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The Recording Industry Association of America has announced that digital downloads will soon be eligible for Gold and Platinum awards based on sales, Reuters reports. Singles that sell more than 100,000 copies will receive Gold recognition, while Platinum is reached at 200,000. Multiplatinum starts at 400,000 and increases in 200,000 increments. CDs, in contrast, must achieve sales of 500,000 units for Gold and 1,000,000 units for Platinum. An event scheduled for late August will mark the official launch of the digital download awards program.
Smith Barney has upgraded its rating on Apple to Buy, despite yesterday's news that Apple's next iMac won't be ready until September. Smith Barney is maintaining a $37 12-month price target for the stock. "Catalysts between now and year-end include the launch of iPod mini in Europe in July, download data updates from the recent launch of iTunes Music Store in Europe, iPod orders from new partner HP beginning in July, volume shipments of the new PowerMac G5 in 3CQ, the launch of the new flat panel iMac late in 3CQ and, finally, the opening of additional retail stores in Europe," the firm's research note reads. "We would be aggressive buyers on this morning's weakness."
Aspyr today released a demo of Medal of Honor Allied Assault Breakthrough, the third expansion pack to the first person shooter World War II Action Game that follows combat from African desert to mountains of Italy. It offers new, more challenging situations and provides more options, with over 25 new soldiers, including Italian, American, German, and British troops, and 12 new Allied and Axis weapons, including authentic Italian weapons. It is available for $30 and requires the original Medal of Honor Allied Assault title. Aspyr also said that Shrek 2 ($30) and Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition ($50) are now in stores.
Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. has reiterated his Buy rating on Apple. In a statement provided to investors, Wolf said that any near-term weakness in the stock should be seen as a buying opportunity. "It's a supply, not a demand issue.†What's important is that the new model will be available for the Christmas selling season. This would be a non-event if Apple had not stop production of its current iMac." Wolf says Needham & Co. had been projecting iMac sales of 150,000 for Apple's September quarter, and that the shortage will, in the "worst case," drop that number to 50,000 units, which in turn would shave about 5 cents a share off Apple's earnings.
Etymotic Research has announced a limited edition version of its ER-6 noise isolating earphone designed for Apple iPod owners. The ER-6i "was developed for Apple iPod users with the goal of providing greater sensitivity and enhanced bass without compromising fidelity." The earphones come in a white color to match the iPod and include additional eartips, extra filters and a small carrying case. The ER-6i will ship in July for $150; the black ER-6 earphones sell for $140.
Shares of Apple opened trading Friday down $1.85, or almost 6 percent, at $30.50 after the company said yesterday that iMac inventory is nearly exhausted and that a new iMac model wasn't due until September. While the news won't affect Apple's third quarter, which ends Wednesday, the missing iMac could hamper the company's fourth quarter, which ends in mid-September.
RE:Vision Effects has released ReelSmart Motion Blur Pro 3.0 for Shake, Apple's advanced digital effects compositing application. ReelSmart Motion Blur (RSMB) automatically tracks every pixel in a sequence and blurs based on calculated motion. RSMB Pro for Shake now supports 8-, 16- and 32- (float) bits-per-channel processing, supports multiprocessor machines, and adds support for foreground and background separation using a specified mask. Version 3.0 allows motion blur to applied using vectors from an external source, offers support for tracking hints, and optional control of per-pixel image tracking. RSMB is $190 with upgrades priced at $55.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.7 ( -0.57 )
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky