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Feb 22
iTunes may get higher quality song files

Apple and other digital music retailers are in discussions with record labels to improve the quality of the song files they sell, reports "CNN" (http://macte.ch/yHNoQ), quoting "executives involved in the talks." This means that online music stores could offer songs that sound truer to their original recordings, though perhaps at a premium price.

Professional music producers generally capture studio recordings in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. Before the originals, or "masters," are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital sellers like iTunes, they're downgraded to 16-bit files. From there, the audio can be compressed further in order to minimize the time the music will take to download or to allow it to be streamed on-the-fly over the Internet.

Most Macs can play 24-bit sound, and the iTunes program is capable of handling such files. But most portable electronics, and many computers, don't...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Analyst: iPad crimping notebook sales growth

Global notebook shipment growth probably won't top 15% year-on-year and is, in fact, expected to reach only 12% since buyers from the enterprise market are increasingly fond of tablets such as the iPad and are considering replacing their existing notebooks with such a device instead of a new notebook, according to Joanne Chie, senior analyst at Digitimes Research (http://www.digitimes.com).

As more tablet computers begin showing up in the second half of 2011, their sales impact on the notebook industry will only expand further. This will most likely cause global netbook shipments in 2011 to reach only 24.23 million units, while forcing the notebook industry to enter the initial phase of maturity, Chien adds.

| Read more »
Feb 22
iPad 2, iPhone 5 both delayed?

The iPad 2 may be pushed back to June and the iPhone 5 to September, according to sources such as "Fortune" (http://macte.ch/qmBMQ), "Bloomberg" (http://macte.ch/AvenW), "Reuters" (http://macte.ch/VLJdD) and "Business Insider" (http://macte.ch/Q8HMF).

The new version of the iPad that was widely expected to be unveiled in April may be delayed until June, per analysts from Taipei-based Yuanta Securities. Why? "Production bottlenecks" at Hon Hai's Foxconn factories.

FBR Capital's Craig Berger to the effect that the launch of the next iPhone may be pushed back from June or July to September. According to Berger, various casing and touchscreen suppliers are still ramping up, some chip vendors have not yet received...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Jobs purportedly weighs in on digital subscription controversy

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly weighed in on the iOS in-app subscriptions controversy with one of his terse e-mails. Responding to an iOS developer's inquiry, Jobs purportedly said apps such as Dropbox, Evernote, Salesforce and other similar software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps would not be required to use Apple's new in-app subscription service, according to "MacRumors" (http://www.macrumors.com).

"We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps," Jobs reportedly said in the e-mail.

Jobs' note comes soon after Readability -- an online service that allows you to save the text of articles for later reading offline -- complained in a blog post that Apple rejected its iOS app for failing to use the new in-app subscription service. Readability charges a recurring membership fee for its service and then distributes 70 percent of its profits to writers.

"PC World" (...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Apple plans new Los Angeles retail store

Apple will push its Los Angeles region retail presence further north later this year, into the Santa Clarita valley’s Valencia Town Center shopping mall, reports "ifo AppleStore" (http://macte.ch/COqXM). The store will probably open in mid-September, the article adds.

The mall is along Interstate 5 about 35 miles north of LA, and about 20 miles from the nearest existing store in Northridge. As part of the Westfield group of malls, it underwent a $140 million renovation last year, resulting in 40 new open-air spaces, notes "ifo AppleStore."

| Read more »
Feb 22
Twelve South ships BookArc for MacBook Air

Twelve South is shipping the US$39.99 BookArc for MacBook Air. Designed exclusively for MacBook Air (late 2010 models), the latest BookArc firmly grips the thin MacBook Air and includes built-in cable management to keep desktop and power cables in place.

Like previous versions of the BookArc, the MacBook Air model is fashioned from heavy gauge steel. One addition is built-in cable management. Since MacBook Air has inputs on both sides, the BookArc cable housing routes power, external display, USB and other cables behind the MacBook for a clean workspace.

For those who use MacBook Air with an external display, a key benefit for BookArc is the performance boost it gives your Mac, according to the folks at TwelveSouth. If you connect MacBook Air to an external monitor and leave the MacBook open, video memory is split between the two displays. When working with MacBook Air in the closed position, resting in BookArc, 100% of the video memory is dedicated to powering the...

| Read more »
Feb 22
OWC announces 12TB RAID storage drive

Other World Computing (http://www.macsales.com) has announced the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 hardware RAID storage drive with 12TB of storage/backup in a desktop-sized brushed aluminum enclosure. 

Featuring four 3TB hard drives in four hot swappable drive bays, the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 12TB RAID storage drive offers the flexibility of a “quad interface” of FireWire® 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA; four selectable Hardware RAID settings of 0, 1, 5, 10; and 300MB/s data transfer rates for high speed, plug and play storage and redundancy for Macs and PCs.
 
Designed for 24/7 enterprise-class capacity-optimized applications, the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 offers two million MTBF, nearly double the MTBF of consumer class drives. It's pre-configured in Hardware RAID 5 mode to provide data redundancy for uninterrupted access and protection against data loss.

The drive can also be...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Monotype Imaging introduces Camphor typeface family

Monotype Imaging Holdings has added the 12-font Camphor typeface family to the company's Monotype collection. The new additions are now available from Monotype Imaging's Fonts.com, Linotype.com and ITCFonts.com stores. In addition, Camphor Web fonts are available from Fonts.com Web Fonts for website design.

"Camphor is a sturdy, hard-working yet elegant design," says Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Monotype Imaging. "It's space economical and suitable for a wide range of applications, from branding and advertising to signage and content. Camphor is a perfect addition to our Monotype collection, home to ageless classics such as the Gill Sans® face, a design Nick Job researched when he created Camphor."

The complete Camphor family features 12 typefaces. Each of the six weights, which range from thin to heavy, have a companion italic. The family is available as a suite of OpenType Pro fonts, which allow for the automatic insertion of small caps, ligatures...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Clever & Son ship WiFi2HiFi 1.0

Clever & Son AG have announced WiFi2HiFi 1.0 for iOS devices (http://www.wifi2hifi.com/). You can use WiFi2HiFi to turn your iPhone into a wireless audio receiver for your stereo system or sound-dock.

Combined with the free desktop app WiFi2HiFi Station you can listen to whatever audio program is playing on your computer. WiFi2HiFi Station acts like an additional audio output on the computer, allowing it to provide streaming support for audio programs on the Mac and PC.

Stumbling prone cables connecting the computer and the hi-fi will be superfluous, says Cliever & Son CEO Tobias Gemperli. Any web radio or song on the hard disc can be enjoyed from the comfort of the couch, he adds. WiFi2HiFi Station acts like an additional audio output on the computer, allowing it to provide streaming support for all popular audio programs on the Mac and PC.

Any audio program from music players...

| Read more »
Feb 22
Woz: Fusion-io to go public

Privately-owned server flash card vendor Fusion-io is planning to go public, according to its chief scientist, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, as reported by "The Register" (http://macte.ch/f2xv6).

Fusion-io's ioMemory technology adds flash chips to a PCIe card that becomes an intermediate tier of memory between a server's DRAM and its hard drives, accelerating server applications through changing disk I/Os into much faster flash I/Os. The company's products are used by server vendors Dell, HP and IBM, and customers such as Facebook, MySpace and Zappos.

| Read more »
Feb 22
Analysts: two million AT&T subscribers will switch to...

According to a "Fortune" report, analysts predict that at least two million AT&T subscribers over the next year will switch carriers now that the iPhone is available on Verizon.

In fact, "Fortune" is offering a guide to how phone companies transfer a customer's cell phone number from one carrier to another. You can find it at http://macte.ch/4Pwp7 .

| Read more »
Feb 22
Pragmatic Studio planning more iOS programming courses

The Pragmatic Studio has announced their spring and summer schedule for their iPhone/iPad Programming courses: April 18-21 in Denver, Colorado, and July 18-21 in Reston, Virginia.

In this four-day, hands-on training course you'll learn how to use the latest version of the iOS software development kit. Reserve your seat by March 17 to save $400 on early registration. For more info go to http://pragmaticstudio.com/ .

| Read more »
Feb 21
Report: personal computer market mounting a strong comeback

The personal computer market is mounting a strong comeback this year, according to the latest data (http://macte.ch/EIjAf) from The Bedford Report (http://www.bedfordreport.com).

While high unemployment has harmed consumer spending in North America, demand for computers in emerging markets is growing at a rapid rate. In India for example, desktops reported 14% increase year-on-year, while the sales of notebook computers grew at 49% in the fourth quarter.

The Bedford Report says Apple leads the mobile computer market at the moment with 10.2 million units shipped, giving it a 17.2% market share. The company is also gaining market share in Mac unit sales. In the company's fourth quarter Apple sold more than four million Macs.

Also "shares of Apple have recovered nicely after being smashed following the news of CEO Steve...

| Read more »
Feb 21
MacBook Pro refresh coming this week? (updated)

Apple is getting ready to debut five upgraded versions of its MacBook Pro notebook line, according to various reports around the Web. And some of the rumors say the updated laptops will use Light Peak technology (http://macte.ch/lAfKn).

"PC World" (http://macte.ch/pxkeT) says the new MacBook Pros are thinner, lighter, have zippy new Intel processors (Core i5s and i7s) and better screens. Those "zippy" processors are expected to be Sandy Bridge chips.

"DigiTimes" (http://macte.ch/uhQ9B) says the revamped MacBook Pros will feature a slight change in chassis design and an upgrade to the new Lion operating system, which should help Apple's notebook shipments grow 30-40% on year in 2011. I beg to differ, but there's no way the new laptops will ship any time this spring with...

| Read more »
Feb 21
Mac's 'Secure Empty Trash' function ineffective...

SSDs, Mac OS X and data security don’t mix. Not only does the standard file delete not delete files, but even the Mac’s “Secure Erase Trash” function leaves two-thirds of a file recoverable, according to "ZDNet" (http://macte.ch/k97Rw).

Hard drives associate a physical location with each logical block address (LBA). SSDs don’t, and therein lies the rub. If the LBA is written to, the existing data at that LBA can be presumed to have been overwritten.

But on flash-based SSDs, the firmware that makes flash look like a disk -- the flash translation layer (FTL) -- is constantly changing the physical address of the data," says "ZDNet." When the OS issues an overwrite, the FTL overwrites only the most recent location the data -- leaving older locations untouched.

This is a problem for all file systems, but according to a paper presented at FAST ‘11 last week, Mac OS 10.6 Secure Erase Trash command did...

| Read more »
Feb 21
iPad price cuts could hint at upcoming iPad 2

Both T-Mobile and Orange have dropped their iPad pricing, suggesting that the iPad 2 arrive in a matter of weeks, says "Tech Radar" (http://macte.ch/7bcOe).

Previously, Orange was offering the iPad WiFi + 3G at £199.99 upfront on a £25 per month contract to existing customers and at £229.99 for new customers on a £27 per month contract. T-Mobile is only offering the discount to existing customers on a 24-month £25 tariff.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Apple planning retail store in Anchorage, Alaska

Apple has confirmed last month’s tip of a future retail store at the Fifth Avenue Mall in Anchorage (Alaska) by posting job listings for the location, according ot "ifoAppleStore" (http://macte.ch/JLCGD).

It would be the furthest-north store in the chain, at 61° north latitude, just 320 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the article adds. According to the original tip, the fit-out is underway inside the former Eddie Bauer space on the second level of the downtown mall. Based on construction schedules, the store will open in September.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Blockbuster initiates process to sell the company

Facing rising pressure from digital services such as iTunes and online services such as Netflix, Blockbuster (http://www.blockbuster.com) has initiated a process to sell the company, which it believes represents the best means of maximizing value for Blockbuster’s stakeholders.

In conjunction with this process, Blockbuster has entered into an asset purchase agreement with a “stalking horse” bidder, Cobalt Video Holdco, a limited liability company formed by funds managed by Monarch Alternative Capital, Owl Creek Asset Management, Stonehill Capital Management and Värde Partners, each of which is a secured noteholder of the company.

In addition, Blockbuster has filed a motion seeking authorization from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to conduct an auction process for the company. Blockbuster expects that its U.S. operations, including a majority of its stores,...

| Read more »
Feb 21
iPhone/iPod touch/iPad apps for Feb. 21

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).

Big Bad Brush has announced Kung Fu Master! 1.0, their new US$0.99 game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The zombies and pandas are up to no good stealing all of the Kung Fu Master's gold and gems. You must show them who's boss by mastering the bamboo poles and gathering all of Kung Fu Master's gold and gems back.

Velvet Rock Apps has released LightsOut 1.0 for iPad, their general knowledge quiz game for one or two players. The app includes over 750 multiple choice questions on a variety of topics: images, TV, movies, music, science, anagrams, nature, history, sports, etc. In 1-player mode, players have a maximum of 10 seconds per question, scoring more points the faster they answer. In 2-player mode, contestants on opposite sides of the board compete to be...

| Read more »
Feb 21
Jailbroken iPhones can now use iBooks again

Last week, Apple updated its e-reader app iBooks with several minor new features and a tweak that affected users of jailbroken phones.

Jailbreakers who downloaded the update were no longer able to use iBooks on their mobile phone. However, an update to the jailbreaking tool Sn0wbreeze may have addressed this issue, according to reports from mobile bloggers and Twitter and sites such as "ReadWriteWeb" (http://macte.ch/F1tXO).

According to the Twitter account @iH8sn0w, which is behind the Sn0wbreeze jailbreaking tool, a new update (version 2.2.1) has been released which supposedly fixes the iBooks issue . It also addresses issues affecting Verizon iPhone jailbreakers on iOS 4.2.6, issues for users of the Windows Classic theme and it adds a drag and drop feature for moving IPSW files (the iPhone firmware files used during the jailbreak process).

| Read more »
Feb 21
Apple to use Light Peak soon under a different name?

An announcement from Apple is expected soon about Light Peak, a new high-speed connection technology, a source told "CNET" ((http://macte.ch/qw3Ve) reports, quoting an unnamed source.

Whether the new connector tech will be part of an upcoming MacBook Pro update (rumored to happen Feb. 24) or announced in another context "is not clear," the article says. "CNET" thinks Apple will use Light Peak soon, but probably use another name for it. Intel has said in the past that the first products using Light Peak should appear in the first half of 2011. When Intel initially demonstrated Light Peak at its developer conference in 2009 it used a machine running Apple's Mac OS X.

Light Peak paves the way for a new generation of extreme computer input and output (I/O) performance, delivering 10Gb/s of bandwidth, with the potential ability to scale to 100Gbs over the next decade, according to David Perlmutter, executive...

| Read more »
Feb 21
Europe favors iOS devices over competition

According to new data from the StatCounter (http://gs.statcounter.com) research group -- as noted by "Reg Hardware" (http://macte.ch/SnjWM) -- Europe as a whole clearly favors iOS devices over competing devices.

The iOS market share has run between 50% and 45% between January 2010 and January 2011, which is well ahead of nearest rivals Symbian, BlackBerry and Android, the article adds. While Apple's share is trending downward, it's a very slow decline.

In the UK, Apple and Research in Motion are the two key smartphone players, oscillating about a line at 42%, says "Reg Hardware." Android usage is growing there, as well, but it's still below 15%.

"Crucially, the strength that Android is showing in the US, is not yet a factor in the UK and Europe," says "Reg Hardware." "That may change over the coming year, but the Google OS...

| Read more »
Feb 21
Shareholder group demands Apple CEO succession plan

With Apple CEO Steve Jobs on another medical leave, a shareholder group has formally demanded that Apple provide more details about its CEO succession planning.

Sponsored by the Central Laborer’s Pension Fund in Jacksonville, Ill., the shareholder resolution calls on Apple’s board to adopt and disclose a written “succession planning policy.” Under such a policy, the board would review its succession plan each year, maintain an emergency succession plan and “identify and develop internal candidates," reports "MarketWatch" (http://macte.ch/2Jcbp).

Apple is against the measure, saying it has already abides by many of the proposed policies. The company further argues and that going public with its “confidential objectives and plans” isn’t in shareholders’ best interest.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Store News hits the Mac App Store

Independent software developer Christian Kienle has introduced Store News 1.0 (http://store-news-app.com/), his free application for Mac OS X, now available in the Mac App Store.

Store News offers a way of finding out the best deals in the Mac App Store. It shows categories of apps that are totally free and apps that still cost a little bit of money.

Users may share what they've found via Twitter. Store News requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can be found in the Productivity category.

| Read more »
Feb 21
Choice group says Apple overcharges Australian iTunes customers

Australian consumer advocate Choice has blasted Apple for overcharging Australian consumers compared to the US in the iTunes Store, "but the blame could lie with the Australian music industry," says "SmartHouse" (http://macte.ch/2xa59).

The article says Australian blogger Graham Spencer found that iTunes customers in Australia pay up to 69% more for some songs than in the US. This was followed up by Choice spokesperson Christopher Zinn who has criticized the likes of Apple and Sony for lacking global price parity.

Apple uses an exchange rate that's not directly linked to world exchange rate fluctuations, so an Australian currency appreciation hasn't shifted iTunes prices in favour of Australian consumers, says "SmartHouse." (Sony offers a ‘Music Unlimited' music subscription service that costs Australians three dollars more a month than in the US).

Apple says the diversity of global prices is due...

| Read more »
 
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