Despite the fact that kids just got out of school, Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion. This year, those purchasing a Mac, iPad, or iPhone for education will receive an App Store gift card along with the purchase. Macs get a $100 gift card, while the iOS devices get $50. In order to qualify, the purchaser needs to be a college student, a student accepted into college, a parent buying for a college student, or a teacher. Apple's Back to School promotion runs through the summer, and the App Store gift cards are good for anything in the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBookstore.
Read More | Apple Back to School
In this episode of Unboxing Live, we give you a look at the new 2012 Apple TV. The main feature of the updated Apple TV is that it can display 1080p content. iTunes has been updated to support the 1080p resolution as well, which makes renting and buying content from iTunes at the highest quality look great on the new Apple TV and the new iPad as well. Netflix has also been updated to stream 1080p with the new device, which is powered by a single-core A5 processor. You can pick up the new Apple TV for $99.
Is 30 seconds enough time to get a feel for a song? If you said no, Apple agrees with you — today the company is rolling out 90-second previews for some songs on iTunes.
Prior to today, song previews were limited to half a minute, and for many songs they still will be. The 90-second previews are limited to songs that are more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length. Songs shorter than that retain their 30-second samples.
For example, looking at iTunes' most recent high-profile addition, the Beatles catalog, "Let It Be" (4:03) and "Hey Jude" (7:11) both get the 90-second treatment while "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (2:26) and "Love Me Do" (2:21) give listeners just 30 seconds to decide if they want to make a purchase.
The extension has been expected for over a month. Reports in early November said that Apple had sent a letter to the music labels informing them of the move, and that it was incumbent on them to opt-out if they didn't support the move. A cursory sampling of music from artists on all four of the major labels indicates none opted out.
For now the 90-second previews appear limited to the U.S. iTunes store. In the letter to the labels, Apple said it was believed that longer previews for some songs would lead to more sales, an assertion supported by research from Robert Morris University.
Over the weekend, Apple released iTunes 10.0.1, which mainly adds a sidebar to the music library for interaction with their Ping social network. The change makes it easier to “like” and “post” music that’s in your iTunes library to Ping, without having to actually go into the Ping area of the store. It’s obvious that the change is a way for Apple to spur more usage in Ping, which we are guessing has seen interest and usage drop since it was released at their last fall music event.
The problem with Ping is that Apple refuses to allow you to use it with any music that they don’t sell. Big Beatles fan? No way to show that in Ping, because Apple won’t let you post or like any Beatles tracks, since they don’t sell them. It’s almost asinine. Imagine if Facebook didn’t allow you to talk about anyone who didn’t have a Facebook account. Today I tried to “like” a track in my library that I was listening to, and I was greeted with the error message that you see above.
Until Apple makes Ping more of a social network, and less of a music selling tool, consider us uninterested.
Okay, so an hour ago we warned you that Apple would be giving away a $10,000 iTunes gift card to the purchaser of the ten billionth iTunes download, and if you didn’t act upon being put on notice, you’re too late. That’s right, Apple has officially surpassed the 10 billion song milestone with the iTunes Store, which is just unreal. Nice work, guys.
Edit: Alongside the announcement above, Apple also released a list of the the top 20 all-time best-selling iTunes songs, which has to be seen to be believed.
Read More | Apple sells ten billion iTunes tracks
If you have any songs you’d like to purchase from iTunes, you may want to care that task sometime today. Why? Simple. Apple is gonna giveaway a $10,000 iTunes gift card to the purchaser of the ten billionth iTunes track, and based on Apple’s ticker, that’s going to happen sometime today. Hit the link below for full details of the giveaway (or head straight to the iTunes store,) and good luck!
Read More | Apple
Apple released iTunes 9.0.1 yesterday, and normally, they squash some bugs that some people experience. Here is a look at the changes in the latest release, which comes just a couple of weeks after the iTunes 9 release:
- Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
- Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
- Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
- Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
- Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
- Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
- Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
- Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.
We must say, iTunes 9 feels more responsive, and works more “as it should,” or as expected. Hit up Software Update to grab it.
iTunes 9 details have slipped out just a tad bit early, and we’ve got the details for you. The main attraction here seems to be a completely redesigned and optimized iTunes Store. Navigation has been made a heck of a lot easier, and there is even a new full window display that allows you to browse the iTunes Store in full screen. Seems silly, but hey, why not?
There are also new preview mechanisms that let you preview content from anywhere, just by rolling over it with your mouse.
iTunes LP is a new addition to the iTunes experience, which Apple describes as a “gorgeous, immersive digital version of select albums.” Basically, while listening to an album, you can also get animated lyrics, liner notes, performance videos, photos, and more. We have to see it in action, but it sounds an awful lot like the Zune Now Playing feature.
There are now iTunes Extras. When you rent a digital movie, you get the movie, plus extras. Typically, you would only get to view special features on a DVD. Now iTunes brings you cast interviews, deleted scenes, photo galleries, and more.
Aside from these new features, iTunes also picks up some nice syncing enhancements. You can now arrange how you want apps to appear on your iPhone and iPod touch right in iTunes, and sync those right over. There is also a much more powerful syncing mechanism for all the other content (like, sync just these Faces for photos, sync all of this artist, etc.)
There’s also a new feature called Home Sharing, which lets you actually move content around from up to 5 computers in your home, rather than just being able to stream between them. iTunes 9 will be available very shortly.
You may have noticed by now the change of pricing on iTunes. As of Tuesday, Apple has begun to sell some of its most popular titles for $1.29 each. Others will be lowered to $.69 while some will remain at $.99. Recording companies decide the prices and Apple has also dropped DRM, so that others sans iPods can enjoy the downloads, as long as they support the company’s AAC encoding. It might pay to shop around though, as Amazon offers many of them for 79 and 89 cents.
Read More | USA Today
Update: Turns out, Apple is saying this is an unsubstantiated rumor.
“This is not news nor is it a scoop,” says an Apple Inc. spokesman, declining further comment.
In a USA Today interview, Steve Jobs said that:
It will happen — I hope by the first half of next year. As soon as they’re ready, we’re ready.
The original story:
Get ready to welcome Sgt. Pepper to your iPod. Sir Paul has finally reached an agreement with Apple and the iTunes store. For $400 million, they will receive the Beatles’ back catalog. Proceeds will be divided between McCartney, Ringo Starr, the families of John Lennon and George Harrison, and no doubt will trickle down to Heather Mills. Michael Jackson, EMI, and Sony, who also own part of the Beatles music, will also receive stipends as part of the deal.
Read More | Crave