Apple releases iTunes 10

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Date: Thursday, September 2nd, 2010, 04:48
Category: News, Software

Following yesterday’s announcement, Apple released iTunes 10, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 82.3 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

- Introducing Ping. Use Ping to follow your favorite artists and friends or connect with the world’s most passionate music fans. Discover the music everyone is talking about, listening to, and downloading.

- Rent HD TV episodes for just 99¢ each. Watch them on your Mac or PC, on-the-go with iPhone or iPod touch, or in your living room with the all new Apple TV.

- Play your favorites on the all new iPod touch, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and Apple TV.

- Play music wirelessly with AirPlay on AirPlay-enabled speakers, home theater receivers, and iPod accessories.

- Explore many look-and-feel improvements throughout iTunes.

- Enjoy performance improvements which make iTunes faster and more responsive.

- Additional voice support with VoiceOver Kit for iPod.

iTunes 10 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

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 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

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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.

Apple Store pins down iPad ship times to 24 hours

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Date: Monday, August 30th, 2010, 05:13
Category: iPad, News

Following something of a struggle to meet consumer demand for the iPad since it launched in April, estimated shipping times for new online orders have improved to within 24 hours, suggesting any production problems have been resolved.

Per AppleInsider, new orders for the Wi-Fi-only and 3G-capable iPad, in all available storage capacities, now ship within 24 hours when purchased from Apple’s official online store.

For months, customers had to wait an estimated 7 to 10 days for their order to ship. A few weeks ago, iPad shipping times quietly improved to between 3 and 5 days.

The estimated 24 hour shipping schedule would suggest that Apple has managed to catch up with consumer demand for the iPad, which has been a multi-million seller in its first few months on the market. Apple struggled to meet demand, as various component suppliers could not get orders to the company fast enough.

In its first three months of availability, the iPad sold 3.27 million units. Officials later admitted that they were caught off guard by the high demand for the product.

If you’ve seen this on your end, let us know.

Apple patent reveals consolidated headphone jacks for upcoming devices

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Date: Monday, August 30th, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Patents

Per Patently Apple, Apple is looking to develop a new audio input port configuration for the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. The effort seems to indicate that Apple is working to limit the amount of holes in its devices, because each ”breaches the barrier that protects components inside the housing.”

Apple’s answer is to reduce the hole count by making them multifunctional. It proposes removing the need for a separate microphone aperture by making it part of the socket the headphone jack plugs into. This adds only a couple of milllimetres to the socket length – the mic fits behind the tip of the jack plug. The result: “A microphone can be added to a mobile telephone without the need for an external aperture.”

According to the Apple Core, Apple appears to be considering combining multiple jacks into one smarter jack. It makes sense too. For starters, less holes mean less physical parts to manufacture (and potentially fail) and Apple is already heading down this road with the iPhone 4 which features two microphones and noise cancellation.

The first mic is for phone calls, voice commands and memos. The second mic is for FaceTime calls and for making your calls better.

The other potential direction could take is to use the new port for beamforming — where the audio input of the two microphones is used as an amiable directional input. Patently Apple thinks this could be advantageous for the iPhone in speakerphone mode or video camera mode when projecting or recording a sound source at some distance from the device.

Apple could even do away with invasive “breach” type ports altogether and convert its audio/microphone ports into surface contact ports that attach via a magnet — like the popular MagSafe power adapter found on its MacBook Pro notebooks. I just hope that Apple retains backward compatibility with the millions of 3.5mm stereo headsets that are out there, changing to a new jack entirely would alienate too many customers in one fell swoop.

The patent is credited to Apple employees Shaohai Chen, Phillip Tamchina, Richard Dinh, Jae Lee, Michelle Yu and Adam Mittleman as the inventors of patent application 20100216526.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta 3, focuses on lone remaining issue

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Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 07:06
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Thursday seeded the third beta of Mac OS X 10.6.5 to developers, its latest security and maintenance update for Snow Leopard, with just one known issue.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest build, reportedly known as 10H531, said the lone issue is associated with VMware and that having the software installed can cause USB devices to not work when the Mac is awoken from sleep mode.

The sources said said Apple has asked developers to focus on a few key areas for the latest beta, including iCal, Mail, USB Devices, QuickTime, Time Machine and 3D graphics. The delta update is said to be a 557MB download.

The latest beta comes just a week after the last build was supplied to developers. And the previous, first build arrived only six days before that.

Intel to further combine CPU, GPU components, support Blu-Ray 3D playback in future notebook chips

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Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 06:47
Category: News, Processors

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It’s hard to say when this might find its way into an Apple notebook, but it could be amazing when it does.

Processor giant Intel announced that its next-generation laptop chips will have a dozen new features to improve graphics performance and will be able to play Blu-ray 3D movies, the company said on Thursday.

Laptops with processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture will play Blu-ray 3D movies while preserving battery life, said Nick Knupffer, an Intel spokesman. Users won’t need to buy a separate graphics processor to specifically view 3D content.

Sandy Bridge chips are due to go into production later this year, Knupffer said. Company officials have said that PCs with the new chips could hit store shelves in the first half of next year.

Per Macworld, the company is expected to shed more light on Sandy Bridge’s graphics performance at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco from September 13th through the 15th.

Intel for the first time will integrate the CPU and graphics processor on a single chip, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The current generation of chips based on the Westmere architecture have the CPU and graphics core on one piece of silicon, but as separate units.

The higher levels of integration will also help Intel include additional transistors to improve graphics performance, Brookwood said. The Sandy Bridge CPUs and GPUs will be made using the 32-nanometer process, while with current chips, the CPU and GPU are made using the 32-nm process and the 45-nm process, respectively.

Graphics performance typically doubles from one chip generation to the next, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

Intel’s current laptop chips are capable of 1080p video, and improvements in Sandy Bridge chips could bring a noticeable graphics improvement to PCs, McCarron said.

Now it remains to be seen what Apple has to say about Blu-Ray support and how this might be integrated into future generations of Apple laptops…

Apple confirms September 1st press event

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Date: Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 04:52
Category: iPad, iPod, News, Software

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Apple has confirmed that the company will be holding a press event on September 1st for what’s likely to be a debut of new products and services. Per Macworld UK, the invite did not provide details of the event, simply giving the date and time accompanying a photo of a guitar with an apple shaped sound hole.

Apple has traditionally made new iPod product announcements in September. Rumors have been kicking around for a while about the possibility of an iPod Touch with a forward and rear facing camera. A forward-facing camera would allow the iPods to use FaceTime over Wi-Fi and new cameras could also offer support for Apple’s iMovie software, allowing video editing directly on the fly. Apple’s new high-contrast retina display, is also a possibility for new iPods.

At least a few iTunes announcements seem likely for the September 1st event. Last month rumors circulated that the newest version of iTunes would offer support for wireless iTunes streaming and syncing, and Apple quietly added the ability to stream music from MobileMe folders in its latest update. The MobileMe audio streaming feature could have been a test run of a larger iTunes plan.

Rumors have been swirling for the past few weeks about the possibility of US$.99 TV show rentals from iTunes. Currently iTunes only allows shows to be purchased for US$1.99 a pop, the rumored US$.99 rental would instead be good for just a few days. The cheaper price tag may however encourage more people to purchase the commercial free shows than currently, providing them an alternative to Hulu and other streaming sites that won’t break the bank.

While the picture of a guitar is a bit of a stretch for an event to unveil a new version of Apple TV, that doesn’t mean that Apple TV won’t be a part of the announcement, although it is likely it won’t be a focus for the event. A new version of Apple TV called iTV is rumored to have 16GB of flash storage, the ability to run iOS-based applications, and the ability to stream iTunes to iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches over WiFi. The iTV was at one point also expected to offer a TV subscription service, although those plans are thought to have been changed.

Finally, the announcement of a smaller iPad is not entirely out of the question. The announcement of a new version of the device in September would make it available before the holiday season, helping to potentially boost sales come gift giving time.

Either way, it’s all speculation. Stay tuned for September 1st when we provide every bit of information on the new products that we can prior to giving all of our readers a free pony.