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Wednesday Recap: iTunes vs. Blu-ray, Serious Sam for Mac, Pocket God Comics

Pocket God Comics 14As new iPad owners anxiously await the calendar turning over to Friday, March 16, this “hump day” is looking more agonizing than most. After all, who likes waiting, especially in this era of digital instant gratification? Unfortunately, we can’t help bend space and time or whisk you into the future, but we can try to distract you with some tech news to take your mind off that impatient waiting, courtesy of today’s recap for Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Ars Technica Pits iTunes 1080p Against Blu-ray

Apple launched 1080p movie and TV show content last week, managing to efficiently compress these files into a size not much larger than their 720p predecessors. But how do they stack up against Blu-ray discs? That’s what Ars Technica decided to find out in their “video smackdown,” using the feature film 30 Days of Night as a reference. While the iTunes 1080p version is a bit softer in spots, color reproduction was nearly identical. The real Achille’s heel for iTunes comes with highlights and dark gradients — but for many users, the difference may be negligible. “I was surprised to see how close the iTunes 1080p download comes to Blu-ray, considering that it’s only a fraction of the file size,” writes Ars scribe Iljitsch van Beijnum. “And let’s be honest: there are lots of Blu-ray titles that look much worse than this iTunes download.” Now that movies are part of iTunes in the Cloud, movie lovers might be willing to trade convenience for slightly higher quality — especially if Apple can manage to bring the price down a bit.

DisplayMate Previews Its New iPad Display Technology Shootout

Speaking of shootouts, Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation has published a preview of his Display Technology comparison, which will pit the new iPad against last year’s iPad 2 and the one that started all this Retina Display madness, the iPhone 4. While the full article with lab measurements and viewing tests for the new iPad won’t be posted until Monday, March 19 (we know what Dr. Ray will be doing this weekend!), the current preview offers some extensive insight into the world of Retina Display “based on detailed laboratory measurements and extensive viewing tests with both test patterns and test images.” Dr. Ray takes on the Retina rumor mills while explaining why the new iPad is a true Retina Display but not an actual Retina Display — something Apple’s Phil Schiller also acknowledged at the media event last Wednesday when he disclosed that the new iPad packs 264 pixels per inch (only four ppi more than necessary). The preview shootout makes for some fascinating reading, especially if you find yourself camped outside a local retailer waiting for Friday 8m, or wondering when the UPS or FedEx truck will come down the street with that preorder.

Devolver Digital Announces Serious Sam 3: BFE for April 23

Billed as “the wildest PC shooter series ever,” Devolver Digital’s Serious Sam is going somewhere it’s never been before: The Mac platform. The high-energy shooter Serious Sam 3: BFE is finally making the leap to the Mac on April 23, which the company announced today in a playfully Apple-esque commercial embedded here. Devolver’s latest chapter of the Serious Sam saga “is a glorious throwback to the golden age of first-person shooters where men were men, cover was for amateurs and pulling the trigger made things go boom.” Serious Sam 3: BFE will be available for both Steam and Get Games on April 23, and players are encouraging to visit the developer’s Facebook page for more details — including system requirements, which are coming soon.

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Readdle Updates Remarks, Teases PDF Expert 4 with iPad Retina Support

Things have been a bit quiet from developer Readdle lately, but the Ukrainian company looks to have a busy month, starting with today’s update of Remarks. Version 1.1 of the innovative iPad note-taking app has gained improved handwriting and wrist protection as well as sync for Dropbox, Google Docs and WebDAV. The .99 Remarks Version 1.1 is now available on the App Store as a free update for existing users. Meanwhile, PDF Expert 4.0 has been submitted to the App Store with full support for the new iPad’s Retina Display as well as the ability to watch embedded video or listen to audio in PDF files, iCloud support and thumbnails for previewing files. Also on deck for the near future is ReaddleDocs 3, a major update to the classic iPhone app which brings a new UI, iCloud support and much more. No word on when the pending updates will arrive, but we’re looking forward to seeing PDF Expert 4.0 on that new Retina Display iPad when it lands in our hot little hands…

Pocket God Comics Ends Current Story Arc with Issue 14

Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative have announced the release of Pocket God Comics issue 14, which wraps up the current story arc with a final chapter entitled “Para-Abormal Activity” based on one of the best-selling iPhone games of all time. “Straight from the spooky aisles of ghostliness and with the girls unable to regenerate, this may not be the best time to hang out on a haunted island,” the press release teases. “Yep… ghosts, a mystery, and a dubious murder make this an ooky-spooky, extra-kooky issue of Pocket God.” The app is frequently updated with free extras including The Pygmy Peril newsletter, an exclusive remastered version of the first Pocket God animated short and more. Pocket God Comics is available for only 99 cents from the App Store in partnership with iVerse Media, LLC.

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And because I’d had the course of this article 4 shots last year, the doc told me I only needed to have one this time to boost my immunity.

iTunes 10.6 Introduces Additional Bitrates for Device Syncing

iTunes 10.6 additional bitratesIt may not matter much to those of us paying .99 per year for iTunes Match, but Apple is still quietly adding new functionality to iTunes for those continuing to sync the old-school way — such as additional bitrates for converting higher quality songs while syncing.

AppleInsider is reporting on a subtle new change found in iTunes 10.6, which has added 192kbps and 256kbps options to the media player’s “Convert higher bitrate songs” option. The change will likely be welcome to higher bitrate audiophiles who want to save space when syncing to their iOS device.

“Convert higher bitrate songs” is an option that’s been available for a while as a method for converting iTunes Plus 256kpbs tracks to 128kbps on the fly while syncing. The option was introduced when Apple started to roll out flash-based iPods with small storage capacities compared to the older hard disk-based models.

The option appears to have gained a new lease on life with last week’s iTunes 10.6, which now offers the ability to choose the bitrate songs are converted to: 128kbps, 192kbps and even 256kbps, which is an ideal compromise for audiophiles who choose to rip their CD collections in the higher 320kbps bitrate on the Mac or PC but prefer to save space on an iOS device.

While the change may be welcome, its functionality is largely negated by iTunes Match, the .99 per year subscription service that not only scans and matches a user’s music collection, but also offers access to that complete library from any iOS device or computer using the same iTunes account. Instead of syncing music and playlists in the traditional way, users can selectively download tracks on the go as the mood strikes them, all at 256kbps iTunes Plus bitrate when they’re pulled from iCloud.

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(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)



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iTunes in the Cloud Now Recognizes DVD Digital Copies

Digital Copy in PurchasedNow here’s a nifty little side effect of iTunes in the Cloud gaining the power to re-download your iTunes movie purchases: Digital copies included with many DVD releases are also appearing on the Apple TV and iOS devices as well.

AppleInsider is reporting that iTunes in the Cloud didn’t just gain the ability to re-download your iTunes movie purchases on Wednesday — it’s also capable of calling up those DVD Digital Copy authorizations, allowing such titles to be downloaded again from iCloud on an Apple TV, iOS device or even iTunes itself.

“Following the release of updated software for the Apple TV earlier this week, Gabe Gagliano of Tech of the Hub discovered that some of his iTunes Digital Copy files automatically appeared in the Purchased section of his Apple TV and were available for streaming via iCloud,” the report reveals. “The media also appeared under the Purchased tab of the iTunes app on an iPhone.”

Unfortunately, a contractual obligation with HBO is preventing Twentieth Century Fox and Universal from offering streaming or re-downloading via iTunes, so you won’t see movies from those studios showing up quite yet. We checked the Purchased tab of the iTunes app on our iPhone 4S and sure enough, two Digital Copy titles from Disney — Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 3 — showed up as available for download.

Digital Copy is something of a precursor to the Ultraviolet technology that Hollywood is now pushing for. Many DVDs include an extra disc for a Mac or PC along with a code that’s entered into iTunes so the digital version can be imported there, a convenience that also no doubt also discourages users from attempting to rip their own copy from the disc.

If you’ve got some DVD or Blu-ray releases lying around with Digital Copy codes you haven’t redeemed, now would be a great time to do it — no more gobbling up disk space, since many of them can be re-downloaded from iTunes in the Cloud again in the future.

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Steve Jobs Receives Special Grammy, Accepted by iTunes Boss Eddy Cue

Eddy Cue accepts Special Merit GrammyFew would argue that Apple has made a significant impact on the music industry in recent years, and over the weekend the company’s late CEO was honored with a posthumous Special Merit Grammy Award recognizing those accomplishments.

MacRumors is reporting that The Recording Academy has presented the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs with a Special Merit Grammy Award “in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store. First announced in December, the Trustees Award was accepted by senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, at a ceremony for the Special Merit Awards on Saturday.

“On behalf of Steve’s wife, Laurene, his children, and everyone at Apple, I’d like to thank you for honoring Steve with the Trustees Grammy Award,” Cue said. “Steve was a visionary, a mentor, and a very close friend. I had the incredible honor of working with him for the last fifteen years.

“Accepting this award means so much to me because music meant so much to him,” Cue continued. “He told us that music shaped his life…it made him who he was. Everyone that knows Steve knows the profound impact that artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles had on him.”

Finally, Cue reminded the audience how this love of music flowed into the products Jobs helped create at Apple: “Steve was focused on bringing music to everyone in innovative ways,” Cue explains. “We talked about it every single day. When he introduced the iPod in 2001, people asked ‘Why is Apple making a music player?’ His answer was simple: ‘We love music, and it’s always good to do something you love.’

“His family and I know that this Grammy would have been very special to him, so I thank you for honoring him today,” Cue said in conclusion.

The Recording Academy also posted a tribute to Steve Jobs written by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a personal friend of Jobs who has racked up an amazing 16 Grammy awards over his own career.

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(Image courtesy of MacRumors)


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Indie Music Giant TuneCore Calls iTunes Match “Magic Money”

iTunes MatchApple made a lot of music fans happy with its iTunes Match feature. For only .99 per year, the service scans and matches tracks a user’s library and makes it available from iCloud to other devices. But one group that may be even happier are the independent musicians using TuneCore to sell their music.

The TuneCore Blog has announced some good news for indie musicians using their service to get exposure on iTunes. CEO Jeff Price seems quite happy with the first royalty payment from Apple’s new iTunes Match service, which puts more than ,000 into the pockets of their musicians in only two months.

“This is magic money that Apple made exist out of thin air for copyright holders,” Price writes.

TuneCore’s CEO goes on to explain how iTunes Match is essentially “found money” for its clients. “Each and every time the consumer either re-downloads or streams a song he or she already has, copyright holders get paid,” Price reveals.

“A person has a song on her computer hard drive,” Price elaborates. “She clicks on the song and plays it. No one is getting paid. The same person pays iTunes for i(Tunes)Match. She now clicks on the same song and plays it through her i(Tunes)Match service. Copyright holders get paid.

“Same action, same song, one makes money for the copyright holder, and one does not,” the CEO writes. “This is found money that the copyright holders would never have gotten otherwise.”

While some artists may be unhappy with their slice of the iTunes Match pie, Price sums it up thusly: “Well, before you were getting zero, now you are getting something.”

It will be interesting to see if iTunes Match becomes a steady income stream for indie musicians — not to mention major record labels — as time goes on. After all, at .99 per year and with Apple retaining its usual 30 percent share, it would seem like the money would hit a ceiling at some point…

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I can’t ever remember 12 months going http://buy– by so quickly before, and I’ve certainly been extremely busy with work, but I think it’s been a good year.

Thursday Recap: Kodak Bankruptcy, Siri Patent, Facebook Apps, iTunes Update

Kodak logoThe dust has settled, everyone has cleared out of the Guggenheim in New York City, and we all know Apple’s education plans, which include an update to iBooks and new iBooks Author and iTunes U apps. Before we switch back to gossip about the next iPad or even the iPhone 5, let’s address the rest of today’s news, which includes the unfortunate (and unsurprising) bankruptcy of photo legend Kodak. Here’s the rest of the news for this Thursday, January 19, 2012.

Facebook Timeline Gets All “Appy” On Us

If you need further proof that the world has gone app crazy, look no further than Wednesday night’s Facebook pow-wow, which introduces the concept to Timeline. According to The Facebook Blog, users can now “enhance your timeline with apps that help you tell your story, whether you love to cook, eat, travel, run, or review movies.” Sure, Facebook has always had bolt-on apps, but the new initiative promises to integrate them into a user’s Timeline in a more organic way, with 60 companies providing apps at launch, including Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot and TripAdvisor. Facebook promises “there will be apps for all types of interests, as more apps will launch over time.” You have been warned…

An Unfortunate Moment for Kodak: Bankruptcy

The rumor mill has unfortunately churned up another true tale, as AllThingsD is reporting that photography legend Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection. The news isn’t much of a surprise and “follows years of struggle by the film giant to transition to a digital imaging company.” Kodak will continue operations using 0 million in financing from Citigroup and hopes to come out of restructuring next year. “Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a company press release. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.”

Apple Releases iTunes 10.5.3 for Textbook Syncing

The Big Apple was home to a (little) Apple media event this morning at the Guggenheim, which introduced iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U to the educational community. Along with those releases, Apple also pushed out a minor update to iTunes which is now available for download. “iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad,” the release notes explain. “These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.” Hit the link to download the update directly or check Software Update if you prefer a smaller download.

Patently Apple Details Siri, “The Killer Patent”

Siri may be old news to those of us who bought iPhone 4S handsets back in October, but for patent junkies, things have just started to get interested. Patently Apple is reporting today that “the first killer patent application behind Siri was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” Not surprisingly, Apple doesn’t plan to limit the technology to iOS devices but instead “envisions the technology playing a role in vehicles and in-vehicle entertainment systems where an Intelligent Assistant will be considered the king of user interfaces.” The website has a lengthy and detailed examination of the Siri patent filing, dating back to 1987’s “Knowledge Navigator Concept” which proves that Apple has envisioned this kind of technology well before the iPhone was even introduced. The report closes with some prospective uses for Siri which includes “the iPod touch (a personal digital assistant), iMac (desktop computer), MacBook (laptop computer), iPad (tablet computer), consumer electronic devices, consumer entertainment devices; iPod (music player); camera; television; Apple TV (set-top box); electronic gaming unit; kiosk or the like.”

How Can Apple Sell a Textbook for ?

Riddle us this: How can textbook publishers manage to sell a textbook for only through Apple? According to AllThingsD, it’s a matter of simple volume — or at least that’s how McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw is looking at it. But there’s more than meets the eye, because such publishers traditionally sell their printed textbooks direct to schools, which continue to use them for “an average of five years.” The new iBookstore method is only .99 (or less), but the burden of the purchase is on the student (or their parents), although many schools will provide students with codes to download their textbooks. Since the digital textbook can’t be resold or passed on to another student, McGraw views it as a win for his company because in theory, each year another student will be purchasing a copy — and in five years’ time, they’ll have netted the same amount, even after Apple takes their slice of the pie. Apple’s Eddy Cue also confirmed that .99 isn’t part of any kind of “pilot pricing,” explaining “all of our books will be .99.”

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Apple Introduces Free iTunes U App

iTunes U app iconApple has set the stage for a textbook revolution with the new iBooks 2 and free iBooks Author software, but as it turns out, that was only the first of the company’s plans to unveil in New York City today — Cupertino is also introducing a new iTunes U app for allowing s and universities to share their knowledge with the world.

Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue followed up the announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author in New York City this morning with the introduction of a new iTunes U app. “iTunes U lets s and universities around the world deliver content… around the world to anyone using an iPhone, iPod touch or an iPad,” Cue explained.

Touting more than 1,000 s and universities that are already using iTunes U with 700 million downloads since launching four years ago, Cue calls it the number one catalog for educational content, but notes that it’s currently only used for delivering lectures. “We want to let teachers do a lot more,” Cue teased. “We want to create full online courses.”

Cue introduced Apple vice president of consumer applications Jeff Robbin to demonstrate the new iTunes U app with an online course from Duke: Core Concepts in Chemistry. The app features an overview of the course, details on the teacher (including office hours), a complete syllabus and information on credits.

Tabs on the right side of the page include Posts, Notes and Materials. Posts are updates from the teachers that can be pushed out to students, such as assignments and to-do lists — assignments, for example, will appear right in iBooks for quick and easy homework (but you’ll still have to do the hard part yourself, sorry). The Materials tab includes a list of everything you’ll need for completing the course, including books, videos, audio and documents, with the ability to buy them with a tap if you don’t already have them.

But what about signing up for courses in the first place? Yes, the iTunes U app offers this ability as well with a single tap. Cue returned to the stage to hail the long list of schools currently using the previous iTunes U, along with six who have had early access to the new app: Duke, Yale, HACC, MIT and The Open University.

The new iTunes U app isn’t just about higher education, either: K-12 schools can now join in the fun. “This means that teachers in these schools will now be able to deliver full online courses to anyone for free,” Cue explained. The new universal app is free and available now from the iOS App Store in 123 countries.

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Tuesday Recap: iTunes Match Adds 19, Jerry Yang Exits Yahoo, Education Rumors

Yahoo co-founder Jerry YangAs we all wait to see what Apple might have its sleeve for up-ending the education market on Thursday, the rumors are already swirling around the New York City media event — as if the world needs more evidence that anything related to Apple can really stir up the tech press! And that’s not all: A Japanese blog is predicting an iPad 3 media event just two or three weeks from now, if you believe that kind of stuff. So let’s put on our tinfoil hats and delve deep into what’s making news for this terrific Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

iTunes Match Ready to Scan and Match in 19 More Countries

It may have seen a delayed launch here in the U.S., but iTunes Match is making up for lost time, today launching in the Netherlands as well as 18 additional countries around the world. According to MacRumors, the full list of new iTunes Match territories includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. These 19 countries bring the total count to 37, and the annual subscription service arrives in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands alongside iTunes in the Cloud compatibility with music and music videos, a first for those countries (the Latin American countries already had this functionality, but added iTunes Match).

Forthcoming Book Calls iOS Boss Scott Fortsall Apple “CEO In-Waiting”

We all know that current Apple CEO Tim Cook was co-founder Steve Jobs’ personal pick for his replacement, but a forthcoming book reveals that the company may already have its next chief executive officer all lined up — and he won’t have far to report for duty. AppleInsider is reporting that Apple’s senior vice president of iOS Software, Scott Forstall, is considered the company’s next “CEO-in-waiting” — that is, whenever current CEO Cook decides he’s had enough. Calling Forstall “the total package,” Inside Apple author Adam Lashinsky claims that the iOS boss is someone “who most closely resembles late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, making him the most obvious candidate to eventually succeed him.” The Fortune scribe will release his book Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired — And Secretive — Company Really Works on January 25, which is already available for preorder on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats as well as an unabridged audiobook.

Yahoo: Co-Founder Jerry Yang Has Left The Building

This just in: Yahoo Inc. has hit the news wires with word that co-founder Jerry Yang (pictured above) has “resigned from its Board of Directors and all other positions with the company, effective today. In addition, Yang resigned from the Boards of Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group Holding Limited, effective today.” Yang’s letter to the board reads as follows: “My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo! As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future.” The head Yahoo! — who founded the company in 1995 with David Filo — was hailed as a “visionary and a pioneer” by chairman of the board Ray Bostock.

Apple’s Educational Event to Feature Textbook Publishers, New Software

You might not find education to be a very exciting area for Apple to tackle, but that may all change come this Thursday. According to AppleInsider, the company’s media event in New York City this week will focus on new content creation tools for the educational market, which some have called “GarageBand for e-books.” The concept is “a simple app that makes standards-compliant e-book publishing as easy as recording a song in GarageBand,” which would certainly be music to the ears of those in the industry, including authors described as “frustrated” by the current tools. The Wall Street Journal also chimed in with their own thoughts on Thursday’s event, claiming Apple “is expected to unveil textbooks optimized for the iPad and that feature ways to interact with the content, as well as partnerships with publishers.” Stay tuned to this channel to find out the details later this week!

Rumor: iPad 3, iOS 5.1 Event in Early February?

What news roundup would be complete without some iPad 3 rumors? According to MacRumors, Apple is planning an event in early February to introduce the next iPad and potentially launch iOS 5.1 at the same time, which is currently in beta testing with developers. “According to Asian supplier and a source in United States, Apple seems to prepare to hold Special Event in early February,” explains Japanese blog Macotakara, who broke the news earlier today. “Because Chinese factory will be in holiday of New Year, then new product is considered to be released in early March.” As MacRumors notes, one month is a “significantly longer” gap between announcement and release than the iPad 2, which was introduced on March 2 and in stores nine days later, on March 11, 2011. But we’d say one thing is for sure: There’s a new iPad coming in the next 60-90 days, so strap in and enjoy the ride until we get there…

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In Indian elections every party has a http://buy– symbol as well as a name, presumably for the benefit of illiterate voters (of which there are many).

Monday Recap: Boxee 1.5, 12 Days of Christmas App, iTunes Match FAQ

Apple 12 Days of Christmas appWell, that was fast: Another Christmas weekend is over, the presents have all been unwrapped and retailers nationwide are bracing for a throng of returns to hit this week for all those unwanted misfit toys, gadgets, clothes and other items. Since the holiday fell on a Sunday this year, many of us have the day off to get out and spend any cash we received (or cash in on those gift cards) — but when the spending is over, kick back and take a break by reading up on the day’s events for Monday, December 26, 2011.

Boxee 1.5 Update Now Available, Last One for Computers

The folks at Boxee took to their Our Team Blog today to announce version 1.5 of the media player software, which is now available for the Mac, PC and Linux. The update is now being tested by Early Access users for the Boxee Box, and will soon be available as a beta. New features include a refreshed home screen and menu, a new layout for Movies & TV Shows and new Watch Later and Friends sections. With the company’s Live TV hardware landing in January, the plan is to release version 1.5 for the Boxee Box at the same time. Unfortunately, the team has announced version 1.5 will be the final release for computers — the company is focusing their efforts purely on the Boxee Box and connected TVs, Blu-ray players and mobile apps from here on out. Kind of bummer news, but the new version 1.5 software will be available for download through the end of January, so get it now while the getting is good.

Apple Posts Dedicated iTunes Match Page

Still confused about iTunes Match and whether it’s .99 per year worth spending? Apple has updated the iTunes section of their website with a new page dedicated to the “scan and match” service, complete with a Getting Started section and a comprehensive FAQ that should answer most any question you might have about it. If the page answers your questions and makes you eager to give it a try, simply click the blue “Subscribe to iTunes Match” button and you’ll be whisked to iTunes, where your credit card will take the brunt of the damage.

Netflix vs. Hulu: Do You Watch More of the Former?

There’s little doubt that Netflix and Hulu are the titans of online streaming services, but according to TechCrunch, one of them is growing while the other is faltering. You might think with this year’s missteps that Netflix would be the one suffering, but the numbers speak differently: Based on comScore data, “U.S. visitors spent one billion minutes on in November, 2011, versus 480 million minutes on Hulu.” Of course, that might not be an accurate metric given that Netflix is more about movies while Hulu is more about television shows and other short subjects, but a year ago the two websites “were almost neck-in-neck in time spent, with Netflix users logging 750 million total minutes versus Hulu users logging 690 million.” Part of that shift could be attributed to Hulu’s new focus on the paid Hulu Plus service, which pushes content to connected TVs, streaming boxes and mobile devices, giving subscribers much less reason to use the website for most content. We subscribe to both and get far more use out of Hulu Plus these days, but your mileage apparently must vary…

Apple Launches 12 Days of Christmas in Europe, Canada

It looks like Apple users in the United States must have been naughty this year, because Cupertino has launched its annual 12 Days of Christmas app — but only in Canada and Europe. According to AppleInsider, the free app is an annual holiday promotion “that offers free songs, music videos, apps and books.” Now in its fourth year, the promotion runs from December 26 through January 6, with a new freebie each day the app is opened. In case you were wondering, today’s gift is an EP from Coldplay, a live recording from the recent iTunes Festival in London. So Apple, what did we Americans do this year to offend thee…?

Namecheap Accuses GoDaddy of Domain Transfer Delays

Domain name registrar GoDaddy has already had a not-so-happy holiday after being piled on by internet users for its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Even after a half-hearted withdrawal of its support, the company has supposedly lost upwards of 72,354 domains in only five days according to The Loop. Making matters worse, Macworld is reporting that the company is being accused of delaying some of those domain transfers, with competitor Namecheap accusing GoDaddy of “returning incomplete WHOIS information” necessary to complete the transfer. If true, the move runs afoul of ICANN rules (that’s the organization in charge of the world’s domain name system). “We suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them,” writes Namecheap Community Manager Tamar Weinberg on the company’s blog. “We at Namecheap believe that this action speaks volumes about the impact that informed customers are having on GoDaddy’s business.” At the very least, it’s a heck of a way to end the year, that’s for sure…

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(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)



It’s after dark, a warm and humid buy– evening, and I’m walking to the shops near my apartment.

Thursday Recap: Facebook Timeline, Galaxy Nexus, Roku App, iTunes Match Worldwide

Roku app for iPhoneIt’s been one of those busy days for tech enthusiasts: Rather than dreaming about the weekend ahead, we’ve had product launches all over the place in the mad pre-Christmas holiday rush before things start to shut down next week. If you’ve already played around with your Facebook Timeline update or nabbed that sweet new Roku iOS app and are waiting for your Apple TV to update, take a breather and see what’s new for this Thursday, December 15, 2011.

At Last, Facebook Rolls Out Timeline

Hey, would you look at that… after teasing us nearly two months ago, Facebook has finally gone ahead and officially rolled out the red carpet for its new Timeline profile feature. According to The Facebook Blog, users will have a seven-day “review period” to review everything appearing in your Timeline before anyone else can see it, and as always, you can choose “View As” to get a preview of what it will look like to the public at large. Timeline is also rolling out to Android and the Facebook mobile site, but sadly no iOS love quite yet. So how do you get it? It will gradually appear for all users soon enough, but you can kickstart things into action right now by visiting this web page and clicking “Get Timeline.”

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Now On Sale

After repeated rumors of an imminent launch, the third Nexus-branded Android handset has finally arrived on U.S. shores with the release of the Samsung Nexus Galaxy through Verizon Wireless. According to The Verge, the flagship Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handset with 4G LTE will cost users a cool 9.99 with two-year contract, but e-tailers such as are already offering it for nearly half that price with discounts — although it’s currently backordered and “likely to ship in one to two weeks.” According to BGR, eager early adopters have already been spotted outside a few Verizon stores nationwide to be the first to get theirs. It’s not quite the frenzy iPhone users have become accustomed to with their product launches, but clearly demand is higher than normal for these handsets on launch day.

Apple Releases Updates for Apple TV, iPhone 4S

Now here’s an odd one for Apple update fans: According to MacRumors, the company pushed out a new version of iOS 5.0.1 specifically tailored to the iPhone 4S — but those of us who have already updated receive nothing. What’s in this mysterious new Build 9A406? Beats us, but with iOS 5.1 already in beta testing, everyone will be getting a new update soon enough. Meanwhile, the second-generation Apple TV was also updated to version 4.4.4, which Apple claims “includes general performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue that displayed an error when playing some video content.” Fair enough.

Roku Introduces Official iPhone App

If you own one of the Roku streaming boxes and also carry an iPhone in your pocket, there’s a little treat awaiting you in the App Store today. According to the Roku Blog, the company has finally introduced an official, free iPhone remote control app — and best of all, it works on all Roku boxes, including a first-generation model we had lying around here. Users of the newer Roku 2 or Roku LT players will need to grab the software update version 4.2 before they can use the app, but older players already received the necessary update with a recent version 3.1 update. The company is also promising an Android app, for those of you on that side of the fence, but gives no firm date for its availability.

iTunes Match Now Going Live Worldwide (For Real)

After a premature rollout last night that early adopters were quickly refunded for, Apple’s new “scan and match” subscription service, iTunes Match, appears to be going live around the world. According to MacRumors, the service popped up again on the radar in the U.K. and was soon followed by Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, France, New Zealand and Spain. Users in these countries are reporting success in subscribing to iTunes Match and matching their libraries accordingly, so it would seem as if the second time is the charm in this case. The rollout today was kicked off by Apple updating their iTunes terms and conditions in these countries, which specifically mention the iTunes Match service.

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