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Mac App Store Zooms Past 100 Million Downloads

Mac App Store iconWhile many pundits may have scoffed at the idea of a Mac App Store when it was first announced, the people have spoken — with their wallets! On Monday, Apple revealed that the Mac App Store has now soared past the 100 million downloads milestone, less than a year after it was launched.

Apple has announced that the Mac App Store has officially served up more than 100 million downloads in less than a year. The company isn’t saying exactly how many Mac apps it offers as of today, but the iOS App Store now has more than half a million titles that have collectively been downloaded 18 billion times and continue to be downloaded at a rate of a billion apps per month.

“In just three years the App Store changed how people get mobile apps, and now the Mac App Store is changing the traditional PC software industry,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With more than 100 million downloads in less than a year, the Mac App Store is the largest and fastest growing PC software store in the world.”

Among the Mac developers touting their success on the Mac App Store are Autodesk, Pixelmator and algoriddim, the creators of the popular djay, which first debuted on the iPad and is now available across all of Apple’s devices.

“In less than one year we’ve shifted the distribution of djay for Mac exclusively to the Mac App Store,” explains Karim Morsy, CEO of algoriddim. “With just a few clicks, djay for Mac is available to customers in 123 countries worldwide. We could never have that reach through traditional channels.”

Late last week, Apple introduced Logic Pro 9 to the Mac App Store, killing off the boxed retail copies of its popular pro music creation application. The move marked the last of Apple’s own software to become available only in the Mac App Store, although the virtual marketplace is still missing many third-party heavy hitters from Adobe, Microsoft and others. But with customers grabbing up so many Mac apps there, it’s probably just a matter of time before the tide turns in Cupertino’s direction yet again.

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Apple Releases Logic Pro 9, MainStage 2 on Mac App Store

Logic Pro 9Despite the rumors of a Logic Pro X being nearly complete, Apple has today released a minor update to the existing Logic Pro 9 and MainStage 2.2 to the Mac App Store, thus ending an era of boxed software from Cupertino. The good news is you can now buy these pro music apps cheaper than ever before!

Apple today released Logic Pro 9.1.6 and MainStage 2.2 to the Mac App Store, which marks the end of the company’s efforts to sell retail boxed copies of its software. Musicians and other pro audio users can now enjoy writing, recording, editing and mixing their work at a new low price of only 9, with the companion MainStage 2 available separately for only .99.

Logic Pro 9.1.6 may not be the fully reworked Logic Pro X that was rumored back in September, but the app does get a few minor bug fixes according to The Loop, and users are likely to get a free update to the next major version, in keeping with Mac App Store tradition. Purchasing Logic Pro from the Mac App Store also gets you access to Apple’s sound library, clocking in at around 25GB of media comprised of six Jam Packs, sound effects and more, downloaded from within the app much in the same way that Final Cut Pro X did over the sunny summer.

MainStage 2.2 users will also gain access to the downloadable content, and the app “now takes full advantage of Macs with four or more processor cores” with added support for more MIDI devices. The Loop also reports that the user interface has been rebuilt to “make some elements a bit larger.”

And what about current users of LogicPro 9? Apple will release a Software Update to patch existing versions, although MainStage 2.2 is considered a new app and must be purchased as such from the Mac App Store for only .99. Apple will continue offering the boxed version of Logic Pro 9 on its online store, but it will no longer be available at retail.

Finally, if you were holding out hope that Soundtrack Pro 3 might continue to exist after being ignored when Final Cut Pro X was released back in June, we have some bad news for you: It’s dead and gone and won’t be coming to the Mac App Store.

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Apple Announces Grand Central Store Opening on Friday, December 9

Apple Store Grand CentralIt’s not much of a surprise to Manhattanites (or the folks who have been enjoying their leaked photos for weeks), but Apple has officially announced the opening of its latest retail store location in Grand Central Station, New York City’s fifth such venue. “Just in time for the holidays,” the new location will open its doors at 10am EST this Friday, December 9.

Apple has issued a press release touting its new Apple Store Grand Central
, billed as a “one-of-a-kind Apple retail store” which “overlooks the historic Main Concourse from the East and North East balconies of the world-famous Grand Central Terminal” in Manhattan, New York. The largest store yet “in one of New York’s busiest transportation hubs,” the location includes not one but two Genius Bars for free tech support and advice.

“The store’s expert team has 315 passionate employees who deliver these and other amazing services, which have become the hallmark of Apple retail stores worldwide,” the press release explains. “Beyond the balcony overlooking the expansive Main Concourse, the Apple Store Grand Central offers rooms dedicated to some of our most popular services, including the largest area in the world dedicated to Personal Setup. In the Personal Setup room, customers who buy an iPad®, iPhone, iPod® or Mac® can get up and running before they leave the store. There’s also a room designed especially for Personal Training, where new Mac owners learn the basics or take their skills to the next level as part of Apple’s popular One to One program.”

Including the new Grand Central location, there are now 361 Apple Stores in 11 countries including the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, China, Australia and Canada. Apple Store Grand Central will open this Friday, December 9 at 10am EST and regular hours will be from 7am to 9pm EST Monday through Friday, 10am to 7pm EST Saturday and 11am to 6pm EST Sunday.

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(Image courtesy of 9to5Mac)

 

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Friday Recap: Match.com Exits App Store, RIM PlayBook Losses, 2TB Hard Drive Shortage

BlackBerry PlayBook fire saleHooray, another Friday is here! It seems like they come faster and faster this time of year, which is a good thing for those of us who need to get out and do some Christmas (or other holiday) shopping, buy and trim the tree and start getting the apartment or house in order so those miscreant relatives have somewhere to stay. If the mere thought of all that has you exhausted, take a break for a few moments and catch up on all the tech news for Friday, December 2, 2011.

Match.com A Poor Match with Apple’s Subscription Policies

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple is changing its relationship with Match.com to “it’s complicated.” Apparently, the dating website has failed to comply with Cupertino’s new in-app subscription policies which kicked in last June, with a 30 percent slice of the pie going to Apple. The free Match.com app has been using the App Store to sponge up customers and collect their credit card numbers through the iOS app, which is a definite no-no these days. The two companies are said to be “now negotiating how the app must change before their relationship can be rekindled and they can have an earth-shattering makeup revenue split.” We’re guessing that can end only one way: With Match.com coughing up 30 percent to Apple. End of story.

RIM Writes Off 5 Million for Unsold PlayBook Tablets

We don’t want to call the RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet a complete loser — after all, it does have some redeeming features, including a quality hardware build and a promising new mobile OS. But the news keeps getting worse for RIM, with the company announcing today that the PlayBook is costing the company 5 million in “a non-cash inventory provision,” according to AppleInsider. (Translation: They’re writing it off.) Things kicked off with half a million units sold in the first quarter of sales, but slid to 250,000 the second quarter and now a mere 150,000 in the third quarter, which is clearly the opposite of what Apple is experiencing with the iPad. Consumers can pick up a BlackBerry PlayBook for a mere 9 these days, and RIM claims they remain committed to the device, despite the bummer news.

Apple Seeds, Then Pulls New OS X 10.7.3 Beta from Developers

According to MacRumors, a second build of OS X 10.7.3 has just hit Apple’s developer portal, two and a half weeks after the first. The latest build is 11D24, which devs have been asked to focus their laser-like precision on Spotlight and Safari in addition to the range of areas listed in the initial build, which includes iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal and Mail. It’s unknown when Apple intends to push OS 10.7.3 out to the masses, but the developer notes list “no known issues with the current build,” which is always a good sign that things are on the right track. Trying to download the latest build but getting no love? 9to5Mac claims the update has been pulled for reasons unknown — but fear not, it’s likely to return within a few days.

Shortages of 2TB Hard Drives Delaying Build-to-Order iMacs

In the market for a new iMac and looking to beef up its internal storage? You might want to consider SSD, since AppleInsider is reporting that build-to-order iMacs direct from Apple are currently experiencing a five to seven week delay. What’s the holdup? It appears to stem from the recent flooding in Thailand, which has shut down 14,000 factories and benched more than 600,000 workers there, many of which are employed by hard drive makers Western Digital and Seagate. For now, the shortage appears to only be affecting 2TB hard drives, while smaller capacities are shipping promptly as usual — and yes, the more expensive solid-state storage is also unaffected. We’ve been noticing the cost of all hard drives slowly creeping up in the last few weeks, so stock up now while you can — no telling how long this drought will last.

Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia On Deck for December 16 iPhone 4S Launch

MacRumors has collected information from a few sources around the interwebs which point to December 16 being the next round of international launches for the iPhone 4S. Apple generally sends out a press release touting such launches which hasn’t happened quite yet, so it appears the local carriers in Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Africa, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia may be pulling the trigger prematurely by leaking the information. According to Russian retailer Digital.ru, preorders are already being accepted for the iPhone 4S there, which sounds like they expect to soon have some hardware to offer their customers. Guess we’ll see soon enough…

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iOS Games Weekly Roundup: A Look at Judge Dredd, Snuggle Truck Goes Free-to-Play, and Jetpack Tests Blasts into the App Store


Snuggle Truck goes Free-to-Play

You may remember that Snuggle Truck (a game about racing around with a truck load of stuffed animals) actually started life as a rejected app called Smuggle Truck, about driving a truck full of illegal immigrants over the Mexican-American border. Despite all odds, Snuggle Truck just wont go away. After some decent success on the App Store, the app is now going Free-to-Play with microtransactions supported as in-app-purchases.

Jetpack Tests Arrives on iOS

The developers of the awesome app High Flyer Death Defyer have released a light-weight and cheap iteration of the HFDD formula. For .99 (half the price of HFDD) you can get Jetpack Tests which sees the hero of HFDD testing out a prototype of a jetpack in his early days. 

Ticket to Ride Pocket Released

The amazing boardgame Ticket to Ride did fairly well with their iPad version, and now the game is coming to iPhones as well. Ticket to Ride is a very popular boardgame which sees players trying to build rail lines to connect far off parts of the country. The game currently costs .99, and features the pass-and-play mode that iPad TtR fans wanted so much. However it does not include online play.

 

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Apple Introduces Personal Pickup, EasyPay with Apple Store 2.0 App

Apple Store app EasyPayAfter testing the service in San Francisco and New York City, Apple rolled out a significant upgrade to its Apple Store app on Tuesday, adding the ability to purchase on your iOS device and pick up at a nearby store — or grab an item from the shelf and pay for it right on the spot, no human necessary.

Apple has finally rolled out version 2.0 of its Apple Store app, extending the new Personal Pickup option to Apple Retail Stores across the United States. The new version also allows customers to purchase select accessories while in the store without having to stand in line or flag down an employee.

The full list of what’s new:

- Personal Pickup: Buy in the app and choose to pick up your order at any Apple Retail Store. Most in-stock orders are available for pickup within an hour. (U.S. only)
- EasyPay: Purchase select accessories in store quickly by scanning the barcode and completing your transaction right in the app. (U.S. only, requires iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S)
- Track your stuff: View the status of current and previous orders from the order status section in the More tab.
- Additional international support (Canada, China).
- Requires iOS 4.2 or higher

Unfortunately, international customers will have to continue waiting for the new Personal Pickup and EasyPay options — and the same goes for iPad owners, since version 2.0 of the Apple Store app is still not a universal build for native support (although it works just fine in 2x mode).

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Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, Premiere Elements 10 Now in Mac App Store

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 EditorReady to kick off your week with some photo and/or video editing? Adobe is ready to help, with the company’s new Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Premiere Elements 10 now available in the Mac App Store for only .99 each in what the company calls a “special edition” version.

Adobe has introduced Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor and Adobe Premiere Elements 10 Editor to the Mac App Store, less than two months after making the retail versions of both programs available for .99 SRP each. The key difference between the Mac App Store and boxed retail versions? The MAS version does not include the Elements Organizer that ties the two apps together, and Adobe also notes “case sensitive HFS volumes are not supported with this version.”

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor is aimed at iPhoto users ready to go to the next level, or as Adobe puts it: “When you’re ready to go beyond the basics.” Photoshop Elements doesn’t quite pack the same punch as moving up to Apple’s Aperture or even the company’s own full Photoshop, but it adds extensive plug-in support and far more creative features than iPhoto.

Likewise, Adobe Premiere Elements 10 Editor is targeted at iMovie users who have outgrown the basic feature set of that video editing app. The Mac App Store version also excludes SmartSound, a somewhat flawed featured found in the boxed retail version to help create your own music soundtracks. Otherwise, the MAS edition comes with all the same goodies including HD and SD editing, Blu-ray export, motion tracking and much more.

Both programs are just a hair under 1GB (924MB to be exact) and require Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later, which includes OS X Lion — although they don’t yet take advantage of features such as full-screen mode. The retail and downloadable versions available direct from Adobe can be purchased in a 9.99 bundle, so the Mac App Store editions aren’t necessarily the best value; also, those who purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor when it debuted back in July will have to purchase the app all over again — there doesn’t appear to be an upgrade path for them.

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Monday Recap: More Adobe Touch Apps, Growl Hits Mac App Store, Sprint Gambles Big on iPhone

Adobe Photoshop Touch appThere’s less than 24 hours before Apple’s big media event on the company’s Cupertino campus and the rumor mill is in high gear. Here’s all the news you need to know for Monday, October 3, conveniently put together in one place!

Analysts Predict Free iPhone 3GS with Contract

While the spotlight has been shining on a potential iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 for Tuesday’s main event, RBC Capital Markets analyst expects Apple to continue offering the iPhone 3GS as an entry-level handset, priced at 9 off contract or the low, low price of absolutely free with a two-year agreement, according to MacRumors. We already know it’s a fine device and iOS 5 capable, so why throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak?

Adobe MAX 2011: Six New Tablet Apps, But No iOS Until Next Year

Adobe Systems is holding their annual MAX conference this week, announcing a new Adobe Creative Cloud initiative as well as six new tablet apps that will debut first on Android devices in November, followed by the iPad editions in early 2012. The apps will feature introductory pricing of .99 each and include Adobe Photoshop Touch for image editing, Adobe Collage, Adobe Debut presentation software, Adobe Kuler for generating color themes, Adobe Proto for roughing out websites or mobile apps and Adobe Ideas, a vector-based drawing app already available for the iPad.

Apple Says No Live Stream for Tuesday Event

We’re sad, too, because it makes our job that much harder to report whatever Apple has in store. 9to5Mac reports that one of Cupertino’s own press representatives has thrown cold water on the possibility of the company live streaming the “Let’s talk iPhone” media event, which kicks off at 10am PST on Tuesday. But fear not, we’ll have folks on hand to report everything that goes down as quick as our little fingers can hit those keys.

Growl Arrives in Mac App Store, No More Freebies

There are few apps that truly make our lives easier, but one of them has to be Growl, the ultimate notification system for your Mac. Particularly useful for those of us with apps always churning away in the background, Growl has taken a huge leap with its latest version 1.3 — not only is it now available exclusively from the Mac App Store, it’s no longer a free app. But don’t let the meager .99 price dissuade you — new features like Rollup (which lets you revisit missed notifications similar to the forthcoming iOS 5) more than make it worth the price of admission. You’ll need OS X Lion and a 64-bit processor to make the jump, however.

Sprint Committing To Billion Worth of iPhones, May Get iPhone 5 Exclusive?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that third-place U.S. carrier Sprint is planning to “bet the company” on Apple’s iPhone, committing to 30.5 million units over the next four years — whether they’re purchased by customers or not. That adds up to a nearly billion commitment, which is likely to see the carrier pushing the iPhone over rivals such as Android as well as a “staggering” whack to Sprint’s operating income.

“In order to keep the price people pay for the phone low and competitive with rivals, Sprint would be subsidizing the cost of each phone to the tune of about 0, which would take a long time to recoup even at the high monthly fees iPhone users pay,” the report claims.

Meanwhile, all this talk about Sprint landing the iPhone has apparently made the folks at BGR a bit loopy, with the website separately reporting that the carrier may get an exclusive in return for this massive investment — as in the iPhone 5 we’re all hoping will be announced tomorrow, which could launch as a 4G WiMAX capable handset.

“I have been told that Sprint will be getting the iPhone 5 — yes the real iPhone 5, not the iPhone 4S — as an exclusive,” BGR reports. “And it will be a WiMAX device. AT&T and Verizon would launch the iPhone 4S and get the iPhone 5 sometime in the first quarter of next year as an LTE device. Globally, the iPhone 5 might be available as a 4G HSPA+ device.”

No offense to BGR, but it might be time to switch medication. Then again, who’s up for switching to Sprint if this rumor pans out on Tuesday morning?

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iTunes Music Store Goes Live In 12 New Countries, iBookstore In 25

iTunes 10 iconOn Wednesday, we reported that a Polish newspaper had spilled the beans on the iTunes Music Store expanding to 10 additional countries in the European Union. As it turns out, Apple flipped the switch on those new stores later the same day, expanding it to all 12 remaining EU countries and also expanding their iBookstore presence internationally.

MacRumors has a followup report on the iTunes Music Store opening its virtual doors across the European Union, and it’s good news for all. Instead of only 10 out of the 12 EU countries gaining the music store as reported by Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, it turns out the switch has been thrown in all 12, which means Apple now has at least a music presence across all of the European Union.

That means Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia can all be officially welcomed into the fold, despite sources claiming that the smaller Cyprus and Malta might get left in the lurch.

But Apple isn’t stopping there — MacRumors also reports that iTunes movie sales and rentals have been expanding as well, with customers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden claiming such content has appeared there, but only in a search rather than a dedicated storefront (perhaps for now).

Finally, the curiously-named Pigs, Gourds and Wikis reports that iBookstore has also spread its wings, adding 25 new countries where authors and publishers now have the ability to choose which countries to sell their work to.

“Christian Peters just alerted me to the fact that he can choose Spain as a market for his books on the iBookstore,” the website notes. “Before today, you could only choose US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Canada. Now, you can add twenty-five new markets for your iBooks: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Replublic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portgal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland.”

Good news for our international readers, and we’ll likely hear a bit more about these stealth launches at next Tuesday’s keynote on October 4 at 10am PST in Cupertino.

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Mac App Store Rolls Out Red Carpet For Final Draft 8 Screenwriting Software

Final Draft 8 iconAspiring screenwriters and playwrights can now use the Mac App Store for procuring their favorite tool, as the number one selling scriptwriting software in the world is finally available in Apple’s storefront — and Final Draft 8 arrives at a 20 percent discount until October 31.

Final Draft Inc. has released Final Draft 8 to the Mac App Store, another coup for Apple’s virtual storefront. The software is a staple for writing movie and television scripts, stage plays and even new media, combining powerful word processing with professional script formatting to become the entertainment industry’s leading application for such work.

What makes Final Draft 8 so great? First and foremost, it’s 100 percent cross-platform, meaning scripts written on Windows can be shared with Mac users without problems. A Format Assistant feature makes sure that your completed first draft is laid out exactly the way it should be, and Scene View allows writers to outline their script and even rearrange scenes using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

First-time screenwriter? Don’t worry, Final Draft 8 makes it easy to get started with built-in story templates so you’ll always have the correct formatting, regardless of what media you’re writing for. Once your masterpiece is complete, you’ll have access to extensive printing features, including saving as a PDF file — and thanks to the included Final Draft Courier font, your script will always look sharp and clean no matter what.

Final Draft 8’s arrival in the Mac App Store ends the tyranny of the software’s stringent copy protection, perhaps the only blemish in an otherwise excellent product. Standalone versions require internet or telephone activation in order to fully utilize the software, a barrier that limits installations. Mac App Store apps are installable on any Mac you own which is tied to your Apple ID, which also helps publishers like Final Draft deter piracy.

Of course, all of these great features don’t come cheap — a standalone version of Final Draft 8 retails for 9, but until October 31, 2011 you can buy it in the Mac App Store for only 9.99. But that’s a small price to pay for folks ready to take on Hollywood or Broadway, don’t you think?

Final Draft 8 is available on the Mac App Store; the 17.3MB download requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later and is compatible with OS X Lion.

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