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Refurb MacBook Pro, iBook
Apple is offering refurbished 15.4-inch Pro Intel Core Duo notebooks that include the 1.83GHz MacBook Pro with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 128MB of GDDR3 memory for $1,549, a 23 percent savings; the 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory, a 100GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory for $1,949, also a 23 percent savings; and the 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory, a 100GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory for $2,799, a 24 percent discount. Apple is also offering the 14-inch 1.42GHz iBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 graphics card with 32MB of video memory for $1,049, 20 percent off; as well as its 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and an ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card with 128MB of GDDR3 memory for $1,099, a 16 percent savings.
Kiwali 5G iPod covers
Kiwali today launched its new Deco collection of designer adhesive covers for Apple's fifth-generation video iPod. The Kiwali Deco is a new collection of original designs that includes the "Spellbound" look, the "cool jazzy colors" of "Notes," and the "Flight of the Butterfly" from the NanoDeco series. Each Deco features a light adhesive for the backing, making the cover exceptionally easy to apply as well as to remove. The Kiwali Deco covers both the front and back of the iPod, offering limited protection from scratches while enhancing visual appeal of the portable media player. Kiwali Deco for the video iPod is available for $12 from Kiwali's website.
VGA to DVI Scaler unveiled
Gefen today unveiled its VGA to DVI Scaler, enabling image refinements through an on-screen display. The device allows adjustments for color, brightness, contrast, sharpness, RGB levels, and tint. The VGA to DVI Scaler supports scaled HD resolutions of up to 1280 x 1024 for computers and 1080i for HDTV with support for video de-interlacing as well as digital noise reduction. The device comes with one VGA (HD-15) input as well as one DVI-I output designed to connect analog computers, components, and S-Video sources to a digital display or projector. A DVI-I to VGA adaptor is offered for optional output to any display with a VGA input, and the package includes a 5v power supply as well as a 6-foot VGA cable. The Gefen VGA to DVI Scaler is priced at $300.
Mac paintings, 3D galaxy
In brief: An aspiring artist has posted a series of Mac paintings on his website, depicting various scenes of Apple software and hardware.... NASA has launched its 3D Guide to the Galaxy, allowing Mac users to interactively explore the Milky Way galaxy on the Web.... Apple is reportedly lagging behind in its recycling program for older computers, and in the elimination of toxic components in its new Macs, according to one report.... Inside Mac Games has launched a new live chat for Mac gamers, requiring only a Java-capable browser such as Apple's Safari or Mozilla Firefox.... AOL might offer its full spread of services for free to anyone using a high-speed internet connection.... Apple's MacBook is a considerable cause for concern to Windows-based notebook manufacturers, according to a review by the Associated Press.
MS can't compete with iPod
Microsoft may be prepping its own iPod-killer, but one analyst believes that the yet-unseen product will not be able to compete with the much anticipated 6th-generation iPod. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that Apple will release an updated sixth-generation iPod in the fall, saying that it will feature new wireless connectivity. "There has recently been a lot of talk about Microsoft's new wireless MP3 player and clearly Microsoft is rich with resources to compete with Apple," the analyst told clients. "We do not believe, however, that the yet-to-be-seen Microsoft offering will be a worthy opponent for the iPod." The analyst noted while Windows Media-enabled MP3 players have been in the market for three years, they have been unable to grow their roughly 25% market share. The new "wireless iPod", he said, "will likely focus on ease of use, including wireless connectivity." The new report follows the investment firm's rundown of the latest Apple rumors. Piper Jaffray maintains an 'outperform' rating on Apple's stock with a price target of $99.
Free iPod phrasebooks
Lastminute.com and coolgorilla today released the French and Greek iPod phrasebooks for free. The French phrasebook features more than 800 sound files, while the Greek phrasebook offers over 750 sound files which are stored on the iPod and remain accessible for translation on-the-go. The menu system of the iPod phrasebooks is designed for ease of use by splitting up everyday phrases into different categories such as travel, accommodation, and socializing. The software contains a dictionary with hundreds of entries, as well as a section dedicated to football. The iPod phrasebooks are compatible with the video iPod, iPod nano, and iPod mini.
Apple ditches store plans
Apple has cancelled its plans for a store in Portland, Oregon after two designs were rejected by the community's Historic Landmarks Commission. According to the report, Apple had hoped to build a retail store at 437 N.W. 23rd Avenue, which is part of the city's historical Northwest District, which has an "historical image" that the city's tries to maintain. The commission reportedly rejected Apple's initial proposal to demolish the old structure and build a new structure similar in appearance to other Apple Stores -- with a stainless steel and glass facade. Apple's second storefront design, which dropped the company’s trademark stainless steel façade, also failed to receive the boards approval last month. Last Fall, Apple cancelled a store in Manhattan that was planned to be in the New York Flatirion historical district after similar problems arose; the store plan was moved to another area of the city. As of now there are no official plans for another location in Portland, according to the report.
Top 10 Apple rumors
Apple's stock has suffered a setback after recent news coverage on the lawsuits over the possible mishandling of stock option grants between 1997 and 2001. The Cupertino-based company also faced criticisms following rumors alleging that new iPods were delayed. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster last week released a report to clients that examined and categorized the top ten Apple-related rumors, saying that Apple is "almost certain" to release Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," which is slated for official introduction at the WWDC keynote speech to be held by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The new operating system is "almost as certain," with shipment expected in late 2006 or early 2007 (in time to compete with Microsoft's Vista operating system release). Munster also believes that Apple will likely offer a replacement for the Power Mac G5 -- which is rumored to be called the 'Mac Pro' based on recent filings -- at the company's annual WWDC developer conference in August.
Style Master 4.5 released
Westciv today released Style Master 4.5 for Mac OS X and Windows, updating the CSS editing tool for professionals and hobbyists. The latest version builds on the unique design features such as "X-Ray" online document previewing, what you see is what you (WYSIWYG) editing, and hand coding "power tools." New debugging tools can spot invalid CSS, and can discern which CSS is styling various parts of a page. Style Master 4.5 is priced at $60, with student and teacher discounts available for half off.
Inspiration goes Universal
Inspiration Software today announced that its Inspiration and Kidspiration software titles are optimized to run natively on Intel-based Macs as Universal Binaries. The learning tools are based on proven visual learning methodologies that help students think, learn, and achieve. "We developed these updates to our visual learning software tools as part of our continued commitment to ensuring that students and teachers have access to visual learning software on all technologies," said Mona Westhaver, president, Inspiration Software. The updates are free to customers using Inspiration 8 and Kidspiration 2, with licenses priced at £60 and £40, respectively.
Extensis Suitcase Fusion
Extensis today released a free update to Suitcase Fusion, the company's next-generation, single-user font manager. This update adds native support for Intel-based Macintosh and PowerPC systems. Extensis also adds support for Apple's Migration Assistant and enhanced AppleScript support for Suitcase Fusion. Additionally, Suitcase Fusion now includes a Competitive Products Manager feature for eliminating unexpected font management issues and has added a Transportable Font Vault for empowering moveable backups of a user's font library, including custom metadata. Suitcase Fusion offers precise Font Sense auto-activation - an exclusive technology that identifies and automatically activates the exact fonts used in a document, including embedded EPS files; it also features Font Vault, a secure, central font repository that integrates with the Suitcase Fusion database and makes font management predictable and reliable. Suitcase Fusion v12.1 is a free update to the $100 applicaiton.
iChat voice command
ClearOne today announced that its Chat 50 speakerphone is the first device of its kind that allows Mac users to operate VoIP (Voice over IP) applications such as Skype and iChat by voice command. The phone uses Speakable Items -- Apple's embedded speech recognition technology -- and Speakables or Skype software to enable hands-free control of VoIP applications. The Chat 50's audio processing technologies deliver full-duplex audio and full echo cancellation, allowing Mac users to continue to listen to iTunes or watch TV with sound output through the computer's main speakers while still using Skype or iChat via voice command. Speakables for iTunes is priced at $10, while the Chat 50 speakerphone is available now in three models. The Chat 50 USB ($150) ships with a USB cable, the Chat 50 USB+ includes a cell phone cable as well as a power supply for $180, and the Chat 50 Global Traveler ($210) ships with a USB cable, cell phone cable, power supply, MP3 cable, and a hard shell travel case.
Keynote Stills 3.0
Jumsoft today released Keynote Stills 3.0, featuring more than 200 new high-resolution still-life images. The "professional-grade" photo images are designed for use in either Keynote or Pages, offering full compatibility with Microsoft's PowerPoint 2004. Keynote Stills 3.0 are usable with Keynote 1, 2, or 3, featuring transparent photo objects that have no backgrounds. The 200-plus images attempt to illustrate a multitude of topics in business, education, science, and everyday life. Keynote Stills 3.0 requires Apple Keynote or Pages, and is priced at $40. Customers who purchase Keynote Stills 3.0 will also receive the prior edition, Keynote Jam 1.1 for free.
Civ IV available in stores
Aspyr Media today announced that Sid Meier's Civilization IV for Mac has arrived in stores across North America. The game features multiplayer support over LAN, the internet, and "Play-By-Email" functionality for competing or cooperating with live players. A 3D world brings dozens of fully animated units and customizable armies, as well as cities and wonders. 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. Designed from the ground up for modability, the game includes a powerful map editor with XML and Python support. Civilization IV ships for $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Real, Slim take on Apple
Slim Devices and RealNetworks today announced the integration of the Rhapsody online music service with the current generation of Squeezebox devices, further strengthening competition in the digital music sector led by Apple's iPod/iTunes ecosystem. The Squeezebox ($250-300, shown at right) enables consumers to access more than 2 million tracks available from Rhapsody's service, as well as personal digital music collections. Squeezebox owners will be offered a free firmware upgrade as a digital download, allowing them to try the Rhapsody online music service beyond the month-long trial for $14.95 per month. Competitors have been trying to penetrate Apple's domination of the digital music realm, thus far meeting with little success.
Educaitonal provider, iPod
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill has unveiled iPod/MP3 player compatible audio and video to supplement its instructional programs. Complementing the company's instruction in business education, world languages, math, language arts, science, and social studies, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill will preview the new programs featured by Apple as iPod content during the upcoming National Education Computing Conference in San Diego, California from July 5-7th, 2006. The Glencoe Media Center, which will host the downloadable MP3 audio and video files, will be fully accessible in the fall of 2006. The iPod/MP3 player compatible programs are designed allow students to download audio and video content to accompany lessons, enhancing learning both in and out of the classroom.
Consumers want Macs
Apple is expected to make major inroads in the PC market this back-to-school season, according to one report. A recent survey published by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence suggests a large increase in potential buyers placing second with 11 percent of those saying they would prefer Apple. HP tied with Apple, while Dell maintained a sizeable lead with 41 percent, according to Investor's Business Daily. Dell, however, saw a 14 percent decrease since April of this year. Those looking to buy desktops specifically see Apple at No. 2 with 16 percent of the market, a 10 percent increase since May. Industry watchers believe they are seeing a large rub-off effect from the continued success and praise of Apple's iPod digital media players.
MacBook, MBP sleeves
Noreve today launched three sizes of leather sleeves for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro (MBP). The handcrafted cases offer slim protection made from soft pebble grain calf leather, an easy movement zipper, 5mm foam padding on both sides, and a fabric lining inside to protect the notebook from scratches. The leather sleeves ship in four colors which consist of black, "camel," pink, and "sandy vintage" (shown at right). Noreve sleeves are designed to protect the 13-inch MacBook (€60), 15.4-inch MacBook Pro (€70), and 17-inch MacBook Pro (€80).
TuneX 2.0 ($7) provides access to iTunes regardless of what application is active, appearing below the menu bar as a full-featured iTunes controller. The major update adds the ability to search the iTunes library, rate songs, see position as a track plays, and includes support for custom key mapping. TuneX 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, as well as iTunes 6.
[Download - 3.0MB]
GraphicConverter 5.9.1 ($30) converts images to a variety of formats, and includes several useful image manipulation tools. The update adds a new "environment" system that allows users to maintain multiple profiles to quickly switch between preferences sets. [Download - 20MB]
Connected 5.2 ($900-2500) is accounting software designed for small to medium businesses that consists of three main modules -- Accounting, Inventory, and Employee. Version 5.2 marks the completion of the conversion to Mac OS X code, the optimization for Rosetta, and many new ledgers styles as well as source document support. [Download - 13.7MB]
USBVison 1.2 ($30) is a device that allows "PC-only" USB video devices to work with Mac OS X. US vision allows up to eight simultaneous video captures with a cost of $30 per-device activated. The update brings support for new capture formats, video sizes, S-Video, and Composite capturing as well as high resolution single frame images. [Download - 1.5MB]
ScreenCaptureX 1.1 (free) allows users to choose screenshot formats in advance, eliminating the need to convert files. ScreenCaptureX negates the need to remember a large number of specific screenshot key combinations while adding support for JPEG, PNG, and Pict image formats. The application also allows users to set a default name and location. [Download - 1.0MB]
REALbasic 2006 Release 3
REAL Software today released REALbasic 2006 Release 3 for Macintosh with over 100 new features and fixes, including a wide variety of options for customizing user interfaces, both for REALbasic and for the applications it creates. REALbasic is a rapid application development (RAD) environment that can migrate Visual Basic applications to Linux and Mac OS X, creaties cross-platform applications from a single set of source code, offers integrated and external database database support, and more. Release 3 also includes support for version control format with the ability to save and export projects in text format for use with version control systems such as CVS and Subversion. It also can now check for errors without having to build an application and offers improved project navigation.
MS plans ODF converter
Microsoft has announced a new project dubbed "Open XML Translator," which will allow the company to continue the efforts to create their Open XML format, while supporting the OpenDocument Format by providing Microsoft Office users with a conversion tool. In response to government requests for interoperability, the company said it will release the translator as a plug-in for several older and the latest Microsoft Office versions. "We believe that Open XML meets the needs of millions of organizations for a new approach to file formats, so we are sharing it with the industry by submitting it, with others, to become a worldwide standard," said Jean Paoli, general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft. Microsoft brought Open XML to Mac earlier this year.
Script Timer 2.4 released
Apps & More Software Design has released Script Timer 2.4, a script, Automator workflow, and application scheduling product for Mac OS X. Script Timer allows users to schedule the execution of AppleScript, perl, and shell scripts, as well as Automator workflows (in Mac OS X 10.4 and up only) and applications. Scheduling options include specific times or regular intervals or triggers by a specific computer state or OS action. Version 2.4 is now a Universal Binary for native operation on Intel-based Macs. The update also adds log in time script scheduling, independent Automator workflow scheduling, and the ability to schedule scripts at log in time, to schedule Automator workflows without the need to runAutomator itself, to save the workflows as applications, and to set repeating action intervals to a little as one second. Script Timer 2.4, a $12 shareware application, is available as a 30-day trial.
iPod lawsuits settlement?
Apple and Creative may be open to a settlement, following iPod-related lawsuits filed by each company in recent months. Recent court filings indicate that both parties "remain open to the possibility" of ending their copyright and patent litigation battles over handheld music players. On July 3, both companies said they were in negotiations involving the licensing of Creative's patent to Apple before the lawsuit was filed and that both were still "open" to reaching an agreement. Although "the parties will remain open to the possibility of settlement," the filing indicates that no specific settlement discussions are planned, according to Bloomberg, which obtained the joint report to the judge. Creative claims that Apple turned to the company first in 2001 in hopes to either license Creative's technology or jointly invest in a new company that would further develop Creative's MP3 player products, but that Creative declined proposals by Apple--which went on to introduce the first iPod later that same year.
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