Apple Purchases Lala Streaming Service, Analyst Predicts Steps Towards Mobile iTunes Content

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009, 07:39
Category: iTunes, News

Apple’s purchase of the Lala streaming music service could set up an infrastructure for iTunes content and purchases to be accessed from multiple locations via a Web browser, one analyst has predicted.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research stated in a note that the purchase of Lala supports the idea that Apple is building a cloud-based system to allow access of content across all of its products on Monday morning. The purchase could tie in to Apple’s $1 billion server farm project which found a home in North Carolina this past summer.

“We believe the Lala acquisition fits into our view that Apple is building a data center for a service to provide seamless access & mobility of digital content across all of its products, including media-focused content of iTunes and user-generated content of MobileMe,” Um said. “Lala gives Apple browser/Web-based technology to access music anywhere.”

Apple made its first integration between the browser and iTunes in November, when iTunes Preview was quietly released. Links generated via iTunes direct to a Web site that gives customers the option to view content without launching Apple’s desktop media suite. Previously, users who did not have iTunes installed were prompted to do so in order to view content.

Apple’s purchase of Lala was confirmed last week, though the terms of the agreement have not been revealed. The , Palo Alto, California-based company has a catalog of over 8 million songs, and allows users to match songs on their PCs to its licensed content, and then play them anywhere on the Web through a browser. DRM-free songs can be downloaded for about 89 cents, while Web-only streams are about 10 cents.

“Lala also allows users to browse friends’ collections, create/listen to playlists, & get updates when new or recommended music is added to their sites,” Um said. “The service is similar to Apple’s Genius feature except driven by real people (vs. algorithms).”

He believes that the purchase of Lala will widen Apple’s “halo” that draws consumers to purchase Apple products. By allowing iTunes content to be more easily accessed across a variety of Apple-branded devices, the purchase could further future hardware sales.

In October, Lala, along with iLike, entered a partnership with Google to allow users to quickly discover song previews, artist info, pictures, video and more. Currently, Google searches for artists or songs can return a full, streaming, embedded song at the top of results, courtesy of Lala.

Apple to Launch Second Annual “12 Days of Christmas” Giveaway for European iTunes Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 4th, 2009, 05:07
Category: News

iTunes_12-Days-Transparent_UKx535

If you’re in Europe, you have a reason to be slightly smug this month. Per Macworld UK, Apple is once again offering a selection of free downloads as the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas promotion starts for a second year.

The 12 Days of Christmas free giveaway runs from December 26th to January 6th when each download will be available for just 24 hours. Last year the offer included “rare singles, live tracks and free music videos” with music from Katy Perry, Lily Allen and The Ting Tings.

iPhone apps, free TV shows, movies and music videos are expected to be amongst the free offerings this year.

Users can also receive email alerts for each free offer from 26 Dec by entering their details at www.itunes12daysofchristmas.co.uk.

No word has been released yet as to whether there will be an American version of this offer.

Apple Releases Java for OS X Updates for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 4th, 2009, 05:20
Category: Software

applelogo1.jpg

Late Thursday, Apple released its Java for OS X Update 6 for the Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.6 operating systems. The update, which ranges between a 78.9 megabyte download for Mac OS X 10.6 and a 123 megabyte download for Mac OS X 10.5, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Apple Java for OS X 10.5 – Update 6: Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 6 delivers improved compatibility, security, and reliability by updating J2SE 5.0 to 1.5.0_22, and updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_17 for 64-bit capable Intel-based Macs. J2SE 1.4.2 is no longer being updated to fix bugs or security issues and is therefore disabled by default in this update.

- Apple Java for OS X 10.6 – Update 1: Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 1 delivers improved compatibility, security, and reliability by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_17.

As always, the updates can be snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The updates require Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later (on the 10.5 end) or Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later (on the 10.6 end) to install and run.

Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

NMA017

Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple Tablet Said to be “Shockingly Inexpensive”

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 12:09
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

If it came from the rumor mill, the really awesome parts must be true.

Internet and television personality Alex Albrecht claimed to have insight on the price of Apple’s rumored tablet during the latest episode of Diggnation, which also featured actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.

During the course of episode 231 , co-host and Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose asked Hodgman, who plays the bumbling “PC” in Apple’s commercials, if he has any inside information on the tablet.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Hodgman said. “You think they’d tell me?”

According to AppleInsider, Rose then turned his attention to Albrecht, and insinuated that the co-host had privately revealed supposed information on Apple’s long-rumored touchscreen device. After pestering from Rose, Albrecht eventually conceded: “I was shocked at how cheap the price point is going to be.” He declined to reveal anything further.

Typically it is Rose who reveals Apple-related rumors on Diggnation, with varying degrees of accuracy. In 2008, Rose revealed a leaked photo of the fourth-generation iPod nano in advance, though his iPhone-related leaks have been hit or miss.

The episode featuring Hodgman, queued to the segment discussing the tablet, is included, courtesy of Revision3:



Price predictions for the tablet have varied with some guesses placing it around US$500, to compete with the low-cost netbook market. Others have predicted its price would be comparable to a MacBook at around US$1,000. Another recent rumor placed a supposed OLED screen equipped version of the hardware at US$2,000 retail.

In other tablet news, a new survey of booksellers released Wednesday has found that industry officials expect Apple’s tablet to boost the electronic book market significantly. In fact, most said they expect the still-unseen device to be the top-selling e-reader.

As part of its digital conference held Wednesday in London, The Bookseller revealed the results of its survey of more than 1,000 trade book professionals. Among them, 52% said they believe that Apple will emerge victorious with its tablet, with Amazon’s Kindle coming in second, and Sony a “distant” third.

In addition, 42% of industry members said they believe “most” people will read e-books on a dedicated device in the future. More than 88 percent of respondents said they believe bookshops will lose out as digital sales grow.

In recent months, rumors have persisted that Apple will portray the multifunction device as a high-quality e-reader. Anonymous industry officials have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company has contacted numerous print publications about the forthcoming device.

Other sources have guessed at a 10″ touchscreen as well as full 3G connectivity.

If you have any guesses of your own, let us know.

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

3gs.jpg

Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

Apple Takes Control of “TabletMac” Trademark

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:56
Category: News

applelogo1.jpg

A few years ago, Axiotron began to offer an aftermarket modification for the MacBook notebook that converted it into a tablet. The modification remains for sale at US$699 and takes a stock MacBook, removes the keyboard and screen, and adds a Wacom pen-based screen to give the device a tablet form factor.

During this process, Axiotron originally began marketing the devices as a “TabletMac” as referenced in this 2007 press release and filed a trademark for the term. Sometime in the past year, however, the trademark was transferred from Axiotron to Apple, and Apple is now listed as the owner of the trademark.

Per MacRumors, the transfer of ownership may not mean Apple has plans on using the term for their own long-anticipated tablet device. Apple may have simply contested the trademark due to the potential for confusion between “TabletMac” and their own trademarks.

Even so, the trademark has now been snagged and Apple may be drawing some lines in the sand as to product identification in the upcoming consumer market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think!

Apple Posts Tips for Sudden Motion Sensor, Trackpad Use on Recent MacBooks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 05:04
Category: MacBook

143393-09macbook386_original

Apple has recently updated a couple of its knowledge base articles which may prove useful for MacBook notebook owners. Per CNET, the articles cover how to enable and disable the built-in sudden motion sensor in MacBook and PowerBook computers, and also how to use the glass multi-touch track pad.

Advanced tips for Sudden Motion Sensor:
Apple included sudden motion sensor technology in PowerBook and MacBook computers to protect components such as hard drives when the computer is moved. Additionally, there are some third-party security programs that interface with the sensors, which will alarm when enabled if the computer is moved. Despite the conveniences, there are situations where the sensor may be inadvertently activated, causing the hard drive to repeatedly pause while it parks the drive heads. This KB article covers how to disable it in various MacBook and PowerBook models in various versions of OS X.

Using the Multi-Touch trackpad (Video).

Tips for using the Multi-Touch trackpad:
The multi-touch trackpads in Apple’s MacBooks are built to be intuitive; however, some new users inconvenience themselves by not using the trackpads properly by clicking with all fingers, or developing awkward two-hand methods for doing routine tasks. These articles cover the details on the trackpads, and how to best position your fingers when using them.

It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it should be useful and if you or if a friend or family member snags a new MacBook this holiday season, give the links a gander.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

Apple Launches U.S. Black Friday Sale, Modest Discounts Seen

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

applelogo1.jpg

Black Friday is upon us and while the sales aren’t extraordinary, there’s a couple bucks to be saved if you know where to look. Per CNET, the latest updates are as follows:

- Apple’s U.S. Black Friday sale is up, and while not spectacular, there are some rare discounts to be found. To go back to the same examples we used for the UK and Australian Apple stores, the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro is US$1,098, down from US$1,199.

All MacBook Pro models are exactly US$101 off, while the US$999 white MacBook is not discounted at all. The 32GB iPod Touch is currently US$268, down from US$299.

This sale is good online and in Apple’s retail stores and runs until 3 AM EST on Saturday, November 28th.

If you see any killer sales in your area (up to and including someone selling MacBook notebooks from the back of a van near the highway), please let us know.