In Brief: Apple has posted the QuickTime video stream of Tuesday's Showtime Special Event in San Francisco, where Apple debuted new iPods and movies as well as its next-generation Mac-mini-like iTV media center, which is expected ship early next year.... The new Mac-compatible flagship Harmony 1000 (pictured at right) now includes support for the Z-Wave home electronics standard as well as an enhanced user interface and a 3.5-inch touchscreen that gives context-sensitive controls and can display the state of one device while the user controls another.... Several users note that a custom install of new iTunes 7 software offers an option to install the iTunes Phone driver (which may be required for the newly introduced iTunes RAZR phone).... The "Macs in Chemistry" website, a resource for chemists using Apple Macintosh computers, has moved to a new location..... Adobe and O'Reilly have entered into an agreement to co- publish and co-brand books and online learning resources for developers creating applications with technologies such as Adobe Flex, ActionScript, and Adobe Flash and Flash Video.
Apple today added several new features to its iTunes 7 jukebox software, including more navigational views, new auto-sync between authorized computers, integrated iPod management, and other minor feature additions. iTunes 7, which requires the recently released QuickTime 7.1.3 to display the new higher-resolution TV shows/videos/films sold through the digital music store, adds three distinct views for navigating through music, including Cover Flow technology, which it recently purchased. Coverflow allows users to flip through all your cover art just as you would a shelf full of CDs, DVDs, or books. More importantly, users can now sync between computers that are authorized for playback, allowing users to easily maintain your music collections on multiple computers. Called 'reverse syncing,' the software allows users to sync purchased iTunes content only from their Mac to the iPod and back to another Mac--this only works for the up to five Macs that are authorized for music playback.
Front Row 1.3 (bundled with certain Macs) provides for improved iTunes compatibility. Owners of Macs that support Front Row can update via their Software Update utility in Mac OS X. [Download - 5.2MB (direct download link unavailable)] Compressor 2.3 and Qmaster 2.3 (bundled with Final Cut Pro) Compressor 2 is designed to ease digital duplication and content delivery, giving editors a complete set of tools for generating video for use on the iPod, the Web, wireless devices, and DVD. The software is usable on a single workstation, or across an entire network of Macs on Xsan for high-performance encoding. [Download - unknown (direct download link unavailable)] FontExplorer X 1.1 (free) enables activation of single fonts in a suitcase (Mac OS X 10.4 only) in the font management software, and supports duplicate import as well as labels. Users can hide collections via a checkbox in the sources list, and conflict table columns are customizable in FontExplorer X 1.1. [Download - 9.6MB] Lab Tick 0.6.2 (free) enables PowerBook and MacBook Pro owners to adjust the keyboard illumination, rather than depending on the operating system to handle brightness control. Lab Tick 0.6.2 features a single slider to control keyboard backlighting brightness, offering French localization in the latest revision. [Download - 580KB] Mactracker 4.0.6 (free) provides detailed information on every Mac ever made, adding the Mac Pro, mid-2006 17-inch iMac, the new Xserve, and more. The software includes information on Apple mice, keyboards, displays, printers, scanners, digital cameras, iPods, AirPort Base Stations, Newton, and Mac OS versions. [Download - 10.2MB] Code Collector 1.0b2 and Transceiver 1.0b1 (free, free) Code Collector provides a searchable database of useful code, offering quick search functionality. Transceiver retrieves recently-played songs from Last.fm, offering users the song data to use as desired. [Download - 588KB and 956KB]
Fantom Drives today introduced the latest addition to its line of disk-based storage products with the launch of its MegaDisk 1.5TB capacity prosumer drives. The new MegaDisk 1.5TB disk storage system provides "best-in-class" capacity, according to the company; it features the latest SATA drive technology and high-speed FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 external interfaces. Fantom says its drive technologies allow it to manufacture enclosures that are 25 percent smaller while simultaneously providing 50 percent higher capacity than competitive products. The G-Force MegaDisk features Fantom Drives' iconic rugged aluminum design and delivers Firewire 800 bus speeds of 88MB/s when leveraging the native hardware RAID 0 striping enabled by the Oxford Semiconductor 924 chipset. The G-Force MegaDisk is available now in four capacities 500GB ($270), 800GB ($500), 1.0TB ($580) and 1.5TB ($1000).
iLugger has launched PROi24, a new version of its soft bag for iMac users designed to carry Apple's latest 24-inch model. The new iLugger features a non-slip shoulder strap pad, a padded hand strap with a Velcro enclosure, and a handle strap on the side to help support the shoulder strap. PROi24 features include a rigid plastic screen protector, and interior pockets with more room to carry various accessories such as a keyboard and mouse. The iLugger PROi24 measures 21 x 23 x 7.5-inches, and is available for $160. [image included]
The previously revealed Harmony 785 remote from Logitech is already a premier control for complex home theater arrangements; an announcement by the company, however, adds a significant new level of control to the universal remote line. The new flagship Harmony 1000 now includes support for the Z-Wave home electronics standard, allowing control of supported appliances such as lighting systems. Logitech has also introduced an enhanced user interface. In place of the rows of fixed buttons, the Harmony 1000 is dominated by a 3.5-inch touchscreen that gives context-sensitive controls and can display the state of one device while the user controls another. Updates to the existing catalog of 175,000 supported devices are handled by synchronizing the remote with a MacOS X 10.3 or Windows 2000/XP computer via USB. Logitech says its new design will ship later in the fall for $500; a Wireless Extender adds range to the main base station for an additional $150. A full photo is available after the jump.
SeeFile Software has unveiled SeeFile 2.6 and Photokina at Apple Expo in Paris, France. SeeFile creates a Web representation of the file system on the originating Mac, with a continuously-updating view of folders and previews of both still images as well as video files. SeeFile 2.6 is available in French as well as German, allowing users to share private folders with clients and collaborators. The latest iteration of SeeFile also features the ability to download any file directly from its advanced preview and lightbox viewing modes. SeeFile 2.6 is available from $400 for a fully functional version supporting five login profiles, with bundles featuring Apple's Mac mini systems also available (system requirements were unavailable).
Though it had been anticipated by some sources, many were surprised at Tuesday's Apple press event when the company gave an early demonstration of its first set-top box, known under the tentative name of iTV. The new media device has the appearance of a half-height Mac mini and is intended to stream iTunes audio, photos, and video to HDTV sets through an Ethernet or WiFi connection. Its current design includes the new HDMI 1.3 standard with support for "deep" color on compatible displays, component audio and video, and a USB port. Users will have access to all their media through an enhanced Front Row interface and can stream movie trailers as well as other content directly from the Internet. Apple hopes to ship the iTV in the first quarter of 2007 for $299.
In brief: Steel Skies' CoverFlow technology and intellectual property has been recently sold to Apple, which today announced iTunes 7 with "CoverFlow" features to smoothly navigate media items.... Apple Europe boss Pascal Cagni has confirmed new plans to focus on retail stores in Europe, promising nine UK retail stores by year's end.... Music Inc Magazine has named AudioSkin one of its "Best in Show" from the summer NAMM convention, honoring the device designed to collect loose cables.... SanDisk today announced a 4GB miniSD high capacity (SDHC) flash card at the CTIA Wireless Show, where the company is exhibiting in Booth #1147.... TiVo today announced the launch of its Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder -- the first stand-alone TiVo product that is HD compatible, according to the company.... NetGear today began shipping its SPH101 Wi-Fi Phone for Skype, the first publicly announced device certified to enable Skype Wi-Fi internet calling, according to NetGear.
Another one of those legendary GameStop release lists has shown up, this time at Go Nintendo. Dated "9/12/06," the list (click below) purports to have Wii games coming out as soon as October 31st. Titles set for that date are Red Steel, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, GT (Pro Series, presumably), and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2. Of course, one should be extremely skeptical at this point - earlier GameStop lists were pointing to October 2nd, a date that is now all but impossible. We'll know the truth at Nintendo's New York press event on September 14th.
The final component of Apple's new strategy is iTunes 7, which was unveiled today. Taking advantage of the new iPod's enhanced video performance, the new software marks the formal introduction of full-length movie sales to the iTunes Store. Buyers can purchase new titles from Disney and related movie studios (including Miramax, Pixar, and Touchstone) at $13 for a pre-order, $15 for new releases, and $10 for older titles. Although movies cannot be burned to DVD, they maintain the same rights as television shows and can be played back while they download. Multiple simultaneous movie downloads are also possible and all videos on iTunes can now be bought in a much larger 640x480 resolution. The software itself has also seen important enhancements such as an improved source list, a Cover Flow mode that browses albums and movies visually. and the ability to automatically download album art for imported CDs. iTunes 7 is available now for Macs and Windows PCs; movies are currently available only for the US, but will be accessible internationally in 2007.
Newer Technology today introduced the NuPower 1350mAh Lithium-Polymer replacement battery for iPod 4G 40GB and all iPod Photo models. Priced at $30, the NuPower 1350mAh is billed as "the highest capacity replacement battery ever" for the fourth-generation ("4G") 40GB and Photo iPods and delivers up to 150 percent more run time than the original stock battery. Using the same proven Lithium-Polymer technology as original Apple batteries, the NuPower 1350mAh includes everything needed to add longer playtime to iPod 4G 40GB and Photo (30, 40, or 60GB) models including non-abrasive nylon installation tools and free, online step-by-step installation videos. All NuPower iPod replacement batteries are backed by a solid one-year warranty. Installation service through NewerTech primary source distributor Other World Computing also is available for $39 with a 72-hour (business day) turnaround time.
Faronics today released Deep Freeze Mac 3.1, its software designed to protect and preserve original computer configurations to eliminate routine maintenance while allowing unrestricted access to the system. With Deep Freeze, a restart resets the computer to its original state -- no matter how much or what type of malicious activity has occurred. The latest edition of Deep Freeze is manageable directly through the console of the LANDesk Management Suite. Deep Freeze 3.1 also includes the option to add or delete multiple individual ThawSpaces -- partitions on frozen drives where users can permanently store data -- from within the Deep Freeze Mac Controller. Additionally, ThawSpaces are now resizable within a range of 1MB to 120GB. Administrators can pre-configure all options in Deep Freeze Mac to create customized installation packages, which are deployable and manageable using LANDesk or Apple Remote Desktop. Deep Freeze Mac 3.1 is priced from $25 per seat, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
A relatively minor update to the iPod rounded out the suite of new product announcements from Apple's press event today. Similar in most respects to the previous version, the new iPod has primarily received improvements in capacity, software, and price. A new 80GB model is available which matches the dimensions of the earlier 60GB model but can hold up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video. Gapless audio playback is now a standard feature and video playback has been greatly enhanced: a 30GB model can play video continuously for 3.5 hours instead of 2, while the new 80GB version is capable of 6.5 hours (increased from 4). All models support 640x480 H.264 video files. A new search function lets users find content by keyword. Games are also a significant component of the launch: new iPods ship with games from PopCap and other companies including Bejeweled and Pac-Man, while others can be purchased from the iTunes Store for $5 each. Finally, the revised iPod lineup has dropped prices to $249 for 30GB and $349 for 80GB. Both new models are shipping today in black and white colors from the Apple Store.
Anycom today announced BluNa, a Bluetooth adapter designed for Apple's iPod nano that allows users to listen to music wirelessly. The adapter weighs less than 10 grams, and works with Bluetooth stereo headphones to stream high quality audio while connected to a Bluetooth mobile phone. Users can pair the device with Bluetooth-enabled speakers, and can use a Protocol Stack supporting the A2DP-Sink profile to transmit digital music to a computer within 30 feet. The BluNa is available for $120.
A surprise element of Apple's iPod announcements on Tuesday was the introduction of a completely revised iPod shuffle. No larger than the Apple Radio Remote, the new model is the world's smallest MP3 player, according to Apple. Its aluminum shell features a built-in belt clip and is small enough to require its own dock in place of the earlier model's built-in USB connector. The dock uses an innovative technique that uses the headphone jack for both audio and data. Also notable is the same 12-hour battery life in spite of the dramatically reduced player size. Apple has consolidated the iPod shuffle line into a single 1GB model, which is shipping in early October for $79 from the Apple Store. Click through for a larger photo of the shuffle in its dock.
Apple today released QuickTime 7.1.3, offering several functionality improvements and fixing six security flaws. The update repairs issues which prevent users from maliciously crafting H.254 movies, QuickTime movies, FLC movies, FlashPix files, and SGI images which could cause application crashes and/or result in arbitrary code execution. The QuickTime update requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is available for free. [updated]
As part of a major Apple press event, Steve Jobs revealed today that iPod owners will finally have access to more (official) games than Solitaire and Parachute. People with video iPods will now be able to load games like Tetris, Bejeweled, Zuma, Pac-Man and more. Where do you get them? iTunes 7, of course. Each title will be downloadable for the price of $4.99 US. Games are automatically synched when you connect your iPod. Unfortunately, players will still have to use the click-wheel as a control system.
Apple and the National Football League (NFL) today announced that they will bring 2006 NFL regular season action to the iTunes Music Store, offering video downloads of highlights from individual NFL games the day after they are played. Football fans will be able to download highlights of each NFL regular season game for $1.99 per game. Fans can purchase a "Follow Your Team" Season Pass for $24.99 and have game clips from their favorite teams delivered automatically as they become available for viewing on a computer or iPod. NFL fans will also be able to download NFL Network's NFL GameDay, hosted by Rich Eisen with Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders. The Sunday night wrap-up show offers comprehensive NFL coverage with highlights from every NFL game plus post-game reaction and expert analysis, priced at $1.99 per show or $19.99 for a full season.
Apple today introduced the new iPod video, which features a 60 percent brighter and more vibrant 2.5-inch color display for watching TV shows and now Hollywood movies. The new iPod integrates with iTunes 7 and the iTunes Store, which now includes over 75 Hollywood movies, 220 television shows and popular video games designed specifically for the fifth generation iPod. Apple said that the 30GB model features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback and up to three and a half hours of video playback, and the 80GB model features up to 20 hours of battery life for music playback and six and a half hours of video playback. The new iPod is available in a 30GB model at the new lower price of $249 and an 80GB model, which holds up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video, for $349.
Apple today introduced the new iPod shuffle, which it calls the world's smallest digital music player. Nearly half the size of the original, the new iPod shuffle is just half a cubic inch in volume, weighs just half an ounce and features a stunning all-new aluminum design and a built-in clip. The new iPod shuffle contains one gigabyte of flash memory, which holds up to 240 songs, and is available for $79. "It's hard to believe the new iPod is a real music player when you first see it," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "But it is real, and holds up to 240 songs in an incredibly compact and wearable design that weighs just half an ounce." The iPod shuffle features up to 12 hours of battery life and can be connected to a Mac or PC with the included dock. The new iPod shuffle is expected to be available worldwide in October. [images included]
As part of its special press event, Apple has launched a major redesign of the iPod nano. All models now feature an extremely thin case resembling the iPod mini discontinued in 2005. Available in black, blue, green, pink, and silver depending on capacity, the new nano has a 40% brighter screen but extends its battery life dramatically to 24 hours. Storage has been doubled across the line with base models starting at 2GB for $149 and ending at $249 for the new 8GB capacity. Apple has also redesigned the earbuds for all iPods to improve quality and has released new accessories including a new armband. The new iPod nano is shipping today from the online Apple Store. See a photo containing all five colors after the jump.
Apple today offered a sneak peek at its new iTV, a product designed to wirelessly stream data from a Mac or PC to the television in the living room. The iTV looks like a flatter Mac mini, and features 802.11 wireless networking with no power brick and USB 2.0 connectivity. The device includes an Ethernet port, support for HDMI, component video hookups, audio jacks, and includes a connector for optical audio. iTV is designed to wirelessly stream content from a Mac or PC to a television anywhere in the home with support for podcasts, TV shows, trailers from Apple.com, and full-length feature films now available via the iTunes Music Store. The iTV works with both Macs as well as PCs, is controlled by the familiar white remote, and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2007 for $299. [updated | images included | photo credit Engadget]
Apple today announced iTunes 7, which it said is "the most significant enhancement" to its jukebox software and online music/video store since it debuted in 2001. iTunes 7 delivers new features such as the new album and Cover Flow views of music, TV shows and movies, enabling users to both quickly find titles in their library as well as casually browse through and re-discover titles they already own. In addition, the iTunes Store is now offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films--all of which customers can purchase and download to watch on their computers and iPods, and soon on their flat screen televisions with Apple's upcoming iTV player. Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability; they will be $14.99 thereafter. Other library titles will available for $9.99.
Apple today introduced the all-new iPod nano with a new aluminum body, 24 hours of battery life and more than twice the music capacity for the same price as the previous generation. The new iPod nano features Apple's Click Wheel and an even smaller, thinner and lighter design available in silver, pink, green, blue and black. "iPod nano is the world's most popular digital music player, and we've completely redesigned it to make it even better," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The all-new iPod nano gives music fans more of what they love in their iPods -- twice the storage capacity at the same price, an incredible 24 hour battery life and a gorgeous aluminum design in five brilliant colors." The new iPod nano models are now available through the Apple Store for $149 for 2GB iPod nano model (sliver); $199 for the 4GB models (silver, pink, green and blue) and $249 for the new 8GB model (black). All iPod nano models include redesigned earbud headphones providing improved comfort, fit and sound quality, and a USB 2.0 cable. [images included]
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today unveiled revamped video iPods as well as iPod nanos, brought back the iPod shuffle in an aluminum case, re-introduced colors to the iPod family, unveiled new earbuds for iPods, introduced iTunes 7 with support for full-length movies, and added full-length feature films to the iTunes Music Store. All new products are available from the Apple Store, and iTunes 7 is featured as a free download. Apple will kick off the revamped iTunes Music Store with movies from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax. The company is making more than 70 films available online today, including Pirates of the Caribbean. New movies will be released the same day they come out on DVD, according to Jobs, and are priced at $13 if pre-ordered or purchased during the first week. Other movies are available for $10, and the movie store is integrated into iTunes allowing users to preview new releases in the software's new album cover flow mode. Movies are also available at 640x480 resolution, and the average download time for movies will span roughly 30 minutes with a broadband connection, according to Jobs.
To simplify some of the more basic functions in the Playstation Network Platform, Sony has signed a deal to implement Viacom's Xfire matchmaking service. The PC version of Xfire integrates features such as friends, messenging, server browsing, and voice chat. 1UP further reports that the PS3's Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom is already in the supported games list of Xfire's .INI file. It's unclear to what extent the new incarnation of Xfire will resemble the PC's, but based on a past quote from SCE head Ken Kutaragi, it's believed that it will at least be free. "We don't charge for the basic functions of the network like matching services," he once said. "Things like that are taken for granted on a PC, aren't they? There's the feeling of why a game console gets to charge for a service that's normal on a PC. So, we just made the basic services available, and based our business on the contents."
MetaCommunications today released Approval Manager 1.0, a cross platform workflow application for managing proof approvals in marketing, creative, and production environments. Approval Manager is designed to provide approval workflow management for digital proofing technologies such as Adobe Acrobat (Professional, Standard, and Reader versions), Kodak RealTimeProof Partner, Microsoft Word, and others. Key features include support for stage plans as well as digital proof rounds; proof planning and templating; proof, stage, and round scheduling; support for linear, parallel, and cyclic workflows; a Dashboard interface view based on manager, production, and reviewer soles; and visual queues for status, schedule prediction, and management. Approval Manager 1.0 is available from $4,000 with complete systems.
Apple today debuted new video iPods, iPod nanos, iPod shuffle, and iTunes software at its special event in San Francisco. Apple CEO Steve Jobs debuted new video iPods with capacities of 60GB ($250) and 80GB ($350), offering new headphones, "gapless" playback, longer battery life of 3.5 and 6.5 hours (respectively)--up from the previous two-hour video playback support in previous generation iPod video. The new iPods also feature 60 percent brighter screens and support new games, which will be available from iTunes store for $5. The iPod software features instant searching functions as well as new games, including Bejeweled, Mahjong, Mini golf, Pac Man, Tetris, Texas Hold'em, and more. Apple also introduced new iPod nanos in three different capacities and different colors: 2GB ($149, silver only), 4GB ($199, green, silver, black, blue, pink), and 8GB ($249, black only). The new iPod nanos include a new charger, new armband, and a new lanyard. Apple also debuted a new 1GB iPod shuffle, featuring a metal body. Due in October, the new second-generation iPod is the size of the iPod Radio Remote.
Apple will soon begin its "Showtime" special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. While details of what will be released are still unknown, both the online Apple Store and iTunes Music Store are currently offline and expected to feature new products and services after Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivers his presentation. Click through for periodic updates starting at 10 AM Pacific (1 PM Eastern).
Harman Kardon today announced several new iPod and speaker systems, two of which are smaller versions of existing systems. The JBL Micro Radial reduces the size of the desktop Radial iPod speakers and lowers the price to $150, while the battery-powered JBL On Stage Micro -- priced at $100 -- is more affordable and portable than the earlier On Stage II, according to Electronista. Two other speakers share a completely new desktop 2.1-speaker design as their foundation, including the $130 JBL Spot that uses a mushroom-shaped subwoofer as well as satellites featuring various colored replaceable shells; the JBL Spyro -- priced at $130 -- shares the same subwoofer but exchanges customization for unique flower-shaped satellites. For an image gallery, visit the Electronista report. [corrected pricing]
Viewsonic today marked the opening of Apple Expo 2006 in Paris with the ViewDock, one of the first LCDs to integrate an iPod dock into the base of the unit. The new widescreen monitor can charge as well as synchronize an iPod while playing music directly through built-in speakers without additional cables. An 8-in-1 card reader and multiple USB 2.0 ports allow the ViewDock to serve as a storage hub, according to Electronista. Viewsonic boasts fast response times and wide viewing angles that are ideal for games and movies. The company expects the new displays to ship before the end of the year, though pricing and exact specifications are as yet unreleased.
Ubisoft's Montreal studio has seen a rash of firings and departures, reports local magazine La Presse Affaires (through GamePro). Details are somewhat confusing, but problems at the studio are blamed on a schism between French and Quebecois employees, which began when studio CEO Martin Tremblay left to work for Vivendi in California. Ubisoft had wanted to start a second studio in the city, but the move caused a "war of resources" that made work unpleasant, and might've seen as many as 1500 employees diverted to the new office if Ubisoft HQ had got its way. Tremblay's departure put the nix on that - but not before many executives, artists and producers had left too. The Montreal studio now has a new CEO, Yannis Mallat, and is focusing on reorganizing in the aftermath of its conflicts. Games produced by the studio have included Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
UPDATED Harman Kardon's multimedia brand JBL saw the introduction of several new iPod and computer speaker systems in time for the opening of Apple Expo 2006. Two of these are smaller versions of existing units: the JBL Micro Radial reduces the size of the desktop Radial iPod speakers and shrinks the price to $150, while the battery-powered JBL On Stage Micro at $100 is more affordable and portable than the earlier On Stage II. Another two speakers share a completely new desktop 2.1-speaker design as their foundation. The $130 JBL Spot uses a mushroom-shaped subwoofer and satellites and can be customized with different-colored replaceable shells; the JBL Spyro (pictured, $130) shares the same subwoofer but exchanges customization for unique flower-shaped satellites. Click through for full photos of all four speaker models.
Fujifilm has unveiled its FinePix A700, the first camera with a 7.3-megapixel sensor, according to the company. The A700's sensor offers it a slight quality advantage over 7.1- and 7.2-megapixel models from other manufacturers without adding to the price, according to Electronista. Fujifilm has also added 12MB of internal memory alongside the standard 3X optical zoom and 2.4-inch LCD. The A700 will retail for $200 when it ships to the U.S. in early October, making it one of the least expensive 7-megapixel cameras available. [image included]
Viewsonic marked the opening of Apple Expo 2006 in Paris with a unique addition to its computer LCD line. The ViewDock is one of the first computer displays to integrate an iPod dock into the base of the unit, according to today's announcement. The new widescreen monitor can charge and synchronize an iPod as well as play its music directly through built-in speakers without any additional cables. An 8-in-1 card reader and multiple USB 2.0 ports also allow the ViewDock to serve as a storage hub. Viewsonic claims fast response times and wide viewing angles that are ideal for games and movies. The company expects the new display line to ship before the end of the year; pricing and exact specifications have not been released.
Acapela and AssistiveWare today launched Infovox iVox, a new multilingual speech solution for Mac OS X aimed at visually impaired and blind people. Infovox iVox allows Acapela voices to be used in all applications compatible with the Mac OS X Speech Manager, including TextEdit, Preview, Acrobat Reader, and others. Infovox iVox is also usable with VoiceOver, Mac OS X Tiger's integrated screen reader technology. Supported languages currently include American and British English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. Acapela offers a selection of male, female and child (American) voices for each language. Infovox iVox requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later with English, European, and Scandinavian languages available for $200, $220, and $360 respectively.
Mobile gaming has come some way since people were playing Snake on a monochrome screen. Nokia has announced an agreement to publish several EA games through Content Discoverer, Nokia's download shopping service. Titles for "this holiday season" include Doom, Tetris, Tetris Mania, The Sims 2, FIFA 06, FIFA Street 2, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06. By mid-2007, EA expects to have several custom-designed games for the launch of Nokia's gaming-friendly S60 phone. Among them will be some new (and presently unannounced) EA Sports titles.
Obtaining GPS navigation for laptops, smartphones, and other portable devices is difficult without a physical (and often proprietary) cable. Bluetooth solutions exist but are generally rare. Garmin thus becomes the first North American company to truly make Bluetooth GPS available on a wider scale through today's announcement of two new GPS units designed to pair with common mobile hardware. The Mobile 10 (pictured) is a general-purpose GPS receiver that can connect wirelessly to most PCs, PocketPC handhelds, and either Palm or Windows Mobile smartphones to provide real-time GPS data. A replaceable battery gives the Mobile 10 up to 22 hours of battery life; it can also be charged in a vehicle through a 12-volt charging cable or carried outside of the car on a belt clip. The Mobile 20, in turn, is designed explicitly for car use and revolves around a suction mount that cradles and powers a Palm, Symbian, or Windows Mobile smartphone while transmitting GPS maps. Both GPS units can take advantage of more advanced GPS features such as hands-free calling, traffic re-routing, and improved tracking through WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System). Garmin expects the Mobile 10 and 20 to both be available by November for $199 and $299 respectively. A photo of the Mobile 20 is available after the jump.
Slide today released an iPhoto Exporter plug-in for Slide, and released Slide for Macintosh 0.1.42 with a new Text Rendering Engine. The iPhoto Exporter plug-in allows Slide users to select an entire album in iPhoto to upload those images to Slide, and supports individual photo uploads. The new Text Mode Engine allows users to switch back and forth between text mode without delay, and utilizes wordwrap technology. A mini browser preview window offers a preview, rather than switching to Safari to read news.
Just as Prince of Persia: Warrior Within had a PSP equivalent called Revelations, so will The Two Thrones get Rival Swords. Due Christmas in Europe and early 2007 in North America, Swords will be a slightly expanded take on the story of Two Thrones, in which the Prince returns to Babylon from the Island of Time only to find the city occupied by his father's once-dead vizier. Players once again alternate between the Prince and his split personality infected by the Sands. The game is being developed by Pipeworks Software, the same team that worked on Revelations.
PodDress.com has unveiled PodDress, an embroidered case for iPod nano that easily attaches to any textile fabric. Users can iron the case onto a T-shirt, jeans, or other apparel for a fixed carrying solution, or use the case as a standalone pouch. PodDress is available in sets of three with various colors, and as a Swarsovski special edition featuring hundreds of crystals. All versions of PodDress are priced at €30. [images included]
Rayner Software today released NetShade 3, an internet privacy tool for Mac OS X that enables users to surf the Web anonymously by routing your connections through proxy servers. NetShade's basic function is to conceal your IP address from sites that user visit--essentially removing the "Caller ID" from users' Web connections. NetShade has two basic modes of operation: the Public Proxy mode selects a publicly available proxy server from a list of tested proxies (everytime the app is launched). NetShade also operates its own dedicated proxy server, a fully anonymous, non-logging proxy on a high bandwidth connection that is available to registered NetShade users on a subscription basis. Version 3 is now a Universal Binary, features automatic public proxy testing, offers new proxy filtering options, delivers a revamped interface (and an optional 3D view mode), and enables users to create a customizable proxy list. NetShade 3 is $29 and includes a one-year subscription to the NetShade Proxy server. Upgrades from NetShade 2.x are priced at either $12.50, $5, or $0 depending on how recently NetShade 2 was purchased.
LaCie today introduced a 500GB Porsche-designed hard drive, and lowered prices on all other capacities of its Porsche drives. The company's Porsche drives feature a sleek metal design by FA Porsche, one-click backup software for Macs as well as Windows systems, and SilverKeeper Backup software for Mac OS X. LaCie's Porsche-designed hard drives are available in capacities of 160GB ($99 for USB, $120 for FireWire), 250GB ($130 for USB, $140 for FireWire), 320GB ($160 for USB, $190 for FireWire), and 500GB ($250 for USB, $280 for FireWire). USB-enabled versions of the drives are available now, while FireWire-capable drives are expected to ship in October.
Having already addressed the DSLR market in advance of the Photokina expo with its S9100 model, Fujifilm is now turning to its entry-level A series of cameras. The new FinePix A700 is the first camera with a 7.3-megapixel sensor, according to the company. While cameras with higher-resolution sensors exist, the A700's sensor offers it a slight quality advantage over 7.1- and 7.2-megapixel models from other manufacturers without adding to the price. Fujifilm has also added 12MB of internal memory alongside the standard 3X optical zoom and 2.4-inch LCD. Significantly, the A700 will retail for $199 when it ships to the US in early October, making it one of the least expensive 7-megapixel cameras available. Click through for complete photos of the front and back.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Canvas Sport ($35, shown at right) from Speck Products, a Converse All-Stars-style canvas case for video iPod and iPod nano designed to protect the device.... The US Patent & Trademark Office today published six of Apple's newly granted patents which include a 'Method and apparatus for saving power in pipelined processors,' 'Method and apparatus for implementing a sleep proxy for services on a network,' and a 'Single-channel convolution in a vector processing computer system,' among others.... AppleTalk Australia has posted an overview of the Parallels vitalization software, along with a simple guide on creating a virtual machine.... Me and Mark Publishing has unveiled a new version of Mark Szymczyk's book "Xcode Tools Sensei," featuring updated material to reflect the changes in Xcode 2.4 and Shark 4.4.... The Portland Mac Film Makers Users Group is hosting a special viewing of Darin Ingram's latest work, exploring the process of HDV production workflows and how to capture as well as optimize quality footage.
Oranged.net today released an update to its organizational tool for studios and freelancers: Studiometry 4 is designed as a complete solution for companies to organize, plan, invoice, create and track create with Client and Project data. Version 4 adds Visual Invoice templates, allowing users to drag and edit the components of an Invoice template in the built-in WYSIWIG editor. Version 4 also features the ability to print almost any list in Studiometry, including main window tabs for client and project info, project GANTT charts, summaries, etc. In addition, Studiometry 4 will now automatically track the logged-in time of all employees, and allow admin users to print up reports for Studiometry-logged-time based on week, month, year, or all. Other enhancements include customizable toolbars saved on a per-employee basis, a redesigned main window, new features in the Project summary section, improved alerts window, and much more.. It is available for $170 ($90 for add-on licenses). Upgrades are $40.
ReelBean 2.0 (free) is an update to the movie converter and player application for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). It allows you to export videos to many different video and audio formats, edit videos, extract sections of audio and video into separate files, and displays detailed video information and properties panels. Individual frames or image sequences from movies can also be saved as image files. ReelBean will also play DVDs in a sleek borderless window. Extra features are available via a $15 registration. [Download - 4.6MB] The Photoshop Elements Action Pack v1.0 (free) is a collection of 21 Automator Actions that let you drive Photoshop Elements from within Apple's Automator. It allows users to create complex automation workflows for Elements v4 including Auto Color, Auto Levels, Auto Smart Fix, and Auto Red Eye Reduction. In addition, you can easily resize images and save them in multiple formats, making it simple to create automated workflows that prep images for web output, email, or print work. It includes a 20-page manual, sample workflows and sample images. [Download - 8.3MB] QuizMaker Pro v6.0 ($20 personal, $120 site) updates the full-featured assessment tool which can create, archive, administer, grade, and analyze multiple choice, matching and short answer quizzes. QuizMaker Pro is used by teachers, parents, home-schoolers and individuals who need a complete study, assessment and evaluation solution. Version 6.0 now stores classes, names, and scores in a single database, eliminates two folders, offers easier/more detailed viewing of scores, can easily view all activity for a single student, allows tests of different kinds to be "hard-linked" together and taken and scored as a single test, new test-by-test parameters, an option to use color text, and more. [Download - 3.1MB] Presentation Prompter 4.2 ($65) is a maintenance update to the teleprompting application for Mac OS X. Version 4.2 is a Universal Binary that includes better support for Intel machines, Spotlight content search improvements, and better file importing for MS Word documents. The update also fixes minor issues with recent OS updates, plugs a memory leak, and corrects a rare instance of the software not loading on older machine. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. Upgrades from previous versions are $35. [Download - 911KB] FileBrowse 0.93 (beta) is a unique file browser for the Mac, offering "interesting features that the Finder is lacking." FileBrowse shows thumbnails for most common file types, renders 3D icons/thumbnails in real-time, has folder icons that show the items inside, can show large previews in-context (between the icons), and has versatile grouping and sorting. A future version will also add file management (moving, copying and renaming files/folders, creating folders, etc.) FileBrowse is a Universal binary that requires OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 331KB]
We reported a while ago that Bethesda's official stance is that no expansions are planned for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. That may still be the case, but GameSpot was trawling GameStop's Website when they noticed a listing for a PC expansion called "Knights of the White Stallion," dated November 21st. Soon after requesting comment from Bethesda, the GameStop entry was pulled. The PC version of Oblivion hasn't benefitted from the official add-ons for the 360; could Bethesda indeed be planning something behind closed doors? For the moment, it's mere speculation. UPDATE: Bethesda Marketing and PR VP Pete Hines has told GamersReports that, "There's no expansion in development called Knights of the White Stallion. That’s the name of a quest in Oblivion. Right now we have no announced plans for any new content, add-ons, or expansions. If that changes, we’ll let folks know."
Home theater projectors demand carefully controlled environments. Overly bright ambient light or the wrong screen size can easily ruin what would otherwise be a good image. Panasonic claims its new PT-AX100U LCD projector solves a number of the common problems that plague normal projection systems at home. The new model has a class-leading 2000-lumen brightness and achieves a 6,000:1 contrast ratio, according to Panasonic, which ensures that the resulting picture should be visible without being unacceptably bright. The projector also delivers much more accurate color than most, using a three-color filter instead of the more common white balance adjustments to achieve the intended output, the company says. Screen size should not be an issue for most homes: the AX100U can output a 100-inch, 720p image anywhere between three and six meters from the screen. Panasonic says that its new design will begin shipping later this month for $2999.
MetaCommunications today released Workgroups 2006, a cross platform process and productivity management suite. The software bundle includes new versions of Job Manager 4.0, Virtual Ticket 7.0, Digital Storage Manager 2.0, and the new Approval Manager 1.0. Workgroups 2006 is scalable from a few users to thousands of users over multiple locations, and the various components are available individually or as an integrated suite. A JDF Solutions Framework is available for Virtual Ticket, allowing the utility to serve as the front-end graphical user interface to JDF-enabled production workflows. Additional optional integrations are also available for Kodak Prinergy and Artwork Systems Nexus CTP systems. Workgroups 2006 is available in complete multi-user suite bundles from $5,000, while the individual components are priced from $1,700.
Western Digital today announced its newly redesigned WD Passport Portable Drives, which offer more storage capacity in a small form factor. Featuring a stylish and sleek, piano-black finish, the WD Passport is available in capacities of 60GB, 80GB, 120GB and 160GB; the ultra-portable solutions fit easily in any pocket or purse and weigh less than 5 ounces, according to the company. The USB 2.0-enabled drives use 5,400rpm mechanisms: WD Passport Portable Drives and WD Passport carrying cases are available at select retail stores, online retailers and also may be purchased via the company's online store (www.westerndigital.com). Estimated pricing is $200 for the WD Passport Portable Drive 160GB capacity and $180 for the 120GB capacity.
External hard drives typically carry with them a certain expectation not just of features, but also of appearance. Western Digital is keenly aware of this in its release of a new line of Passport portable hard drives. The new models have a streamlined design with a glossy black finish that invites attention. Capacity and performance has also increased in the new models: 60, 80, 120, and 160GB versions are available and all spin at 5,400 RPM. Each 2.5-inch drive is powered solely by the USB 2 interface and is compatible with either MacOS X or Windows 2000/XP, though included encryption and sync software functions with Windows only. Complete pricing was not announced at the launch; Western Digital is currently shipping a 120GB model for $179 and also offers 160GB for $199.
Belkin today debuted its new CushTop and PocketTop to allow users to easily use their laptop comfortably while on the couch, bed, or floor. As a cushion, the CushTop provides padded comfort for any laptop used on your lap, while the PocketTop acts as a case and mobile workstation, providing a built-in cooling pad and storage space for laptop accessories. Both will ship in North America in November, with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow shortly. The CushTop (F8N044, $40) is made of high-quality, furniture-like upholstery and provides increased padded comfort for laptop users. A convenient storage pocket keeps a power adapter and mouse tucked away. By flipping its platform over, the CushTop can accommodate small or large laptops. It is available in three contemporary colors: silver, orange, and green.
Developers haven't kept their Virtual Console games a secret for the most part, but we still haven't been told which VC games will launch with the Wii. Until now, at least. The ESRB Website lists several Sega games which are most likely classics being ported to VC: Altered Beast, Ristar, Golden Axe, Ecco the Dolphin, and Toe Jam & Earl. A Sonic game is on the list as well. That could be the modern Sonic and the Secret Rings, but it should be noted that ESRB ratings are usually issued a scant two or three months before release (if that), and Secret Rings is scheduled for Q2 2007. The same timeframe suggests that the other games are the originals too, rather than unannounced remakes suddenly launching with the Wii.
Ahead of Apple's special "Showtme" event this morning in San Francisco, Apple's iTunes Music Store and its online Apple Store is offline. Analysts expect announcements related to iTunes, Apple's rumored movie store, and more. When users click on iTune Music Store link, a message appears in the user's browser saying "It's Showtime. The iTunes Store is being updated," while Apple's online store says "We are busy updating the store for you and will be back within the hour." [updated] (Editor's note: As many have pointed out the previously noted 'iTunes Video' links on several international sites had 'movie trailers' embedded into link, likely indicating that they were simplying pointing to the trailers of those movies.)
Cingular on Tuesday launched its latest iTunes phone, the new MOTORAZR v3i. Like its predecessors, the MOTOROKR E1 and the MOTOSLVR L7, the MOTORAZR v3i is a Cingular exclusive handset featuring iTunes: "To date, Cingular remains the first and only carrier in the United States to offer a phone with iTunes," said David Christopher, vice president of product management, Cingular Wireless. "The Motorola RAZR is one of our most popular handsets and, with the addition of iTunes, we are thrilled to offer Cingular customers yet another great device that addresses both their communication and entertainment needs while on the go." Fashionably colored Silver Quartz, the phone allows users to transfer their favorite iTunes collections from the PC to the wireless phone using the included pre-installed 512MB MicroSD card, a power charger, USB cable, stereo headset, 3.5 MM headset adapter, and desktop iTunes software. The MOTORAZR v3i, announced last year for several countries, is available exclusively in the U.S. through select Cingular Wireless retail locations or online for $250 with a two-year service agreement and after a $50 mail-in rebate. Apple has also highlighted the new iTunes phone on its website.
After months of anticipation and uncertainty, TiVo has officially released its Series 3 personal video recorder to the market, confirming earlier reports on new features while adding new details. The new PVR is designed for HDTV recording with two CableCARD 1.0 slots that can record two digital signals at once (analog cable is also supported). TiVo has also expanded the Series 3's capacity to 300 hours of standard-definition programming, or 32 hours at HDTV quality. A similarly welcome addition is the inclusion of Internet functions as a basic feature; while Series 2 models could take advantage of these as well, they could only be unlocked by a separate fee. TiVo Series 3 owners can immediately gain access to music, photos, and podcasts on their home computers as well as program their set remotely from the TiVo website. Curiously, however, the external SATA port in the system is disabled until a future software update. Previous launch details have proven to be accurate. The new TiVo model carries a top-tier price of $799 without a subscription - well above Series 2 models - but is available today through the TiVo website and in retail stores as of next week. [Photo courtesy of Engadget]
Intego today announced the release of VirusBarrier Server and VirusBarrier Mail Gateway, two new programs that provide total protection from all known Macintosh viruses on computers running Mac OS X Server. The two solutions allow network administrators to fully protect their Mac networks from viruses, protecting all files on a server and providing full protection from viruses that transit through Mac OS X Server’s built-in e-mail server, the company said. Both applications are Universal Binaries, fully compatible with both PowerPC and Intel processors, running native on Apple’s new Intel-based Macs. Both feature a GUI admin console, full quarantine to isolate infected files, detailed logs, self-protection to ensure that software itself is not infected, scheduled scans of local/network volumes, and heuristic and behavioral analysis, and more. Intego said it would announce availability and pricing in the fourth quarter of this year.
Sonnet on Tuesday announced a new line of dual processor upgrade cards—-the Encore/MDX G4 Duet, which it says is the first high-speed processor cards for Apple’s Power Mac G4 MDD (Mirrored Drive Door) and Xserve G4. The Encore/MDX G4 Duet, available in 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz speeds, comes complete for installation into either tower or server. The original MDDs and G4 Xserves were shipped in 2003 and 2004 in single- and dual-CPU configurations starting at 867MHz and 1GHz, respectively. Encore/MDX G4 Duet upgrades are based on the Freescale Semiconductor (formerly a division of Motorola) PowerPC G4 7447A processors, featuring 512K of SRAM on-chip L2 cache per processor. They are compatible with Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X 10.3.5 and higher. Each upgrade includes a factory-attached heat sink, fan, and mounting bracket for either MDD or Xserve installation. The Encore/MDX G4 Duet line will be available in early October for $500 (1.6GHz) and $600 (1.8GHz).
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Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ
Spotify deploys new $15 family plan
Spotify has today launched a new family program. Up to six family members can have individual accounts for $15 per month for the group. All current "Premium for Family" members will be migrated to the new program. The new plan is available today globally, minus Canada. http://spoti.fi/1OSJrCK
Speck CandyShell Clear with Glitter case
Speck today announced CandyShell Clear with Glitter. Thousands of tiny pieces of glitter are embedded within the case, with what the company calls "military-grade drop protection in a slim profile." CandyShell Clear with Glitter is available now on Speck's website for $40 and up. http://bit.ly/1OSHIgM
Three UK nudges MMS users toward apps
British carrier Three has suggested its users take advantage of messaging apps, as part of an announcement regarding multimedia messaging (MMS) price rises. While the price of a message will increase on June 13 from 17.4p ($0.25) to 40p ($0.58) per MMS, Three notes that customers can avoid the hefty fees by using Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other services. http://bit.ly/1Rk0TKM
Belight Soft launches Art Text 3
Belight Soft has launched the latest version of its graphic design software, Art Text 3. The new version sticks with the goals of the previous iterations in developing a creative art text tool that is easy to use for beginners, but produces powerful results that will also appeal to pros. Among its key features are over 70 customizable templates to assist with logo design, word art, web elements and picture captions. Users can customize 3D materials using over 200 textures, over 140 bump map surfaces and over 80 environment map textures. Users of either of the two previous versions can upgrade to the new version for $30, a $20 savings. New users can also enjoy the $30 price as an introductory offer through the Mac App Store until May 31. http://bit.ly/1U6jFqu