Kensington Computer Products today introduced the RDS FM Transmitter/Car Charger for iPod, a portable audio solution for iPod owners. The RDS (Radio Data System) FM Transmitter is the first of its kind, according to the company, allowing song and artist information from the iPod to be transmitted to the display of an RDS-enabled car stereo. RDS is a worldwide industry standard for FM radio communication that allows an FM radio broadcaster, along with a normal music signal, to send text messages on an FM sub-frequency. The RDS FM Transmitter/Car Charger for iPod is priced at $90, and will be available this month.
Chronos today released SOHO Organizer 5.5, updating its personal and business productivity suite for time/note management. The update includes contact management, calendar support, a day view for management of individual days, and a journal view to maintain logs or a diary. SOHO Organizer features daily notes, as well as a person-to-group converter that moves information between groups or personal products. The update is free for SOHO Organizer 5.x users, and is priced at $50 for new users. SOHO Organizer requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later.
Apple is reportedly considering aluminum anodized enclosures similar to iPod mini housings for its next-generation iPod nano. The Cupertino-based company is believed to have committed to the transition away from the iPod nano's polycarbonate-coated surface -- which resulted in several lawsuits against Apple due to claims that the players scratched easily -- and will likely offer the aluminum-covered Nanos in a variety of colors as it did with its iPod mini. The new Nanos are expected to feature roughly the same form factor as the current iPod nano, but will probably offer increased storage capacity ranging up to 8GB, according to AppleInsider.
KavaSoft today released Shoebox 1.6, an application for organizing digital photos by content that enables users to organize photos into categories according to dates, people, places, and things. Shoebox organizes photos in one catalog across multiple forms of media, and supports backups to external hard drives. The application can store smaller versions of each photo to save space, and features a refined interface. "Looking for that photo of a yellow butterfly you took last year? Just type 'Yellow butterfly' and Shoebox finds it for you instantly, and tells you when and where you took it. Looking for photos of insects? Type 'insects' and the same yellow butterfly will show up among the results, because Shoebox is intelligent and knows that a butterfly is an insect." Shoebox 1.6 Express ($30) and Shoebox Pro ($80) require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Chronos has released SOHO Notes 5.5, a major upgrade to the company's note management utility. The application features "DockNote," which slides out from the side of the screen making it easy to transfer information into and out of SOHO Notes, even when the application isn't running. A Journal folder is designed to ease the process of creating and organizing journal entries, while a full-screen editor allows users to edit notes in a "focus-oriented" full-screen mode that minimizes distractions. SOHO Notes 5.5 enables users to assign color-coded labels to any note, and features notes that support flags which serve to group notes together. SOHO Notes is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later.
NewTek today announced the first LightWave 9 launch event scheduled for the evening of July 15th, 2006 at the Spider Club in Hollywood, CA. NewTek is hosting the event to present the latest version of LightWave 3D to the visual effects and motion graphics community in Los Angeles. "LightWave 9 is the culmination of months of work by our new development team on the core of our established 3D animation system," said Jay Roth, president NewTek 3D division. "This process has truly been collaboration between LightWave development and our outstanding user community. We just want to take this time to celebrate this new version of LightWave with the people who made it possible."
Ecamm Network today released Call Recorder for Skype 1.0.3, offering users an easy way to record Skype calls and podcasts. The update enables users to create QuickTime movies from Skype voicemail messages, and features multiple enhancements to the application's core recording technology. Call Recorder adds a simple recording window to Skype for Mac, allowing users to automatically save exact reproductions of all incoming and outgoing Skype calls. Calls are saved as two-track ACC-formatted QuickTime movies, which users can convert to MP3 format or extract for further editing and podcasting. Call Recorder for Skype 1.0.3 is priced at $15 (system requirements were unavailable).
ToThePoint Software today released Type2Tracker 1.0, an application designed specifically for people with Type 2 Diabetes. The software can track and graph blood glucose tests as well as weight on a day-by-day basis. The application allows users to keep food as well as exercise logs in a journal, and stores links to diabetes-related resources such as websites, documents, folders, or email addresses. Type2Tracker is priced at $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.0 or later.
American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu today reiterated his belief that Apple's new iPod nano will miss its expected summer introduction. "We continue to believe that the new iPod nano (aka mini vPod) refreshes are facing transition issues due to an architecture move to an SoC vs. its present 3-chip solution," Wu said. "In terms of timing, we continue to believe calendar Q4 is most likely, specifically October and at the earliest, late Q3, meaning the second half of September." Wu also noted the possible transition to metal enclosures for the Cupertino-based company's new Nano. "An interesting data point we have picked up on the new Nanos is a new magnesium-based casing," the analyst wrote. "We believe this new casing will improve scratch-resistance, durability, and help lower Apple's support and warranty costs." Shaw Wu maintains a "Buy" rating on shares of Apple with a price target of $75.
Epson America today announced two document imaging scanners -- the GT-2500 and GT-2500 Plus (shown at right) -- designed for small business workgroups. The flatbed scanners are engineered to capture 48-bit color scans up to 8.5 x 14-inches at resolutions up to 1200 x 1200 dpi. Both models can scan up to 27 pages per minute in monochrome or up to 11 pages per minute in 300 dpi color. The scanners feature a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, automatic duplexing for double-sided scanning, and one-button scanning functionality. The new solutions feature Epson's "ColorTrue II" imaging technology, allowing users to integrate more advanced hardware and software into the devices for higher levels of color precision, while also reducing scan noise. Offering USB 2.0 connectivity, the GT-2500 and GT-2500 Plus are due to ship this month for $600 and $800, respectively. Both models are compatible with Mac and Windows systems.
Sugar Games today released Rainbow Web for Mac, its popular puzzle game initially designed for Windows systems. The game features a spider's web covered with multi-colored perils that must be properly arranged to form combinations and obtain letters toward a goal word. "Artistically and conceptually, this groovy puzzle game is extraordinary," said Sugar Games. "In the kingdom of Rainbow all glittering pearl beads scattered over the webs of bizarre shapes have been muddled. You are the one to bring order to this chaos!" Rainbow Web is priced at $20 (system requirements were unavailable).
WeatherBug today launched its WeatherBug Hurricane Watcher Widget 188.8.131.52 for Mac OS X. The widget features satellite images with multiple views of current as well as developing storms along the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Eastern Coastal regions. The software enables users to access animated storm tracking functionality as well as the WeatherBug Storm Central website for weather news, in-depth information on current weather systems, and user-submitted photos/videos. The storm tracking option offers facts on each storm, and allows users to track existing as well as previous storm paths dating back to the year 2000. The widget also offers access to live neighborhood-level conditions via the WeatherBug Network of 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations across the U.S. WeatherBug Hurrican Watcher Widget 184.108.40.206 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
ezGear has unveiled the ezVision Video iWear glasses featuring built-in video screens that simulate a 50-inch widescreen display from input devices such as Apple's iPod. The video device features a lightweight design built around a LiNH battery boasting eight hours life for video playback. The device includes two nose pieces of varying sizes with an iPod connection cable, an RCA video connection cable, and an AC wall adapter. The glasses are compatible with various devices including DVD players, TV sets, and video game consoles. The ezVision ships for $400 from ezGear online, and will be available at various retailers later this month.
EarthDesk 3.5.3 ($20) adds a dynamically changing desktop background of the Earth showing sun, cloud, and moon coverage. The update adds support for portrait (upright) monitor layouts, and fixes several bugs. EarthDesk requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 6.2MB] CDFinder 4.6.1 ($30) catalogs photos, audio files, and other data files while keeping track of miscellaneous digital assets. CDFinder 4.6.1 includes an enhanced printing system for CD covers and catalogs, as well as several minor bug fixes. CDFinder requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 3.7MB] UnRarX 2.2 (free) expands rar archives and restores corrupted or missing archives using par2. The update adds support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. UnRarX requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 800KB] Ninjar 1.0 (donationware) is a Spotlight plug-in for Mac OS X that enables searching for package and class names within .jar (Java Archive) files. The plug-in is designed for Java developers, allowing them to more accurately locate resources not provided in traditional spotlight searches. Ninjar is a Universal that will run on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs with Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 25KB] ClipMasterCM 1.1.1 (free) allows users to make use of multiple clippings and save clipboard entries for later use. Users can collect and organize snippets for use in the ClipMaster contextual menu, and the latest iteration of ClipMasterCM runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The plug-in requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 152KB]
In brief: GizmoTech has announced the re-launch of its online retail store, offering accessories and custom solutions for MP3 players while specializing in Apple iPods.... Ars Technica has reviewed Parallels Desktop 1.0 for Mac OS X, a software solution that allows Mac users to run Windows or Linux on an Intel-based Mac.... MusicNet has hired a former product manager for Apple's QuickTime VR as president of business development and partner relations.... An avid Mac developer has launched a fake Leopard screenshot contest, challenging contestants to create an artistic screenshot of what they believe Apple's upcoming Mac OS X Leopard operating system will look like.... Scotsman.com reports that Apple's new iPods can talk, speaking band names and individual tracks aloud in recognizable speech.... Apple's new iPod nano may feature anodized aluminum enclosures similar to those found on the company's iPod mini, according to one report.
Aspyr Media today announced the development of a new game application entitled "The Gamerhood," which will allow users to purchase and download games directly to their Macs using a standard internet connection. Aspyr said it will release more specific information on the Gamerhood's capabilities over the next few months, as well as a list of titles that will be immediately available upon the application's launch. Features include the ability to purchase as well as download games online, play games without physical media (CDs or DVDs), and the ability to check hardware compatibility against a game's minimum system requirements prior to purchasing the title. The Gamerhood will be free for all Mac users, and is slated for launch in the Fall of 2006.
SafeBrowse has released Safe Eyes 2006, its content control and Web usage logging software that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Safe Eyes 2006 can block up to 35 different categories of content, preventing access by keyword or phrase. Users can create custom site lists to allow or ban certain Web addresses, block peer-to-peer file sharing, log instant messenger chats, block any internet application, and limit time spent online. Safe Eyes 2006 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available for $50 per year.
FileMaker has shipped FileMaker Pro 8.5 alongside FileMaker Pro 8.5 Advanced, FileMaker sever 8.0v4, and FileMaker server 8.0v4 Advanced. The applications are available as universal binaries, and feature performance boosts of up to 116 percent on Intel-based Macs when compared to older, PowerPC-based systems. FileMaker Pro 8.5 features a new View Web Control that adds live Web pages to record databases, a learning center with video tutorials, new object functions, and scripting capabilities. "The new FileMaker 8.5 version provides the up-to-date information available through the internet while still giving customers total control of the application," said Raymond Boggs, vice president of Business and Home Office Research. The Universal upgrade is priced at $100 and $50 for existing FileMaker Pro 8.0 and FileMaker Server users, respectively. New FileMaker Pro 8.5 licenses are available for $300, while FileMaker Pro 8.5 Advanced is priced at $500. FileMaker Server 8 is available for $100, and File Maker Server Advanced ships for $2,500. [corrected]
Seagate has unveiled the Maxtor Shared Storage II, a network storage and backup system offering 1TB of storage capacity. The device features automatic data protection, and includes Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The Maxtor Shared Storage II can manage data as well as security for up to 25 users, assuring each has their required data while automatically performing backups. The Shared Storage II also features two USB ports for external backup or printing systems, along with "Drag and Sort" technology that automatically sorts files by type into specific folders. The device can stream media content to computers or networked A/V devices from the system's hard drives, and is slated for shipment later this month (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Concentrate Software has released SiteTagger v3, an update to its bookmark management utility. SitTagger is designed to replace conventional bookmarking methods built into browsers with a standalone tagging method in the SiteTagger application. Users are able to access their bookmarks through the system menu bar (from any application) as an alternative to the standalone application. Features include support for AppleScript, Spotlight, and HTML export. The latest update adds better support for bookmark folders, a new interface, improved backup capabilities, and better browser synchronization. In addition, the update adds support for Atom files formats and support for more browsers. SiteTagger 3.0, available now, requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later and is costs $10.
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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