The European Commission—the executive body of the European Union—has launched a probe into whether Apple helped major publishing houses illegally raise prices for e-books when it launched the iBookstore. Apple was notably the first retailer of digital books to allow publishers to use the so-called agency model, under which publishers set the price at which books are sold to consumers. “The Commission has concerns that these practices may breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the body said in a statement. Also included in the probe are Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Macmillan.
In anticipation of the upcoming release of Infinity Blade II, Chair and Epic Games have released Infinity Blade: Original Soundtrack on iTunes and other online digital music stores. From acclaimed composer Josh Aker, the album features 25 tracks of original orchestral and world music from both the original Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade II, scheduled for release on the App Store on December 1st. Infinity Blade: Original Soundtrack is available from the iTunes Store for $10 or via Amazon MP3, Amazon on Demand or Zune Marketplace.
Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1, and officially launched its iTunes Match music service. Previously made available in beta form to registered iOS developers, iTunes 10.5.1 adds support for iTunes Match, and also offers other performance and stability improvements. iTunes Match is a $25/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. Apple had planned to launch iTunes Match at the end of October, but delayed the launch for unspecified reasons, while it continued to provide developers with updates to the beta version of iTunes 10.5.1. iTunes 10.5.1 is available now as a direct download from apple.com/itunes and is expected to appear in Apple’s Software Update utility shortly.
As part of its ongoing testing efforts, Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 to registered iOS developers. According to Apple’s release notes, the software offers stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match, and is a required update for all developers currently subscribed to the iTunes Match beta. Apple notified all developers earlier this week that it would delete all iTunes Match libraries on November 12, but has yet to announce an updated release date for the service, which was scheduled to launch at the end of October. iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 is available now from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has sent out an email to registered iOS developers informing them that it will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Saturday, November 12 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The correspondence recommends that current users should turn off iTunes Match on all of their computers and iOS devices, and says that songs on their computers should not be affected. Apple has offered iTunes Match to its registered iOS developers on a limited, beta basis since the end of August, but notably missed its “end of October” timetable for a public launch, and has instead continued releasing beta updates to iTunes 10.5.1 to developers as it continues to test the service.
Russound has introduced its new AirGo outdoor speaker, which relies on an Apple AirPort Express unit to provide support for AirPlay wireless audio streaming. The AirGo is a portable, weather-resistant speaker featuring an internal speaker and specially designed amplifier, a protective chamber for housing an AirPort express, which serves as the audio source for the unit. Alternatively, users can connect other 3.5mm audio sources. The AirGo requires connecting to an AC outlet, and is available now for $400.
Apple seeded developers with iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 late last evening, and also added iTunes Match to the second-generation Apple TV under the new main menu option “Music.” According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 offers stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match, and is a required update for all subscribers to the iTunes Match beta. Apple had promised to launch iTunes Match by the end of October, but missed its self-imposed deadline earlier this week, and is evident by these new releases, is continuing to test the service ahead of its anticipated wide-scale rollout. iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 is available now as a free download from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has launched new iTunes Store movie content in a number of new markets. Citing reader reports as well as iTunes Store checks, Mac Rumors reports that movies are now available in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia, with Romania strangely left out. According to the report, Apple has yet to add dedicated navigation bar tabs for movies in the new markets, but the content is showing up in search results.
Apple has sent out an email notice to registered iOS developers, informing them that the company will be deleting all iTunes Match libraries later today. “To continue to improve the overall quality and reliability of iTunes Match, we will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Thursday, October 27,” the message reads. It also reminds users to turn off iTunes Match on all their computers and iOS devices ahead of the scheduled deletion. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. Apple said at its “Let’s talk iPhone” event that the service would be available at the “end of October.”
Apple has added a toggle for turning iTunes Match on and off to the Music section of iOS 5’s Settings app, suggesting an imminent launch for the service. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. The appearance of the toggle — which currently activates an alert stating that “You are not currently subscribed to iTunes Match. Use iTunes on your computer to subscribe” — has some suggesting that the service may launch ahead of Apple’s “end of October” estimate, however, the service does require iTunes 10.5.1, which is currently in developer beta and not available to the public at large. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has started rolling out its iTunes in the Cloud feature in a variety of new countries. According to a MacRumors report, iTunes in the Cloud has started rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, with other countries possibly to follow. Part of Apple’s iCloud initiative, iTunes in the Cloud allows users to re-download past music, books, app purchases from the iTunes, iBook-, and App stores directly to their iOS devices or computers, and also offers an “Automatic Downloads” feature.
Apple has sent out an email to iTunes Store customers, alerting them to changes in the service’s terms and conditions. According to the email, the update includes an amendment of the App Store terms and conditions to “account for the availability of free in-app subscriptions, and to explain where the subscriptions appear on devices after download,” and new terms that govern the use of iTunes Match, including language that explains that “use of iTunes Match requires collection of certain information from your iTunes library which shall be associated with your Account.” Users will be required to agree to the new terms before purchasing or downloading any new items from the iTunes Store.
On the heels of the public release of iTunes 10.5, Apple has seeded its registered iOS developers with a beta version of iTunes 10.5.1. According to Apple’s release notes, “iTunes 10.5.1 beta 1 includes several performance enhancements and bug fixes, and is a required update for all subscribers to iTunes Match beta. iTunes Match is not included in the iTunes 10.5 GM release.” iTunes 10.5.1 beta is available now to registered iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has released iTunes 10.5, ahead of tomorrow’s launch of iOS 5 and iCloud. According to the release notes, iTunes 10.5 offers support for iTunes in the Cloud, Automatic Downloads, the ability to download previous purchases, the ability to sync with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS 5, and support for Wi-Fi synching. iTunes 10.5 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Apple has posted a streaming video feed of today’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event. At the event, which lasted upwards of 90 minutes, Apple highlighted its upcoming iOS 5 operating system and iCloud, announced modest updates to the iPod nano and iPod touch, unveiled its new Cards and Find My Friends apps, and debuted the iPhone 4S. The stream is available for viewing now from Apple’s website.
In his opening remarks at Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event today, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company has now sold over 300 million iPods. Cook stated that the iPod holds a 78 percent share of the MP3 market, that the company sold 45 million iPods from July 2010 to June 2011, that nearly half of iPod customers are purchasing their first iPod, and that the iPod still represents a “large and important” market for Apple. He also revealed that the company has now seen over 16 billion song downloads from iTunes, calling the Store’s success “mind boggling.”
Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.
Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.
Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.
“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.
Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.
iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.
iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.
A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.
Apple has released another update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. The update appears to be primarily targeted at developers testing the iTunes Match service, with iTunes 10.5 beta 7 also remaining available as a separate download for registered iOS developers. This latest release follows reports of iTunes Match data being reset earlier this week for developers testing the service. iTunes 10.5 beta 9 is available for download now for registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Following a report yesterday that Apple was making plans to expand the iTunes Store in additional European Union countries, the company has now launched in all 12 of the remaining EU countries where the iTunes Store was previously not available. As of today, users can now download and purchase music via iTunes in Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. [via AppleInsider]
Apple appears to be expanding the iTunes Store in Europe, with reports indicating plans to bring the Store to 10 new European Union countries and movie and iBookstore content becoming available for purchase and rent in the existing European iTunes Stores. A report from Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita indicates that Apple is preparing to launch the iTunes Music Store in ten new EU countries, possibly as soon as next month. The report specifies Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but does not name the other countries although at this time there are only twelve EU member states where the iTunes Store is not available.
In a separate report, MacRumors notes that Apple now appears to be rolling out iTunes movie sales and rentals in existing European iTunes Stores, with readers reporting movies now available in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and Sweden and paid iBookstore content in Switzerland. Dedicated content sections have reportedly not yet appeared in these countries, however the content is available via the iTunes Store search function.