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Mix: Universal, iCloud icon, Apple retail, The Beatles

  • June 2, 2011

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Apple has signed Universal Music Group to a cloud music licensing agreement, giving it deals with all four of the major record labels, according to a new report. Citing sources with knowledge of the talks, Cnet reports that Apple has also reached agreements with some of the large music publishers. While Apple is expected to announce the service during its WWDC keynote address on Monday, the streaming service will not be made immediately available, the report notes, but will be offered “soon.”

Continuing its preparations for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that kicks off Monday, Apple has posted banners inside Moscone West depicting the icon it will use for its iCloud service. The icon, which appears on a banner proclaiming that Mac OS X Lion + iOS 5 + iCloud = WWDC and was captured by AppleInsider, appears to be highly similar to the existing “cloud” element of its MobileMe logo.

Apple retail stores are receiving new Visual Merchandising packages with instructions not to open the materials until Tuesday, 9 to 5 Mac reports. What exact service or product the materials are for is unknown, but they are likely tied to some announcement or announcements to be made during the company’s keynote address on Monday.

The Beatles’ three Anthology albums are set to make their exclusive digital debut on the iTunes Store June 14. All three volumes are currently available for pre-order in most areas as iTunes LP offerings, being sold for $30 a piece, or in a digital set for $80; an Anthology Highlights collection of 23 tracks is also being offered for $13. All three Anthology albums have been digitally remastered; individual tracks will be priced at $1.29 each. [via MDN]

Tout allows users to share 15-second video clips

Tout, a relatively new “video moment” sharing service has released a major update to its iPhone and iPod touch application. Tout allows users to capture and share short 15-second video clips as “life’s moments” with family and friends; the service has recently gained popularity after being used by legendary NBA player Shaquille O’Neal to announce his retirement via a Tout clip posted on Twitter. Tout 2.0 now allows users to actually watch Tout moments in the app in addition to capturing and uploading video clips. Users can view updates from other Tout users that they are following, see the most popular updates, or view a list of the Tout moments that they have shared. The app also adds support for “liking” Tout moments, following other users from within the app and finding friends via Facebook and Twitter. Tout is available from the App Store as a free download.

MLB At Bat 11 adds video out support

MLB.com has released an update to its At Bat 11 application for the iPhone and iPod touch adding video output support. With version 4.2 users can now connect their iOS device to an external monitor or television using a Dock Connector to video output cable such as Apple’s Digital AV Adapter to watch full live and archived games on the larger screen; game stats and progress are displayed on the device’s screen while an external monitor is being used to display video. Note that the new video out feature supports only full games, both live and archived; condensed games and video highlights continue to play only on the device’s screen. The update also adds an enhanced gameday audio player, improved check-ins for the At the Ballpark feature and accessibility and performance improvements. MLB.com At Bat 11 is available from the App Store for $15. A paid MLB.TV subscription is required to watch full live and archived games; condensed games and video highlights are available without a subscription.

Element rolls out Ion, Formula cases for iPhone 4

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Element Case has rolled out its new Ion 4 and Formula 4 cases for the iPhone 4. The Ion 4 mixes an impact-resistant TPU case with a carbon fiber reinforced back plate, and features open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, indentations on the sides for added grip, and compatibility with both GSM and CDMA iPhone 4 models. The Formula 4 features a two-piece, slide-together design, a hi-impact polycarbonate body with carbon fiber back plate, a rubber tone finish for a softer feel, a rubber side grip, compatibility with both GSM and CDMA iPhone 4s, and open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Element Case’s new Ion 4 and Formula 4 cases for the iPhone 4 are available now and sell for $50 and $60, respectively.

Gowalla enhances Facebook integration, activity feed

Gowalla has released an update to its social location app for the iPhone and iPod touch improving Facebook integration and adding several other UI enhancements. Adding to the support for Facebook checkins added late last year, Gowalla 3.3 now allows users to automatically connect with friends on Facebook and in the iOS address book more easily. The update also enhances the activity feed, adding new visualizations for airport check-ins and a streamlined interface for adding photos. Additional improvements include an integrated “Getting Started” guide, new Simplified Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese translations and general performance and stability improvements. Gowalla 3.3 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Pulse News Reader adds Pulse.me “Read Later” feature

Pulse has released an update to its popular visual news reader for iOS devices adding support for Pulse.me, its new offline reading service. Pulse allows users to view and explore their RSS feeds in a unique and engaging way by displaying articles in a series of interactive thumbnail views rather than the list format used by many other RSS apps. With the introduction of the new Pulse.me service, users can now quickly and easily save stories for later reading which can then be viewed on any other Pulse-enabled device or via the Pulse.me web site. Users can create a Pulse.me account directly in the Pulse app using Facebook Connect or their own unique Pulse.me username and can then save stories simply by starring them within the app. Pulse.me also provides optional integration with Instapaper, Evernote, Read It Later and Google Reader, allowing users to simultaneously save their starred items to these services as well. Pulse News for iPhone and Pulse News for iPad are available separately from the App Store as free downloads.

Gourmet Live comes to iPhone and iPod touch

Condé Nast Digital has released a universal update adding iPhone and iPod touch support to its Gourmet Live online magazine app. Released last fall as an iPad exclusive publication, Gourmet Live was designed to be a re-imagining of the Gourmet magazine publication for the digital era, combining classic stories and recipes with multimedia and integrated social connections. Gourmet Live 2.0 brings the iPad publication to iPhone and iPod touch users, restructuring content for the smaller screen and providing common access to saved and purchased content across both devices. The new version also improves navigation on the iPad and adds Push Notifications on both platforms to provide updates on new content and functionality. Gourmet Live is available from the App Store as a free download; weekly issues are sold as in-app purchases for $1 each.

Pulp adds desktop sync

Acrylic Software has updated its distinctive Pulp newsreader for the iPad adding the ability to sync with Pulp for Mac. Pulp provides users with a customizable newspaper-style view of their RSS feeds, grouping articles into pages that allow users to quickly scan through headlines, previews and photos. Users can create their own categories to organize their pages and customize the column layout and presentation of each page. The latest version now allows users to synchronize pages, feeds and read articles between the iPad and Mac versions of the app via a free Pulp Sync account. The update also adds a home screen badge to display the number of new articles, the ability to search feeds based on title or keyword, swipe gestures for moving between articles and support for saving articles to Readability. Pulp for the iPad requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $5. Pulp for Mac is sold separately and is currently available from the Mac App Store for an introductory price of $10.

Notefile provides quick note entry, sync for iOS devices

Junecloud, developer of the popular Delivery Status touch app has released Notefile, a new light-weight note-taking app for iOS devices. Notefile is a universal app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to quickly take notes and sync them across multiple devices and the web. Notes are synced automatically via an SSL-secured connection with the Junecloud web service where they can be accessed from any web browser or on a Mac using a free dashboard widget. Delivery Status touch users can also use their Junecloud account to manage both Notefile and Delivery Status tracking info in one place. Notefile also provides integration with SmileOnMyMac’s TextExpander app for snippet expansion when composing notes. Notefile is available from the App Store for $5; a Mac dashboard widget is also available as a free download from the developer’s web site. Users must register for a free account at junecloud.com/sync to sync notes between devices.

Foxconn reopens iPad 2 plant following explosion

Foxconn has reopened its Chengdu, China plant following an explosion last month that killed three employees and injured numerous others. AllThingsD reports that the company has also concluded its investigation into the incident, but has yet to release the results. The upper floors of the building are home to iPad 2 production lines, which had been shut down since the May 20 incident; Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said in a note to clients—quoted by AllThingsD—that the factory had yet to reach its optimal utilization rate due to component shortages, thus making the impact of the explosion less damaging to iPad 2 supplies than it could have been.

GarageBand adds AirPlay, Bluetooth audio support

Apple has released an update to GarageBand for the iPad adding audio out support and the ability to import audio files. GarageBand 1.0.1 now supports audio output via AirPlay, Bluetooth A2DP and HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adapter and users can also now import AIFF, WAV and CAF audio files and Apple Loops directly into the app. Additional improvements include the ability to copy and paste audio clips into GarageBand from other supported apps on the iPad and several stability and performance fixes, including addressing an issue with GarageBand freezing when using Smart Instruments. GarageBand 1.0.1 requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

Apple attempts to end third-party iPad, iPhone giveaways?

Apple is using a little-known guideline document in an attempt to curb third-party iPad and iPhone giveaways, according to a new report. Fortune claims that Apple has only recently begun to reach out to companies in an attempt to enforce its Guidelines for Third Party Promotions, a document that has been around since at least last January. The rules for third-party promotions forbid the use of the iPad, iPhone, or iPhone Gift Card in a promotion, specify that the iPod touch can only be used in “special circumstances and requires a minimum purchase of 250 units,” forbid the use of the word “free” as a modifier for an Apple product name, and the use of Myriad Set font, and require that the promotion notes that “Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.”

iMovie update improves HDMI support

Apple has released a minor update to its iMovie app for iOS improving compatibility with the Apple Digital AV Adapter. iMovie 1.2.1 will now output audio to an HDTV when using the Digital AV Adapter. Videos from Marquee will also now play in full screen when output from the device via the Digital AV Adapter’s HDMI connection. Additional improvements and bug fixes include resolving issues with missing media in projects, grouping clips more accurately by date in the video browser, fixing issues with background music fading and a number of other small performance and reliability improvements. iMovie requires an iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad 2 running iOS 4.2.6 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

PhoneSuit intros Elite Battery Case for iPhone 4

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PhoneSuit has introduced its new Elite Battery Case for the iPhone 4. Compatible with both GSM and CDMA models, PhoneSuit claims the Elite is the “thinnest, fastest charging iPhone 4 battery case which can provide over 100% power,” thanks to a 2,100mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, 1 Amp output, and a design that measures 17mm thick. Other features include a five-point LED battery meter, a pass-through micro USB port for charging and syncing the phone while it’s in the case, pass-through access to the microphone and speaker, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, save for the dock connector, and two-piece design. PhoneSuit’s Elite Battery Case for the iPhone 4 is available now in black or white and sells for $80.

iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide Sneak Peeks: Vantage Point, United SGP, iBackflip + XtremeMac

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Alongside upcoming products from the likes of iLuv, iSkin, Just Mobile, and ProClip, all-new products from iBackflip Studios, United SGP, Vantage Point, and XtremeMac made their debut in our iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide. They include the iBackFlip, a sling-style pack for the iPad that can be turned around and flipped open to form a portable desk, United SGP’s Leinwand Case, which melds Smart Cover functionality with a premium, full-body leather case for the iPad 2, Vantage Point’s Alloy steel and aluminum mounting systems for iPads, and XtremeMac’s InCharge Sync, an affordable new case-friendly iPad dock that’s an alternative to Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 Docks. Download our free iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide for more info on these and other iPad accessories.

New products from iSkin, Just Mobile, iLuv + ProClip debut in iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide

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In keeping with tradition, our newly-released iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide doesn’t just offer up info on the best existing iPad accessories—it also gives you a Sneak Peek at upcoming releases from major accessory makers. This edition’s batch includes iSkin’s new Vu case for the iPad 2 that sports a built-in stand, Just Mobile’s iPad-friendly Gum MAX, which holds a beefy 10,400mAh battery, iLuv’s iMM514 ArtStation Pro, a new speaker system that mounts the iPad on a repositionable arm, and ProClip’s new safety-tested Headrest Mounts for the iPad 2. For more information on these and other products, download our free iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide today!

Lodsys replies to Apple, sues app developers

Following legal threats made to third-party iOS application developers and a strongly worded response from Apple, Lodsys has filed suit against seven developers while denying Apple’s claims. FOSS Patents has identified the seven developers named in the suit as Combay, Iconfactory, Illusion Labs, Machael G. Karr, Quickoffice, Richard Shinderman, and Wulven Games. At issue in the case is a Lodsys patent entitled “Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity Across a Network”, which it claims covers in-app purchase and upgrade button technology.

In a series of posts on its company blog, Lodsys claims that it “chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned”—it had promised to give app developers 21 days to respond—“in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.” In discussing Apple’s response, in which the company claimed that its licenses gave third-party developers “undisputable” freedom to use Lodsys’ patents, Lodsys claims that it has “no discernable basis in law or fact.” The company goes on to state that it has sent a letter to Apple explaining its legal position on the license interpretation issue. Finally, Lodsys claims that it will pay $1,000 to each developer or entity to which it sends an infringement notice should Apple’s existing license rights turn out to cover their work. [via Mac Rumors]

iOS 5 to offer system-level Twitter integration?

A pair of new reports suggest iOS 5 may receive system-level integration with Twitter. Citing multiple unnamed sources, TechCrunch reports that Apple will be a launch partner for Twitter’s new in-house photo sharing service, with options to share images to Twitter built directly into the OS—similar to the current YouTube video sharing integration—and a “Send to Twitter” button. In linking to the same story, John Gruber of Daring Fireball claims that it is “[s]o close to the bigger story, but yet so far[,]” and says to “Imagine what else the system could provide if your Twitter account was a system-level service.” Apple will unveil iOS 5 during its WWDC keynote adress, which begins Monday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

iLounge releases all-new iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide

Building on the success of last year’s million-plus-downloaded original edition, iLounge is pleased to announce the release of our all-new iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide. Download your free copy today!

A lot has changed since we released the first iPad Buyers’ Guide only months after the device’s launch. As such, the 146-page iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, containing an updated iPad hardware guide, sections spotlighting the very best in iPad accessories and software, sneak peeks of upcoming accessories, a new installment of our popular iDesign series, and brief updates on recent goings on with the iPod, iPhone, and Mac.


See the official download page for more information and images.

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