Mac News Review

Multitouch iOS iMac Coming?, Internet Dumbifies Poor Kids, Mac mini Reviews and Benchmarks, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.06.25

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

iMacs with iOS Coming?

LoopRumors' drawbob says:

"LoopRumors received a tidbit of information today suggesting Apple is planning to develop a hybrid OS into their next iMac. The iMac should be equipped with both Mac OS X and a touch interface for iOS...."

Multitouch iMac Set for Late Summer?

9 to 5 Mac's Jonny Evans says:

"We keep seeing this rumor pop-up, and here it is once again - that Apple plans an iOS-enabled iMac with a touch interface - and will introduce this device within 60-days. This speculation is emerging from LoopRumors....

"DigiTimes made similar claims in January, saying Apple has a 22-inch touchscreen iMac in development for release later this year. That report was otherwise correct - it also claimed Apple would introduce a 9.7-inch tablet that month (January). Which the company did. That device is called the iPad. Maybe you've heard of it?"

Mac OS X 10.7 'Gathering Speed'

MacNN reports:

"Some of the first hints of Mac OS X 10.7 have surfaced in material coming out of WWDC. A component of the iOS 4 gold master, AV Foundation, is ultimately part of the next desktop OS. Some of the sessions at the primarily iOS-oriented event also referenced future developments for 10.7, even if their final goals weren't evident....

"Both Mac OS X and iOS tend to feed on each other, as APIs or other techniques developed for one are sometimes rolled into the next version of the other...."

Giving Poor Kids Computers and Internet Dumbifies Them

So much for "one laptop per child" as a panacea. The Register's Lewis Page reports that new research has revealed that giving all children home computers and Internet access actually widens achievement gaps between rich and poor - and causes an overall skills decline across society.

Citing a study conducted by professors Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy in North Carolina, the report notes that in sampling more than 150,000 children, researchers compared mathematics and reading scores before and after acquisition of a home computer and against students without one, and quotes Vigdor and Ladd commenting that "[The] evidence suggests that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden, rather than narrow, math and reading achievement gaps."

The reason deduced is that kid in disadvantaged homes given a computer and Internet access will tend to be poorly supervised and use it mainly for gaming, social networking, or other time-wasting activities rather than doing homework. Consequently, computered-up poor children actually become dumber than they would have been without the tech, which is not the case with better-supervised children from wealthier homes.

Reviews

New 2.4 GHz Mac mini Matches 2.53 GHz Performance Overall

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"Apple recently released a redesigned version of its entry-level desktop computer, the Mac mini . . . and though the biggest changes may be external, there are a few under-the-hood improvements that helped boost the system's performance in our Speedmark 6 test suite....

"In our tests of the new standard 2.4 GHz Mac mini, we found it performed as well as the specs would suggest, with most of its test results falling in between the results of the previous 2.26 GHz and 2.53 GHz models in nine of our 16 tests . . . The new 2.4 GHz Mac mini's Speedmark score was nearly identical to the older, 2.53 GHz model...."

2010 Mac mini a Great Media Center Computer

The Register's Stephen Dean says the new Mac mini makes other small form-factor (SFF) PCs look like towers. He was delighted to see that the new model not only sports an even sleeker, more compact, more living room-friendly design but also leads the way by being the first Apple computer ever to include an HDMI port.

He notes that with the power supply now inside the enclosure, the mini does get warm, but not so much that you can't still lay your hand on it without any discomfort, and with no internal fan* either, so the only noticeable noise comes from an occasional whirring of the onboard DVD drive.

Dean says the design of the new Mac mini "makes most small form-factor PCs look like bloated heaps of junk, the addition of HDMI finally acknowledges the Mini's media centre credentials, and the improved graphics performance means it can handle HD video with ease, and manage some decent gaming action too . . . with its price slotting it as the desktop counterpart of the entry-level white plastic MacBook, but its price and design are really more in league with the premium-priced, ultraportable MacBook Air.

* Editor's note: The observation that the mini has no cooling fan is incorrect. The Mini does have an internal cooling fan, but it's just not getting hot enough to kick in. In their Mac mini teardown notes, MacFixIt says: "The fan doesn't have too much work to do, since the new Mac mini is the most energy-efficient desktop, running on less than 10 watts at idle!" cm

Software

SeaMonkey 2.0.5 Browser Released

I don't know about you, but SeaMonkey is the Mozilla Gecko based browser variant that I find works best among the current release selection on my 550 MHz G4 Pismo PowerBooks running OS X 10.4. It seems to suffer from less interface overhead taxing the Pismo's puny graphics support resources and suffer less from memory hogging than do Firefox and Camino. This week the SeaMonkey project team released the SeaMonkey 2.0.5 update.

New in SeaMonkey 2.0.5

SeaMonkey 2.0.5 contains the following noteworthy changes relative to SeaMonkey 2.0.4:

  • Security fixes
  • Fixes for a number of non-security-relevant crashes, increasing the stability of the whole platform and the Mail & Newsgroups part of SeaMonkey
  • New available languages: British English and Simplified Chinese
  • Some updates to the in-product help content

The changes page lists more details on those new features and fixes relative to SeaMonkey 2.0.4.

Mac system requirements:

Operating Systems

  • Mac OS X "Tiger" (10.4)
  • Mac OS X "Leopard" (10.5)
  • Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" (10.6)

Minimum Hardware

  • Macintosh computer with an Intel x86 or PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 200 MB of free hard drive space

The SeaMonkey project provides official versions of SeaMonkey 2.0.5 for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X in US English and other languages. Community volunteers are also contributing builds for other platforms.

Export PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Other Formats

PDF ConverterPR: AnyBizSoft, a product line brand of Wondershare Software Co., Ltd. focusing on PDF solutions, has further enhanced its PDF solution line for Mac by simultaneously releasing three flagship products, including PDF Converter for Mac, PDF to Excel for Mac, and PDF to PowerPoint for Mac. These releases allow both Windows and Mac users to experience hassle-free conversion between read-only PDF files and other common document formats.

AnyBizSoft had provided Windows users with PDF conversion solutions for a long time before releasing its first Mac product, PDF to Word for Mac, last month. With these new releases, AnyBizSoft has completed conversion of its PDF solutions for both Windows and Mac.

AnyBizSoft PDF Converter for Mac is an integrated 6-in-1 solution that provides Mac users with a flexible and efficient way to transfer PDF to a wide range of document formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, EPUB, HTML, and Text. With it, Mac users can edit PDF contents in Word, rearrange information or calculate data of PDF tables in Excel, create interactive PowerPoint presentations from PDF materials, read PDF ebooks on Apple iPad or other portable devices by converting PDF into EPUB format, publish PDF content on the Web, and extract text from PDF files.

PDF to Word"We are excited to further mature AnyBizSoft PDF solutions for Mac. From the wide complimented PDF solutions for Windows OS, the R&D team of AnyBizSoft has accumulated precious experience of developing PDF solutions for Mac," says Tobee Wu, CEO of Wondershare. "There are a growing number of Mac users who are in need of PDF tools. We hope these newly released products will meet the needs of Mac users."

Meanwhile, to satisfy diverse needs from Mac users, AnyBizSoft has also released single functional products - PDF to PowerPoint for Mac and PDF to Excel for Mac. Accompanied with the early released PDF to Word for Mac, AnyBizSoft provides a complete PDF conversion solution line for Mac users to choose their preference with possible low cost.

AnyBizSoft PDF Converter for Mac, PDF to PowerPoint for Mac, PDF to Excel for Mac are respectively priced at $69.95, $49.95, and $49.95. For more features, system requirements information and trial download, visit the product pages linked below.

Meet the MacSpeech Power Team and Save $100 on Dictate and Scribe

PR: Together, MacSpeech Dictate and MacSpeech Scribe open new ways of interacting with your Mac and getting things done more efficiently, whether you're at work or at play, in front of your Mac or on the go. Both provide an array of powerful features you'll come to rely on, including an accuracy rate of up to 99%, support for 13 different English language dialects, the ability to train and add unique words, and so much more.

If you'd like to add this power team to your computing arsenal and save $100 in the process, here's your chance. Now through June 30, 2010, you can buy MacSpeech Dictate and MacSpeech Scribe together for $249, which is a $100 savings off the regular price.

Meeting all your dictation needs is the mighty MacSpeech Dictate. With MacSpeech Dictate, you get support for most text documents (including those created by other applications), as well as most of your existing applications, including iChat, Apple Mail, Safari, iPhoto, Microsoft Word, and more. In addition, MacSpeech Dictate comes with a high-quality microphone headset and requires just minutes to train. You'll be dictating in no time.

MacSpeech Scribe, on the other hand, makes transcription tasks easy, whether you're on the go or in front of your Mac. You just need a digital audio recorder that supports major file formats, including: .wav, .aif, .aiff, .m4v, .mp4, and .m4a. From there, you simply record your spoken word files and MacSpeech Scribe takes care of the rest.

In addition, you can set up MacSpeech Scribe with up to six individual voice profiles, which lets you accommodate different environments and situations. And don't worry: MacSpeech Scribe supports spoken punctuation, so as long as you speak it, it will appear in the resulting transcript.

Offer available only in the United States.

See Charles Moore's MacSpeech and a MacBook Complement Each Other Nicely for more information about MacSpeech Dictate.

Desktop Mac Deals

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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