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Apple to hold special Black Friday shopping event

  • November 23, 2010
  • Apple,

Apple has begun emailing past customers of its retail and online stores, notifying them of a special one-day Apple shopping event this Friday, November 26. According to the notice, Apple’s retail stores will open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, while customers visiting the online store will have all day to place an order. In the past, Apple has offered modest sales on select products during such events; last year, it offered a discount of $101 on all MacBook Pro laptop computers as well as $31 discount on 32GB iPod touch models.

Second-gen Apple TV updated to 4.1

Apple has released a software update for the second-generation Apple TV bringing the device’s software up to version 4.1. Notably, the update includes support for AirPlay streaming from a device running iOS 4.2 or from a Mac or PC running iTunes 10 to the Apple TV. In addition, it adds support for VoiceOver spoken menus; the feature can be turned on via a setting in the Accessibility menu, and reads both the names of menu items and metadata, including episode descriptions of TV shows. Apple TV software 4.1 is available now via the Update Software menu item in the device’s General settings menu.

Apple releases iOS 4.2 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch

As expected, Apple has released iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The anticipated update, announced during Apple’s September iPod event, brings iOS 4 features such as multitasking and folders to the iPad for the first time, while also adding new features like AirPlay wireless media streaming and AirPrint wireless printing to the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Notably, the software update requires iTunes 10.1, and is available now for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, and second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch via the Update feature in iTunes.

iOS 4.2 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch coming later today

Apple has announced that it will release iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch later today. Announced during Apple’s September media event, the update will bring previously iPhone- and iPod touch-exclusive features like multitasking and a unified Mail inbox to the iPad, and will also add new features like AirPlay streaming and AirPrint wireless printing to all three devices. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 around 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Apple seeds iOS 4.2.1 GM amid reports of VoIP bug

Apple has seeded a new Gold Master version of iOS 4.2, labeled iOS 4.2.1, to developers. Unlike the secondary GM seed of iOS 4.2 released exclusively for the iPad, this new build is available for all capable devices, including the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. While it is unclear whether Apple now plans to skip a general release of iOS 4.2 and go directly to iOS 4.2.1, an email from Toktumi, makers of the Line2 VoIP application, suggests a communications bug may have led Apple to release the new build. According to the email, reprinted by Mac Rumors, the GM version of iOS 4.2 contained a “severe” bug that caused any VoIP app running in the background to continuously ring after receiving an incoming call, even after the call is answered. The email states that Apple Developer Support is aware of the bug; it is unknown whether iOS 4.2.1 includes a fix for the issue. iOS 4.2.1 GM is available as a download for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.

Apple to launch iAd in Europe in December

Apple has announced that it will launch its iAd mobile advertising network in the UK and France this December, with Germany to follow in February. According to the release, the European iAd launch will see new ads from L’Oréal, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, Perrier, Unilever, Citi, Evian, LG Display, AB InBev, Turkish Airlines and Absolute Radio. Apple claims that iAd has signed on over half of the top 25 leading US national advertisers in just four months, with a projected 21 percent share of US mobile display advertising revenue for 2010 according to research firm IDC. Also mentioned in the release is a seemingly new iAd website, advertising.apple.com.

“We’re thrilled to add leading global brands to the iAd Network in Europe and create even more great opportunities for developers,” said Andy Miller, Apple’s vice president of iAd. “In just four months, we’ve doubled the number of advertisers on the network and thousands of developers now have a valuable new source of revenue.”

“As the world leader in the beauty business, L’Oréal aims to create the most meaningful connections between its brands and its customers, so iAd was a natural choice,” said Marc Menesguen, L’Oréal’s Head of strategic marketing. “We’re thrilled by the quality, the interactivity and the depth of iAd’s user experience, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to reach and serve the most engaged and discerning customers at the digital forefront of beauty, hence our choice of Lancôme to lead our iAd campaign.”

Dr. Ronald Sugar joins Apple’s Board of Directors

  • November 17, 2010
  • Apple,

Apple has announced that Dr. Ronald D. Sugar, former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation, has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors. According to the release, Dr. Sugar served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Northrop Grumman Corporation from 2003 until his retirement in 2010, and has also held executive positions at Litton Industries and TRW Inc., where he served as chief financial officer. In his role with Apple, Dr. Sugar will serve as the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

“Ron is an engineer at heart, who then became a very successful business leader. We are very excited to welcome him to Apple’s Board,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “In addition to having been the CEO of a high-tech Fortune 100 company, Ron has a Ph.D. in engineering and has been involved in the development of some very sophisticated technology.”

“I have always had enormous admiration for the people of Apple,” said Sugar. “It is a special privilege to serve on the board of such an amazing company.”

The Beatles an iTunes exclusive into next year

Apple has secured exclusive digital rights for The Beatles’ catalog into next year, according to AllThingsD. EMI spokesman Dylan Jones told the publication that Apple has exclusive digital rights for The Beatles “into 2011,” and noted that the exclusive does not expire at the first of the year. Jones added that the exclusivity period does have a set expiration date, but did not share when that might be. In addition, Jones was vague when asked whether The Beatles would be available from other digital outlets such as Amazon and various subscription services, saying only “[t]hat’s a question, isn’t it.”

The Beatles catalog now available on iTunes

As expected, Apple today announced the immediate availability of The Beatles’ entire back catalog on the iTunes Store. All of the Fab Four’s remastered albums are available for purchase individually in iTunes LP format, priced at $12.99 for standard length albums and $19.99 for double-length offerings; also available is the The Beatles Box Set ($149), which contains remastered versions of all the band’s studio albums in iTunes LP format, as well Past Masters Vols. 1 & 2, a series of Mini Documentaries, and a film of the band’s performance at the Washington Coliseum from 1964, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert in its entirety. Notably, the concert film will be available for fans to stream and view from iTunes for free for the remainder of this calendar year. All of the band’s singles are offered for $1.29 a song. In conjunction with the release, Apple will be running a series of five TV advertisements, featuring clips of the band’s arrival in America, and the songs “All You Need Is Love,” “Let It Be,” “Yesterday,” and “Here Comes The Sun,” respectively, all of which are available for viewing on the band’s iTunes landing page.

Report: Apple to announce The Beatles on iTunes

Apple is preparing to announce the arrival of The Beatles’ catalog on the iTunes Store tomorrow morning, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has been in talks with the representatives of the band, as well as EMI, the band’s label, as recently as last week, but that Apple could change its plans at the last minute. The report notes that an agreement would represent a watershed event in a decades-old relationship that has seen lawsuits filed against both parties, beginning in 1978 with a dispute over the “Apple” brand that wasn’t fully resolved until early 2007.

Apple to announce iAds for Europe

Apple is expected to announce the first brands to use iAds in Europe later this week, according to a new report. The Financial Times reports that Apple has twice delayed the launch of its iAd mobile advertising platform in Europe, and has in some cases been willing to discuss taking less than its $1 million minimum spend in order to attract better brands as advertisers. “Apple is in a weaker position than you’d think,” said one media agency’s digital leader. According to the report, early partners for the European launch could include L’Oréal, Renault and Nestlé, with two or three campaigns running in early December, and more planned for 2011. Last week, Apple announced a partnership with marketing firm The Dentsu Group to expand Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform to Japan early next year; no such partnership for Europe is mentioned in the report.

Apple teases iTunes announcement, coming tomorrow at 10 am ET/7 am PT

Apple has posted a large image on its homepage, teasing an upcoming announcement regarding iTunes. The graphic reads, “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget,” and instructs users to check back tomorrow “for an exciting announcement from iTunes.” Underneath the text is a series of clocks, used to indicate the timing of the announcement—7:00 a.m. in California, 10:00 a.m. in New York, 3:00 p.m. in London, and Midnight in Tokyo—which suggests that the announcement will be of an international nature instead of being limited to just one country.

Apple adds Ping functionality to iPad

Apple has added the ability for iPad users to access their Ping accounts via the iTunes app. The Ping tab allows users to view their activity feed, followers, profile, and a separate section dedicated to concerts, including local shows, artists on tour, and links to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster.com. Ping went live on Apple’s other iOS 4 devices in early September. [via 9 to 5 Mac]

Apple releases updated iOS 4.2 GM for iPad

Apple has released a revised version of its iOS 4.2 Gold Master for iPad, amid reports that the software’s launch was pushed back due to a bug. Citing a number of different recent articles, Mac Rumors reports that Apple has posted Build 8C134b of the software on the iOS Dev Center, a newer version than Build 8C134 which was seeded to developers on November 1. According to the report, rumors had indicated that there were Wi-Fi connectivity issues in the initial GM build of iOS 4.2 for iPad, forcing Apple to push back its internal schedule for the software’s release from this week to at least next week, and possibly as late as November 24, as reported by The Telegraph. Apple has said only that iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch would be released in November.

Apple releases iTunes 10.1 with iOS 4.2, AirPlay support

Apple has released iTunes 10.1, the latest version of its digital media management software. As expected, iTunes 10.1 brings with it compatibility with iPod touches, iPhones, and iPads running iOS 4.2, the ability to use AirPlay to stream videos from iTunes to the second-generation Apple TV, and a variety of other stability and performance improvements. Notably, there is no sign yet of iOS 4.2’s release, nor of the Apple TV or Remote app updates expected to arrive with the updated software. iTunes 10.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.

Apple launches iTunes movies, Apple TV in Japan

Apple has announced that movies are now available on the iTunes Store in Japan. According to the release, over 1,000 films are now available to rent or buy in high definition and standard definition from a variety of international film studios including 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, and Japanese studios such as Asmik Ace Entertainment, Fuji TV, Kadakowa Pictures, Nikkatsu, Shochiku Company Limited and Toei Company Limited. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching their movie, and 48 hours to finish it once a movie has been started. iTunes HD movie purchases in Japan start at ¥2,000 for catalog titles and recent releases and ¥2,500 for new releases, while SD versions are priced at ¥1,000 for catalog titles, ¥1,500 for recent releases and ¥2,000 for new releases. iTunes HD Movie Rentals start at ¥300 for library title rentals and ¥500 for new releases, and SD versions start at ¥200 for library title rentals and ¥400 for new releases. In addition to the movie additions, the second-generation Apple TV is now available in Japan, and sells for ¥8,800, or roughly $107.

Beyond Japan, SetteB.IT reports that the iTunes Stores in Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have been updated and are ready for movie sales and rentals, although no official announcement regarding those countries has yet been made.

Apple now selling iBooks Gift Cards

  • November 10, 2010
  • Apple,

Apple has started to sell iBooks Gift Cards in its retail stores. Spotted by iLounge in a Washington, D.C.-area Apple Store, the cards feature a solid color gradient background with the iBooks icon centered on top. Based on an Apple Support Discussions thread from earlier in the year, it appears as though users were able to purchase standard iTunes Gift Cards for use in the iBookstore; the new cards remove any ambiguity customers may have had about whether or not an iTunes GC would be usable in the iBookstore, and will likely be popular add-ons to those purchasing iPads as a gift.

Apple teams with Dentsu Group on iAds in Japan

Apple has announced a partnership with marketing firm The Dentsu Group to expand Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform to Japan early next year. According to the announcement, Dentsu will handle the selling and creative execution of iAds in Japan, while Apple will host, target and deliver the iAds to its iOS users. In addition, Dentsu subsidiary cyber communications, inc. (cci) will provide one-stop services for iAd in Japan including creative production and media planning.

“After an incredibly successful launch in the US where we’ve already doubled the number of brands on the network, we’re excited to bring iAd to Japan,” said Andy Miller, Apple’s vice president of iAd. “Dentsu is one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies, making them an ideal partner for iAds in Japan.”

“We’re thrilled to be joining with Apple to introduce such a powerful new ad platform in Japan,” said Ryuichi Mori, Senior Executive Vice President, Dentsu Inc. “Mobile advertising is Japan’s fastest-growing platform and iAd’s rich media experience and engaged audience of iPhone and iPod touch users make it uniquely positioned to capture mobile’s full potential for advertisers and developers.”

Apple easing policy on liquid contact indicators?

Apple has made a change to the way it screens iPods for liquid damage, according to a new report. Citing a screenshot supposedly showing an internal AppleCare document, Boy Genius Report states that employees checking a device for water damage must now look for signs of liquid intrusion beyond the headphone port liquid contact indicator (LCI), even if it is activated. Previously, activation of the headphone port LCI was enough for employees to claim that a device may have been damaged by water or some other liquid, rendering the warranty void. It is unclear whether Apple has made similar changes to its LCI policies for iPhones and iPads, and whether the move is a sign that Apple considers the headphone port indicators overly sensitive and thus unreliable.

Apple acquires Wi-Gear for Bluetooth headphone expertise?

  • November 9, 2010
  • Apple,

Apple has reportedly acquired Wi-Gear, a small San Francisco-based company known for its wireless Bluetooth audio products for the iPod and iPhone. Citing an unnamed source, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Apple purchased the iMuffs maker for an undisclosed sum. The company’s website now states that “Wi-Gear has ceased operations and is no longer in business. We will be unable to respond to any inquiries.” According to the report, Apple is planning to build its own stereo Bluetooth headphones using technology and expertise from Wi-Gear; Wi-Gear co-founder Michael Kim’s LinkedIn profile now lists him as an iOS Bluetooth Engineer at Apple, having joined the company two months ago.

Update: Wi-Gear CEO Mark Pundsack has denied the report that Apple purchased the company, saying it’s still available for sale, and ceased operations due to lack of funding.

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