There were plenty of exciting Mac and iPhone products slated for 2011. From the brand new to the not yet launched, we tracked down the most impressive, and here we highlight the products that stood out from the crowd.
Price: Coming soon…
Aquafadas will soon release Comic Composer, the application used by its Ave!Comics Productions to create digital comics. The authoring tool will be available for authors and publishers of digital strips from March. With Comic Composer, you can produce digital comics for a variety of platforms, including the iPhone, iPad, the internet and other smartphones. The software lets you create animated paths, various pan, zoom and transition effects, and allows you to isolate parts of a page to create animations and transitions between them. There’s a choice of different export formats, including the company’s own Ave, which supports video, sound and localisation. You can also distribute your creation on the Ave!Comics platform.
Also coming is the Aquafadas Digital Publishing Platform, which will enable publishers to create digital content through plug-ins for InDesign and QuarkXPress. Further details are expected later this month.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad
Price: Currently discounted at US$14.99; normally US$24.99
With Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad it’s possible to create and edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on your iPad. It also integrates with cloud services, such as MobileMe, Dropbox, Google Docs and SugarSync.
On the iPhone version, Quickoffice must reflow documents so they’ll fit on the smaller screen, but the iPad’s larger display means pages can be shown with their original layouts. You can use multitouch gestures to zoom in and out of pages, and drag and drop to move files onto Share and Delete action buttons. When working with long documents, you can drag a finger along the side of the screen to scroll through a virtual ‘filmstrip’ navigation tool. Video output is also supported. In that mode, slide navigation tools and notes are shown on the iPad’s screen, but not on the video display. There’s a virtual laser pointer, too.
A feature that’s coming later this year is integration with various collaboration services. By dragging documents onto an icon, you’ll be able to instantly save files to services like Scribd, SlideShare and Docstoc.
Daylite Touch for iPad
Price: $79.5 one year license
Daylite Touch, Marketcircle’s business-management app, has been updated and an iPad version is now available. Designed to help you manage your projects, calendars, contacts, tasks and sales, Daylite Touch 1.6 comes with a raft of new features. These include the ability to see upcoming activity for the next seven days in the Home pane, easier navigation, and an improved note-entry interface. Since one user might have more than one iOS device, Marketcircle has also updated its licensing system to a per user basis instead of per device, allowing you to use Daylite Touch on both an iPhone or iPod touch, as well as an iPad. Daylite Touch is available from the App Store, and while it’s free to download, you’ll need a desktop licence ($279.95) and a Daylite Touch licence ($79.95 per year) from Marketcircle’s store in order to use it.
ESET Cybersecurity for Mac
Price: $37.95 for one-year licence
If you are concerned about your Mac’s security, there are a variety of options on offer. ESET, which offers a range of products for home, business and mobile devices, has just released a Mac client. Like its Windows counterpart, ESET CyberSecurity for Mac provides controls to block the use of hardware like USB or CD/DVD drives, a submission system for reporting files, and more.
The company has also released ESET NOD32 Antivirus Business Edition for Mac OS X, a version of its client that meets certain security regulations for businesses and lets IT administrators monitor Mac clients in addition to Windows and Linux clients.
Pricing for the home edition of ESET CyberSecurity for Mac starts at $37.95 for a one-year licence. Business users should contact ESET for pricing.
CrossOver Mac Impersonator 10
Price:US$39.95 standard; US$69.95 professional
Like its two chief competitors, VMware and Parallels, CodeWeavers designs software that lets you run Windows applications on a Mac. But all too often, when the discussion turns to Windows-on-a-Mac, those other two hog all the attention, and CodeWeavers is left out. However, CrossOver Mac doesn’t require a licensed copy of Windows to work; instead, it uses Wine – an open-source implementation of the Windows API under Unix – to run Windows apps.
CrossOver version 10 introduces technology called CrossTie, this custom-configures Wine to work with particular applications, so it’s more reliable to launch Windows-only applications. Thanks to CrossTie the configuration and installation of a Windows application into Crossover is a one-click affair.
The main benefit is the cost, you don’t need a copy of Windows and the standard version is about half the price of the competition.
Company: Apparent Software
Apparent Software announced at the beginning of January that it had acquired Socialite. The software allows users to keep up to date with multiple social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, as well Google Reader RSS feeds, all in one place. After providing your credentials for each of your accounts, they are listed in the sidebar on the left. Socialite lets you view activity for each service separately, or together in a catch-all ‘Unread’ area. You can also add multiple accounts for each service, which is great for managing, say, both your personal Twitter account and your company’s Twitter marketing or customer-service channel – you won’t have to constantly log in and out of these accounts in your browser, or risk accidentally posting something to the wrong account.
Socialite supports many service-specific features, such as commenting on your friends’s Facebook posts and retweeting messages on Twitter.
CoPilot Live – Australia & New Zealand
Company: ALK Technologies
The app’s been around since 2009, but ALK has steadily introduced new refinements. Among the newest is an in-app option to report errors such as missing or mislabelled roads – the company promises fixes for such errors within 45 days. Other new features include a walking mode, Live Local Search and local map data. Although CoPilot stores its maps locally, users are still able to plan routes when their data connection goes down, which is a godsend when you venture off the 3G grid.
The iPad version was released near the end of 2010. Unsurprisingly, this packs even more information onto the screen, since there’s more room to fit the 3D map and upcoming turn details side by side.
Since CoPilot Live stores all the map data on your handset (as opposed to downloading it in real time over your 3G connection), ALK recommends that you download and install it from iTunes, rather than directly on your device.
GoFlex for Mac
Price: Coming soon…
Seagate has unveiled a new line of GoFlex hard drives that are geared towards Mac users. While earlier GoFlex models were meant to be cross platform, they were formatted as NTFS, which meant that they were more attractive to PC users. If you wanted to run Time Machine on a GoFlex, you had to reformat the drive to HFS+. With the new GoFlex for Mac line the tables have been turned – these drives come ready for Macs right out of the box.
Each drive comes with both USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 adaptors – adaptors are also available for eSATA and USB 3.0. The GoFlex for Mac Ultra-portable is available in either 1TB or 1.5TB capacities, the GoFlex Pro for Mac goes from 500GB to 750GB, while the GoFlex Desk for Mac offers a whopping 2TB or 3TB storage space.
Aside from the new Mac-centricity of these new hard drives, the GoFlex Pro for Mac has one notable feature that its siblings do not – a 7,200rpm spin speed that Seagate claims boosts FireWire 800 performance by 40 per cent. The company is also set to launch a slim 9mm GoFlex drive in spring 2011.
Djay for iPad
With Djay for iPad anyone can be a DJ. Using a digital interface that features two matching turntables, you can scratch out some tunes and throw together a playlist for parties, while ensuring smooth DJ-style transitions between songs.
The basic idea is that you cue up one song on the left and another similar song on the right. You can then add in scratches and cool blends simply by touching and moving the record with two fingers. Because the iPad is so portable and the screen is so well suited to scratching on virtual turntables, the application feels intuitive to use. If your DJ DNA is limited, there’s an Automix feature that analyses your playlists and automatically plays similar songs from your iPad’s iTunes Library.
When you connect the iPad to your Mac, you can transfer your new recordings and then share them online. Djay for iPad supports iOS 4.2 so you can stream your new mixes – either live or recorded – directly to an Apple TV or AirPort Express.
Price: Coming soon…
Scosche’s myTrek, which the company plans to make available this summer, syncs with its free myTrek app for pulse monitoring, workout customisation and fitness tracking. To use the myTrek, you simply strap it to your forearm with the Velcro band and power it on to establish the Bluetooth connection. When you open up the app, the device will begin transmitting your pulse.
You can tailor your workout regimen by setting your sex, age, weight and resting heart rate within the myTrek app, and create custom stages based on your planned activity, such as running or cycling. You can also choose a designated audio prompt (male or female) to alert you when you need to switch routines, slow down, speed up or stop, to achieve your desired workout. While exercising, you can select songs from, and control, your music library either in the app or by using the armband. The buttons on the pulse monitor let you skip songs, play/pause and control the volume of your device.
Once you’ve finished a workout, you can see your progress – along with the calories you’ve burned and your total time – as a bar graph. Past workout data is all saved within the app, so you can reference it at any time.
Fling Game Controller
Company: Ten One Design
Price: Coming soon…
Since the iPad lacks the ability to use a conventional joystick, gaming genres that require exact movement and tacticle responses don’t always fare well on Apple’s tablet. Fighting games, first-person shooters, and even many adventure titles have often translated poorly to the iPad due to their reliance on joystick movement rather than touch and gesture controls.
Ten One Design has had a novel idea to change all that. Its Fling Game Controller for iPad takes the ‘virtual’ out of ‘virtual joystick’. Instead, the Fling is an external attachment that fits over your corner virtual joystick. Two suction cups secure the device to the iPad’s touchscreen, granting players a tactile response with haptic feedback. What this means for iPad users in practical terms is more control in their gaming.
With a growing list of games compatible with the device, the potential for the Fling is noteworthy. First-person shooters, adventure titles and platformers look to benefit the most from the Fling’s improved controls. The challenge for Ten One Design this year will be not only to enable more games to be compatible with the Fling, but ensure developers start developing games with the Fling controller in mind.
Company: Splashtop Remote
Splashtop Remote is an iPad app that lets you stream video, audio and other content from a Mac to your iPad or other iOS device. The company claims you can use it to watch movies, listen to music, and access other programs, including full web browsers with Flash. Rather than using existing protocols like Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Splashtop uses its own proprietary technology, enabling it to share your Mac’s video and audio with your iPad. Normal VNC connections can’t share audio.
Impressively, it can share your screen over WiFi and 3G. (Today, 3G configuration requires port-mapping and other manual tinkering, but a promised update will remove some of the technical hurdles to 3G setup.) We watched a live demo of the app, streaming Toy Story 3 from a Mac mini to an iPad over WiFi. The audio stayed in sync, and while the animation wasn’t perfectly fluid, it was certainly passable. A smoothing option can make video playback look even more fluid, though it does so at the expense of blurring any text on the screen.
Company: High Resolution Technologies (HRT)
High Resolution Technologies (HRT) is known for its USB digital-to-analogue audio converters and the company’s latest creation is the iStreamer. Priced at $249, it connects to your iPhone, iPad or almost any iPod (other than the shuffle), and sends audio to your stereo or TV using analogue RCA-type cables (the iStreamer requires its own power, and includes a power supply). Because it uses its own high-quality digital-to-analogue converter, rather than processing the audio inside Apple’s device, the sound you get should be much better than just connecting the device by itself.
Company: Boinx Software
Available exclusively from Apple’s App Store for $59.99, BoinxTV Home is live-video production software that’s designed to convert your home into a professional TV studio. It offers creative tools such as lower thirds, text and titles, tickers, green screen backgrounds, and more, on video captured live by a camera (including iSight cameras built into the Mac notebooks) at a resolution of up to 960 x 540 pixels.
BoinxTV Home facilitates real-time editing of videos while recording, thus eliminating the tedious post-production process usually needed to add effects to a video. Once rendering is complete, users can upload their videos directly to YouTube. It’s based on BoinxTV ($599.99), the company’s professional live video software. This features support for multiple cameras, unlimited layers, higher resolution, and more.
Company: Global Delight
Global Delight’s new software utility, Boom, boosts the sound volume beyond the top volume available through the Mac’s sound controls. It’s accessible through a menu bar icon, where a volume slider bar adjusts the volume.
If you click on the icon underneath the slider bar, it opens the Boom app. The volume slider bar here has a bit more detail. It shows where your standard maximum volume is, and how much you can boost volume beyond that. Boom also has Equaliser settings you can apply, so you can tweak the sound quality. Boom can also modify individual sound files so the sound is louder.
Apple currently sells more laptops than desktop computers – and while MacBook speakers are decent, they’re still small and have limited range. Boom will be helpful if you need to play video or music for a small crowd, and you don’t have (or want to carry around) external speakers.