News

Jobs is 132nd Richest Billionaire

From MacMinute

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been placed number 132 by Forbes on its ranking of the world's richest people. The listings include rank, name, home country or state, age where known, wealth in billions of dollars and source of the wealth. Ranking in the top five are: William Gates III, Washington, 51, US$56, Microsoft; Warren Buffett, Nebraska, 76, $52, Berkshire Hathaway; Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico, 67, $49, telecom; Ingvar Kamprad and family, Sweden, 80, $33, Ikea; and Lakshmi Mittal, India, 56, $32, steel.

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FastMac Offers 65 Watt Laptop Adapter

From Macworld

FastMac came out with a 65-watt AC adapter designed for PowerBook G4 and iBook laptops. Part of the company’s TruePower line of power products, the adapter provides constant wattage output that meets or exceeds Apple’s adapters, according to FastMac.

The TruePower AC Adapter features a built-in LED power indicator and is compatible with titanium and aluminum PowerBook G4s as well as with white G3- and G4-based iBooks.

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iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector Announced

From iLounge

iStyles today announced the iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector ($10), an adhesive screen cover that lets users watch videos on a fifth-generation iPod in privacy. “The iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector is an innovative new screen protector for the iPod 5G that not only protects your screen from the scratches and light bumps, but also protects your privacy by preventing your neighbors from seeing what you have on your screen,” says iStyles. The iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector allows users to view the iPod’s screen directly, but limits viewing from the side.

(Shawn's Comment: Umm...yeah....there's only one reason I can imagine you'd need this. And, even then, there's no need for this....)

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iPhoto Update Fixes EXIF Data Compatibility

From Macworld

Apple has released iPhoto 6.0.6, an update to the photo management application it incudes as part of its iLife ‘06 software suite.

iPhoto 6.0.6 is a maintenance update that addresses problems associated with Exchangable Image File (EXIF) data compatibility and Photocasting. EXIF is a commnly used data file format used by most digital cameras. Photocasting is a feature of iPhoto 6 that enables you to publish photo albums and share them with friends and family over the Internet.

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Apple won't Face EU Action on iTunes/iPod Tie-In

From Macworld UK

European regulators will not take legal action against Apple to cause it to sell music through iTunes in such a way that it can be played on any device.

EU consumer chief Meglena Kuneva yesterday said there is no reason to prosecute Apple over complaints regarding iTunes and consumer rights. European competition and consumer watchdogs have been complaining that songs sold through iTunes can only be played on Apple's media player and its iPods.

According to Reuters, Kuneva told a news conference yesterday: "I would like, really, to start this debate. What is best to develop this market and to have more consumers enjoying this really very important, very modern way of downloading and enjoying the music?"

Kuneva also confirmed that European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has found no reason to take legal action against Apple on allegations that the company is illegally forcing market development with its refusal to license its FairPlay DRM, in order that iTunes purchase play on third-party devices.

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Apple Releases Mac OS X v10.4.9

From Macworld

Apple released Mac OS X v10.4.9, available in both client and server versions for PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Specific changes in the 10.4.9 release include improvements to raw camera file support; handling of large or malformed images that could cause crashes; image capture performance; mouse scrolling and keyboard shortcuts; font handling; playback quality and bookmarks in DVD player; USB video conferencing cameras for use with iChat; Bluetooth devices; browsing AFP servers; Apple USB model; Windows-created digital certificates; Open and Print dialogs in Rosetta-based applications on Intel-based Macs; time zone and Daylight Savings Time changes for 2006 and 2007, and security updates.

Further details include improvements to .Mac sync performance and sync issues; fixes for wake from sleep issues with Bluetooth peripherals; changes to iCal; support for USV Video Class webcams in iChat; iSync support for more devices; WPA2 encryption support in Network Diagnostics; performance issues related to Intel iMacs working on high-speed network switches; improvements to OpenGL graphics reliability in World of Warcraft and more.

Apple Posts Security Update for Mac OS X v10.3.9

From Macworld

Apple has released Security Update 2007-003, aimed at both Mac OS X v10.3.9 and Mac OS X Server v10.3.9. The updates are available for download from Apple’s Web site.

The updates address security issues associated with the following components of Mac OS X v10.3.9 - ColorSync, CoreGraphics, Crash Reporter, cups, Directory Services, DiskImages Framework, Flash Player Plug-in, Foundation, gnutar, OpenSSH, Print Center, QuickDraw, servermgrd and sudo.

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Bag Maker Lowepro Turns 40

From Macworld

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, bag-maker Lowepro has introduced the $280 Primus AW, an all-weather camera backpack designed for professional photographers.

At last week’s PMA digital photography conference in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to get a closer look at the new bag, and I have to say I was impressed. Not just because the bag was designed to be environmentally friendly—it’s made from 51 percent recycled material, the equivalent of 22 soda bottles—but also because of the attention to detail that went into its design.

The bag’s camera compartment can hold a professional digital SLR with attached zoom lens, plus two other lenses or flashes. You can reach your camera via a small opening on the side, for quick one-handed access without taking the bag off, or via a larger zippered opening on the back, which adds extra security. The bag includes a weatherproof cover with heat-sealed seams, an adjustable tripod support, and additional compartments for personal items and accessories.

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Microsoft's Windows Vista Marketing may Benefit Apple

From InformationWeek

Steve Jobs may want to send Steve Ballmer a thank-you note. Microsoft's marketing of its new Windows Vista operating system could pay off handsomely for the company's old rival Apple. "We think Vista is good for Apple," ThinkEquity Partners financial analyst Jonathan Hoopes says. "As people upgrade their PCs, we expect them to increasingly consider the Mac alternative."

In a report issued on Monday, Hoopes and financial analyst Michael Lew argue that Apple hardware sales will benefit from the "Vista tailwind," from the imminent release of Apple's new operating system, Leopard, and from the upcoming availability of Adobe's Creative Suite 3.

"We think Vista has established a 'hardware upgrade' mind-set among PC users," the report states. "Meanwhile, Apple's strong retail store presence; all the buzz around the iPhone, the hugely successful iPod/iTunes combo; and Apple's popular Mac ad campaign are likely to combine into a 'maybe I should buy a Mac' decision. In other words, we expect Apple to be a significant beneficiary of the Vista marketing effort."

Apple to Improve iPod After-Sales Service in China

From ChinaTech News

With the approach of International Consumer Rights Day on March 15, Apple says that it will improve its after-sales service to better serve Chinese consumers. Apple has sent a letter to Shanghai Municipal Consumer Interest Protection Commission and said that it will make improvements on its after-sales service, which has seen many complaints from Chinese users.

Starting last year, Apple's after-sales service has been a frequent target of Chinese consumers. Chinese consumers' complaints mainly focus on two areas: Apple's shortening of the maintenance period from one year to three months for the iPod and its use of refurbished iPods to replace problematic electronics.

On December 23, 2006, Chinese media reported about Apple's unfair after-sales service for iPods sold in China, saying that Apple's Global Repair Policy contradicted the Consumer Law of China. However, Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of SMCIC, says that Apple is the first international company that has made such commitments to improving its after-sales services after listening to Chinese consumers' requests.

Macworld Expo Attendance Breaks Records

From Macworld

IDG World Expo announced audited attendance numbers for January’s Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif. The company said that 45,572 attendees visited the show in 2007, compared to 38,441 in 2006, an increase of 19 percent.

The audience attendance figures were certified by BPA Worldwide. IDG World Expo vice president Paul Kent said that the numbers were “a great exclamation point” on the event.

“The Mac market is a vibrant and robust environment that continues to attract new customers for the most innovative products in the world. We look forward to carrying this momentum forward as we work towards an even bigger event in 2008 with new expo attractions and conference content,” said Kent.

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Geophoto "Pins" Photos to Earth Model

From Macworld

Ovolab announced the release of Geophoto, a Mac OS X application used for browsing, collecting and sharing digital photos. Geophoto was first previewed in January at Macworld Expo. Geophoto costs $49.95.

Geophoto displays local and remotely shared photos on a 3D model of the Earth, pinned to the location where the photo was taken. You can pan, zoom and fly through the photos, drag them to a specific location to “geotag” them, and share them with other users. The software integrates with iPhoto and can also work with the photo blogging site Flickr. (It doesn’t require an Internet connection unless you’re using online-specific features.)

Geophoto works with JPEG files, RAW images and other formats, supporting GPS metadata. It also works with the Space Navigator, the 3D input device from 3Dconnexion.

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Play List Men's Blazer Designed for iPod

From PlayList

Later this month Israeli designer Bagir will introduce the Play List Jacket, a tailored blazer designed specifically for men who want to carry an iPod. It will retail for $248.

“Wires hanging and the device bulging through the fabric can ruin the lining of a good suit,” said the company in a statement. The Play List Jacket circumvents this by featuring a strategically placed pocket and hidden loops on the inner lapel to hide earbud wires.

Soft touch controls are built into the inner lapel, so you don’t need to haul out your iPod in order to find change tracks or adjust volume. The jacket itself has received the Made for iPod authorization from Apple, according to Bagir.

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EU Commissioner Criticizes iPod/iTunes Tie In

From Ars Technica

European pressure on Apple to open up its iPod-iTunes ecosystem is growing, as EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva has spoken out against the tie-in between the iPod and Apple's iTunes Store. Speaking on the topic of DRM, Commissioner Kuneva says in comments reported in German-language magazine Focus that she believes consumers shouldn't be locked into the iPod by music they purchase from Apple's iTunes Store.

"Do you find it reasonable that a CD will play in all CD players, but an iTunes song will only play on an iPod?" asked Kuneva. "It doesn't to me. Something must change."

Kuneva also said that the industry needs competitive pricing and uniform sales contracts, in addition to a "cooling-off" period during which consumers could "return" downloaded music. She plays to discuss these initiatives in Brussels later this week.

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(PRODUCT)RED Team Slams False Reports

From Macworld UK

The Bono-backed (PRODUCT)RED charity has hit back at recent reports suggesting its fund-raising and awareness campaign has failed.

It has been suggested that the charity and its partners have spent in excess of $100 million on marketing only to raise just $8 million for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS in Africa. These suggestions first surfaced in a report on AdAge.

The charity has many high-profile supporters, including Apple. Apple sells a (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano. The way (PRODUCT)RED works is that products are marketed as part of the scheme and a slice of every sale is donated to the charity.

According to Contact Music, "sources" close to the campaign are annoyed at these lazy reports, criticising them because they have been less than objective.

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TripleHead2Go hooks up 3 DVI displays

From Macworld

Matrox Graphics used this week’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco to introduce the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition. The device enables you to hook up to three DVI-based displays to a Mac or PC using a single dual-link DVI connector. Coming in the second calendar quarter of 2007, the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition will cost $329.

The TripleHead2Go Digital Edition is the latest of Matrox’s Graphics eXpansion Modules (GXMs). It works in tandem with your computer’s existing video RAM and display output to enable you to create a virtual display up to 3840 x 1024 pixels. One dual-link DVI input is broken into three DVI outputs using a small black box that’s powered by USB.

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Adobe to Release 2 Versions of Photoshop CS3

From Macworld

Photoshop is about to become a one-two punch. Adobe will unveil two versions of its flagship image editor when it announces the rest of its Creative Suite 3 bundle on March 27, the company plans to disclose Thursday.

Photoshop CS3—which is already available as a public beta—and Photoshop CS3 Extended will share many of the same features, but the Extended version will target some new markets for the company.

The new markets Adobe is reaching out to with Photoshop Extended include professionals in architecture, engineering, medicine, and science. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes the same tools as Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities for integration of 3-D and motion graphics, image measurement, and analysis.

“At one point in time, we considered separate versions, but we found a lot of overlap in the features that these people needed,” Connor said. “That led to another type of strategy for Photoshop. Rather than create a new application, Extended is a superset of features that can specifically benefit people in those markets.”

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Apple Releases Update for AirPort Extreme

From Macworld

Apple has released an update for AirPort Extreme, its wireless networking product. According to Apple, AirPort Extreme Update 2007-02 improves compatibility with AirPort Extreme base stations and networks.

The update also improves compatibility for the MacBook Core 2 Duo and the MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo when using certain third-party access points configured to use WEP Open System security.

The AirPort update includes a fix for a security issue where attackers on the wireless network may cause system crashes. A security note on Apple’s Web site says that an attacker in local proximity may be able to trigger a system crash by sending a maliciously-crafted frame to an affected system.

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Analyst: Flash Memory Important for Future iPods, Macs

From MacObserver

NAND Flash memory is likely to move beyond the iPod nano and shuffle in Apple's product line up and become the primary storage medium in other iPods and in a Mac-based subnotebook product, according to American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu.

Flash memory prices are still relatively high compared to hard drive storage, which means that for now Apple's full-size video capable iPod will continue to rely on the same disk-based storage is has been using. As memory prices drop, however, that is likely to change.

Mr. Wu commented "Our sources indicate that while AAPL plans to migrate the rest of its iPod product line to NAND flash from [hard drives], fairly low price points ($249 and $349) and customer appetite for high storage capacities (30 GB, 80 GB and above) will likely prevent this from happening until late 2007-2008."

He added that it is unlikely that Apple will release a true widescreen video capable iPod until after the iPhone ships in June, but that the current models may see an increase in hard drive capacity.

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TrueDisc Announces Software for Damage Resistant Optical Media

From MacObserver

TrueDisc announced the availability of their TrueDisc mastering software that creates archival quality CD-Rs and DVDs. Files burned with TrueDisc can sustain disc damage as high as 90% and retain the original file, according to TrueDisc's Erich Ocean.

"TrueDisc burns standard files to CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R, and DVD+R Double Layer in a special damage-resistant format. These files, called "master copies", can be read back off the disc by the TrueDisc software. If disc damage prevents some of the file from being read, TrueDisc automatically uses patent-pending algorithms to reconstruct the missing data. This allows TrueDisc to restore the original file even when the disc is damaged due to age or abuse," the announcement said.

TrueDisc is available immediately and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. It is priced at US$89, however there is currently an introductory price of US$52.

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Roth Debuts Vacuum Tube Amplifier with iPod Dock

From iLounge

Roth Audio has unveiled the Music Cocoon MC4 ($769), a vacuum tube amplifier with a built-in iPod dock. Roth claims through the vacuum tube style design you’ll be able to hear “a real warmth and dimension” to the music you are listening to. Other features include power output of 13 watts (x2), speaker output with short circuit protection, volume control, iPod charging and an included remote control. The device also sports a 3.5mm jack on the back for connecting other devices.

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CFO: Apple TV, iPhone are Game Changers

From Macworld

Talk about the coming iPhone and Apple TV device dominated the discussion with the chief financial officer of Apple at an investment conference in San Francisco.

Peter Oppenheimer, appearing at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, declined to give specific unit sales forecasts for the new products but anticipated they will be strong. Oppenheimer’s session can be heard via webcast at Apple’s Web site.

“Apple TV will change the way people gather and purchase their digital content,” said Oppenheimer of the $299 Apple TV, due out later this month after missing its scheduled February release date. It is a set-top box that delivers digital content stored on a computer, including video purchased from Apple’s iTunes Store, to a TV.

However, the usefulness of the Apple TV may be tied to the amount of video content available on iTunes.

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UK Licence Payers Demand BBC Support Mac and Linux

From Macworld UK

Following the BBC Trust's recent move to canvas public opinion on whether the UK public broadcaster should provide its online shows in multiple formats, not just Windows Media, a collection of licence payers have launched a petition demanding the same on the Prime Minister's website.

"'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent the BBC from making its iPlayer on-demand television service available to Windows users only, and instruct the corporation to provide its service for other operating systems also," the petition explains.

That petition has attracted 1,748 signatures so far.

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Google/Apple Working on More "New Things"

From MarketWatch

Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Google and Apple Inc. are working together on "many more" new projects, which he did not identify. Schmidt made his comments at a technology conference in San Francisco. Schmidt was addressing a question concerning rumors that Apple and Google were working on a tablet-style personal computer.

(Shawn's Comment: As FSJ says, "Shut the frig up, Squirrel Boy")

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Apple Updates iTunes, QT

From Macworld

Apple has released updates for its digital jukebox software iTunes, as well as an update for QuickTime.

iTunes 7.1 appears to add additional support for the upcoming release of Apple TV, which is due out later this month. The update also supports a new full screen Cover Flow and improved sorting options to let you decide how iTunes should sort your favorite artists, albums, and songs.

iTunes 7.1 and QuickTime 7.1.5 are available via the software update mechanism in Mac OS X or from Apple’s Web site.

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Adobe Creative Suite 3 ships 27 March

From Macworld UK

Adobe will launch Adobe Creative Suite 3 at a special event in New York on 27 March, the company confirmed this morning.

The company will be celebrating the global launch at the event. The long-awaited suite of creative tools is expected to kick-start Mac Pro sales, and will be the first release of CS3 that is optimised to run natively on Intel-based Macs.

Adobe calls the 27 March announcement "the largest software release in Adobe's 25-year history". The company remains reticent regarding the features and applications within CS3, but has released a teaser video to help build further anticipation.

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Mac Office Users were Microsoft "Guinea Pigs"

From Macworld

Documentary evidence that Microsoft considered abandoning Office for Mac in order to cause "a great deal of harm" to Apple has emerged.

An emailed memo from Microsoft-founder Bill Gates to then Mac Business Unit chief Ben Waldman dated June 1997 talks about morale in the Mac Office development camp. At that time Microsoft's senior management were considering dumping Mac support. The email complains at poor sales of Office, which it attributes to a lack of focus on making such sales among reps at that time.

It describes dumping development of the product as: "The strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately."

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Analyst: Apple is Ripe for a Buy

From Forbes

After chatting with an Apple executive at a technology symposium, at least one equity analyst is bullish on the future of the company.

Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey recently sat down with Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, a meeting that left the analyst feeling very confident about the computer maker. There was no breaking financial news to report from the sit-down, Bailey told his clients, but the meeting reinforced his view that Apple shares represent a core holding and should be bought on any weakness.

"Apple continues to reinforce its emphasis on and ability to innovate at levels that separate it from other companies," Bailey said.

The company's unusual culture, the analyst wrote, is embedded enough to virtually ensure a continuing string of breakthrough products beyond the iMac, iPod, OS/X and iPhone.

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Apple Store #3 Coming to SF

From ValleyWag

San Francisco city planners, eager to prevent Mission and Marina residents from running into each other, have approved yet another Apple Store. Number Three will replace the aging Walgreens at 2102 Chestnut Street.

Opening date may be "as early as this spring", the store will be 6,600 square feet with an unknown exterior finish. City planners have "kind of asked them to tone it down" with the steel panels. NYC architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who designed New York's glass cube 5th Avenue store, will present a more Marina-centric design to the Planning Commission on March 22.

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Macworld Expo Sessions Available for Download

From TidBITS

The folks at IDG have started a new service called Macworld Encore, where you can download individual sessions as iPod-compatible QuickTime video or audio files. The sessions aren't free, but they're pretty reasonable: the Users Conference sessions each cost $5; the all-day Power Tools Conferences cost $30; Mac IT tracks cost $7 apiece; Market Symposiums cost $15; and the Hands-on Mac Labs cost $10. (A DVD-ROM containing everything is also available for $300.)

If you attended one of the paid conferences and weren't able to sit in on a session you wanted to catch, this is an inexpensive way of getting it; and if you weren't able to make it to Macworld Expo at all, a few individual downloads are much cheaper than a trip to San Francisco would have been.

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