iTunes Documentary 'Viva Amiga' Charts the History of the Upstart Apple Rival That Had Steve Jobs Worried

Earlier this month, a new KickStarter-funded documentary debuted on iTunes covering the intriguing history of the popular Amiga computer. Directed by Zach Weddington, Viva Amiga tells the story of how the Amiga project was started in 1985, and successfully captures the excitement of developers and users for what was considered a game-changing platform at the time.

The documentary features interviews with key Amiga engineers as well as some interviews with Amiga users (some of whom continue to use Amigas today), and charts the tremendous highs and incredible lows of the platform over the ensuing decades.

Viva Amiga
In 1985, an upstart team of Silicon Valley mavericks created a miracle: the Amiga computer. A machine made for creativity. For games, for art, for expression. Breaking from the mold set by IBM and Apple, this was something new. Something to change what people believed computers could do.

From the creation of the world's first multimedia digital art powerhouse, to a bankrupt shell sold and resold into obscurity, to a post-punk spark revitalized by determined fans. Viva Amiga is a look at a digital dream and the freaks, geeks and geniuses who brought it to life.
Acquired by Commodore in 1984 for an estimated $30 million, the multimedia Amiga computer created a stir in Silicon Valley, thanks to accelerated graphics and advanced audio hardware that leapfrogged the competition.

Steve Jobs reportedly became worried about the buzz surrounding the Amiga, because the machine used the same Motorola 68000 processor as the Macintosh, but with its 4,096-color display output, 4-channel sampled stereo sound and multi-tasking GUI, it made the year-old Macintosh look seriously dated.


During an event held at the Computer History Museum, California, where Viva Amiga got its first showing, Amiga Corp. investor Bill Hart confirmed that Steve Jobs took an early interest in the Amiga, and visited the group to watch a demo of what would later become the Amiga 1000. An Apple buyout was even floated, but Jobs reportedly never took the proposition seriously.

Ultimately, little came of the visit, which was later described as a "fishing expedition" for Jobs. Despite being integrated into just three chips, the machine had too much hardware for the Apple CEO's liking, while its full-bus-access expansion port was anathema to Jobs' pursuit of a closed architecture system.

Despite some successes – notably, the best-selling Amiga 500 home computer, introduced in 1987 – poor marketing and an inability to reproduce the heights of early innovations led to the Amiga losing market share to game consoles, IBM PCs, and Apple computers, and Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994.

Viva Amiga is available to buy for $9.99 or rent for $4.99 on iTunes. [Direct Link]

LG 27UD88 Review: A Well-Rounded Ultra HD Display With USB-C

A few weeks ago, we took a look at LG's new 27-inch UltraFine 5K display designed in partnership with Apple to pair with the new MacBook Pro. While it's a high-quality screen that offers a sharp, spacious, Retina desktop, the overall design has generated mixed reactions, particularly in comparison to Apple's design standards.

At a standard price of $1299 and even Apple's discounted price of $974, the UltraFine 5K isn't a cheap display. Its smaller sibling, the 21.5-inch UltraFine 4K, at its temporary price of $524 might be more appealing to users who are willing to give up some pixels and a few features, but there are several other Ultra HD and 4K options on the market, some of which we rounded up in mid-November.

Among these other options, one of the most popular Ultra HD (3840x2160) displays with USB-C connectivity has been LG's 27-inch 27UD88, which offers a clean design, a matte screen finish to reduce glare, and a broader array of connectivity options than the UltraFine lineup. The 27UD88's IPS display supports 99% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, 5 ms response time, and a 60 Hz refresh rate.

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As with the UltraFine displays, one of the major advantages of USB-C connectivity on the 27UD88 is the ability to transfer data, video, and even power over a single cable, and the 27UD88 offers up to 60 watts of power over USB-C to power a notebook computer.

➜ Click here to read more...

Tag: USB-C

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]

No Concessions For Apple in India As State Mobile Manufacturing Policy Up For Review [Update]

The Indian government has decided not to offer special concessions to Apple as part of negotiations as the company looks to build its first manufacturing plants in the country.

According a report in the India Economic Times, New Delhi will instead review its entire policy on mobile manufacturing as part of a wider effort to promote its 'Make in India' initiative. This could meet some of the demands that Apple has made as well as benefit other phone makers, said officials.

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India needs to support an iconic brand like Apple for the success of the Make in India campaign, officials said. "Our import duty is high," one of them said. "As long as they are getting into exports, our objective should be to give them lowest duty so as to ensure that their product is competitive. Hence we may even relook at the policy as a whole." Another official said no decision had been taken but that concessions cannot be given to just one company. "Normally, similar dispensation has to be given to others similarly placed," he said.
The issue will be looked at in detail at a high-level meeting between Apple executives and state officials set to take place next week. According to Wednesday's report, representatives from revenue, industry, and IT government departments will consider Apple's requests, which include a 15-year customs duty holiday on the import of iPhone kits, new and used capital equipment, and consumables.

Last year, Apple requested permission to set up its own retail outlets in India without being subject to the state's compulsory 30 percent local sourcing rule, claiming it was bringing cutting edge technology to the country. The ministry of finance denied the request as it did not consider Apple's products to fall into the cutting edge category.

According to officials, India's rationale for looking anew at its own trade policy is that it must follow the same set of principles prevalent elsewhere which have helped businesses become global manufacturers. India is already home to a crowded mobile phones market, with Chinese firms Huawei and Xiaomi among some 42 competing handset makers. Apart from Apple, no other company has approached the government for any incentives, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Update: India will consider Apple's request for incentives to invest in the country with an "open mind", IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has told Reuters this morning. "We will very much like Apple to come and have a base in India," Prasad said.

Tag: India

Apple Releases Supplemental Security Update for OS X El Capitan

OS X El Capitan LogoApple today released a new version of OS X El Capitan Security Update 2016-003, fixing an additional kernel issue that could cause Macs running the operating system to freeze up and become unresponsive.

The 2016-003 Security Update for OS X El Capitan was originally released on December 13 alongside macOS Sierra 10.12.2, but was today reissued with the fix.

Customers who have not downloaded the security update at all will get the new version when updating their machines, while customers who previously installed the security fix will receive a supplemental update to address the freezing problem.
The OS X El Capitan Security Update 2016-003 Supplemental Update fixes a kernel issue that may cause your Mac to occasionally become unresponsive.
Mac users who are still running OS X El Capitan can download the update through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store, and direct download links are also available (Standard Update/Supplemental Update).

The original 2016-003 update fixed a number of security vulnerabilities in the OS X El Capitan operating system.

Apple Retail Update: Palo Alto Temporarily Closed, Fifth Avenue Relocation Underway

Apple's retail store in Palo Alto, California remains temporarily closed today, presumably to allow construction workers to repair the glass facade after robbers drove a vehicle directly into the storefront last month. The location has been closed since January 15, and Apple has not confirmed when it will reopen.

apple-palo-alto
Meanwhile, Apple is in the process of relocating its Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan to a nearby ground-level space in the General Motors Building. The storefront is located just steps away from Apple's iconic cube—set to be renovated—at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, taking over the vacated FAO Schwarz toy store.

apple-nyc
Apple's temporary Fifth Avenue location opens on January 20.

(Thanks, Kyu Young and Patrick!)

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Case or Sleeve for Your MacBook From WaterField Designs

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with WaterField Designs to offer MacBook and MacBook Pro users a chance to win a Syde MacBook Case or a Maxwell Sleeve for their notebooks.

Available for the MacBook, the 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro, the Syde MacBook Case is priced at $159 and is a simple, slim bag that can hold a MacBook and a few other accessories. Made from either black ballistic nylon or a brown waxed canvas, the bag has a simple magnetic closure so it's easy to get a MacBook in and out.

sydecase
A padded neoprene sleeve keeps the MacBook safe from bumps and scratches and a leather front pocket holds a charger and other odds and ends. A leather handle is included, as is a strap, and there's also a rear pocket for holding documents.

sydecase2
The Maxwell Sleeve is also available for the 12-inch MacBook and the two new MacBook Pro models, plus there's an iPad Pro version for Apple's 12.9-inch tablet.

Priced at $99 to $119, the Maxwell Sleeve is available in a water-repellant Nanotex-coated material, waxed canvas, or ballistic nylon, and it comes in several different colors (kelly, crimson, slate, cobalt, black ballistic, and waxed canvas, a brown shade).

maxwellsleeve
Like the Syde, the Maxwell uses a simple noiseless magnetic closure and offers padded protection for the MacBook, plus it can be ordered in vertical or horizontal orientation. It doesn't have additional pockets or straps (but you can get one if you want), so it's ideal for sticking into another bag or backpack.

maxwellsleeve2
We're giving away one Syde and one Maxwell, with winners to choose size and color. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (January 13) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on January 20. The winners will be chosen randomly on January 20 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Sonnet Unveils Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe Card Expansion Systems for 2016 MacBook Pros

Sonnet Technologies yesterday launched its first Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe card expansion systems for 2016 MacBook Pros, the Echo Express SEL — Thunderbolt 3 Edition and the Echo Express SE I — Thunderbolt 3 Edition.

The SEL and SE I are compact and lightweight single-slot expansion systems that differ only in size and enable users to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 3's 2,750 MB/s of PCI Express bandwidth to support high performance adapter cards.

Sonnet PCIe Thunderbolt 3
The Echo Express SE I — Thunderbolt 3 Edition weighs just 2.6 pounds and measures 5.6 inches wide by 8.6 inches deep by 3.5 inches tall, accommodating one-half length (up to 7.75 inches long), full-height, single-width PCIe 3.0 card with additional mounting space for a daughter card. With its Thunderbolt 3 interface, the SE I delivers ample bandwidth for the majority of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe cards including pro video capture, digital audio interface, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS or SATA host bus adapters, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards.

The Echo Express SEL — Thunderbolt 3 Edition is the smallest and quietest Thunderbolt 3 chassis yet, measuring 4 inches wide by 8.25 inches long by 2.8 inches tall and weighing just 1.75 pounds. The SEL houses one low-profile, single-width PCIe 3.0 card, including the majority of the most popular Thunderbolt-compatible 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 40 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS and SATA host bus adapters, RAID controller cards, and even low-profile pro video capture cards like the BlueFish 444 Epoch 4K Neutron.
The Echo Express SE I and Echo Express SEL Thunderbolt 3 Editions feature dual 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports that support the daisy chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices. Both models support backward compatibility for 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2- and 10Gbps Thunderbolt-equipped devices when connected via the Apple® Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.

As an added benefit, the second Thunderbolt 3 port also supports a variety of displays and a multitude of USB 3.1, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 devices when connected with the proper cable, and also fully supports the DisplayPort 1.2 protocol, which enables streaming to one 4K display at 120Hz, or two 4K displays at 60Hz, or one 5K display at 60Hz.

The list of compatible PCIe cards is available on Sonnet's website. Sonnet is also offering Thunderbolt 3 upgrade cards for existing Thunderbolt 2 Echo Express SEL and SE I expansion systems, enabling those models with all the capabilities of the new Thunderbolt 3 Editions. 

Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video on YouTube in Native Resolution

Reddit users have recently discovered that YouTube refuses to stream newly uploaded 4K video in its native resolution if the website is accessed through Safari web browser.

The issue was first raised almost a month ago by Reddit user GezimS, who wondered why the option to view 4K videos in 2160p was no longer available.

YouTube 4K
Other users soon chimed in to confirm the anomaly, noting that it only seemed to occur in recently uploaded 4K video and that accessing the same content in Chrome or Firefox still offered up the preferred 2160p resolution as a viewing option.

After some digging, user themcfly recently discovered that the issue is being caused by a change to the way YouTube encodes video and serves it through its website.

Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p.

Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website.

Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different browser.

Tags: YouTube, Safari, 4K

Adobe's Research Team Experimenting With Voice-Based AI, Digital Face Painting

Adobe this week published three videos on YouTube, sharing details on what its research team is working on for inclusion in future Adobe products like Photoshop.

A voice-based AI assistant like Siri is Adobe's most interesting project, which Adobe says is the first step towards a voice-based interface that would let Adobe users search and edit images in unique ways.


According to Adobe, its team is working to combine voice interaction with "a deep understanding" of creative workflows. In its current incarnation, the speech recognition system can accept natural language instructions or image editing, directly on a device or through a cloud-based Natural Language understanding service.

Adobe is also working on a new digital face painting application that would allow users to paint on a still image of a person, using blending and rotating tools to paint on all sides of the face. A real-time paint simulation engine makes there the paint blends in with the image with the proper lighting.


The final project shared by the research team is an interactive sculpting tool for Photoshop, which allows an artist to use familiar Photoshop tools to sculpt 3D objects.


There's no word on if or when these projects will make their way into Adobe's software, but Adobe pushes updates to its Creative Cloud projects on a regular basis and unveils major new features each year.

Tag: Adobe

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available Too]

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.3 update to developers, a few days after seeding the third 10.12.3 beta and more than a month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.2, the second update to the macOS Sierra operating system.

The macOS Sierra 10.12.3 update is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

macos-10-12-3-beta
According to Apple's release notes, the 10.12.3 update "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac." No specific changes, bug fixes, or feature additions were discovered in the first three betas, but we'll update this post should any new features be found in the fourth beta.

With bug fixes, it's often hard to determine exactly what's included in an update until Apple supplies detailed release notes with a release. We do, however, know that this update fixes a Safari bug that caused battery life problems during the MacBook Pro testing conducted by Consumer Reports.

Available since September, macOS Sierra is the latest Mac operating system. It includes Siri support, Apple Pay for the web, Universal Clipboard, Apple Watch auto unlocking, improved iCloud Drive integration, Picture-in-Picture multitasking, and dozens of smaller features that can be found in our macOS Sierra roundup.

Update: The fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.3 beta is also available for public beta testers.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra

Akitio Launches 2.5" Quad Thunderbolt 3 Storage Device for New MacBook Pro

Akitio has announced the release of the its Thunder3 Quad Mini, a 2.5" four-bay Thunderbolt 3 external storage solution for the latest MacBook Pro.

akitio-quad-thunderbolt-3
The aluminum storage device has removable trays designed to house up to four 2.5" SATA SSDs or hard drives purchased separately. The device is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports—the first one connects to the MacBook Pro, and the second one can be used to connect or daisy chain Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C peripherals.

With Software RAID, Akitio said four striped SSDs can reach data transfer speeds of up to 1375 MB/s, while four striped hard drives max out at around 400 MB/s. Thunderbolt 3 provides sufficient bandwidth to connect dual 4K displays to the latest MacBook Pro and complete other data transfers simultaneously.

akitio-thunder3-quad-mini
A dedicated DisplayPort 1.2 video output provides connectivity to the 4K displays at 60Hz, while the device supports Power Delivery up to 15W to notebooks that support charging from a 5V/3A power source. 15W is hardly sufficient wattage for the latest MacBook Pro, which fully charges at up to 85W with Apple's own charger.

Akitio said the Thunder3 Quad Mini will be available in March for $329 alongside five other Thunderbolt 3 storage devices it sells.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tag: Thunderbolt 3
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)