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Mac Pro firmware bug?
In Brief: MacNN has reviewed the Pantone Huey monitor management system as well as the Rain Design's iWoofer, a compact, integrated speaker system designed to work with iPods.... Despite a recent release of Mac Pro-friendly update to Parallels Desktop, a "virtualization-lock bug" in some systems has caused continued compatibility problems for the virtualization software--Parallels blames Apple noting that virtualization has been disabled on some Mac Pro's and Mac mini's by Apple's own firmware.... SendStation Systems is giving away 1,000 free PocketDocks FW, the legendary thumb-sized iPod FireWire adapter: the offer is available while supplies last or until September 13, 2006 (limited to one PocketDock per person).... Former Apple executive Christopher Gee, who managed enterprise customers for the company, has been appointed the President of the New York-based Advanced Battery Technologies.
Guitar Pro 5.1 for OS X
eMedia Music has released Arobas Music's Guitar Pro 5.1, a new Mac/Win hybrid version of the multi-track tablature editor software for guitar, banjo and bass. Guitar Pro 5.1, now available for the Mac, is designed for both beginners and accomplished guitarists and can be used to improve, compose, or accompany themselves. Guitar Pro adds advanced notation features, such as drum notation, vocal notation and tablature support for any stringed instruments with four to seven strings; it can also be used for creating lead sheets, scores, or lesson sheets for students. Version 5.1 features the newest in playback technology including RSE-Realistic Sound Engine, which delivers real-time playback of scores with realistic sound samples taken from high quality guitars and real-time effects such as wah- wah. In addition, the update brings improved ASCII import/ export and a newly enhanced speed trainer. Guitar Pro 5.1 is available now for $60 and runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [site not updated]
Refurbished MacBook Pros
Apple is offering refurbished 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks with free shipping and its standard one-year warranty. Refurbished MacBook Pros include the 15-inch 1.83GHz model with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,549; its 15-inch 2.0GHz model with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,699; and the 15-inch Glossy Display 2.0GHz unit with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,699. The company is also offering its 15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory and a 100GB hard drive for $1,949; its 15-inch 2.16GHz model with 1GB of memory and a 100GB hard drive for $2,149; and the 15-inch Glossy Display 2.16GHz version with 1GB of memory and a 100GB hard drive for $2,149. Additional refurbished MacBook Pro offerings include the 17-inch, 2.16GHz model with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $2,399; as well as the 17-inch Glossy Display 2.16GHz version with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $2,399.
G-Tech RAID storage debuts
G-Technology today unveiled its new G-Speed S storage solutions featuring SCSI Ultra320 connectivity as well as RAID 6 technology, and its G-RAID mini portable RAID storage solutions with a triple interface as well as the latest generation 2.5-inch SATAii hard drives. The G-Speed S (shown at right) is designed specifically for professional content creation applications with support for multi-stream SD and 10-bit 1080/60i HD workflows. G-Speed S offers storage capacities up to 4.5TB using SATA II drives, and boasts sustained data transfer rates of up to 250MB/sec. G-RAID mini features support for multi-stream, DV, HDV, DVCPRO HD, and uncompressed workflows, offering FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0 connectivity. Both the G-Speed S (from $3,000) and G-RAID mini (from $500) are slated for shipment in October. [updated]
NHL 2K7 demo on Xbox Live
The 360 demo for 2K Sports' NHL 2K7 is on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Be careful about downloading it however, because while it's sized at about 1 GB, it apparently features just a few minutes of the shootout mode. The 360, Xbox and PS2 games are scheduled for release this month, with a PS3 port arriving on November 17th. The 2K franchise is essentially the only competition for EA Sports' NHL 200X series.
Unbox suffers "teething"
Amazon's new Unbox video store has marked the highest-profile movie download launch thus far, but poses some significant quality issues and "teething" problems, according to various members of the press. CNET's Tom Merritt says purchases require intrusive and imperfect custom Amazon software to work, while underlying issues potentially hurt the long-term success of Unbox Video, according to BusinessWeek. Aside from the common but glaring inability to burn to DVD, rental restrictions are especially limited, according to Electronista: rented movies must be played in their entirety 24 hours after playback begins, or they must be rented a second time. Amazon additionally suffers from the longer-term conflict of interest that might arise from its existing movie sales; as it benefits from purchases of physical DVDs, the online retailer has little incentive to extend its usage rights or lower prices.
Special Edition Moto PEBL
Motorola gained considerable good press by becoming one of the first cellphone manufacturers to make multiple colors a staple of its model range beyond simple faceplates. The PEBL in particular defines Motorola's current approach: several bright colors contrast sharply against the tepid blacks and silvers of rivals. The most desirable PEBL, however, is one that may only exist in a very limited production run. The company recently began a sweepstakes for US residents which is giving away fifty special PEBL models with a laser-engraved autograph by tennis star Maria Sharapova. While functionally similar to the regular model, only the Sharapova version is available in white and could easily become a collectible. Motorola has not said whether or not the PEBL will be available in white to regular buyers after the contest ends on September 29th.
Phantasm CS plug-in ships
Astute Graphics today released Phantasm CS, offering full color adjustment control directly within Adobe Illustrator documents. Users can tweak values such as brightness, contrast, curves, hue, saturation, and levels. The plug-in is designed to tightly integrate into Adobe's vector design package, offering the ability to control all object types including simple vector shapes, other live Effects, and high resolution bitmaps. Users can fine-tune, match colors, and experiment with designs while receiving immediate visual feedback. Phantasm CS is available for $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later with Adobe Illustrator CS or CS2.
Microsoft OS Prices Climb
Microsoft recently released official Windows Vista pricing which, at an initial glance, appears to match Windows XP pricing. A full version of Vista Home Basic, for example, will retail for the same $199 as Windows XP Home Edition. Such practices belie an attempt to increase the overall pricing, according to a report from Business 2.0. The publication notes that Microsoft is making a concerted effort to drive buyers of both stand-alone copies of Windows Vista and PCs bundled with the new operating system towards Vista Home Premium, which adds $40 to the price regardless of how it is bought. This will drive the overall cost of Windows higher despite falling PC component prices, says author Owen Thomas. He urges buyers dissatisfied with the move and the relatively modest features of Vista to refrain from buying the OS as a form of protest, even if it means holding to an older PC. Vista Home Basic is noticeably reduced in features versus Home Premium, omitting features such as the Aero Glass interface and DVD authoring.
19-inch 3ms LCDs debut
Formac today introduced its new Gallery TNX Performance displays, using a 19-inch TN LCD panel that trades a slight amount of color reproduction for a 3ms response time. Display manufacturers rarely publicize the type of LCD panels they use, which can cause serious difficulties for both artists and game players whose choice may hinge upon the choice of faster TN (twisted nematic) or more color-accurate PVA (patterned vertical alignment) panels, according to Electronista. The Gallery TNX Performance displays' 3ms response time eliminates ghosting in fast-action games as well as movies. A single cable provides data to an integrated two-port USB hub, DVI video, and power to the display. The Gallery TNX is shipping in the UK for £240, though a North American release date is yet to be announced.
Amazon Unbox Suffers
The unveiling of Amazon's Unbox Video store marked the highest-profile movie download launch to date. Regardless of this fanfare, there are signiicant quality issues and teething problems, according to various members of the press. Purchases require intrusive and imperfect custom Amazon software to work, says CNET's Tom Merritt. The program automatically loads on startup and would not properly play at least one downloaded television show. Underlying issues also potentially hurt the long-term success of Unbox Video, reports BusinessWeek. Aside from the common but glaring inability to burn to DVD, rental restrictions are especially limited: rented movies must be played in their entirety 24 hours after playback begins or else must be rented a second time. Amazon additionally suffers from the longer-term conflict of interest that might arise from its existing movie sales; as it benefits from purchases of physical DVDs, the online retailer has little incentive to extend its usage rights or lower prices.
R6: Vegas gets PSP port
Ubisoft has announced a PSP version of Vegas that should be very distinct from the 360 and PS3 editions. On Sony's portable, the game will concentrate on a parallel storyline with new levels and just two main characters: sniper Shawn Rivers and assaulter Brian Armstrong. Single-player gameplay will feature a "tag-team" motif, with players switching between Rivers and Armstrong to accomplish different goals. Multiplayer will concentrate on six "classic" R6 maps in Survival (i.e. deathmatch) or Team Survival modes, connecting through wireless or the Internet. All three versions of Vegas are expected to ship in late 2006.
CS FM 07 Tuner
Few FM tuners have any music playback functions of their own. The Merconnet CS FM 07 is different through its design as a car-oriented player, according to the company. Playback is possible not just through a conventional minijack input for digital audio players but also a built-in SD card slot and a USB port that accepts flash storage and hard disk drives. FM tuning takes place on one of seven preset frequencies. Its power options are flexible: in addition to a 12-volt car charger, the CS FM 07 can be powered by an AC adapter or seven AAA batteries. Merconnet claims shipping times of 2-5 days from its online store, where the tuner is available for $60.
TGS: Koei, Capcom lists
Koei and Capcom have revealed the games they'll be displaying at the Tokyo Game Show, which starts September 22nd. Thanks IGN. Major highlights include Capcom's playable version of Devil May Cry 4, and Koei's previously unannounced Samurai Warriors Wave, a Wii-specific entry for their battlefield action series.
Devil May Cry 4 (PS3) Lost Planet (360) Monster Hunter Portable 2nd (PSP) Gyakuten Saiban 4 (a.k.a. Phoenix Wright, DS) Ryusei no Rockman (a.k.a. Mega Man, DS)
Fatal Inertia (PS3) Bladestorm (PS3) Ni-Oh (PS3) Mahjong Taikai IV (PS3) Sengoku Musou Wave (a.k.a. Samurai Warriors Wave, Wii) Sengoku Musou 2 Empires (a.k.a. Samurai Warriors 2 Empires, PS2) Sangokushi 11 (PS2) G1 Jockey 4 2006 (PS2) Harukanaru Toki no Naka De (PS2) Jan Sangoku Musou (a.k.a. Dynasty Warriors Mahjong, PSP, DS) Pocket Scenario Series Harukanaru Toki no Naka De (DS) Nobunaga no Yabou Online (a.k.a. Nobunaga's Ambition, PS2, Windows)
Nano 1.0 released
RefNum Software has released Nano 1.0, a C++ framework for developing modern Carbon applications with the simplicity of Cocoa and the performance of Carbon. Nano provides a complete set of classes for application development, enabling users to build full-featured, extensible, and maintainable applications for Mac OS X using the C++ language. The framework features a HIG-compliant application+document model, C++ wrappers around every HIToolbox view, and an improved Interface Builder experience. Built around the native Carbon framework, Nano allows developers to create 64-bit Universal Binaries with minimal effort, according to RefNum. Nano is available for free under the open-source BSD license (system requirements were unavailable).
T-Mobile At Home Service
Cellphones and broadband Internet have irrevocably affected the popularity of wired phone service. Many urban dwellers now use cellphones as their sole avenue for phone calls or choose VoIP as a backup. Service carriers are often frightened of the mix, however: Internet calls through Skype and similar services removes the incentive to subscribe to more expensive cellular plans with extra talk time. Rejecting conventional wisdom, T-Mobile in the US is expected to soon introduce what could be an ideal compromise for both providers and their users. The company's T-Mobile At Home plan will take advantage of dual-mode phones that can connect both to cellular networks as well as VoIP through WiFi: if within range of a WiFi access point, T-Mobile subscribers could switch seamlessly to Internet calling to improve reception and save minutes on their cellular plans. The link between methods would also provide the distinct advantage of a single phone number. T-Mobile has not set a formal launch for its At Home feature, but the existence of promotional material (pictured) reveals that the service is close at hand.
Sportsuit Relay ships
Marware today began shipping Sportsuit Relay, the latest addition to its iPod nano cases designed for sports enthusiasts. The Sportsuit Relay accommodates the Nike + iPod Sport Kit receiver and sensor, combining the company's wrist/armband case and the Sportsuit Sensor+ pouch. The harness features protective neoprene and rubber construction with an optional extension wristband piece for upper-arm mounting. Marware's Sportsuit Relay offers play-through access to the Nano's clickwheel, and is available for iPod nano for $30.
"Retail sources" have informed GamesIndustry that two different bundles will ship this November, at least in Europe. The separate HD-DVD drive should sell for 199 pounds (293 Euros) and come with two movies, while a bundle of the drive with the Premium 360 may cost anywhere between 375 to 400 pounds (552 to 589 Euros). Even with the increased price of the bundle factored in, the 360 may be selling for 50 pounds (74 Euros) less than a PS3. There's no word at present of whether a similar deal will come to North America.
Adobe Acrobat 8 to launch
Adobe will launch Adobe Acrobat 8 in Italy on September 19th, according an Italian Mac enthusiast site. Adobe Italy has reportedly sent invitations to the press for an event in Milan which will mark the presentation of Adobe Acrobat 8, promising to renew the entire line of Acrobat applications with new functionality. The new release is rumored to enable the safe creation, management, and sharing of documents as well as information. Adobe is also expected to speak about innovations in Web conferencing specifically tailored to professionals and companies that communicate and interact in real-time without geographic or technological barriers. The company posted its last Adobe Acrobat update in early February of this year, bringing new functionality, bug fixes, and security updates. Adobe also promised to release a Universal Binary version of its Photoshop Elements (CS3) software in the spring of 2007. [updated]
DVI, HDTV Switches ship
Gefen today unveiled two new high definition video switches, which include the 8x1 DVI Switcher and its enhanced 4x1 HDTV Switcher designed for multiple source integration. Featuring plug-and-play capabilities, both switchers enable users to access multiple high definition computers and sources using just one input on any high definition display. The 8x1 DVI Switcher comes in a rack mountable case, providing eight DVI inputs and one DVI output. The device allows users to access multiple high definition audio/video sources -- such as HD DVD players and computer systems -- with the single DVI connector on any HD display.
Directory Widget (free) will lookup directory information from many colleges, universities, and other institutions. Although it uses the "LDAP" (Lightweight Directory Address Protocol), end users do not need to understand what LDAP is: the widget comes preloaded with settings for over 70 directory servers and also allows users to add other servers to the widget. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 288KB]
iGlasses 1.3.6 ($8) adds a white balance slider control for use with Apple's built-in iSight camera, offering the ability to manually compensate for various lighting conditions that may give video images a blue or orange cast and also adding support for applying iGlasses enhancements in PiXiMation and FlipBook. The software allows Mac users to adjust iSight video settings from within popular video applications such as iChat AV, Skype and iMovie. Features include brightness, color settings, night vision, manual focus, flip and rotate. [Download - 1.5MB]
BrowseBack 1.3 ($30) is a web history visualization and search tool that stores a PDF of every web page visited and makes the pages accessible through a unique interface that allows the user to browse thumbnails of the pages. This visual web history can also be searched by content, making it possible to easily retrieve visited web pages with a few keywords. Version 1.3 adds faster searching, large page display of current selection, and various bug fixes. It requires Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 4.2MB]
AKVIS Sketch plug-in v.1.1 enables users to convert a photo into a pencil sketch in a few mouse clicks: "Our efficient method allows creating realistic color and B&W drawings that imitate the technique of graphite and color pencil, charcoal and watercolor painting. In contrast to the similar standard filters (like the built-in filters in Photoshop or PSP) that offer an approximate sketch, AKVIS Sketch provides a more convincing result; it comes very close to hand-drawn works of a human artist. " It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 658KB]
VelaClock 1.9 ($10) is free update to the world clock widget that displays a list of cities and corresponding local times. Multiple lower panes can be opened to display more information and take up more screen space. Users can quickly display the time of sunrise, sunset, or twilight, duration of daylight, current phase of moon, time zone information and much more. It now adds a preference to show or hide seconds, offers updated Daylight Saving Time rules for Bermuda, Cuba, Gaza and Honduras, and features reduced CPU usage. [Download - size]
EZTakes Movie Store
Recent direct-download movie stores have been almost exclusively dependent upon Microsoft's Windows Media Player technology for copy-protection; without a viable alternative from Apple or other software developers, Mac users and those averse to the Windows Media format are forced to go without. EZTakes avoids this platform dependence by copy-protecting the content only during the download phase. Videos purchased at the store are initially encrypted and are then decrypted by custom software once the download is complete. The resulting file is a large but unprotected disc image that can be played directly on a Mac or Windows PC, or written to a DVD - the combination of which is a first for the industry. Content providers are protected by watermarking, the company says. Each video file is traceable to an individual account, linking potential pirates to their copies but granting fair use rights to legitimate customers. Most titles in the current catalog cost half as much as regular DVDs, but are often older movies and television shows. Notable exceptions include TLC shows such as Overhaulin' and Rides, which sell for $3 each. The service is currently in beta and is limited to US customers.
Apple patent offers clues
Apple's recent patent application for its "multi-functional handheld device" represents the fundamental basis and technology behind the company's much-rumored cell phone efforts, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. "We believe the device will have a candy bar form factor (as opposed to flip phone) with iPod like functionality, including a clickwheel," Wu wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "We remain upbeat on Apple's prospects in building a material cell phone business given its strong brand name, loyal customer base, and unique user experience helped by its clickwheel technology and end-to-end business model." Wu predicts a $2 billion opportunity for Apple, should the company gain just 1 percent share in a billion unit market. The firm maintains its "buy" rating on Apple shares with a $91 price target.
Stand By Mi Ebony ships
Macessity today announced its limited edition Stand By Mi Ebony display stand, designed to elevate monitors above small form-factor systems such as Apple's Mac mini. The new limited edition version of Stand By Mi Ebony boasts the same size and features as the aluminum-colored version of the stand, but displays a black finish to match non-Apple monitors and displays. The stand includes a four-port USB 2.0 hub, a power adapter, and a USB cable of the correct length to reach a Mac mini system beneath the stand. Stand By Mi Ebony measures 11 x 9 x 3.3-inches, and supports a maximum weight of 60 pounds. Macessity's Stand By Mi Ebony limited edition display stand is available for $50.
Formac Performance LCDs
Computer display manufacturers rarely publicize the type of LCD panels they use, which can cause serious difficulties for both artists and game players whose choice may hinge upon the choice of faster TN (twisted nematic) or more color-accurate PVA (patterned vertical alignment) panels. The new Gallery TNX Performance displays help buyers make that distinction, Formac says. Available with black, silver, or white bezels, all three displays use the same 19-inch TN LCD panel that trades a slight amount of color reproduction for an extremely low 3ms response time that eliminates ghosting in fast-action games and movies. A single cable to the display provides data to the integrated two-port USB hub, DVI video, and power. Formac is currently shipping the Gallery TNX in the UK for £237.21; North American availability has not yet been announced.
Japan gets Core 360
Unavailable until now for some reason, the Japanese will finally get their hands on the low-cost, feature-stripped Core 360 on November 2nd. SPOnG cites a retail price of 29,800 yen. The timing of Microsoft's move is probably no coincidence, since both the Wii and PS3 should be out in the country by November's end. The PS3 in particular will likely sell out before meeting demand. Moreover, dismal sales of the Premium 360 may have Microsoft desperate for some means of breaching the Japanese market. To achieve its price the Core system dumps features like an included hard drive or headset.
Zenecom unveils Blupod
Zenecom has unveiled Blupod, bringing Bluetooth functionality to Apple's dockable iPod players. The device resembles a tiny iPod shuffle in form and control, but functions as a Bluetooth dongle that works with a phone to display a caller's id on the iPod screen, and automatically lowers playback volume for conversing. Blupod features a built-in FM tuner, but does not support transferring files from an iPod to another Bluetooth device (pricing was unavailable).
Mobileplay Data With Ads
The bulk of a cellphone carrier's profits reside in plans. This reality encourages many cellphone providers to charge extra for virtually any data services they offer. A recent introduction by Mobileplay, however, promises to remove the binds between data services and specific providers. Taking a cue from Universal's music service, Mobileplay's self-titled service delivers a large set of free content subsidized by ads that display onscreen. Mobileplay primarily focuses on articles and news, including unconventional sources such as The Onion and Wonkette, but also promises games and other software. Approximately 80 phones can currently run the Java-based software with more expected in the future. The service is available now through online registration.
Telestream Episode Series
Telestream today introduced a family of powerful encoding software solutions for the Mac. Episode Series is a scalable suite of desktop applications and server-based workgroup solutions are designed for podcast, Web, DVD, IPTV and mobile devices. As the first products to emerge from the company's recent acquisition of Popwire, the solution is being showcased at this week's International Broadcasters Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam and is available for immediate online purchase and delivery. Targeting media enthusiasts, post-production professionals, and new media departments, Episode's optimized codecs, filters and extensive fine-tuning compression capabilities enable users to generate excellent picture quality with fast conversion speed. These software solutions offer extensive encoding support for current and emerging video and audio file formats--at up to HD resolutions.
LotR Online enters beta
Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar has officially entered beta, bringing the game significantly closer to completion. Gamers who want to play (and test) the game for free can still sign up at the game's Website. Be aware however that entry is by selection only. The Turbine MMORPG is based on the Tolkien novels and the Peter Jackson movies, allowing players to pursue peaceful or aggressive paths in famous locations like Bree, Rivendell, and the Shire. No final release date has been set.
Blupod iPod Adapter
While cellphones and iPods may merge in the future, the two devices are rarely compatible separately. Listening to an iPod frequently involves ignoring caller ID on incoming calls in the hurry to pause the iPod or missing those calls altogether. Zenecom's recently announced Blupod is designed to alleviate these issues and also provide extra features. Attaching to the iPod through the Dock Connector, the Blupod pairs with a cellphone via Bluetooth to notify the user about incoming calls. When the phone receives a call, Zenekom's adapter displays the caller ID on the iPod screen and automatically lowers the iPod's volume to let the owner answer (or decline) any call they choose. The Blupod also serves much the same role as Apple's Radio Remote, offering basic song controls and FM radio reception. No launch details were mentioned during the unveiling in Berlin, but European and North American releases are pending.
Handle-it, sleeves ship
Dr. Bott and Case-mate have unveiled the Handle-it (shown at right) custom handle for Apple's 13-inch MacBook, as well as 15- and 17-inch PowerBook G4 notebooks. Handle-it is designed to make carrying an Apple laptop easier, and doubles as a passive heat sink when using the device on any flat surface. Case-mate has also launched new limited edition Leather Sleevez, its protective covers for 15-inch MacBook Pros and 13-inch MacBooks crafted from Italian Pebblestone leather that surround an impact-resistant plastic shell. Handle-it is shipping for $50 for all Apple notebook models, while Limited edition Leather Sleevez are available in black for the MacBook Pro ($120) and MacBook ($100).
EZTakes for digital DVDs
EZTakes has released the EZTakes Download Manager for Mac OS X, which allows users to purchase any of the nearly 1,000 movie downloads available on the EZTakes site and then burn those titles to standard recordable DVDs that will play in virtually any standard DVD player. In order to discourage piracy, EZTakes has developed technology that personalizes all DVDs with the purchasing consumer's identity and an embedded ID number. People who make unauthorized copies would incriminate themselves because the copies are clearly traceable. Movies on EZTakes start as low as $1.99 per download. Most EZTakes DVDs offer the same quality and all of the extra features of the original DVD. The site offers dozens of movie classics, a number of independent films, a small selection of Bollywood films, Yoga training videos, and more. The offers are sorted by category and also offer customer ratings on each as well as a preview video clip.
Patent suggests new Cube
A recent patent filing suggests that Apple is continuing to rethink the design of its Power Mac G4 Cube, which sold no more than 150,000 units and was discontinued a year after its launch. The Cube was an example of design conflicting with market demands, according to Electronista, and consumers ultimately rejected the Cube due to limited expansion options and a high price relative to full-sized towers. Filed on May 5th, the "Ultra compact computer arrangement" illustrates a design that addresses flaws in the original Cube. The casing as described would feature two removable panels that allow greater access to the inside of the case for hard drives, memory, and multiple expansion cards. The new design would also incorporate a CPU fan alongside a heatsink - doing away with the earlier fanless concept which was prone to overheating.
Atlantis Sky Patrol ships
Big Fish Studios has released Atlantis Sky Patrol for the Macintosh, a highly addictive sequel to last year's Atlantis; it features clever new mechanics and stunning art deco visuals. Atlantis Sky Patrol is an arcade-styled casual game in which players must take to the skies and travel all over the world to disable more than 100 doomsday devices, presumed to have originated in Atlantis. The devices are disabled by solving stationary puzzles and stopping waves of moving defense mechanisms from coming out. The game offers a variety of devices, including bumpers, railway switches and more. A minigame periodically allows the player to collect coins and help buy permanent upgrades for the ship. Two players modes are also available, both as a cooperative adventure, and as specially designed competition levels. The game showcases stunning full-screen OpenGL graphics as well as the studio soundtrack. Atlantis Sky Patrol is available for $20.
Pangea Arcade debuts
Pangea today announced development of its next game title: Pangea Arcade is a collection of three exciting games: "Nucleus", "Warheads", and "Firefall". All three are action-arcade games based on classic arcade themes, but have been completely modernized and loaded with visual eye candy, according to the company. Nucleus is a space-based game where your goal is to build atoms by collecting electrons and attaching them to the interstellar nuclei. Accomplishing this task involves navigating around space debris, comet fields, black holes, etc. Warheads is a game where your mission is to protect your nuclear reactors and power stations from incoming missile bombardments. Firefall is a more abstract arcade game where you shoot through barriers and falling objects to take out the advancing worms. All three games in Pangea Arcade have an option to be viewed in stereo 3D using red-cyan anaglyph glasses. Pangea Software first used this 3D viewing technique in Nanosaur 2, and then in updated versions of Bugdom 2 and Otto Matic. The company expects to ship Pangea Arcade this fall for $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9, a 1GHz G4-based Mac, and 64MB of video RAM.
Nokia E62 Debut
The restriction of the Motorola Q to CDMA networks has left few options for the many North American users looking for a similar GSM-based smartphone: BlackBerries and Treos are available but carry their own restrictions, especially for those who prefer the Symbian OS interface. North Americans now have a direct competitor to the Q in the form of the Nokia E62. Based on the E61 already available elsewhere, the E61 has a wide 320x240 screen, Bluetooth, and a microSD card slot for extra data. It also supports "push" real-time e-mail from carriers that support it for non-BlackBerry devices. Surprisingly, the phone is available first on the continent in Canada, through Rogers Wireless; it had been largely expected that Cingular would be the first provider in North America to receive the E62. Its price is fairly affordable at $249 CDN ($224 US) with a three-year contract and $449 CDN ($404 US) with one year.
Podfitness, Marware join
Podfitness has partnered with Marware to bundle exclusive deals with the Sportsuit -- a protective case for Apple's iPod player -- and announced that it is designing additional product initiatives as well as cross promotional plans to enhance the fitness enthusiast experience. Podfitness will also distribute Marware products online, and said it will implement a branded line of Marware products. "Podfitness and Marware will continue to collaborate on co-branded strategies and plans to implement initial offers by October 1st, 2006," the company wrote. "Our partnership with Marware brings together the premier iPod accessory maker and Podfitness, the best way to train with your iPod. Now, not only can you can take your iPod with you to work out, but you can have a real trainer provide instruction and motivation throughout every session."
BF2142 beta expands
In case you aren't participating in the current beta of Battlefield 2142, EA and DICE will be opening up 10,000 more slots as of 1 PM Eastern. The slots will be on a "first-come, first-served basis" for anyone with a free GameSpy ID. EA claims that over 65,000 people have participated in the beta so far, resulting in over 1,000 changes to the newest iteration of the game. The retail release is scheduled for October 17th.
New Apple Cube Patent
Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube was an example of design conflicting with market demands. While the company was heralded for the small computer's size and shape, buyers ultimately rejected the Cube for the limited expansion and high price relative to full-sized towers: it ultimately sold no more than 150,000 units and was discontinued a year later. A recent patent filing, however, indicates that Apple continues to rethink the Cube concept more than five years after its removal from the marketplace. Filed on May 5, the "Ultra compact computer arrangement" illustrates a design that addresses flaws in the original Cube. The casing as described would have two removable panels, allowing for greater access to the inside of the case for hard drives, memory, and multiple expansion cards. It would also incorporate a CPU fan in tandem with a heatsink - a significant departure from the fanless 2000-era computer. Click through for more details and additional images from the patent.
Wii: Price, date leaked?
Though not citing any sources, British trade magazine MCV claims it knows for certain what the Wii's UK cost and release date will be. At the moment, it's predicting a price of £149 and retail shipment "by November 24th." It also says that an American release will be timed with Thanksgiving, which falls on November 23rd this year. What will the US price be? The UK figure converts to $279.39 under current exchange rates, but given Europe's inflated values and Nintendo's promise to keep the price at $250 or less, $249.99 seems more reasonable. If MCV is right that is - Nintendo UK's David Yarnton tells GamesIndustry that "They're not far off, but they're definitely not right." Could it be £140 on November 22nd, perhaps?
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