Apple's decision to credit early iPhone buyers $100 toward the purchase of other Apple products in an attempt to alleviate anger triggered by the massive 33-40 percent price drop enacted just 10 weeks after the device's introduction represents an about-face in the company's stance on such rebates. In fact, in 2003, Apple argued a Microsoft settlement that "fewer than 25 percent of customers redeem these types of vouchers." That criticism concerned Microsoft's $1.1 billion antitrust settlement, which consisted of vouchers worth up to $29. Wired reports "The vouchers, which are still being paid off, could be converted to cash upon proof of purchase of most any computer device or software from any company. Details about Apple's rebate are expected soon. Will Apple issue its own 'vouchers?'"
Apple may be planning on bringing on movie rentals very soon, according new information found by a user when trying to report a problem about iTunes. In a screenshot taken by David Watanabe, the iTunes feedback/refund reporting system has severals options to report issues related to Movie Rentals -- specifically if you did not receive the movie, accidental purchase, content quality, duplicate purchase, wrong version, bad metadata, and other options were provided in the refund request menu. "I was trying to report a problem via iTunes, and this pop-up for selecting a reason contains some interesting/revealing strings," Watanbe wrote. "Looks like 'RentalMovies' will be coming to the iTunes store." Several users confirmed the presence of the options on iTunes, but the system appears to be down as of Saturday afternoon (PST).
Apple on Friday quietly released iTunes 7.4.1, a minor update to the company's jukebox software that is only available via the Web (38MB). Although the company has not specifically described the changes, some report that after the update they were no longer able to use circulating custom ringtone workaround, which allowed users to make any AAC file into a ringtone. Discovered soon after the initial release of iTunes 7.4, users were able to simply rename any AAC track to .M4R and load it into iTunes (by double-clicking, for example): on the next iPhone sync, users will automatically be able to use the ringtones via the iTunes ringtone tab. iTunes 7.4.1 allows previously renamed tracks to exists, but does not allow newly renamed files to show up as ringtones. Update: Users report that they can simply follow the original method and under iTunes 4.1 simple add another step: change the file extension from m4r file back to m4a and the newly renamed file will appear in the iTunes 7.4.1 sync list automatically.
A series of lawyers are claiming that the introduction of Apple's new iPods on September 5th reinforce antitrust claims against the company, partially because the new devices, like their predecessors, cannot playback Microsoft's competing Windows Media Audio, or WMA, format. The suit alleges that Apple's devices are capable of playing these files, but disables them with "crippleware" in order to force iPod and nano owners to buy songs from iTunes. Wired reports that Apple could license the WMA format from Microsoft for less than 2 cents per iPod, lawyers say, "which would make iPods and iPhones, old and new, compatible with music purchased online from rivals like Wal-Mart, Napster, Best Buy, Yahoo and others."
Apple may launch its iPhone campaign in Europe with a 3G-capable iPhone with enhanced storage, according to what appears to be a leaked ad from T-Mobile Germany. The ad promises a version of the handset with support for 3G-level cellular Internet access using both the US-friendly HSDPA format and typically Europe-only UMTS, with theoretical download speeds reaching the format's full 3.6Mbps. It also suggests that the device will carry 16GB of memory, representing the first storage upgrade to the device since its launch in June. Visual Voicemail and the 2-megapixel camera would remain the same as for the US version.
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BlackBerry video calling available on iOS
BlackBerry has made its video calling feature available to Android and iOS users. The company reports limited availability of the new cross-platform feature for now, citing "because this is the first time we're launching BBM Video calling, and we want to monitor performance, gather feedback, and iron out any kinks that may arise before we roll it out globally." http://blck.by/1ruu4pC
Apple loses iPhone brand exclusivity in China
Apple has lost its exclusive rights to the 'iPhone' brand in China, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court has ruled. According to Quartz, Chinese company Xintong Tiandi is now free to continue selling its non-smartphone "IPHONE" branded products, which include smartphone cases, among other leather goods. The Chinese court ruled that Xintong Tiandi, which registered the "IPHONE" trademark in 2007, could continue to use the trademark because Apple did not start selling the iPhone in China until 2009. Apple also could not prove that Xintong Tiandi's ongoing use of the trademark would cause Apple material harm. The latest ruling by the Chinese government follows its recent decision to shut down the iTunes Movies and iBooks Store. http://bit.ly/1SNhRmB
Bowers & Wilkins bought by EVA Automation
High-end UK audio equipment maker and fixture in Apple retail stores Bowers & Wilkins has been bought out by a California "smart home" tech firm, EVA Automation. Fomer Bowers & Wilkins owner Joe Atkins will continue as CEO of the joint venture, with EVA Automation founder Gordon Yu acting as executive chairman. The two companies said the merger will combine EVA's AV technologies and Bowers & Wilkins' acoustic engineering talents to grow the now-combined firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it is expected that the Bowers & Wilkins brand name will continue. http://yhoo.it/1SLt6zj
Micromat MacCheck released for free
Micromat, the developers of TechTool Pro, today announced a new troubleshooting utility called MacCheck. The new product can perform a series of critical tests on Macintosh systems, helping to isolate what might be wrong with a particular computer. The program quickly tests many of the critical systems in a Macintosh computer, including RAM, I/O, Volume Structures, Partition Maps, Batteries, and RAID systems. MacCheck is being offered free of charge and is available for download immediately from the Micromat website. http://bit.ly/1SKFwaV
Hyundai Sonata 2016 gains CarPlay
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata can now be upgraded to incorporate Apple's CarPlay mobile technology, which augments the built-in infotainment system in the car to incorporate many iPhone features, such as Apple Maps and Siri voice control of navigation and other smartphone functions. The upgrade is accomplished through an SD card owners can obtain from their local Hyundai dealer. Although not disclosed, the upgrade was said to cost "a small fee" when it was initially announced in December of last year. http://bit.ly/1TJzK8f
TimePorter carry tote for Apple Watch
Twelvesouth today began shipping TimePorter, a new travel tote and portable charging stand for Apple Watch that that carries a 6m Apple Watch charging cable, extra Watch bands, USB chargers and more. The case also incorporates the Apple Watch Charging Disc, converting your case into a charging and display stand. It is available for $50 in white or black. http://bit.ly/1SCQM4T
WaterField cycling ride pouches
WaterField's new cycling ride pouches are custom-fit to carry both in one compact kit and are ready for the summer cycling season. The Cycling Ride Pouch includes a clear window that allows basic phone access with the phone still safely within the case, and the Cycling Club Pouch incorporates a padded phone pocket to separate up to an iPhone 6 Plus-sized phone from the tool compartment. Both handsome pouches fit neatly in a back jersey pocket, with optimized surface area for comfort. The Cycling Ride Pouch sells for $80, with the Club Pouch retailing for $50. http://bit.ly/1rRqN4e