Digidesign has launched its 003 line of audio hardware, beginning with the Factory and the Rack. The former is a mixing and recording deck, specifically designed to be used with the company's Pro Tools LE production software. It further has a wide range of input and output ports, such as MIDI, ADAT and S/PDIF, and can sync with external devices via BNC Word Clock. Controls include eight faders, eight rotary encoders, and a multifunction jogwheel. The Factory also uses a FireWire port, and comes bundled with Pro Tools LE plus a variety of effects and instrument plug-ins, such as Ignition Pack 2 Pro. The Rack, meanwhile, is essentially the same as the Factory, but comes in a 2U rack-mount chassis and has less bundled software. The Rack Factory keeps the software intact. The basic 003 Factory should be shipping soon for $2,500; the Rack is $1,300, while the Rack Factory is $1,700.
Civilization IV 1.61 Rev C, Warlords 1.0 Rev B ($50 and $30) are free patches to Sid Meier's Civilization IV and its expansion pack, Civilization IV Warlords. Civilization IV 1.61 Rev C fixes a sound problem introduced with the Rev B patch. Civilization IV: Warlords 1.0 Rev B repairs a sound problem that was introduced with the Rev A patch. [Download - Civilization IV 1.61 Rev C 15.3MB, Warlords 1.0 Rev B 21.6MB] RAGE Google Sitemap Automator 1.6 ($30) is a free update to the software package allowing webmasters to automate the process of generating Google Sitemaps. The latest revision makes it easier for webmasters to edit existing filters, resulting in quick changes to sitemap attributes for thousands of pages simultaneously. [Download - 7.1MB] Graphic Inspector 1.0 ($25) provides extensive information about graphic files, and helps locate potential problems according to user-defined settings. The application is a preflight solution for both images and vector graphics designed to help users quickly acquire crucial information about entire folders of files. Graphic Inspector displays a file's kind, color mode, resolution, compression, color profile, dimensions, spot colors, fonts, EXIF data, and other attributes. [Download - 1.7MB] ReelBean 2.8 ($15) enhances the movie converter and player for Mac OS X Tiger, adding an "Open Recent" item to the File menu to display most-recently viewed movie names with full pathnames. Minor graphical improvements include moving the transparency and playspeed slider to the video controls panel, and the software offers improved efficiency when using the audio level indicators running on older Macs. [Download - 4.4MB] Multisite for iWeb 1.1 ($20) is a Mac OS X Utility for iWeb users with support for building sites that traverse to more than a single Web server. The software is also designed to speed up iWeb's publishing by placing individual sites into individual files behind the scenes. Version 1.1 improves the error handling code for application launch, and improves the help system to detail where site data is stored. [Download - 740KB] Balloonist 2.0 ($40) is a comics word balloon editor and panel layout application for Mac OS X. The update adds balloons, starbursts, narrations, and images that users can dynamically move and resize while maintaining text alignment. Balloonist can vertically orient Japanese as well as Chinese text, spread text across merged or tied ovals, and includes support for explicit line breaks. [Download - [agreement]]
Computer maker Dell has announced preliminary fourth-quarter finances, amounting to $14.4 billion in revenue, with $801 million in operating income. This made 30 cents per share for stockholders, and gave the company a total of $12.5 billion in cash and investments. The company will bring in even more money due to not paying bonuses, which were tied to operating targets, but it will lose a substantial amount of that due to investigations into accounting practices. The Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an ongoing probe into the company; neither they nor Dell, however, have disclosed what the source of concern is. It in fact marks the second quarter in a row that Dell will not be holding a conference call for the results, which the company says would not be "prudent" given legal concerns.
Apple late Thursday announced that it would hold a special event at next month's NAB Expo for broadcasters and other video producers. Although the company opted out of detailing what would appear at the event, Electronista notes that expectations have Apple releasing a major new edition of Final Cut Studio, which was introduced at the same show in 2005. This year's presentation is currently set for April 15th. While other announcements are possible, the company has generally refrained from revealing hardware or separate software at NAB events in the past. The timing, however, is notable for its proximity to the expected release of Mac OS X Leopard as well as Apple's habitual spring computer updates. The booth for the show floor will also be the largest of all exhibitors, say the show managers.
Apple late Thursday announced that it would hold a special event at next month's NAB Expo for broadcasters and other video producers. Although the company opted out of detailing what would appear at the event, expectations have Apple releasing a major new edition of Final Cut Studio, which was introduced at the same show in 2005. This year's presentation is currently set for April 15th. While other announcements are possible, the company has generally refrained from revealing hardware or separate software at NAB events in the past. The timing, however, is notable for its proximity to the expected release of Mac OS X Leopard as well as Apple's habitual spring computer updates. The booth for the show floor will also be one of the largest of all the exhibitors, say the show managers. [via Macworld]
Marware has begun shipping the USB Travel Dock for the second-generation iPod shuffle. The dock takes advantage of the size of the shuffle, coming in the shape of USB dongle, which can plug into either a laptop or a desktop system without the hassle of a cord. While a player is in the dock, it can charge and sync simultaneously without blocking any of the nearby ports. A blue LED light indicates power status. Sales of the Travel Dock begin today at $20 per piece.
Lenovo on Thursday sent out an urgent recall notice for 200,000 notebook batteries. Working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the computer builder said that the extended-capacity, nine cell batteries of roughly 100,000 R-, T-, and Z-series ThinkPads were at risk after the company learned of four instances where dropping the notebook triggered a minor fire. Over 105,000 of the same batteries were sold internationally, the firm added. Lenovo and Sanyo together said they were already redesigning the battery shell to prevent these problems in the future. The recall only serves to compound Lenovo's existing troubles with batteries, which began last year when the China-based company learned that over half a million of its batteries were affected by Sony's global recall. Neither problem is related, Lenovo said, as the Sanyo batteries only ignite in a sudden impact.
Maxon today released Cinema 4D R10 Engineering Edition, which lets engineering professionals quickly create high-end visualizations using their own CAD files. This edition combines Cinema 4D R10 with a simplified interface, preset environments, materials and importers for a variety of CAD files as well as the sketch and Toon modules for creating precise line drawings or sketched looks. The company says that the user interface is optimized for the creation of CAD visualizations, allowing design engineers to quickly create images and animations.
Apple's iPhone could surprise industry watchers by selling 8 million units in 2007 following its launch in June, according to research firm Morgan Stanley. The firm raised its iPhone estimates by 33 percent from 6 million to 8 million based on a survey, which found that more people are interested in purchasing an iPhone than the combined number of people who already own or are planning to purchase a similar high-end device. "The survey results suggest iPhone demand could increase even more if Apple successfully expands awareness of the product, broadens the iPhone product portfolio, extends to other carriers, or offers service contract or product discounts," analyst Kathryn Huberty wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "In fact, while the high-end device market is clearly growing, iPhone appears well positioned to disrupt potential market shares." The research firm rates Apple as "Overweight" with a $110 price target.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' attempt to call for the removal of DRM has
Digidesign today announced the new Pro Tools Ignition Pack 2 and Pro Tools Ignition Pack 2 Pro, new bundles of creative software and tools available free with all Digidesign Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools LE systems. Pro Tools Ignition Pack 2 and the premium Pro Tools Ignition Pack 2 Pro offer a collection of professional effects and signal processing plug-ins, virtual instruments, high-quality sounds, and creative applications -- all of which are fully compatible with Pro Tools. Both packs also include the Pro Tools Method One instructional DVD for getting up to speed quickly as well as special artist promotion services from Broadjam.com, Sonicbids.com, and GarageBand.com. The Pro Tools Ignition Pack 2 bundles includes Ableton Live Lite 6 Digidesign Edition, Propellerhead Software Reason Adapted 3, IK Multimedia AmpliTube LE, and more.
Brookstone has shifted its attention to single-purpose devices with the Digital Photo Keychain. Its 1.4-inch screen and 8MB of memory are just efficient enough to hold photos of family and friends, the mail-order retailer says, storing up to 56 shots. The entire device is equally simple to use and transfers photos through a drag-and-drop interface. Power is provided through a 2.5-hour lithium-ion battery charged through the same USB cable used to transfer files. Brookstone hopes to entice buyers with a $50 price for the keychain, which is shipping today. [via Everything USB]
Audiofile Engineering has introduced voXover, a new voice-over automation tool and batch recorder for Mac OS X designed on Cocoa from the ground up. The software is custom-tailored for multimedia professionals by utilizing CoreAudio, Quartz, and other Mac OS X features to work with large numbers of individual audio files where a typical multi-track recorder isn't feasible. The software enables users to write or import a written script and rapidly automate the recording of that script. Users can display scripts on voXover's teleprompter to the voice talent via a wired or wireless network, and sessions can range from completely automated to completely free-form. Takes are automatically created, named, and annotated as configured in the script. Users can also filter, sort, organize, rearrange, rename, and export takes at any time during a session. The application is priced at $375 and requires mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Ferrari and Meridian today partnered to introduce the F80. The one-piece receiver's style is influenced by the supercar maker and is claimed as stereo equivalent to Ferrari's performance: though small, the system delivers 80W of power across two satellites and an internal subwoofer. This translates to the sheer variety of media options, Meridian says. DAB digital radio allows for pristine broadcasts; the disc drive also handles DVD movies when the F80 is attached to a TV through the video output. Details of its launch are being kept quiet until a full announcement later this year, but Meridian has said it will ship the stereo in several popular Ferrari colors, including the signature red or yellow. Limited-run finishes for the main body should also be available. [via Shiny Shiny]
Shortly after announcing a version with Blu-Ray, Samsung has announced another M55 laptop with an HD DVD drive. Like the Blu-Ray computer, but unlike an earlier HD DVD model, the new system uses a 2GHz Core 2 Duo. The computer is similar to its Blu-Ray sibling in other ways as well, such as 2GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and a GeForce Go 7600. One of the main attractions remains a 17-inch screen, which supports resolutions up to 1080p. The system is on sale in Korea for the equivalent of $3,215.
iLuv today provided an early look at the i185, a video dock that links any fifth-generation iPod with a TV for controlling and watching the Apple player's content through the larger display. The dock replaces the iPod's menu with its own to provide more choices on-screen. The sharper resolution of iTunes videos now lets the iPod serve as a real DVD player replacement, iLuv says, making the dock's introduction well-timed.
Freeverse has released Might and Magic Heroes V for Mac, a new strategy game that features a deep, scalable turn-based battle system for challenging tactical combat. The game includes a new Active Battle System for faster play, and boasts more than 200 skills with 170 creature abilities and 40 spells to build up heroes as well as armies. The darker, heroic fantasy universe is designed with a more mature setting amidst six unique factions and more than 80 different creatures. The storyline features special objectives, side quests, and plot twists. Might and Magic Heroes V for Mac is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
Blockbuster Video is in late talks to acquire the download store Movielink, says the Wall Street Journal. If the reports are true, Movielink would be bought for less than $50 million in cash and stocks, and give Blockbuster a quick means to compete with outlets such as Netflix and BitTorrent. The company would in fact have CEO John Antioco describes as a "triple play": mail, in-store and online orders all from the same source. Movielink is currently owned by MGM Studios, which in turn is shared by Sony, Viacom, Universal and Time Warner. It has mostly been unprofitable, but the potential is great, with recent attention drawn to video downloads by companies like Apple and Wal-Mart.
Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said Tuesday that the company intends to release a Web hosted version of its Photoshop image editing application within six months. Chizen said Adobe broke ground for a hosted Photoshop product with Adobe Remix -- a Web-based video editing tool that the company offers through the PhotoBucket media sharing site, according to News.com. Adobe apparently intends the new Web-based Photoshop variant to compete with Google's Picasa application, and the online photoshop service is part of a larger movement to introduce ad-supported online services that complement the company's existing products, broadening its reach into the consumer market. Like Adobe Remix, the new online photoshop service will be available for free as an entry-level version.
Although making its second announcement with less fanfare than for the video-capable A800 line, Sony on Thursday has also introduced the E01 series of players. These sequels to last year's E00 models have a more conservative look but gain a three-line, color OLED with support for album art -- an unusual feature in its class. The audio-only flash jukebox plays AAC, ATRAC, MP3, and WMA songs for as long as 28 hours on a single charge and (as before) plugs directly into a USB port for charging and music sync. Unlike the A800, the E01 series is split by features as well as by storage: the 1GB E013F and 2GB E015F both have FM radios, while the basic E013 and E015 go without. Prices and ship dates for the Walkman range haven't been revealed, suggesting a release further ahead than the April launch of the larger devices introduced today.
Apple's 'Get a Mac' ad campaign was a hit in the U.S., but the company's efforts to bring that advertisement overseas to the U.K. and Japan conjured up additional difficulties. The ads, which in the U.S. depict a young, hip Justing Long as the "Mac" interacting with an older, office-dwelling John Hodgman as the "PC" struck a chord with Americans. The ads depict the Mac besting his PC counterpart in various situations, usually expressing compassion for the PC when he crashes or catches a "virus." Those same ads would offend most Japanese citizens, however, because in Japan direct comparison advertisements are looked down upon. Japanese culture considers it rude to brag about one's strengths, according to the Wall Street Journal, while the advertisements in the U.K. seemed too arrogant for the taste of some viewers. One columnist in particular said Apple tried to be too cool, and delivered a series of "brutal" coordinated attacks.
As expected, Verizon has finally gone live with streaming television broadcasts through V CAST Mobile TV. The service is only available with the Samsung SCH-U620 however, and only in 20 markets, including Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and Seattle. Contrary to early reports, there are actually three tiers to the service: $13 provides four channels, $15 nets eight, and $25 garners unlimited web access and video downloads. Networks providing content include NBC, CBS, Fox, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and ESPN. Verizon should be expanding Mobile TV in the future, with the LG VX9400 likely to be the next phone to be supported. [via infoSync World]
Apple's forthcoming iPhone may have already entered the initial stages of production, according to one report. Sources claim that Samsung is readying the first shipments of flash storage for the cellular phone, indicating an early start to the manufacturing process. The Expected demand for flash memory caused by the iPhone could have a beneficial effect on flash memory prices. Samsung this year already reduced its contract quotes by nearly 30 percent, and is aware that there could be a supply strain due to upcoming scheduled shipments for the iPhone as well as its capacity conversion to DRAM production, according to Digitimes.
Apple today successfully patented an "electronic device formed with doubleshot injection molding." Although seemingly dry, the patent (originally filed in August 2005) effectively refers to the technique used in Microsoft's Zune player to create its distinctive glowing border effect, creating two differently colored edges to a single plastic shell. It is yet unknown whether Apple intends to use the patent directly in future iPod or Mac products, but the existence of the patent suggests that the Cupertino-based company has contemplated use of the technique. Apple last year settled with after the latter company won a patent on the the menu system used by Apple in its iPod portable media players. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs announced after the settlement that Creative was lucky to have filed for the patent first.
Speaking with the release manager, Cesar Menendez of Zune Insider has learned that a firmware update for the Microsoft audio player is due in mid-March. Three substantial fixes are planned, most notably a remedy to skipping problems encountered with Zune Marketplace files. The v1.3 patch will also improve device detection and synching, and should increase battery life, fixing an FM tuner bug which caused unnecessary power drains while a Zune was in sleep mode. Menendez adds that feature updates may include requests such as podcasting, but it's too early to know if and when they will come.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2, congressional representatives introduced the "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" Act, Hammacher Schlemmer has begun carrying a Wireless Water-Resistant iPod Speaker, and the early bird discount of $100 on registration for Photoshop World is due to expire on March 2nd. The Universal version of Guitar Rig ($340 or $580) from Native Instruments features a state-of-the-art amplifier, cabinet, and microphone modeling with numerous built-in effects. The application also provides access to all of its tools from in an organized layout with a simple tabbed screen to avoid overwhelming users with too many options.
Microsoft still isn't complying with demands to give third-party software makers fair access to Windows code, the European Commission said on Thursday. The regulatory body contended that Microsoft had essentially ignored the 2004 ruling that the company had to make core elements of its OS reasonably accessible to developers from outside companies, which in the past have accused the Windows maker of deliberately hiding away code that gave its own programs a distinct advantage over competitors. "In the 50 years of European antitrust policy, it's the first time we've been confronted with a company that has failed to comply with an antitrust decision," the Commission said.
Japanese outfit Elecom has taken an unusual approach to creating a wireless mouse: instead of relying on Bluetooth or a dock, users plug a dongle into the Prumie's internal USB port, which in turn broadcasts via a standard wireless frequencies. Three different models of the Prumie are available, offering 800 or 1,000dpi resolution, and six different colors: red, blue, brown, black, white and silver. The scrollwheel is both vertical and horizontal, and buttons can be configured to control up to 31 different functions. The mouse will go on sale in late March for prices ranging from 4,410 yen ($37) to 5,775 yen ($49).
Samsung has begun mass production of 60nm DRAM memory, beginning with 1GB DDR2 chips. The advantage to the design is production efficiency, which should create greater yields, possibly decreasing the cost of DRAM in general. Samsung estimates that the 60nm technique should be 40 percent more efficient than current 80nm processes, and 50 percent better than 90nm "general process" technology. What may keep prices from going down, however, is Windows Vista -- the high-end editions require 1GB of DRAM, which could create enough demand to meet the new supply. The new chips should become standard in 2008, with chips 50nm and smaller already in development.
Apple's upcoming iPhone may be entering the earliest stages of production, according to DigiTimes. Sources within the memory industry claim that Samsung is readying its first shipments of flash storage for the cellphone, indicating an early start to the manufacturing process. The sheer expected demand for flash caused by the iPhone could have a beneficial effect on flash memory prices, the same insiders say. Where competitors Hynix and Samsung have had to drop the prices on their contract offers by a dramatic amount -- by as much as 30 percent, according to reports -- the Apple deal would let the company lock in its prices for the near future by practically controlling the Korean firm's production lines. The effect of the cuts on the iPhone's $499 price tag remain unknown.
Apple's iTunes Store has begun selling an independent snowboarding action film called "That" made for DVD by Forum Snowboards. The addition of an independent film marks the first time iTunes has sold video content outside of an established network or large studio, and suggests that the Mac-maker may consider future deals with independent artists to sell videos via its market-leading digital storefront. The indie content is priced at $1.99 in the iTunes TV section, however, rather than the feature film area where most titles are priced at $9.99, according to Variety. "That" runs for roughly 30 minutes, so despite its $29.99 original price tag Apple apparently decided to place and price the video as a TV show. "We're thrilled to be able to pioneer an agreement like this with iTunes," said Mike Nusenow, general manager of the Program, Forum's parent company.
Samsung today hoped to appeal to world travelers with the W2500. One of the Korean cellphone maker's increasing number of slim slider phones at 0.54 inches, the phone's chief appeal is its flexibility. The W2500 supports both GSM and WCDMA networks, letting it connect to multiple Asian and European networks -- including the third-generation HSDPA mobile Internet access used in both regions. Equally unique are 3D-effect menus, Samsung says, though the exact workings of the feature remain unknown. Also present are a 2-megapixel camera at the back and a microSD card slot for storing music and videos. The phone will debut today in Korea with black and silver models, but should find its way to Europe at a later date.
Apple today was successfully granted a patent for an "electronic device formed with doubleshot injection molding." Although seemingly dry, the patent (originally filed in August 2005) effectively refers to the technique used in Microsoft's Zune player to create its distinctive glowing border effect, creating two differently colored walls out of a single plastic shell. The patent suggests that Apple has at least explored the idea of pursuing what Microsoft ultimately chose as the defining aspect of its music player's style. More details and selected photos can be found after the break.
Analyst firm Goldman Sachs is confident that Apple shares represent a core holding and should be bought on any sign of weaknesses, following the analyst Q&A session with the iPod-maker in Las Vegas, according to Forbes. "Apple continues to reinforce its emphasis on and ability to innovate at levels that separate it from other companies," analyst David Bailey wrote. Bailey also said that the iPhone is sufficiently innovative to garner Apple's 10-million-unit target for fiscal 2008 despite the high cost of the iPhone. Additionally, the analyst stated that the doubling of Apple's iTunes gift card sales in the December quarter should lead to an uptick of iTunes revenue in the current quarter. Wednesday afternoon Apple shares rose 1.1 percent, $0.90, to $84.83.
Sony has launched the Walkman A800 series, which Sony claims is "the world's lightest video player." Designed to be a blend between a full-size media jukebox and a slim, flash-based music device, the A800 series is thicker than the iPod nano at 0.36 inches but features a larger 2-inch screen for full screen video in MPEG-4 or AVC (H.264) formats. Sony claims the device offers "exceptional" battery life with 30 hours of continuous music playback and 8 hours of video playback. The device reflects the company's relatively open approach to audio formats and supports AAC, MP3 and WMA in addition to the Japanese-based firm's own ATRAC standard. The 2GB A805 and 4GB A806 models will be available in black, blue, pink and white; the 8GB A808 model will be available only in black or white. Prices are set at $240, $300 and $400, respectively. The A800 series will be available in Europe starting in April (a US launch date has yet to be announced).
Equinux on Thursday revealed Tubestick, a DVB-T television receiver in what Equinux describes as a "white 'Apple-style' case". The diminutive device connects to a Mac via USB and includes TheTube software to record television to the Mac; it integrates with the Apple Remote and iTunes library for seamless access to media and offers the ability to store tuning information for multiple locations. The software also enables configurations to be easily shared between multiple Macs. The channel overview displays the titles of all shows currently running as well as saves a preview image and information such as the shows name and length in the TV-archive. Tubestick with TheTube is available immediately in the following countries, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Holland and Sweden. Tubestick is priced at $55.
Virtual network operator Helio on Thursday announced the Heat, a uniquely stylized slider phone. The variant of the Samsung A303 uses touch-sensitive controls around the central keypad, minimizing the clutter at the front. As with the Drift, GPS is built-in and uses Google Maps to both pinpoint the phone's location as well as use the carrier's Buddy Beacon feature to find other users. A 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and MP3/MP4 playback are further shared with other Helio models. Software and a gallery follow after the jump.
As promised, Sony early this morning launched the A800 series. Also known as the MP3 Video Walkman, the player is dubbed the world's lightest video player by the company considered a blend between a full-sized media jukebox and a slim, flash-based music device. The finished A800 is slightly thicker than the iPod nano at 0.36 inches but uses a larger, 2-inch screen: the extra space provides for video in MPEG-4 or AVC (H.264) at full speed. The battery life is also exceptional, according to Sony's claims, at 30 hours of continuous music and 8 hours of movies. The new Walkman reflects Sony's more open approach to audio formats and handles AAC, MP3, and WMA along with the Japanese firm's own ATRAC standard.
Apple could sell as many 10.8 million iPods in the March quarter, beating Merrill Lynch estimates of by 6 percent if the company's iPod line continues its January sales trends. The firm currently estimates that Apple will sell 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, but noted January numbers released by market research firm NPD are tracking slightly ahead of its estimates. They were tracking, however, more inline with consensus estimates, which Merrill says are near 11 million units. While the January data provide confirmation of the company estimates on average selling price (ASP), Merrill said it was too early to call the quarter, noting that January numbers were not enough to provide revised estimates and that the raw January numbers reflect a 5-week selling period.
The much publicized Mac WiFi hack from last summer may have been real after all, according to the original researcher who discovered the alleged vulnerability and promised to release the code. The security flaw, which Apple blamed on a third-party WiFi card, appears to affect pre-Mac OS X 10.4.8 systems; it was demonstrated on Wednesday on a MacBook running Mac OS X 10.4.6 at the Black Hat DC event, but researchers note that updates to fix the problem have been around since last September. CNET News.com reports that the Mac crashed crashed while scanning for a wireless network and coming across the malicious code researcher David Maynor was using from his Toshiba laptop. Though he demonstrated only caused a crash, Maynor claimed the exploit could also be used to run arbitrary code on the Mac.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R