Rumored Apple streaming service encountering delays, limited version could appear in 2010

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Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 05:44
Category: iTunes, News

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As cool an idea as it may be, Apple’s rumored iTunes cloud service is apparently mired in licensing issues and could be further down the road than previously thought, though a limited version of the service could be released in 2010.

Sources told CNet that if ‘in the cloud’ music features from Apple are released in the next few months, they will probably be “modest in scope,” rather than more robust offerings as previously rumored.

After Apple purchased the online music streaming service LaLa late last year, speculation about the possibility of an iTunes streaming service increased. In January, one music industry veteran went on record saying that an upcoming version of iTunes would make users’ iTunes libraries “available from any browser or net connected iPod/touch/tablet.”

Although the article claims that causes for the delay remain unclear, licensing issues and personnel changes may be a large part of the problem. According to the report, Apple “still hasn’t obtained the licenses needed to store or distribute music from the cloud.”

Additionally, music industry sources said Monday that “one of Lala’s four founding members, someone who moved to Apple after the acquisition, has recently left the company.”

These delays could cost Apple if Google launches a competing service first. Although the company has partnered with music streaming services in the past, it has yet to launch a full-featured cloud music service. CNet’s sources report that “Google’s music attempts have never appeared this concrete before.”

On the other hand, positive evidence that the project remains on track can be found by looking at Apple’s US$1 billion North Carolina server farm project. Several analysts are predicting that the project is being built specifically for a cloud media service. In July, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer announced that the server farm is “on schedule” to open by the end of the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft announces October release date, pricing for Office 2011 suite

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 11:48
Category: News, Software

Microsoft Office 2011, which is expected to hit retail shelves in 2010, will sell for 20 to 50 percent less than Office 2008 per an announcement released by Microsoft on Monday.

According to Macworld, Microsoft Office 2011 will ship in two editions (a Mac Home and Student version and a Mac Home and Business offering) upon its release at the end of October.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 includes the Word word-processing, PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, and Messenger IM applications. It will retail for US$119 for a single license and US$149 for a family pack that allows for installs on three Macs.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger, along with Outlook for the Mac. Outlook replaces Entourage as Office’s mail client and is one of the centerpiece changes of the 2011 edition of the productivity suite. The Home and Office edition will cost US$199 for a single license and US$279 for a multi-pack that allows two installs on two machines.

The prices for the 2011 editions of Office compare to the current US$149 for the Home and Student Edition of Office 2008 and US$399 for Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition. Microsoft says the new prices for the Mac version of Office create more consistent pricing across platforms.

In addition to the two versions of Office for the Mac, Microsoft will offer an academic edition for US$99. The academic edition will feature Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Messenger, Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011 will be available only to higher-education students, staff, and faculty.

Users who buy Office 2008 starting on Monday will be able to upgrade to the 2011 version for free. The offer runs through November 30th, 2010, and users can register for the free upgrade at Microsoft’s Website. Microsoft didn’t provide any other upgrade pricing details for existing Office users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts first Mac OS X 10.7 job opening, cites web technologies as integral to new OS

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 05:13
Category: News

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Hype from the computer industry always makes things a bit more interesting, but it’s sometimes informative.

Per CNET, an Apple job listing suggests something big will be coming to OS X 10.7.

The listing states the following:
“Are you looking to help create something totally new? Something that has never been done before and will truly amaze everyone? Are you excited by the prospect that what you helped create would be used every day by millions of Apple customers? Then come and work with the Mac OS X software engineering team to help build a new and revolutionary feature for Mac OS X.
We are looking for a senior software engineer to help us create a revolutionary new feature in the very foundations of Mac OS X. We have something truly revolutionary and really exciting in progress and it is going to require your most creative and focused efforts ever.”

The announcement goes on to further describe an ideal candidate having familiarity with HTTP protocols and other Web and Internet-based programming experience, suggesting the next version of OS X will be more integrated in the Web and networking.

Either way, it could be the start of something nifty.

Albeit Apple will now have to ponder what large and deadly cat to name Mac OS X 10.7 ever.

The best I can think of is “ocelot”…

iPhone Dev Team releases web-based hack for iPhone 4 handset

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 04:22
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

The iPhone Dev Team raised their hand on Sunday, releasing the first “jailbreak” for the iPhone 4, a browser-based exploit that allows users to run unauthorized code. However, some reported that the modification results in broken MMS and FaceTime functionality.

According to AppleInsider, “comex,” a member of the iPhone Dev Team, released the hack through a website, jailbreakme.com. Users can visit the site in their iPhone browser to begin the jailbreaking process.

The software modification is the first release for Apple’s latest handset hardware, the iPhone 4. Some users reported that the jailbreak managed to break FaceTime and MMS functionality on the device.

Comex announced via a Twitter post that he was able to reproduce the issues, and is working on a fix. The latest jailbreak does not work with iPads running iOS 3.2.1.

Unlike previous jailbreaks, which required users to run software on their Mac or PC and tether their iPhone to their computer, the latest hack is done entirely within the Safari browser. Users simply visit the URL to begin the process, which modifies the iOS mobile operating system found on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The iPhone 4 jailbreak comes less than a week after the U.S. Library of Congress officially made it legal for users to jailbreak their iPhone to run unauthorized software. The government approved the measure as an exemption to a federal law which prevents the circumvention of technical measures that keep users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works.

The jailbreak process, which also voids Apple’s warranty of the handset allows users to run software not approved by Apple, which has no plans to allow users to install third-party applications downloaded from outside its sanctioned App Store. Hackers have created their own custom applications (many free, and some for purchase) from an alternative storefront known as Cydia.

Jailbreaking can also be used to unlock a phone, allowing it to be used on carriers that do not have access to the iPhone.

In addition to allowing access to legitimate third-party software, both free and paid, through services like Cydia, jailbreaking can also be used to pirate App Store software, one major reason why Apple has fought the practice.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you decide to jailbreak your iPhone 4, please let us know how it goes.