Apple Purchases Lala Streaming Service, Analyst Predicts Steps Towards Mobile iTunes Content

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Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009, 07:39
Category: iTunes, News

Apple’s purchase of the Lala streaming music service could set up an infrastructure for iTunes content and purchases to be accessed from multiple locations via a Web browser, one analyst has predicted.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research stated in a note that the purchase of Lala supports the idea that Apple is building a cloud-based system to allow access of content across all of its products on Monday morning. The purchase could tie in to Apple’s $1 billion server farm project which found a home in North Carolina this past summer.

“We believe the Lala acquisition fits into our view that Apple is building a data center for a service to provide seamless access & mobility of digital content across all of its products, including media-focused content of iTunes and user-generated content of MobileMe,” Um said. “Lala gives Apple browser/Web-based technology to access music anywhere.”

Apple made its first integration between the browser and iTunes in November, when iTunes Preview was quietly released. Links generated via iTunes direct to a Web site that gives customers the option to view content without launching Apple’s desktop media suite. Previously, users who did not have iTunes installed were prompted to do so in order to view content.

Apple’s purchase of Lala was confirmed last week, though the terms of the agreement have not been revealed. The , Palo Alto, California-based company has a catalog of over 8 million songs, and allows users to match songs on their PCs to its licensed content, and then play them anywhere on the Web through a browser. DRM-free songs can be downloaded for about 89 cents, while Web-only streams are about 10 cents.

“Lala also allows users to browse friends’ collections, create/listen to playlists, & get updates when new or recommended music is added to their sites,” Um said. “The service is similar to Apple’s Genius feature except driven by real people (vs. algorithms).”

He believes that the purchase of Lala will widen Apple’s “halo” that draws consumers to purchase Apple products. By allowing iTunes content to be more easily accessed across a variety of Apple-branded devices, the purchase could further future hardware sales.

In October, Lala, along with iLike, entered a partnership with Google to allow users to quickly discover song previews, artist info, pictures, video and more. Currently, Google searches for artists or songs can return a full, streaming, embedded song at the top of results, courtesy of Lala.

Camino 2.0.1 Released

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Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009, 07:35
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, the Camino Project released version 2.0.1 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.
The new version, a 15.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Upgraded to version 1.9.0.16 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which includes several critical security and stability fixes.
- The Help menu will once again contain the search field in non-English localizations on Mac OS X 10.6.
- The Camino Crash Reporter will now offer to send your email address with your crash report to allow the Camino developers to contact you for more information about your crash.
- Clicking on warning or error text in a certificate no longer causes the text to change colors.
- Improved ad-blocking.

Camino requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.

Cocktail 4.6.2 (Snow Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009, 07:26
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.6.2 of Cocktail (Snow Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 2.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improves overall stability.
- Added clearing of the latest variants of the RSPlug (Jahlav) trojan horse.
- Addresses a number of other minor issues.

Cocktail 4.6.2 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.

Apple to Launch Second Annual “12 Days of Christmas” Giveaway for European iTunes Store

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Date: Friday, December 4th, 2009, 05:07
Category: News

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If you’re in Europe, you have a reason to be slightly smug this month. Per Macworld UK, Apple is once again offering a selection of free downloads as the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas promotion starts for a second year.

The 12 Days of Christmas free giveaway runs from December 26th to January 6th when each download will be available for just 24 hours. Last year the offer included “rare singles, live tracks and free music videos” with music from Katy Perry, Lily Allen and The Ting Tings.

iPhone apps, free TV shows, movies and music videos are expected to be amongst the free offerings this year.

Users can also receive email alerts for each free offer from 26 Dec by entering their details at www.itunes12daysofchristmas.co.uk.

No word has been released yet as to whether there will be an American version of this offer.

Apple Releases Java for OS X Updates for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6

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Date: Friday, December 4th, 2009, 05:20
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its Java for OS X Update 6 for the Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.6 operating systems. The update, which ranges between a 78.9 megabyte download for Mac OS X 10.6 and a 123 megabyte download for Mac OS X 10.5, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Apple Java for OS X 10.5 – Update 6: Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 6 delivers improved compatibility, security, and reliability by updating J2SE 5.0 to 1.5.0_22, and updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_17 for 64-bit capable Intel-based Macs. J2SE 1.4.2 is no longer being updated to fix bugs or security issues and is therefore disabled by default in this update.

- Apple Java for OS X 10.6 – Update 1: Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 1 delivers improved compatibility, security, and reliability by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_17.

As always, the updates can be snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The updates require Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later (on the 10.5 end) or Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later (on the 10.6 end) to install and run.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 119

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 10:33
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast LogoEpisode 119 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (35.9 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker.

Topics: More tablet rumors, iPhone on VZW/T-Mobile, AT&T exclusivity, Psystar and a mammoth “What’s on your Mac?” Featuring: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker.

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

  • Data Rescue 3 ($99) – Killer data recovery software from ProSoft Engineering
  • QuickBooks 2010 for Mac ($199) – Defacto standard accounting software (which I reviewed on The Apple Core)
  • 1Password ($39.99) – Must-have password, login, credential keeper
  • Boxcar (free) – iPhone app providing push notifications for Twitter
  • Samson G Track microphone (~$120) – My USB microphone of choice
  • GoodReader ($0.99) – Larger PDF reader for iPhone
  • Documents 2 Go ($9.99) – Edit Word on Excel files on the iPhone

Rob

  • RampChamp (free for a limited time) – Fun skee-ball game for iPhone from Icon Factory
  • Pixelmator ($59.99) – Easy, fast and powerful image editing software
  • Photoshop Lightroom 3 BETA (free in beta) – Digital darkroom software for photographers
  • MotionX Drive GPS ($2.99) – Simply the best GPS navigation app for iPhone
  • aSmartHUD ($0.99) – Digital dashboard app to display a Heads Up Display on your windshield
  • Mi-Fi ($0.99) – App that displays the status of your Mi-Fi’s Internet connection
  • Mini DisplayPort to HDMI dongle ($9.35) – Connect your MBP to anything HDMI
  • HDRtist ($0.99) – Software for creating High Dynamic Range images

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip their new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes. Don’t forget to join the PowerPage Facebook group!

Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

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Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Rumor: Intel to Release Three New Arrandale Processors for Notebooks on January 3rd, 2010

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 06:52
Category: News

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It came from Rumorville, but it’s a good rumor, so hang on in there.

Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is planning on launching three Arrandale-based processors on January 3rd, 2010. These Arrandale processors are based on the advanced Nehalem architecture first introduced into desktop Macs earlier this year, and should represent a significant performance improvement over the Core 2 Duo processors that are currently found in Apple’s MacBook Pros.

The new processors will be branded under the “Core i5″ and “Core i7″ names and range from 2.4GHz to 2.66GHz with prices ranging from US$225 to US$332 in quantities of 1,000. Their TDP (thermal design power usage) of 35W as “not so attractive”, as it matches up with the current high-end processors used in the MacBook Pro and implies that Apple could use these processors in a new MacBook Pro update.

These new processors are said to eventually arrive in low-voltage variants that will also make them suitable for ultra-thin notebooks such as the MacBook Air.

Rumor: Apple Tablet Said to be “Shockingly Inexpensive”

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 12:09
Category: Rumor

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If it came from the rumor mill, the really awesome parts must be true.

Internet and television personality Alex Albrecht claimed to have insight on the price of Apple’s rumored tablet during the latest episode of Diggnation, which also featured actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.

During the course of episode 231 , co-host and Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose asked Hodgman, who plays the bumbling “PC” in Apple’s commercials, if he has any inside information on the tablet.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Hodgman said. “You think they’d tell me?”

According to AppleInsider, Rose then turned his attention to Albrecht, and insinuated that the co-host had privately revealed supposed information on Apple’s long-rumored touchscreen device. After pestering from Rose, Albrecht eventually conceded: “I was shocked at how cheap the price point is going to be.” He declined to reveal anything further.

Typically it is Rose who reveals Apple-related rumors on Diggnation, with varying degrees of accuracy. In 2008, Rose revealed a leaked photo of the fourth-generation iPod nano in advance, though his iPhone-related leaks have been hit or miss.

The episode featuring Hodgman, queued to the segment discussing the tablet, is included, courtesy of Revision3:



Price predictions for the tablet have varied with some guesses placing it around US$500, to compete with the low-cost netbook market. Others have predicted its price would be comparable to a MacBook at around US$1,000. Another recent rumor placed a supposed OLED screen equipped version of the hardware at US$2,000 retail.

In other tablet news, a new survey of booksellers released Wednesday has found that industry officials expect Apple’s tablet to boost the electronic book market significantly. In fact, most said they expect the still-unseen device to be the top-selling e-reader.

As part of its digital conference held Wednesday in London, The Bookseller revealed the results of its survey of more than 1,000 trade book professionals. Among them, 52% said they believe that Apple will emerge victorious with its tablet, with Amazon’s Kindle coming in second, and Sony a “distant” third.

In addition, 42% of industry members said they believe “most” people will read e-books on a dedicated device in the future. More than 88 percent of respondents said they believe bookshops will lose out as digital sales grow.

In recent months, rumors have persisted that Apple will portray the multifunction device as a high-quality e-reader. Anonymous industry officials have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company has contacted numerous print publications about the forthcoming device.

Other sources have guessed at a 10″ touchscreen as well as full 3G connectivity.

If you have any guesses of your own, let us know.

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.