Evoqe on Thursday announced the release of solidThinking 7.0, its suite of applications for photorealistic rendering and animation as well as computer-aided industrial design. Version 7.0 features numerous core-level enhancements, improved tools, and additional features as well as support for Mac OS X on both Intel- and PowerPC-based machines.solidThinking 7.0 is the suite of fully parametric, Class A surface and solid modeling environments created for industrial designers, style centers, and demanding CG artists. It features accurate and intuitive NURBS curve, surface and solid tools in a familiar and interactive interface. Version 7 now includes rQ application for batch rendering of large sequences of images or animations; core-level modeling kernel update for increased accuracy, reliability and speed for modeling operations; and newly categorized materials Library with over 180 new real-world materials for visualization and rendering.
A new research study shows that the digital music market has experienced remarkable growth in the past year with women aged 15-49 emerging as the hottest growth demographic and the iPod maintaining a 10-to-1 margin over its nearest competitor. The survey, conducted by Digital Life America in the U.S. and Fast ForwardTM in Canada, found that 28 percent of Americans aged 12 and older--an estimated 67 million--now own a digital music player, more than double the 12 percent figure in 2005. Remarkably, it appears that strongest growth demographic is women. According to the data, ownership of digital music players tripled among women from a mere 8 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2006. The survey also found signficant growth among men with over 28 percent owning a digital music player--up from 18 percent in 2005.
Industry observers say the rumored delay of Apple's next-generation iPod nano corresponds to an average 10 percent sequential drop for mainstream density NAND flash chips, while Hynix Semiconductor along with Samsung Electronics are said to be provoking a price war. Mainstream NAND continues to drop following an initial upside in May, and the price drop has ballooned to as much as 14.4 percent for the 1Gbit part as of July 6th, according to DigiTimes. SanDisk is rumored to have proposed a price reduction for its finished products, and industry sources say that Samsung is quoting its single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash at a level near to that of multi-level cell (MLC) offerings, in an effort to avoid losing customers while attracting more orders, according to the report.
In brief: Target is offering pink video iPods and iPod nanos, described as the "ColorWare Pink Edition...." Nike and Apple today launched the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, with one attendee offering photos of a launch event.... Apple will replace Yoshiaki Sakito -- the company's former vice president of marketing in Japan -- with Phil Schiller, as Sakito pursues plans to start his own venture business.... Rumors are flying that Apple will utilize OLED rather than TFT displays in its next generation of small portable players, namely its iPod nano or iPod shuffle.... Automated Workflows today released a new Mac OS X Introduction to AppleScript training CD, entitled AppleScript 2006.
Lost Sock Games today released Kakuro Quest, its second game for the Mac platform. Kakuro Quest puzzles resemble crosswords or Cross Sums that use numbers, rather than words. Players must fill all the blank squares in the grid with only the digits 1-9, ensuring the numbers add up to the corresponding clues. The Grid grows from 7 X 7 to 10 X 12, challenging players to fill the grid to complete the puzzle. The game features unlimited puzzles, a "Quest Mode" via map play with increasing difficulty, and the ability to print out puzzles to solve them on paper. Kakuro Quest is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Arobas Music today released Guitar Pro 5, an update to the tabulation editor for Mac OS X. The software offers audio playback, MIDI and ASCII import/export, chords diagrams, and a guitar fretboard. Guitar Pro 5 also features scale tools, a digital tuner, speed trainer functionality, and a metronome. The application allows users to create whole scores for guitar, bass, or other stringed instruments in a short period of time, and supports viewing as well as listening to scores in high quality audio. Guitar Pro 5 is priced at $60, with free upgrades available for version 5.x license holders and upgrades for prior versions available for $30. Guitar Pro 5 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Macintalk has performed its fourth Mac OS X browser test, comparing the latest versions of Safari, FireFox, Camino, and OmniWeb. "FireFox is a great browser - if you're using Windows or Linux, that is," said Macintalk. "On a Mac, you have Safari, WebKit, and OmniWeb to choose from, which are not only more Mac-like, but also faster and more efficient." Safari beat out the competition hands down in RAM usage, though the testers admit that memory usage is difficult to gauge due to the numerous factors involved. Testers covered RSS capabilities, PDF viewing features, and the Acid2 standards compliance test. Also featured is the WebKit Nightly Build's Document Object Model (DOM) inspector, which allows users to view elements in Web pages easily via a simple interface.
PhoneAgent 1.3 ($30) manages the Phonebook, SMS, MMS, Themes, and Wap for some Sony Ericsson phones. The update fixes several bugs, and adds support for the Ericsson K800i. Upgrades to PhoneAgent 1.3 are priced at $13 for existing users, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later as well as Bluetooth capability. [Download - 6.1MB] My Money Minder 1.8.1 ($13) helps users manage personal finances by tracking income, expenses, and bank balances. My Money Minder 1.8.1 offers improved support for QIF/OFX, more language localizations, support for scheduled entries, enhanced total balances, and tax calculator fixes. My Money Minder requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. [Download - 3.6MB] SuperDuper 2.1.3 ($30) provides users with fully bootable backups of hard drives. The update adds ACL copying, improves image start up, works with multi-byte volume names, and fixes several minor bugs. The tool requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 2.7MB] Xounds 2.4 ($10) is a "haxie" that allows the user to set Appearance Sounds, such as menu clicks and highlighting sounds, in Mac OS X. Version 2.4 adds support for Intel via Universal binary as well as a version checker, improves the preference pane, and fixes some minor bugs. Xounds 2.4 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 2.5MB] SpamSieve 2.4.4 ($25) offers users Bayesian spam filtering in several Mac email clients. The update improves SpamSieve's accuracy, offers better documentation, enhances the log entry system, and allows usage of Mail.app's existing junk list to help build a better system. SpamSieve requires Mac OS X 10.2. or later. [Download - 3.5MB] Email OSAX 3.2 ($30) adds AppleScript to other scripts (such as CGI), enabling them to send emails without an email client. Email OSAX 3.2 includes an installer, scripting examples, a beginners Scripting Additions guide, and supports Universal binary compiling. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 1.5MB]
NewTek today began shipping LightWave 3D 9.0, the next generation of its professional 3D software. The update is the first in a series of major rewrites and restructuring of LightWave 3D's core, with the addition of comprehensive new features such as a node-based materials editor, optically correct cameras, adaptive pixel subdivision, Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces, sub-surface scattering, and render speed improvements. LightWave 3D 9 features a node-based materials system that adds new shading models to LightWave, such as Oren-Nayar, anisotropic, and sub-surface scattering; improved rendering speed; and enhances subdivision surfaces in Modeler as well as Layout, including Adaptive Pixel Subdivision, which offers users a variety of capabilities for film-quality displacement mapping, normal mapping (including ZBrush support), and level-of-detail control at render time. LightWave 3D 9.0 is priced at $800, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Mac-related skills are in demand for aspiring techies hoping to become IT pros, following the increase in Mac mindshare that originally spiked from the UNIX-based Mac OS X release in 2001. Added compatibility fueled by the internet, as well as more familiar architectures -- including Apple's recent transition to Intel processors -- have proven to be leading factors in the growth of Mac awareness, as well as the rising number of Mac systems used in business, according to Monster.com. The iPod "halo effect" has also made Macs a more common desire for employees, resulting in a heightened awareness throughout IT departments for more skills and equipment to deal with Mac systems and software.
Realmac Software today released its first official Theme Pack for RapidWeaver, specifically designed for bloggers. The package includes themes which consist of "Blog Blocks," "Blog Funky," and "Blog Modern." Each theme includes a unique set of features coupled with a wide array of icons for RSS feeds, categories, archives, comments, and trackback links. RapidWeaver is a website building application enabling users to create and publish websites in minutes, without requiring knowledge of HTML. The pack includes one-, two-, and three-column themes to accommodate various styles of weblogs. RapidWeaver 3.5 Public Beta 2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is priced at $40. The Block Theme Pack is available for $25.
Other World Computing (OWC) today began shipping its 160GB hard drive upgrades for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro (MBP) notebooks. The new internal SATA 5,400 rpm drives feature an 8MB buffer, and increase storage capacity by 33 percent above Apple's largest factory option. The new 2.5-inch drives are priced at $280, and ship with free online guides for users to perform their own installations at home. The drives also include free online tech support consultation, along with access to a toll-free technical support line.
Awaresoft today released Aware IM 2.0, bringing internationalization support to the Web database management software. Aware IM 2.0 offers a more flexible user interface, and works with several popular SQL database engines. The software is designed to simplify database management, user interface design, and business logic. Aware IM hides the complexity of managing a database by automatically creating as well as altering tables, managing links between related data, and creating SQL queries. The application automatically generates HTML-based Web user interfaces with menus, forms, and search result tables. Business logic is specified as business rules, rather than scripts, and the built-in rule engine automatically executes business rules when necessary. Standard functionality includes automatically generated personalized documents, processing of outgoing as well as incoming emails, flexible access control, and full Web support. Aware IM 2.0 is priced from $150 (system requirements were unavailable).
Hog Bay Software today released WriteRoom 1.0, a new word processing application designed to strip away all "unnecessary" and "distracting" formatting tools. WriteRoom allows users to customize the writing layout as well as the text color, supporting the concept of focusing on writing rather than tool palettes surrounding text. Source code is available to registered users of WriteRoom, and the software currently offers more than twenty-five user-created plug-ins. WriteRoom 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Recosoft today released PDF2Office Professional 3.1 for Mac OS X, bringing native support for Intel-based Macs to PDF2Office Services. Text extraction from PDF files executes at native speed on Intel-based Macs when using PDF2Office Services, and the entire back-end of the application that performs PDF to Office format conversions has migrated to the modern Mac OS X Mach-O architecture. PDF2Office recreates the original construction and layout of documents by forming paragraphs; applying styles; regrouping independent graphic elements; extracting images; creating tables; and processing headers/footers along with other formatting, all without manual intervention. PDF2Office Professional 3.1 is priced at $130, with upgrades available for $60. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Gigawiz today released Aabel 2.0, an integrated package that combines the functions of three applications in one as a Universal Binary. Aabel provides a variety of statistical methods with a focus on visualization, dynamic data exploration tools for discovering patterns as well as outliers, and multi-dimensional data filtering for generating subsets of data. The application includes numerous data management tools, scientific graphing with over 200 styles of data representation, diverse data import as well as graphic file export support, Unicode support, and presentation as well as publication quality graphic output. Aabel 2.0 also offers thematic maps, ArcView shape file import support, and map projection utilities that allow users to import, transform, and display spatial data using a dynamic graphics engine. Aabel 2.0 is priced at $450, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
More consumers are avoiding iPods in favor of all-in-one phone devices. One user interviewed by BusinessWeek Online who previously carried both a phone and an iPod now favors a phone that holds 100 songs, treating her iPod as an extra accessory. "It made sense to just use my phone for both," said Rachel Slack. The trend should be worrying Apple, according to the report, because new $500 phones are now reaching the capacity of a top-end iPod nano at four gigabytes. Some analysts believe that this new type of phone with more memory is creating a new threat to Apple's iPod, as well as its iTunes Music Store.
Tunewear today announced TuneRemote, a new case for the Apple Remote. The Apple Remote is featured with the MacBook Pro, Intel iMac, Mac mini, the iPod Universal (IR) Dock, and iPod Hi-Fi sound system. The case is created with red and white nappa leather, which the company claims is suitable for both business and social settings. For maintained control, access holes on the front of the case give the user full access to the buttons of the device. The case also features a detachable hook system to allow easy securing to a backpack, belt or other clipable hoop or strap. The case can be ordered for $20 and will ship this August.
CourseForum Technologies has released and ProjectForum 5.1, a wiki-based collaboration tool. This software is designed to help people work together on a scalable level. Featuring security and power, Project forum tries to fit the traits users expect from collaboration software. ProjectForum also features group projects, SSL, authentication options, multiple forums, page template, image and file management, and full branding support. Version 5.1 includes support for MP3 playback, performance and usability upgrades, improved page history, fixes for activity logging, and several smaller bug fixes. Two versions are available: the first is hosted package for $20 per month, while the second option is a standalone software package for $250. It supports Mac OS X and can be accessed using any OS with a standard web browser.
SmileOnMyMac has released a pack of LightScribe burnable images for use with the application DiscLabel. The new images are free to downloaded as they are provided by LightScribe Direct Disc Labelling of Hewlett-Packard Corporation. "Because of LightScribe's fast-growing popularity, we think that a significant number of DiscLabel users will welcome this package," the company said. The package contains 19 different designs ranging from small-area tile labels to full disc labels. DiscLabel requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and is available for $30.
Multimedia Limited has updated Zinc, its popular Adobe Flash-based application development suite. Version 188.8.131.52 offers support for Adobe Flash Player 9, ActionScript 3, and Flex 2. Flash 9 compadibility allows applications to have more runtime capability, ActionScript 3 increases possible actions and stability, and Flex 2 gives users more tool selection to help allow "end-to-end" development of Flash applications. Also new in the update is the ability to choose which ActiveX Flash control. Zinc is available for $300 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and Macromedia Flash 6, 7, or 8. This update is free for existing customers.
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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