Playing 5.1 audio from a MacBook

This Much I Know – » 5.1 surround sound playback on Mac (and maybe Apple TV)

QuickTime doesn’t come with an [tag]AC-3[/tag] codec by default. There is an open-source QuickTime component available, called A52Codec, which enables QuickTime to open, import and export AC-3 audio. (It does this using a free AC-3 library called liba52.) A52Codec provides some form of support for working with AC-3 under QuickTime, at least for file conversion and export. What the A52Codec can’t do, however, is to enable applications to stream encoded AC-3 data straight to the optical output on the Mac.

Apple’s DVD Player application – included for free on every Mac – can play the 5.1 AC-3 audio from a physical DVD directly through the optical output of your Mac. DVD Player does this by streaming the encoded AC-3 straight from the DVD to the optical out, bypassing QuickTime. Some other players – notably VLC (which also uses liba52) – will stream AC-3 straight to your optical output, too. But any application which uses QuickTime for its audio playback – and this includes Front Row, iTunes, and QuickTime Player – works by first decoding audio into its discrete channels, before outputting it to your system audio device. The AC-3 encoding is lost in the process. So if you want a Mac Mini and Front Row to run your home theatre, with 5.1 sound from third-party movie files, then it’s not so easy.

Apple momentum

Ten million sales secured, is iPhone an iCannibal? | 9 to 5 Mac

Apple’s iPhone sales are breaking expectations, with the latest guess-timates indicating eight million sales of the iPhone this year alone – meaning the company’s well on course to achieve its stated ten million sales target.

AppleInsider | RBC says sub-$100 “iPod phone” market up for Apple’s taking

“resilient post-launch” sell-through has paced the company ahead of Wall Street’s expectations and on target with his forecast of 5.1 million 3G units in the September quarter and 14 million total iPhone units for the calendar year

AppleInsider | Apple may report unprecedented 3 million Mac quarter

ike Abramsky cited proprietary data from his firm’s recent IQ/ChangeWave Panel which “suggests that massive back-to-school Mac sales” could see the Cupertino-based company report year-over-year growth of 44 percent to 3.04 million units for the three month period ending September.

The study of 4,400 respondents demonstrates “resilience despite a sluggish consumer spending environment,” and would also signal 22 percent growth on a sequential basis, the analyst said. Apple shipped a record 2.496 million systems for the most recent quarter ended June.

iPod updates coming in a few weeks

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About’s Kevin Rose has posted a new blog entry and YouTube video claiming to have knowledge of upcoming iPod updates with a significant number of details:

– Revamp of entire iPod line.
– Small cosmetic changes to Touch, Nano to see significant redesign (see above)
– iPods to see fairly large price drops to distance itself from the $199 iPhone.
– iPod touch 2.1 software, iPhone to get update very soon after.
– iTunes 8.0 (“it’s a big update w/new features”).
– All of this coming in the next 2-3 weeks.
– Blu-Ray support coming in Mac OS X 10.5.6

iPhone 2.0.2 and Apple plans to sell 40M iPhones in next 12 month

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

Apple plans to build 40 million to 45 million iPhone 3Gs in the 12 months through August 2009, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.
The article goes on to say that daily production of the iPhone 3G is now at 150,000 units per day

Apple in a very Microsoft-like way ships 2.0.2 but it is unclear what it fixes or breaks. Best to be more specific than less where millions and millions of geeks are involved. Supposed perhaps to fix 3G issues but not clear. Doesn’t fix the “Black screen of death” which causes the iPhone to “hang”: on startup when a third party applications crashes.

Personally I’ve learned that loading lots of third party applications definitely causes the iPhone to crash so I limit myself to a small handful of my favorites and then delete ones after I try them. The best ones are Pandora, Simplify, Shazam for music. Then for games, it is the car racing game, Tris which is a Tetris clone. For games I just pick anything that has 4 star or more and which are in the top 50. Seems to work pretty well.

Adeona laptop recovery

9 to 5 Mac | Apple Intelligence

We think this looks really useful, it’s a new and free service to help you get your laptop back if it is lost or stolen. Free and private solution, “Adeona”: launched today, put together by researchers at Washington and California (San Diego) univerisites.

This is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop (Mac, Linux and Windows) that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go – there’s no need to rely on a single third party.

New MacBooks July-September?

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

While Montevina’s speed upgrades are also said to be modest, it has also been rumored that Apple will be revamping the physical design of their next notebooks to bring them in line with the current iMac and MacBook Air. Recently leaked photos depicting a more tapered design of the MacBook Pro are believed to be real. Apple’s next laptops are rumored to arrive sometime during Q3 2008 (July-September).

Best way to get an iPhone 3G is to order from an AT&T Store

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

Turnout appears to be heaviest at Apple’s retail locations, however many AT&T locations still be managing to sell out in under an hour. At stores where stock has run out AT&T is accepting orders that will arrive within the next few days. Alleyinsider surveyed 10 AT&T stores in the New York City area. All 10 were out of iPhone stock today.

iPhone 2.0 to ship this Friday

Now I just wish I could actually find my iPhone. I can’t figure out where it went

9 to 5 Mac | Apple Intelligence

Cupertino “sources” report that it’s “highly probable” the iPhone 2.0 Gold Master will ship this Friday, two weeks before the iPhone 3G ships and just close enough to the end of June to keep Apple’s promise to ship the software this month

PDF and Firefox on Mac

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

If you switched to Firefox from another browser like Safari that supports in-line PDF viewing (that’s the ablity to look at a PDF in the browser instead of downloading it), then you might have been disheartened to learn that Firefox does not support this feature natively. However, you will find Firefox-Mac-PDF to be a useful plug-in.

Mac marketshare 66% of computers above $1,000 at retail

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

eWeek first reported on an interesting breakdown of Apple’s retail marketshare. According to numbers from the NPD Group, Apple’s Q1 2008 retail (brick and mortar) reached 14%. Note that by limiting it to retail, they’ve excluded online sales and institutional/enterprise sales.

Chart from eWeek

More surprising, however, is if you limit the data to computers priced above $1,000, Apple represents 66% of all retail computer sales.