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Netflix revamps pricing plans, DVDs and streaming now under different terms

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Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011, 11:53
Category: News

You’re not going to like this.

Netflix announced today that it is drastically changing pricing. Beginning immediately for new customers, and on September 1 for existing customers wherein if you want to stream movies and get DVDs in the mail, you will have to pay for two seperate plans.

Per Mac|Life, Netflix is now offering new plans for getting DVDs in the mail, and its “streaming online only plan” will remain the same. The big change is the plans that include both are being scrapped. Emails are already being sent out to customers to explain the change to their subscription. For customers with plans that incorporate bothstreaming and in-mail rentals, the monthly price will jump about US$5.

The new pricing schemes will run as follows:
– Unlimited Streaming Plan: US$7.99/month
– 1 DVD out at-a-time Plan: US$7.99/month
– 2 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$11.99/month
– 3 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$15.99/month
– 4 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$21.99/month
– 5 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$27.99/month
– 6 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$32.99/month
– 7 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$37.99/month
– 8 DVDs out at-a-time Plan: US$43.99/month

Combined price of most popular plans:

– 1 DVD out at-a-time with Streaming Plan: US$15.98/month
– 2 DVDs out at-a-time with Streaming Plan: US$19.98/month
– 3 DVDs out at-a-time with Streaming Plan: US$23.98/month

Netflix says the plans “better reflect the costs” of each plan.

Stay tuned for additional details and let us know what’s on your mind via the comments.

Apple releases iOS 5 beta 3, iTunes 10.5 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011, 07:17
Category: News, Software

Late Monday Apple iOS 5 beta 3 to developers, the latest pre-release build of its forthcoming mobile operating system update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Per the Mac Observer, sources with access to the latest beta now available for download said it is dubbed Build 9A5259f and that significant changes to the software have yet to be listed, but also cited that the new build said that iMessage users on iOS 5 beta 3 will be unable to communicate with iMessage users running iOS 5 beta 1. Communication between beta 3 and beta 2 reportedly works just fine.

The new software is also said to fix an issue in which the Apple TV screen saver could degrade mirroring performance over AirPlay. iOS 5 will allow wireless mirroring when used in concert with the new Apple TV.

Also reportedly addressed in the latest build is an issue where the Reminders application did not send notifications upon the entry or exit of a location if there is no specific date associated with the location-based reminder.

The pre-release software, which is made available to members of Apple’s iOS development community, is not intended for use on end-user machines. A list of bugs that still remain in the latest build were reportedly provided to developers with beta 3.

The second iOS 5 beta was released in late June, and it brought about wireless syncing of devices. Wireless syncing with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch also requires that developers be running a beta version of Apple’s iTunes desktop client.

Accordingly, a new, third beta of iTunes 10.5 was also provided to developers on Monday.

The first beta of iOS 5 was issued to developers after it was unveiled in early June. The final software, which will become publicly available this fall, will pack more than 200 new user features including the new Notification Center.

Also released on Monday to developers was a new golden master for Xcode 4.1. It reportedly features interface builder support for auto layout, new Aqua controls, and full-screen support in the main Xcode workspace.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple offers update for iLife ’11 programs

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Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011, 06:19
Category: News, Software

Following up on yesterday’s stories about Apple issuing updates for iMovie and iPhoto, the company also released significant updates the the GarageBand, iWeb and iDVD components of its iLife ’11 suite.

Per AppleInsider, the other iLife ’11 updates offer the following fixes and changes:

– GarageBand 6.0.4 fixes an issue with lesson downloads from the GarageBand Lesson Store. It also corrects issues with tempo-based effects falling out of sync and resolves problems with Magic GarageBand project files.

The update is a 53.72MB download requiring Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later to install and runand is recommended for all users of GarageBand ’11.

– iWeb 3.0.4: A long-awaited and surprising update, as Apple indicated in a FAQ last month that iWeb publishing will get the ax when the MobileMe service is shuttered permanently on June 30, 2012.

iWeb has not received a major revision since Apple released iLife ’09 in January 2009. That update added new iWeb Widgets, such as iSight video and photos, a countdown timer, YouTube video and RSS feeds and integrated FTP publishing. Apple quietly bundled the older versions of iWeb and iDVD into iLife ’11 when it was released last October.

The release notes for iWeb 3.0.4 do not indicate any specific changes, noting only that the update “improves overall stability and addresses a number of minor issues.” The 178.57MB download is recommended for all iWeb 3 users and requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later to install and run.

– iDVD 7.1.2: Monday’s update to iDVD improves reliability of imported iPhoto ’11 slideshows. fixes a problem that could prevent files from re-linking and addresses an issue that could cause iDVD to use all available CPU capacity when searching for missing files.

iDVD 7.1.2 is recommended for all iDVD 7 users. The 36.12MB download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

Apple also offes iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie individually in the Mac App Store, though it has chosen not to make iWeb and iDVD available.

If you’ve installed the updates and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.4 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011, 09:56
Category: News, Software


On Monday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.4, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 76.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Support for opening projects imported from iMovie for iOS.

– Fixes an issue where some audio adjustments were not preserved.

– Addresses a performance issue when using large quantities of video clips with keywords.

– Resolves issue with slow application launch when working with large iPhoto libraries.

iMovie 9.0.4 requires Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple releases iPhoto 9.1.5 update

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011, 09:54
Category: News, Software


Apple on Monday released iPhoto 9.1.5, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 108 megabyte download which can be be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, offers the following major fixes and changes:

– The date range of each event now updates correctly to reflect changes made to photos using the Adjust Time and Date command.

– Addresses an issue that could cause the Photos view to scroll incorrectly when Event Titles are displayed.

– Fixes a problem that could prevent Ken Burns animations from being applied correctly on photos in a saved Classic slideshow.

– Deleting photos from a web album using the contextual menu now removes them from the album without deleting them from the library.

– Addresses an issue that could prevent a crop adjustment from being removed from a photo when using the Revert to Original command.

iPhoto 9.1.5 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Analyst: App Store downloads to increase by 61%, prices to jump 14% in calendar year 2011

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011, 04:12
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod shuffle, iPod Touch, News


If you remember your economics class, an old supply and demand chart should pop into your head.

Those charts are applicable.

Per AppleInsider, having recently hit the 15 billion download milestone, a new analysis has found that downloads from Apple’s iOS App Store will increase 61 percent in calendar year 2011, while the average selling price of software will be up 14 percent.

Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray published on Monday his latest App Store model, including average selling prices, for the official iOS digital download destination. The new numbers reflect Apple’s announcement from last week that more than 15 billion applications have been downloaded by more than 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users.

Munster estimates that the average iOS user will download 83 applications in calendar year 2011, up from 51 in calendar year 2010. That’s an increase of 61 percent year over year.

“We believe this trend points to the increasing importance of an app store with a broad selection of tested apps to drive device sales,” Munster wrote. “Smartphone users are showing an increasing appetite to use apps to add features to their phones, and iOS has the leading app ecosystem.”

Piper Jaffray’s App Store model also indicates that paid application average selling prices are on the rise in 2011. Munster said the data shows prices up 14 percent year-over-year in calendar year 2011, compared to the 18 percent decline seen by paid applications in 2010.

“After the initial race to the bottom in App Store pricing, we are seeing users pay up to add features and games to their iOS devices,” he said.

Using Apple’s announced figures, the App Store model suggests that 82 percent of applications on the iOS App Store are free, while 18 percent are paid. Those paid applications have an average selling price of US$1.44.

Munster attributed the increase in 2011 at least partially to more expensive iPad applications that are gaining share among App Store downloads. The average selling price of the top 10 iPad applications is US$6.32, up 36 percent from US$4.66 a year ago. Meanwhile, the top 50 iPhone applications have an average price of US$1.61.

The App Store model also shows that iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users are now downloading more than 32.3 million applications per day. That’s nearly triple the 11.9 million-per-day rate of tracks downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

Apple does not profit greatly from its iOS App Store, and Piper Jaffray estimates that the company’s 30 percent share of all sales amounts to just 1 percent of its total revenue. More importantly for Apple, though, the App Store drives sales of iOS devices — something that Munster admitted is hard to quantify.

“Even though our qualitative analysis does not factor in the sale of additional devices, we believe the App Store drives device sales,” he said. “We see a virtuous cycle of Apple’s robust app ecosystem adding features and functionality to the iOS devices, which drives sales, which makes the ecosystem more robust, which encourages more developers to write apps, and the cycle repeats itself.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Canon Printers Drivers 2.6 update for Mac OS X 10.6 users

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Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011, 02:06
Category: News, Software


It’s not the most exciting news in the world, but if you have a Canon printer, it’s necessary.

Per Macworld, Apple released its Apple Canon Printer Drivers 2.6 package on Thursday.

Apple released Canon Printer Drivers v2.6 for Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on Thursday. With the update you’ll get the latest software for a number of printers and scanners provided you have a Canon computer attached to your Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”); check out the full list of supported Canon models on Apple’s site.

The download is available now via Software Update and from the Support Downloads section of Apple’s website and requires Mac OS X 10.6.1 or later to install and run.

Amazon announces new plans, unlimited space with Cloud Drive offerings

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Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011, 03:10
Category: News, Software

It’s the competition that keeps things interesting.

Amazon announced Wednesday a promotion offering unlimited music storage to users who purchase a Cloud Drive storage plan, heating up competition before Apple’s fall launch of its iCloud and iTunes Match services.

Per AppleInsider, the online retailer revealed three enhancements to its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services in a statement Wednesday: storage plans that include unlimited space for music, free storage for all Amazon MP3 purchases and an iPad version of Cloud Player for Web.

“Customers are already enjoying Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and now for just US$20 a year, customers can get unlimited space for music,” said Craig Pape, Director of Amazon Music. “Additionally, we are adding free storage for all MP3s purchased from Amazon MP3, and support for the iPad. Our customers love Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and we’re excited to innovate these services on their behalf.”

The unlimited music storage applies to all premium Cloud Drive accounts, which start at US$20 a year for 20GB. Users who qualified for 20GB of free storage from an earlier promotion will automatically receive the unlimited space for music. Amazon offers 5GB of free space to all Cloud Drive users.

The addition of an iPad-friendly Amazon Cloud Player is a step back in Apple’s direction, though no mention is made of iPhone or iPod touch compatibility. Cloud Player originally launched for the Web and Google’s Android mobile OS, without direct support for iOS and Mobile Safari. In May, iOS users reported being able to access the Cloud Player, despite the fact that full compatibility had yet to be officially announced.

Whereas only new Amazon MP3 store purchases were automatically added to Cloud Drive when the service first launched in March, now all digital music purchased from Amazon will be added to the drive. The retroactive support for previously purchased music appears to indicate that Amazon has resolved any conflicts with the music industry of its service.

Apple is planning a similar move with its iCloud service, and offered the first taste of its cloud strategy last month with the release of iTunes 10.3, which allows re-downloading of music, apps and books purchased on iTunes and the App Store. When iCloud arrives in the fall, the service will provide complimentary storage of music, apps and books purchased from Apple. However, unlike Amazon’s Cloud Drive, iCloud does not stream music.

Amazon reportedly opted for an ‘ask forgiveness, not permission’ strategy with Cloud Drive, surprising music labels with the announcement of the service. Music industry sources said Amazon only addressed the issue of negotiating licenses after launching the service, leaving some industry members to view the service as illegal.

Google launched a beta of its own music service in May. However, the search giant was unsuccessful in negotiating new licenses with major music labels and has yet to open a full music store as originally planned.

Amazon and Apple will likely compete for subscribers with their respective Cloud Drive and iTunes Match services. Amazon’s cloud offerings require manual uploading of non-Amazon music files, but also offer streaming, and start at a lower price of US$20 a year. On the other hand, iTunes Match runs US$25 a year and will scan and match users’ iTunes libraries with songs available in the iTunes Music Store. Matched songs will then automatically be available for download in iCloud, and the small portion of unmatched musical will be uploaded. Like Amazon, Apple will offer 5GB of free storage for iCloud users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve updated to 2.8.6

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011, 02:26
Category: News, Software


Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.6. The new version, an 8.3 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

– Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

– Improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion).

– Added support for Postbox 2.5.

– Updated the Setting Up MailMate instructions for the new preferences in MailMate 1.1.2.

– Updated the Setting Up Outlook instructions for Microsoft Office 2011 Service Pack 1.

– Updated the Setting Up Postbox instructions to ensure that messages that you train as spam are moved to the junk mailbox or trash.

– Worked around a rare OS/hardware condition that could prevent SpamSieve from launching.

– The Apple Mail plug-in is better at reporting errors when it’s unable to fully load itself.

– Made various other clarifications to the manual.

– Adjusted the help page titles to fit better in the menu and search results.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

Facebook announces Skype video chat integration, other changes to social networking site

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, 10:11
Category: News, Software

If there’s a major tech news story of the day, this might be it.

Per Electronista, Facebook at its special event Wednesday brought out Skype-based video chat. The approach lets Facebook members hold one-to-one video calls between each other without having to load a separate app; complete newcomers should be talking in 30 seconds, Facebook says. The platform should also work tightly with an updated desktop app and, eventually, mobile versions.

Skype 5.3 on Windows already lets users bring in a Facebook news feed, post status updates, and make calls directly to Facebook users from Skype. A 5.5 beta release also builds in Facebook chat with live status as an option. Mac versions are expected to come in the future.

Text chat got its own update at the event. Ad-hoc group chats are now possible and don’t need users to jump into a group chat. Regular chat also has a new, simplified design that adapts to the browser size and rolls in a sidebar that allows almost immediate text chat. The reworking is also intended to accommodate “future announcements,” Facebook hinted.

Facebook was shy on whether its own mobile apps would get video chat or whether group video chat was coming. The social network and Skype did cast the video chat as a starting point and hinted groups might come along in the future.

No mention has been made of Facebook’s native iPad app. Some had anticipated it coming with the Facebook event, but it’s now seen as more likely coming in the next several weeks. In the nearer future, Facebook is also expected to show Project Spartan and bring HTML5-native, Flash-free games to iOS and Android devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.