Apple Activates iTunes Genius Recommendation Engine for Movies, TV Shows

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Date: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009, 07:15
Category: Software

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Apple this week activated its iTunes Genius recommendation engine for both movies and television shows, a feature it had originally planned to bring out alongside the iTunes 8.1 release.
According to AppleInsider, the Genius engine, Apple’s proprietary recommendation engine used for collaborative filtering and iTunes’ built-in rating system, allows users to generate recommendations based on their current music catalog.
During the iTunes 8.1 release a few weeks ago, Apple had promised to expand the feature to video files before pulling the plug for undisclosed reasons.
As of Tuesday, users reported Genius iTunes Store recommendations for movies and tv shows appearing alongside their iTunes libraries.
When selecting an TV Show from your iTunes library, for instance, the Genius sidebar now lists additional episodes from that show’s same season, additional shows from other seasons, and then 10 recommendations for similar shows.
If you’ve seen this feature in action, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Announces iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware, Points Out New Features to Come

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 12:22
Category: iPhone

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Apple held its long-awaited iPhone OS 3.0 announcement today in front of a crowd of developers and invited media. The announcement mentioned prominent new changes including the addition of push notification, which Apple stated as requiring an overhaul of its servers to accommodate. Upon delivery, push notification can deliver signals such as sounds and text alerts to Apple, which can then push the data to the iPhones.
According to MacNN, Apple has also expanded the business models offered by the App Store and, allowing users to purchase additional content within an application provided that users have already signed in via their iTunes account. From here, users can purchase items such as books, regional content or extra game levels.
Apple then cited that the inclusion of approximately 1,000 new APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) will grant developers access to features such as iPod libraries, embedded e-mail, audio/video streaming and Google Maps integration. Core Location should also enable turn-by-turn navigation, allowing practical driving applications.
Company representatives also stated that iPhone OS 3.0 will support all standard Bluetooth protocols, including Bonjour, allowing iPhones to be able to use features such as automatic device detection as well as peer-to-peer gaming sessions that would locate possible opponents to play against within a given area. Third-party sccessory makers have also been given direct hardware control with the new firmware, permitting functions such as tuning an FM transmitter from the iPhone interface.
Click the jump for the full story…

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Apple Releases Front Row 2.1.7 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 08:14
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released Front Row 2.1.7, an update to its media control system for Mac OS X. The 12.6 megabyte download provides iTunes 8.1 compatibility and is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
Front Row 2.1.7 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried the update and have either positive or negative feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases iTunes 8.1 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 08:07
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 63.4 megabyte download, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

  • Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation).
  • Allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ.
  • Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows.
  • Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs.
  • Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods.
  • Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus.
  • Includes many accessibility improvements.
  • Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls.
  • iTunes 8.1 is available for free, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be snagged using Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
    If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, positive or negative, let us know over in the comments or forums.

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    The Apple Core: Has the iTunes Store jumped the shark?

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    Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 10:18
    Category: The Apple Core

    US-digital-song-sales.gifIndustry analyst Forrester Research has released a report saying that Apple’s iTunes has experienced a collapse in sales revenues this year. Forrester conducted an analysis of credit card transactions over a 27-month period and concludes that since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 percent, with the average transaction size falling 17 percent.
    There are two things that Apple should consider if they expect to get more sales from the iTunes Store…
    Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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    The Apple Core: Hollywood wants to change iPod DRM

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    Date: Friday, December 1st, 2006, 09:28
    Category: The Apple Core

    Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s deal with Universal Music (a unit of Vivendi) to pay a US$1 royalty on every Zune player sold in exchange for licensing its recordings for Microsoft’s new digital music service, Hollywood now wants in on the action.
    Why in the world would Microsoft agree to such a dangerous precedent? The obvious reason is that MS needed to get access to the Universal catalog. My favorite (and more dastardly) reason comes from Macalope who claims that Microsoft did it “to try to screw up Apple’s business model.”
    Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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    Special edition Beatles iPod could be in the wings

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    Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 10:14
    Category: iPod

    beatles-ipod-nano-red.pngOn Monday Fortune magazine reported that Apple is negotiating with The Beatles to distribute their music online via an exclusive arrangement with the iTunes store. The deal would be a coup considering that The Beatles have yet to license their music to be sold online and they are one of the last major holdouts that people mention when criticizing online music sales.
    The buzz began in April 2006 when Apple Corps Ltd. (The Beatles record label) head Neil Aspinall mentioned that they were re-mastering the entire Beatles catalog…
    Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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    New iTunes Visualizer: SoftSkies

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    Date: Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, 08:41
    Category: Software

    softskies_livingroom.jpgIf you like SoundSpectrum’s G-Force visualizer for iTunes (and who deosn’t?) then you should check out their latest effort, SoftSkies.
    Designed to be more soothing than intense, SoftSkies fills your screen with serene cloud imagary that moves to the beat of your music. It’s perfect for connecting to a flat-panel display during your Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. The basic version is free, Gold and Platinum will cost you.
    SoftSkies Gold (US$20) includes:
    - An extensive set of designer skies especially created for Gold
    - Several dozen Living Images showcasing Scenic Castles, Swiss Structure, and Utah Landscapes
    - Configurable album cover art support
    SoftSkies Platinum (US$30) includes:
    - SoftSkies Screen Saver
    - SoftSkies Standalone
    - Multi-Player Support

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    iTunes 7.0.2 Addresses Stability and Performance Issues

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    Date: Wednesday, November 1st, 2006, 00:28
    Category: iTunes

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    iTunes 7.0.2 adds support for the Second Generation iPod shuffle and addresses a variety of stability and performance issues found in iTunes 7 and 7.0.1.

    Apple – Support – Downloads – iTunes 7.0.2

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    Why Microsoft Can’t Compete With iTunes

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    Date: Tuesday, October 10th, 2006, 10:00
    Category: Opinion

    Secret answers that expose a series of myths about Microsoft’s ability to own new markets, how it uses its monopoly in the PC industry, and why its monopoly position won’t be of any help in fixing the company’s broken retial consumer electronics strategies.
    Read More…
    Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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