App and Media stores, iTunes Match and Radio unavailable to some users
[Update: problems resolved as of approximately 7:45PM ET] For the second time in as many days, Apple's online stores are unavailable for an undetermined percentage of users. The current outage, which began around 4:30PM ET and is ongoing, is affecting the both the iOS and Mac App Stores, the iBookstore, and a variety of iTunes services such as iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Radio and the iTunes Store. Other iCloud services, such as Siri, email, FaceTime and syncing services are not affected.
Changes make iTunes video content more useful
Apple has made two important improvements to its German video offerings, reports say. The most important is iTunes in the Cloud support for movies and TV shows; this means that content bought or rented on one device can be downloaded elsewhere, or again, at no extra cost, as long as it's tied to the same Apple ID. By extension, the second change is that TV shows hosted on iTunes can now be viewed on an Apple TV.
FaceTime, iTunes Match, other iCloud features briefly affected
Several of Apple's online services were briefly impacted by outages earlier today, according to Apple's System Status page. The worst affected the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores between 1:28 and 2:57PM Eastern time, preventing some people from making any purchases. During the same time period, people may have been unable to use iTunes in the Cloud or iTunes Match, or restore purchases from an iCloud backup.
Version 11.0.5 taken directly from recent fix in iOS 7 beta 6
On Friday, Apple updated iTunes to version 11.0.5, which fixes an issue with "iTunes in the Cloud," a part of the free iCloud service that automatically backs up iTunes Store purchases. The issue caused some downloads or playing of recently-redownloaded files to "play unexpected items" rather than what the user intended to get. The update is available for both OS X, Windows (32-bit) and 64-bit Windows implementations (Vista, 7 or 8). The fix for the problem was originally seen in the latest iOS 7 beta currently being tested by developers.
Expansion efforts center around Europe
Apple has officially expanded the reach of iTunes in the Cloud movie support to eight more countries. Of these, Japan may be the most prominent, although the other countries are located entirely within Europe. The list includes Austria, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Puts items in Purchased queue for later access
Apple has quietly added a "Later" option for iTunes downloads, reports say. The feature appears in both iTunes 11 and iOS 6, and lets people buy larger files without immediately downloading them. Items then show up in the Purchased section of a person's iTunes account, where they can then be downloaded when a reliable Internet connection is available.
Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands seeing access
(Updated with complete list of countries) Access to movies and TV shows via iTunes in the Cloud is rolling out across several more European countries, reports say. The one confirmed country is France, where the feature has been tested with both iTunes and the Apple TV. Various people on Twitter, however, are claiming that the option is now also available in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Bluetooth keyboard support, iCloud music streaming among upgrades
Today's Apple TV 5.2 update, released alongside iOS 6.1, adds a few new features. The most important may be the ability to stream music via iTunes in the Cloud, cutting out the need to stream from a connected computer or iOS device. Accordingly Apple has also incorporated Up Next, the feature first seen in iTunes 11 that shows what music is coming up and allows for quick editing of the playlist.
Last major studio joins fold
This week's expanded iTunes in the Cloud movie services are also including Fox titles for the first time, users note. While Fox movies have been on sale through iTunes for some time, the option to redownload them via iCloud has been conspicuously absent. Fox was the last major studio holdout, following Universal's arrival in April; extended rights negotiations are likely to blame.
Separate from iTunes Match growth
(Updated with additional countries) Movie support has been added to iTunes in the Cloud in three more regions. The UK, Canada, and Columbia now have access to the feature, which ensures that movies bought on one device are automatically available for download elsewhere. Previously the countries could only use the option for music, apps, books, and music videos.
Includes music, movies, iCloud services
Apple has announced that the iTunes Store is now available in 12 new regions in Asia. These include Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Local visitors can now buy music from iTunes -- including local and international artists -- and either rent or buy movies, including titles from major studios like Fox, Paramount, Sony, Disney, and Warner Brothers.
Google Play Movies possibly forced into full sales
Google Play's Movies section may be steered into offering full movie sales against Google's own will. Multiple movie industry contacts described a situation to CNET where Google was interested in offering the service, but primarily as it was required to get any rentals from certain studios. Movie rentals were "tiny," the informants said, hinting that Google wanted to get what it could.
Was affecting files larger than 15MB
Apple confirmed an issue with iTunes in the Cloud earlier this evening that was preventing some users from streaming or downloading content from their iCloud account for a short period, AppleInsider reports. The issue appears to have begun around 6:30 p.m. Eastern time but was apparently resolved around two and a half hours later, judging from reports in an Apple Support community thread.
iTunes in the Cloud and 3G App Store get new limit
A studio veteran divulged Wednesday that the iTunes in the Cloud access coming hand-in-hand with the new Apple TV and iTunes 10.6 doesn't include Fox and Universal. Either was tangled in HBO deals that gave the premium cable network brief exclusives that conflicted with the re-download rights, AllThingsD heard. HBO confirmed the issue but expected to find "common ground" that would clear full access.
New Apple TV official with 1080p, iOS-like UI
As expected, Apple on Wednesday officially announced a new Apple TV, capable of 1080p video playback. The user interface has been improved as well, and people will have the ability to stream movies they've already purchased on iTunes via iCloud. Previously, only TV shows could be streamed. Corresponding with the hardware upgrade, iTunes movies are now being offered in 1080p for the first time.
Changes hit desktop, mobile iTunes apps
The Japanese version of iTunes in the Cloud now supports music, says Macotakara. Users of the desktop and mobile versions of the iTunes Store can now visit a "Purchased" tab to redownload previously-bought music. Prior to this week, only apps and books could be redownloaded in Japan, likely because of rights issues.
iTunes Match comes to Brazil
Apple has now formally confirmed the expansion of the iTunes Store to a host of Latin American countries. The strongest emphasis is on Brazil, where the initial music catalog is said to include over 20 million songs, including the first digital editions of Roberto Carlos' collection. Apple says that most songs are priced at 99 cents, and most albums at $9.99.
Microsoft may have forced staffer out of Apple
Microsoft may have blackballed Apple's choice of datacenter head in the moves that ultimately led to Apple hiring from Yahoo, according an unusually detailed rumor. After fighting opposition from his immediate management on his way out, Kevin Timmons was supposedly met by CEO Steve Ballmer, SAI heard. Timmons may have had an "attitude" during the meeting that led to Ballmer reaching Apple directly, threatening legal action if Apple completed the hire.
Google presses for music store again
Google's abortive attempt at a music store has been renewed, label executives outlined in a leak Thursday. It would embody the same basic concept, but it would be a "more extensive service," the NY Times said. In ideal conditions, it would go live within several weeks.
Apple near deals with movie studios for cloud movi
Apple is getting close to a deal that would let it serve its iTunes movies from the cloud rather than locally, sources claimed Thursday. The terms understood by the LA Times and backed by the WSJ would let Apple stream any movie a user buys or rents. Access would apply across any iTunes device, including the Apple TV, where the lack of permanent storage makes streaming its only real option.
Part of Apple's iCloud rollout
The iTunes in the Cloud service is now available in several more regions around the world, users say. Canada, France, Australia and the UK are among the main territories, but other countries are said to be getting the option as well. When available the option lets people re-download music, apps and books from iTunes, or else have the content automatically pushed to multiple devices.
Apple iPhone 4S real-time coverage
(Update: done) Apple is about to hold its promised "Let's Talk iPhone" event at the Town Hall in its Cupertino headquarters. The event is known to be introducing the iPhone 4S as well as final launch details for iOS 5. Final details for iCloud and iTunes Match may also occur. Check into our real-time coverage starting at 1PM Eastern for details as they appear.
Apple wants international iTunes cloud deals
Apple is pressing to get the same deals for iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match in the rest of the world that it has in the US, contacts explained Friday. Label negotiation details relayed to CNET had it replicating the same terms in other countries. Deals were "close," but nothing had been formalized yet, the insiders said.
Google Magnifier hopes to spark life in Music Beta
Google sought to bring the limelight back to Music Beta once more late Wednesday with the appearance of its Magnifier blog. The page will highlight artists, ranging from interviews to genre delves and videos of live events. As an incentive to keep visiting, though, it plans to offer free songs every day that will automatically head to a listener's Music Beta cloud for listening elsewhere.
Movies yet to come
In tandem with implementing the option for Apple TVs, Apple has also enabled redownloading purchased TV shows in iTunes, checks show. The feature is located with the Purchased tab in the iTunes desktop software. Movies cannot be redownloaded as of yet.
Android Market hints at Google music store
A redesigned Android Market has hinted that Google's plans for its own music store may still be on the cards. Images for section headers include the expected app and movies sections but also a set of currently unused orange music icons. Android and Me's explorer didn't locate other giveaways, but much of the content from within a given section downloads when the app runs.
Pew reveals many use smartphone as only access
Pew Internet in a new study on Monday revealed that a full quarter of American smartphone owners use the device as their main Internet source. The tally leaves 10 percent of all US cellphone owners more dependent on their phones than a computer to get online. About a third of those have no home broadband at all, leaving them either partly or completely dependent on the phone to get online.
HP Play music syncing enters beta
HP launched an early strike at iCloud this weekend with the quiet rollout of a beta for HP Play. The music syncing service lets users stream their music collections both from webOS devices such as the TouchPad as well as Macs and Windows PCs. The desktop app is based on the open Songbird app and will even serve as an iTunes equivalent, importing music from Apple's app and syncing webOS hardware over USB.
Spotify says real US launch coming soon
Spotify after years of promises confirmed through a sign-up page on Wednesday that its service would be coming to the US "soon." While still shy on details, the music service is now taking e-mail addresses for invitations. The company claims "any track, any time, anywhere" for "free," although it's presumed it will have the same recently limited free service as in Europe.
Amazon back to negotiating for deeper Cloud Player
A seeming off-hand reference after repeating leaks of Amazon's tablet plans has revealed that Amazon is back into negotiations to improve Cloud Player. The company is "very engaged" with music labels to go beyond the upload-only service it launched with before. Progress and the nature of the services weren't mentioned to AllThingsD's sources for the claim.
iTunes Match unveiled at WWDC
Apple on Monday lived up to rumors and launched iTunes Match, its cloud music. Separate from iCloud, the service matches up a listener's songs with iTunes' collections and gives access to 256Kbps AAC streaming versions, even if the bitrate is lower on the original source. Songs it doesn't find are still uploaded and create a full match for an iTunes collection that can then stream to iOS, iTunes, and other devices.