Slim Devices today introduced Transporter, an advanced networked audio system designed for audiophiles and music lovers. The company claims that Transporter's sound quality surpasses that of even the most sophisticated high-end compact disc players and says it offers a broad range of options not available on any CD player, including thousands of Internet radio stations, Pandora's personalized music service and Rhapsody's two-million track collection of online music. Transporter can be used to listen to an entire music collection, regardless of whether it was originally downloaded on their PC or purchased on CD. The $2,000 device is expected to ship in mid-September. Pre-orders are being accepted now for models with either black or clear anodized finishes.
Amazon is preparing the launch of its ad-free video download service in mid-August with a subscription service, as well as individually priced movies and TV shows. The move would pit the e-tailer against Apple's iTunes Music Store, which currently sells video shorts and TV shows online with fixed-rate pricing. Amazon's new service will require users to install software to purchase videos on-demand or rent video via a subscription plan, according to AdAge.com. Executives at various TV networks said they have been working with Amazon, and hope to be participants when the service launches. ABC -- which was an early adopter of Apple's iTunes Music Store distributing TV shows digitally online -- however, is absent from that movement. An executive familiar with ABC's digital-distribution strategy noted that the network is "not close to any type of deal with them," according to the report.
FCC documents have surfaced today depicting a Bluetooth version of Apple's Mighty Mouse. The new device is codenamed "M6," and appears to be a regular Mighty Mouse without a cord. Internal photographs reveal the inclusion of two non-rechargeable AA batteries to power the accessory rather than a rechargeable integrated cell or other such solution. The documents also reveal that the mouse will have an off switch much like that found on the current Apple Wireless Mouse, and makes use of software similar to that used to set up the current Mighty Mouse; with the addition of mouse renaming (Bluetooth). The battery level indicator is located in system preferences -- there are no apparent indicators on the physical mouse.
Apple is preparing to appoint its first Premium-level partners in the UK in September of 2006, supplementing earlier reports that the company is planning to expand its coverage of Apple-only outlets across cities where the company is not very well covered. Apple will offer marketing assistance and training to participants of its Apple Premium Resellers Program as incentives to join and move stores into higher-profile areas. How many partners are to be awarded Premium-level status remains unclear, but CRN believes that Apple will only bestow the privilege upon partners that are willing to operate retail outlets in high-profile locations.
Sonoma Wire Works has released RiffWorks Standard v2, offering increased compatibility, more features, integrated RiffCaster instant podcasting, and access to RiffLink online collaboration. RiffWorks Standard allows users to spontaneously record their musical ideas, create songs complete with drums and effects, jam online, and broadcast to an enthusiastic community. Available as a Universal Binary, features the popular Riff-based workflow and a new SongLayer tool that allows for full song-length recording. In addition to the real-time effects, users can now add effects to each backup module including InstantDrummer, ReWire, and the REX player. Version 2 also offers an improved interface, one-click broadcasting, support for Mac OS Core Audio devices, fade automation, Backup effects, and easier access to help.
AMD has agreed to purchase ATI for roughly $5.4 billion in cash and stock in an effort to expand its product mix. The terms of the deal would include $4.2 billion in cash and 57 million shares of AMD common stock, with AMD paying $20.47 for each ATI share at a 24 percent premium above ATI's closing stock price on Friday, according to Reuters. ATI currently supplies the majority of Graphics Processing Units used in Apple's computer systems, but AMD's arch-rival Intel supplies the Cupertino-based company's CPUs for its new Intel-based Macs. The consideration for every outstanding share of ATI is made up of $16.40 in cash and 0.2229 share of AMD common stock, according to the report. AMD said it expects to fund the cash portion of the deal with a mix of cash and new debt.
Management Software today released JobOrder 12.9, expanding the capabilities of WorkPlan, Prioritizer, and SmartScheduler with built-in estimating/scheduling tools. Workplan, Prioritizer, and SmartScheduler are designed to provide project managers with easy-to-use interfaces for total control of job scheduling, job costing, and for creating as well as managing priorities. A workflow engine also provides project managers with an analytical dashboard to help analyze scheduling and planning. "Built-in JobOrder functionality automates numerous activities to coordinate people, schedules, and jobs, while simplifying the steps involved in costing projects," said Management Software. JobOrder 12.9 is priced at $1,100 per seat, while the JobOrder Accounting Module starts at $900. Job Order 12.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Epson today unveiled the Epson Perfection V320 and 1000 Photo Scanners (site not updated) designed for photo enthusiasts and amateur photographers. The new scanners feature a slim design supporting both portrait and landscape layouts alongside slim scans as well as objects up to 25mm thick. The Perfection V320 boasts scanning resolutions up to 4800 x 9600, while the V100 offers resolutions of up to 3200 x 9600. Both scanners offer 48-bit color, 3.2 dynamic range, and Epson Easy Photo Fix functionality. The devices also feature Digital Dust Correction and Back Light Correction. Epson Perfection V320 will be available in August for $150, while the V100 will be available in late July for $100.
Analysts are expecting to Apple to respond to Microsoft's forthcoming Zune iPod rival with new features and more innovation. Bear Stearns Equity Research analyst Andrew Neff, who maintains an 'outperform' rating on Apple with a price target of $88, said that while Microsoft's Zune offering will pose a "clear challenge" to Apple, the company will likely respond by adding new features to the iPod. Specifically, the analyst is looking for innovations to Apple's iPod in four areas: wireless, content, storage, and platforms, according to a research note obtained by Forbes.com. Ironically, another analyst said that Microsoft's rumored inclusion of Wi-Fi technologies will limit the device's battery life, while other industry watchers believe that Zune will hurt Microsoft's partners and has little room to succeed.
A Mac developer has released TypeIt4Me 3.0, allowing users to insert full text or picture clippings into documents by typing pre-defined abbreviations. The update runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and offers a more intuitive interface. The software includes styled or "rich text" clippings, the ability to expand abbreviations without a delimiter or trigger, and the ability to associate specific applications with particular abbreviations. Users can embed or nest clippings within clippings, view or print clippings in a formatted list, and import "snippets" from TextExpander files or "abbreviations" from Typinator files. Additionally, registered users of TypeIt4Me can request a VBA script allowing them to convert their Microsoft Word "Autocorrect" entries to the TypeIt4Me format. TypeIt4Me 3.0 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Rubbish 1.3.1 ($20) allows users to manage the Mac OS X trash by scheduling times to empty it. Rubbish also enables users to rescue recently trashed files by creating an alias in the trash of the file moved to delete, rather than the actual file. Version 1.3.1 fixes problems slowing performance and improves overall application stability. Rubbish 1.3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 3.8MB] Type2Tracker 1.1 ($15) helps users with Type 2 Diabetes track and graph their blood glucose tests as well as weight on a day-to-day basis. The update offers printing enhancements, an improved contacts section, new preferences panes, and fixes bugs that afflicted sorting menus. Type2Tracker requires Mac OS X 10.0 or later. [Download - 2.1MB] VirtueDesktop 0.52 (free) is a desktop management utility that allows users to quickly switch between multiple desktops. The update includes support for Growl notifications, revised desktop picture support, and several bug fixes. VirtueDesktop (r175) requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later. [Download - size] MacLoggerDX 4.2.6 ($100) logs into the users' favorite Telnet or TNC DXCluster, tuning the radio to DX Spots as they are received. The software also looks up the call while displaying the DX station. The update adds support for Google Earth, improves drivers for Icom devices, and offers Cabrillo import for ARRL Sweepstakes CW. MacLoggerDX 4.2.6 requires Mac OS 9 or later with CarbonLib 1.6 or any version Mac OS X. [Download - 11.5MB] OBE Assistant 1.0 ($40) helps users produce formative assessment tasks in Outcomes Based Education (OBE). The assistant is used to assign numerical marks to questions and help determine the conceptual level of achievement. The Mac client requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 3.5MB]
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the USB Power Adapter for iPod ($20, shown at right) from Sonnet Technologies, a lightweight and collapsible iPod travel accessory.... Apple has issued a note to owners of white MacBooks, stating that "if your MacBook is exhibiting discoloration on the top case after some use, please contact AppleCare for service...." NewerTech today reduced prices on its highest capacity Apple notebook replacement batteries.... Group Logic today announced that Proactive Technologies is embedding Group Logic's ExtremeZ-IP File and Print Server and the Group Logic AppleTalk Protocol into its specialized Windows XP Pro based RIP and print servers.... The Bandwidth Music and Technology Conference has announced speakers for the event, featuring Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group.... The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Croup (lafcpug) will hold it's monthly meeting this Wednesday, July 26th beginning at 6:45 p.m. at the Gallery Theater in E. Hollywood.
Apago today released PDF Shrink 4.0 for Mac OS X, which it says can reduce most PDF files by as much as 90 percent of their original size. PDF Shrink is an alternative to Adobe Acrobat, allowing users to to produce custom PDFs. Version 4.0 offers optional encryption, a redesigned UI, support for JPEG 2000 image compression for better compression, and a "wizard" for novices to easily optimize PDFs for various uses. A new, intuitive software wizard is designed to simplify the PDF optimization process by automatically creating a new setting based on responses to straight-forward questions. In addition, version 4.0 now allows users to optionally remove embedded "base 14" fonts and to delete unused elements such as metadata, thumbnails, and duplicated data. Users can also modify the resolution and compression level according to the output requirements. PDF Shrink 4.0 runs under Mac OS X 10.4 and later and is available for $35 (upgrades are $14). A fully functional, 10-day demo is available online.
Freeridecoding today released BurnAgain 2.5, a major upgrade to the CDR burning application that allows users to burn multiple sessions into one volume with support for automatic incremental updating. BurnAgain 2.5 features a completely redesigned interface, built-in support for resourceforks, improved handling of aliases, and enables users to erase CDRs. Multisession burning supports title changing at each burn, and can hide files of previous sessions to start again with the appearance of a new CDR. The update is available for free to registered users of BurnAgain, with new licenses priced at $20 for individuals. BurnAgain 2.5 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based as a Universal Binary.
Microsoft's confirmation of its development of an iPod competitor is doomed, and is expected to alienate the company's partners. Microsoft's new "Zune" player -- which was announced July 21st and is expected to launch some time this year -- will turn the company's partners into competitors, according to one News.com blogger. Wired News reports that Microsoft's new "iPod killer" is doomed, citing Apple's hefty lead in the market as well as the Redmond-based company's "typically tone deaf approach to usability." Based on Microsoft's hardware track record -- with the exception of the Xbox 360 -- "it will be a miracle if [Zune's] next nickname isn't the 'iClod' (iPod + clone + awful)."
Kaintek has released Xblaze 0.2, the first Xfire client for Mac OS X, working as a plug-in for the Adium internet communications software. The update offers native compatibility for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and includes sign on/off notifications for friends. Xblaze provides an "Xfire" group in the Adium contact list, supports sending as well as receiving instant messages, and displays nicknames for any user who has set one. Xblaze 0.2 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Proteron has updated MaxMenus -- a launching application -- and LiteSwitch X -- a keyboard application switcher, offering native support for Intel-based Macs with both utilities as Universal Binaries. LiteSwitch X 2.6 addresses several compatibility issues with Mac OS X Tiger. MaxMenus is an application that adds flexible menus to simplify using Mac OS X without the need for "haxies." LiteSwitch X allows users to switch applications via keyboard hotkeys, and features drag-and-drop support as well as application exclusion. MaxMenus 1.5 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. LiteSwitch X 2.6 is available for $15, also requiring Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Pleasant Software has released the beta for ‹bercaster, its new podcast production studio software. The production suite is designed for podcasters featuring tools to help with voice management, voice input (from Skype, iChat, and Gizmo), and a variety of encoding options including MP3 and AAC. The company is inviting all podcasters to try out the beta, by obtaining a license key for free. The beta was originally announced last week, as was the beta sign up. ‹bercaster requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
Aspyr Media today announced that The Sims 2 Open for Business for Mac has hit beta status. The game allows sims to design clothing boutiques, beauty salons, florists, high-end electronics shops, bustling restaurant chains, or virtually any other type of business. Players can hire staff as the business grows while putting talented Sims to work making toys, running the register, crafting floral bouquets, giving sales pitches, or manufacturing robots. The Sims 2 Open for Business allows players to pick a business theme, set prices, and treat customers as desired. Players can turn talents into cash by learning the tricks of the trade, training good employees, and firing slackers. The Sims 2 Open for Business is slated for shipment in September, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later as well as the full version of The Sims 2 for Mac OS X.
In brief: Microsoft has stated that it will allow Google and other none MS engines to be set as default in Vista.... A new Apple user group has formed in the Middle East and is pending registration, calling itself "EmiratesMac" User Group.... Koingo software has posted a request for beta testers using Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.3, offering rewards for volunteers.... Dr.Bott has announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Case-mate to sell the Glovez product line, a series of notebook cases designed for 15-inch Apple notebooks.... BackJack online backup solutions has partnered with Mac Mini Colocation to provide Mac Mini Colocation users with BackJack file protection services.
Skinit has released Skinit Skins, a series of vinyl covers designed for more than 1,000 different mobile devices which include Apple's iPod, iBook, and PowerBook. Skinit categories include art, collegiate, comics, entertainment, fashion, flags of the world, military, models, music, sports, skin it stock images, and rides. The skins leave no sticky residue when removed, and the company offers a service to turn personal photos into custom skins. Visitors can upload personal photos for approval, after which the company produces a tailored skin for the device of choice. Skinit iPod skins -- both custom and pre-made -- are priced at $15 and fit all iPod models. Skinit iBook and PowerBook skins are priced at $30.
Graph Paper Maker 1.0 (free) allows users to create custom sheets of graph paper to print and use. The utility features independent X and Y axes offering both linear and log scaling alongside several standard or user-defined custom paper sizes. The software can also save graphs as PDF files and select custom colors. Graph Paper Maker 1.0 requires Mac OS 8.6 or later for Classic users, or Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 1.4MB] SQLiteManager 2.1 ($40) helps users manage SQLite databases in Mac OS X with a "next generation" GUI. SQLiteManager features support for SQLite 2.x and 3.x databases, as well as a new search technology called "InstantQuery." The update includes enhanced CSV, custom imports, and several bug fixes. SQLiteManager requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 5.5MB] Mira 1.1 ($20) is a system preference pane allowing users to customize their Apple remote functions in Mac OS X. The update improves mutli-action support for short as well as long press, adds a new launch menu, and offers keystroke sending to initiate an event -- such as an AppleScript launching. Mira 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.2MB] fScanX 1.0.8 ($150) supports usage of previously unsupported Fuji scanners in Mac OS X, with throughput of up to 25 ppm (200dpi monochrome) and resolutions up to 600dpi RGB. Version 1.0.8 adds support for tiff file creation, enhanced compression options, landscape layout scanning, and new paper sizes. fScanX requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - Form] Global Consciousness 2.3 (free) is a screen saver that features renderings of the Earth, moon, and stars. The images are overlaid with quotes pulled from the website, which anyone can add free of charge. Version 2.3 brings more stars, higher resolution earth images, and Universal Binary support for native compatibility with Intel-based Macs. The software requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 1.4MB]
PlayFirst today released Plantasia, a game of gardening that focuses on fictional plant life. "From the creators of Diner Dash comes Plantasia, a game of gardening delight. Enter your luscious gardens, where magical flowers and a fairy-in-training are waiting to show you the way. Plant seeds, harvest flowers, restore fountains, and watch as your gardens bloom. But beware! Weeds, rocks, insects and the clock are all waiting to make your game a fun-filled challenge." Players restore one garden after the next, choosing flowers and gardening spells as they discover how a fairy wish unfolds. The game features 50 levels, more than 35 types of plants with varying blooms, five gardens, multiple emotional states for each plant, and two modes that consist of "Holly's Story" or "Garden Challenge." Plantasia is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Power Support has unveiled the Splash Case for iPod nano, a protective shield of water resistant silicone built to guard the portable media player against water and sand. Designed as an outdoor case that won't compromise the Nano's style or function, the Splash Case encloses the iPod with specially formulated medical grade silicone offering screen visibility and access to all controls without removing the player from the case. Power Support warns buyers, however, that the iPod should never be fully submerged in water. The Splash Case is priced at $35, and is slated for shipment some time this month.
In brief: Apple has quietly extended its .Mac promo which offers $30 off the price of .Mac or .Mac Family pack when any new mac is purchased and also extended is its Perfect Companion promotion which offers a $100 rebate when a new Mac is purchased along with a qualify printer--both promos now run until October 16.... The Omni Group blog has announced a new project management application, called OmniPlan, which it says will reach public beta on July 26.... Apple may open two stores in the same mall for the first time in in NorFolk, Virginia.... Ars Techinca has created a WWDC Bingo card, for WWDC attendees and followers to play as the keynote occurs. WWDC is only two weeks away, visit MacNN for live keynote coverage during the keynote and throughout the event.
In its annual shareholder meeting last Friday, Dell CEO Michael Dell took a few swipes at Apple, according to a new report. The CEO said that it has turned to MTV to help tackle Apple on the digital music front, but that Apple is not really a competitor in the PC market, despite recently posting nearly 16 percent growth in the US market, while Dell lagged behind at just over 6 percent growth. Answering a question on how he viewed competition from Apple, he replied: "Apple certainly has done a very nice job with their products. I think you're going to see a number of new, competitive dynamics in that market ...music services. We've been working with MTV, which has a new service called Urge. That's an exciting space that Apple has done well in, but I would be surprised if they are able to maintain the share they have today over the next ten or 20 years. In terms of competition with Apple (in PCs), our share numbers speak for themselves. Apple is growing, but is still not in the top five in share for computers."
Trans International announced a new 160GB portable external hard drive solution alongside a new internal upgrade. The external solution, miniXpress, uses SATA-to-FireWire connectivity (support for FW400/FW800/USB) for optimal speeds and allows the drive to be swapped without restarting and due to being powered through the FireWire port (no AC adapter needed). The new drive is small enough to "easily fit in your shirt pocket" (5.8 in x 3.1 in x 0.8 in), utilizing a 2.5-inch hard drive. The enclosure features aluminum construction with built-in anti-shock protections. The drive used in the miniXpress is also sold as an internal upgrade for MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacMinis as well as any computers that utilize 2.5-inch portable drives. Both internal ($230) and external ($330) models are available now.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX