NBC Universal balks at iTunes Store 99 cent rental price, seeks higher rates

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Date: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, 03:37
Category: iTunes, News

It happened before, it can happen again.

Television network NBC Universal is unlikely join a pair of its peers in serving up a la carte TV show rentals to Apple TV users for 99 cents for pop through Apple’s iTunes Store later this year, according to comments from the company’s top executive.

“We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content,” NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said on Wednesday at Goldman Sachs investor conference. “We thought it would devalue our content.”

Per AppleInsider, NBC currently offers iTunes customers the option of purchasing its shows outright forUS $1.99. But like the vast majority of networks that also distribute their content through the digital download service for the same price, it has balked at Apple’s new 99 cent model announced earlier this month alongside the revamped Apple TV set-top box.

Thus far, only Walt Disney’s ABC and News Corp’s Fox have agreed to the price cut, though News Corp President Chase Carey similarly told investors at the same conference Wednesday that its participation in the matter is only a “short-term test.”

For NBC and Zucker, this isn’t the first time they’ve had difficulties with Apple over digital download pricing on the iTunes Store. After accounting for roughly 40% of video downloads through the service in 2007, the network abruptly pulled its video library from iTunes after Apple wouldn’t agree to a reported 100% increase in the wholesale price of each show.

During an October 2007 breakfast hosted by Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Communications, Zucker even went as far as to single out Apple for ‘destroying’ music pricing and urged his colleagues to take a stand against the company’s iTunes Store, alleging that the service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.


NBC eventually caved to the popularity of the iTunes Store, signing back on with the service to sell its standard definition content for US$1.99 an episode and HD content for US$2.99 an episode less than a year later.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad driver for Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems

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Date: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, 03:40
Category: Magic Trackpad, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released a software update that allows the Windows operating systems to use its new Magic Trackpad input device. The update, which is available as a 7 megabyte download for the 32-bit version and a 4 megabyte download for the 64-bit version, adds the driver where needed.

The update requires Windows XP, Vista or 7 to install and run.

If you’ve tried the driver and have any feedback (positive or negative) to offer, please let us know.

Apple files suit against Sanho-owned HyperMac regarding MagSafe, iPod connector patent infringements

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Date: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010, 04:00
Category: Legal, News

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If you’re going to be in the market with the 800 pound gorilla, it’s advisable not to infringe on said 800 pound gorilla’s patents.

Or at least try to be subtle about it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sanho Corporation, maker of the HyperMac line of accessories, alleging violation of patents it owns related to the MagSafe charger and cables that use the iPod 30-pin connection.

The lawsuit filed this month accuses Sanho, based out of Sunnyvale, Calif., of infringing on six MagSafe- and iPod-related patents, covering a variety of products sold under the HyperMac brand name. Among the products named in the suit are its magnetic power connectors, known as MBP-PRO and MBP-AIR, as well as a MacBook car charger, MBP-CAR.

Instead of mimicking Apple’s patented MagSafe connectors, Sanho’s products actually rely on recycled official MagSafe products made by Apple. “Our charging cables use original Apple MagSafe connectors for maximum compatibility,” the company’s website reads.

The suit also focuses on charging and data cables that rely on the 30-pin dock connector compatible with Apple’s iPod, iPhone and iPad ecosystem of devices. Named in the suit are the “HyperMac Nano,” “HyperMac Micro” and “HyperMac Mini” products.

Sanho sells a number of small, portable external batteries that can provide extra power to portable devices on the go. Using the iPod 30-pin dock connector, products like the HyperMac Micro come in a variety of colors and are compatible with Apple products like the iPhone 4 and iPad.

In the suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, Apple says it notified Sanho of its infringement via official letters on April 26th, May 19th and June 20th of 2010.

“Defendants manufacture, distribute, and/or sell products that infringe patents related to Apple’s proprietary MagSafe connectors used to connect power adapters and other products to Apple portable computers, such as the MacBook,” the suit reads. “Defendants also manufacture, distribute and/or sell products that infringe patents related to Apple’s 30-pin connectors and receptacles , used to connect cables to Apple iPod, iPhone and/or iPad products.”

“Defendants’ infringing conduct has damaged Apple and inflicted irreparable harm for which Apple seeks, among other remedies, an award of its actual damages, disgorgement of Defendants’ profits from the sale of infringing devices and injunctive relief.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Photoshop Elements 9 for Mac, Windows

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Date: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010, 04:19
Category: News, Software

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Software giant Adobe on Tuesday announced the launch of Photoshop Elements 9, the company’s consumer-level photo editing application, for both Mac and Windows. The new version boasts a number of features that are new to Mac users, most notably the bundled Elements Organizer, which acts as a hub for importing, managing, and viewing photo and video files.

Per Macworld, Photoshop Elements 9 includes one of Photoshop CS5′s most popular features, Content Aware Fill, and puts it into the Spot Healing Brush. This tool can be used to remove specific objects from an image by analyzing the surrounding information. Also new to this version are Layer Masks, which can be used to block out specific parts of images with varying transparency levels.

Users new to photo editing can use the program’s guided edits to learn how to make edits to their images via tutorial-based instructions. Edited images can then be posted directly to sites like Facebook and Flickr from the organizer, or by using any of the templates included in Elements 9 to create scrapbooks, photobooks, online albums, or slideshows.

The Elements Organizer lets users sort images in a number of ways, including with automatic face recognition and keyword tags. A new auto-analyzing tag feature analyzes the content of images, such as lighting and contrast, to smartly suggest appropriate keyword tags.

Photoshop Elements 9 runs on Intel-based Macs and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. The program will cost US$100 and come packaged with the Elements Organizer. For an additional US$50, users can upgrade to Photoshop Elements 9 Plus, which adds 20GB of online storage and access to various libraries of templates, guides, and artwork.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-006 for Mac OS X 10.6 users

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Date: Tuesday, September 21st, 2010, 03:11
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released its Security Update 2010-006 patch, a tiny 1.8 megabyte download that fixes one specific bug in Mac OS X 10.6.4’s AFP file sharing implementation that could allow remote attackers to bypass the password validation system if they know the name of an account on the Mac.

Fortunately, previous versions of Mac OS X are not affected and only client users need the update.

The update can be snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later to install and run.

Apple begins selling refurbish Wi-Fi iPad units at $50 discount

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News

For the first time since the iPad went on sale, Apple is now offering the hardware refurbished with a US$50 discount from its online store as availability of the product continues to improve.

Currently, just refurbished Wi-Fi-only iPad models are available, though all capacities can be purchased, with a shipping time of between one and three days. The 16GB model sells for US$449, the 32GB model is US$549, and the highest capacity 64GB model is US$649.

Like other refurbished sales, the iPads come with Apple’s one-year limited warranty, and the AppleCare Protection Plan is also available for purchase. The site also notes that supplies are limited.

The popular 3G-capable refurbished iPads are not yet available for purchase via Apple’s online store. All three models are listed as out of stock, and will also sell for US$50 off, starting at US$579 for the 16GB model.

Two Google Voice apps receive Apple approval, Google Voice may be forthcoming

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

In a change on previous decision, two Google Voice applications were accepted into the App Store on Sunday: GV Mobile + and GV Connect. Per AppleInsider, their acceptance marks the first time that Apple has allowed such software since it removed Google Voice apps in July of 2009.

Earlier this month, Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile +, indicated he had spoken with Apple, and representatives with the company indicated they would approve his software. The change in policy came after Apple published its App Store Review Guidelines for all to see.

Still missing in action, however, is Google’s own official Google Voice application. The “non-rejection” of that application in 2009 caused a controversy and even led to an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed that it was reviewing the official Google Voice application. The company said it had not outright rejected the software, but was instead considering it. Over a year passed with no official acceptance or rejection.

Google, on the other hand, said in its own letter to the FCC that Apple had outright “rejected” the Google Voice application from the App Store.

The approval of the two apps would suggest that the search giant could once again submit its Google Voice application, and have it accepted into the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s suppliers prepping materials for second-gen iPad due in first quarter 2011

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s component suppliers are said to be preparing for the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011.

Per DigiTimes, the suppliers are completing validation for the second-generation iPad, which will maintain the same 9.7″ screen when it debuts in the first quarter of 2011.

“Component suppliers of iPad are expected to start shipments for the second-generation iPad at the beginning of 2011,” the report said.

Specifically cited suppliers were TPK Touch Solutions, WinTek, Cando, Cimei Innolux. Together, they are said to be validating “ultra-thin glass-based touch panels with Apple.”

As reported last week, Apple plans to move aggressively on adding FaceTime functionality to its entire line of iOS devices, leaving the iPad as the last device to receive the upgrade. A source close to the story indicated that an iPad equipped with a forward facing camera is already in the advanced testing stages at Apple.

Though Apple typically follows an annual upgrade pattern for its devices, it was said that Apple could refresh the iPad line ahead of this year’s holiday season. That person indicated that the FaceTime-equipped iPad was tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to launch LTE 4G network in 2011, expand HPSA+ services

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier AT&T appears to be planning to launch its fourth-generation high-speed wireless network by mid-2011, and will continue to expand its speedy HPSA+ 3G network this year.

Per FierceWireless, the company is currently conducting trials of its 4G long-term evolution network in Baltimore, Maryland and Dallas, Texas, the company’s operations chief executive, John Stankey, said Thursday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2010 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. He also said the company is on track to launch its LTE network by mid-2011.

The timing of AT&T’s launch could allow for the next-generation iPhone, likely to be unveiled in June as it is every year, to connect to the high-speed 4G wireless network. Apple in the past sought to hire experts on LTE, presumably for a forthcoming handset.

AT&T will reportedly spend US$700 million on its LTE network this year, and plans to “go far beyond that” in 2011, Stankey reportedly said. His news comes as competing carrier Verizon said it will launch its own LTE network in 30 National Football League cities by the end of 2010.

Stankey also said AT&T is preparing a nationwide HSPA+ upgrade for this year, which will allow for real-time download speeds of 7Mbps. Earlier this year, the company vowed that its high-speed upgrade will reach 250 million Americans in 2010.

AT&T has partnered with Alcatel and Lucent to build out its LTE network, which will deliver higher broadband throughput and lower latency than the company’s existing 3G network, including the HPSA+ upgrades.

Stankey also revealed that AT&T has seen a 5,000% increase in wireless data traffic over the last three years, since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. The company’s wireless data revenue is also up 27%.

Spiffy news if it comes true. And per dropped calls, there’s always the iPhone 4 bumper on hand…

iPad to hit five Latin American countries on Friday, September 17th

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 11:55
Category: iPad, News

China won’t be the only country to get the iPad on Friday. Per Macworld, Apple announced that the iPad will also arrive in five South American countries on September 17th.

The countries that will receive the iPad on Friday are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Unlike China, however, customers in these countries will get a choice between the iPad’s Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models.

Customers can check availability and pricing at Apple’s Latin American store finder.