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Briefly: Apple earnings are due next week, a few weeks before its shareholders' meeting, while Keyspan launched a new black enclosure for its Tuneview Remote and IconKits.com released new collections.... Ahead of its May 10th shareholders' meeting, Apple will announce its 2007 second quarter financial results after market close on Wednesday, April 25th and hold a conference call -- available via QuickTime audio -- followed by its quarterly analyst conference call to discuss earnings at 5:00 p.m. ET on the same day.... Keyspan today revealed a new black version of its LCD-based iPod remote. The new black enclosure for its "TuneView for iPod" which provides a new wireless way to manage music throughout your house or office.
Already under attack by Greenpeace for its environmental policies, a new report indicates that Apple will pay $43,200 in penalties to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District for an air quality violation that occurred at its Elk Grove facility in April 2006, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. "When a business neglects to observe air quality regulations the health of our citizens is jeopardized," district executive director Larry Greene said in a news release. The report says the violation occurred over several days as Apple operated its emergency standby generator for a purpose other than maintenance or emergency power. Apple was notified that it violated its permit requirements April 21, 2006 and the report says the penalty is part of a settlement between the district and Apple to resolve violations of air district regulations. The air district's voluntary settlement program is designed to prevent litigation.
Fujitsu has deployed a new laptop in the Loox P subseries of its FMV Biblo systems. At 8.9 inches the P70WN is barely larger than a UMPC, and can effectively operate as one, since the screen can rotate and flip backwards, turning the computer into a touchscreen tablet complete with stylus. Weight is a mere 2.2 pounds. Specifications are otherwise fairly modest, with 1280x768 resolution, 80GB of hard drive space, and the choice of Windows Vista Home as the operating system. The laptop is not expected to be released outside of east Asia. [via Akihabara News]
B2 has expanded its miJam line of musical instruments that work with Apple's iPod and other digital music players by adding the miJam mini line of pocket-sized music makers. New instruments include the miJam Mini Drumpad, Keyz, Guitar, and Mixer. B2's miJam mini Drumpad offers icons for snare drums, bass drum, tom tom, and cymbals; the miJam Mini Keyz presents a miniature keyboard with key icons that is playable by itself or with a music device; the miJam Guitar serves as a miniature guitar that plays riffs and chords when users place a finger on the mini fret board and strum the strum bar; b2's miJam Mini Mixer is a DJ mixer with a range of built-in sound effects, allowing users to select sound effects and scratch two discs in either direction with thumbs or fingertips. B2's miJam Mini instruments are priced at $25 each.
Frequently associated with high-performance systems, ASUS is set to venture into the realm of budget laptops, says the Taipei Times. Having spoken with an anonymous source within ASUS, the publication claims that the first such computers will ship in the second half of the year, and be based on Intel's OLPC-like Classmate platform. A report replied to by the source suggests elevated prices, ranging from $199 to $549; this should come with increased performance however, such as flash drives as large as 40GB. LCD sizes are expected to remain at seven inches.
NTRglobal has announced NTRsupport, a new software solution that offers simultaneous remote control and support sessions or computers running Mac OS, Windows, or Linux operating systems. NTRsupport is designed to allow support professionals to to create an immediate and secure connection between the support agent's computer and a user's Mc or PC, enabling support staff to actually see what is on the user's screen in real time. The software achieves cross-platform support via the Firefox Web browser, which is the only browser that guarantees full compatibility with Mac OS as well as Windows and Linux. NTRsupport works on Intel as well as PowerPC-based Macs, and NTR Labs is working to extend the software's capabilities by adding supplementary support functionality via VoIP (Voice over IP) telephony, videoconferencing, and an installable remote control (IRC) function (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Saitek's US divsion today unveiled its Obsidian designer mouse. In contrast to most of its more colorful mice, Saitek's newer pointer resembles the jet-black stone of its name and achieves the completely smooth effect by replacing the traditional scroll wheel with a touch-sensitive scroll pad and seam-free top buttons. Browser back and forward navigation buttons are hidden in the concentric patterns on the sides.
Although the Apple iPhone is only scheduled to launch in its home region in June, a Chinese import/export firm has already produced multiple listings for the product, complete with photos and specifications that would seem to prove authenticity. Analysis suggests the opposite however, as in some cases there are substantial differences in the designs or interfaces of the phones. The more plausible entries could in theory be signs of early production, but it is more likely that the products are cheap imitations, given Apple's potential ongoing development problems.
Intel continued its news from its Developer Forum in Beijing by revealing a very different processor architecture than it has produced in the past. Codenaeed Larrabee, the x86-based chip design would center almost exclusively around parallelism, tailoring it to code where any simultaneous instructions can be handled at once. Few other details were released, according to Intel, but the CPU would continue to use IA (x86) architecture -- effectively letting it run today's programming for Linux, Mac, and Windows PCs without changes. Special "enhancements" to boost calculation speed for scientific formulas and visualizations, Intel said.
Apple has corrected an earlier post on its WWDC website which read that its keynote speech would span three hours, and is now reporting a keynote length of 1.5 hours. The Cupertino-based company's CEO, Steve Jobs, will address attendees at the Worldwide Developers Conference for 90 minutes, rather than the previously reported double-length of three hours. The confusion is attributed to a simple mistake in updating the official WWDC website, which caused heated speculation about what surprises might have laid in store for keynote attendees during such a lengthy presentation. Currently the keynote is scheduled to run on June 11th from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, instead of 9:00 a.m. to noon as was previously suggested.
Pantech's high-end Korean brand, Sky, has developed a new cellphone with an original control scheme: rather than use a physical keypad, or integrate everything into a single touchscreen like the iPhone, the IM-R200 slides out a second display, which defaults to just presenting number keys. Features will otherwise be relatively standard, such as media playback, a microSD slot and a two-megapixel camera, but it will also play host to 3D sound and 116MB of internal memory. The phone is only scheduled for a Korean release -- click below to see more images. [via Akihabara News]
Chinavasion today stepped up the quality of its near-famous MP4 watch by releasing the Widescreen MP4 Player Watch. The reworked model brandishes a larger 1.8-inch screen for an easier time handling videos transcoded to the less common .MTV format used by the watch. Chinavasion also finds room for a much larger 2GB of flash memory as well as FM radio, voice recording, and a built-in speaker. Although battery life is unrated, the company also promises a low price for the storage. The wide MP4 watch exports from the company in either black or blue for $57, a fraction of the price of devices from its rivals. [via Crave]
Sony is already considering a larger hard drive for the PlayStation 3, the company's SCE divsion admitted today. While the company has alluded to an 80GB model in paperwork, company representative Satoshi Fukuoka for the first time confirmed that the bundled hard disk wasn't set in stone and could see an increase over time. "For users who vigorously store (games and other entertainment content) in the PS3, 20-giga [20GB] is probably going to be too small," he said. "And even 60-giga [60GB] may not be big enough eventually."
Research firm American Technology Research today added Apple to its Focus List and strongly recommended investors to purchase shares of the Cupertino-based company. "While we have been Apple bulls for years, we were hoping to see a similar pullback to last year to become even more aggressive in our stance," said American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. "Given our recent datapoints, we are incrementally bullish and believe investors should buy Apple aggressively at current levels as we add it to our Focus List today." The firm picked up three key iPhone developments in its recent analysis which suggest a material positive impact on the firm's forward assumptions, and raised its estimates above Wall Street consensus as well as its price target to reflect that belief. According to Wu, sources indicate that a rebate or carrier subsidy for iPhone of $50-150 is under serious consideration.
Exotic PC case designer SilverStone today announced final details for its latest model, the SG03. The all-aluminum enclosure is geared to enthusiasts who want a genuinely small PC without sacrificing the performance of a full desktop, and switches from the breadbox shape of most of its rivals to a micro tower. The space allows for dual graphics cards and ample cooling, the case maker says; though a stock 120mm fan at the front can cool most PC components at 21 decibels or less, space for another fan helps draw more heat out of the case in more extreme circumstances.
In addition to revamping its BIBLO notebooks, Fujitsu today also refreshed its Deskpower systems. Receiving the greatest change is the company's unique Deskpower LX: designed as an all-in-one media center, the PC now has a smaller footprint and carries as much as a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo to help with its media decoding work. The top-end model with a 20-inch screen also sports analog and digital TV tuners, an 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi adapter, and 400GB of storage for recording unprotected TV broadcasts. The LX ships on April 20th in the above trim level for $2,271. A basic 3.06GHz Celeron version without the tuners ships for $1,682, while a 17-inch version can also be found with the tuners and a 3GHz Pentium 4 ($2,018) or as the entry-level Celeron ($1,598). More update news follows after the break.
As the gap between rich and poor widens, it has given luxury firms like London's Luvaglio new opportunities, exemplified by a forthcoming laptop priced at a minimum of $1 million. Some of the reasons for its cost are readily apparent: the computer is ornamented with diamonds and other real jewellery, and buyers can choose their own combinations of wood, leather and precious metals to be built into the casing. It is however meant to be an extremely functional computer, with many of the best possible components, such as a Blu-Ray drive and ultra-fast solid-state hard disks. It will also come with its own memory stick and MP3 player, and the highly unusual feature of a self-cleaning screen. The first of Luvaglio's new laptops will be sold in the summer. [via Newlaunches]
Digital Heaven today released AutoMotion 1.5, updating the companion to Apple's Motion software designed to resolve the manual and time consuming process of creating multiple graphics. AutoMotion creates multiple graphics in seconds by merging template styles with text data while managing the revision of those graphics, and displays a live preview as changes are made to each version. The latest release runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, sends first exports to Final Cut Pro in seconds, offers improved file naming options, and adds support for text encoding on imported text files. AutoMotion 1.5 is available for $500, and the update is free for existing customers. The software requires Apple Motion 2.01 or later.
UClick has released Infinite Crosswords for Mac, bringing the classic crossword puzzle to the desktop with familiar gameplay. Players plug missing letters into a grid by solving clues, while a simple menu and interface offer multiple difficulty levels for the same puzzles. Enhanced graphics complement a large assortment of crosswords, and hint options help players through difficult stretches. Infinite Crosswords is available from Macgamestore.com for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Following the Mobile Internet Device, another Intel platform being revealed this week is the "metro notebook." Whereas most laptops are gender-neutral, metros are aimed directly at women; by Intel's philosophy, this mainly involves carrying the computer like a purse, with a correspondingly lighter and smaller body. The current prototype is less than 0.7 inches thick, and weighs 2.2 pounds, which means it can be easily supported by the built-in strap. Leather protects it from the elements. There are other notable features however, namely its secondary "e-ink" screen, which displays content such as books and e-mail even when the rest of the system is off. WiFi, Bluetooth and WiMAX connections can be selected, and Intel would also like the laptop to serve as a quick charging pad, using induction to charge gadgets through simple direct contact. [via The Register]
The latest phone to be announced for Samsung's native Korean market is the SCH-B710, specifically designed around watching mobile TV. The screen rotates 90 degrees mainly to allow widescreen viewing, but curiously, this also appears necessary to access the keypad. A more welcome oddity may be use of picture-in-picture, an option still rare on TV phones. This works best in the 710's vertical orientation, since streams can retain a normal aspect ratio. Samsung will demonstrate the phone in a more formal manner at the upcoming Korea IT Show. [via Akihabara News]
ClipSaver 2.0 ($15) keeps copied text safe by automatically scanning and duplicating the Clipboard, saving text to one or more files. When a single file is chosen, the software inserts separators between entries. The second edition runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and handles text encodings properly, according to the developer. The latest release also performs automatic updates checks. [Download - 4MB] CryptoEdit 1.2 ($20) is designed as a standard text editing program, but protects all saved files and embedded images with Blowfish encryption. Users can add public notes to documents that explain why the file is encrypted, as well as where to retrieve a password. Version 1.2 adds an automatic software update, as well as a new "Lock" command. CryptoEdit includes numerous bug fixes, runs optimally on Mac OS X 10.4, and requires Mac OS X 10.3. [Download - 212KB] EasyIMAP 1.0 ($75) inserts an IMAP socket class into REALBasic with support for all standard IMAP functions, including subscriptions, mailbox listings, and the retrieval of all message parts and flags. The software design is based on the built-in POP3 socket, and aims to support all major IMAP servers as well as most of the protocol's features. The class requires REALBasic 5.5 or later. [Download - 452KB] iWisdom 1.4 (free) collects and manages various quotes as well as observations, organizing the data by author, source, category, and other criteria. Users can run the program in list or editing modes, and a display mode flashes a new entry at set intervals. iWisdom can export data to XML or HTML formats, and the latest release improves the appearance of quotations while allowing the use of XHTML tags. iWisdom 1.4 also enables users to add or or remove of quotation marks. [Download - 3.2MB] Risky Business SOS 2007.042 ($1,500) guides companies through the process of documenting Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling substances as well as hazards and risk assessments. The latest revision introduces the Public Liability module to track claims made against a company, and also includes a "Google-like" instant search menu. Australian users will appreciate a new warning for compliance with Standard 4360. [Download - [form]] seSales 1.5 ($250) is checkout application designed for retail cashiers written completely in Cocoa. The software supports using either keyboard commands or mouse menus to accommodate checkers who are faster with either method. The update includes more options for 80mm receipts, as well as a revised PayPal handler that is used to process credit cards. SeSales requires Mac OS X 10.4 and an active internet connection for credit authorizations. [Download - 6.3MB]
Apple is set to kick off its 2007 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a whopping 3-hour keynote speech, and has added 'coding headstarts' as well as hotel rates to its website. The Cupertino-based company historically uses its WWDC keynote speech to offer in-depth previews of its operating system, elaborate on its overall strategic position, and introduces new hardware or software. The keynote is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 11th, and despite Apple's decision to push back the launch of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard until October, the company has promised to offer WWDC attendees preview versions of the new operating system. Apple previously noted that it was developing several secret features for Leopard, but refused to disclose those features to prevent competitors from copying the new ideas.
JVC on Tuesday released the DD-3, a unique home theater in a box for networked home theaters. At its core is a receiver that handles audio as well as DVD playback and AM/FM radio. While typical, the DD-3 adds an Ethernet jack for streaming music, movies, and photos directly from attached computers. A USB port also provides a convient hook for flash drives and other removable storage.
Dell is set to reinvigorate its now-dead Axim line in force with a new smart device, according to sources in Taiwan. Local firm Quanta is reportedly being tapped to produce a new handset, nicknamed "Fly," that would bring in both a QWERTY keyboard as well as an HSDPA modem for connecting to the Internet at 3G speeds. Windows Mobile 6 Professional would also be preloaded and give Office Mobile software out of the box. Other specifications weren't yet ready but should be determined soon.
Kx Systems has announced kdb+ database and application support for Mac OS X. The update comes as a result of increasing requests from kdb+ developers seeking Apple support, coming in both 32- and 64-bit versions. Kdb+ -- which is Kxsystems' new generation relational database system -- combines a streaming event processor, a 64-bit in-memory and on-disk database, and an expressive development and analytics environment. The software is designed to provide an end-to-end architecture for streaming, real-time, and historical data that enables kdb+ to deliver enhanced performance for high-volume, data-intensive analytics and applications.
Vonage may turn to Sprint in an attempt to save itself from disaster, sources claim. The voice-over-Internet phone company is allegedly willing to accept a buyout from the larger provider in a last-minute bid to get its way out of a near-fatal patent ruling in favor of Verizon last month that would effectively block Vonage from operating on the American rival's network due to patent disputes. A Sprint buyout of Vonage would let the former get a jumpstart on VoIP phone service and give the latter a much needed influx of cash, the sources claimed.
Anawiki Games has released Runes of Avalon, its latest Mac OS X game offering a unique combination of match-three and Tetris mechanics with more than 100 levels. The game features three play modes, an in-depth storyline, and artwork as well as music alongside voice-acting for the storyline segments. "Lost somewhere in the mists of time, Avalon's beauty and grace is threatened. The forests and vales whisper to you of a growing evil and Merlin, your master, has disappeared leaving Avalon unguarded. It is the ambitious and evil Morganna le Fay who is spreading a darkening corruption. Use the Rune Magic that Merlin taught you to rescue your master from Morganna's Tower. Do you have what it takes to save Avalon from Morganna?" Runes of Avalon runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal binary, is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Toshiba this morning crystallized details of new, 16GB flash memory that could dramatically alter the nature of storage. A shrink to 56-nanometer lets the storage maker fit eight 2GB flash elements into a single chip, along with an on-die controller that helps the memory communicate quickly with 15MB/sec reading speeds and 6MB/sec writes. The chip is no larger than most smaller capacity models and should easily fit in music players or cellphones -- offering 4,000 songs in a very small space, Toshiba boasts. The specific 16GB chip should sample in spring with a launch in consumer hardware by the fall, while the company also expects 8GB chips to be ready a few months earlier for a summer release date.
Electronics giant Sharp claims it has developed a new LCD panel which will allow much greater performance than those currently used in devices such as cellphones. Reuters notes that the panel is supposed to have the highest contrast of any two-inch LCD on the market, and most crucially, a response speed three times as fast as any other -- placing it in competition with OLED displays, which are often praised for their response and contrast. Sharp hints that equivalent OLEDs may cost two or three times as much. Unfortunately for electronics buyers, the technology will not become available anytime soon. Sample panel shipments are only scheduled to ship by the end of the year, with full production beginning sometime thereafter. Sharp expects to ramp sales up to $836 million by March 2009.
In brief: InsanelyGreatTees.com has begun another round of voting for five new tee-shirt designs, one Mac Pro owner is using Cadlock's G5 Rackmount kit to secure his pricey new Mac Pro, and a free update to the Art Files collection utility adds support for Adobe Illustrator CS3 documents. Briksoftware has launched codebeach.org -- a website enabling Mac developers to freely share code -- and MidnightApps.com is poised to release Cha-Ching 1.0. InsanelyGreatTees.com is enabling visitors to vote on a new round of tee-shirt designs, one of which reads: "Steve Jobs For President." Other shirt designs include a monkey iPod advertisement, a smiling iPod, a pixel art-style light bulb, and a simple phrase which reads "'640k ought to be enough for anybody.' - Bill Gates, 1981."
Fujitsu made an aggressive push on technology by launching three new notebooks based on Intel's still unofficial Santa Rosa chipset, which boosts system buses as well as memory limits and the speed of integrated graphics. The 15.4-inch BIBLO NF (pictured) features a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo but uses the 800MHz bus to eke more performance out of the system along with 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and a dual-layer DVD burner. In turn, a mysterious update to the 13.3-inch BIBLO MG uses a yet-to-be-known Core 2 Duo as well as the same drive options as its larger sibling.
DataViz last week announced the pre-release of its MacLinkPlus Deluxe v16, featuring new Office 2007 file translators. The software is designed to help users communicate and exchange files with the Windows world and now includes new translators for Microsoft Word and Excel Office 2007 file formats. The translators can convert, open, read and edit Word and Excel files created in Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows. In addition, the latest version adds a new translator for WordPerfect x3 files and now includes software integration with icWord and icExcel for quick and easy viewing of Word, Excel PowerPoint, AppleWorks and ClarisWorks files (a $30 value). The final release with Office 2007 rich file formatting support for Word and Excel will be available by the middle of the second quarter (2007), around the same time as Microsoft's expected beta for its Office 2007 XML converters. Customers who purchase the pre-release of MacLinkPlus Deluxe 16 will receive the full shipping version at no additional cost. The full version is $80, while upgrades are $40.
Apple this week will open two new retail stores in Florida and Colorado. Expected to open on Saturday, the Apple Store The Galleria in Fort Lauderdale (Florida) is located at 2414 E. Sunrise Boulevard: it will open at 10:00 a.m. ET on April 21, 2007, while the Apple Store Park Meadows in Littleton (Colorado) is located at 8401 Park Meadows Center Dr. No. 1150 will open on the same day at 9:30 a.m. MT. Both stores are offering a usual T-shirt Giveaway to the first 1000 people to visit and the opportunity to enter a Grand Opening Sweepstakes to win a Digital Lifestyle Collection valued at nearly $2600 (Grand Prize: a black 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook, ProCare and .Mac membership for 1 year, an iPod nano, an iPod Hi-Fi, iWork, and AppleCare).
NVIDIA this morning finally loosed its mid-range GeForce 8-series cards to the public. Confirming virtually all the early claims, the new cards have the full feature set of the range-topping 8800 but use fewer shader units to trim prices and speeds. The fastest card launched today, the GeForce 8600 GTS, sells for $229 with 32 shader processors, a 675MHz core, and 2GHz effective memory; the $150 GeForce 8600 GT shares the same features at a 540MHz core and 1.4GHz memory, while the basic GeForce 8500 GT sells for as little as $89 by halving the shaders to 16 and using a slower 450MHz core with 800MHz memory speeds.
Lexmark on Tuesday introduced an affordable range of wireless printers with its new 2007 product line as well as two . Eight of Lexmark's 12 new inkjet printers offer wireless capabilities, including its new four-in-one, three-in-one and single-function printers. Expected to ship in the second quarter of 2007, the new line includes the Lexmark X4550 Wireless All-in-One (AIO), the Lexmark Z1420 Wireless Color Printer, and the Lexmark X3550 Color All-in-One with wireless as an optional feature. The printers, compatible with 802.11b/g wireless protocols, are backed with Lexmark's exclusive Protection Guarantee featuring next-business day replacement for up to one year after purchase.
Epson on Tuesday readied a pair of projectors built for especially large rooms. The PowerLite 1810p and 1815p equally manage a strong 3,500 lumens of brightness that can fill rooms as large as an auditorium. The 1024x768 displays also boast a 1.6X optical zoom and fine-grained tuning of individual colors with video input handled by VGA, S-video, and RCA jacks. The 1810p is the core model at $2,699; the 1815p at $2,999 is the highlight through its cable-free abilities, Epson says, with 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Ethernet for networked presentations as well as a USB type A port for playing photos and videos directly from a flash drive or hard disk. Both ship this month.
Quickly following up on earlier leaks, SanDisk today launched the Sansa Shaker. The screenless music player is aimed directly at kids with its namesake feature letting listeners shake the player to skip tracks. Music sharing is also a centerpiece feature: aside from a built-in speaker, the Shaker also fits dual headphone jacks for listening with a friend. The cost is just as kid-friendly, based on SanDisk's claims: storage is provided solely through SD cards, with a 512MB card included at the $40 price that gives starting space as well as the option of swapping out for up to 2GB later. The Shaker will be ready late this month in blue or pink and comes with a single AAA battery that provides 15 hours of MP3 tunes. A full image follows the break.
Nokia this morning launched its second phone this week with the advent of the 6120 Classic. The emphasis this time is on a simple but elegant design, according to the company. Where most 3G wireless phones are typically complicated smartphones, the 6120 is a straight bar phone that can easily fit into a pocket at 15mm (0.59 inches) thick. The benefits of faster Internet access are still present, however, with a front VGA camera to complement the 2-megapixel rear model. This latest handset is also ready for music with a microSD card slot and stereo Bluetooth. Click through for launch details and a gallery in the phone's black and silver colors.
Telestream on Monday announced direct integration of its Episode Series media encoding applications with Compressor 3, Apple's new encoding tool included with Final Cut Studio 2 as well as new updated Final Cut Pro components. The integration expands encoding capabilities for Final Cut Studio users to an extensive array of video and audio formats and encoding settings including Flash 8, Windows Media and VC-1, as well as broadcast specific formats like GXF, IMX, MPEG-2 4:2:2 and high profile H.264. Episode provides an extensive range of SD and HD file format support and includes optimized codecs as well as hundreds of filters and fine-tuning compression capabilities.
SmartSound at NAB launched Sonicfire Pro 4.5 and its new BackStage service. Sonicfire Pro 4.5, an update to the companyís music and scoring technology for film and video professionals, features Smart Recall, which brings new customization options to music tracks exported as standard audio file formats. Sonicfire Pro music scores which have been exported as .WAV or .AIFF files are now embedded with the project information used to create the track. The company said that scores can be opened in Sonicfire Pro 4 directly from a video editing timeline to make changes for length, arrangement and mix as a production evolves.
Dolby at NAB showcased its latest audio-enhancing broadcast solutions, including Universal versions of Dolby Media Producer, a professional line of four software products for audio mastering, including encoding, decoding, and supporting tasks. The solutions support Dolby audio technologies for disc-based media formats such as HD DVD, Blu-ray Disc, DVD-Video, and DVD-Audio. The company also announced Dolby Media Encoder SE, which provides the same quality and functionality as the Dolby Media Encoder network version but is designed for single-computer use. The Universal versions of its applications for all Dolby Media Producer products will run natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based systems. A bundle of all three Dolby Media Producer professional software products, including Dolby Media Encoder, Dolby Media Decoder, and Dolby Media Tools is $11,000; it requires Mac OS X v10.4.
AJA today unveiled its Io HD as well as two new converters, and released a software upgrade to its XENA line of video playback and capture cards. The Io HD (site not updated) is the next generation of AJA's Io series, delivering HD editing to the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro. Io HD is the first device to natively support Apple's newly introduced ProRes 422 post production format in hardware, and supports SD editing workflows. The Io HD features up-, down-, and cross-conversion at 10-bit hardware-based quality while boasting robust connectivity via a slew of professional analog and digital interfaces. The portable device works with Apple's new Final Cut Pro 6 software for professional editing, as well as with other QuickTime applications on Mac OS X for graphics, audio, and digital content creation.
Veenix Software today released Font Tools 7.0, an update to its integrated Mac OS X tools for previewing, printing, organizing, and working with fonts. The latest release adds a new font preview pane in the Visual Font Database window, which is collapsible and customizable offering a quick way to sample a word or phrase through many fonts. Font Tools 7.0 also introduces several new built-in auto-detection font categories designed for inline and outline fonts, shadow and fonts, math and pi fonts, expert and fraction fonts, and small and drop cap fonts. Veenix Font Tools is priced at $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Alien Skin Software today released Mac Universal updates for all of its Photoshop plug-ins. Updated plug-ins include Snap Art, BlowUp, Exposure, Xenofex 2, Image Doctor, Splat!, and Eye Candy 5: Textures, Nature, and Impact. Alien Skin's Photoshop plug-ins provide numerous visual effects via a simple point-and-click interface with user-definable settings for many plug-in features. The updates are compatible with the forthcoming Photoshop CS3 release from Adobe, and Alien Skin's Universal plug-ins provide a significant performance increase on Intel-based Macs. Registered users can receive free updates for any Alien Skin plug-ins purchased on or after January 1, 2007. New users can purchase the updates for $20 each for up to three titles, after which additional titles are available free of charge.
Aero Quartet has released SimpleMovieX 3, a movie editor for Mac OS X with a feature set that roughly resembles Apple's QuickTime Pro software. SimpleMovieX extends editing capabilities to other popular video formats including AVI, Google Video, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. The latest release supports Chapters as a simple way to structure long movies and split them into clips. SimpleMovieX 3 also features a batch converter, as well as an Audio Waveform tool to make sharp audio editing and synchronization. The software provides a search pane to quickly locate a sequence, and offers an adaptable timeline for accurate playhead positioning even in large duration movies. SimpleMovieX is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
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Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
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 Herm√©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