Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X, Compressor and Motion With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

finalcutproxApple today updated Final Cut Pro X, Compressor, and Motion, its software designed for professional video editors. Today's updates, the first since October, add new features and multiple bug fixes.

Version 10.3.2 of Final Cut Pro X introduces the ability to add custom folders of audio files to the Sound Effects browser, and the following bug fixes:
- Ability to add custom folders of audio files to the Sound Effects browser
- Using ripple delete on audio-only clips no longer disables the selected range
- Audio meters retain custom width after relaunch
- Improves responsiveness when editing very long projects
- Improves performance when exporting H.264 files and changing frame rate
- Exporting ProRes 4444 files with transparency using Compressor creates a correct alpha channel
- Fixes an issue in which adjusting the line spacing of multi-line titles only applied to the first line
- Fixes an issue in which secondary storylines with mixed roles could overlap in the timeline
- Fixes an issue that could prevent burning Final Cut Pro projects to DVD via Apple USB SuperDrive
Motion version 5.3.1 introduces several bug fixes and improves stability. A full list of changes to the software is below:
- Improves stability when using multiple camera behaviors
- Improves performance when exporting H.264 files and changing frame rate
- Fixes a stability issue when using the Timecode text generator
- Fixes a stability issue when the cursor rolls over markers during playback
- Fixes a stability issue when using the nudge keyframe shortcut
Compressor version 4.3.1 also focuses on bug fixes and performance improvements, fixing problems with the Touch Bar, burning projects to DVD, and more.
- Fade In/Fade Out filter is applied correctly when using distributed encoding
- Disc name and titles are correctly displayed when using languages with double-byte characters
- Location paths are respected when using Compressor via Terminal
- Improves performance when exporting H.264 files and changing frame rate
- Exporting ProRes 4444 files with transparency using Compressor creates a correct alpha channel
- Fixes an issue that could prevent processing files using 32-bit codecs including Animation, PNG, Cinepak, and WMV
- Fixes an issue in which marker buttons on the Touch Bar may be displayed incorrectly
- Fixes an issue that could prevent burning Final Cut Pro projects to DVD via Apple USB SuperDrive
Final Cut Pro X can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $299.99. [Direct Link]

Compressor can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Motion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]


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Multiple Simply Mac Stores Shutting Down Across the U.S.

Simply Mac, a well-known Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider owned by GameStop, is shutting down a number of its brick and mortar stores across the United States.

Locations in North Carolina, North Dakota, Montana, Texas, Illinois, and more, are closing this week.

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Image via the Billings Gazette

Notices at some of the locations have suggested Simply Mac is being shut down because Apple is ending its agreement with the retail chain, and several local newspapers are reporting the same news, but on Twitter, Simply Mac says that is not true.

A notice sent out by the West Acres Mall in Fargo, North Dakota:
We wanted to reach out to you with news of another change at West Acres. As of today, Simply Mac has closed. Simply Mac opened at West Acres in August 2014 and we've enjoyed having them as part of the West Acres family.

The closure is due to the Apple Corporation ending its national agreement with Simply Mac to sell them Apple product, making it impossible for them to continue. They will be onsite for a few days to help with customers who have repaired items to pick up.
A GameStop spokesperson who spoke to the Midland-Reporter Telegram in Texas and the Billings Gazette in Montana said the closure of the Simply Mac store in that location was done as part of a business transformation plan that involves closing non-productive store locations.
"As GameStop announced in its holiday sales release, the company continues to focus on the execution of our business transformation plan, which includes growing our non-gaming businesses and right-sizing our global store portfolio across all our retail brands. This involves evaluating and closing non-productive locations. The closure of this Simply Mac store is part of that strategy."
It is not clear why there is mixed information being shared about the store closures, but it appears that only a select number of stores are being shuttered at this time. We've reached out to GameStop for a full list of the locations that are disappearing.

The closure of several Simply Mac stores comes as GameStop faces flagging sales. Earlier this month, GameStop announced that its holiday sales fell 16.4 percent compared to 2015.


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Apple Officially Ends iPod Nano Replacement Program, but Still Honoring Requests

Apple recently removed its first-generation iPod nano replacement program from its support website, over five years after it started.

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MacRumors contacted a few Apple Authorized Service Providers that confirmed the program has indeed ended, and we were advised to contact Apple directly. Apple's support team initially informed us the program is no longer in place, but a senior AppleCare advisor honored the program after we escalated our request.

In other words, if you still have a twelve-year-old iPod nano, you may be in luck still, but it could take some persistence to reach the right person.

The replacement program was launched worldwide in November 2011 after Apple determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the first-generation iPod nano may overheat and pose a safety risk. The manufacturing defect is limited to iPod nano models sold between September 2005 and December 2006.

Related Roundup: iPod nano
Tag: repair program
Buyer's Guide: iPod Nano (Don't Buy)

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Apple and Amazon End Audiobook Exclusivity Deal Amid Growing Concerns of a Monopoly

Apple and Amazon have agreed to cease all exclusivity obligations previously put in place between the two companies regarding the supply and distribution of audiobooks through iTunes and Audible (via Reuters). The partnership between the two companies previously incited a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association in 2015 centering around the potential for a monopoly in the European audiobook industry by the two powerhouse companies.

Now, competition is expected to be boosted and the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office are welcoming the decision made by Apple and Amazon to end their exclusive distribution deal of Audible audiobooks on iTunes, meaning other companies can now distribute audiobooks on Apple's popular digital marketplace. Simultaneously, Audible can now place its audiobooks on other digital marketplaces for users to download.

audible-itunes-antitrust
On Thursday, the German Federal Cartel Office said it has officially closed its investigation because "there was no further reason to continue."
"The European Commission welcomes an agreement to end all exclusivity obligations concerning audiobook supply and distribution between Amazon's subsidiary Audible and Apple," the EU competition authority said in a statement.

"With the deletion of the exclusivity agreement Apple will now have the opportunity to purchase digital audiobooks from other suppliers," Andreas Mundt, president of the German cartel office, said in a statement.
Back in 2015, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association began its complaint by saying that Apple and Amazon were "abusing their dominant market position" with the audiobook deal. In total, more than 90 percent of all audiobook downloads in Germany are made through Amazon's Audible service, or via iTunes, making the pairing of the two companies particularly troublesome in the eyes of the association.

According to the German Cartel Office's president, Andreas Mundt, the end of the exclusivity deal "will enable a wider range of offer and lower prices for consumers." The deal's termination touches all markets that Apple and Amazon previously had exclusive audiobook coverage over, not just those in Europe.

The audiobook case differs from Apple's long-running e-book price-fixing lawsuit, which finally reached an end last year and saw the company forced to pay a $450 million settlement. The case began in 2014 when Apple was found guilty of conspiring with publishers to inflate the prices of e-books, with the $450 million settlement reached in March of 2016. Specifically, the amount was broken down with $400 million paid out to e-book customers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in the form of legal fees.


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New iPads Might Not Launch Until Sometime in the Second Half of 2017

Apple's new line of iPad models might not launch "until the second half of 2017," according to sources in the upstream supply chain speaking with DigiTimes. The new 9.7-inch iPad is predicted to enter mass production sometime in Q1 2017, while the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad models will begin production in Q2 of this year. All of the new iPads are described as still being in the "planning" phase.

Although it was expected for Apple to announce and launch the new iPads during the Spring, the new report claims that "these tablets may not be announced or even released" until sometime in the second half of 2017. In December, "lower-than-expected" yield rates for the 10-nanometer manufacturing process was rumored to be a potential factor in a delayed launch for the new iPads.

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Apple reportedly is planning three new tablets for 2017, a 9.7-inch iPad with a friendly price range, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The products are still in planning, with the 9.7-inch model expected to enter mass production in the first quarter, and the other two in the second, according to sources from the related upstream supply chain.

However, these tablets may not be announced or even released in the market until the second half of 2017, the sources said.
In DigiTimes' report, the sources mentioned a 10.5-inch iPad, which is a size that was recently well-explained by Studio Neat designer Dan Provost as a logical choice for the middle-tier iPad. While multiple rumors placed the new iPad -- believed to be an iPad Pro -- somewhere in the 10-inch range, everything from a 10.1-inch to a 10.9-inch model has been reported.

According to the supply chain sources, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a contender to replace the price tier of the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro, while the new 9.7-inch version will be introduced at an even lower cost to become an entry-level device, "mainly targeting the education sector."

As previously reported, DigiTimes' sources today reiterated that the higher-end 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models will include an A10X processor. No mention was made of the 9.7-inch model and its processor, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last year predicted that the "low-cost" iPad would likely adopt a lower-end A9X processor.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is being positioned as a flagship model of the iPad line, believed to feature an edge-to-edge display without a home button, but retain a small portion of the top bezel in order to provide space for the front-facing FaceTime camera.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: digitimes.com
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

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ProtonMail Launches Tor Onion Site to Evade State Censorship

Encrypted email provider ProtonMail has launched its own onion address, allowing users to access the service over the Tor anonymizing network (via TechCrunch).

The Swiss-based email account provider, which has more than 2 million users, said the measure was aimed at defending against state-sponsored censorship, and pointed to recent moves around the world to block encrypted communications and expand surveillance.

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ProtonMail said it was worried about increased attacks on online privacy, such as encryption messaging app Signal being blocked in Egypt, and the UK passing expansive surveillance legislation which mandates tracking of web activity.

The service also reported a bump in registrations following President-Elect Donald Trump's election win, with web users said to be seeking a non-U.S. based secure email provider in case of a broad expansion of online surveillance activity.
"Given ProtonMail's recent growth, we realize that the censorship of ProtonMail in certain countries is inevitable and we are proactively working to prevent this," said co-founder Andy Yen in a statement on the launch. "Tor provides a way to circumvent certain Internet blocks so improving our compatibility with Tor is a natural first step."
ProtonMail can now be reached over the Tor network directly using the onion address https://protonirockerxow.onion. The provider has also posted instructions on how to access the site on iOS devices, although it is currently looking into problems with access via the free Onion Browser app.

ProtonMail is a free download for iPad and iPhone on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Netflix Beats Subscription Rate Predictions By One Third As Shares Reach All-Time High

netflixNetflix added over a third more subscribers than expected in the last quarter of 2016, streaming video service revealed yesterday. According to its latest Q4 letter to shareholders, Netflix signed up 7.1 million new subscribers worldwide, almost two million more than analysts expected, despite price raises during the quarter.

The company put the boost down to the success of original shows like season 3 of Black Mirror and British drama The Crown which have garnered strong global followings. Notably, the company said millions of U.S. subscribers had tuned in to watch dubbed and subtitled versions of Brazilian series 3%, making it the first Portuguese-language TV show to travel meaningfully beyond Latin America and Portugal.
Internet video is a global phenomenon. Amazon Prime Video expanded recently to match our territory footprint, while YouTube remains far larger than either of us in terms of global video enjoyment minutes. Video consumption is growing on Facebook, and Apple is rumored to be adding video to its music service.

...The BBC has become the first major linear network to announce plans to go binge-first with new seasons, favoring internet over linear viewers. We presume HBO is not far behind the BBC. In short, it’s becoming an internet TV world, which presents both challenges and opportunities for Netflix as we strive to earn screen time.
Netflix said it planned to release more than 1,000 hours of original programming this year, up from 600 hours in 2016. It also said it had recently signed a deal with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to stream Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee as well as two new stand-up specials and other shows he will develop.

Netflix announced earnings of 15 cents per share and revenue of $2.48 billion, beating Wall Street expectations of earnings at 13 cents per share. Netflix rose as much as 8.2 percent in after-hours trading following the earnings report, adding nearly $5 billion to the company's stock market value.

Tag: Netflix

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Lite-On Semiconductor to Provide Wireless Charging Components for iPhone 8

Lite-On Semiconductor is to provide integrated chip components for the next-generation "iPhone 8" that will support fast wireless charging, according to a new report out today.

According to Chinese-language paper Commercial Times, the Taiwan-based maker of discrete and analog IC components will supply the bridge rectifiers necessary to maintain efficiency in wireless power transmission and reduce thermal issues.

iphone-8
iPhone 8 concept by Handy Abovergleich.
Lite-On Semi has reportedly obtained half of the orders for GPP bridge rectifiers that will be used in the wireless charger for the upcoming iPhones, the report cited industry sources as saying.
The semiconductor company's share price on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rallied to its daily 10 percent limit on the news. Lite-On Semi responded to the report by saying it does not comment on customers or orders.

Apple is said to be working on long-range wireless charging technology, which is superior to many existing wireless charging methods since it doesn't require devices to be as close to a charging source or mat.

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is reportedly testing wireless charging modules intended for use in this year's "10th anniversary iPhone", while recent comments by possible partner Energous suggest Apple could use the company's over-the-air charging technology in a forthcoming smartphone.

The iPhone 8 is expected to introduce a radical redesign of Apple's iconic handset, with a glass body and edge-to-edge OLED display that includes an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor and front-facing camera. Three models – one OLED, two standard – have also been rumored to feature in Apple's next-gen flagship range.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tag: wireless charging

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Nintendo Debuts New ‘Fire: Emblem Heroes’ Smartphone Game, Coming Soon to iOS Devices

Nintendo today officially announced Fire Emblem: Heroes, its next planned mobile game launching on iOS and Android devices in the near future. Positioned as a tactical roleplaying game in the Fire Emblem universe, Fire Emblem: Heroes will allow players to level up popular characters from the series and engage in strategic battles.

According to Nintendo, the game features a new, original storyline focusing on two warring kingdoms coming together in a bitter clash. Players take on the role of summoners, calling various historic Fire Emblem characters into epic fights.

fireemblem
Each battle map is an 8x6 square designed to fit on a smartphone's screen, where players will engage in tactical fights with multiple allies and enemies on the battlefield.

Simple controls are included, such as dragging an ally onto an enemy to attack, and a battle victory is achieved when every enemy on a given map is defeated. Nintendo says that despite the simple controls, Fire Emblem fans will find the battle intensity they've come to expect from the series.

Nintendo plans to make Fire Emblem: Heroes free-to-play, with optional in-app purchases.

Fire Emblem: Heroes will be available on the Google Play store starting on February 2. Nintendo did not announce a specific release date for iOS devices, saying only that the game will be "available soon."

Back in 2015, Nintendo promised to release five smartphone games by March of 2017. The company originally said its Fire Emblem game, along with a new game in the Animal Crossing series, would be released in the fall of 2016, but Nintendo did not make that deadline. While we now have concrete information on the planned Fire Emblem game, there is still no word on when we might see the promised Animal Crossing game for iOS.


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Second-Generation Apple Pencil Rumored for March of 2017

Apple could be planning to introduce a second-generation Apple Pencil this year, according to rumors out of the Asian supply chain. The new Apple Pencil could be unveiled at an event rumored to take place in March, where it would be shown off alongside the next-generation iPad Pro.

Prospective features for a second-generation Apple Pencil aren't known, but a previous report from Bloomberg has suggested Apple is considering new iPad features that would let the Apple Pencil to work in a larger range of apps, a function that could be introduced with the new accessory through software updates.

ipad-pro-apple-pencil-screen
There's also been some speculation that Apple could build in features outlined in several patents, including new antenna technology and a magnet that would allow the Apple Pencil to attach to an iPad's body when not in use.

We don't have any concrete detail on the features that could potentially be included in a second-generation Apple Pencil, but given the major changes expected to be introduced to the iPad Pro lineup, it makes some sense for Apple to unveil an updated pencil accessory.

Rumors suggest Apple will introduce a new iPad Pro model somewhere around 10 inches with an almost bezel-free design. Though it will feature a larger display, it's said to be the same size as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Features like Touch ID would reportedly be built into the display, much like the rumored iPhone 8, and it is expected to include faster display technology and an upgraded A10X processor.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tags: feng.com, Apple Pencil
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

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