Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Apple Set to Offer Fairplay DRM Access to Book Publishers

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Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPad, News

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Digital Rights Management software has never been universally popular, though Apple is offering publishers a crack at it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple will use the DRM to prevent piracy of titles sold on the multimedia device. Apple abandoned restrictive DRM for music titles last year when it removed FairPlay from the iTunes Music Store.

FairPlay restricted the number of devices that could have access to purchased content. Its use was the subject of great debate and criticism until Apple removed it in 2009.

While the content of the iTunes Music Store is currently DRM-free, Apple still uses the technology for movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes. Now, similar restrictions could reportedly be extended to some e-books sold for the iPad, though the article suggested publishers will have a choice.

“The majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with other copy protection software such as Adobe’s Content Server 4, as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to take off.”

When it introduced the iPad last month, Apple highlighted five major publishers that will offer content for the device. The iBooks application includes the iBookstore, where bestsellers are expected to be priced between US$12.99 and US$14.99.

The price range has been the subject of debate for publishers, who were previously unhappy with the standard US$9.99 price for new hardcover bestsellers sold on the Amazon Kindle e-reader. Amazon has reluctantly agreed to publisher demands and is expected to offer higher e-book prices with the release of the iPad in March.

Logitech Releases Control Center 3.2 Update

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Date: Saturday, February 13th, 2010, 04:20
Category: Software

Late Friday, Logitech released version 3.2 of its Control Center software. The update, a 17.9 megabyte download (via VersionTracker), offers the following fixes and changes for the driver software:

- Back and Forward have been added to the list of actions that can be assigned to mouse buttons. These actions are supported in web browsers, Finder, iCal, iTunes and iPhoto.

- A warning will appear when the SteerMouse application is detected. When SteerMouse is installed, LCC will not be able to detect most Logitech mice and keyboards, as OS X does not allow devices to be controlled by more than one driver at a time.

Control Center 3.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Some Users Cite Erratic Battery Life, Syncing Issues Following iPhone OS 3.1.3 Update

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Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Despite Apple’s best intentions, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware update may not have gone as well as the company would have liked.

Per iPodNN, a number of users over on the Apple Discussion Board have reported that issues such as erratic battery life have emerged.

In certain cases, the unit’s battery meter may potentially swing wildly, for instance going from 25 to 7 to 10 percent, then jumping back up to 24%.

Worst-case scenarios may see phones losing hours of power, and even running unusually hot. The v3.1.3 firmware was in part meant to correct battery meter trouble on the iPhone 3GS.

Another major problem involves iTunes playlists, which in some cases are failing to sync properly with the iPod touch. While files will copy over properly, playlists may be empty or simply absent. The glitch is believed to affect only smart playlists, and potentially only those with multiple criteria. Temporary workarounds may include reducing criteria to a single field, and/or deleting and remaking previous playlists.

Apple has yet to formally address or fix either of the cited errors.

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

Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.3 Update

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Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 05:16
Category: News

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 90.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- iTunes no longer ignores your “Remember password for purchases” setting.
- Addresses problems with syncing some Smart Playlists and Podcasts with iPod.
- Resolves a problem recognizing when iPod is connected.
- Addresses issues that affect stability and performance.

iTunes 9.0.3 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Media Event: Come the iPad

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Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 10:58
Category: News

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Folks, the Apple media event has begun, the cool cats at Macworld are on hand to cover it and here we go in a play by play:

- Jobs has appeared on stage, has cited that Apple is current the number one mobile device maker in the world and has stated that the “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

- Jobs is now citing 1991 and the first PowerBooks, is theorizing that there might be a better category between a notebook and a smartphone.

- They’ve caught a glimpse of the thing. There’s apparently a Home button, a MacBook-like aluminum bezel and a glass screen. Users are apparently able to personalize their home screen as they’d like it.

Hang tight, they’ve got an initial picture:
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- The name has just been revealed: It’s the iPad.

- Jobs is apparently sending an e-mail with an Apple Mail-esque client and typing on the screen as he would with a standard QWERTY keyboard. The device is on his lap.

- Jobs is looking through photos and is able to grab data from a nearby Mac or PC as well as turn the tablet to portrait or landscape mode as well as pinch, scrub and flick through pictures.

- Ok, there’s an iPod interface that looks a lot like the album view in iTunes meshed with Cover Flow on the iPhone.

- The interface apparently contains floating panes and windows.

- Jobs is now surfing through high definition YouTube videos of a surfing dog. Behold the nesting instinct!

- Right the iPad is apparently half an inch thick, weighs only 1.5 pounds and is both thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market. The device features a 9.7″ IPS display that allows for terrific angles of view. There’s a full capacitive multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of solid state flash memory onboard.

- The chip is by PA Semi.

- Other specs: The iPad features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, an accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, standard 30-pin connector and apparently 10 hours of battery life. The unit also sports a full month of standby life and the user can set it down, walk away for a month and it’ll still have a charge when they come back.

- The iPad is arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PCV-free and recyclable.

- The iPad apparently runs almost every iPhone/iPod touch app unmodified right out of the box.

- Ok, Jobs is now using Facebook and there’s an option to run apps at different resolutions.

- Video looks great on the iPad and Jobs is playing an unmodified snowboarding game.

- Apple is apparently undergoing a huge effort to get App Store apps to this device.

- Oh, cool, they’re releasing an updated iPhone SDK to offer development support for the iPad. The new SDK will be released today on Apple’s web site.

- The new SDK will feature an iPad simulator to allow iPad apps to run on your Mac as you write them.

- Right, the mighty Gameloft, which has over 60 games and 55 million downloads is now showing off its Nova shooter.

- A representative from the New York Times is demoing the paper’s web site on the iPad. It apparently looks great… and with any luck, this will save journalism as we know it.

- Because a picture’s worth a thousand words:
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- Ok, the reading experience looks good and users can change the number of columns, resize text easily and view embedded videos.

- A Brushes app allows users to edit images, all the while tapping to bring up palettes, brushes and tools. Pinching allows the users to zoom in up to 32x and the app will be available at product launch.

- Electronic Arts is up and showing off Need for Speed for the iPad. The company has apparently built a cool version in just a few days.

- Hmm, the iPad is being reported as speedy. Not a bad thing.

- Chad Evans from Major League Baseball is showing off the At Bat app. With this, users can navigate league scoreboards, check player profiles and receive live data from the MLB.com web site.

- Hang on, they’re bringing out an Apple app: an e-book reader.

- Right, it’s called iBook, the interface contains a bookshelf of books and a new iBook Store will be available through iTunes and allow you to purchase titles from publishers including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

- Prices for the books vary between US$7.99 and US$14.99, you tap to read, tap anywhere to flip the pages forward or backward, drag a page to slowly turn said page and tap to access the Table of Contents.

- Book fonts can be changed on the fly. All right, that’s cool.

- Books will be published via the EPUB format, which is open and compatible to what’s out there.

- Phil Schiller has now emerged to describe the new version of iWork.

- A completely new version of Keynote has been designed for the iPad. The application runs in the iPad’s horizontal mode and users can tap buttons to create presentations, open templates, etc.

- Users can tap and hold an icon to slide it around the screen. Photos can be resized via pinching and other effects are applied with finger-based gestures.

- For animations in Keynote, tap the animation mode and slide your finger around to access animation techniques.

- The new version of Pages allows you to open a document via tapping. Then, tap anywhere to open a keyboard. A new Page Navigator tool allows you to hold a finger on the right of a document to bring up a loupe icon that allows you to skim through the pages. Menus and sub-menus can be accessed via tapping.

- Over in the Numbers app, a new tab interface allows a single document to hold an assortment of spreadsheets. Columns can be rearranged by tapping and dragging and data automatically updates itself.

- Ok, this is interesting. Apple is going to charge US$9.99 for each of the new iWork applications. Users can purchase them from the App Store with little hassle.

- The iPad: It connects to projectors!!!

- Steve Jobs has just returned to the stage and the iPad syns with your Mac or PC via iTunes. Users can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, booksmarks and applications. Backups are synced back and the app creates files to restore from.

- Each iPad features Wi-Fi but additional models will have 3G access built in as well. iPad owners will be ablt to access AT&T plans, the first offering 250 megabytes of data for US$14.99 per month. An unlimited data plan will be available for US$29.99 per month. Users will be able to access AT&T’s hotspots for free around the U.S.

- Users can go to the store, activate the plan on the iPad and there’s no contract. Users will be able to to pre-pay in advance.

- Apple hopes to have international plans in place by Jule or July and all iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro Sim units.

- You’re going to like this: The iPad starts at US$499.

- US$499 gets you the base model with 16GB onboard, US$599 gets you the 32GB model and US$699 gets you the 64GB model. The 3G models retail for US$130 extra to include the radio units and are available at US$629, US$729 and US$829.

- The iPad will be available worldwide in 60 days and the 3G units will be available in 90 days.

- There’s a docking device that includes a keyboard. Slide your iPad into it, the dock will charge it and you can type as much as you want. The third accessory seems to be a case which doubles as a typing stand.

- Ok, that seems to be about it and there’s something cool on the horizon. As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

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

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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 Releases Version 1.0.2 Firmware Update for Fifth-Generation iPod Nano

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Date: Monday, November 16th, 2009, 04:29
Category: iPod Nano, Software

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Late Friday, Apple released version 1.0.2 of its firmware for the company’s fifth generation iPod nano. The update, which can be located through iTunes, fixes audiobook playback to allow Normal, Slower, and Faster settings to work for audio podcasts.

Per Macworld UK, the update also resolves an issue where Genius Mixes were not working for anyone using the Nike + iPod Sport Kit add-on. Other fixes in the 1.0.2 nano update include one that allows the accessibility setting for Mono Audio to work and another involving a bug where VoiceOver menu items were skipped when using the plus (+) and minus (-) volume buttons on the included headphones.

If you’ve tried the update and have any positive or negative feedback, let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple Looking Into Creating $30/Month iTunes TV Subscription Service

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Date: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009, 05:10
Category: iTunes, Rumor

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If you want additional television content over iTunes, you might not have that much longer to wait.

Per MediaMemo, Apple has reportedly reached out to TV networks in recent weeks with a proposed US$30/month subscription plan to deliver content via iTunes — a service it hopes to launch in early 2010.

Citing multiple sources, the article stated that Apple’s subscription proposal is not based on any specific piece of hardware, like the Apple TV or forthcoming tablet. Rather, the plan would stick with the existing iTunes desktop software.

“Apple has told industry executives it wants to launch the service early next year,” the report said, “but I have yet to hear of a single programmer that has made a firm commitment to the company, which has tasked iTunes boss Eddy Cue with promoting the idea.”

If anyone does bite, the first expected is Disney, of which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder. Disney was the first to allow its content on iTunes and saw tremendous early success.

Kafka said that industry executives are “intrigued” by the prospect of a subscription plan on iTunes, as they are looking for new revenue streams as advertising returns diminish. However, cable networks are concerned about sacrificing existing relationships with providers like Comcast, and all content providers are worried that advertising revenue could decrease if live viewership shrinks.

“So Apple’s proposed subscription service, which the company has floated in the past, is no longer a huge stretch,” the report said. “Says one executive briefed on the company’s plans: ‘I think they might get it right this time.’”

Apple has been long rumored to provide a subscription option for TV content. In August, Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said he believes that Apple would release a new Apple TV in conjunction with a subscription TV account. But the agreements necessary to offer a subscription service would take some time.

“Apple could leverage its deep library of content with many network and cable channel content owners to provide unlimited access to a sub-library of its TV shows for a standard monthly fee ($30 or $40 per month),” Munster writes. “Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (~$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels.”

Last week, the Apple TV software was updated to version 3.0. Improvements included a newly redesigned interface, support for iTunes Extras and iTunes LP, and streaming Internet radio.

Apple TV 3.0 Out the Door

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 04:17
Category: Apple TV, Software

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About six weeks after dropping the 40 gigabyte Apple TV model and reducing the price on the remaining 160 gigabyte model to US$229, Apple has released version 3.0 of its Apple TV software. Per Macworld, the updated software offers a new main menu interface that provides direct access to rented and purchased movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos, and YouTube videos. Your content (My Movies, for example) now sits at the top of lists instead of at the bottom. Once you drill down into secondary menus, however, the interface is the same as before.

The new software also lets Apple TV users enjoy iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content for albums and movies, respectively.

The Apple TV now supports Genius Mixes as well, a new feature of iTunes 9 that also works on some iPod models.

For photos, the latest software adds support for iPhoto ‘09’s Events and Faces (but not Places) features.

Finally, Apple has stated that users can now listen to thousands of Internet radio stations and tag stations for later listening. You could in fact listen to Internet radio on the Apple TV previously, you just had to put the stations in a playlist.

The software is a free update for all Apple TV owners and can be snagged via the Apple TV’s Software Update feature.