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Apple has overtaken Dell in the UK education market, but is still No. 2 behind Research Machines. Performing well above the market average, Apple has 14.7 percent of the total PC market for education, according to Gartner research numbers cited by Macworld UK. The market includes laptops and desktop computers, but excludes the server market. Research Machines has the largest education market share in the UK with 34.9 percent of the market, while Dell has slipped to No. 3 with 14.1 percent market share. HP trails both Apple and Dell with only 7.7 percent of the market. According to the report, Apple also announced that in the fourth quarter of its 2006 financial year it was the number one computer supplier in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) education market, growing by 32 percent in the market — in part due to company's successful consumer MacBook offering.
Apple today released Xcode Tools 2.4.1 (site not updated), updating the software development toolkit with functionality improvements and fixing a security issue. With the previous version of Xcode, opening a maliciously-crafted DWARF binary with GDB could lead to arbitrary code execution, according to Apple. "GDB, the GNU Debugger, is susceptible to multiple vulnerabilities that may lead to arbitrary code execution when loading maliciously-crafted DWARF binaries," said Apple. "This update addresses the issues by performing additional validation while handling DWARF binaries." The Cupertino-based company offers credit to Will Drewry and Tavis Ormandy of the Google Security Team for reporting the issue.
The GRASS Development Team has released GRASS GIS 6.2.0, adding hundreds of new features and support for the latest GIS data formats to the Geographic Information System (GIS). The software is used for spatial modeling, visualization of raster and vector data, geospatial data management and analysis, processing of satellite and aerial imagery, and production of sophisticated presentation graphics as well as hardcopy maps. GRASS is designed to combine powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines into a single integrated software package. GRASS is used around the world in academic and commercial settings as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies, according to The GRASS Development Team. The software is available for free as open-source software, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [corrected pricing]
BroadClip today announced MediaCatcher (Windows only), its new easy-to-use 'broadcatching' system with a Web-based program guide. MediaCatcher represents the first PVR specifically designed to deliver content to the video iPod as well as other portable media players -- such as music-enabled cellular phones -- according to BroadClip. "With video-capable mobile devices becoming more common than television sets, we believe portable devices like the iPod are the new 'TV'. Unfortunately, there's a disconnect - with shows costing between $2 and $20 per download from iTunes there is no good way to fill up one's portable media player with video. So there are many millions of video players out there without much video to watch." MediaCatcher is designed to "bridge the disconnect" by allowing users to fill up iPods and other portable players with video content. Setting up a BroadClip account is a one-time fee of $140 that includes the cost of the hardware, which requires Windows 2000/XP. The company notes on its website, however, that Mac and Linux compatibility are on the way.
Digital media software company Roxio today announced a new partnership with Miglia Technology to combine Roxio Toast 7 with Miglia's TVMini and TVMax digital TV devices. The new alliance creates three unique bundles -- TVMini with Toast Basic, TVMini with Toast 7 Titanium, and TVMax with Toast 7 Titanium. The bundles allow users to watch, pause, record, and rewind programs as well as movies via the Miglia technology on a Mac. Users can also edit, share, and burn the selected content onto CDs and DVDs using Toast software. The bundles are priced at £70 for the TVMini with Toast Basic, £110 for the TVMini with Toast 7 Titanium, and £210 for TVMax with Toast 7 Titanium. All bundles are already available from MacWarehouse, Computer Warehouse, and other Mac resellers in the UK.
Boomwave Products today began shipping the Podstar Diablo Spectrum, its new range of Podstar protective covers for Apple's second-generation iPod nano. The Podstar Diablo Spectrum combines six 'devilish' designs in six distinctive colors that include pink (Pinkachoo), lime green (Martial Martian), sky blue (Coral B), orange (The Ascorbic Man), black (Black Jack), and red (Matadork), allowing users to choose a custom look and feel for Apple's latest iPod nano. Each Podstar character includes a sterling silver earring, removable colored clickwheel protector, screen protector, neck strap, and an individual Podstar ID. The cases are made from high grade silicone, according to Boomwave, and are each priced at $20.
Adobe has updated its Camera Raw plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS2, extending raw file support to 13 additional camera models. The Camera Raw 3.6 plugin builds on the raw file support integrated in Photoshop CS2 for digital cameras from leading manufacturers including Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Panasonic. The camera raw functionality in the Adobe digital imaging software line provides fast and easy access to the raw image formats produced by professional and mid-range digital cameras, allowing photographers to easily manipulate raw files without sacrificing any image quality, saving time while increasing artistic control and flexibility. The company also released Adobe DNG Converter v.36, an free update to its Universal Binary utility that converts files from more than 130 cameras to the DNG file format.
Pacific Design today introduced the Ruckus Laptop Bag Collection, a line of laptop backpacks and messenger bags designed for urban, professional, and student lifestyles. Both the Ruckus Laptop Backpack and the Ruckus Laptop Messenger Bag are up to 30 percent lighter than other similar laptop bags, according to Pacific Design, and are constructed from water-resistant materials. Each bag also offers an AC adapter zipper pouch, a protective iPod pocket, a 'seamless' water-resistant compartment, and a felt-lined pocket for miscellaneous items. Both Ruckus laptop bags come in various color combinations, and are due to ship in November. The Ruckus Laptop Backpack is priced at $70, while the Ruckus Laptop Messenger Bag will sell for $60.
Cheetah3D v3.5 ($100) updates the application for modeling, animation and rendering. Version 3.5 features a completely rewritten parameter system, new priority property to "spline tracking" and "target" tag, loading of PSD textures, an improved .jas file format featuring a smaller size and support new parameter system, and a new antialiasing default of 4x for second pass. This version also adds animation hotkeys. The Universal application requires Mac OS 10.4 or later. [Download - 19.6MB] Hazel 1.1.1 ($16) brings new rules, interface improvements and iLife, Automator and AppleScript support as well as a new Sparkle software update system and numerous bug fixes. Hazel is a "housekeeping" software that can monitor any folder create rules to move files, set label color, add Spotlight comments and keywords. It also has cleaning options to clear out incomplete and duplicate downloads and can also manage the trash. The Universal application requires Mac X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1MB] Lineform 1.2.3 ($80) updates Freeverse's new drawing and illustration program for Mac OS X. Recipient of a 2006 Apple Design Award, it now offers improved image handling, improved automatic scrolling of view, SVG support for inline images and improved text support, a new preference for millimeters as measurement unit, new functionality to transform palette for transforming nodes, improved layer behavior, faster file saving, improved color management under Mac OS 10.4, and the ability to save EPS files with a gradient. [Download - 3.9MB] WouldjaDraw 1.1.1 ($30) is an inexpensive drawing application that offers "powerful tools, flexible palettes, and a clear, intuitive interface. Version 1.1.1 increases performance, fixes a number of bugs, and now includes some cool Halloween sample documents. It offers unique gradient tools, support for standard file formats, arrow drawing, free rotation, and more. WouldjaDraw is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 2.3MB] DFG/1394-1 QuickTime Driver v3.01 is a driver designed for for "The Imaging Source" DFG/1394-1 uncompressed analog-to-digital video FireWire converter. The update provides a lower latency option specifically for video broadcasting or live video manipulators (i.e. VJ's, video artists etc.) and will now visually indicate when no live video source is attached to the device. For new customers, the Universal Binary version 3.01 is priced at $50 per license and the PowerPC v2.07 is priced at $30 per license. [Download - 571KB] iAdvertise 1.76 is a suite of software that provides support for the inclusion of live television into any media scheduling process. It offers the ability to deliver custom digital signs to any television. "With this [live TV] facility, you can select which television channel you would like to include into a playlist, and how long the television program is on screen for. To achieve this, a supported TV tuner needs to be attached and configured to work on the remote player that is being managed." [Download - N/A]
Xcell's i-mice speakers put an emphasis on aesthetics and portability. With only two 3W satellites, they can't deliver as much power as competing products, but the i-mice's glossy red exteriors and collapsable "head" lids may be appealing. The speakers also require no special audio inputs, since they connect through USB. A matching remote lets users control muting and volume levels. The i-mice are on sale for $20 at Xcell's website.
Both Scotsys and Solutions are preparing to open new Apple Premium Reseller Stores in the UK as the busy holiday shopping season draws near. Former Olympic athlete and gold medalist Sally Gunnell will open the new Solutions store on Saturday, November 4th on Brighton Place in the heart of the famous Brighton Lanes. The new store carries the widest range of Apple products and accessories available throughout Sussex, according to Solutions, with more than 500 products available for purchase seven days a week. The company also plans to open another store on 78 Old Christchurch Road in Bournemouth, which will occupy three entire floors of the building in which it resides. Scotsys has opened a new Apple Premium Reseller store at 164 Great Western Road in Glasgow, Scotland.
Forums roundup: One member has voiced outrage about Apple's upgrade schedule, which he feels has diminished his MacBook Pro purchase and left him with outdated technology despite the computer being three weeks old.... In the forums' new favorite debate, a poll has arisen asking MacBook Pro users whether they chose glossy or matte screens when ordering their systems.... Another user asks for opinions on becoming an Apple switcher and moving away from the Windows side of computing.... Another member has sparked a debate over the move by Apple to solder the CPUs instead of socketing them in MacBook Pro models after asking if he could upgrade his MacBook Pro Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo.... Meanwhile, other users are debating the best PDA device with support for Mac OS X.
Apple today released iTunes 7.0.2, adding support for the second-generation iPod shuffle and addressing a variety of stability and performance issues found in iTunes 7 and iTunes 7.0.1. "With iTunes 7 and the new iTunes Store, preview and purchase high-quality hit movies plus new and classic games designed exclusively for the Fifth Generation iPod," Apple wrote on its website. "Flip through your collection by album cover with Cover Flow, protect your iTunes library by backing up to CDs or DVDs, and much more." The update requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later or Windows 2000/XP, and is available for free.
For nearly a year, Sanyo has been producing the Eneloop line of rechargeable batteries. Unlike some rechargeables, Eneloops are said not to bleed power, and can be charged over 1,000 times before losing initial capacity. To complement the batteries, Sanyo has today released an Eneloop solar charger, says Akihabara News. Up to four AA batteries can be placed in the back panel. If you have a USB device such as a phone or a PSP, a port is provided for recharging that as well. Eneloop products are only being sold in Europe and Japan at present, so interested North Americans should check sites such as Amazon.de.
Cooler Master recently launched two cooling systems for high-performance laptops. Both the NotePal and NotePal Wide Screen feature two 70mm, low-speed fans that actively reduce the temperature of the laptop; the operating heat can drop by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the company. The stand is USB-powered and includes a second USB port as a passthrough for a secondary device. Either model is available in anodized black or silver aluminum; the Wide Screen model is specially-made for 15-inch or smaller widescreen systems such as the MacBook Pro. No official pricing has been listed, though the NotePal models are shipping now.
In addition to its recent Stripy Speakers, Firebox is also offering a simple turntable intended for converting vinyl records into digital files. Connecting to any MacOS X or Windows system, the USB Turntable can send the music of any 33 or 45 RPM record to an audio capture program such as Audacity (included with the player) or GarageBand. The less-common 78 RPM format can also be recorded by adjusting the playback speed in editing, Firebox says. Anti-skating control prevents the needle from slipping, and the turntable can plug into any minijack input to double as a conventional record player. Firebox is shipping the device for $228, though sales are currently limited to EU buyers.
XtremeMac today debuted its TuffWrap Accent silicone cases designed to fit Apple's new second-generation iPod nano. TuffWrap Accent is a durable silicone case designed to protect the iPod nano from scratches and dings while offering access to all controls and ports. The case features ridged grips in a complementary color, as well as removable clickwheel and screen protectors. Sculpted from high-grade silicone, the clickwheel protector is a form-fitting insert that offers play-through access alongside the clear, hard plastic-edged screen protector with soft rubber. The TuffWrap Accent case also includes a detachable belt clip that rotates and locks in a variety of positions and secures excess earbud cord. Additionally, each TuffWrap Accent comes with a Universal Dock Well insert that accommodates the iPod nano without having to remove the case. TuffWrap Accent cases are available for pre-order in two color combinations for $25 via the XtremeMac website, and are expected to ship on November 6th.
Gadget Universe is marketing the TC 245, a telescope equipped with a 3.1MP camera. The company claims 15-45x zoom with a 60mm lens, at a range of up to 100 yards. Photos are captured in JPEG format and transferred to an SD card you buy on your own. To preview images, users can rely on either the normal telescope-style viewfinder, or a 2.5-inch LCD. A remote button lets you take shots while minimizing camera-shake. The scope also comes with a protective case. Gadget Universe is selling the 245 for $450, though the company is presently out of stock.
Fujitsu today introduced an all-in-one PC meant to satisfy the frequently space-limited Japanese. Its EK30T draws upon design principles similar to Apple's iMac and mounts the entire computer vertically behind the display, including the optical drive. Fujitsu's system, however, is intended as a basic PC and emphasizes cost over features. The 17-inch EK model is driven by a 1.46GHz Celeron M and is supported by 512MB of RAM as well as an 80GB hard drive. While modest at best, the system is also very energy-efficient, according to Fujitsu. At peak load, the computer draws no more than 82W of power. This most recent all-in-one ships from Fujitsu today for the equivalent of $1,111 US, a low price for the Japanese market. Images of the side and back are available after the jump.
MacTech Magazine today released its new MacTech CD, a disc containing all MacTech content from the 22-year history of the magazine through the September 2006 issue. The CD comes with the new MacTech Viewer software to ease the process of browsing more than 2,800 articles from over 800 industry experts in Mac networking, programming, and technology. The archive contains tutorials, introductions to new technologies, and how-to articles stored in a database for easy access. The archive also includes the complete run of Apple's develop magazine; the FrameWorks journal; information on products; a special WatchMouse widget for server monitoring; source code; open source project info; and third-party product information. The MacTech CD is available for $30.
Firebox is currently offering the Stripy Speakers, a miniature speaker set with a rare level of flexibility. Both satellites can twist to change the direction of their sound without changing position, including directly upwards, Firebox says. The polished aluminum speakers are also controlled through a minimialist central dial: tapping the dome inside toggles the dial between bass, treble, and volume. The dome changes colors to reflect its new settings and will also turn red when the system is muted. The speakers are compatible with any 3.5mm minijack source such as a computer or iPod and can be imported from Firebox for $95.
Pioneer marked the opening of SEMA by announcing a new, deluxe head end unit for car stereos that it hopes will fulfill virtually every requirement a driver may have. The AVIC-D3 uses its 6.1-inch touchscreen as both a control for music functions as well as a display for DVD movies, DivX video, and GPS navigation. The latter feature is comprehensive, according to Pioneer, as the head unit includes maps of North America with over 11 million points of interest. XM Satellite Radio subscribers can integrate an optional tuner for XM's NavTraffic service that provides real-time updates of accidents or traffic flow. Click through for more details.
SwitchEasy today began shipping the RunAway, an Adapter for the iPod Sport Kit designed for runners looking to adapt the kit to 'non-compatible' shoes. RunAway features an organizer/holder function for the iPod Sport Kit Receiver, provides a power button to disable the sensor, and features splash-roof Polycarbonate/ABS construction for easy cleaning. The device comes in sex colors which include white, black, red, orange, pastel blue, and pink to complement most shoe selections. RunAway is available for $8, and the company plans to ship SwitchEasy Tips -- packs of three translucent lens caps in red, orange, and yellow -- in mid-November for $4 each.
Plaxo today launched Plaxo Mobile Plus, its new service offering a single self-updating address book on mobile phones that synchronizes contact information with all other communication tools. The service works with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, AIM, Yahoo! Mail, Apple's Address Book, and Mozilla Thunderbird. Designed to enrich the information within mobile phone address books and eliminate the hassle as well as the time spent manually updating and maintaining mobile phone contact information, Plaxo Mobile Plus provides customers with compatible BREW phones access to over-the-air address book synchronization and backup; 'everywhere' access to the full address book; automatic updates from other Plaxo members; and the ability to choose which contacts to sync to the phone address book while maintaining the ability to access all other contacts over-the-air (pricing was unavailable).
Lowrance premiered its two newest personal GPS units at the opening of the SEMA show today. The mainstream iWAY 250c (pictured) is designed to be portable, Lowrance claims, and has a design not much larger than its central 3.5-inch touchscreen. Standard 2D and 3D map views are included, but the GPS system also ships with a 2GB SD card of map data for North America, ensuring that the 250c can store both the necessary routes as well as millions of points of interest across the continent. Free space on any SD card can be used to store and play MP3 songs as well as JPEG photos. Lowrance is shipping the budget iWAY for $349. Details of the iWAY 600c follow below.
Saitek has developed the Obsidian, a wireless mouse that somewhat resembles the Motorola PEBL. The Obsidian's contours contain five standard mouse buttons, plus a four-mode touchpad, which replaces a scrollwheel. The charger cradle is likewise unusual, laying flat and charging a second battery while the first is still in use. The mouse has 1,000dpi resolution and is only compatible with MacOS X or Windows XP computers. It's currently available for pre-order, but only for £43 ($82) from Interactive Ideas.
Prairie Games today released the Universal Binary version of Minions of Mirth, a multiplayer online role playing game that runs natively on Intel-based Macs. "Minions of Mirth gives the player an incredible amount of freedom in their role-playing experience! It can be played in single player, multiplayer, and even allows friends to run their own custom persistent worlds!." The game features an autopatcher that delivers immediate content and feature upgrades, full single player support, fee-free multiplayer gaming, six-character parties, online alliances with up to 36 characters, and more. Minions features 16 playable classes, 12 playable races, multiclass characters in three careers up to level 100, and three playable realms: Fellowship of Light, Minions of Darkness, and the Monster Realm. Minions of Mirth is available for $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Redcort Software today released Virtual TimeClock Pro 5.3, an update designed to ease the process of managing data backups. The software supports scheduling unattended backups by the hour, day, or week with a new data restore feature to enable fast disaster recovery and easy transfer of data to a new computer. The upgrade provides nearly two dozen interface refinements for an improved overall user experience, and is free for all users enrolled in Redcort Software's Maintenance & Support program. The time and attendance software features support for multiple network interfaces, client connections, and automatic repair of interrupted network connections. Virtual TimeClock 5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is available for $200.
SoundTech Professional Audio has unveiled the LightSnake USB intelligent microphone cable (site not updated), a microphone-to-PC cable with an embedded analog to digital converter and signal booster. The device effectively makes any microphone into a USB microphone, and includes a standard XLR connection on one end with USB connectivity on the other. When connected the LightSnake lights up and flickers while recording, requiring no driver software. SoundTech's LightSnake USB Intelligent Microphone works with Mac OS X and Windows XP, offering digital quality sound input without the need for a sound card, according to the company. LightSnake features include embedded A/D chip technology with audio signal boost to eliminate the need for additional signal conversion devices; Sony Media Software demo DVD that includes Acid, Sound Forge, Vegas, and other applications; and full USB 2.0 compatibility for full-speed operation. The device ships with a 10-foot shielded cable for $70.
RL Development today released QPict Digital Asset Manager 7, a major update to the popular tool for viewing, organizing, searching and batch processing media files. Version 7 includes over 50 new features such as Source List, Organizer List and many others. Company offers a special introduction discount price of QPict 7 Professional. QPict is used by a large number of newspaper publishers, photographers, web designers, institutions, publishing professionals, scientists and educators, but can be used for both professional and personal use. "QPict 7 introduces new intiuitive ways to make organizing media files more efficient. Adding and modifying meta data can now be done via drag and drop. A new customizable source list enables convenient access to all your discs, index files and folders," the company said. The Universal Binary is available for $35 (standard) or $200 (Professional) with a special $100 off the latter version until November 20. A free 20-day trial available.
Nintendo has reversed an earlier decision to exclude DVD playback from the Wii, at least in Japan, GamesIndustry reports. The game console had initially been planned to play DVDs everywhere, but the company later reasoned that this would be an unnecessary expense. A spokesperson is now saying there are "currently plans" for a DVD-ready Wii in Japan. The exact date of its release is unknown, but the same spokesperson cautions Western gamers that they may not receive DVD playback. "There are currently no plans to bring this model to Europe or the US," the spokesperson says.
JVC has debuted the DD-8, a home theatre system that can stream PC content, writes T3. Aside from playing DVDs and music CDs, an onboard network component allows you to browse files from a LAN-connected computer. Users unwilling to string Ethernet cable through their home can opt to use an added wireless router. Video can be upscaled to 720p through an HDMI cable. And though the DD-8 has only three speakers and a subwoofer, JVC claims it can support 5.1 surround sound. A companion model, the DD-3, lets cost-conscious buyers drop network and upscaling support. Neither system has been given pricing or release information.
[Updated with T605 photo] Motorola used its presence at the SEMA car enthusiast show to announce the release of two new Bluetooth car kits. The first of these is the T305 (pictured), a cellphone-oriented hands-free speaker. It can fit easily in someone's palm, Motorola says, making it easy to carry in a pocket as well as useful for conversations outside a vehicle. Despite it size, the T305's battery is expected to last for approximately 14 hours between charges. It can also charge via USB from either a computer or a bundled USB-to-car adapter. Motorola is selling the T305 immediately for $80 online as well as in stores. Details of Motorola's new car kit for music are available after the jump.
Creative Manager today released Creative Manager Pro 8.37, enhancing its ad agency software with the ability to automatically mass email AR invoices to customers with an option for the client to pay via credit card directly from the invoice. The update eliminates the need to hand mail or individually mail invoices, and the latest revision includes improvements to the Transaction Preference function, allowing users to sync vendor invoices from Strata and SmartPlus as 'approved' or 'not approved.' Creative Manager Pro 8.37 also features logic to determine the outstanding open amount on a vendor invoice as it is applied to pre-billed orders when importing from Strata or SmartPlus. The udpate is fre for existing users and requires no installation or conversion. (system requirements were unavailable).
A Swiss company called Pat Says Now is selling the well-timed Ghost mouse, a three-button optical design with a scrollwheel. Its resolution is 800dpi, and it should connect to any computer running MacOS or Windows 95 and up. A PS/2 plug allows the Ghost to connect to computers without a free USB port. Pat Says Now is shipping the mouse direct for €30 ($38), but you can also find the mouse for £20 ($36) at Fabstuff. All Ghosts are covered by a three-year warranty. Click through for a full-sized image.
In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published Apple's newly granted patent for a "Hybrid ground grid for printed circuit board," which relates to printed-wiring board layout capable of reducing electromagnetic emissions and improving the electromagnetic immunity performance while accommodating a wide range of component arrangements and single trace configurations.... Kensington is offering its SX 2000 Speakers for iPod for $50 with free shipping.... A report from Statesman.com suggests that despite Apple's solid reputation, the company is beginning to 'show cracks' in its product quality.... Mungai Mirrors has reduced the pricing of its Huckleberry mirror accessory for MacBook and MacBook Pro owners to $20.... Microsoft has released the final version of Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP with a new user interface, improved online store integration, and enhanced navigation of larger music libraries.... Microsoft's Zune music player won't arrive in the UK until months after the scheduled November 14th North American launch, according to one report.
SGS is planning a new Bluetooth hands-free calling device with unique features, according to a recently uncovered FCC approval. The documents show an adapter with an extendable microphone boom with active noise cancellation, which should help improve audio clarity over other, one-piece designs. The Supertooth Light also has a high-capacity lithium-ion battery that runs for as much as 15 hours on a single charge, roughly 50% longer than most rivals. A mini-USB port is also present to give owners the choice of recharging the battery directly from their PC instead of a dedicated AC adapter. No launch information is revealed in the filing, though FCC approval is often a precedent to a formal release.
Cowon's iAudio D1 serves as a higher-end counterpart to players like the recent F2. It can for instance play and record DAB radio, in addition to the voice and FM options presented by the F2. Likewise, the D1 can play its videos in the superior MPEG-4 XviD format, converted using a bundled software package. Further enhancements to the player include 4GB of storage, a new touchpad control system, and a maximum 30 hours of use through the lithium polymer battery. As with the F2, the D1 will still display photos and text, or play FLAC, MP3, Ogg, WAV, and WMA music files. Advanced MP3 Players is selling the unit for £155 ($295).
Catering to laptop owners who are both style-conscious and who need real portabily, ASUS today expanded its Leather Collection to include the 13.3-inch W6 line. The W6Fp adds either brown or camel-colored leather to both the inner and outer shells of the laptop, improving the style without sacrificing durability or the system's 4.1-pound weight, ASUS says. The performance of the W6 has also been upgraded alongside this new model, with Core 2 Duo processors available between 1.66GHz and 2.33GHz depending on configuration. Each system ships with a matchhing carrying case and USB mouse. Both colors should be available now, though ASUS does not list prices as they can vary depending on individual resellers. Photos of the laptops are available after the jump.
The Kewei Digital Store today opened its doors in Beijing, China, making it the largest Mac and iPod store in the country's capital. The new store spans two floors, with retail items residing mostly on the ground floor. The upstairs is divided between a support center and a classroom suitable for user groups and events. The new store is located in the heart of the Beijing CBD near Guomao Bridge, which is home to the China World Trade Center. The store faces Starbucks at the Jianwai SOHO complex, and BeiMac -- the Beijing Macintosh User Group -- covered the entire event from start to finish, taking nearly a hundred photos of the grand opening. [corrected]
EazyDraw.com has released EazyDraw 2.0.0, an update to the balanced 2D vector drawing application that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The latest revision of EazyDraw includes several new Ribbon and Wall tools; an 'Ungroup-PDF' features for editing line art graphics as well as text of PDF content; French localization for menus as well as palettes; and Japanese localization from a supporting website. LinkBack support allows in-place editing of EazyDraw graphics exported to other Cocoa applications such as Nisus Writer, and the update provides full Spotlight support with improvements to MacDrawII, MacDrawPro, and ClarisDraw imports. Significant performance enhancements and numerous bug fixes accompany better ClarisDraw import in EazyDraw 2.0.0. The software is available for $100, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Enterainment company Big Electronic Games said today that it has begun shipping two new stand-up arcade machines aimed at recreating the original experience of playing classic titles. The Konami Classics edition is a multi-game cabinet that lets users choose between 12 famous titles from the Japanese developer, including "Castlevania," "Contra," and "Frogger." The more focused Golden Tee 3D Clubhouse Edition system includes only the classic golf game but also recreates the original controls, including the trackball used to aim and power shots. Both cabinets require no setup beyond assembly and are available both online and in stores for under $500.
BenQ today unveiled its new MP510, a DLP projector the company says is made for classrooms, offices, or other areas where portability is a crucial factor. The MP510 has a surface area of 8.2 by 10.9 inches -- just smaller than a standard sheet of paper, BenQ notes. The system also weighs 5.9 pounds and is light enough to be carried between buildings. The DLP processing allows for a full 16.7-million color palette, a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 1,500-lumen brightness level. While the device displays only an SVGA (800x600) resolution, it can accept most HDTV formats including 720p and 1080i. Input focuses on analog sources such as VGA, RCA, and S-video. BenQ hopes to ship the MP510 in November for an inexpensive $499.
Eltima Software today released SWF Movie Player, a free 'smart' flash player for Mac OS developed for users who want more than what Adobe Flash Player can offer. Movie controls enable users to easily fast-forward or rewind Flash movies, and window controls include zoom capability as well as restoration to the original movie size. SWF Movie Player searches for flash movies on the host computer, and organizes playlists with support for stacking movies to view them one by one, randomly, or repeatedly. The software features customizable playback quality while providing details on any SWF file, including the name, size, version info, frame rate, and the number as well as the size of SWF elements. SWF Movie Player also offers full support for both SWF movies and Flash Projector files. SWF Movie Player requires Mac OS X and is available for free, while SWF Movie Player Pro ($20) delivers enhanced functionality -- such as the ability to save flash movies regardless of whether it resides on the Web or locally.
Putting to rest initial fears that the device might not be available until the middle of next month, Apple today announced that the second-generation iPod shuffle is now shipping and should be available both in Apple's retail stores and Apple resellers as of Friday, November 3rd. The 1GB flash player had been introduced during the September "Showtime" event but was given no firm release date until today. Notably, Apple states that the new iPod shuffle requires iTunes 7.0.2, which isn't yet available to the public. Early pre-orders of the music player already started shipping this past weekend.
Lava Software is now shipping PasswordVault v5.0, a simple cross-platform password manager that offers auto-filling of Web forms, detailed reports after portable/desktop synchronization, first letter filtering on service names, improved propagation of removed services when synchronizing, a larger font size for better readability, larger buttons , and "greatly" reduced CPU utilization. The new Professional Edition offers additional features for password management and control within organizations, including secure auto-distribution (via shared network drives on LANs or via Web server URLs) and logging of auto-exports and auto-import service changes. Other features in PasswordVault include strong 896-bit encryption, a unique Master Password Recovery System (MPRS), random password generator, auto-lock timer (with clipboard clear), masked passwords, user-defined service categories, etc. The free Lite Edition supports up to 15 services, while Standard ($15) and Professional ($50) are also available. It is available as a Universal Binary and for Mac OS Classic.
Sling Media has released SlingPlayer for Mac OS X beta, a software download for Slingbox customers who wish to view their home TV natively on a Mac. With SlingPlayer for Mac OS X, customers now have the ability to watch and control their home TV from any Mac laptop or desktop located just about anywhere in the world. SlingPlayer for Mac OS X, now in public beta, includes Sling Media’s photo-realistic remote controls as well as the ability to program favorite channels, change viewing modes and of course using SlingStream to optimize the broadband connection on both ends to deliver the best possible video stream. The software is initially only available for U.S. and Canadian customers; however, the company said that support for other regions will follow in the near future. Users can submit feedback via the Web or via email. SlingPlayer is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4--with support for Mac OS X 10.3 planned in the future.
Apple today confirmed that it is shipping its second-generation iPod shuffle, which it claims is the smallest digital music player in the world. The player -- which measures nearly half the size of the original iPod shuffle -- will be available in Apple's retail stores and via Apple Authorized Resellers on November 3rd. The new Shuffle is half a cubic inch in volume, weighing half an ounce with a minimal aluminum design and a built-in belt clip. Apple's second-generation iPod shuffle boasts 1GB of flash memory storage holding up to 240 songs, and is available for $79. "With its ultra-compact design and built-in clip, the new iPod shuffle is the most wearable iPod ever," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing. "The new iPod shuffle completes our all-new lineup of iPods for this holiday season and beyond, and we hope it's going to be a huge hit." Featuring up to 12 hours of battery life and based on the company's original screenless player, the new model allows users to listen to songs in order or randomly 'shuffled.'
Virgin Mobile announced on Tuesday that it would begin carrying a designer flip-phone from Kyocera that will also mark the introduction of new features on the former's cellular network. The Cyclops is a style-oriented phone in Virgin's signature red and white that revolves around a central, 1.3-megapixel camera. The design also features a slim external display for caller ID and ships with games including Lumines Mobile. Click through for details about the phone's new services as well as a detailed photo.
Users of the Slingbox line of media streaming hubs are no longer required to use a Windows PC or specific mobile phones to watch video away from their home, Sling Media announced today. A free public beta of Sling Player for Mac is now available for both American and Canadian editions of SlingPlayer, Sling Media's program for streaming Slingbox video through the Internet regardless of the device owner's location. The initial version is a Universal Binary but requires MacOS X 10.4 in the interests of a quick release, Sling says. Support for earlier versions of the OS as well as additional regions are expected in the future. The Slingbox devices themselves require either a router with Ethernet ports or a wireless bridge.
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Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL