It's always a balancing act of needs versus value
With iPhones, you always know when to upgrade -- it's every two years (three if you're sentimental), when your contract expires. With iPads, the question gets a bit trickier -- its intended as a device for "light duty" users, so they'll likely get some extra mileage out of it. With Macs, however, there's a real question once you've passed the four-year mark: should I upgrade the machine (if possible)? Should I sell it and get a new one? In this Pointers, we'll look at some of the factors that can tip the balance on that decision.
We call it â€“ but the decision is close
It's been a week since OS X El Capitan was released, and still we're arguing over whether to upgrade or not. We're not saying it's the Jets and the Sharks here, not exactly, but opinions are strong -- and if voices aren't raised, then it's because we're chiefly typing at each other. Still, it's seven days in, and we've got some staff proposing Five Reasons to Upgrade while others stand behind Five Reasons to Skip El Capitan for Now. It's time to call it before Apple announces OS X Alcatraz.
You're busy, it takes time, but you'll be glad
There's is no doubt that you have at least a little interest in your Mac and OS X, or you wouldn't have read to the end of this sentence. Yet, it's equally sure that you're busy, it's certainly sure that updating will take longer than you think, and for once it is less obviously sure that you should do it. Trust us on this one, though: the upgrade is worth your time.
Emphasis on new releases is on speed, efficiency, features
Apple on Wednesday issued the final version of its latest upgrade for OS X, known as 10.11 El Capitan. The new version, named after a precipice in Yosemite National Park, builds upon the foundation laid down by Yosemite in much the same way Snow Leopard was a polishing of the transitional technologies found in Leopard, or Mountain Lion was a refinement of the numerous changes seen in Lion. The upgrade is free for all qualified machines.
Upgrade must be installed through companion app on iPhone
On Monday, Apple released the slightly-delayed watchOS 2 for Apple Watch, following the discovery and fixing of a "critical" bug that prevented its release alongside iOS 9 last Wednesday as originally planned. The new upgrade has a new build number to reflect changes made to fix the undisclosed error in the "golden master," and is now available for download through the Apple Watch companion app on iOS devices.
Clear the decks, batten the hatches, its going to be a moderate-to-very bumpy ride
As it is coming round once again to the time when major OS X and iOS upgrades are due (iOS 9 out now, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan is coming at the end of the month -- watchOS 2 has been slightly delayed due to the last-minute discovery of a showstopper bug), it seems like a good time to review tips on how to smoothly transition from one version of an Apple OS to the next without undue pain and gnashing of teeth.
From 'so what?' to 'oh wow' in 20 minutes
Should you wait a day or two before you upgrade to iOS 9? We advise it, but only because that's sensible whenever something big rolls out to so many people at once. Sometimes, it's hard to wait for the greatest from Cupertino, and that's partly why your first reaction to iOS 9 is going to be quizzical. You'll go through what is hopefully a quick upgrade process and, picking up the iPhone or iPad, may even turn it around looking for any signs of something different.
New 3D title support, expanded camera formats, precision color grading, more
On Monday, Apple upgraded its professional video suite, Final Cut Pro, and two of its supporting programs, Motion and Compressor. Final Cut is now up to version 10.2, which features better 3D title support, more camera formats, the ability to view more scopes simultaneously, and improved masking. Motion, now at version 5.2, also includes more options for 3D titles, with more third-party options coming soon. Compressor 4.2 gets a general speed bump, and improves its ability to make a movie sale package for iTunes.
Hard drive can be upgraded, possibly RAM, but voids warranty to do so
Server farm and hosting provider Macminicolo has posted its preliminary findings on the latest edition of the Mac mini, noting that the RAM in the unit is not user-accessible as was the case in previous models. This does not completely preclude the possibility of it being upgraded, but doing so would void the warranty on the machine. The 5400rpm hard drive included in the 2014 models is upgradeable, but again only through a warranty-voiding procedure.
New device payment plan to cost more if phone replaced in a year, starts October 16
Verizon's Edge program that allows customers to finance a new device, spreading the cost over the course of 20 months, is receiving some changes soon. Under the terms of the Edge program, users will now have to pay a greater portion of a phone's cost before upgrading, while the payment period is extended. The new terms are said to start on October 16.
Parallels notifies Desktop 8 for Mac users that software will not run on Yosemite public beta
Parallels has released a service notification for users of Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac. Users considering installing the OS X Yosemite public beta 10.10 will not be able to launch Windows applications, or directly use files through Parallels Desktop 8. Parallels Desktop allows for Windows applications to run on OS X without rebooting in systems up to and including 10.9 Mavericks. In order to avoid service disruption, Parallels encourages users to upgrade to version 9 of its software. Upgrading is available for $50, with Parallels Desktop 9 for new users priced at $80.
OS X 10.6 was most popular OS version until 10.8 Mountain Lion arrived
The rate of decline in the number of users still clinging to OS X Snow Leopard has increased in the last three months, in part due to the continuing aging of machines capable of supporting it and natural turnover, but mostly due to the end of almost any further Apple support for the system -- including important security updates. The 2009-era OS version dropped four percent, the biggest quarterly decline since Mountain Lion came out, between March and May of this year, falling below 15 percent of active Macs.
US customers encouraged to migrate from iPhone 4 and 4S
Halfway through the expected sell-cycle of the latest iPhones, Apple is reaching out to customers who have held on to older models with a special promotion at all of its US retail stores, as reported previously. Those who own iPhone 4 and 4S phones are being offered $99 and $199 (respectively) for good-condition working units that can be put towards a new iPhone 5c or 5s, bringing the up-front cost down to as little as $0.
Rogers Next will offer 12-month upgrades for $25 monthly fee
Rogers of Canada is following the lead of its American carrier counterparts, by offering customers an earlier upgrade via an extra subscription. Rogers Next, similar to T-Mobile Jump, AT&T Next, and Verizon Edge, will allow customers to trade in smartphones every 12 months for a new device, with no up-front charges on a large number of devices, no connection fees, nor early upgrade fees.
Customers on a two-year plan before January 19th can use AT&T Next
AT&T is revising the terms of its early upgrade plan, by allowing existing subscribers to sign up to the plan mid-contract. Customers on a two-year commitment with the company before January 19th will be eligible for AT&T Next once they hit the six-month milestone, with subscribers also able to switch over to the carrier's Mobile Share Value plans at the same time.
Change in promotional terms an attempt to retain subscribers
Verizon has updated its early upgrade program to allow subscribers to upgrade earlier than before, as the carrier attempts to compete with similar offers from other mobile phone networks. Verizon Edge will now permit customers to upgrade to a new device just 30 days after starting a contract or upgrading, rather than the six-month wait it originally launched with.
Easy Pay launched same week as Sprint shutters One Up plans
Sprint has launched a new offer that allows customers to upgrade mid-contract, just days after shuttering its existing One Up plans. Billed as a "limited time" offer, Easy Pay will let existing eligible Sprint subscribers upgrade to a new phone, with an initial down payment for the handset accompanied 24 monthly payments for the remainder of the device's cost.
Offers discounted price plan, yearly upgrades of smartphones
Sprint has joined Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in offering customers a way to upgrade earlier. The Sprint One Up program, as leaked last weekend, will allow subscribers to upgrade their smartphone or mobile device once per year, with the carrier also providing a discounted price plan to accompany the new mobile phone upgrading scheme.
Callout annotation added, security improved
PDF Studio, a full-featured PDF editor positioned as an alternative to the more expensive Adobe Acrobat, has upgraded to v6.5 -- a significant update that adds several new features and offers improvements in every area. The most significant changes include a new batch dialog to manage, open and view several documents at once on startup, a new callout annotation tool, a calibration tool to supplement the existing measuring tool which will allow users to set scale directly from a drawing, and dragging and dropping pages across documents, among others.
3GS offered in 8GB variant for $99
AT&T has announced a promotion for current iPhone owners who want to step up to the new iPhone 4 introduced on Monday. Customers who are eligible for upgrades any time before the end of 2010 can purchase the 16GB device for $199, or the 32GB model for $299, as soon as the handsets begin shipping.
Improved defragmentation of files
Prosoft Engineering has launched Drive Genius 3.0, a major upgrade to its hard drive maintenance utility designed to improve speed and overall performance. With the latest release 64-bit support has been added for Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, and enhancements have been made for the defragmentation of files. Drive Pulse technology has also been added in order to help monitor the overall health of the user’s drive, and send alerts regarding any possible issues.
OWC ship new RAM chips
Other World computing has launched new Memory upgrades for Apple iMacs (Early 2008 models) and the 2009 White MacBook 13". The iMac offerings include a new DDR2 800MHz 4GB module and 6GB kit, allowing for a 5GB or 6GB setup that is not available from Apple. The 4GB memory module is $150 and the 6GB combo, which includes both 4GB and 2GB RAM modules, costs $170. OWC also has 2GB and 1GB options at substantially reduced pricing vs. Apple factory charges. The memory sticks carry a lifetime OWC warranty.
FInale 2010 released
MakeMusic has released the newest version of Finale 2010, its software used to create sheet music and preview the music with audio synthesizers. The upgrade boasts better percussion instrument notation and the automated creation and sequencing of rehearsal marks. The update also claims simpler chord entry, requiring fewer keystrokes.
Merlin software updates
ProjectsWizards has released an update to its Merlin project management application for both the iPhone/iPod touch and Mac, along with a new version of its Merlin Server bringing it to 2.7. The upgrade to Merlin 2.7 allows users to share projects with the iPhone and iPod touch and adds support for the Merlin Server. By enabling the three applications to work together users can access and share their Merlin projects from any iPhone, Mac, or supported web browser.
500 GB, 7200-RPM upgrade
TechRestore is now offering an overnight upgrade service for MacBooks and MacBook Pros, replacing stock hard drives with a new 500GB, 7200 RPM disk. The Seagate ST9500420AS drives have just become available, offering the largest capacity and fastest spindle-speed available in a single 2.5-inch drive. The new devices are unique in that they offer both the highest capacity and the faster spindle speed in one drive. Previous limitations forced laptop owners to choose lower RPM ratings to obtain higher storage capacity, or sacrifice capacity to get the speed of a 7200 RPM drive.
MacBook Pro matte screen
TechRestore has announced an upgrade service that will convert the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro to a matte-finish screen. The company replaces the entire LCD screen, instead of just adding a film over the existing glass. Screen specifications remain the same, including the resolution, color depth and LED backlight. A black bezel is also added around the edge of the surface, with holes for the iSight camera at the top of the housing.
Forums: Apple upgrades
Forum roundup: With rumors of upgrades to Apple products such as iPods and MacBooks, MacNN forum goers discuss the timing of a new MacBook purchase, the number one question seems to be "when to buy?" A Fresh-Faced Recruit to our forums is trying to put together a home made gadget to connect a 5.1 surround sound system to their Mac and has started a thread in hopes of finding some advice. Problems with iTunes syncing properly are addressed in this thread. One user is looking to upgrade the hard drive in their MacBook Pro and finds some good tips from other forum members about what brands to consider as well as pricing and performance specs.
Vue 3D contest
In brief: We have posted the second part of our review of Steinberg Sequel, the Vue 3D Environment Competition 2008 has been announced, fmDataGuard has announced its "First Anniverary Sale," and there is a newly announced DEVONthink 2.0 upgrade grace period ... We have posted the second part of our review of Steinberg Sequel. The tool allows you to record using a MIDI controller or through an external microphone, which is very similar to GarageBand. We recorded live audio from a microphone and it worked well. The intuitive design worked as we thought it would. Cutting and arranging segments of recorded material is also similar to GarageBand. You can move segments freely or snap them to a metronomic grid.
TechRestore 500GB upgrade
TechRestore on Monday announced a 500GB overnight hard drive upgrade for MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Door-to-door nationwide service is available for the overnight turnaround. The installation includes data transfer (an exact clone) of the old drive's info and the option of having the old drive installed into a USB 2.0 enclosure for $40. The 500GB utilizes a 5,400 RPM drive mechansim. The overnight upgrade is $400 plus shipping.
- TimeCache 7.0.10 ($30) time and expense billing application. It offers tracking of all computer activity, can use Apple Address Book entries for client contact information, can produce charts of billable time and expenses, and can import from and export tiCal calendars. Version 7.0.10 fixes a bug that could cause a crash when printing some report formats. This is a free update to the Universal Binary Macintosh OS X application. [Download - 14.8MB]
- Web Confidential 3.8 ($20) professional password manager for Mac OS X. Web Confidential uses an intuitive, easy-to-use cardfile metaphor for passwords. The tool gives you access to your passwords from within your browser and from the Mac OS X Dock. When you need access to a user ID and password, a handy floating utility window shows all the information you might need about your password. This latest version is Leopard compatible and adds a Recent Searches popup menu to the search field. The upgrade is free for registered owners of Web Confidential. [Download - form]
- RouteBuddy 2.1 ($100) GPS mapping program for Mac OS X. Provides native Mac OS X support for Garmin and NMEA GPS devices, and allows users to manage and display their GPS data using high-precision vector-based road maps. This release adds a new caching system to greatly improve performance,provides additional route management and printing support, and can track your GPS location in real time. Several crashing bugs have also been addressed, and searching and waypoint management have also been improved. [Download - 19.8MB]
- Contactizer 3.6 ($120) personal information management application. The new release includes a dozen new features and enhancements, and now fully Leopard compliant. Contactizer 3.6 sports a Cover Flow mode (Leopard Only feature) that shows your contacts in a business card like presentation, a Task Quick Entry Panel (even works when Contactizer is not running), a new multi-calendar sync system and many user interface enhancements. Contactizer 3.6 is fully compatible with Mac OS X Tiger and Mac OS X Leopard and it is distributed as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. [Download - 25MB]
- MMScript 1.1 ($35) a plug-in for FileMaker Pro. This plug-in allows you to create Script Events that call FileMaker Pro Scripts in your Database. The plug-in also allows you to call a script when the user has been idle for any specified amount of time. New to version 1.1 is the ability to do shell scripting as well as many underlying enhancements and bug fixes. The new release also has updated core plug-in code to include all changes/enhancements from other CNS Plug-ins. [Download - form]
- Sound Studio 3.5.6 ($80) sound recording and editing tool. This new version provides enhanced marker support, localization updates and bug fixes, and is a free upgrade for existing owners of Sound Studio 3. The new release also includes Unicode marker name support in AIFF, AIFF-C, WAVE, and Sound Designer 2 formats and updated Japanese localization resources. [Download - 34.7MB]
- iMedia Browser 1.1 (freeware) a stand-alone utility, the Karelia iMedia Browser lets users easily browse and drag content from their entire collection of photos, music, movies, and bookmarks, including their Pictures, Music, and Movies folders as well as applications such as iPhoto, Aperture, iTunes, GarageBand, and several leading web browsers. The Karelia iMedia Browser can be activated either from the dock or from a small icon in the menu bar. Version 1.1 adds Adobe Lightroom support and vastly improved movie thumbnail generation. The new release also includes a useful online Help feature.[Download - 1.9MB]
- TextExpander 2.1.1 ($30) customizable typing shortcut tool for Mac OS X. With TextExpander, users can define abbreviations for frequently-used text strings and images, also known as snippets. When an abbreviation is typed, it expands automatically to the full snippet. The new release fixes post-expansion cursor positioning, handles delimiters using the shift key properly, has minor fixes and improvements. [Download - 3.9MB]
- Trade Manager Pro 1.1 ($150) investment tool. This release has tracking of trade data in the currency of choice. Mac OSX provides Global International currency selection from the International Preferences in System Preference; accessed from the Apple Icon menu item. Once that is set, Trade Manager Pro 1.1 will display the designated currency. The security quotes are no longer displayed with a currency designation to allow for fractional quotations. [Download - 4.4MB]
- TimeTable 1.2 ($15) time tracking and billing utility for Apple iCal. This new version includes German language support, blog style notes export, To Do Items, Quick select timeframe dates and more. With TimeTable, you can view, analyze and total the number of hours recorded in iCal. [Download - 1.5MB]
New iMac RAM upgrades
In brief: We have a review of PowerPhones Pro headphones, RAM upgrades for the new iMacs are available, a guide to FileMaker-driven Web sits debuts, and an iPod cord wrap for tangle-less headphones has been released... We have posted a review of the PowerPhones Pro headphones, which ship in a simple easily recyclable cardboard box, but inside the earphones are tucked in a stylish silver case. A velvet storage bag and an extra set of flanged silicone ear buds for smaller ears are carefully packed under foam in the case. For the price, I expected a second set of each size in a zip-lock bag, as are found in many other comparably priced earphones. The unique PowerPhones Pro design makes them easier to use when moving. An around-the-neck lanyard doubles as a headphone wire and the weight of the headphone wires reduced the possibility of the ear buds accidentally popping out of the ears.
- Speed Download 5.0.2 ($25) download manager designed to be a unified hub for almost all downloading and file transfer activities. This release fixes the following issues: Transparency in the floater retained after SD restarts; SD no longer prompts about a component update after each restart; SD remembers changes to the toolbar visibility after each restart; a bug that could potentially cause SD to crash after completing a download. The new release has also updated SD Enhancer for better performance and compatibility. [Download - 7.7MB]
- Interarchy 9.0.1 ($60) Download/upload tool for FTP, FTP/SSH, FTP/SSL-TLS, HTTP, HTTPs, WebDAV, WebDAVs, iDisk and Amazon S3. Includes Growl Support and transparent File Encoding with File Converters. This release adds a brand new protocol built upon SSH, numerous enhancements to the product's interface and more. [Download - 6.6MB]
- MMRegEx 0.5.0 Beta 2 ($35) a FileMaker Pro 7+ plug-in that brings the power of Regular Expressions to your calculations. With this plug-in, you can perform searches and replacements on text using "patterns" instead of "literal" text. For example, you could use the search pattern "gr[ae]y to search for any instance of "gray" or "grey" in a text field. This is the first official release of this plug-in to the public. [Download - 3MB]
- FmPro Script Diff 1.15 ($100) stand-alone utility which compares, edits, searches and stores FileMaker ScriptMaker scripts - external to the FileMaker database. FmPro Script Diff 1.15 is an updated version fixing a screen redraw issue on MacOS X Leopard (10.5). This maintenance release also fixes an issue with the display of sorted Diff Results. [Download - 4.1MB]
- FTPit Pro 2.0.0 Beta 2 ($65) a FileMaker Pro 7+ plug-in that uses FTP to transfer files to and from your computer. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.9+ and any version of Windows that FileMaker Pro 7+ runs on. Use it to upload static web pages to a website, upload database backups to a offsite server, download database upgrades from a centralized server, or write a complete FTP client within FileMaker Pro itself. [Download - 3.9MB]
The long-awaited NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT upgrade for Mac Pros has been released. The graphics card features 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory, uses the PCI Express interface, and includes two dual-link DVI ports, and is capable of driving up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. It requires a Mac Pro (bus speed 1.33GHz) with PCI-Express. The card is priced at $280 and can be purchased as a standalone, user-installable item or as a build-to-order option for Early 2008 Mac Pros through the online Apple Store. Controversy ensued when Apple introduced this upgrade card as an option available exclusively to newly purchased Mac Pros in January. At the time, users presented research that shows the cards should be backwards compatible. Apple is now making the kit available, in supported fashion, to all Mac Pros with a bus speed for at least 1.33GHz.
HighPoint Technologies has announced that the RocketRAID 3522 now supports booting Mac OS X on Apple Mac Pro (2006-2007) models. The RocketRAID 3522 has a dual mini-SAS interface that supports up to eight external direct connect SATA hard drives. Some of the new features available in the RocketRAID 3522 include selectable RAID block sizes for application tuning. Advance RAID level 0,1,5,6 and new RAID 3 support. Upgradable firmware support via the HighPoint web GUI and 32-bit EFI boot capability with Mac Pro 2006-2007 models. Booting support for Mac Pro 2008 models will be coming soon and requires an firmware upgrade through the HighPoint web management GUI.
Faber Acoustical has released version 3 of its SignalSuite audio test signal software. This upgrade gives SignalSuite new features similar to those found in the recently released SignalScope Pro, including advanced audio device configuration, project files, and Audio Unit plug-in support. The AUAudioFilePlayer plug-in, included with Mac OS X, enables SignalSuite to play back signals stored in audio files. Portions of the audio file may be selected and looped for playback. Plug-in support also allows end users or third parties to develop additional signal types to expand SignalSuite's capabilities.
Creative Manager Pro
Creative Manager Pro today announced a forthcoming update to its self-titled ad agency management software. The major foundation upgrade to Creative Manager Pro offers more Flash features, and includes changes for the latest release of Mac OS X Leopard. Previous updates converted some of the most-used features to Flash, while the new update addresses interface improvements based on months of research, client interviews, and user feedback. The update is due in April, according to the company (pricing was unavailable).
Aperture 2.0.1 released
Apple today released Aperture 2.0.1, an update to its post production photography software designed for professionals. The latest revision of Aperture addresses issues related to the performance and overall stability of Aperture 2, and includes fixes that impact various areas of the software. Fixes cover upgrading libraries from earlier versions of Aperture, publishing .Mac Web Gallery albums, Preview generation as well as deletion, and creating as well as ordering books. Aperture users can upgrade via Apple's 'Software Update' feature located under the Apple Menu, or can download the update manually from Apple's updates page (43.9MB).
Omni Group updates
The Omni Group has released OmniGraffle 5.0rc1 and OmniOutliner 3.6.5. OmniGraffle 5.0rc1 is the latest beta release of the company's diagram creation software that refines AppleScript support for user data on models as well as graphics. OmniOutliner 3 is an update to the program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. OmniGraffle is priced at $80 for the standard edition and $150 for the professional version, with upgrades starting at $30. OmniOutliner is available in standard and professional versions for $40 and $70, respectively, while upgrades start from $20. OmniGraffle 5.0rc1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and OmniOutliner 3.6.5 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Upgrades for new MacBooks
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced that it is offering 4GB memory kits for Apple's new MacBook and MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo notebooks, which began shipping yesterday. "OWC is providing memory for these new MacBook 13-inch 2.1GHz/2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Models and MacBook Pro 15-inch & 17-inch 2.4GHz/2.5GHz (including 2.6GHz optional configuration) Core 2 Duo models," the company said. "OWC memory is available in modules and kits of up to 4.0GB for these models as well as the previous MacBook Pro models." OWC's 4.0GB Memory Upgrade Kits are available for $100, and include two 2GB modules.
MediaRich CORE 3.8.5
Equilibrium today released MediaRich CORE 3.8.5, an update to its entire MediaRich suite of applications. The latest release -- which upgrades MediaRich Server, MediaRich for SharePoint, MediaRich Merchandizer, and MediaRich Audio/Video Server -- allow users to process videos in parallel. A new 'Sonic Flash Zoom and Pan' feature accompanies video templating with an optional extension package, and the latest releases offer compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Current server customers can upgrade for free (pricing for new licenses was unavailable).
FileMaker 9 Cert.
In brief: A review of the Considerable Embarrassment laptop bag has been posted, FileMaker 9 Certification is now available, 32GB RAM upgrades for the Xserve have been announced, a PDFpen tutorial has been posted and Woz will headline a Solar plant dedication ... We have posted a review of the Considerable Embarrassment laptop bag. The case has casual curves, and comes in professional looking black, gray, and brown, or whimsical red, green, or blue. The stitching that holds the 900D nylon shell and 420D ripstop nylon lining is excellent. We have not found a loose thread or separating seam since I started using it six months ago. Two clasps keep the bag lid shut, and are backed up by two large Velcro pads. This efficient design thwarts sneaky hands because the clasps make a clicking and sliding sound when released, and the Velcro produces a loud pseudo-tearing sound when opened. At the same time, the two mechanisms allow you easy access to the large inside pockets.
Drive Genius 2 released
Prosoft Engineering today released Drive Genius 2, an update to the hard drive maintenance utility that improves speed as well as overall performance. Drive Genius 2 is built upon the same foundation as the original version, and adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software allows users to maintain, manage, and optimize hard drives via disk de-fragmentation, directory repair, and repartition support. Drive Genius 2 is priced at $100, while upgrades for current owners are available at $60 each.
Default Folder X 4.0.1
St. Clair Software today released Default Folder X 4.0.1, an update to the Open/Save dialog enhancement utility that boosts speed and improves compatibility. The latest release adds a new preview generator that improves performance as well as reliability -- especially under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger -- and includes an option to display the toolbar as a gray sidebar. Default Folder X 4.0.1 is priced at $35, though upgrades for users who purchased copies on or after June 1st of last year are available for free. Users who purchased Default Folder X prior to June 1st 2007 can upgrade for $15.
16GB iPhone upgrade
Apple's newly introduced 16GB iPhone is causing some confusion with those who wish to upgrade, regarding whether or not the upgrade would require re-signing a contract with AT&T. According to Scott Kleinberg of iPhone, Therefore I Blog, purchasing a new 16GB iPhone and using it as an upgrade to an existing plan does not extend the two-year contract. Activation requires the user to acknowledge the contract, but the effective start date remains when the plan was initially introduced.
8x SuperDrive upgrade
MCE Technologies today debuted a new slim slot-loading 8X SuperDrive upgrade (site not updated) for Apple's MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks. The drives write to DVD+R DL (Double Layer) as well as DVD-R DL, and are designed to replace the original 4X and 6X SuperDrives in Apple's stock systems. Built to accommodate the slender form factor of Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro, the drive upgrade ships for $200 with all required tools and instructions to perform the upgrade at home.
LG Rumor update
Sprint is offering an over-the-air software upgrade for the Rumor by LG that reportedly resolves an issue where the phone's firmware can be erased during startup if certain keys are pressed. Spring says the update also provides important updates to text messaging and "enhances the user experience." There are two ways to obtain the software update: on the phone, go to main menu>settings/tools>tools>update firmware. Alternatively, you can go to a Sprint retail location for assistance in updating the phone software. Company officials said "While we have confidence in the quality of this device, we do encourage Rumor users to take advantage of this simple over-the-air upgrade to ensure that your Rumor by LG is performing at its best."
Morph Age 4.0 debuts
Creaceed today began shipping its Hydra 1.0 HDR photography software for Mac, and unveiled a major upgrade to its Morph Age application for morphing as well as warping images and movies. Hydra aims to give the human eye perception to photographs by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of standard photographs, either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras. Hydra is priced at $60, but is available for an introductory price of $40 until the end of January. Hydra requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to run.
Merlin 2.5 released
ProjectWizards today released the final version of Merlin, its professional project management application for Mac OS X. Merlin 2.5 features multi-user functionality that enables project managers to work together to get real-time feedback on projects. Merlin 2.5 is priced at $205, with upgrades for Merlin 2.0 customers available for free (system requirements were unavailable.