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: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN