Apple releases second-generation Apple TV, focuses on streaming for new device

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 17:53
Category: Apple TV, News

Arguably sort of the big kahuna of the Apple media event, the Apple TV is now small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Acknowledging that the Apple TV has “never been a big hit,” CEO Steve Jobs introduced the second generation of the living room device, bringing more of Hollywood movies and TV shows in HD to your home theatre.

Per Mac|Life, Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid out a list of what those buyers want from their Apple TV units: Hollywood movies and TV shows in HD, lower prices for content and no syncing with a computer, not to mention silent, cool and small.

The new Apple TV, which also incorporates the same A4 processor found in the iPhone 4 and the newly-released iPod touch, is 25% the size of the previous model which has been sold for the last four years, and has flip-flopped from white to black. In addition to the new diminutive size, the latest Apple TV does away with downloadable content purchases in favor of streaming right to the box without the need for and iTunes sync.

First-run HD movies from Hollywood are available for US$4.99 with regular SD rentals starting at US$2.99 and catalog HD rentals starting at US$3.99. As predicted, TV show rentals have been added at long last and will be 99 cents per episode as well as commercial-free. ABC and Fox are first on board and Apple hopes to have other networks on board in the near future.

In keeping with other recent rumors, Netflix streaming is now part of the Apple TV package (Netflix subscription required) as well as YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe photos. Apple’s iOS is a no-show, however and the interface remains mostly unchanged from the current Apple TV.

Other features in the new Apple TV include filmography data for actors as well as Rotten Tomatoes reviews, right on your screen. On the hardware side, the new, smaller Apple TV features HDMI, digital optical audio and an Ethernet jack, leaving out analog connections for older televisions.

The new Apple TV is centered around streaming and now everything streams wirelessly to the box for click and play simplicity. Users can fast-forward through opening credits, pause for a popcorn break or replay a scene.

Apple has also introduced AirPlay, which allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to stream their handheld content (including music, photos and video) right to the new Apple TV with the push of a button.

The new Apple TV is priced at only US$99 and will be available in six countries to start. Preorders begin today and the device ships in four weeks.

Apple unveils new iPod touch, includes Retina Display, A4 processor, dual cameras

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 17:36
Category: iPod, iPod Touch, News

After months of hankering for it, Apple updated its iPod touch with the same Retina Display, front facing camera, rear HD camera, and A4 processor as the iPhone 4, all in a size slimmer than last year’s media player at today’s press event.

Per AppleInsider, the new iPod touch, along with the rest of the new iPod lineup, will be available next week. All three models of the new iPod touch have the new features, starting at US$229 for the 8GB model, US$299 for the 32GB version, and US$399 for the 64GB model.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said the new iPod touch can run the same iMovie application that was previously only available for the iPhone 4. Using the rear-facing HD camera, users can shoot video and edit it right on the device.

The new iPod touch also has a forward-facing camera and a microphone, which allow users to do FaceTime with other iPod touch users, as well as iPhone 4 owners.

The fourth-generation iPod touch will also ship with iOS 4.1, which includes Game Center, Apple’s social networking application for game players. It also has the three-axis gyroscope, which allows for more precise controls in games.

Technical specifications for the device are as follows:

Size and weight:
Height: 4.4 inches (111.0 mm)
Width: 2.3 inches (58.9 mm)
Depth: 0.28 inch (7.2 mm)
Weight: 3.56 ounces (101 grams)

Capacity:
8GB, 32GB or 64GB flash drive

Wireless:
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR
Maps-location based service4
Nike + iPod support built in

In the box:
iPod touch
Earphones
Dock Connector to USB Cable
Quick Start guide

Environmental Status Report:
Arsenic-free display glass
Brominated flame retardant-free
Mercury-free LCD display
PVC-free
Recyclable stainless steel enclosure
Smaller, more compact packaging (17% smaller, 16% lighter)

Display:
3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen
Multi-Touch display
960-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch

Audio:
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
User-configurable maximum volume limit

Headphones
Earphones
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
Impedance: 32 ohms

TV and video:
H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable (cables sold separately)

Cameras, photos, and video:
Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still photos (960 x 720) with back camera
VGA-quality photos and video up to 30 frames per second with the front camera
Tap to control exposure for video or stills
Photo and video geo tagging over Wi-Fi

Input and output:
30-pin dock connector
3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack
Built-in speaker
Microphone

External buttons and controls:
Sleep/wake
Volume up/down
Home

Sensors:
Three-axis gyro
Accelerometer
Ambient light sensor

Battery and power:
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Playback time:
Music playback time: Up to 40 hours when fully charged
Video playback time: Up to 7 hours when fully charged
Charging times: Fast charge in about 2 hours (80% capacity), full charge in about 4 hours.

Apple releases updated nano, shuffle music players

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 16:18
Category: iPod, News

And now, the reason you were curious about the Apple media event: new iPods. Per Macworld, Apple released dramatically updated iPod nano and shuffle music devices, the iPod nano receiving a touchscreen interface while the shuffle’s buttons were returned to its control scheme.

At long last, the iPod nano has shed its Click Wheel interface for a multitouch interface that uses tap and swipe to control. Apple says the new design makes this nano 46% smaller and 42% lighter than the previous version.

“Almost half as small, almost half as light as its predecessor,” Jobs said.

To get the nano that small, though, Apple shed the built-in camera that was introduced just last year to the fifth-generation iPod nano is gone, meaning users won’t be able to snap pictures and record video with the new device. They also won’t be able to watch video on the nano’s 1.54″ color screen; instead, Apple is positioning this version of the nano entirely as a music device.

The latest nano features an iPod shuffle-like video clip, making it easy for users to attach the music player to their clothing. The device also features physical volume buttons, a Shake to Shuffle feature for summoning new songs, and VoiceOver technology to announce artists, songs, and albums. There’s also an FM radio, support for Nike+, a pedometer, VoiceMemos, a Photos app, and support for 29 different languages. According to Apple, the built-in battery can handle 24 hours of audio playback.

During a demo of the new nano’s software, Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed out multiple Home screens, each capable of holding up to four icons. As on Apple’s iOS devices, you can rearrange the icons by tapping and dragging them. Unlike iOS devices, there’s no Home button—you tap and hold on the screen to return to the Home screen.

While you’re playing back a track, you can tap to bring up the controls as a translucent overlay over the album art. Just in case you clip the nano to your clothes upside down, you can use the two-finger rotate gesture to turn the Home screen.

As with previous versions of the nano, there’s the usual 30-pin dock connector and a headphone jack.

The new nano comes in seven colors—graphite, silver, pink, blue, yellow, and green, and a Product Red version. It will ship next week in two capacities: a US$149 8GB model, and a 16GB for US$179.

Prior to its unveiling, Jobs discussed the changes that had progressed with last year’s iPod shuffle, which was scaled down in its previous generation.

“People clearly missed the buttons,” Jobs said. So Apple combined elements the second- and third-generation models to create an iPod shuffle with the same circular playback controls that appeared on the second-generation iPod shuffle: Play/Pause, next track, previous track, and volume up and down. The fourth-generation shuffle also includes the third-generation iPod shuffle’s support for multiple playlists and the VoiceOver feature. Apple’s also added support for Genius Mixes, which automatically create mixes from songs in your music library. In addition, the shuffle’s built-in battery can last for 15 hours of music, according to Apple

The aluminum exterior of the shuffle comes in five different colors: blue, pink, green, yellow, and silver. Like its predecessors it comes in a single 2GB capacity for US$49.

Per the iPod classic, the device essentially remained the same, the device still offering up to 160GB of drive space and retailing for US$249 on Apple’s web site.

Apple announces iOS 4.1 update, new features

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 16:07
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Arguably more important that a physical new product, Apple announced Wednesday that its iOS 4.1 will fix proximity sensor and Bluetooth issues, and will add a new feature allowing users to take high dynamic range photographs that produce stunning pictures. The new software will ship Wednesday, Sept. 8th for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Per Macworld, the golden master of iOS 4.1 was issued to developers. The new iPod touch, which will be available next week, comes with iOS 4.1 and Game Center preinstalled.

During the keynote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that Bluetooth and proximity sensor issues that currently exist with the iPhone 4 will be addressed with next week’s release of iOS 4.1. Such problems have persisted since the handset was first launched in June.

“All the bugs that we get mails on,” Jobs said. “We think we’ve nailed a lot of them, and we think you’re going to be pretty happy with it.”

Jobs showed off the HDR photo capability at Wednesday’s keynote in San Francisco, Calif. The new feature allows a device to take three rapid photos — one regular, one underexposed and one overexposed. When the pictures are combined, it creates an HDR photo.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Jobs said. When taking an HDR photo, both it and the normal photograph will show up in the user’s Photos application, so they can compare the two and choose which one they prefer.

Apple announces iTunes 10 at media event

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 16:28
Category: News, Software

Kicking off today’s Apple media event, Apple announced that iTunes 10 will be available today. The new version includes a feature called Ping, a social music discovery tool that allows users to follow friends and artists, helping customers to discover and share new music.

“It’s sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said of the entirely new Ping service. He described it as a social network all about music, built in to the new iTunes, now available for download.

Per AppleInsider, the product is based on discovery, allowing users to see what their friends are listening to and what concerts they’re going to.

Users can choose to “follow” artists, as well as their friends, and iTunes will populate a customized top 10 list that represents what their friends are downloading. Users can also see concerts that are coming near them, and inform their friends that they will be attending.

Ping users can sign up immediately and the service will also be available to iPhone and iPod touch users through the existing iTunes Store.

Jobs also demonstrated a new “hybrid” view within iTunes 10, which automatically displays album art when there are five or more tracks from the same record.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to hold music event today, full coverage later

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 04:21
Category: Announcement

applelogo_silver

As mentioned before, Apple will hold a music-centered media event today in which the company is expected to unveil new iPods, a new iPod touch and a rumored iOS-based Apple TV variant.

Stay tuned to PowerPage and we’ll bring you every detail we can throughout the day about the new devices, their prices and what to expect in the near future.

Delicious Library Updated to 2.5

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 04:49
Category: News, Software

deliciouslogo

On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.5 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 20.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Publishing:
- Fixed a crasher after configuring MobileMe and publishing. Me am stupid.

- Fixed crasher in configuring FTP sites. Yes, another one.

- Fixed a memory leak creating images when publishing collections to the web, which made largish collections slow down the machine, run out of memory, and then crash during publishing. There’s a theme, huh?

- Recycle memory more efficiently when publishing collections, so very large collections (14,000+ items) now can publish without slowing down, running out of memory, and crashing. Because programming is hard.

- We now filter errant control characters out of the data we publish, because sometimes our data providers have extra garbage in their descriptions, and that would end up blocking publishing because it generated invalid HTML, which threw an internal error.

- Fixed a crasher in publishing if there was a warning the HTML generated that wasn’t fatal. I don’t know if this ever happened in real life, but, hey, less ways to crash is good.

- We now update our publishing progress HUD every 10 items instead of every page, so you can see what’s going on if you have, say, 14,000 items. (Also, seriously, 14,000 items are going to take a LONG time to upload to your website.)

- We now check to see if the user wants to cancel MUCH more often, so publishing doesn’t appear to have hung the app. You can see we’ve really learned a lot from people with these huge collections.

- Removed publishing to iWeb, because iWeb is a private format, and we thought we understood it, but were wrong. We apologize. If you’d like to continue using the old buggy iWeb support, from Terminal you can re-enable support with “defaults write com.delicious-monster.library2 enableBuggyiWeb -bool true”.

Full release notes can be found here and Delicious Library 2.5 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.