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Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 07:36 am PT (10:36 am ET)

FileMaker 12 launches with new templates, iOS apps now free

Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc. on Wednesday launched FileMaker Pro 12, featuring new templates and enhanced 64-bit support, along with a new, free mobile version for iOS devices.

The company heralded the launch as the start of a "new era for databases, empowering users to create stunning custom database apps for iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac and the Web." FileMaker Pro 12 can be purchased for $299, and upgrade pricing is available for $179

In addition, FileMaker Go 12 is also available for iPad and iPhone, for free on the App Store. The software allows users to run iOS database applications created by FileMaker Pro 12.

The latest version of FileMaker includes new themes and Starter Solutions, as well as iPad, iPhone and desktop design tools. It also includes improved file management for today's media-intensive applications.

The high-end version, FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced, is also available for $499 ($299 upgrade). It adds additional development and management tools not found in the basic version. Also available are FileMaker Server 12 for $999 ($599 upgrade) and FileMaker Server 12 Advanced for $2,999 ($1,799 upgrade).

The new 64-bit versions of FileMaker Server 12 and FileMaker 12 Server Advanced also improve performance on wide area networks. They also enhance support for large databases, and add fast file and multimedia content streaming.

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"Databases only boost productivity if people genuinely enjoy using them," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services at FileMaker, Inc. "Everyone wants a great database, but not everyone is a great designer. Let FileMaker 12 handle the design and you’ll create dazzling databases that are incredibly easy to use, on iPad, iPhone, desktop and the web."

The last update, FileMaker Pro 11, launched in March of 2010. It added quicker and easier database creation, improved chart visuals, on-the-fly, reporting, and the Quick Find feature.

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The full list of features in FileMaker 12, as provided by the company, are as follows:

Breakthrough design features boost usability on iPad, iPhone and desktop

FileMaker Pro 12 lets anyone create stunning databases. Sixteen beautiful new Starter Solutions speed creation of databases for managing contacts, projects, digital content, inventory and more essential business tasks. Starter solutions include ready-to-use screens optimized for iPad and iPhone.

Users can instantly change the look of solutions with 40 new professionally designed themes. Themes can be used with the Starter Solutions or applied to existing databases for a fresh new look. Special touch themes are tailored for iPad and iPhone with fonts, colors, buttons and other iOS design elements.

Users can rely entirely on the included themes, or can customize every detail with new design tools such as gradients, image slicing, dynamic alignment guides, and configurable grids. Custom screen stencils make it easy to arrange information for iPad and iPhone screens.

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FileMaker Pro 12 also features new Quick Charts to create eye-catching, on-the-fly graphs, and five attractive new chart styles: bubble, scatter, positive/negative, stacked bar and stacked column charts.

A better way to handle documents and multimedia files

The FileMaker 12 product line helps teams and individuals manage the growing avalanche of digital content - especially multimedia files.

Enhanced container fields in FileMaker Pro 12 support drag-and-drop to store, many file types such as PDFs, video, photos, audio, and documents. Files can be stored in the database or linked. Managing linked files just got easier as FileMaker 12 now automatically organizes files on disk and can even encrypt them for extra security.

Access to large files is faster as FileMaker 12 will now automatically generate thumbnails, and, when using FileMaker Server, will stream media files to connected clients. When running on the iPad or iPhone users can now record video and audio directly into container fields, and can stream out content using AirPlay.

FileMaker Server 12 products offer faster, more reliable data serving

The new 64-bit versions of FileMaker Server 12 and FileMaker Server 12 Advanced are built for speed and productivity. Access to more memory can boost performance for larger databases, while enhanced WAN performance assists remotely connected users, especially those using iOS devices. A re-architected web publishing engine improves speed and stability when integrating custom web pages with FileMaker databases, while progressive backups ease server administration and improve solution reliability.

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What beta users are saying about FileMaker Pro 12 and FileMaker Go 12 for iPad and iPhone:

"FileMaker Pro 12 is a great update," says Dean T. Bingham, president, db Digital Design. "I have converted all of my previous information to FileMaker Pro 12 and everything works flawlessly. I have used the slick new Starter Solutions to extend the functionality of my databases – and the ease of building forms from scratch, with the compatibility of desktop, iPad and iPhone formats, is a huge boon."

According to IT and facility manager James Pierson, Rampart Hydro Services, "The use of FileMaker Go 12 enables us to get timely and consistent data from the field eliminating the hodgepodge of spreadsheets, hard-copy forms, and the odd flap torn off an old cardboard box. I love the idea of FileMaker Go specific script steps, making it easier to take advantage of the growing capabilities of iOS."

"Thanks to FileMaker Pro 12 and its ease of extension to iOS devices, creating a full-on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for small business will take a lot less time and effort than I ever imagined," says George Page, president, Sea Breeze Farm.

Pricing and availability

All FileMaker 12 products are immediately available. FileMaker Pro 12 is $299 /$179 upgrade, FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced is $499/$299 upgrade, FileMaker Server 12 is $999/$599 upgrade, and FileMaker Server 12 Advanced is $2,999/$1,799 upgrade (U.S. suggested list prices). FileMaker Go 12 for iPad and FileMaker Go 12 for iPhone are free from the App Store. Additional pricing and upgrade information is available at http://www.filemaker.com.