Apple is investigating the possibility of enabling users to pay for physical goods and services through their iTunes accounts, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Apple SVP Eddy Cue has reportedly met with industry executives on the matter. It’s also noted that Apple executive Jennifer Bailey, who ran Apple’s online stores, is now in a new role “to build a payment business within the technology giant.” A number of possibilities exist regarding how Apple could institute the system, which will no doubt leverage the hundreds of millions of credit cards currently linked to the iTunes Store; a recently discovered patent application revealed a method for making secure payments using two “air interfaces.” Still unknown is the per-transaction fee Apple expects to charge for the service; given common credit card transaction fees in the 3% range, some third-party vendors loudly balked at the 30% cut Apple demanded when in-app purchases were rolled out for the App Store and Newsstand.
Apple has released iTunes 11.1.4, which adds the ability to let a user see the Wish List while viewing the iTunes library. The update also offers improved support for Arabic and Hebrew. Additional stability improvements are also included. The newest version of iTunes can be downloaded through OS X’s Mac App Store/Software Update, the Check for Updates option within iTunes, or from iTunes.com.
Apple is actively pushing its iAds team to work on iTunes Radio sales, Adweek reports. As the team focuses on iTunes Radio, sources claim Apple will build a “real-time bidding exchange to automate selling in-app ads.” The report suggests that Apple SVP Eddy Cue made clear during a recent staff meeting that iTunes Radio ad sales are now the top priority, with in-app ads less relevant going forward. Apple recently hired a top radio executive for iTunes Radio as the company looks to expand to different countries and seek $1 million, year-long commitments from advertisers.
Beyoncé‘s self-titled, initially iTunes-exclusive album “Beyoncé” has become the iTunes Store’s fastest selling album ever, Apple announced. The company said today that Beyoncé sold 828,773 albums worldwide in its first three days, with 617,213 of those albums sold in the U.S., breaking the iTunes first week album sales record. It’s unknown which albums previously held those records, however, Apple has rarely had a global exclusive on an album’s release, and has previously not allowed most albums to be sold solely in album form; the vast majority of albums have been made available alongside individual singles on the day of release.
Beyoncé‘s album notably includes 14 songs and 17 videos, all of which initially must be purchased together in album form rather than as singles. Single sales for the album will begin on December 20, and the album will become available in other stores as a CD+DVD combination before the end of the year.
Beyoncé has unexpectedly released her latest album — a “visual album” — exclusively on iTunes. The album is self-titled “Beyoncé.” Selling for $16, the album features 14 songs and 17 videos, which currently cannot be purchased separately.
Guest collaborators include Jay-Z, Drake, Frank Ocean, Pharrell, Timbaland, Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Justin Timberlake, and more. Individual songs will be available for purchase on Dec. 20.
Apple has hired a top traditional radio executive to help make advertising deals for iTunes Radio, Ad Age reports. Michael Pallad, formerly of Cumulus Media, is now leading international ad sales for iTunes Radio. The report notes that Apple is getting ready to “offer the service widely to advertisers in 2014,” following expiration of initial ad contracts made for iTunes Radio’s mid-2013 launch. Apple is seeking year-long commitments from advertisers that are worth at least $1 million. Apple SVP Eddy Cue has said plans are to bring iTunes Radio to more than 100 countries, with the service expected to launch in a number of countries early next year.
Apple is now offering the ability to donate to relief efforts in the Philippines through iTunes, after the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan. The option is available at the top of the iTunes store. iTunes will transfer 100 percent of a donation — of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 — to the American Red Cross.
As Apple notes, while donors will receive an email receipt, the American Red Cross will be “unable to further acknowledge your donation,” as iTunes doesn’t share personal information with the American Red Cross. The donation doesn’t qualify for any tax deduction, and iTunes Store credit cannot be used. Typhoon Haiyan has already caused a confirmed 1,774 fatalities; estimates claim that as many as 10,000 people may have died in the disaster.
Apple has released iTunes 11.1.3, a minor update with some performance and bug fixes. The new version specifically resolves an issue where the equalizer may not work as expected and improves performance when switching views in large iTunes libraries. The latest version of iTunes can be downloaded via OS X Software Update or the “Check for Updates” options found within the iTunes app, or directly from Apple at http://www.itunes.com.
Apple has released iTunes 11.1.2, its latest update to its venerable media management app. The latest version introduces support for OS X Mavericks, along with support for Arabic and Hebrew languages and performance and stability improvements. The latest version of iTunes can be downloaded via OS X Software Update or the “Check for Updates” options found within the iTunes app, or directly from Apple at http://www.itunes.com.
Apple’s iTunes Radio is expected to launch in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2014, Bloomberg reports. A source noted that Nordic countries were “being targeted in the same time frame.” Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue recently said plans are to bring iTunes Radio to more than 100 countries. It appears the streaming radio service will beat Pandora to launch in both the U.K. and Canada, as Apple has already negotiated agreements for international rights with record companies. Pandora doesn’t have similar agreements, instead relying on “rights granted by government entities.”
Apple has released iTunes 11.1.1, which fixes a problem with deleted podcasts and resolves an issue that may cause iTunes Extras to display incorrectly. The minor update can be downloaded at iTunes.com, or installed through the OS X App Store.
Apple is offering a $22.99 credit to customers who purchased the fifth season of Breaking Bad via the iTunes Season Pass. Customers expecting to get the full final season found the 16 episodes were split into separate “seasons” by iTunes, requiring separate purchases — the episodes were split into two parts by AMC, but they were still considered part of the same season. One man recently filed a class action lawsuit seeking $14.99 or $22.99 depending on whether viewers purchased the Season Pass in standard or high definition. Apple’s credit is enough for viewers to purchase the high definition pass.
Apple’s email reads, “We apologize for any confusion the naming of ‘Season 5’ and ‘The Final Season’ of Breaking Bad might have caused you. While the names of the seasons and episodes associated with them were not chosen by iTunes, we’d like to offer you ‘The Final Season’ on us by providing you with the iTunes code below in the amount of $22.99. This credit can also be used for any other content on the iTunes Store. Thank you for your purchase.”
Apple has released iTunes 11.1 to the public, including new features such as iTunes Radio, Genius Shuffle, and customizable Podcast Stations. The update also is required for syncing with iOS 7, which should be released shortly. iTunes terms and conditions have also changed, with “additional information regarding authenticating your account for purchases,” information on automatic delivery of app updates, and Popular Near Me information all included now. The iTunes update can be downloaded from Apple’s website.
Apple is being sued by an Ohio man who claims he’s owed $22.99 for not receiving all 16 episodes in the iTunes Season Pass for Breaking Bad — the fifth and final season of which was split into two parts by AMC. The suit claims Apple engaged in false advertising, as the Season Pass page notes that viewers will get “every episode in that season,” but Apple only provided the first eight episodes with the pass. The suit makes the case that the last 16 episodes of the show have always been referred to by show creators as “Season 5.” The class action suit seeks either $14.99 or $22.99 depending on whether viewers purchased the Season Pass in standard or high definition. [via GigaOM]
With the return of Apple’s annual iTunes Festival for 2013, the company has once again added a dedicated Apple TV section allowing users to access and stream content directly onto the Apple TV. An update to the free iTunes Festival universal iOS app has also just been released, refreshing the design and allowing users to stream live and on-demand content directly to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Content can also be streamed directly to a Mac or Windows PC via the iTunes Festival Page in the iTunes Store.
The Festival will feature 30 nights of free, live music from more than 50 artists performing at the Roundhouse in London from September 1 to September 30, 2013. Previous shows are expected to be available for a limited time via iTunes, the Apple TV, and the iOS app, and it is unclear for how long the iTunes Festival section will remain available on the Apple TV following the conclusion of the event on September 30th.
AdAge reports that Apple’s new iTunes Radio service will be joined by a number of high-profile advertising partners when it debuts next month, including such big names as McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, and Proter & Gamble. The multi-million dollar deals will include twelve-month advertising campaigns that will run within the streaming music service, as well as exclusivity within each of their respective industries through the end of 2013.
iTunes Radio will reportedly include three forms of advertising: interstitial audio and video ads in addition to interactive full-screen “slate” ads that will appear on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and desktop PCs and Macs via iTunes. Audio ads will apparently be served up once every 15 minutes, while video ads will appear once per hour, at times that users are likely to be looking at their device’s screen. At launch, ads will be run across all devices, however plans are said to be in the works to allow advertisers to target ads to specific devices, with advertising costs based on screen size. As previously announced by Apple, an ad-free option will be available for iTunes Match subscribers.
Apple has released iTunes 11.0.5, intended to fix an iTunes in the Cloud related issue where “some purchased may download or play unexpected items.” In addition to the public release of iTunes 11.0.5, Apple has also posted iTunes 11.1 beta 2 to the iOS Developer Site. The initial iTunes beta added support for iTunes Radio; it is unclear what has changed in beta 2, although it presumably addresses the same iTunes in the Cloud issue as the public release.
Apple is now offering a sale on iTunes movie and TV bundles, featuring some surprisingly deep discounts. For example, the entire eight-film Harry Potter collection is being sold for $10 in SD or HD, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is being offered for the same price. The Godfather Trilogy, Back to the Future Trilogy, and a 10-film Star Trek collection are also offered, among many other bundles. Some discounted bundles have appeared in the TV show section as well, including The Sopranos Seasons 1-3 and 4-6 for $45 each—notably down from $125 total before, but up from $40 per bundle several days ago—and a Fan Favorites collection from Star Trek: The Original Series for $10.
Update: Some of the bundle prices were changed early in the sale — the Harry Potter collection went from $10 to $60, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy changed to $18, and some other prices changed, as well. Though some of those early prices were likely accidental, some buyers did get bundles for those low initial prices.
Apple rolled out movie support for iTunes in the Cloud across eight more countries today: Austria, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Users in those countries can now re-download previously purchased iTunes movies. Notably, Apple has yet to mark the countries as now offering movie support on the iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match Availability page. There are still a number of countries in which Apple offers support for music and music videos in iTunes in the Cloud, but not movies. [via MacRumors]
An outage with Apple’s iTunes Store is preventing some users from making purchases, as well as completing transactions that were underway at the time of the outage. The issue has continued for nearly two hours as of this writing, according to Apple’s System Status page. iLounge editors have experienced the problem firsthand, in the form of being unable to complete video purchases, and through in-progress app downloads that won’t authorize via iTunes.
Update: Apple’s System Status page is now showing a number of issues with other services. According to the status page, “Users may be unable to make purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, or iBookstore. Users may also be unable to download previously-purchased content, use iTunes Match, or successfully restore Apps and Music from an iCloud backup.”
Second update: All of those services have been restored, but now some users are unable to make FaceTime calls, according to Apple’s System Status page as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern.