Rumor: Hulu may offer “all-you-can-eat” subscription model for iPad

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPad, Rumor

With the iPad’s release a mere two days away, Hulu will reportedly embrace the platform with an iPad app that may offer an all-you-can eat subscription service to challenge Apple’s al a carte model.

Per the New York Times, four sources has stated that they ‘believe’ Hulu may test a subscription approach to its catalog of streaming TV shows through the forthcoming app, which wasn’t given a release date.

A joint venture of NBC Universal, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, Hulu has seen its ad-supported, browser-based streaming service generate revenues of more than US$100 million and triple monthly streams to 903 million over the past year.

According to the article, many of Hulu’s content suppliers who are now pressuring the company to increase their share of the revenues and open doors to better monetization techniques, such as a subscription service that asks consumers to pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to a broad assortment of shows.

Apple held similar aspirations in the lead-up to this weekend’s iPad launch but was forced to table its own US$30 per month subscription efforts due to opposition from its network partners, which were said to have concerns that this could ultimately hurt their business and jeopardize “the tens of billions of dollars in subscription fees they are paid by cable and satellite companies for their traditional TV networks.”

Rumors of Hulu’s plans for the iPad have been circulating since the company was reported to be developing an Apple-friendly version of its website that would operate without the need for Adobe’s Flash video format, which isn’t supported on Apple’s mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe to unveil Creative Suite 5 on April 12, Photoshop to go 64-bit

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Date: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010, 05:47
Category: News

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Software giant Adobe revealed on Tuesday that its Creative Suite 5 package would be unveiled on April 12th, ship about a month later and include the debut of Photoshop for the Mac as a 64-bit application.

According to AppleInsider, Adobe will begin accepting preoders on April 12th and has scheduled a launch event for CS5 at 11 a.m. Eastern which will be streamed on AdobeTV, allowing users the ability to see the features of the product. It is then the company will also announce its price and details.

Adobe’s CS5 launch Web site has been outfitted with a clock counting down the days until users can get their first official look at CS5. A handful of “sneak peek videos” are also available.

Adobe Systems Inc. announced the date during its quarterly earnings report Tuesday, in which the company revealed its profits fell 19% in its fiscal first quarter. But Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said the company expects better results next quarter, which will feature the debut of the latest Creative Suite.

“We will be giving many more details of CS5′s features, functionality and pricing on April 12 with shipping of the English version about four weeks later,” Narayan said with analysts Tuesday.

Flash CS5, codenamed Viper, marks a new strategy for adobe in trying to maintain relevance among mobile developers. The latest version will give developers the ability to output native iPhone apps from existing Flash-related assets for release on Apple’s App Store. Adobe will offer the porting feature in response to Apple’s refusal to support Flash as a Web plugin runtime on the iPhone OS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if there’s something you’d love to see from Creative Suite 5, let us know.

Apple Consuming Lion’s Share of NAND Memory, Hesitant to Negotiate with Suppliers This Quarter

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Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010, 09:53
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

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Even as time goes by, tech parts don’t always get cheaper.

Per DigiTimes, Apple, which already consumes the lion’s share of the global NAND flash memory supply, is apparently reluctant to negotiate with suppliers in 2010 due to high prices.

Although the demand for NAND memory in devices such as memory cards and flash drives has been soft, this hasn’t significantly pushed down chip prices. Major chip suppliers like Samsung have given priority to profitable partnerships over shipment volume, which doesn’t work to the advantage of major buyers like Apple.

In addition to the lower demand, the situation has become even more volatile given that tight foundry capacity is expected to disrupt shipments and have an effect on NAND flash pricing, industry sources reportedly said.

“Some NAND flash controller suppliers,” the report said, “have indicated that their supply may not be able to satisfy customer demand in the second quarter if their foundry partners continue to see tight capacity, the sources said. This supply disruption is likely to impact NAND flash prices for the quarter.”

Industry sources expect the situation to improve in the second quarter of 2010, when they believe Apple may start negotiating long-term supply contracts for NAND flash. The report noted that Apple’s consumption of flash memory will “continue to play a significant role” in the industry this year.

Earlier this month, a rumor came out that the possible success of Apple’s iPad could increase prices of solid state drives. Apple consumes nearly one-third of total NAND flash memory supplies, and its share is expected to grow even more with the launch of the iPad on April 3.

Apple was noted multiple times in 2009 as causing a flash memory shortage due to its iPod and iPhone products consuming the largest share of NAND flash. Industry sources expect the price of NAND flash to continue to rise in 2010.

In addition to most of the iPod lineup and the iPhone, in early 2008, Apple embraced the solid state drive by offering it as an option in its MacBook Air notebook.

Recent Study Finds Neither Adobe Flash, HTML5 Has Significant Performance Advantage

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Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2010, 06:36
Category: News

As the war between Adobe Flash and HTML5 heats up, a recent comparison with numerous different browsers on both Mac and Windows produced wildly different results based on the operating system and browser, making neither a clear winner.

Per Streaming Learning Center, which conducted the study in response to recently alleged comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that reportedly called Flash a “CPU hog”, the test found that HTML5 is significantly more efficient than Flash on the Mac when running the Safari Web browser, those same advantages do not exist on other Mac browsers, or in Windows.

“It’s inaccurate to conclude that Flash is inherently inefficient,” author Jan Ozer wrote. “Rather, Flash is efficient on platforms where it can access hardware acceleration and less efficient where it can’t. With Flash Player 10.1, Flash has the opportunity for a true leap in video playback performance on all platforms that enable hardware acceleration.”

The report noted that Apple has not enabled the hooks to allow GPU-based acceleration for H.264 video decoding. Anand Lai Shimpi, founder of AnandTech, asserted “it’s up to Apple to expose the appropriate hooks to allow Adobe to (eventually) enable that functionality.”

Adobe’s update to Flash 10.1 on the Mac improved CPU efficiency within Safari by 5%, but the Web format still trails far behind HTML5 due to hardware acceleration. With Google Chrome, neither were particularly efficient, and Firefox saw slightly better performance than Chrome.

On Windows, Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t play HTML 5 content. But the Google Chrome browser in Windows played Flash 10.1 content with 58% more efficiency than HTML5.

HTML5 has yet to receive native support in Firefox or Internet Explorer, but the update from Flash 10 to Flash 10.1 improved CPU performance for the browsers by 73% and 35%, respectively. Flash 10.1 in Windows offers added hardware acceleration.

“When it comes to efficient video playback, the ability to access hardware acceleration is the single most important factor in the overall CPU load,” Streaming Learning Center noted. “On Windows, where Flash can access hardware acceleration, the CPU requirements drop to negligible levels.

“It seems reasonable to assume that if the Flash Player could access GPU-based hardware acceleration on the Mac (or iPod/iPhone/iPad), the difference between the CPU required for HTML5 playback and Flash playback would be very much narrowed, if not eliminated.”

Google added native YouTube support in January. The beta opt-in program is available only for browsers that support both HTML5 and H.264 video encoding.

Scrutiny over Flash has grown in recent months since Apple introduced its multimedia iPad device, which does not support the Web format from Adobe. Apple, instead, has placed its support behind HTML5.

Adobe Runs Flash Demo, Argues That Flash Doesn’t Hinder Mobile Device Battery Life

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Following a video preview of Flash running on a Nexus One, Adobe rebuffed claims that the software slashes battery life. Per Electronista, several bloggers observed that the battery charge indicator dropped from the 50% level down to 25% during the eight minute video. The preview was edited, however, making it unclear how long the team actually used the phone during filming.

In order to refute the battery claims, Adobe has created another video showing a 17-minute YouTube movie which does not appear to significantly drain the battery. The battery usage chart suggests the browser only accounted for 6% of the drain while the movie was playing.

Adobe claims Flash Player 10.1 enabled video playback for “well over” three hours on a fully-charged battery.

Whether this will make its way into current or future versions of the iPhone has yet to be seen.

Rumor: Hulu May Only Be Available to iPad Via Paid Service

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPad, Rumor

Ok, this is strange and a bit frightening.

Per MediaMemo, the Hulu TV streaming service may be offered by subscription only on Apple’s new hardware, according to a new report.

Citing sources familiar with Hulu, which is owned by three of the largest U.S. broadcast networks, Peter Kafka reported Friday that the service, which is free for Web users, will likely be pay-only for the iPad. He said the “most likely scenario” would involve some sort of subscription package.

Hulu has been rumored for months to be exploring some sort of subscription plan to help the Web site turn a profit. Sources reportedly said the company is still unsure of the approach it will take with its anticipated premium service, and those issues would need to be resolved before an iPad plan could be made official.

Among the problems for Hulu would be Adobe Flash. Last week, the media Web site was rumored to be working on an iPad-friendly version of its Web site, which would operate without Flash.

Given all of the hurdles that lie in front of the service, Kafka said it’s “very unlikely” that Hulu would launch its subscription plan or have a presence on the iPad when it launches at the end of March. But he noted that Apple would “love it” if Hulu could meet that tight time frame.

Weeks ago, Jobs was in New York meeting with numerous media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to pitch the iPad. In addition to the Hulu-related rumors, the trip produced allegations that Jobs disparaged Flash as “old technology” doomed to failure in meetings with newspaper officials.

Adobe CTO Defends Against Rumored Flash Criticism From Jobs

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Date: Thursday, February 18th, 2010, 05:22
Category: News, Software

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Adobe Chief Technical Officer defended the Flash platform this week against rumored comments from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and also said performance improvements for the scrutinized, embattled Web platform are coming to the Mac.

Per BoomTown, Lynch stated that unlike Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ rumored comments, the Adobe staff wasn’t lazy and said he and his team work very hard on their company’s product.

“It feels pretty busy around here, so I’m not sure what that’s about,” Lynch said. “And that’s a rumor. I haven’t heard that necessarily he did say that. But maybe he did, whatever.”

He went on to say that regardless of whether Jobs said anything disparaging about Adobe, he and the company are receptive to public criticism. He said they are working to improve the Flash experience for users.

“We’re totally open to hearing feedback like that,” Lynch said. “And that’s one of the really important things to do in a situation like this, when people are complaining about something — not going into internal mode, or whatever, (but) really listening to what people are saying. We do that with our customers, we do that with our critics, and often there are kernels in there that we ought to do something about, and so we are.”

Lynch then revealed that Adobe is working to improve the performance of Flash on the Mac. Currently, he admitted, video renders are more processor intensive on Apple’s hardware than they are on Windows machines.

He also made note of Adobe’s forthcoming Creative Suite 5 for Mac, which he said is “just terrific.”

“We work with Apple all of the time,” Lynch said. “We’re one of the biggest Macintosh software makers around.”

Lynch said that 19 of the top 20 smartphone makers (Apple being the only one absent) have signed on to the company’s Open Screen Project and its push for Flash on mobile devices. He also said that 85% of the top Web sites on the Internet feature Flash content.

But Flash’s spotty performance history on the Mac platform and processor-intensive requirements have led Apple to support alternatives such as HTML5. The Cupertino, Calif., company has even encouraged developers to “stick with standards” and use CSS, JavaScript and Ajax instead of Adobe Flash.

Lynch told Swisher that Adobe is supportive of the progression of HTML, including HTML5. This week it was said that an Adobe official was attempting to hold up advancement of the HTML5 spec, though those claims were later disputed.

“I know that there are certainly some who are working on HTML5 who are out to kill Flash,” Lynch said, adding that he doesn’t see the push for HTML5 as a move to “kill” Flash.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in on this.

Adobe CTO Argues Jobs’ Criticisms in Recent Blog Post

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 07:59
Category: News

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There’s give and take with Steve Jobs. He gives a great presentation, then hunkers down in a town hall meeting with employees and assigns blame where he feels it should be placed. Following the most recent incident when Jobs cited a lack of Flash on the iPhone or iPad due to Flash’s buggy nature and Adobe’s “laziness”, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch responded with a blog post claiming Flash is “ready” for the iPhone and iPad.

In the post, Lynch dissected the arguments made against Flash, including one that claimed Flash had closed users off to a significant amount of content on the web:

“Some have been surprised at the lack of inclusion of Flash Player on a recent magical device. Flash has been incredibly successful in its adoption, with over 85% of the top web sites containing Flash content and Flash running on over 98% of computers on the Web… It is used for the majority of casual games, video, and animation on the Web and familiar brands like Nike, Hulu, BBC, Major League Baseball, and more rely on Flash to deliver the most compelling experiences to over a billion people.”

Lynch then went on to work to debunk the idea that Flash wasn’t ready for the iPhone or other mobile platforms:

“The Flash engineering team has taken this on with a major overhaul of the mainstream Flash Player for a variety of devices. We are now on the verge of delivering Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones with all but one of the top manufacturers. This includes Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia, Palm Pre and many others across form factors including not only smartphones but also tablets, netbooks, and internet-connected TVs.”

Finally, Lynch stated that Adobe is “ready to enable Flash in the browser on [Apple’s] devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.”

Adobe Seeking Developers to Help Bring Flash to the iPad

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Date: Thursday, January 28th, 2010, 10:38
Category: iPad, Software

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In the wake of Apple’s iPad release, Adobe Systems reached out to its Flash developer base via a blog post stating its plans to add support for the iPad’s higher screen resolution to its upcoming Packager for iPhone development tool.

Although the iPad offers a significantly larger screen and packs more powerful hardware than the iPhone and iPod Touch, it won’t support Flash when released in the coming months.

Per the post, Flash developers can use Adobe’s upcoming Packager for iPhone tool to convert Flash content into applications that can run on the iPad. The converted content won’t immediately be able to take advantage of the iPad screen’s resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution and the company said this feature would arrive later.

“It is our intent to make it possible for Flash developers to build applications that can take advantage of the increased screen size and resolution of the iPad,” the post said.

The iPhone and iPod touch handsets feature screen resolutions of 480 x 320 pixels, with a pixel density of 163 pixels per inch. The iPad screen has a pixel density of 132 pixels per inch.

Adobe also asked for developers interested in developing iPad applications using Flash to get in touch.

“We are looking for developers and designers who have a specific app in mind to be submitted to the iTunes App Store within the next two months,” the blog post said.

Toshiba Announces 64GB Flash Memory Modules, iPhone Likely Candidate for New Component

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Date: Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 06:20
Category: iPhone, News

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Electronics manufacturer Toshiba has announced its new 64GB embedded flash memory modules (created via a 32nm process technology and featuring a dedicated controller) which should become available in the first quarter of 2010. The chips seem likely to find their way into a future model of iPhone.

The new chips are available for sample now, and mass production of them is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010. Per AppleInsider, Toshiba said the product will be used in smartphones, mobile phones, netbooks and digital video cameras.

Likely to be a customer is Apple, which has doubled the maximum capacity of the iPhone with a new release every summer. Given the current 32GB iPhone 3GS, next year’s iPhone is likely to offer 64GB of capacity.

In addition, the new 64GB iPod touch, introduced in September, uses a pair of 32GB NAND chips to achieve its maximum capacity. Toshiba’s new chips would allow Apple to release a 128GB iPod touch sometime in 2010.

Toshiba said its new 64GB chip offers up to 1,070 hours of music at 128Kbps,8.3 hours of full-spec high definition video, and 19.2 hours of standard definition video. The chips are said to be 30 micrometers thick, giving them the highest density of NAND flash in the industry.