News Round-up: August 2 - September 2
At a September 1 media event, Apple introduced a new iPod lineup. The iPod Touch has been given a Retina display, FaceTime video calling, HD video recording, and the A4 processor, amongst a handful of other features from the iPhone 4. It managed to shed some weight in the process, and clocks in at just 101 grams (3.56 ounces), with a thickness of 0.28 inches/7.2 millimetres. Prices start at $229 US.
Meanwhile, the iPod Shuffle has done a design backflip and integrated the features of the most recent Shuffle model with the form factor of the previous model. And the iPod Nano now sports a very small multi-touch interface, with the click-wheel being replaced by touch-screen buttons. It is now only slightly larger than the Shuffle, and offers a clip and a built-in pedometer and FM radio. Prices start at $49 US for the iPod Shuffle and $149 US for the iPod Nano. The iPod Classic will remain unchanged (but available) for the foreseeable future.
Apple also announced a new version of its struggling set-top box, the Apple TV. This redesigned Apple TV does away with the hard drive and shrinks down the size of the unit. Video content must now be streamed from the online store or via your local network. There are ports for HDMI, optical audio out, 10/100 Ethernet, and micro-USB. Prices start at $99 US. It’s also black, which will no doubt please some technology enthusiasts.
Three months after its release, Steam for Mac has a modest but respectable five per cent share on the Steam hardware and software survey. This confirms that take-up among Mac users has been reasonable, but hardly game-changing (don’t say I didn’t warn you). The real test will be to see how this changes over the next 12-18 months, as developers that added the Mac to their target platforms in the wake of Steam release new titles.
Emulator updates after the break.
Macintosh emulation stalwart Richard Bannister has released new versions of BSNES (0.6.8) and Emulator Enhancer (2.4.0). BSNES now offers accuracy and performance cores, which reportedly allow unparalleled emulation accuracy of the Super Nintendo. See here for more details.
QMC2, the MAME / MESS Catalog / Launcher II successor project to QMamecat (a MAME GUI front-end for UNIX), is now officially available for the Mac. See here for more information or here for a download link.
A new build of Nintendo Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin is available. Performance is apparently much improved over earlier versions. See the MacScene forum thread for more information.
MacScene member SpeedofMac is working on an update to his Mupen64Plus launcher and would like your input and suggestions. See here for more information, or hit up the forum thread.
Atari 2600 VCS emulator Stella has been updated to version 3.2 (and subsequently 3.2.1). The changes include numerous bugfixes and performance enhancements. See here for the full list.
Cycle-exact NES emulator Maciform has been updated to version 0.14. This release adds a user manual, automatic saving of SRAM, and support for USB gamepads and joysticks, in addition to several other fixes and improvements. See the official site for more details.
VirtualC64, a user-friendly open-source Commodore 64 emulator, has been updated to version 0.9. This release adds cartridge support and fixes several bugs. See the release notes for full details. Also note that it is for Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) only.
Arcade emulator MAME has reached version 0.139u2. The change list is long as always.
SpeedofMac continues to keep building the latest change sets from PlayStation emulator PCSX-Reloaded. Check out his website for the current build, and hit up the MacScene forum thread for discussion.
VirtualBox 3.2.8 has been released. This is another maintenance release, which provides numerous bugfixes. See the Changelog for more information.
VMware Fusion has been updated to version 3.1.1. The only addition is support for VMware vSphere 4.1 as a guest operating system. There are a few bugfixes. See the release notes for more details.
Got any news tips? Let us know on the forums. I’d also like to know if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover, such as (retro-themed?) game releases, productivity software, or iPhone Apps. Hit up the comments if you have any suggestions or requests.