Copyright © 2015
Apple, Sony, and Nintendo are the only companies to sell 100 million in sales of a single product family. Sony did it in the 1980s and 1990s with the walkman cassette player, but it took the electronics giant more than 13 years (but it sold over 350 million units)--making it the most popular electronic device in history; the company reached the 100 million milestone again with its PlayStation 2 game console--this time in five years and eight months and Nintendo's GameBoy system reached the same milestone in 13 yrs, but it appears that Apple holds the record--although the classification includes all of the iPod family. According to Forbes, Apple reached 100 million iPods in five-and-a-half years, making the iPod the fastest selling music player in history--an achievement that is likely to stand in the record books for the foreseeable future. [updated]
Apple today quietly aired a new TV commercial that introduces its Apple TV set top box device. The ad, which features actor 'Jack Black' in the motion picture 'School of Rock,' shows the film playing first on a computer, then on an iPod, and finally on the TV in the living room. The narrator of the ad says a series of simple phrases to accent the visual images, as viewers are led from room to room in the home: "It's on your computer. It's your iPod. Now, it's on your TV." One user managed to capture the advertisement this morning while watching CNBC, and Apple has yet to post the new ad on its website officially.
Apple today released an update to its AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n networking capability on the heels of networking issues reported by customers. The update includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the newest AirPort Extreme Base Station. Apple released another AirPort Base Station update in late March that offered general fixes and compatibility updates for its AirPort Utility, AirPort Admin Utility for Graphic and Snow Base Stations, AirPort Disk Utility, and AirPort Disk Agent. The latest revision -- Firmware 7.1 -- addresses security issues related to incoming IPv6 connections, as well as potentially viewable filenames on a password-protected AirPort Disk to users on the local network.
ApertureToFTP Pro 1.5 (free) is an export plug-in for Apple's Aperture 1.5 post-production photography software that allows users to export images directly from the Aperture library. The software enables users to browse remote files or create new folders and bookmarked servers. ApertureToFTP Pro 1.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.2MB] SpamSieve 2.6.1 ($30) is a free update to the spam filtration system for Mac OS X. The latest release fixes a regression where SpamSieve would not launch when users had a large number of Mac OS 9 sound files, and repairs a bug where Thunderbird messages which were manually marked as junk were not moved to the junk folder. The latest revision also includes a change to prevent crashes on Mac OS X 10.4.9 when quitting in response to a mail program quitting. [Download - 3.9MB] TinyBooks 4.0.4 ($50) brings an improved Reports window with the ability to sort generated items by check number. TinyBooks is designed as a simple and flexible single-entry bookkeeping and accounting system for Mac users. The application includes intuitive suport for handling taxes from any country, including state sales tax and GST (Goods and Service Taxes) as well as PST (Provincial Sales Taxes). [Download - 232KB] Photo Mechanic 4.5 ($150) enhances the standalone image browsing software designed for professional digital photographers. The application features batch captioning, renaming, quick browsing, and Photoshop connectivity features while displaying thumbnails of photos on a camera disk or folder. Photo Mechanic 4.5 offers full Unicode support for IPTC editing, and enables users to specify the IPTC character encoding when Unicode is not used. [Download - 12.2MB] Thunderbird 2.0 RC 1 (free) is the latest beta release of Mozilla's e-mail client. The final product will include tabbed messages and custom panes such as 'Unread,' 'Favorites,' and 'Recently Used.' The software will also support tagging messages, and will block more spam through an improved Bayesian algorithm. Thunderbird is a Universal Beta and is available in more than two dozen languages. [Download - 17.7MB] Poser 7 Content Exporter (free) allows registered owners of Poser 7 to export models to the 3D layer of Adobe's Photoshop CS3 Extended. While a registered copy of Poser costs $250, users without the program can download 16 free models that are already converted to the proper format. Sizes for the models range from 0.3MB to 4MB, and include objects such as aliens, mannequins and skeletons. [Download - [serial number required]
In brief: Apple today promoted its iPod sales milestone, while a guide shows how to dual-boot both Mac OS X and Windows XP on a PC and Apple expects to open its first store in Alabama later this week. To accompany its announcement of selling over 100 million iPods, Apple has also posted a special splash image on its front page, depicting a collage of iPods in the shape of a heart. This same image has found its way into a full-page newspaper ad, which was printed today in the Wall Street Journal. The first iPod was originally released in November 2001, and featured only 5GB of storage and a black & white screen (clickwheel not included).
A new survey of 500 teenagers' buying patterns and brand preferences suggests that Apple's iPod market share grew to 82 percent from 79 percent last fall, and that 84 percent of students surveyed had heard of the iPhone. The 13th bi-annual study conducted by research firm Piper Jaffray also revealed that 25 percent of participants said they would pay $500 for an iPhone, and that 89 percent of those students who legally purchase music online use iTunes -- down slightly from 91 percent last fall. "Apple's dominance in the portable media and online music markets is going largely unchecked," said Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "Also, iPhone awareness among students is high, and 25 percent show interest at the $500 price-point. We believe that the teen demographic is a critical component of long-term growth in both markets, and Apple is clearly leading the category." Piper Jaffray maintains its 'outperform' rating on Apple shares with a $124 price target.
Internet video provider Akimbo today said it would give a new PC viewing option for its service. Having already beaten the Apple TV and Unbox on TiVo by releasing its Internet-based TV hub years earlier, the company will use Roxio's Venue to not only allow downloads of movies and TV shows but to burn DVDs that are playable on most DVD players. Also part of the introduction is a deal with the NHL that will see full hockey games available either for the Akimbo set-top box or the PC within 48 hours of game day. A two-week beta should start on April 16th and will require a Windows XP or Vista system. Changes in pricing weren't announced.
With T-Mobile discontinuing its MDA phone, the carrier may be seeking a replacement. MyMobile911 suggests it is the Wing, essentially a rebranded HTC P4350 (Atlas). T-Mobile's changes are primarily blue rubber casing, and an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6; the phone otherwise appears to be unchanged, featuring a 2.8-inch touchscreen and a spring-loaded slider keyboard. Other highlights include 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and a two-megapixel camera. A microSD card can be used to hold photos as well as AAC, MP3, WAV and WMA files. T-Mobile should begin carrying the Wing in August.
Microsoft has quickly followed up today's news of its Xbox 360 keyboard attachment for instant messaging with hands-on details and images. Although the keyboard is large, its weight and location between the handles makes it it virtually unnoticeable until it's needed, according to Microsoft's John Porcaro. Importantly, the device will also include a new headset to keep voice chats an option once the keyboard occupies the normal headset port. Microsoft's commentary did not include any more concrete launch details but did include a photo set, highlights of which can be found after the jump. [via GamerScore Blog]
Confused Apple customers are taking their questions to the Cupertino-based company's own support forums, asking about a potential bug in the new MacBook Pro's AirPort Extreme cards as well an inability for some Windows iTunes users to access the iTunes Store in certain ways. Numerous users on Apple's support forums are discussing a lack of internet connectivity from MacBook Pros, even on networks where other Macs can connect unhindered. Further issues with Windows iTunes users suggest that the company's online store may be experiencing technical difficulties related to searches. Users are reporting sporadic connectivity with "Network connection timed out" errors when searching for content on the iTunes Store, and have discovered several temporary tricks that seem improve connectivity for some users. Apple has yet to offer a solution to the problem, but told one user that the company is aware of the issue and is working to remedy the situation.
The next level of mobile broadband could be a tremendous help to both music labels and video operators, companies from both fields have said. Fourth-generation wireless, which should appear in the US primarily through Intel's WiMAX standard, should drastically lower the costs of downloading media by not only speeding access but taking the burden off of typically cramped cellular networks, which even with third-generation EVDO (from Sprint and Verizon) or HSDPA (from AT&T) struggle to handle heavy downloading. WiMAX is closer to Wi-Fi and pleases labels who could expect to see more income from every track.
Dell today marked the last chapter in its Axim handheld line by quietly removing the last of the handhelds, the x51v, from its company store. The Axim line was one of the most popular PocketPC (and later Windows Mobile 5) devices upon its launch in 2002 due to the abundance of features for the price, but was gradually eclipsed as media players, smartphones and similar multi-function devices took hold. Support for existing Axims is likely to continue. A new PDA or smartphone successor has been rumored but isn't expected to see an actual launch in the foreseeable future. [via Mobility Site]
Sanyo on Monday launched a pair of Gorilla GPS units built to handle the rigors of urban driving. Both the SB250DT and SD200DT (pictured) have doubled their storage to 2GB to contain as many as 3 million locations, including a true 3D mode with textures that help replicate the road from the driver's perspective. Each also has a 1Seg digital TV tuner for watching shows with the 4.5-inch touchscreen display. The new Gorilla line further makes a concession to eco-friendly driving, Sanyo says: ECO Drive cautions if it believes driving is unnecessarily wasteful.
Although the $600 price of the 60GB PS3 has been one of the major complaints about Sony's console, the 20GB model ($500) is becoming increasingly hard to find, notes PC World. Major retailers such as Best Buy have stopped sales entirely, and even Sony itself no longer lists the product on its SonyStyle website. This is a reaction to sales, says Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for the company's gaming division. "The line-up [at SonyStyle] is decided based on market demand and so it's not surprising that they are not selling it on their Web site but if you go to a retailer you can find it." He adds that the 60GB model has always been more popular. These developments are perhaps not unexpected, as gamers can already buy a 20GB Xbox 360 for $400, and Microsoft will launch a 120GB 360 on April 29th for $480. Sony appears set to counter this with an 80GB PS3.
Razer has announced that its Pro|Type keyboard for iPod owners has at last shipped. Originally revealed in August, the keyboard includes a universal iPod dock that charges and synchronizes any dockable model of Apple's signature music player. A line-out jack will also play music directly from the iPod through headphones or speakers. Two free USB ports are provided for mice and other devices; the keyboard itself has both media buttons and ten programmable buttons, each of which can be mapped as part of ten user-set profiles. The keyboard is available in white from Razer at a price of $130.
BriteMac has released VM2Go 1.21, a maintenance update to the utility that offers additional flexibility in the management of virtual machines created with Parallels Desktop. VM2Go enables users to transfer virtual machines from a Macs to iPods, and supports running the virtual machine from the iPod or another Mac where Parallels Desktop is installed. The latest release allows users to manually enter serial numbers, and the software remembers the window placement each time it launches. A new About Box shows the registered serial number, if applicable, and VM2Go 1.2 users can automatically update on startup or via the Check for Update command in the application menu. VM2Go 1.21 is priced at $15 for new users, and the update is free for registered users (system requirements were unavailable).
While the likelihood of Apple's iPhone arriving in Canada has lately been cast into doubt, an increasing number of prospective buyers in the country are up in arms over restrictive data limits that threaten to cripple the iPhone's usefulness. Starting a petition, a group of potential owners have decried a 25MB limit on its typical Internet access as arbitrary, pointing out that Rogers has the most expensive data rates of any carrier in North America -- even compared to its own Palm Treo plan and its Fido sub-division. "Users have paid several hundred, and in some cases more than $1000, during one month for data usage," read the complaint. They "would have not been charged extra on any other North American carrier on their best data plan."
MacSoft today announced Age of Empires III: WarChiefs for Mac, the first expansion pack for Ensemble Studios' strategy game. "Age of Empires III sets the bar for real-time strategy gaming, with amazing 3D graphics, Ageia PhysX technology, and an innovative Home City feature that lets players strengthen their economy, technology, and military. Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs further expands the depth of the game, with a roster of new features." Those new features include playable Native American civilizations, a new single-player campaign, enhancements to European civilizations, and extended gameplay. Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs is expected to ship this spring as a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel-based Macs for $30.
Sony's headquarters in Japan has announced a new portable DVD player, the DVP-FX850. Its key feature is its screen, which is not only an impressive eight inches diagonally, but can rotate 180 degrees to lay flat, creating a more compact playing area. Video resolution is a fairly high 800x480. Another impressive aspect is battery life, which at six hours is enough to view up to four complete movies. Japanese buyers may appreciate the CPRM compatibility, which will later enable the playback of recorded digital TV broadcasts. The FX850 goes on sale May 1st at an open price.
SanDisk today joined forces with Yahoo to offer Wi-Fi access to multiple internet features from Yahoo's site via its 4GB Sansa Connect jukebox. The player, combined with the newly bundled services, stands to ramp up competition with Apple's market leading iPod portable players, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Sansa Connect doesn't require a host PC to utilize Yahoo's internet features, and supports direct music downloads for Yahoo's Music Unlimited To Go service. The device can browse Flickr photo sets, view Yahoo Messenger contacts as well as their music, and can stream internet radio from Yahoo's LAUNCHcast service. The Connect is already available for $250 with the Flickr, LAUNCHcast, and Yahoo Messenger services offered for free. The Music Unlimited To Go feature requires a paid subscription, however.
Sales of next-generation movies are still extremely low despite almost a year on the market, according to figures (ZIP file) from Nielsen VideoScan. While the Blu-Ray edition of Casino Royale has sold well at over 28,000 copies sold in its first week, many titles have sold less than this in ten months, such as The Fifth Element. Some movies have even sold fewer than 200 copies since they first appeared on the market, the study showed. Most of the top ten all-time and weekly titles as of March 18th were Blu-Ray titles. The numbers don't include sales from Wal-Mart and similar general chains but point to either standard as clearly outnumbered by standard DVDs, which are more established and have substantially lower prices. [via High Def Digest]
Nokia has at last begun selling the N95, the latest in its self-styled series of "multimedia computers" (smartphones). One of its most interesting features is two-way sliding, giving quick access to music controls in one direction, or a standard keypad in the other. The phone also comes equipped with GPS mapping, as well as a five-megapixel camera, and the option of EDGE or HSDPA broadband -- the latter being capable of speeds as fast as 3.6Mbps. Other connection options include Bluetooth, WiFi and USB 2.0. The N95 should be on sale for $749 in major cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
In brief: A representative of Rogers Wireless in Canada has said that the company will offer Apple's iPhone in Canada, IK multimedia has released a Universal update to its T-RackS audio software, and content-hungry Apple TV fans managed to crash Hungryflix.com in their rush to view the first feature length film formatted for the Apple TV, titled "Wages of Sin." MediaClick today launched a zero-cost self publishing option for authors that includes a free listing on eBay, and Data Robotics has unveiled a new external hard drive enclosure that automatically detects as well as formats up to four 3.5-inch SATA drives. A recent CBC report stated that Rogers Wireless in Canada had not announced plans to carry Apple's iPhone, but that report conflicts with two sources this week who spoke with Rogers representatives. One representative known only as Amanda said Rogers will offer the iPhone in Canada, but noted that the company is unsure of the exact release date.
Western Digital has begun shipping SATA hard drives which may soon find their way into a number of DVR systems. The company's AV drives are specifically built for long-term use, and exploit technologies such as IntelliSeek, which dynamically adjusts seek speed to save power and reduce noise -- the latter being especially important when watching television. Western claims that the drives are in fact so quiet as to be barely within the threshold of human hearing. The AV line should also be able to record multiple broadcasts simultaneously: Western estimates a total of 12 HD streams, or 16 standard-definition streams. Ramp loading, meanwhile, should not only reduce power use but increase reliability, keeping the head off the surface of the disc except when absolutely necessary. Capacities range from 80 to 500GB.
Sony today revealed a co-developed technology that it hopes will take control from LCDs and other flat panels. Called a Field Emission Display, the technique is similar to Canon's SED in merging the best of tube TV and LCD technology by firing electrons at each pixel instead of scanning lines. This eliminates the distortion of CRT tubes but keeps the fast responses and a 20,000:1 contrast ratio roughly ten times better than the static ratios for most LCDs. Power consumption also drops in the process, Sony adds.
SimpleTech (a part of Fabrik) has begun shipping a line of external hard drives with an unusually refined look. The SimpleDrive series is designed by Pininfarina, the same company responsible for cars like the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti K. The drives have suitably sleek curves and lines, and come in different colors depending on their capacity, such as a bright red for 160GB or black for 500GB. Perhaps most notable is the top capacity of 1TB, which is still rare in terms of internal hard drives, much less external ones. Each drive currently comes with backup software and a USB 2.0 interface; May will see the release of combo USB 2.0/FireWire 400 products. Prices for the USB-only models start at $99 for 160GB.
A complete launch strategy for NVIDIA's first mid-range GeForce 8-series cards has been leaked, say websites receiving their review units. The entire line will cost considerably less than the current 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS, selling at most for $229 with the 256MB GeForce 8600 GTS while starting at as little as $89 for the basic 128MB GeForce 8500 GT. There will also be less expensive, 400MHz GeForce 8300 GS and 450MHz GeForce 8400 GS cards available for larger system builders whose prices haven't revealed, the leak says. All cards will be announced on April 17th and should be available almost immediately as stand-alone upgrades. Their use by system builders such as Apple and Dell hasn't been revealed and should vary in ship dates and price. [via DailyTech]
Fabrik today began shipping a new desktop family of SimpleTech SimpleDrive external storage and backup solutions designed by Pininfarina. The SimpleDrive desktop family is designed for portability, providing easy add-on storage and backup capabilities. The drives feature USB 2.0 connectivity, and come pre-loaded with One-Click backup software to protect selected files or an entire volume. A built-in light ring acts as a capacity meter for quick viewing of disk space utilization, and all SimpleDrives include a free 2GB online account to store, organize, embed, and share content online. The drives are designed for quiet operation in a variety of colors and capacities, including fire red (160GB), pearl white (250GB), sapphire (320GB), onyx (500GB) and charcoal gray (750GB and 1TB). Pricing begins at $100 for the 160GB model, with dual-interface USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 models set to ship in May.
Toshiba Matsushita Display this morning unveiled what it says is one of the largest ever polymer OLED screens produced. Advancements in uniformity and electrodes have let the partnership produce a 20.8-inch display that it hopes will usher in a newer generation of computer monitors and TVs. Like most OLED panels, the new example is thinner and more power-efficient than today's LCDs due to the lack of a backlight; it also has much wider viewing angles as well as a virtually instant response time ideal for fast action. Production of the new screen for final products isn't available, though TMD will showcase the screen at the Tokyo Big Sight expo on the 11th. A 1280x768 resolution for the prototype will likely see it introduced first for smaller TVs.
Code by Kevin has released Phynchronicity 1.0, a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Fink Unix-software package management system on Mac OS X. Fink is a command-line tool for installing and updating thousands of Unix-based applications for the Mac, and Phynchronicity provides a simple three-pane interface that makes Fink easy to use. The graphical front-end covers all of the basic Fink commands, including installing, deleting, and retrieving information about Unix software packages. Phynchronicity also updates the Fink infrastructure itself, and allows users to browse available software by category. Phynchronicity is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Intel today added a new speed grade to its quad-core Core 2 Extreme line. The QX6800 reaches 2.93GHz -- matching the same speed as the dual-core X6800 released just last year while doubling the number of cores as well as the level 2 cache, which now tops 8MB spread across all four cores. Like the earlier Extreme models, the 2.93GHz version also sports an unlocked multiplier to encourage overclocking without much extra modification. The QX6800 represents the fastest officially released quad-core Intel processor, complementing the faster but unofficial 3GHz Xeon used in Apple's Mac Pro. Processors running at the new clock rate are price at $1,199 in large volumes. [via DailyTech]
Quark today released QuarkXPress 7.2, the latest update to the industry-leading software for graphic design and multi-channel page layout. Available as free download to all existing QuarkXPress 7 customers, it provides performance improvements and addresses customer input. The update also aligns support for recent announcements, including Windows Vista and Quark XPert Tools Pro XTensions, and new language support with user interfaces in five additional languages — Czech, Greek, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), and Turkish. Also included in the update are usability enhancements to Job Jackets, a unique workflow feature that provides quality control and facilitates collaboration. In addition, users can specify resolutions for different types of objects, specifically vector graphics, drop shadows, and blends; QuarkXPress 7.2 also supports Kodak’s new CMM that adds Black Point Compensation. The full version is $750; a 30-day demo is available online as well.
Derbrill Software has released its newest game for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows titled ZACK! The strategy game is based on the concept of placing tiles to build bridges, and each tile must match the color of adjacent pieces. Four basic colors to tiles in the beginning make building bridges simple, but as players progress the game adds two more colors alongside 60 "combo" colors. Once a complete row or column is filled, it is removed from the grid. Occasional joker tiles work next to any color, helping players get out of tough situations. ZACK! is available for $9, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
SanDisk today announced a team-up with Yahoo for its recently unveiled Sansa Connect jukebox. The 4GB player can now use its Wi-Fi to access multiple Internet features from Yahoo's sites without requiring a host PC: besides supporting direct music downloads for Yahoo's Music Unlimited To Go service, the device can now browse Flickr photo sets, view Yahoo Messenger contacts and their music, or stream Internet radio from Yahoo's LAUNCHcast service. The Connect is already available now and ships for $250; Flickr, LAUNCHcast, and Yahoo Messenger services are free, while the Music Unlimited To Go feature requires a paid subscription.
Apple today revealed that it has sold 100 million iPods, turning the device into the fastest-selling music player ever, the company boasts. The benchmark figure was reached only five and a half years after the November 2001 debut of the 5GB original and comes after eleven different generations of iPods, including five editions of the flagship model. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was enthusiastic in reporting the news. "At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success," he said. "iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that."
Creative's speaker-oriented division Cambridge today announced that it was shipping the 820HD. The company's premium deskside radio tunes into HD Radio broadcasts and supports all the HD2 standard's features, varying from higher-quality sound to song information, traffic, and weather. AM and FM legacy support are built-in alongside a dual alarm for different sleep schedules and aux input for sound through iPods and other portable audio. The 820HD should be available today in either black or white shells at a $300 price and comes bundled with an IR remote.
One of Japan's largest cellphone carrers is about to try its hand at the American market, according to the company. KDDI said on Monday that it would launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) dubbed KDDI Mobile that will use Sprint's existing backbone to provide its own take on phone service. The expansion was triggered in part by success at home, reports said. Although no devices or a specific timeframe were given, the introduction may clear a path for previously Japan-only phones such as the Sony-Ericsson W51S to make their first appearances in the US. KDDI will also present a key challenge to Helio, which runs on the same network and is backed by the Korean provider SK Telecom.
Microsoft on Monday continued its efforts to expand the Xbox 360 feature set by announcing new instant messaging functions for users of the popular gaming device. On the heels of expanded HD video content and a new HDMI-enabled Xbox 360 Elite, the company now promises users the ability to run Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360, allowing them to easily connect and chat directly from their television with a network of more than 260 million active users. Expected to be available beginning the week of May 7, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will add the ability to text chat--in addition to video and voice chat functions--with up to six people on a user's contact list at one time--while playing games, listening to music or watching movies.
Apple's new set-top box continues to draw the interest of enthusiasts with new hacks for displaying RSS feeds on Apple TV and for video game emulation. Following last week's revelation that Apple is not disabling hacked devices, over the past few days readers have developed a RSS plugin for Apple TV that offers the ability to display RSS feeds (version 1.x/2.x) within the Apple TV interface. While still in beta, the plugin is expected to be updated with support for ATOM feeds and video RSS feeds (streamed rather than synced via iTunes). The download includes an RSS plugin for Apple TV's "Back Row" application (the Finder replacement that controls the Apple TV interface on the device) as well as sample files for adding custom RSS feeds.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.09 ( + 0.08 )
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
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.