Is Apple opening up the graphics side of its Mac platform?
A MacBook Pro-specific update to Mac OS X 10.6.7 includes native support for several 5000 and 6000 series AMD Radeon GPUs. Apple doesn't typically include support for GPUs that aren't in shipping products, so the inclusion has some important implications for Mac Pro users and future Sandy Bridge iMacs, says "Ars Technica" (http://macte.ch/E1GAD).
According to hackintosh site tonymacx86 (http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/), Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update for early 2011 MacBook Pro contains native support for a range of Radeon HD 5xxx and HD 6xxx cards. The support brings full Quartz Extreme and CoreImage acceleration on these GPUs. tonymacx86 notes that for those building "hackintosh" systems -- PCs built to run Mac OS X -- using one of these cards won't require hacks or special kernel extensions such as Chameleon's GraphicsEnabler or ATY_init.
"This development raises some interesting questions," writes tonymax86 & MacMan. "Could this mean the end of the Mac-only graphics card? Could Apple...
Lines forming for global roll-out of iPad 2?
Apple said earlier this week that online sales of the iPad 2 would begin at 1 am Friday in 25 new countries, and the second gen tablet has already gone on sale in New Zealand and Australia.
Apparently, those who want to be among the first to get their hands on the iPad 2 have begun to line up across the globe. "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) reports that it has received reports from readers who have witnessed long lines in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and more.
Meanwhile, Apple has shortened estimates for U.S. iPad 2 orders to 3-4 weeks from the earlier 4-5 week period.
Apple wins American Brand Excellence Award
Apple is the winner of the eighth annual American Brand Excellence Awards (http://macte.ch/bOwHu)as the brand that best meets the needs of small to mid-sized businesses. The award is given each year by The Business Journals, a division of Washington Business Journal parent company American City Business Journals.
“Apple has become the premier business brand, and as the leader of the tablet category with the iPad, Apple is redefining how we work,” says Godfrey Phillips, vice president of research for The Business Journals. “Our study found that 9% of business owners currently use an iPad for business.”
More than 250 brands were rates by more than 2,000 small to mid-sized business owners. Criteria included “forward thinking,” “behaves ethically,” and “has a good price for what you get.”
Angry users of Angry Birds file lawsuit against Apple
Another day, another lawsuit. A class-action lawsuit filed last week in California state court is accusing “Angry Birds” of violating users’ privacy. The lawsuit is directed against Apple for allowing “Angry Birds” to collect user information, reports "Westlaw Insider" (http://macte.ch/jxAbI).
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Apple doesn't screen apps available in its App Store to prevent them from obtaining private user data. Plaintiffs’ allege that their data is being collected through the app Angry Birds. According to the complaint, a majority of popular apps on Apple’s App Store collect user information without the users’ knowledge or consent, says "Westlaw Insider."
The apps collect information about a user’s gender, age, location (via GPS), which apps he or she uses and for how long, and to what extent he or she uses the app. The tracking is possible because Apple assigns a UDID (Unique Device Identifier) to each iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and apps can access that number...
Apple on its way to becoming a $200 billion revenue company
Apple can keep posting sales growth of more than 50% in the next two years as a mobile applications boom fuels demand for devices such as the iPad, says Forrester Research CEO George Colony, as reported by "Bloomberg" (http://macte.ch/q03v6).
Apple sold almost 15 million iPads in its debut year and more than 90 million iPhones in its four-year lifespan. Demand for the devices has spawned a market for downloadable apps that let users shop, work, play games and handle other tasks on the go, Colony says.
“They’ll be bigger than IBM next year, and they’ll be bigger than HP the year after that,” Colony said, citing Apple’s 52 percent sales growth last year. At current growth rates “they’re going to be a $200 billion revenue company."
App scanner rejected from Mac App Store, now offered for free
Chimp Studios says its iOS developer tool, App Scanner is now free after being rejected by Apple for the Mac App Store.
App Scanner is a utility that mimics Apple's automated review process and picks through an apps internal structure to see if a developer has -- intentionally or not -- used a private application programming interface, an offense that warrants an immediate rejection. Chimp Studios originally intended to deploy App Scanner on the Mac App Store; however, Apple denied it due to legal concerns.
"It is a bit disappointing that in the three years that the iOS software development kit has been available to third party developers, Apple hasn't provided any kind of pre-check tool," says developer Andrew Schenk. Apple recently released Xcode 4 on March 9 to the general public on the Mac App Store for $US4.99, with registered developers receiving a free update. Despite a complete redesign of Xcode it did not feature a private application programming interfacescanner."
Enter the Ninja for Apple ProRes
Atomos (http://www.atomos.com) has unleashed the Ninja, an US$999 portable touchscreen HD recorder, monitor and playback device that captures video direct to Apple ProRes from any camera with an HDMI output onto removable 2 1⁄2 inch hard disks.
Ninja is designed to eliminate the need for capture cards and wasted time logging and capturing by avoiding the lossy, time consuming capture to edit process. It bypasses the image-degrading compression needed to squeeze HD onto in-camera flash storage like P2, SxS, SDHC etc..
The Ninja includes all accessories -- batteries, chargers, disk caddies and a Mac/PC docking station -- in one case. Hidden inside its compact design is a hardware implementation of the Apples ProRes codec.
Ninja sports FireWire 800,USB 2 and 3 and e-SATA interfaces built in. Apple ProRes works natively with Final Cut Pro and on any computer with the ProRes codec installed (including suitably configured PCs).
iOS evidence-based clinical OMT app comes to the Mac
Clinically Relevant Technologies, developers of medical applications for smart phones, says their Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy app suite (http://www.clinicallyrelevant.com/) for mobile devices is now optimized for your desktop via the Mac App Store. The suite costs US$99.99 and can be found in the Medical category.
The applications -- which require Mac OS X 10.6 or higher -- are designed for clinicians, teachers, and students who use manual therapy (OMT) to treat musculosketal problems. They boast nearly 140 techniques and video.
The Evidence Based OMT program provides step-by-step illustration of each procedure and indication, using text, videos and supporting medical journal articles, and links to PUBMed references. Everything is covered, from the extremities to the spine, says Dr. Ben Hando, partner and content developer at Clinically Relevant Technologies.
This Sims game will get Medieval on your Mac
Electronic Arts and TransGaming have released The Sims Medieval for the Mac (http://www.ea.com/the-sims-medieval). It requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher and costs US$49.99.
Here's how the game is described: "Set in the Middle Ages, players will find themselves faced with new ways to play with life like never before. As they build up their kingdom, players create Hero Sims in a range of professions including knight, bard, wizard, priest, blacksmith and spy. Playing each Hero Sim is different, as players control the Sim’s professional life as well as take on the varied adventures of the quests. Other new gameplay elements include diplomacy with neighboring territories, and of course medieval punishments.
"The gameplay is framed by quests -- each quest presents a new situation and a fresh opportunity to pick which Hero Sims to control during that adventure. After choosing a quest, players will pick their approach for solving it and choose which Hero Sim will lead the quest. For example...
Boingo releases new Wi-Fi app for Mac, iOS devices
Boingo Wireless (http://www.boingo.com) has released a new version of its Wi-Fi app. The app not only logs customers onto more than 325,000 commercial hotspots around the globe with a single click, it also helps anyone find and connect to hundreds of thousands of free and open Wi-Fi networks worldwide.
The app includes the ability to search for paid or free networks and presents search results on a map. Boingo Wi-Finder is immediately available for Mac and Windows laptops, Android smartphones and iOS devices.
Boingo Wi-Finder is designed to help solve the problem of getting connected to Wi-Fi when there are multiple Wi-Fi signals in one place. Through connection logic, Wi-Finder identifies available networks and automatically connects a user to the best signal. The app’s logic also includes the ability to accept a network’s terms of service on the user’s behalf on a one-time or recurring basis to expedite connections to open networks.
The updated app includes location-mapping...
Graph graphs graphs on Mac OS X, iOS devices
A new, free app for graphing graphics -- appropriately called Graph -- is available from VVI (http://www.vvi.com) for Mac and iOS devices in the Mac App Store and the Apple App Store.
Graph supports several 1D, 2D and 3D graph types including bar, column, pie, line, area, scatter, 3D perspective scatter, trajectory and surface, volumetric, z-sliced cell, user defined maps, linear, semi-log, x-log, log-log, polar, r-log, Gregorian date and many variations. Maps are geographic, schematic, process maps, node graphs, floor plans or any diagram. A map of the United States is included, and users can load an additional 30 maps they construct themselves using the optional Vvidget Builder application.
Thousands of graphic, graph and data attributes -- including customized artwork, autoscaling and many other attributes can be set by using Vvidget Builder -- an optional Mac OS X desktop application, to make a skin document and applying that skin to this Graph application. A few tasks include...
'iPhone Obsessed' is an interactive book
"iPhone Obsessed, Photo Editing Experiments with Apps," just released from Peachpit Press is part how-to and part interactive book. It's filled with coverage of over 47 of the best iPhone photo applications.
Author Dan Marcolina explains his techniques on combining app effects such as blurs and vignettes, high dynamic range, film looks, and painting to turn snapshots into statements. You not only learn some advanced techniques on integrating Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop but also how to think about image taking on the mobile device.
"iPhone Obsessed" has over 125 creative app recipes for the new generation of mobile image makers using the Apple smartphone. Plus, there's a compendium of over 45 of the "most useful and sometimes unexpected photography app recommendations and reviews." Marcolina says it's the first book of its kind to deeply integrate the use of Microsoft tag and the iPhone to enhance and extend the readers experience.
When scanning one of the 75 tags printed in...
Future Media Concepts announces iTraining Bootcam
Future Media Concepts, an authorized digital media training center, has announced iTraining Bootcamp, a range of Apple-authorized courses and exams to be held May 17-24 in Orlando, Florida. This all-things-Apple event includes not only classes but travel, hotel, meals, and social opportunities in a single package.
Designated an elite, Gold Level training center by Apple, Future Media Concepts offers 13 courses at iTraining Bootcamp, including Mac OS X, Apple Pro Apps, Apple Server, Xsan, iOS Apps Development, Final Cut Pro, iLife and iWork®. All courses are intended to lead to Apple certification, which helps professionals distinguish themselves and their organizations in today's competitive marketplace. The complete iTraining Bootcamp schedule is available at http://www.itrainingbootcamp.com/Courses.htm#schedule.
"The significant growth in demand for Apple certification in our training centers has prompted us to combine our 13 Apple courses into a single, concentrated event," says...
FileWave 5 gets updated user interface, more
FileWave (http://www.filewave.com) has introduced version 5 of its software deployment and management suite, with new features and an updated user interface.
FileWave allows you to take granular control of your software deployments, both pre and post-deployment. Version 5 includes iOS Mobile Device Management (MDM) in the same management console used to control Mac and Windows client systems.
It also introduces the Intelligent Downloader, which gives file level control of existing client software without the need to redeploy it. In addition, FileWave 5 adds the capability to remote wipe Mac, PC, and iOS devices, integrates with LDAP directories, manages MCX preferences, deploys iTunes content to sync stations and includes numerous performance increases. Contact the folks at FileWave for pricing options.
ConceptDraw Project can now exchange data with MS Project
CS Odessa says ConceptDraw Project 6.0 now has the ability to import and export Microsoft Project XML files, with the new Project Exchange. Users have increased flexibility on how to exchange project information with all members of the project team.
ConceptDraw Project 6 has the ability to save to a MS Project XML file format so that ConceptDraw Project files can be shared with users of MS Project (2003, 2007, and 2010) as well as any other project management tools that can accurately import MS Project xml file format. This allows users of ConceptDraw Project 6 and ConceptDraw Office 2 (contains ConceptDraw Project 6) to generate project content that can be shared with all team members.Project participants also have the ability to import MS Project files into ConceptDraw Project 6 and ConceptDraw Office 2.
The ability to exchange data between ConceptDraw Office and MS Project is a big plus for project members because they can then use the other project tools that are part of...
Tidy Up! for Mac OS X gets interface tweak, more
Hyberbolic Software (http://www.hyperbolicsoftware.com) has released Tidy Up! 2.3.3, the latest version of their disk, file and folder processing utility for Mac OS X. The new version improves the interface of the search panes of the Basic mode to present a more clean look. It also adds the possibility to automatically report a list of the iTunes and iPhoto missing files.
Tidy Up! can find duplicate files and packages using any criteria. Version 2.3.3 has the ability to create six new smart baskets. The new option is accessible from the File menu and allows for the creation of the smart baskets using the selected folder and file as a filter. There are also bug fixes.
Tidy Up 2.3.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") or higher. Upgrades from version 1.x are $20, and upgrades from version 2.x are free.
Ntractive unveils Elements 2.1 for Mac OS X
Ntractive (http://www.ntractive.com) has announced an upgrade to Elements CRM, the company's Mac Customer Relationship Management Solution. Version 3.1 offers a 100x speed improvement, user interface refinements and is available at the Mac App Store.
Elements CRM 3.1 is one of the first SaaS CRM applications available to Mac business and enterprise users in the store. Small business pricing starts at US$24.95 per user per month, and professional pricing starts at $44.95 per user per month.
EXIF viewer for Mac OS X updated with RAW images support
CocoaWithChurros has announced iExifer 1.2.1 (http://www.cocoawithchurros.com/iexifer.php), an update of the EXIF viewer for Mac OS X. Designed for photography aficionados, it sports an interface that reveals all the EXIF metadata, GPS location and image thumbnails stored inside image files.
iExifer also displays IPTC tags, and more specific EXIF Maker Notes. Version 1.2.1 includes EXIF metadata for major cameras, as well as RAW images support.
To celebrate the release of this new version of iExifer, cocoaWithChurros is currently offering a special, limited-time pricing of US$0.99; it's normally $2.99. It requires Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Photography category.
Leaping Bytes releases Colorplex 1.2 for Mac
Leaping Bytes has updated Colorplex (http://www.leapingbytes.com/products/colorplex), its color calculator app for Mac OS X, to version 1.2. The US$1.99 app allows you to manipulate colors in RGB, HSB, CMYK or Gray Scale colorspace and instantly see results in the large preview area.
Colorplex provides individual controls for foreground and background. You can even replace the background with an image of your choice or use text as a foreground. For serious color gurus, Colorplex provides a handy scrap book that lets you preserve your work and share it with your colleagues and customers.
Version 1.2 can use text as a foreground and can drag the foreground around with a mouse. There's a bigger preview image for sharing, and the app can switch between NSColor and UIColor.
Colorplex requires Mac OS X 10.6. It can be found at the Mac App Store in the Graphics & Design category.
Serif Letter Shapes theme released for iWork apps
Keynote Theme Park (http://www.keynotethemepark.com) has released Serif Letter Shapes in Times Extra Bold Regular and Italic. This US$9.99 add-on product is created specifically for Keynote but can be used with the other iWork applications.
You can use Keynote's advanced fill attributes of graduated colors to make unique drop caps and titles. You can fill the letters of a word with different images or span multiple letters by masking with multiple copies of a single panoramic image.
Serif Letter Shapes in Times Extra Bold Regular and Italic are individual alpa-numeric Keynote shapes (vector) in Times Serif Extra Bold Regular and Italic. Assemble your word with the letters, set fill and stroke or Mask with images, make your letters as tall as the slide then build in with a move action and crawl across the screen.
In fact, you can create professional video sequences with the Keynote export to QuickTime and incorporate into your iMovie or Final Cut Pro projects. Leveraging opacity and...
WebsitePainter 1.4 for Mac OS X adds external CSS style support...
Ambiera has announced WebsitePainter 1.4 (http://www.ambiera.com/websitepainter/index.html), an update to web editor for Macintosh and Windows. Version 1.4 adds support for external CSS styles, Quicktime and Youtube videos, the HTML 5 audio component, improved FTP upload, and german language interface translation. Also included are two new free website templates.
WebsitePainter was developed for creating websites without HTML knowledge and programming. It lets you create webpages with elements like Web 2.0 buttons, gradients, round borders, hover effects, transparencies, continuous text and more. WebsitePainter includes a variety of templates and supports Web standards such as HTML, CSS, PHP and ASP.
WebsitePainter has built-in support for dynamic HTML content to, for example, create a dynamic slideshow with a list of images that will fade in and out at an adjustable speed. The editor supports "layouting," allowing to place all elements of the website exactly where they should be by...
EarthDesk 5 now 64-bit compatible
Xeric Design has updated EarthDesk (http://www.xericdesign.com/earthdesk.php), its real-time dynamic desktop map, to a fully 64-bit application with version 5.7.
EarthDesk replaces your static desktop with an image of the Earth showing current sun, moon and city illumination, as well as real-time global cloud coverage. The software operates silently in the background, keeping your desktop updated while you work. EarthDesk's dynamic desktop is continuously displayed as your desktop background and optionally as a screen saver.
New features along with 64-bit compatibility introduced in EarthDesk 5.7 are:
° Faster rendering, lower processor usage, and a cleaner interface;
° Seasonal maps, with snow and vegetation levels changing month-to-month;
° Support for a higher resolution map and cloud data on large displays;
° Adjustable brightness and background color;
° A starfield background option;
° An updated political map that now displays city lights and/or moonlight;
° Support for dual...
iPhone/iPod touch/iPad apps for March 23
Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).
Towers Watson, a global professional services company, has announced TWGlobal50, a searchable application for the iPad. The free app is designed to provide human resource and benefit professionals with instant access to critical human capital data from around the globe. The TWGlobal50 app is purportedly the HR industry’s first-of-its-kind solution -- providing searchable human capital data for 57 countries.
Office Depot, a provider of office supplies and services, has released the company’s free iPhone app. It's part of the “Office Depot Anywhere” strategy that aims to help customers shop at their convenience through a variety of mobile platforms and m-commerce-enabled sites. Office Depot has also enabled http://www.officedepot.com for mobile commerce and browsing, even if a customer is using a non-iPhone or Android mobile device.
The Tiger Woods Foundation...
Apple to expand AirPlay functionality?
Apple is considering expanding its AirPlay audio service to include streaming video from an iPhone or iPad to television sets, reports "Bloomberg" (http://macte.ch/i3UoT), quoting "two people familiar with the project."
AirPlay is a feature for streaming music, video and photos wirelessly from iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to the Apple TV. The wireless technology is being integrated into speaker docks, AV receivers, and stereo systems from companies such as Bowers & Wilkins and Denon.
Under the expanded AirPlay plan, Apple would license its AirPlay software to consumer-electronics makers that could use it in devices for streaming movies, TV shows and other video content, says "Bloomberg." Apple now only licenses AirPlay for streaming audio.
An expanded AirPlay would let users stream programming wirelessly from an Apple mobile device to a TV that carries the technology. That may spur wider use of Apple’s services and devices in consumers’ living rooms, including the Apple TV, says...
Open source suite may Samba off Mac OS X Lion
The upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server will remove the formerly bundled open source Samba software and replace it with Apple's own tools for Windows file sharing and network directory services, according to "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com).
Samba is an open source/free software suite that provides file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients. It's freely available, unlike other SMB/CIFS implementations, and allows for interoperability between Linux/Unix servers and Windows-based clients.
The goal behind the Samba project is one of removing barriers to interoperability. The software was released in 199 and originally developed by Australian Andrew Tridgell of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol. As of version 3, Samba provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients and can integrate with a Windows Server domain, either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or as a domain member. It can also be part of an Active Directory domain.
Jobs re-elected to Disney Board of Directors
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been re-elected to the Walt Disney Company Board of Directors, rejecting the views of proxy advisers who say health issues may impair his ability to serve, reports "Bloomberg" (http://macte.ch/xXzZm).
Jobs, 56, was re-elected with 12 other nominees at the shareholder meeting today in Salt Lake City, with 74% of the votes cast backing the group, according to a preliminary count. The Apple executive, absent from the meeting, owns 7.3% of Disney and is the largest shareholder.
The AFL-CIO, which holds about 3.8 million Disney shares, opposed Jobs’ reelection. The group said Jobs’ poor health, plus his job as CEO of Apple, make him a bad choice for Disney’s board.
Also, the Institutional Shareholder Services, an institutional investment group, also questioned Jobs’s re-election to the Disney board because of his health. ISS says that Jobs has attended less than 75% of board meetings in the last three years, and wondered if Jobs should be reelected. ISS stopped...
The 'iCar' upgraded with iPad 2s
Mercedes-Benz customizer Brabus has revised their "iCar," adding some iPad 2s to the iBusiness 2.0 (http://macte.ch/2Xxge), reports "Autoevolution" (http://macte.ch/3hgRQ).
Brabus is the first company to develop an advanced car multimedia system based on the the second gen Apple tablet, the article add. The iPad 2 has been integrated in the rear compartment of the Brabus 800, a version of the V12-powered S-Klasse, which offers 800 horsepower. The iPad 2 has been linked to the car’s on-board entertainment system and allows the rear passengers to access all function of the S-Klasse in the rear of the car.
Thanks to its good built-in cameras, the iPad could also provide an excellent platform for video conferences, says "Autoevolution." What's more, Brabus technicians have created a custom table to which the tablet computers can be connected.
Mac mini Mini Mac located in the car's trunk that serves as the central computer. The car also gets a 15.2-inch TFT display, which is mounted on...
Apple wins five 2011 Mobility Awards
MobileTrax (http://www.mobiletrax.com), a mobile and wireless industry analyst firm, has announced the winners of the 2011 Mobility Awards at the Wireless Innovators dinner held during the annual International CTIA Wireless trade show at the Rosen Center. Apple won the most awards with five including Product of the Year for the introduction of the iPad.
The 2011 Mobility Awards were selected by 31 press and analysts who cover the mobile and wireless market. The awards recognize the best mobile computing and wireless data communications products and services introduced to the market during the past year.
“There’s a need to recognize the hard work that the mobile device makers, software vendors and wireless operators are doing to provide subscribers with unique products and services,” says J. Gerry Purdy, principal analyst with MobileTrax. “The Mobility Awards have honored the brightest innovators in mobile computing and wireless data communications products and services for the past 15...
Bertrand Serlet leaving Apple
Apple says that Bertrand Serlet (top photo), Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will be leaving the company. Craig Federighi (bottom photo), Apple’s vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will assume Serlet’s responsibilities and report to CEO Steve Jobs.
“I’ve worked with Steve for 22 years and have had an incredible time developing products at both NeXT and Apple, but at this point, I want to focus less on products and more on science,” says Serlet. “Craig has done a great job managing the Mac OS team for the past two years, Lion is a great release and the transition should be seamless.”
Federighi is responsible for the development of Mac OS X and has been managing the Mac OS software engineering group for the past two years. He worked at NeXT, followed by Apple, and then spent a decade at Ariba where he held several roles including vice president of Internet Services and chief technology officer. He returned to Apple in 2009 to lead Mac OS X engineering...
QuarkAlliance members to release QuarkXPress 9 XTensions
Quark has announced the upcoming availability of hundreds of XTensions that extend the functionality of QuarkXPress 9, Quark’s graphic design and page-layout software.
The upcoming QuarkXPress 9 XTensions will offer users hundreds of ways to add even more functionality to QuarkXPress. Developed by members of QuarkAlliance, XTensions software cover a wide-range of applications, from advanced spell check, pre-flighting, and exporting solutions to translation applications, image-management software, and more, according to the folks at Quark. The new XTensions will become available when QuarkXPress 9 ships in April 2011.
Quark is currently offering customers who purchase or upgrade to QuarkXPress 8 at the regular price between Jan. 1 and the April ship date a complimentary upgrade to QuarkXPress 9. Those who qualify should complete the QuarkXPress 9 upgrade redemption form located here: http://www.quark.com/buy8get9/ . For specific product information about the XTensions software that...
Analyst offers scenarios for Apple's upcoming, ginormous...
In a note to clients -- as reported by "Barron's (http://macte.ch/VWdxU) -- Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi mulled over what he considers the most likely prospects for Apple‘s Maiden, North Carolina-based data center, which may go live this spring.
Sacconaghi says the facility, which could end up being the largest such facility in the world, will probably not only be used to increase the iTunes and MobileMe services, but may help the company to offer five other services: a larger advertising platform, for serving up iAds; a digital “locker” in the “cloud” to synchronize content between users’ Apple devices; a music streaming service on a subscription basis; an “aggressively priced video subscription service”; and a service that would support a “voice interface” on Apple devices, taking user requests in spoken natural language and returning answers, similar to Google’s free voice search.
With Limewire shuttered, peer-to-peer music sharing declines
In late October 2010, LimeWire shuttered its file sharing services, months after a federal judge sided with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and found the peer-to-peer (P2P) service liable for copyright infringement.
According to The NPD Group (http://www.npd.com), a market research company, the percentage of the U.S. Internet population using a P2P file-sharing service to download music has fallen from a high of 16% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2007 to just 9% in Q4 2010 when Limewire ceased its file-sharing operations.
The average number of music files downloaded from P2P networks also declined from 35 tracks per person in Q4 2007 to just 18 tracks in Q4 2010, although some downloaded just one or two tracks, while others took hundreds. NPD estimates there were 16 million P2P users downloading music in Q4 2010, which is 12 million fewer than in Q4 2007.
According to NPD's "Music Acquisition Monitor," Limewire was used by 56%of those using P2P services to...
Apple tells adult app store to ditch the 'app store'...
MiKandi -- which bills itself as “the world’s first app store for adults -- has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Apple over its use of the term "App Store," according to "GeekWire" (http://macte.ch/VPnyT).
It’s not MiKandi’s first brush with Apple. The company was pushed in the spotlight last year when Apple’s Steve Jobs referred derisively to the fact that there was a “porn store” on Android -- referring to MiKandi without using its name, says "GeekWire."
For the record, the words “app store” still appear on the MiKandi site. Co-founder Jesse Adams tells "GeekWire" they’ll wait it out, for now, and see how Microsoft’s challenge to Apple’s trademark registration turns out.
MiKandi is the second digital download service targeted by Apple in defense of its trademark application this month, the first being the Amazon App Store for Android. In a complaint filed March 18 in federal court in northern California, Apple accused Amazon.com of trademark infringement and unfair...
Adobe Pass offers 'TV Everywhere'
Adobe has announced the Adobe Pass service, a new authentication solution that enables pay TV subscribers to access premium content from virtually any Internet-connected device.
Leveraging the Flash Platform and HTML5, Adobe Pass allows pay TV providers and content owners alike to deliver a wider range of content on more platforms -- including Mac, Windows, iOS, Blackberry and Google TV systems. Promoted by the broadcast and cable industry as TV Everywhere, Adobe Pass makes it possible for pay TV providers to authenticate their paying subscribers online and provide them with the anytime, anywhere content experiences that audiences crave, taking TV Everywhere from concept to reality, says Pritham Shetty, vice president for Rich Media Solutions, Adobe.
Adobe Pass creates a way for pay TV subscribers to view content across multiple websites with just one sign in and doesn't require any additional downloads. Shetty says this eliminates one of the biggest barriers to TV Everywhere...
Senators want Apple to ban DUI, checkpoint alert apps
Four U.S. Senators are calling for Apple and other purveyors of smartphone software to ban apps -- such as Phantom Alert, Fuzz Alert Pro and Checkpointer -- that would help motorists identify and avoid drunk driving checkpoints, reports "The Huffington Post" (http://macte.ch/lKzSy).
Democrats Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Udall and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday issued a letter to Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone They also sent identical letters to Google and RIM executives.
"We appreciate the technology that has allowed millions of Americans to have information at their fingertips, but giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern," the letter said.
'WSJ' to offer single-issue digital sales
"The Wall Street Journal" will start selling single-issue digital versions of its morning paper for US$1.99 in the within the existing free app, according to "paidContent" (http://macte.ch/XQ9PU).
Until now, those who downloaded the free "WSJ" app for the iPad could receive some free content, but to get the full range of the WSJ’s updated news and features, they had to subscribe. There will still be limitations on what the readers who choose the single-issue download can receive, says "paidContent." In essence, they’ll just get what’s in that day’s print edition. But they’ll be able invited to get the full “Now Edition” for $18 a month, which includes regular news updates.
Right now, any current WSJ subscriber with a log-in can get full access -- to the site and all the apps -- and that won’t change. In addition, the WSJ recently began offering a digital bundle offer. Basically, for $3.99 per week, you can get full access to WSJ.com and its suite of digital products (iPad, Android...
Skipscreen, Download Songs let you skip ads
Skipscreen (http://www.skipscreen.com) is a new Firefox extension that skips ads on sites like Rapidshare, Megaupload, Mediafire. There's also a new companion app for Mac users, Download Songs (http://godownloadsongs.com) that's based on a similar premise.
"We got sick of waiting for downloads, watching folders, clicking on files, songs starting and stopping, throwing stuff in the trash," says Ying Cheng, one of the developers. "Download Songs watches your download folders, moves any new music into iTunes, and cleans up the files. It lets you search for songs on the internet from the app or using a hotkey. The search feature is really fun and makes the whole experience feel like magic (our custom google search called Skipsearch will be included in the next release). It does all the annoying steps that some people might not notice, but takes a bunch of time."
Download Songs costs US$4.99. SkipScreen is free.
Apple releases Apple TV Software Update 4.2.1
Apple has released Apple TV TV Software Update 4.2.1 (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4448), an update for the company’s streaming only version of the Apple TV.
The update addresses issues that may cause the screen to flicker or display incorrect color on some older TVs. It also addresses an issue where Apple TV may not wake up from sleep and an issue where audio may not be heard on some TV models after switching from another input. Apple TV Software Update 4.2.1 includes stability and performance fixes for Apple TV.
To update your Apple TV to the current software version:
Select Settings > General using your Apple Remote.
Click Update Software. At this time your Apple TV checks to see if an update is available and a download message should appear if an update is available.
Click Download and Install to start the download process (or Download Now on an Apple TV 1st generation with Apple TV software 1.x).
Important: Do not disconnect your Apple TV during the update process. An...
Apple posts Aperture 3.1.2
Apple has updated Aperture, its software for professional photographers, to version 3.1.2 (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2518). The update requires Aperture 3.x.
Version 3.1.2 improves overall stability and performance, and also includes the following specific fixes.
Resolves an issue that could cause Aperture to quit unexpectedly when importing large iPhoto libraries.
Aperture now correctly handles albums contained in folders when importing iPhoto 9.1.1 libraries.
Improves reliability when importing iPhoto 9 libraries that include slideshows containing text slides.
RAW images imported from iPhoto 9 libraries no longer show the Reprocess brick in Adjustments.
Addresses an issue that could cause Aperture to stop responding when attempting to process damaged images.
Olympus E-5 images with a 3:4 aspect ratio now import with the correct rotation.
Addresses an issue that could prevent referenced images from being reconnected.
Resolves an issue that...
PSB to stream 'The Civil War' on iOS devices
PSB (http://www.pbs.org) says the first episode of "The Civil War," the award-winning film by Ken Burns that first aired in 1990, will premiere on the free PBS for iPad and PBS app for the iPhone and iPod touch beginning on March 24 for 10 days prior to the d re-broadcast of the entire film. PBS will make the first episode available for free download at the iTunes store at the same time.
Marking their 1.2 millionth download since launch, the PBS video apps feature 250 hours of free video, including full-length programs, as well as TV schedules, previews, and a tune-in reminder calendar that can be synced with iCal. The PBS for iPad and PBS App for the iPhone and iPod Touch are available for free from the Apple lApp Store.
“PBS.org has grown so rapidly that comScore VideoMetrix listed it as the 18th most popular site for video last month," says Jason Seiken, SVP, PBS Interactive and Product Development. "And just four months after launching our apps, nearly 20% of our video streams...
Wicked Audio releases Helix earphones
Wicked Audio (http://wickedheadphones.com/) is shipping the Wicked Helix earphones. They have a 10 mm driver and feature maximum noise isolation, which inhibits ambient noise. The tip is gold-plated to prevent damage and corrosion, and the cord measures 1.2 meters long for maximum flexibility, says Paul Marshall, vice president of Sales, Empire Brands.
The new Wicked Helix earphones are offered in three color combinations: blue/orange, magenta/yellow, and black/white. They are currently available for US$14.99 at FYE, Fry’s Electronics, InMotion, Verizon Wireless and other select international retailers.
NeatWorks for the Mac beefed up in time for tax season
The Neat Company says the latest version of their NeatWorks software -- NeatWorks for Mac version 3.5 -- is available for purchase and upgrade. The free upgrade is applicable to all
NeatWorks for Mac 3.5 features:
° A new tax report function that enables users to roll-up tax deductible expenses by category;
° Strengthened exporting capabilities that allow users to send data directly to Turbo Tax, Excel and Numbers;
° Increased optical character recognition (OCR) and parsing accuracy that reduces data entry and enhances reliability;
° Expanded support for third party scanners allows for compatibility with the latest Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners and HP and Canon's leading scanners
° Performance optimizations that reduce folder loading and image processing times
NeatWorks requires an Intel based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later. It costs US$79.95. The Neat Company's solutions can be purchased online at Neatco.com, as well as Apple.com and Amazon.com. They're also available at brick and...
iRig Mic is new handheld microphone for the iPhone, iPad
IK Multimedia says its iRig Mic -- a handheld condenser microphone for the iPhone iPod touch and iPad -- is now shipping. It costs US$59.99.
iRig Mic is designed for the vocalist and songwriter on the move, and is also targeted to recording speeches, instruments, performances or any other sound sources in the studio, on stage or in the field. The iRig Mic features a highly unidirectional condenser-electret microphone capsule, real-time monitoring with its dual mini-jack connector and a metal body.
It can be mounted on any mic stand leaving your hands free for operating the app on your iOS device. A three-level gain switch makes it adjustable for any sound pressure condition from soft speaking to loud playing.
The iRig Mic also comes with a suite of IK’s apps: VocaLive Free (for vocalists and songwriters), iRig Recorder (an audio recording app) and AmpliTube Free (for guitarists and songwriters). It also works with a wide variety of other vocal and audio recording and processing apps...
Apple offering touch panel makers some wriggle room for hike...
Apple has talked with Taiwan-based makers of touch panels, possibly giving them some wriggle room to hike quotes, order to secure sufficient supply of touch panels used in the iPad and iPhone, reports "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com).
In order to achieve its internal shipment goal of 40 million units of iPad in 2011, Apple has booked over 60% of the total touch panel capacity. Despite some supply concerns caused by the Japan earthquake, with room for price hikes, supply for touch panel and panel will be more smooth for Apple, says "DigiTimes."
Gridstore offers scale-out NAS for small, mid-sized organizations
Alcatel-Lucent and Xnet have partnered to provide a business class, unified communications application for Mac OS X. MyIC (http://www.call4mac.com/MyIC/) is specifically designed to provide multiparty business communications for the Apple desktop.
Via drag and drop, a Mac user can create a teleconference in the 3D virtual meeting room and with the power of Mac OS X's Core Animation manage the participants. The app. also appears with full social networking integration. Contacts may be local, remote or gathered from enterprise LDAP or even Facebook.
MylC costs US$149 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. A demo is available for download. There's also an iPad version for $349.
seyDoggy posts Kleer theme
RapidWeaver theme developer seyDoggy (http://www.seydesign.com) has introduced Kleer, a new theme "that utilizes the full power and potential of smart technology but with a strong focus on form and polish."
As a seyDoggy Ultimate theme, Kleer comes loaded with features such as a built-in slideshow. seyDoggy has also employed the new HTML5 and CSS3 working drafts. Kleer officially supports the most recent versions of IE, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.
Kleer woks with RapidWeaver 3.6.7 or higher and Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. It costs CAD $25.
LiveCode development platform gets over 20 new features
RunTime Revolution (http://www.runrev.com) has released LiveCode 4.6, an update of its development platform. The update has 20 new features, including:
° Support for SQLite databases, ZIP files and XML on iOS devices;
° Support for iOS native text entry fields;
° Improvements to native web browser control and native control functions;
° Full screen video playback and support for native playback within a region;
° Multi-channel sound improvements, including pause/resume and prepare ability;
° Support for iOS 4.3 simulator;
° Multiple camera support.
LiveCode 4.6 also has over a dozen developer requested refinements to the desktop product. These include:
° Support for working with very large images on Mac OS X;
° The ability to render objects with and without graphic effects and blending;
° Public key encryption support and cryptographic-quality random data generation;
° Improvements to print to pdf, with document outline and link inclusion;
° Bug fixes and minor enhancements.
semYOU develops cloud app computing system for desktops
Startup firm semYOU has announced "app computing for desktop computers" that requires no local installation a hard drive is required, as all programs are accessed via the Internet. At http://www.semyou.com, the cloud app store for Mac and Windows offers free applications for all application areas, including office, communication and entertainment tools.
To use you'll need to download the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. Then sing up and log in at semYOU. Then you'll start the riAPP store.
Mixamo fast tracks character animation for Unity developers
Mixamo (http://www.mixamo.com) has announced the integration of Mixamo's online animation service within the Unity Asset Store digital content marketplace.
Mixamo's ever-expanding repository of animation is now accessible to developers immediately in the Unity development platform via a free plug-in, providing an in-editor means to browse, customize and purchase character animation. A walkthrough of the process can be viewed at http://www.mixamo.com/c/mixamo-unity-asset-store .
Game developers can now animate characters in an intuitive and flexible way right inside Unity, while at the same time tapping into thousands of professional animations and motion capture data, says Mixamo co-founder and CEO Stefano Corazza. A user can simply select a character from their game project and browse the animation collection to find the perfect motion, previewed directly on their character, he adds. Customization is done via a slider control system, to suit the animation dynamic users are looking...
PSG adds exFAT for Mac OS X to its UFSD technology line
Paragon Software Group (PSG) has released a beta version of Paragon exFAT for Mac OS X -- a standalone software application for Mac OS X users looking for full two-way read/write access to the exFAT file system under Mac OS X 10.6.5 and earlier.
With Paragon’s specialized driver solution, users of legacy Mac systems are able to mount any exFAT files like native ones. Widely used for removable devices such as flash drives and SD cards, exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) is a proprietary file system developed by Microsoft to handle the increasing capacities of media storage, but currently lacks extensive support outside of PC environments.
With minimal system requirements, including low CPU utilization during data transfer and small memory footprint, Paragon exFAT for Mac OS X offers a way for original equipment manufacturer and end-users to manage data on exFAT volumes out of the box, and is available to be shipped with external hard disk drives and installed automatically,...