Apple, Google offering game developers incentives for mobile

Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival’s, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. The prime example given is EA’s Plants vs. Zombies 2, which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, bu…

Ahead of earnings, analysts anticipate uptick in Mac sales and slight downturn in iPad sales

Come Wednesday after the bell, all eyes will be on Apple’s earnings report for the March quarter. While the key metric investors will be looking at the ever-critical iPhone sales numbers, it’s just as important to keep close tabs on the health of the…

IT Enquirer reviews Elgato Thunderbolt Dock: Far from ‘yet another’ Thunderbolt Dock

“The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock is a nicely designed aluminium dock with plastic front/back bezel. It has three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and two Thunderbolt ports. It also has a Burr-Brown DAC chip on board that powers the mini-jack input/output interfaces. The USB 3.0 ports can power a USB device, while the HDMI interface can drive a display of up to 2560×1600 pixels. The box includes a 50cm Thunderbolt cable, which is a rare and nice extra in this market segment,” IT Ebquirer reports.

“Out of the box, the Elgato Thunderbolt Dock is ‘just another’ dock. The USB 3.0 ports work fine. The HDMI display, tested with a lowly HP Pavilion 22xi monitor, performed nicely at the 1080p maximum resolution [of which] the monitor was capable,” IT Ebquirer reports. “But Elgato has added something extra to their offering, which you won’t find in other Thunderbolt docks. It’s not listed on the box, and it’s not bragged about on the website, but you can (and really should) download a small piece of software from the Elgato website that will turn your dock into a genuine powerhouse.”

More info: Elgato Thunderbolt Dock, Thunderbolt Cable Included (10024010) – $229.95

“The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Software Installer installs a kernel extension and the Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Utility application. The kernel extension enables charging iPads, support for the Apple SuperDrive and the Apple Keyboard,” IT Ebquirer reports. “Ordinary USB ports can’t charge iPads, because they draw over 500mA. With Elgato’s kernel extension, their Thunderbolt Dock can.”

Read more in the full review here.

Tagged: elgato, Elgato Thunderbolt Dock, Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Utility, HDMI, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt dock, USB 3.0

Tim Cook discusses Apple’s environmental effort in new “Better” video


Apple environmental site

As Apple continues to acknowledge Earth Day, it has released a new video narrated by Apple CEO Tim Cook himself entitled “Better” describing its environmental efforts as a company. An updated microsite profiling Apple’s environmental responsibilities is available as well. While the site focuses on renewable energy and Apple’s carbon footprint, it also features a video discussing Apple’s upcoming Campus 2 building. That particular video features Steve Jobs referencing Campus 2 as “the best office building in the world.” Designer Norman Foster and Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environmental Initiatives, also speak in the video. View the video featuring Tim Cook below…

From Apple: “At Apple, we strive to reduce our impact on climate change, find ways to use greener materials and conserve resources for future generations. This video was shot on location at Apple Facilities. Now more than ever, we will work to leave the world better than we found it.”

Apple also gave Wired an interview with former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who has served over Apple’s environmental efforts at the company since last June. Apple will celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, April 22nd, the company has said. Earlier this year, Greenpeace acknowledged Apple’s energy initiative as it ranked the company highly on its green internet report card.

As part of her role as VP of Environmental Initiatives, Lisa Jackson has published a letter featured on the updated site discussing Apple’s products and the environment:

APRIL 2014: A letter from Lisa Jackson.At Apple, we believe innovation is about making things better. This simple idea drives us to take action in the face of the very real problem of climate change. We feel the responsibility to consider everything we do in order to reduce our impact on the environment. This means using greener materials and constantly inventing new ways to conserve precious resources.

We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress. For example, every one of our data centers is powered entirely by clean sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy. So whenever you download a song, update an app, or ask Siri a question, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature.

Of course, the cleanest energy is the energy you never use. That’s why we’ve reduced the average total power consumed by Apple products by 57 percent since 2008. And each one of our products far exceeds the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by ENERGY STAR.

We’ve led the industry in removing many harmful toxins from our products, such as PVC, brominated flame retardants, and phthalates. And we’ve recycled more than 421 million pounds of electronic waste. In fact, every Apple Retail Store will now take back Apple products for free and recycle them responsibly. We believe we must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use.

“Better” means we’re never done. We push ourselves every day to develop innovations that reduce our carbon footprint, use cleaner and safer materials, and show that what’s good for the planet can also be good for business. At Apple, we continue to put nature at the center of our business and design principles. We promise to keep you updated on our journey.

Lisa Jackson
Vice President of Environmental Initiatives

Filed under: AAPL Company

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MidiCo 2.18 – Professional karaoke software. (Demo)

The MidiCo karaoke player and maker is a simple and intuitive user interface for immediate use. Organize and play many types of media files, including MDC (MidiCo File Format), KAR, MID, MP3, CDG, Zipped MP3+G and synchronized MP3 ID3/SYLT-LYR. Complete control of MIDI tracks and professional rendering through SoundFonts. Display karaoke and movie content in full-screen mode, even on a second monitor.

Karaoke Maker
It allows you to create a MDC karaoke songs using any MP3 or MIDI file as a soundtrack. Each MDC files contains up to 2 text tracks with independent synchronization. MidiCo is designed to be as easy-to-use as possible, You may synchronize, re-synchronize, or modify text’s synchronization in just a few minutes. Advanced options allow you to insert a credits screen, change the font, display images, and more. Also, you may synchronize or modify synchronization of a MIDI file and save it in standard MIDI format, and synchronize or modify synchronization of an MP3 ID3/SYLT file and save it in MP3 file format.

CD+G Disk Ripper
Convert CD+G discs or Audio CD into MP3+CDG or MP3. Easy and fast, it includes an advanced error-correction algorithm to fix graphical errors on bad discs.

Version 2.18:

  • CDG creator
  • Sysex lyrics support
  • General improvements

OS X 10.6.3 or later

More information

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Apple’s Lisa Jackson talks environmental initiatives: 120 U.S. retail stores powered by renewable energy, 94% renewable across corporate


Wired has an interesting profile today on Lisa Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency who joined Apple in June last year to oversee environmental issues. The publication joined Jackson as she traveled to Apple’s new data center outside of Reno, Nevada, and through the interview offers some interesting insight into what Jackson is trying to accomplish at Apple. The interview with Jackson is landing just as Apple is set to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow and make some new environmental related announcements:

The teams Jackson works with at Apple tackle product related issues such as the materials which make up Apple’s devices (they must require minimal energy to extract, be as recyclable as possible, and be free of conflict minerals); the packaging that strives for the X-ray thin-ness of an iPad side view; and the manufacturing process, where Apple attempts to suppress the wasteful instincts of suppliers and partners in countries like China. Spending a day with Jackson entails considerable discussion of progress the company has made in these domains, as well as an acknowledgement of what needs to be done. (She agrees with Greenpeace that there’s plenty of work to do in China.)

Since last checking in, Jackson said Apple is approaching its goal of powering all its facilities on 100 percent renewable energy. It’s now at 94 percent renewable energy in its data centres and corporate campuses. That’s up from the 75 percent it reported on its renewable energy website just a couple days ago and 35 percent in 2010. Apple’s next goal for renewable energy will be for its retail stores and it’s about to announce it’s already powering 120 of its over 400 stores with renewable energy. All the locations are in the U.S. and include some of its flagship locations like the Fifth Avenue store and Palo Alto. 

The next step is to extend the efforts to its retail stores…In this accounting, Apple does not include the manufacturing, transport, and use of its actual products, which accounts for 98 percent of its carbon footprint. Still, its accomplishment on facilities, particularly data centers, is significant… Apple is announcing that more than 120 of its American stores are powered solely by renewables, including flagship sites like Palo Alto, Chicago’s North Michigan Ave, and New York’s Fifth Avenue.

The full piece is an interesting read on Apple’s new head of environmental initiatives and includes more on Jackson’s first day (and traditional lunch with Tim Cook), Apple’s new and upcoming efforts at its data center and solar operations, and much more. Apple looks to be updating its Renewable Energy page with the new stats as we speak and just launched a new Environmental website with updated stats, videos of its data centers and new campus, and a letter from Lisa Jackson on Apple’s environmental initiatives.

Filed under: AAPL Company

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RapidComposer 2.62 – Music prototyping software. (Demo)

RapidComposer is a rapid music prototyping software designed for composers, song-writers and musicians of all musical styles. Whether you are a seasoned professional or simply ready to take your music to the next level, RapidComposer is the complete solution you need for faster and more productive music composition.


  • Advanced tools for phrase editing, phrase generation, phrase morphing, phrase grouping, motif development, chord progression editing
  • Master track with chords (absolute or chord functions) which all phrases automatically conform to
  • Piano roll with scale notes, visually editable chord notes, and smart arranging of overlapped notes in two styles
  • In-place non-destructive phrase-level and note-level editing
  • Sophisticated MIDI CC editing and recording
  • Articulations can be assigned to phrases or even individual notes
  • Extensive scale, chord, guitar chord, chord progression databases
  • Taggable instrument browser of all MIDI, VSTi and SF2 presets in one place
  • IdeaTool that can generate a multitrack composition based on the provided parameters and rules
  • Unlimited undo and the ability to make several versions of the same composition
  • Fully customizable user interface with preset themes
  • MIDI Drag And Drop tracks or composition to DAWs
  • Virtual instruments (VSTi v2.4 plugins) support
  • SoundFont (.SF2) support
  • Standalone and VST version

RapidComposer LE is available here.

Version 2.62:

  • Fix MIDI drag-and-drop on Studio One.
  • Fix for a crashing bug when renaming parts or lines in the structure inspector.

OS X 10.6 or later

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Apple Launches ‘Better’ Environmental Campaign, Shares Glimpse of New Nevada Data Center

In advance of Earth Day, Apple revamped its Environmental Responsibility website with new content that reconfirms the company’s dedication to operate its business in a way that is best for the environment. The updated website features a new “Better” video narrated by Apple CEO Tim Cook that explains the company’s environmentally friendly values.

Keeping with this Earth Day theme, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, also recently gave Wired an exclusive tour of Apple’s newest data center in Yerington, Nevada. Apple is close to powering all its facilities entirely with renewable energy, with its corporate office and data centers now at 94 percent and climbing.


Apple’s data center in Sparks, NV. Photo: David Calvert/WIRED

Though Jackson can’t take credit for Apple’s renewable initiative, she monitors its progress and, perhaps even more important, spreads the word that renewables aren’t just for tree-huggers, but are serious energy sources that can take on the biggest jobs. “No one can ever claim again you can’t have a data center that runs on 100 percent renewable,” says. “Once those proof points are out there, it makes it easier for policies to follow.”

Though the company uses wind and hydroelectric power in its other facilities, Apple is relying on solar power in it Nevada facility. This design mirrors its Maiden, NC data center, which uses two 100-acre solar fields to produce a total of 50 megawatts. Apple is now building out these solar arrays in Nevada on a 134-acre field, which will generate approximately 20 megawatts of power when it is completed in 2015. The remaining power for the plant will be supplied by geothermal energy.

Taply 1.7 – Simple sound file player. (Free)

Taply is a simple soundfile player. Although a lot of similar tools do exist for Mac OS X, I did not know of any which behaves exactly the way I want it to, so I wrote this application.

The main difference between Taply and other players lies in the fact that it consists of nothing more than a tiny floating window and that it will quit after having finished playing. This way, (at least for me) it’s the perfect tool to scan quickly through a large number of audio files. Taply is localized in English, German, French, Italian and Swedish.

Version 1.7:

  • Added a preferences window, which can be opened throught the contextual menu.
  • Added shuffle mode (see preferences).
  • Support for Retina/high-resolution displays.

OS X 10.6 or later

More information

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