes in the recent past, but movie companies must maintain relationships with cinema chains.
Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 ships
Avid today announced the worldwide availability of Avid Xpress Pro software v5.5 as well as the newest member in Avid's line of Digital Nonlinear Accelerator products, Avid Mojo SDI. Avid Xpress Pro v5.5 delivers HD capabilities for both Mac and Windows-based systems, while Avid Mojo SDI works seamlessly with Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer software to provide high-quality, advanced analog and digital SDI (Serial Digital Interface) I/O connections for professional video and audio projects. Both the Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Mojo SDI systems, including upgrades for existing customers, are available now. Avid Xpress Pro software 5.5 is priced at $1,700 and Avid Mojo SDI is priced at $2,500. Existing Avid Xpress Pro v4 or v5 customers can upgrade to Avid Xpress Pro v5.5 for $50.
Superman case showcased
XtremeMac today showcased its Iconz line of iPod cases, highlighting the Iconz Superman case that features officially licensed artwork of Superman to coincide with the movie opening. Iconz cases cover the entire face of the iPod with full color designs while providing play-through coverage for the clickwheel and built-in screen protection. The Superman case, which is available for 30GB as well as 60GB video iPod models, is emblazoned with the classic S-shield logo. The case offers protection from dirt and scratches while providing access to all iPod functionality. Iconz Superman cases are available for $30 to customers in the U.S, accompanying other Iconz cases that feature Batman, Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, and more. [corrected]
Mariner apps go Universal
Mariner Software has updated its entire product line, bringing native support for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. The latest versions introduce several bug fixes, as well as trial copies of Mariner Write, Mariner Calc, MacJournal, Desktop Poet, and Montage -- the latest public beta release of the upcoming screenwriting package for Mac OS X. Mariner Write 3.7.2 fixes two compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.4, updates French as well as Dutch language sources, repairs the Japanese input method, and fixes a Microsoft Word import bug. MacJournal ($35), Desktop Poet ($15), and Montage ($100) require Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while Mariner Write ($50) and Mariner Calc ($50) require Mac OS X 10.2 or later. All updates are free for registered users of the same major version numbers. Multiple language support is available for Mariner Write, Mariner Calc, and MacJournal.
Secrecy helps, hurts Apple
Although Apple says that the surprise factor in its product launches helps the company, its need to control information and keep secrets has forced some of its partners to reconsider their relationship with Apple. The Wall Street Journal reports that the intense secrecy culture, in part, caused HP to terminate its relationship with Apple and also discourages large customers from making commitments to buy Apple product, as the company does not provide a roadmap for its products. "Apple often didn't tell H-P about new iPod models until the day before they were introduced to the public, people familiar with the matter say. That left H-P scrambling to package and stamp its name on the jointly branded iPods for months after Apple put its version on sale.
NBC sells 6m videos
NBC today said it has sold over 6 million videos through iTunes since December, generating about $12 million in revenue. Looking for additional opportunities, the company today said it would use the popular YouTube video-sharing site to promote its fall television lineup, underscoring the Internet's growing role in generating buzz around traditional media shows. Unlike the agreement with iTunes, however, the deal is not for full length episodes, but rather for promotional clips. "The distinction between television and video is becoming murkier and murkier," said John Miller, chief marketing officer for the NBC Universal Television Group told the AP. "Rather than putting our heads in the sand and saying this doesn't exist, we're trying to jump in and embrace it." Miller said that the deal helps expose upcoming NBC shows to viewers who may tune out television over the summer but continue to surf the Internet.
Swift Publisher 1.3 update
BeLight today released Swift Publisher 1.3, an update to its page layout application for designing and printing flyers, newsletters, brochures, etc. New version touts 20 new designs, improves picture import from iPhoto and Finder, adds Spotlight support and more. Specifically, the update adds 20 new designs, new Mac-related images added in clipart, support for Spotlight with automatic content indexing, easy access to a list of recently documents, better import of objects from other BeLight Software applications, and iPhoto, and improved drag & drop. The page layout application includes 120 ready-made professional designs, 23,000 images, 100 unique masks and more. It is available for Mac OS X 10.3 or later and costs $35.
Photocasting Freedom 1.0
MC Hot Software has released Photocasting Freedom v1.0, a new application that allows the photocasting of any iPhoto album without .Mac. Usin a clean, simple and intuitive interface, Photocasting Freedom uses FTP or SFTP to publish iPhoto- and RSS-compatible photo feeds. "Not only does iPhoto find your iPhoto photo albums for you but your friends will be able to subscribe to the albums you put online. Copy the following link under the "Subscribe to Photocast" feature and watch it pull in the album off of the internet." The Universal Binary application is available for $12.
Chartsmith v1.3 released
Blacksmith has released Chartsmith v1.3.0, an update to its charting and graphing application for Mac OS X that provides enhanced Pie charts as well as Universal Application support for compatibility with Intel-based Macs. "Built from the ground up on Mac OS X technologies, this application will make you and your data hum. Whether for scientific data visualization, for business presentation, or for graphics publishing, Chartsmith makes charting and graphing quick and easy. What Chartsmith produces is graphical representations of your data - whether that data is numbers, dates or time durations. You supply the data, Chartsmith does all of the work to produce a succinct and presentable chart." Chartsmith v1.3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later and is available for $130 or $100 (education license) or $70 (students). It is a free upgrade for current customers.
RAID Alert 1.0 released
Objectpark Software today announced the release of "RAID Alert" for Mac, the safety net for software RAID systems. RAID Alert is a unique application that constantly monitors all attached RAID systems based on the Mac OS X built-in RAID software. It will inform you about any RAID systems' status changes (esp. failures) via email, a notification dialog and an alert sound. "Never again will a hard disk failure go unnoticed - even on unattended headless servers! This software makes Apple's software RAIDs a professional alternative to expensive third-party hardware or software RAID solutions," the company said. RAID Alert requires Mac OS X 10.4 and supports all mirrored RAID volumes running the Apple RAID software, including internal, external, FireWire or USB drives. A free demo of the $40 application is now available online.
Flash Player 9 released
Adobe today released Adobe Flash Player 9 (formerly Flash Player 8.5), the next-generation Flash Player client runtime. Flash Player provides a more secure, lightweight, robust runtime environment for rich media and enterprise-ready rich Internet applications. Adobe says that Flash Player 9 achieves up to 10 times faster performance through ActionScript 3.0 and a new ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM), which features a Just In Time (JIT) compiler that translates ActionScript bytecode to native machine code for maximum execution speed. Installed on over 600 million Internet-connected PCs and mobile devices worldwide, Flash Player provides consistent and predictable application runtime capabilities across browsers, desktops and other devices. Adobe Flash Player 9 is available immediately as a free downloas in both English and localized versions.
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