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Dec 24
Happy holidays from ‘MacTech/MacNews’

Today and tomorrow MacTech and MacNews will be closed for the holidays. We wish all our readers a great holiday season. We’ll be back up and running on Monday, Dec. 28.

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Dec 23
OWC announces the OWC Mercury Pro

Other World Computing has released the OWC Mercury Pro, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 optical drive for plug and play support of CD, DVD, M-DISC and/or Blu-ray disc reading and writing with Macs and PCs. It brings optical media back to your workflow with USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectivity for playback of optical media, data transfer and archiving with bandwidth to spare.

The OWC Mercury Pro sports an aluminum chassis and is s available in two configurations:

° 24x DVD burner, for rapid backup, sharing and creating, and playback of any DVD media up to 4.7GB capacity and full read, write and playback of CD media as well;

°16x Blu-ray disc burner, for recordings and large project storage up to 100GB. It allows you to play back retail and personally-created Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CDs.

The folks at OWC say that, when backing up audio, video, archives or other data for the long term, M-DISC makes the perfect partner for the Mercury Pro. The M-DISC is an archival-quality storage...

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Dec 23
Just Mobile shipping AluCable USB-C cables

Just Mobile (www.just-mobile.com) is now shipping two AluCable USB-C cables: the US$19.95 USB-C 3.1 to UB adapter and the $29.95 USB-C to UBC-C cable.

"USB-C is a new hot industry standard equipped in the 12-inch MacBook launched this April, and we believe in the near future it will be accepted by all majority of PC manufacturers and become the standard to replace all existing USB connectors. In order to connect a USB-C device to existing USB-A peripherals, we created the AluCable USB-C 3.1 to USB adapter to connect to a myriad of possibilities." says Nils Gustafsson, co-founder of Just Mobile.

The Just Mobile AluCable USB-C to A is an USB adapter to  connect USB-C enabled devices – such as the new Apple MacBook to USB-A peripherals. Running the USB 3.1 standard, this 15cm-long adapter can transfer data at up to 5Gbps while charging devices with a powerful 3A current.  

The AluCable USB-C...

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Dec 22
PhotoFast launches iOS microSD Card Reader

PhotoFast (www.photofast.com) has announced global availability of the PhotoFast iOS Card Reader. Built with a Lightning connector, it offers the power to store, transfer, stream and back-up data from a microSD card so you can access your photos, videos and songs anytime, anywhere.

It can be plugged directly into an iOS iPhone or iPad, enabling people on-the-go to access, transfer and store up to 128GB of extra storage on their Apple device.
 
The iOS Card Reader is supported by PhotoFast’s i-FlashDrive ONE app, which includes a variety of online and offline capabilities. Users can store and back-up data from cloud-based services such as iCloud, Google Drive and DropBox, as well as social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram. The i-FlashDrive ONE app also offers enhanced security and file management features, including a USB accessory lock and app lock supported by Touch ID, says Warren Wang, CEO...

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Dec 22
DxO announces Photos extensions for OS X El Capitan

DxO (www.dxo.com) has released two new extensions for OS X El Capitan:, DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos and DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos - DxO ONE Camera Only. They provide DxO's image processing within the Photos app on OS X.

DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos adds access to “tens of thousands” of DxO Optics Modules that enable DxO's automatic optical corrections for distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration and lens softness for most popular cameras and lenses. It’s a paid download ($9.99) from the Mac App Store. When installed, it automatically appears as an extension that can be accessed via the editing tools in Photos. The DxO Optics Modules automatically identify the camera and lens used to capture each photo, then use this information to correct for a variety of optical flaws, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and lens softness.

DxO ONE owners can download DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos for...

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Dec 22
Apple products spur growth in Force Sensing display tech

Apple’s use of Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch and 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s line is leading to growth in force sensing and other touch-panel enhancements in mobile devices, according to IHS ().

Other brands and integrated-circuit (IC) makers are now responding by preparing their own force sensing solutions, mainly for high-end and mid-range smartphones due to the high cost. In 2016, force sensing module shipments are expected to grow 317 percent to reach 461 million units in 2016. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of new smartphones shipped will include the technology, according to the IHS (www.ihs.com) research group.

“Aside from force sensing solutions, touch controller IC makers are aggressively expanding production of in-cell and on-cell touch displays to further improve touch interfaces for smartphone users,” said Calvin Hsieh, director of touch and user interface research for IHS Technology. “In-cell...

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Dec 22
Spitfire Audio adds piano to Signature range from Hans Zimmer

Spitfire Audio (www.spitfireaudio.com) has announced the availability of HZP - HANS ZIMMER PIANO, its fourth collaboration with Academy Award-winning Hollywood film-scoring supremo Hans Zimmer.

It’s the “ultimate piano” to the Signature range of sample-based virtual instruments by trailblazing talent for Native Instruments’ KONTAKT platform. Until Dec. 26, HANS ZIMMER PIANO can be purchased and downloaded directly from Spitfire Audio for an introductory promotional price of $344. Afterward, the price will be $450.

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Dec 21
Waves Audio shipping the Element 2.0 Virtual Analog Synth

Waves Audio is shipping the Element 2.0 Virtual Analog Synth, an analog-style polyphonic instrument designed to deliver the sounds of classic analog synths with the precision, flexibility and control of a software instrument.  

The first synthesizer to take advantage of the next generation of Waves’ Virtual Voltage technology, Element 2.0 includes an array of features and functions, including five integrated effects, a 16-step sequencer, MIDI learn for all controls, and a massive, fully tweakable preset library.  Other features include: high resolution oscillators and analog envelope behavior; filters with zero-delay feedback; effects such as delay, reverb, distortion, chorus and two distinct crushers; the ability to choose between Element 1 and Element 2 modes at the click of a button; and a 16-step sequencer with Hold and Retrigger modes that can be used as a modulation source.

You can use Element 2.0 as a plugin or as a standalone application. Go to...

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Dec 21
Scripps Networks Interactive launches channels on the Apple TV

Scripps Networks Interactive has launched its HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel brands on the fourth get Apple TV.

This new distribution will provide Apple TV viewers with access to the vast library of premier home, food and travel content offered by Scripps Networks Interactive. Viewers who sign in and authenticate with their pay-TV provider credentials will be able to access their favorite lifestyle brands on demand. As an added benefit, by selecting Live TV, viewers can watch what is currently airing on the network, says Henry Ahn, president of Content Distribution and Marketing for Scripps Networks Interactive.

Earlier this year, Scripps Networks initiated live linear streaming feeds for HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, as well as its DIY Network and Cooking Channel, through their respective websites, iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablet apps, and all five networks’ apps are cast-enabled for Chromecast. In addition, HGTV, Food Network and Travel...

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Dec 21
Appocto Introduces PDF Shrinker for Mac OS X

Appocto has introduced PDF Shrinker for Mac OS X. It lets you shrink and compress PDF files, making them smaller and easier to email.
You can decide how much you want to compress files, and at which quality.

PDF Shrinker sells for $4.99 and is available worldwide from Appocto online (http://appocto.com). It requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later.

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Dec 21
MetroKit 2 for OS X gets a 'Track Mode' feature

Nikolas Konstantakopoulos from Granny's Audio has announced MetroKit 2, a flexible metronome.

Equipped with speed and rhythm trainers, fully customizable beats and accents, and a new "Track Mode” feature, it can create simple exercises or demanding progressive rhythmic practice exercises. MetroKit 2 supports custom beat divisions.

The app requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later. It costs $2.99 and is available worldwide through the Mac App Store (http://tinyurl.com/jey69kx) in the Music category.

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Dec 21
Digital Heaven releases Pro Player 2 for video content creators

Digital Heaven has announced Pro Player 2.0, a new version of their professional QuickTime player built for Mac-based video content creators and motion graphics designers.

The free version of Pro Player provides a streamlined way to review or present video content. Pro Player can be extended with an in-app purchase of the Plus Pack to enable other features.

Pro Player 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.8. It’s available for download from the Mac App Store (http://tinyurl.com/jgppml5).

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Dec 18
Republic Bank announces Apple Pay support

Republic Bank is now offering clients the ability to use Apple Pay to conduct payment transactions with their Republic Bank consumer credit and debit cards. Users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their Republic Bank MasterCard credit and debit cards, including Zero Liability Protection.

“We continually look for innovative approaches to make the lives of our clients easier,” said Michael Sadofsky, senior vice president of Marketing, Republic Bank. “We are excited to offer Apple Pay as an easy, secure payment solution that allows our clients to bank when, where and how they want.”

In participating stores, Apple Pay will work with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. When paying for goods and services within apps, Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. For more information on Apple Pay, please visit republicbank.com/applepay or apple.com/apple-pay.

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Dec 18
Musicality for OS X adds support for more music services

Industrious One has introduced Musicality 3 for Mac. Musicality breaks your music out of the browser, with desktop conveniences like keyboard shortcuts and notifications, AirPlay streaming, and an iOS remote.

The app lets you take control of over a dozen popular music websites including Pandora Radio, Google Play Music, Spotify, and more. Version 3.0 sports built-in controls for nearly a dozen more music services.

Musicality costs $11 and requires Mac OS X 10.10 or newer, as well as an Internet connection. It may be downloaded as a free 10-day demo from the Musicality website (http://industriousone.com/). The demo is full-featured and unlocks in-place when purchased. Musicality Remote is available free at the Apple App Store. It requires iOS 8 or newer and a Wi-Fi connection to Musicality for Mac.

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Dec 18
Apple and China UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China

Apple and China UnionPay have announced a partnership to bring Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment solution, to China. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to add their bank cards to Apple Pay on the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.

“China UnionPay is dedicated to promoting payment innovations and providing secure, convenient mobile payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders, aligning multiple parties in the industry,” said Chai Hongfeng, executive vice president of China UnionPay. “We’re very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass.”

“Apple Pay has revolutionized the way millions of people pay every day with their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a...

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Dec 18
TunesKit launches iBook Copy for Mac to remove DRM from iBooks

TunesKit Studio has introduced iBook Copy for Mac (http://www.tuneskit.com/ibook-copy-mac.html), a tool to permanently remove the DRM lock from protected iBook ePub files. With the smart tool, the company says you can legally get rid of DRM protection from iBooks.

All of the original meta info is retained, including the book author, cover photo, publisher, data, and more. You can read the iBook ePubs on Kindle, Nook, Playbook, and other eBook reading devices.

Currently this smart iBook DRM Copy is only available for the Mac and is compatible with OS X 10.11 and higher iTunes 12.3. It costs US$24.95; a demo is available for download.

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Dec 18
PFEvent Taps Framework revved to version 1.5.2

PFiddlesoft has released version 1.5.2 of its PFEventTaps Framework, which helps developers write assistive Mac applications for persons with disabilities using Apple's Accessibility and Quartz Event Taps APIs on OS X.

The PFEventTaps Framework was updated to work around an Apple bug in the CoreGraphics framework that can cause a crash when running under OS X v10.10 Yosemite or older. The PFAssistive Framework was created in 2003 as the engine driving PFiddlesoft’s UI Browser application for developers and for users of Apple’s AppleScript GUI Scripting technology.

The frameworks are written using Objective-C. They support the Intel 64-bit architecture using reference counted memory management or ARC, and they support client applications written in Objective-C or Swift. Developers can license the PFiddlesoft Frameworks for distribution or for use with their own products that use Apple's Accessibility and Quartz Event Taps technologies.

The frameworks may be...

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Dec 17
IK Multimedia releases Miroslav Philharmonik 2 for Mac/PC

IK Multimedia is shipping Miroslav Philharmonik 2 for Mac and PC is now shipping.

Made in conjunction with musician, jazz legend and sampling luminary Miroslav Vitous, Miroslav Philharmonik 2 is an orchestral workstation that takes the virtual instrument used on classical productions, film scores and pop hits and provides over 2,700 instruments with over 55 GB of samples recorded in high-resolution at the prestigious Czech National Symphony Orchestra Studios in Prague.

It will be available at a current special, limited-time introductory pricing until Dec;31, and is offered in a number of different options. Current owners of Miroslav Philharmonik can upgrade for $199.99 via download or $229.99 for a boxed copy.

Users with qualifying IK software can crossgrade for $299.99 via direct download or $329.99 for a boxed copy. New users can get Miroslav Philharmonik 2 for$399.99 via direct download or $429.99 for a boxed copy.

At the end of the introductory...

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Dec 17
iHome’s SmartPlug now connects with Wink, Nest devices

iHome has announced the first major update to its iHome Control iSP5 SmartPlug. The upgrade makes the smart plug compatible with Wink and Nest devices.  The additional platform compatibility joins that for iOS and Android support.

With the recently announced “Works with Wink” compatibility, the iSP5 can now be integrated with hundreds of other Wink-compatible devices to achieve deeper home automation through Shortcuts and Robots in the Wink app. In addition, through its connection with the Nest Learning Thermostat, the iSP5 can automatically turn the Smart Plug on when users are home and off when they’re away.
 
The US$39.99 iHome iSP5 SmartPlug (http://www.ihomeaudio.com/iSP5WC/) can set schedules and remotely control holiday lighting and gadgets, as well everyday household items such as lamps, portable heaters, fans and other small appliances under 1800W from anywhere...

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Dec 17
Booq reveals Slimpack for photographers

Booq has released their latest backpack for photographers: the Slimpack. It’s designed for photographers traveling with their gear and editing on the go, as it fits two DSLRs, up to four mid-sized lenses or one large zoom lens, a 12-inch MacBook or 10-inch iPad/tablet and a tripod.

The interior features a cushioned, non-scratch lining and densely padded dividers that can be configured to fit users’ gear of choice, while a variety of pockets with concealed interior slots keep accessories safe and organized. Made from 47 percent recycled PET and 53 percent cotton, the bag's exterior weatherproof fabric is rugged yet smooth, while ergonomically designed shoulder straps and open mesh enable ventilation, keeping carriers cool and comfortable, says Kema Subsomboon, Lead Product Designer at booq.

The Slimpack also features an exterior pouch and buckle to tote a tripod, and includes a removable rain poncho with reflective graphics for heavier downpours. The backpack’s flat...

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Dec 17
KickShark to ship USB-C USB 3.1 dock and hub in February

KickShark has announced its “production ready” 13-port HydraDock (www.hydradock.com) USB Type C USB 3.1 docking station and hub for the 12-inch Apple MacBook and new Google Pixel laptop. The company has demonstration videos posted and is taking pre-orders now on its HydraDock web site for February shipment to customers.

All input and output connections of the 13-port HydraDock are full compliant with the newest USB standards for data, power, configuration, and alternate mode operations, says Kristin Cales, marketing director for KickShark. HydraDock sits under or behind the MacBook, plugs in with its single cable, and is powered by the computer’s AC-DC power adapter. It can operate in reduced power mode just from the computer connection, without a power supply.

HydraDock powers 4K displays by Mini DisplayPort or HDMI, two USB-C USB 3.1 ports and four USB Type A USB 3.1 ports (all at 5Gb/sec. speeds),...

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Dec 17
Medieval II: Total War Collection available at the Mac App Store

Feral Interactive says Medieval II: Total War Collection is out now for Mac via the Mac App Store.

Here’s how the game is described: “The Medieval II: Total War Collection combines thrilling real-time battles and sophisticated turn-based strategy in a vast campaign that spans five centuries and encompasses the Crusades, the spread of plague and the proliferation of gunpowder. As a warrior king, players will lead one of 17 factions to supremacy in the medieval world with an artful mix of diplomacy, commerce and war.

“On the campaign map, players will build their empire’s infrastructure, cities and trade routes, then master the art of diplomacy to disarm enemies, empower allies and gain the favour of the Pope. On the battlefield, they will conduct siege warfare, command thundering cavalry charges and lead their armies into epic clashes that will bring entire kingdoms to their knees. The Medieval II: Total War Collection contains the Kingdoms expansion, which includes...

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Dec 17
LinkOptimizer for InDesign adds image preview support on OS X El...

Zevrix Solutions has announced LinkOptimizer 4.9.52, a maintenance update to its workflow automation solution for Adobe InDesign.

LinkOptimizer helps reduce InDesign link size and speed up processing by eliminating excess image data, perform essential image adjustments, convert image formats and more. Version 4.9.52 adds support for image previews on Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and introduces several bug fixes and improvements.

LinkOptimizer can be purchased from the Zevrix website (www.zevrix.com) for US$259.95. There’s a “lite” version for $179.95. A demo is available for download.

The update 4.9.52 upgrade is free for LinkOptimizer 4.x users and $130 to upgrade from previous versions. LinkOptimizer requires Mac OS X 10.6-10.11 and Adobe InDesign/Photoshop CS3-CC 2015.

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Dec 17
Creolabs offers beta test of Creo for OS X

Creolabs has announced the opening of the beta test for Creo, their modern development tool for Mac OS X. It combines the design and development of mobile apps into one solution.

Creo offers drag-and-drop controls, classes, and objects that allow anyone to build their app's navigation and features. While building the app's interface, the user is also effectively building a native app. Creo uses Creolabs CreoKIT Objective-C/Swift native framework that enables the tool to execute any iOS, (and coming soon: Android), code on the Mac. The method offers a way to preview your running code directly in the Creo app.

While Creo offers a way to preview mobile application code on the Mac, it also offers a native iOS app that can run the Creo code developed on the Mac, so developers can get a feel for how their code will look on the target device. Testing Creo apps directly on a mobile device is as simple as making sure both the mobile device and the Mac are on the same network,...

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Dec 16
SkySafari 5 versions for iOS 8+ now in the Apple App Store

Simulation Curriculum Corp, which specializes in astronomy and science education software, has released new versions of its award winning SkySafari astronomy apps for iOS. They’re available at the Apple App Store.

The new SkySafari 5 apps are available today on the iTunes Store. All versions will be available at introductory discount pricing 50 percent off the list prices quoted below though Jan. 15, 2016.

° SkySafari 5 (US$2.99, 180 MB), basic version intended for the widest possible audience of casual stargazers: http://tinyurl.com/zn7ezps

° SkySafari 5 Plus ($14.99, 430 MB), enhanced version with telescope control and solar system fly-through mode: http://tinyurl.com/hk8sf76

° SkySafari 5 Pro ($39.99, 1.6 GB), premium version with all features of Plus, plus professional-grade astronomy database: http...

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