News

Apple Changes its iTune?

From CNN Money

Since Apple launched its wildly successful iTunes music store back in 2003, CEO Steve Jobs has adamantly refused to offer a monthly subscription service. If you want to buy music from iTunes, you do it either by the single or the album, that’s it. But that could soon change.

Les Ottolenghi, CEO of INTENT MediaWorks, a digital distribution system that works with peer-to-peer networks, said he’s had meetings with people from Apple and he believes the company will announce a subscription service for iTunes within the next six months. “I think Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise,” he said. Spokespeople for Apple were not immediately available for comment.

So far though, it appears that Apple has made the right decision to spurn the subscription model. Rival online music stores, such as Napster, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Yahoo’s Y! Music Unlimited, that offer monthly subscriptions have failed to attract a lot of interest.

Decorate your MacBook with Van Gogh via GelaSkins

From Macworld

GelaSkins already offers a line of protective “skins” for various iPod models that feature a collection of unique artwork. Now the company is applying the same technique to a line of vinyl protective skins for Apple laptops, as well. The company is offering GelaSkins for everything from 12-inch PowerBooks to 17-inch MacBook Pros, and everything in between. Each costs $32.95.

The line of skins features the work of classical artists including Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh to pop artists like Ralph Steadman. You’ll even find works from Kurt Vonnegut, graphic art showing the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and pop art inspired by video games and modern graphic design.

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Clock is Ticking on Apple's Boot Camp Beta

From CNET

Those considering setting up a Windows partition on a Mac using the test version of Apple's Boot Camp might want to pay close attention to the licensing terms that accompany the beta software.

According to the terms, which are posted on Apple's Web site, the software is licensed only until Apple comes out with a commercial release of Boot Camp, or until September 30, whichever comes first.

The rub is that Apple has not said whether it will issue a final version of Boot Camp for Tiger users, though there have been rumors that Apple will offer a paid Tiger version of Boot Camp.

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MGM Films Now on the iTunes Store

From Yahoo!

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Apple announced that MGM is now offering titles from its prestigious catalog of feature films for purchase and download on the iTunes Store. Beginning today, iTunes customers will be able to purchase legendary films such as "Dances With Wolves," "Mad Max," "The Great Train Robbery" and "Rocky," with other titles to be added in the coming weeks. MGM has the largest modern film library in the world and has received 208 Academy Awards in its history, making it one of the biggest award winning collections of films in the world.

"It's exciting to be bringing so many amazing films from our catalog to iTunes," said Douglas A. Lee, MGM's executive vice president of Worldwide Digital Media. "We have an unrivaled movie library and are looking forward to adding even more films in the future so users can take their favorite movies with them wherever they go."

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Apple TV Commercial Airs

From iLounge

Apple late yesterday began airing the first television commercial for the Apple TV. The 30-second spot, which has already run on several networks, features a scene from the Jack Black movie “School of Rock” with a voice over saying, “It’s on your computer. It’s on your iPod. Now, it’s on your TV.”

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Apple Updates New Base Station Firmware

From Macworld

Apple has posted a firmware update for its AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, to bring it to version 7.1. The new update can be downloaded from Apple’s Web site; users will also be notified of its availability if they launch the AirPort Utility software that comes with the device.

This release of the firmware “includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n,” according to Apple.

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Congratulations Apple!


100 Million iPods Sold!

Drobo 'Robot' Automates Server Storage

From Electronista

The new Drobo by Data Robotics is promoted as the "world's first storage robot." In reality it is actually a hard drive enclosure, but with the unusual ability to automatically detect and format up to four 3.5-inch SATA drives of any capacity. Perhaps more importantly, the Drobo handles a number of maintenance tasks automatically, such as creating redundancy, and sensing and repairing data corruption. When attached to a Mac or PC via USB 2.0, the computer sees the Drobo as a unified drive. Colored LED lights indicate the status of each bay: yellow for instance indicates low space, while flashing red indicates failure. An empty Drobo enclosure costs $699.

(Shawn's Comment: Saw this at Photoshop World. Looks kinda cool)

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Best Buy to Expand Mac Sales in 2007

From Ars Technica

During its quarterly earnings conference call, Best Buy announced that it will be expanding its pilot program to test Mac sales. The retail giant was initially selling Mac hardware in just 50 of its stores, but later added another 45 stores to test Mac sales late last year. The company said during the call that it expects to sell Macs in roughly 200 stores by the latter half of this year.

Best Buy president Brian Dunn said on the call that "we'll be expanding our relationship with Apple in 2007." This announcement comes just a couple weeks after Best Buy announced that it will be carrying the recently-released Apple TV as well. An expansion of the pilot program likely indicates that Mac sales have gone well in the piloted stores thus far and Best Buy is merely taking baby steps before deciding to do all-out Mac sales in all of its retail locations.

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Apple, Record Labels Hit with Anti Competition Probe

From iPodObserver

A European Commission probe is looking into allegations that Apple Inc. and the major record labels are violating competition regulations throughout Europe. News of the investigation was released while Apple and EMI were announcing a deal on Monday to sell copy protection-free songs through the iTunes Store, according to Financial Times.

Apple, Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG are supposedly violating European laws by preventing users in one country from purchasing music from the iTunes Store in a different country.

The office of the European Union competition commissioner stated that Apple's practice of limiting iTunes Store sales on a country by country basis "violate the [EU] treaty's rules prohibiting restrictive business practices."

Apple representatives added "We do not believe the company did anything to violate EU law and we will continue to work with the EU to resolve this matter."

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Google Desktop for Mac Released

From Macworld

Google on Wednesday will release Google Desktop for Mac, marking the first time the search giant will make its desktop tool available to Mac users. Mac users already have a search tool with Apple’s Spotlight, but Google said its utility will work alongside the Mac OS X 10.4 feature perfectly.

“We designed Google Desktop for Mac to be a companion for Spotlight,” said Rose Yao, Google Desktop for Mac Product Manager. “Google Desktop searches users’ Web history and you can set it up to search Gmail too.”

Google Desktop will also utilize any Spotlight plug-ins users have on their systems. There is no need for developers to have to rewrite plug-ins specifically for Google. The application also respects Spotlight’s privacy list and will not search those items.

Using Google Desktop quick search is kind of like launching a Widget without the need to go into Dashboard, according to Google.

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Apple Unveils 8-core Processing on the Mac Pro

From Macworld

Apple on Wednesday updated its desktop Mac Pro computers adding two new 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, bringing 8-core processing to the Mac. The new machines can run the 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processors and are available as build to order options.

Using two “Clovertown” 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors, the 8-core Mac Pro comes with 8MB of L2 cache per processor (16MB total), 667MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM memory, eight FB-DIMM slots on two memory riser cards (four slots per card) supporting up to 16GB of main memory and 1.33GHz, 64-bit dual independent frontside buses. The Mac Pros have a double-wide, 16-lane PCI Express graphics slot with the option to install an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB of GDDR2 SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port; an ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM and two dual-link DVI ports; or an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM, two dual-link DVI ports, and one stereo 3D port.

There are many configuration options available to build an 8-core machine from the Apple Store, but at the high-end of the processor spectrum, the cost will run about $3,997.

Apple Drops 5G iPod Prices in UK

From iLounge

Several iLoungers note that Apple has cut prices on its fifth-generation iPod models in the UK. Apple has lowered the price of the 30GB iPod to £179 (from £189) and dropped the price of the 80GB iPod to £239 (from £259). UK iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remains the same. The US Apple Store does not currently show any iPod price cuts—fifth-generation models are still priced at $249 for the 30GB version and $349 for the 80GB version.

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Apple gets too Frothy for Value Fund Manager

From Marketwatch

With a share price around $93 as of late Thursday, Apple has a current year price-to-earnings ratio of 28. By contrast, the average P/E of technology shares in the S&P 500 Index was 20 at the beginning of March. The latest leg up in Apple shares came after Wall Street analysts began goosing their fiscal year earnings estimates to reflect what Apple might earn from the iPhone.

The fact that analysts were raising estimates BEFORE Apple announced the product was a red flag to one fund manager, who sold off his Apple stake after holding the shares for about a year.

"That told us things were getting a little bit crazy," said Connor Browne, co-manager of the Thornburg Value Fund which had assets of $3.4 billion as of December. It's worth noting that Browne is by no means bearish on Apple, which he thinks will continue to see strong growth in sales of both iPods and Macintosh computers.

Still, when Wall Street analysts begin building in assumptions for a product that doesn't have a shipping date, as the iPhone didn't until two months ago, "you can assume that most of the optimism is already built into the stock price," said Browne.

Study: iPod use has Significant Impact on Driver Performance

From iLounge

Using an iPod while driving will significantly affect a driver’s performance, according to a recent study by Drexel University professor Dario Salvucci. The Drexel study was conducted on a group of 12 iPod users in a fixed-base driving simulator. While “driving,” participants played three types of media—music, podcasts or videos. The study found that selecting a song or video on an iPod while driving “significantly affected driver performance as measured by vehicle deviation from a lane’s center veering left or right.” The study also found that selecting media affected the driver’s speed (they slowed down) and watching videos significantly affected car-following speed.

(Shawn's Comment: Umm....DUH!!! They had to *study* this? It wasn't simply blindingly self evident!?)

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Office 2008 for Mac Hits Private Beta: Lush ‘Escher’ Graphics Engine Revealed

From APC Mag

Office 2008 for Mac has gingerly stepped out of the alpha phase of its development as Microsoft works towards a late 2007 release of its overhauled Macintosh suite.

"We're in private betas right now" confirmed Sheridan Jones, Lead Marketing Manager for Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU), during an exclusive interview with APC magazine.

Some of the most impressive touches are Mac-only treats like Word's Publishing Layout View with its DTP-style page layout capabilities. Images can be dragged out of iPhoto and placed directly onto the page with automatic text run-around, while excess copy on any page is automatically spilled into a linked text box that can be drawn elsewhere on that page or on the next page.

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Apple's iPhone will be Released on June 11

From CNET

Ever since Steve Jobs' keynote at the Macworld Expo in January, we've known that the iPhone is being released sometime in June. But we haven't known exactly when.

Now Cingular is confirming that the release date will be June 11. A customer service manager at Cingular (we called 800-947-5096 and were transferred to sales) gave us that date late Thursday, but, alas, said he didn't have any additional information beyond that.

That date is no coincidence. It's the first day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to be held in San Francisco from June 11 through June 15.

(Shawn's Comment: While the date makes sense, why would one lone customer service rep at Cingular know the release date before anyone else?)

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Apple Store in Rome


(Shawn's Comment: Just like I was afraid - it looks like almost every other Apple Store :( )

iTunes Store now offers "Complete My Album" Feature

From the iTunes Store

Did you know that if you've purchased one or more songs from an eligible album, you may now be able to buy the rest of the album at a reduced price? You have up to six months after downloading a song from an eligible album to purchase the remainder of the album.

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Eye Candy Effects Collection Debut for Photoshop

From Macworld

Alien Skin Software on Wednesday introduced the Eye Candy Effects Collection — a $399 package containing full retail versions of five of Alien Skin Software’s previously-released plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop.

The collection includes Eye Candy 5: Impact, Nature and Textures, which include general purpose filters, natural effects and texture effects, Xenofex 2, intended for Web designers, graphic artists, photographers and others, and SnapArt, a natural media filter kit that creates real-world art styles like oil paint, pencil sketch, pen and ink and more. A total of 54 special effects filters are included, with more than 1,000 one-click settings, according to the developer.

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Analyst: iPod Sales Down Slightly in February

From iLounge

iPod unit sales for the month of February fell slightly versus the month of January, though the downtick was felt industry wide.

“While iPod units fell slightly month over month in February, this downtick was in line with the overall MP3 player market,” Piper Jaffary analyst Gene Munster said today. “iPod market share was unchanged from January to February at approximately 70%.” Based on the decline, figured from NPD sales data, Munster now expects iPod unit sales of 10 million to 11 million for the March quarter. “After the first month of March quarter data (January), we had been pointing to a range of 11m-12m units,” Munster said. “Data for the month of February, however, fell slightly from January, for both Apple and the market overall, which is inconsistent with what we have seen in previous years from January to February.”

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Apple, Dell, Sony now Part of Bluetooth Suit

From Seattle P.I.

The non-profit Washington Research Foundation sued Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Samsung Electronics Co. and Nokia Oyj over Bluetooth in Seattle federal court in December. Apple, Dell and Sony were added as defendants March 15, along with Logitech International SA, Motorola Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Toshiba Corp. and Plantronics Inc., court papers show.

The suit threatens the ability of the computer and device makers to deliver wireless capabilities to customers.

The companies are accused of infringing four patents covering technology that lets users exchange data among mobile phones, personal computers and other devices without using cables.

The Seattle-based foundation, which has generated more than $150 million for the University of Washington, is asking for money damages and a court order barring the sale of products that use the patented technology.

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Prosoft Announces Data Backup 3

From Macworld

Prosoft Engineering today announced the availability of Data Backup 3, the latest iteration of its award-winning backup software. Data Backup 3 is a powerful utility that allows you to backup, restore and synchronize your valuable data with minimal effort. Whether you are a new computer user or a seasoned professional, Data Backup 3 offers you just the right amount of power, flexibility and ease-of-use to help protect your files fast.

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Mark/Space Ships Missing Sync for BlackBerry

From MacObserver

Mark/Space Inc. announced Tuesday that The Missing Sync for Blackberry, synchronization software for Mac OS X, is now shipping.

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry provides reliable synchronization of contacts, calendar events, tasks, memos, and for multimedia-capable BlackBerry devices, photos, podcasts and music via USB.

"The software will also download selected albums containing podcasts and unprotected songs from iTunes to the microSD card on multimedia-capable BlackBerry devices. The user simply checks off the playlists they want downloaded to their microSD card, and The Missing Sync for Blackberry copies them over automatically during the next sync," the announcement said.

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At Cell Show, a Rare iPhone Glimpse

From Forbes

Even the FCC chairman appears to have iPhone fever.

The new cell phone from Apple Inc. made a rare public appearance Tuesday during the keynote session at the CTIA Wireless 2007 trade show. It lasted just moments, but it was easily the highlight of an otherwise uneventful morning.

When AT&T Inc. Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson pulled out the gadget during his speech, the audience snapped to attention and the room lit with camera flashes.

And while Apple made sure to whisk the closely guarded device away from the convention center right after the speech, another keynote speaker managed to get his eager hands on it backstage beforehand: Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

"He spent more time with it than I did," Stephenson said in an interview afterward. For a minute, "It seemed like he wouldn't give it back," Stephenson joked.

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Premiere Pro CS3 to Feature Blu-ray Output

From Macworld

With Device Central CS3 also announced today, Adobe has shown its commitment to delivering content to mobile devices. That commitment continues with Premiere Pro. Now you can use Adobe Media Encoder to export 3GPP and H.264 video optimized for playback on mobile phones, iPods, PSPs and other mobile devices.

Premiere Pro works with DV, Digital Betacam, HDV, DVCPRO HD, HDCAM, 2K and 4K film scans and other formats. The integration with Photoshop allows you to import and animate Photoshop layers and with After Effects integration you can drag and drop or copy and paste, clips and timelines between Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Multicam editing, native HDV editing, advanced keyframe controls and professional color correction round out the features of Premiere Pro CS3 for the Mac.

Premiere Pro CS3 is built for Apple’s Intel Macs and is expected to ship in the third-quarter of 2007. When it ships Premiere will cost $799.

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Creative Suite 3 Largest Release in Adobe's History

From Macworld

With the release of Creative Suite 3 on Tuesday, Adobe has completed the largest software release in the company’s history. This release also sees the integration of the Adobe and Macromedia brands and products into a tightly integrated suite.

“Over the past 25 years our technology has redefined industries,” Caleb Belohlavek, Adobe’s Director of Creative Solutions, told Macworld. “Our mission has been to revolutionize how the world engages with ideas and information. Our goal is to continue to be on the cutting edge of innovation and drive more powerful solutions to our customers.”

Creative Suite 3 comes in six configurations, covering the spectrum of creative professionals. The configurations are Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium. Rounding out the product line is Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection which combines 12 of Adobe’s new design and development applications in a single box.

Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Extended offer One-Two Punch

From Macworld

Adobe first told users that it planned to deliver two versions of Photoshop earlier this month. While Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Extended will share many of the same features, the applications will be marketed to separate industry groups.

“What we’re seeing in the market has been accelerating in the last few years,” Kevin Connor, senior director of product management for digital imaging at Adobe, told Macworld. “Photoshop is being used in a much wider array of workflows and there’s been pressure on Photoshop to do more in those spaces.”

The new markets Adobe is reaching out to with Photoshop Extended include professionals in architecture, engineering, medicine, and science. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes the same tools as Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities.

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100GB Upgrade for 5G iPod Available

From TUAW

So you've got an 80GB iPod, but it's bursting at the seams with all of those movies. Wouldn't an extra 20GB be handy? Check out this hard drive upgrade from PDASmart. For $275US, you can get a 100GB upgrade for the 30GB, 60GB or 80GB iPods with video. The drive is a brand new Toshiba MK1011GAH, and includes warranties from both the manufacturer and PDASmart.

Note that the 30GB upgrade will include a higher capacity battery and a new back for the iPod, as its size will be increased to that of an 80GB iPod. They offer a mail-in service as well. Be the hippest geek on your block!

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Adobe to take Wraps Off Creative Suite 3

From CNET

Adobe Systems on Tuesday plans to launch Creative Suite 3, a showcase for the company's merger with rival Macromedia that is designed to smoothly combine Web design with content creation.

Creative Suite 3, which focuses on print designers, multimedia editors and Web designers, was two years in development. CS3 comes in six editions, though customers can also individually purchase updated applications, such as Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash.

The estimated price for Creative Suite 3 Design Standard is $1,199 and for the Design Premium version, $1,799. The Web-oriented editions cost $999 for Web Standard and $1,599 for Web Premium. The CS3 Production Premium is $1,699. And the Master Collection, the most comprehensive package, is $2,499.

The Design and Web editions will begin shipping in April, while the Production Premium and Master Collection editions will ship this summer, said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Adobe's Creative Solutions Business Unit.