Tiered iTunes Pricing Comes April 7th

27 03 2009

The tiered iTunes pricing coming in early April will have 3 levels: $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29.  We assume that the most recent, more popular songs with be more expensive, and the older, or less popular songs will be cheaper.  One thing we’re wondering about though, is the pricing of albums.  If there are two album with 10 songs in each, but one album has all $0.69 songs, and the other all $1.29 songs, will the overall album price be different?

Comment below!



6 01 2009

–MacWorld Live Blog–

iLife ’09 was just released at MacWorld! iPhoto ’09 includes Faces, which uses face detection. It highlights the face and asks you to give them a name. Click on it, type in a name; it adds a snapshot. Then it uses face recognition to find the same person across multiple photos.  iPhoto ’09 also includes Places, to organize your photos by place, using geotagging and GPS, as well as your user input.  iMovie ’09 has a new precision editor, expanded timeline view for advanced users, advanced drag & drop: it gives you the option to replace, insert, use audio only. New dynamic themes with titles, transitions, even credits. You can now also use animated travel maps! They have also introduced automatic video stabilization to help take away the caffeine jitters.  Garageband ’09  has one major new feature that stands out: “Learn to Play.” Built in HD videos of instructor, and it shows you the instrument in front of you. The instructor talks just like Bob from the iPhone videos. It includes 9 basic lessons for guitar and piano for free. Download them when you need to use them.  New verions of iWeb and iDVD are available as well, however, they were not covered.

iWork ’09:


Magic Move: you set up your slides and Keynote does all the options for moving objects between your slides. In a more professional tool you’d call Magic Move “tweening” — you set a start and an endpoint and the program figures out the in-between.


Full screen view: It excludes everything else so you can just see your work, like WriteRoom or many other Mac writing apps. Move your mouse up and you still have access to the menus.

Dynamic outlines- type your outline, different levels, different font sizes; reorganize your thoughts; and your page view reflects any changes.

Support for MathType & EndNote: formulas that scientists and engineers want to use. EndNote is for scientists, engineers, people publishing papers. EndNote support is pretty huge in academia; nice to see integration in Pages, since it’s a big Microsoft Word feature. New templates as well: certificates, envelopes and letters, etc.


A new “categorize by this column” choice and it automatically creates a table based on that category. Most advanced feature requested was more powerful formulas.

Over 250 functions; new function view, type in and search for the function you want.

Passing your mouse over a variable in a function gives you a tool-tip and it’s all color coded.

You can link charts into Pages as well; change it in Numbers and it reflects the view in your Pages document.

Lots of new templates in Numbers as well.

Mac Box Set- You can get Leopard, iWork ’09, and iLife ’09 for $169 (that’s a GREAT deal). It’ll ship in late January with iLife ’09.

iWork.com (Not very exciting, I predict it will be discontinued)

17″ MacBook Pro- For the last 8 months running, if you look at the list of laptops sold in US, MacBook has been #1 on the list. So here’s the 17″: 0.98 inches thin. World’s thinnest 17-inch notebook. It’s 6.6 pounds, which also makes it the lightest 17-inch notebook. 1920×1200 LED backlit. 140-degree height/120-degree width viewing angle. 700:1 contrast ratio; 60% greater color gamut than previous notebook display. It’s got a glossy display, so they’ve also got a $50 anti-glare option. Same display properties as last 17″. Ports: FireWire 800. 3 USB ports, ExpressCard 34 slot. Battery life indicator, Ethernet, mini DisplayPort. About what you’d expect. New glass trackpad as on the previous unibody MacBooks. 2.93 GHz, up to 8GB of memory at 1066 MHz DDR3 ram. Built-in both the GeForce 9400M and the GeForce 9600MT. 320GB hard drive standard. Up to 256GB SSD drive option. Plus the usual backlit keyboard, iSight, magnetic latch, etc. Works with the new DisplayPort Cinema Display. The new MacBook Pro (17″) will not have a removable battery, but it’s much greener and environmentally friendly. The 17″ MacBook Pro is free of many toxins. Highly recyclable aluminum and glass. The battery lifespan is supposedly extended to 5 years, meaning fewer batteries in landfills. There’s a shot of the bottom of the 17″, with no access panel, possibly also restricting access to the insides of the machine for RAM and hard drive upgrades. Apple claims discrete graphics gets you 7 hours of battery life; integrated gets you up to 8 hours. Three hours longer than previous 17″ MacBook Pro; 60% increase. Will be interesting to see how the real-life tests bear that out. MBP is PVC- and BFR-free and takeback and recycling programs. One base configuration at $2,799, but you can build-to-order.


6 billion songs sold. Over 10 million songs available, largest library. Over 75 million accounts with credit cards. And, of course, they are the #1 channel for music. First, the price: we’ve had one pricing model for all songs. Starting in April they’re giving them more flexibility: three tiers at $0.99, $0.69, and $1.29. More songs are going to be offered at $0.69 than $1.29 says Phil. The second thing: iTunes Plus which, as you know, is DRM-free. Encoded at 256kbps AAC encoding. One-click upgrades. Starting today 8 million songs will be offered DRM-free. By end of quarter, entire catalog will be DRM-free. In case you missed it: All songs will be DRM-free in iTunes.The third new thing has to do with iPhone. Now the iTunes Music Store is no longer iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store; you can now download and buy on 3G network as well. Same price and same selection on the iPhone as on iTunes. Same quality too. You can preview and purchase and you can buy anytime, anywhere on 3G. This starts today as well.

Thanks-you, that’s it!

Apple TV 2.2

4 10 2008

Alongside iTunes 8.0.1 late Thursday evening, Apple also released Apple TV 2.2, a new version of its set-top-box software that delivers support for purchasing and downloading HD television shows as well as support for the new iTunes Genius feature.

In a support document that was briefly posted to its website (but since removed), Apple said the update also addressed a couple of security issues, such as unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution when viewing a maliciously crafted movie file. A similar issue having to do with malicious PICT image files was also said to have been fixed.

In terms of new features, Apple TV 2.2 now lets users purchase and download HD television shows directly from the media hub, most of which are priced at $2.99. Previously, Apple TV only included support for browsing the iTunes Store’s collection of standard definition shows.

Support for the Genius recommendation engine introduced last month alongside new iPods and iTunes 8 is also baked in. Holding down the menu button on the Apple TV remote while a song is playing — or while on the Now Playing screen — will present options for “Start Genius” or “Add To On-The-Go.” Genius playlists are visible under a sub-menu of Apple TV’s “My Music” menu.

Other than the obious major changes, a “Standby” option and several YouTube and photo browser interface tweaks have been spied.

An iTunes Music Store-less Future?

1 10 2008

Apple has threatened to shut down the iTunes music store if an obscure three-person board appointed by the Librarian of Congress increase the royalties paid to publishers and songwriters by six cents per song.

Apple- which has mightily resisted tampering in any way with its 99 cent price point for tracks, said that if the rate hike goes through and the labels refuse to absorb the entire resulting increase, the iTunes music store will become unprofitable. Out of each 99 cent song, Apple currently pays artists and labels an estimated 65 to 70 cents per song, 9 cents of which they currently pass on to publishers.

Norway Pressures Apple to Remove iTunes Music DRM

30 09 2008

Norway’s top consumer advocate said Monday that he will ask a government court to force Apple to open the iTunes music store to users who own music players other than the iPod.

“It’s a consumer’s right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the Internet to the music device he himself chooses to use,” said Bjorn Erik Thon, Norway’s consumer ombudsman. “iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult, and hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law.”

He has been pressing Apple for more than two years to drop its anti-copying digital rights management (DRM) technology from all iTunes tracks so that the music can be loaded onto rivals’ devices. “I’ve been quite happy with the progress [with Apple] on other issues, but not on the one regarding DRM, which is the most important to consumers,” Thon said.

He last met with Apple in February, when the company told him it shared his aim of interoperability. Since then, however, there has been no progress, said Thon.

“So we will ask for a prohibition of the practice that you’re only allowed to play music from iTunes on an iPod,” said.

By submitting the case to Norway’s Market Council—a governmental court that has the ability to issue binding rulings—Thon hopes to pressure Apple into opening iTunes. The Market Council would likely reach a decision by next summer after collecting written briefs from both parties in January and hearing oral arguments in March or April 2009.

The Market Council could fine Apple if it did not comply with its ruling.

Thon declined to specify the size of the fine he would request, but said it would probably set a Norwegian record. “Size matters when it comes to the amount of the fine, and Apple is by far the biggest company that has been involved in a case,” he said. “It should be a significant amount, but whether it’s 100,000, 200,000, 300,000, 400,000 Euros, I couldn’t say.”

The case could have an impact beyond Norway, Thon added, noting that consumer agencies in Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries are behind him. He said he would reach out to others, including colleagues in Italy and Sweden, to get their support as well.

“I’m quite optimistic that if we win this case, the European Union will have a look at this and make this EU policy,” said Thon. In July, he met with Meglena Kuneva, the EU’s consumer commissioner, who expressed interest in the Norwegian effort to get Apple to open iTunes. “I will follow up with her, and keep in close contact in the months to come,” he promised.

Apple has made some moves to free iTunes-purchased tracks from its iPod line of players, including selling some DRM-free music starting in May 2007, however, people are pushing for ALL DRM free files.

Remote 1.1- Now With Genius

16 09 2008

Apple updated its Remote app for iPhone and iPod touch, bringing the current version of the application to 1.1. According to Apple the new version allows you to create Genius playlists and create and edit playlists in iTunes.

Remote lets you control your iTunes library from the iPhone or iPod. You can also control control an Apple TV if you are using one of the devices in your home theater.

Using Remote you can scroll through playlists, artists, genres and search your music. When playing Remote will show you the album artwork of the current song and allow you to adjust star ratings and other settings, just like you would on an iPod.

Remote is a still a free download from the App Store.

Apple Re-releases iTunes 8 for Windows

12 09 2008

Apple late Thursday re-released iTunes 8 for Windows to roll back a buggy driver that had been bricking Windows Vista PCs with dreaded “blue screen of death” crashes since Tuesday.

In a support document posted around 8:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Apple urged Vista users who had been unable to synchronize their iPods or iPhones using iTunes 8 to uninstall both iTunes and an Apple-provided device driver, then download and reinstall the entire 75MB package yet again.

From Vista’s “Uninstall a Program” control panel, users should ditch the “Apple Mobile Device Support” driver as well as iTunes itself, then restart the PC. “Re-download and install the updated iTunes 8 installer from www.apple.com/itunes/download,” said Apple. “Do not use the iTunes8Setup or iTunes864Setup file you previously downloaded.”

Users running Microsoft ‘s Vista operating system had reported problems almost as soon as the updated iTunes 8 was posted for download Tuesday. According to scores of users on the Apple support forum, plugging in an iPod or iPhone caused Vista to crash, then display the “blue screen of death” (BSOD), a Windows critical error screen best-known for its blue background.

The BSOD message fingered an Apple-provided USB driver—”usbaapl.sys” in the 32-bit version of Vista, “usbaapl64.sys” in the 64-bit edition of the OS—as the culprit. Windows identifies that driver as “Apple Mobile Device Support” in Vista’s uninstaller.

According to Windows blogger Ed Bott, who first reported on the iTunes re-release, Apple simply dumped buggy versions of usbaapl.sys and usbaapl64.sys, and swapped in older editions from a July iTunes update.

Computerworld confirmed that a copy of iTunes 8 downloaded late Thursday, after Apple re-issued the application, installed the same older 31.2KB driver identified by Bott. In Computerworld’s case, however, the usbaapl.sys driver was date-stamped as July 10, not July 22, as Bott said.

Apple released iTunes 7.7 on July 10 as part of its run-up to the iPhone 3G launch, and the unveiling of both the iPhone 2.0 software and the MobileMe online sync and storage service.