Product Watch

When Apple introduced iDVD--the DVD-authoring software that's included with all SuperDrive-equipped Power Macs--creating DVDs became easier for Mac users. With the latest version of iDVD, due by the end of September, those creations can be a lot more attractive.

iDVD 2.0 will run only on Mac OS X 10.1--also set for release in September--and will be available on CD-ROM for $20 to current iDVD users. Apple hasn't said whether it will also support new external DVD-writing drives from companies such as EZQuest, CD Cyclone, and LaCie.

DVDs created with iDVD 2.0 can get a professional touch, thanks to the addition of motion to menu items. Users will be able to animate menu backgrounds, the images on iDVD buttons, or both--a look common in commercial DVDs. iDVD 2.0 also can play a soundtrack in the background of a DVD menu screen or a slide show.

The updated version offers more-flexible interface-building tools that allow you to freely position buttons, vary button size, and choose button border styles.

Users of iDVD 2.0 will be able to record more video on a DVD; the limit has been pushed to 90 minutes. Users can encode video at 5 or 8 megabits per second. At the lower data rate, the quality goes down somewhat, but the maximum amount of video fits on a disc.

Burning should go faster in iDVD 2.0 than in version 1.0. Once you drop a movie into iDVD 2.0, the program immediately starts encoding it in the background.

HARDWARE

PERSONAL STORAGE
Two storage devices from Imation (888/466-3456, www.imation.com ): The FlashGo ($80) is a USB flash-memory-card reader-writer that recognizes all existing flash-memory-card formats. The RipGo ($400) is a small-format CD burner and music player that supports MP3 and WMA. Both should ship in September.
A high-capacity storage system from MicroNet Technology (310/320-7272, www.micronet.com ): The SANcube ($3,698) can store 600GB of data and deliver 38MB-per-second data throughput.

PROJECTORS
Two digital projectors from Lightware (800/211-9001, www.lightware.com ): The LS-8 ($1,795) is a 2.9-pound, 800-lumen projector featuring SVGA (800-by-600) resolution with XGA compatibility. The LX-8 ($2,695) is also a 2.9-pound, 800-lumen projector. It features true XGA (1,024-by-768) resolution.

SCANNERS
Five scanners from Epson (800/873-7766, www.epson.com ): The Perfection 2450 Photo ($399) features 2,400-by-4,800-dots-per-inch resolution and USB and FireWire interfaces. It will ship in October. The Perfection 1650 ($199) is a USB-only scanner with 1,600-by-3,200-dpi resolution. A Perfection 1650 Photo model ($249) includes a built-in 35mm filmstrip adapter. The Perfection 1250 ($129) offers 1,200-by-2,400-dpi resolution. A Perfection 1250 Photo model ($149) is also available. The 1650 and 1250 scanners will ship in September.

UPGRADE CARDS
CPU upgrades for iMacs and Wall Street PowerBooks from Sonnet Technologies (949/587-3500, www.sonnettech.com ): The Crescendo/WS G3 CPU card ($400) uses a 500MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 1MB of Level 2 backside cache. It's meant for PowerBook G3s with clock speeds of 233MHz to 300MHz. The HarmonI ($300) has a 500MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 256K of Level 2 backside cache. It also incorporates a FireWire port, which lets owners of original iMacs use DV cameras, CD-RW drives, and other FireWire peripherals. It's compatible with iMacs running at 233MHz to 333MHz.

SOFTWARE

GRAPHICS SOFTWARE
Boris Graffiti 2.0 from Boris FX (888/772-6747, www.borisfx.com ): The updated graphics and tiling application includes vector text, animated text on paths (which can be imported from Adobe Illustrator), extruded materials with reflection mapping, and Adobe After Effects plug-in support. It will ship by October ($495; upgrade, $199; professional edition, $995).
Maya from Alias/Wavefront (800/447-2542, www.aliaswavefront.com ): The company is taking advance orders for the OS X-native version of its high-end 3-D animation software. Anyone who orders Maya before December 31, 2001, will receive 12 months of maintenance. Those who order the program before it ships will also receive a free productivity pack. Maya is set to ship by September 25 ($7,500).
Painter 7 from Corel (800/772-6735, www.procreate.com ): Features new to the popular painting tool include a watercolor effect that drips and smudges paint across the canvas, "and a Liquid Inktool that mimics the gluey viscosity of ink or paint ($499; upgrade, $199).

NETWORKING SOFTWARE
A free OS X-native version of Dave from Thursby Software Systems (817/478-5070, www.thursby.com ): The PC-to-Mac file-sharing software will run only on OS X 10.0.4. Thursby decided to offer a free beta for early adopters of the new operating system. The company plans to continue developing a commercial version of Dave for OS X.
A beta release of Virtual PC for OS X from Connectix (800/950-5880, www.connectix.com ): Registered Virtual PC 4 users can download Virtual PC Test Drive for free. The beta, which will expire on January 31, 2002, lets OS X users run PC-based operating systems on their Macs.

PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE
OS X-native fax software from Smith Micro (949/362-5800, www.smithmicro.com ): Set to ship this fall, FaxSTF X allows faxes to be sent and received from any Mac application ($60).
FileMaker Server 5.5 from FileMaker (800/325-2747, www.filemaker.com ): The updated database-hosting application automatically updates and deploys FileMaker Pro plug-ins to FileMaker Pro 5.5 clients across a TCP/IP network. The application runs natively in OS X ($999; upgrade, $499).

--Compiled by PHILIP MICHAELS

MACWORLD CONFERENCE & EXPO: BEST OF SHOW

At each Macworld Expo trade show, Macworld and MacCentral.com pick the most exciting new products. Winners from this year's Macworld Expo in New York include:

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