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RIAA awards downloads
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 upgrades AAPL
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."
MoHAA: Breakthrough demo
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.
Analyst reiterates buy
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.
ER-6i iPod earphones
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.
Apple falls 6 percent
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.
ReelSmart Motion Blur 3.0
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.
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