Copyright © 2015
Yet another another touch-screen patent from Apple has surfaced, pointing to the possibility of a touch-enabled device from Apple. The patent appears to expand on Apple's Gestural User Interface that was described in patents which surfaced earlier this year. The new patent describes a handheld device which can sense the proximity of a hand or other object to the screen and perform actions in advance of contact. Such actions described could include a virtual "scroll wheel", keypad, or button elements. The patent mentions both traditional iPod system song management, as well as what appear to be an iTunes window and such window elements.
Microsoft today confirmed that it will launch an iPod competitor branded as "Zune." The offering will include portable media players as well as an online service, similar to Apple's iTunes Music Store. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chris Stephenson -- Microsoft's general manager of marketing for MSN Entertainment Business -- said that Microsoft sees "great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together." Stephenson said the first musical device will contain a hard drive as well as Wi-Fi connectivity, and that the company is looking at seven or eight different wireless scenarios, which range from enabling users to view as well as sample music from other Zune devices in the same hotspot to purchasing and downloading music directly to the device.
David Ross Software today released UniSudoku 1.5, introducing symmetrical puzzle generation as well as French and German Localization to the Sudoku game for Mac OS X. "Enjoy the best aspects of the pencil and paper puzzle with all the advantages of playing on your computer including unlimited puzzle generation," says developer David Ross. "Enjoy four levels of puzzle difficulty or enter your favorite puzzles from the newspaper, books and the Internet directly into UniSudoku. Every puzzle has a unique and satisfying solution. On your way to that solution highlight all instances of a specific digit to find solvable squares, easily enter "pencil marks" with an intuitive interface and rotate the board when you're stuck." UniSudoku is priced at $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
MMColor 1.5 ($35) is a utility allowing FileMaker users to add color elements via container fields that are set to a desired color. Version 1.4 adds support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, a switch to PNG image format to allow transparency as well as custom image sizes, and a new color picking utility. MMColor requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and File Maker 7.x or 8.x. [Download - 3.4MB] SyncBridge 1.0b (free) is a networked multi-user iCal synchronization tool that enables users to share and edit calendars with family and friends. SyncBridge uses the Sync Services API found in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to sync calendars with the SyncBridge central server. Users must sign up with the SyncBridge network to use the service, which is currently free, but the company plans to charge for use after the first month. SyncBridge 1.0b requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later. [Download - Form] Default Folder X 3.0.1 ($15) is a plug-in for any OS X native application that adds a side toolbar for any save dialog; allowing users to access favorite locations and several other commands. This release fixes bugs with carbon applications that would crash if large folders were accessed on multiple processor PowerPC Macs, improved window dragging, and added enhanced support for spotlight. Version 3.0.1 is free to only 3.0 owners and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 5.0MB] iTunes Catalog 2.1 ($25) creates interactive Web catalogues of an iTunes music library that allows other users to view, browse, and listen to the catalog. Version 2.1 adds improved FTP support, enhanced publishing control, and a new mimicked iTunes interface. iTunes Catalog is a Universal Binary offering native support for Intel-based Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 2.4MB] Metro Newspaper Downloader 1.9 (free) is an automator action that automatically downloads and opens the free Metro newspaper of cities and countries. The latest iteration of the software includes workflows for 70 Metro newspapers around the world, as well as new FTP locations to pick the newspapers from. Metro Newspaper Downloader 1.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 812KB] Picture Framer 1.0 ($0-5) is a widget to display pictures in Apple's dashboard. Users can select photos from iPhoto, PhotoBooth, or any other source to display in any of the 10 frames included. The deluxe version offers slideshow functionality for all frames included. System requirements were not available. [Download - 3.1MB]
Following lower-than-expected earnings, Intel this week quietly began shipping its next-generation Core 2 Duo processors ahead of schedule. The new 64-bit dual-core chips for mobile and desktop systems -- formerly code-named Merom and Conroe -- were previously slated for late July and August (respectively). Earlier this week, a report from overseas suggested that Merom would be announced alongside Conroe, but still ship in August. In an official statement this week, Intel said it will formally announce Conroe on July 27. The chip maker is expected to ship 2.0GHz, 2.1GHz, and 2.33GHz variants of Merom with 4MB of L2 cache for performance gains of 20 percent over the previous-generation "Yonah" -- which is currently used in Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro systems. Along with the performance increases and pure 64-bit architecture, the new laptop chips will be more power efficient, boasting the same power consumption at equivalent speeds. Industry watchers speculate that Apple will likely upgrade its high-end MacBook Pros to the new architecture before the holiday season.
Creatrix Games has released Fashion Fable, a match-three style game challenging players to line up three of the same items in a row to make them disappear. The plot centers on the turmoil which fashion designer "Asha" experiences when her clothing designs turn into several "mischievous" imps who run away. Asha must hunt down the imps and find out how to turn them back into her clothing, so that she can reopen her store. Each imp that players collect will prove to be a burden or exceptionally useful, each providing a variety of gameplay experiences with unique imp abilities. Players can spend earned money on over 120 clothing items for Asha to wear for a custom look, and the game offers 60 levels of challenges. Fashion Fable is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Helios Software today announced that its Helios LanTest and Helios File System Test applications are available as Universal Binaries, offering native support for Intel Macs as well as 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks. Helios LanTest includes built-in testing configurations for Ethernet/DSL, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, enabling users to test a local network's throughput as well as its performance. LanTest rapidly creates, opens, and deletes files; performs read/write throughput tests; checks file locking performance; examines print and spooling performance; and tests single- as well as multi-user server connections. Helios File System Test enables Mac users to verify whether a utilized file server is compatible with Mac OS X, and includes 11 different tests suited to examine network connections. The software checks Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), Windows SMB protocol (SMB/CIFS), Network File System (NFS), and iDisk HTTP-based protocol (WebDAV).
Avery has released Avery Mac Label Expert, its free label creation software designed to handle the tedious task of creating and formatting text for printing to sticky labels. The software features a new user interface, templates for all Avery printable products, and support for both printer as well as Mac fonts, according to Macworld. Avery Mac Label Expert guides users through a series of steps to format and print onto all Avery printable address or ID labels, business cards, dividers, and CD as well as DVD labels. Avery Mac Label Expert requires Mac OS 9.x or Mac OS X 10.0, and is available for free.
Apple is selling refurbished iPod shuffles in 512MB ($49) and 1GB ($79) capacities; black and white iPod nanos in 2GB ($169) and 4GB ($219) capacities; black and white fifth-generation iPods with video in 30GB ($259) and 60GB ($339) capacities; iPods with color displays in 20GB ($199), 40GB ($279), and 60GB ($279) capacities; iPods with clickwheels in 20GB ($169) and 40GB ($199) capacities; and silver, blue, pink, or green iPod minis available in 4GB ($139-149) as well as 6GB ($199) capacities. The company is also offering refurbished G5 Dual 2.3GHz Power Macs with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,149; as well as G5 Quad 2.5GHz Power Macs featuring two dual-core processors, 512MB of memory, and a 250GB hard drive for $2,799.
Griffin Technology today introduced four new iPod cases: Trio, Vizor, Tempo, and iClear with prices ranging for $20 to $30. The Trio ($25) is available in six colors and is designed for the iPod nano; it includes three difference style options. Users are given the choice to leave the Nano's clickwheel and screen uncovered or make use of the extra protection covers, which are included. The Vizor ($25) is designed specifically for the iPod video (5th generation) and is available in a variety of colors. It features a flip cover that secures the iPod when closed and a belt clip as a carrying alternative.
Over 6 percent of U.S. adults have downloaded podcasts in the past 30 days, according to a report released by Nielsen Analytics. More than 1,700 participants were surveyed on their podcasting usage in a first quarter 2006 study, revealing that about 6 percent of respondents described themselves as regular podcast downloaders -- more than 75 percent of whom were male. Findings also showed that approximately 38 percent of active podcast downloaders say they are listening to radio less often. "The incredible popularity of podcasting is the latest demonstration of consumers' willingness to take control of their media experiences," said Larry Gerbrandt, general manager and senior vice president of Nielsen Analytics.
Yahoo! is continuing to hope that labels will heed its call for DRM-free music, as it releases its first set of tracks in the MP3 format--without any DRM attached-- allowing users to purchase a personalized version of the new Jessica Simpson song “A Public Affair” from Yahoo! Music's Web Site for $1.99. While the price for the track, available for a large variety of personal names, is higher than the $0.99 charged by iTunes, the music is available in a format that can be played on any player, according to the company: "Dear digital consumer, even if you’re not into Jessica Simpson, and you’re not excited about spending $2 for a song, let me tell you, this is a bigger deal than you might think." Yahoo! has been publicly lobbying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s, saying that DRM doesn’t add any value for the artist, label, or consumer--and noting that DRM-free music is sold everyday on CDs. [corrected]
Freeverse has announced plans to develop at least two future games on the Mac-based Unity game engine. The Unity game engine is developed by OverTheEdge Entertainment for Mac-based game development. One reason Freeverse highlighted for this switch is cross-platform publishing. This engine publishes games to Mac and Windows via a standalone application, web plugin, or Mac OS X Widget. Given these options, Freeverse believes, "No alternatives to Unity exist on the market today." The unannounced titles include a sequel to a current Freeverse title, alongside a brand new development. Both are expected to be released next year. "Unity focuses on providing cutting-edge technologies and making them outrageously simple to use," Freeverse said. "The flexible and powerful tools combined with an intuitive interface and plentiful documentation set a totally new standard for game development."
The Omni Group has released OmniWeb 5.5 beta 1, a new Universal version of its alternative browser that is now based on the same rendering engine as Safari--Apple's Webkit. Based on a slightly customized version of WebKit, the company says the update brings greatly improved website compatibility, speed and stability. It also brings support for saving pages in the WebArchive format via the "Save As..." panel, a new global and site preference for user-defined style sheets, the ability to emulate Safari when visiting websites, a new Unified Toolbar, and more. Omniweb 5.5b1 is available as a beta download; the full version is $30 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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