Amazon to Offer DRM-Free Digital Music

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Date: Wednesday, May 16th, 2007, 13:02
Category: News

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On Wednesday, Amazon.com announced that it plans to launch a DRM-free online music store later this year. The site would sell audio content in a straight MP3 format without any Digital Rights Management protection constraints built into the files sold according to Macworld News.
This news follows announcements by EMI and Apple in April that the companies would be selling online music content free of Digital Rights Management code. Amazon’s tactic would allow the songs and albums sold through its music store to be played by almost any device that could read and play the MP3 file format. Purchased songs could also be stored to an iPod or other digital music player as well as burned to CD-ROM.

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Apple Scales Down Pricing on European MacBooks

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Date: Wednesday, May 16th, 2007, 08:32
Category: News

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More cool overseas tidbits today as AppleInsider is reporting that the European markets have seen the prices of MacBook laptop units drop 70 Euros down to 1,049, 1,249 and 1,449 Euros depending on the model MacBook being purchased.
The change comes on the heels of yesterday’s product refresh for the MacBook line. The new units feature faster processors, larger hard drives, more advanced wireless capabilities and additional RAM among other changes.
Interestingly, a rumor has surfaced from the Italian user base that the newest MacBooks may be using a brighter display for its 13.3″ screen. In its product announcement, Apple Italy listed a 250cd/m2 brightness figure for its high-end 2.16 GHz black MacBook model. Apple had not specified this change in its more widespread press release regarding the update, but has suggested that the brightness of its display helped sell the unit.

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Apple Trims iPod Shuffle Pricing in UK Markets

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Date: Wednesday, May 16th, 2007, 07:59
Category: News

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A good thing just got a bit cheaper across the Atlantic. Macworld UK is reporting that Apple has reduced the price of its iPod Shuffle music player from 55 Pounds to 49 Pounds, a reduction of about 10%.
Last month, Apple cut the price of its video-enabled iPod model by 10 to 20 Pounds depending on capacity.
The price cuts are seen as a means of maintaining demand for the products, especially since a product refresh of the units isn’t expected until the end of the summer.
If you’ve seen this reduction or any similar offers in your neck of the woods, let me know.

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Microsoft Releases Open XML File Converter Beta

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2007, 15:06
Category: News

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On Tuesday, Microsoft released a beta version of its Office Open XML converter program, which allows Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac and Microsoft Office v.X users to be able to open Office XML and Word Macro-Enabled Document files used in Microsoft Office 2007. Here, users can open the files as a Rich Text Format document and work with them from there.
The Office XML and Word Macro-Enabled Document file formats are identified by the “.docx” and “.docm” extensions at the end of the file names.
Microsoft’s web site warns that this is a beta release (the version number currently stands at 0.1) and the following issues have been listed with the software:
-Macros and Visual Basic content are not included in the converted file.
-Charts and SmartArt graphics are converted to pictures.
-Graphics and other objects in the document might appear with a different size.
-Color fills and shading in tables might not be preserved.
-Conversion might not succeed if the document contains a bibliography or citations.
-Conversion might not succeed if the document contains WordArt.
-Document layout and formatting might not be preserved.
-Some Unicode characters might not be preserved.
-Conversion might not succeed if the document contains very large pictures.
-Conversion might not succeed if you use an SMB network volume as the preferred destination for converted files.
-Picture bullets might not be preserved.
-Fonts might be substituted.
Users must have version 11.3.4 or later of Microsoft Office or version 10.1.9 or later of Microsoft Office v.X and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later installed to run the converter.
The Open XML Converter beta is a 24.9 megabyte download and can be found here.
If you’ve tried the converter and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know.

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Apple Releases Updated MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2007, 09:41
Category: News

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If you were wondering why the Apple Store was down for a few hours this morning, it was for the right reason.
Apple has just released a refreshed and updated line of MacBook laptops, complete with faster processors, improved wireless systems, higher end optical drives and additional RAM.
Check out Jason’s Apple Core blog for full details and we’ll post more about these machines as soon as information becomes available.

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AT&T Memo Forbids iPhone Pre-Sales

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

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A memo sent around to AT&T‘s retail stores has instructed employees not to create wait lists or process pre-sales for Apple’s long-awaited iPhone.
According to AppleInsider, the memo contains the following highlights:
-”The exact date has not been announced, specific dates should not be provided to customers.”
-”Sales for the iPhone will be on a first come, first served basis. No wait lists of names will be taken and NO pre-selling is allowed.”
-”Two models of the iPhone will be available, a 4GB will retail at $499 and an 8GB will retail at $599.”
-”If asked what the price will be, answer that the prices have been announced as $499 for the 4G and $599 for the 8G, respectively.”
-”There should NOT be any additional speculation/discusson about pricing.”
-”AT&T will be the only wireless carrier in the U.S. launching the iPhone and will have exclusivity for the foreseeable future.”
The report, which was originally carried over at BoyGeniusReport, stated that AT&T employees will received web-based training, workbooks and other iPhone product materials to help train them for the launch next month.

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PowerBook G4 Memory Slot Petition Begins

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Date: Monday, May 14th, 2007, 14:45
Category: News

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A group of PowerBook G4 owners have begun an online petition requesting that Apple acknowledge and repair a long-standing issue with the lower memory slot in certain aluminum PowerBook G4 models.
The problem seems to be present in Apple’s 15″ 1 GHz, 1.25 GHz, 1.33 GHz, 1.5 GHz and 1.67 GHz models, the lower memory slot eventually failing. According to MacNN article, Apple has posted a frequently asked questions page regarding the problem, but users have complained that while the fix initially worked, the slot would later fail again, the computers later lapsing from their warranty periods.
The error includes the following symptoms:
-The computer does not start up; instead, there are three short beeps (typically) followed by the the sleep LED flashing periodically.
-When both SO-DIMM memory slots are filled (populated), only one slot’s memory is recognized.
-System performance may be degraded because the memory in only one slot is not recognized.
To date, Apple as noted the the symptoms may occur on occasion and lists the higher-end 1.5 GHz and 1.67 MHz models as being eligible for its Memory Slot Repair Extension program. Owners who have encountered the problem have pointed out that lower-end models are excluded from the program, despite the widespread nature of the problem.
If you’ve run across this problem or know someone who has, let us know.

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MCE Announces MobilStor Performance Hard Drives for MacBook and MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, May 14th, 2007, 12:48
Category: News

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On Monday, MCE Technologies announced its 250 gigabyte MobilStore Performance hard drive upgrades for Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.
The drives, which operate at 5,400 RPM (250 gigabyte) and 7,200 RPM (160 gigabyte) depending on configuration arrive with an external casing (complete with USB 2.0 and eSATA ports) that the previous hard drive can be inserted into. A bundled copy of SuperDuper, illustrated instruction manual and tools allow the laptop to be opened, the hard drive swapped out and the previous data to be cloned over with minimal hassle.
Prices range from US$129 to US$279 depending on speed and capacity and the drives arrive with a three year warranty. The first units will ship out on June 1st.
MCE Technologies is a PowerPage sponsor.

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T-Mobile Emerging as Frontrunner for European iPhone Provider

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Date: Monday, May 14th, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

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Albeit Apple has already penned an exclusive deal to distribute its upcoming iPhone via AT&T in the U.S., other markets remain up in the air.
According to MarketingWeek, the current word on the ground is that a shortlist of potential European providers has been narrowed down to Vodafone and T-Mobile.
Sources close to the decision have stated that T-Mobile is closer to landing the deal, especially with its recent activity in the music arena. Gartner research director Martin Gutberlet has stated that there are doubts as to whether the iPhone, complete with iTunes, would be an idea fit for Vodafone’s Live! music portal.
Still, doubts remain about Apple’s current strategy. According to Gutberlet, a multi-provider deal would be optimal, especially in a fragmented European market. Gutberlet also illustrated the point that T-Mobile currently has little to no presence in Italy, Spain or France.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let us know.

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Joost Receives $45 Million in Venture Capital

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Date: Friday, May 11th, 2007, 09:24
Category: News

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In spite of the recent madness that’s surrounded the company, there are those who believe that Joost may be the biggest thing out there and are willing to back it. Five firms recently ponied up about $45 million according to iPodObserver, a Reuters article calling Joost “the hottest thing in Internet video after YouTube, is seeking to do for long-form television programming what YouTube has done for short, user-created video sketches.”
So far, Joost has been able to secure content from networks such as Viacom, CBS, and Time Warner as well as lined up contracts with 31 name brand advertisers, despite still being in the beta phase.
Joost currently boasts about 150 channels and current users are able to invite an unlimited number of people to receive the latest beta build of the software. The program requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and is a 15 megabyte download.

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