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iTunes, iPod software updates released

Apple has released iTunes 4.7.1 and iPod Updater 2005-01-11. The new version of iTunes includes support for the new iPod shuffle and other performance improvements. iPod Updater 2005-01-11 includes iPod shuffle Software 1.0 for iPod shuffle. The update also contains the same iPod software included in iPod Updater 2004-11-15 for all other iPod models.

Macworld: Matias offers iTunes-friendly Key Maestro

Matias Corporation, maker of iLounge favorite iPod Armor, has introduced Key Maestro ($19.95), a software package for Macintosh users that eases use of iTunes in the background while you work in other applications.

“Lots of people like listening to iTunes in the background while they work, but it’s a pain to have to go into it just to skip a song or pause it or whatever else.  With Key Maestro, you can keep working in the application you’re in, and control iTunes in the background using a keyboard shortcut. It’s really handy,” said Matias’ Vesna Vojnic. A free trial is available at Matias’ website.

Motorola shows iTunes-compatible phone

During a keynote presentation Thursday at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a Motorola executive previewed a new iTunes-compatible mobile phone with an iPod-like interface. “It syncs with a computer and the iTunes Music Store like an iPod does, and incorporates the iPod interface for navigating and playing digital music, said Ron Garriques, a Motorola executive vice president. The phone is the first of many Motorola devices that will support iTunes this year, said Garriques. He didn’t provide product details for the phone or say when it would be available.” Motorola in July announced a licensing deal with Apple to bring iTunes to its mobile phones. Last month, an Apple executive said the phone was due in the first half of 2005.

iTunes Music Store comes to Ireland

iPod and iTunes spokesband U2 can now buy songs from the iTunes Music Store in their home country. Apple has opened an iTunes Music Store for Ireland consumers. The Irish store offers the same features and €0.99 per song pricing as the other supported European stores. According to reports, Apple had originally planned to launch an iTunes Music Store for Ireland consumers alongside nine new international stores in October. The store was reportedly postponed at the last minute due to a disagreement with the Irish Music Rights Organization (IMRO).

OpenPeak announces iTunes remote control solution

OpenPeak, a leading provider of software enabling control of digital content, consumer electronics and systems in the Digital Home, today announced the company’s flagship Thinking Homes software will feature remote control support for iTunes. “Now, consumers using controllers powered by OpenPeak software can view and select play lists and songs without being tied to the PC that hosts the Apple iTunes library,” said Andrew Lona, OpenPeak’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This remote control software solution enables playback on an Apple AirPort Express with AirTunes or on a PC.” The full solution will be commercially available later this year.

iTunes, Apple gift cards part of Showtime promotion

Showtime Networks said today it has selected Apple gift cards and iTunes Music Store gift certificates for the company’s first quarter 2005 acquisition campaign. Qualified consumers who sign up to receive Showtime programing and subscribe for at least three months, will get a $25 iTunes Music Store gift certificate or a $25 gift card good at any of Apple’s retail stores in the U.S. The promotional period runs from now through March 31, 2005.

Buy fruit, get free iTunes downloads

The California Tree Fruit Agreement and Apple have teamed up to offer free music downloads from the iTunes Music Store with the purchase of California peaches, plums and nectarines. The number of songs to be given away and the size of the purchase needed to qualify for the giveaway have not been set. In-store promotions are expected by early summer. “It’s a little difficult… to sell a message about health, and this is something just a little bit more fun,” said Marilyn Dolan, tree fruit spokeswoman. “We are hoping it’s something new and different enough that people will take notice.”

iTunes Music Store downloads top 200 million

Apple said today that more than 200 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. The 200 millionth song was part of The Complete U2 and was purchased by Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, MA. “iTunes has now sold over 200 million songs, making it the world’s number one online music store by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to be making music an even more popular gift this holiday season with iTunes and iPod.”

iTunes Music Store now accepting PayPal

Apple and PayPal today announced that the US iTunes Music Store now accepts PayPal for purchases of music, audiobooks and gift certificates. Starting today, PayPal users can shop at the store with a credit card, bank account or stored account balance. “We are thrilled that PayPal users can now buy their music on the world’s number one online music store,” said Todd Pearson, general manager of PayPal’s Merchant Services. “PayPal’s virtual wallet offers iTunes customers the convenience of paying in the way they prefer.” The first 500,000 customers to open a new iTunes account in the US using PayPal as their form of payment before March 31, 2005, will receive five free songs.

iTunes, Napster most recognized in digital music

Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Napster 2.0 are the most recognized online music services, according to a new study from global marketing research firm Ipsos-Insight. “New findings from TEMPO, the company’s quarterly study of digital music behaviors, reveal that in summer 2004, American downloaders aged 12 and older were equally as likely to be aware of Napster 2.0 and Apple’s iTunes on a top-of-mind basis (20% each). However, when prompted with brand names, about four out of five (79%) downloaders recognize the Napster 2.0 brand, while nearly half (46%) are aware of iTunes.”

Apple launches Canadian iTunes Music Store

Apple has now opened the much-anticipated Canadian version of the iTunes Music Store. Individual songs are priced at CDN$0.99 each. As previously reported, Apple announced in October that it would launch a store in Canada before the end of November. With that deadline coming and going without an announcement, Apple stated earlier today that customers would see a Canadian store “very soon.”

Update: Apple has now officially announced the store. “The demand across Canada for the iTunes Music Store has been overwhelming,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications. “We are excited to be able to offer music fans in Canada their own customized iTunes Music Store featuring many top Canadian artist exclusives.” The new store features over 700,000 songs and offers the same personal use rights as in the US and Europe.

Apple confirms Canadian iTMS delay

Apple has confirmed that it will not meet its November deadline for a Canadian version of the iTunes Music Store. “We said that we would launch the iTunes Music Store in Canada by the end of November, but we’re going to miss this deadline by a bit,” Apple said in a statement. “You’ll hear from us very soon.” The company did not provide a specific release date or reason for the delay.

Apple eyes early 2005 Japanese iTMS opening

Apple plans to open a Japanese version of its iTunes Music Store by March 2005, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on Thursday. The newspaper said that Apple is planning to offer more than 100,000 mostly Japanese tracks. The iTunes Music Store is currently available in the US and 12 European countries. A Canadian store is expected to open before the end of the month.

iPodDownload returns with update

Engadget has posted iPodDownload 1.1, a new version of the iTunes plug-in that allows you to transfer songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. As noted earlier this week, iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload—but this update adds support for the latest version of Apple’s jukebox application. Engadget suggests user “come and get it quick” before Apple steps in and stops the distribution of the update.

Older versions of iTunes being blocked from iTMS

MacMinute reports that Apple has begun blocking users of iTunes 4.2 or lower from making purchases from the iTunes Music Store, and is encouraging users to upgrade. “As of today, customers will need to use one of the three most recent versions of iTunes—4.7, 4.6 or 4.5—to continue purchasing and downloading songs,” Apple said in a statement. “Less than 5% of all iTunes customers are using the old iTunes 4.2 version, so asking them to upgrade to the free iTunes 4.7 is no big deal. iTunes 4.7 is a free download and includes innovative features such as iMix, Party Shuffle, CD Insert Printing, and support for the complete line of iPods including the new iPod Photo.”

iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload

According to Engadget, iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload, the iTunes plug-in that allows users to transfer songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. Apple allows an iPod to be associated with only one iTunes music library at a time in order to prevent the device from being used to transfer songs to any Mac.

Mac|Windows: iTunes 4.7 released

iTunes lets you create libraries of your favorite music which you can play on your computer or portable MP3 player. You can even burn your own custom CDs with the push of a button.

What’s New: iTunes has been updated to include support for moving photos to iPod photo, better handling of duplicate songs, and a mini player in the Windows task bar. In addition to the U.K, France, and Germany, the iTunes Music Store is now available in the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. It now has Artist Alerts (notification when new material from your favorite artists is added to the store), and the ability to search for iMixes by title.

Apple launches EU iTunes Music Store

“Apple today launched a European Union version of its revolutionary iTunes Music Store, giving music fans in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain the same innovative features and breakthrough price of €0.99 per song that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world. With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iMix playlist sharing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights, the iTunes Music Store is the best way for PC and Mac users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. Apple today also announced it will launch the iTunes Music Store in Canada in November.”

Apple to announce AAC+

Apple-X reports that “Apple director of QuickTime product marketing, Frank Casanova, will deliver a keynote speech at the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA’s) Wireless IT and Entertainment 2004 [today] in San Francisco.” Casanova is expected to announce Apple’s support for a next-generation AAC encoding format with superior compression, ready for use on cellular networks.

HP Tunes links iTunes to XP Media Center

“The latest Media Center PCs from HP come with a special iTunes-related feature built into Microsoft’s new Windows XP Media Center Edition software. The computer maker created the feature, called HP Tunes, to let users of its Media Center PCs play songs and playlists from iTunes within the Windows Media Center interface, the special Microsoft software designed to be controlled using a remote while sitting back in a chair or couch in the living room. [...]

Without the HP Tunes feature, Media Center PC users would need to exit the Windows Media Center interface and use the ordinary Windows desktop to access their iTunes music. That’s because Microsoft’s music software doesn’t play songs encoded in the AAC format that Apple uses.”

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