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Microsoft to open 75 retail locations over next 2-3 years

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Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, 13:16
Category: News, Retail Store


If you can’t beat ’em, follow their lead and eventually try to take them down.

Per Neowin, Microsoft plans to massively expand its retail presence to take in the U.S. in the next 2 to 3 years, with an aggressive goal of 75 new stores to take on Apple’s own retail operations.

The plans are said to be part of the company’s effort to expand the “Microsoft story,” an initial map showing clusters of stores in California, Texas, Florida and the Northeast.

Microsoft gave a presentation at its Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday. Currently, the Redmond, Wash., software giant has a total of 11 stores across America, mostly in California, with a new one that just opened in Los Angeles.

“Also shown off during this presentation was that an Apple retailer in Latin America was showing off Apple hardware running Windows 7,” the report said. “Microsoft used this to poke fun that Apple makes fantastic hardware but their OS is still behind Windows 7.”

Microsoft first announced in early 2009 that the company planned to open new retail stores, in an approach that mimics Apple’s own wildly successful retail operations. The company pushed hard with viral marketing buzz, and even poached employees from Apple’s retail operations with the promise of pay raises and compensation for moving expenses.

In a recent instance, Microsoft was able to court an Apple retail market manager who had recently left the company. That person said they were offered a pay raise and were then allegedly asked to contact employees they had previously worked with at Apple in an effort to recruit them.

Little has been said of Microsoft’s retail operations since their debut in 2009, but Wednesday’s latest development indicates that the company has high hopes for the future of its brick-and-mortar ventures. The news comes as it was revealed that Apple single-handedly accounted for one fifth of all sales growth by publicly traded American retailers during the first three months of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OWC launches Data Doubler DIY Kit for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro systems

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Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, 02:02
Category: Accessory, Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News

On Tuesday Other World Computing announced the immediate availability of its OWC Data Doubler 1.0 DIY Kit for adding up to 2.0TB of internal storage capacity to Apple’s “Unibody” MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

The US$174.99 MSRP OWC Data Doubler 1.0TB DIY Kit is now available and features a Data Doubler optical bay converter bracket, a Samsung Spinpoint M8 1.0TB 9.5mm hard drive, a detailed step-by-step Mac notebook model specific installation guide, a five piece toolkit, free online ‘How To’ installation videos, and is fully compatible with the following Macintosh® notebook computers:

– MacBook 13″ “Late 2008” ‘Unibody’ and later models (All)

– MacBook 13″ “Late 2009” ‘White Unibody’ and later models (All)

– MacBook Pro 13″ “Mid 2009” ‘Unibody’ and later models (All)

– MacBook Pro 15″ “Late 2008” ‘Unibody’ and later models (All)

– MacBook Pro 17″ “Early 2009” ‘Unibody’ and later models (All)

The OWC Data Doubler gives “Unibody” MacBook and MacBook Pro owners the flexibility to uniquely configure their computer’s internal drive array. Any SATA 2.5″ hard drive or SSD of up to 9.5mm (Super Slim) height can be mounted onto the bracket with the entire assembly then user installable in a “Unibody” MacBook or MacBook Pro optical drive bay. 9.5mm SATA 2.5″ hard drives are fully “Plug and Play” recognized via the Apple Disk Utility program with standard configuration options just like any typical drive including, but not limited to:

– Creating an individual volume with its own desktop icon.

– Combining a new drive with the existing internal drive for one larger
volume (SPAN).

– Combining a new matching drive with existing internal for high-
performance RAID-0 Stripe volume.

– Configuring a new drive as a Time Machine™ backup drive.

– Formatting one drive for the Mac OS and the other dedicated for Windows.

– SuperSlim Enclosure Converts Optical Drive Into External Solution

The OWC Data Doubler is now available for immediate purchase.

If you have any feedback about OWC’s product lines, let us know in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 5.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, 02:59
Category: News, Software


Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 5.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 27.8 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

– Worked around an issue in Mac OS X 10.7 that could cause Firefox to crash.

– Worked around an issue caused by Apple’s “Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 5” where the Java plugin would not be loaded.

Firefox 5.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

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

Posted by:
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.