Digital downloads have made purchasing content on the Internet remarkably easy. Each year, millions of people purchase games, music, movies and software through services such as Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes store, Steam and other digital platforms. The majority of people are unaware that most of the content they purchase isn’t actually theirs, however, as non-transferable licenses impose many restrictions on how people can use the content they download. One Hollywood A-lister has had enough with these licenses and is considering legal action against Apple over the rights to his iTunes library, The Daily Mail reported. Bruce Willis was hoping to give his vast digital music collection to his children upon his death, but such an act is illegal according to Apple’s Terms of Service agreement. The actor is reportedly weighing his legal options against the Cupertino-based company and may actively support proposed legislation in five U.S. states that aims to give downloaders more rights to their digital content.
Apple is reportedly planning a complete overhaul of its iTunes service, marking one of the largest changes since the music software debuted in 2003, Bloomberg reported. According to the publication’s sources, the changes will closely integrate the Cupertino-based company’s iCloud storage service with iTunes, allowing users to seamlessly access and manage their music, videos and downloaded apps across various devices. Apple has reportedly been negotiating with major record labels for rights to offer a feature that would allow users to share music with a friend for free. Music labels have also been urging the company to offer a subscription service to compete with Spotify, however it is unlikely to do so according to Bloomberg. Apple is expected to unveil the changes to iTunes by the end of this year. More →
Apple has been dethroned as the dominant player in the U.S. online movie business. According to a recent report from market research firm IHS iSuppli, Netflix surged past Apple’s iTunes service in 2011 to become the largest U.S. online movie service by revenue. Netflix’s market share soared to 44% in 2011, an increase from less than 1% in 2010, while Apple’s share of total revenue declined to 32.3% last year from a 60.8% in 2010, despite seeing strong revenue growth. “2011 marked a sea change in the online movies business that saw the balance of consumer spending shift from a DVD-like transactional model to more TV-like subscription approach,” said Dan Cryan, research director for digital media at IHS. “The online movie business more than doubled in 2011 to reach $992 million and it is expected to double this year as well.” IHS iSuppli’s press release follows below. More →
Apple has just released a new version of iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Listed changes are as follows:
This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:
• Improves reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut
• Addresses bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks
• Fixes bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances
• Improved reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List
• Fixes an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase
For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
The new iOS build is available for download as an over-the-air update for users with iOS 5.0 or later installed on their devices, or it can be downloaded and installed using iTunes. iOS 5.1.1 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2, iPad and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch devices.
Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone 4S can now be SIM-unlocked in just a few easy steps, as can any previous version of Apple’s popular smartphone line. The new unlock procedure, mapped out this past weekend by mobile hacker “Loktar_Sun,” will allow iPhone owners to use a SIM card from any compatible carrier rather than just the carrier from which the phone was purchased. Users need only jailbreak their iPhones and follow a simple 13-step procedure to unlock their handsets, though caution should obviously be taken and the procedure will void the manufacturer’s warranty. This is a great option for international travelers and those who want to use an iPhone on T-Mobile’s U.S. network, however, and numerous users have successfully used the guide to unlock their iPhones. More →
Kickstarter is filled with some brilliant, some not-so-brilliant and some very strange ideas, and if user interest is any indication, the Pebble ePaper smartwatch can likely be filed under brilliant. Allerta, the company behind the product, opened a Kickstarter page less than a week ago and has already become the most funded project of all time on the site, which allows users to make small and large donations toward projects they want to back. The company’s initial goal was to raise $100,000, however in the past six days the project has accumulated a whopping $3.6 million in funding. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft’s wildly popular Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 brought motion-based controls to the masses when it launched in late 2010. While similar technology will be built into a variety of consumer electronics moving forward — especially HDTVs — Mac users now have access to a free app that will add gesture controls to their current OS X computers. Currently compatible with just two programs, iTunes and Spotify, the Flutter app for Mac allows users to control music and video playback by making hand gestures that are recorded and relayed by the PC’s built-in iSight camera. The app is an early alpha build, yet we found that it performs as described and it worked well even from a few feet away. Flutter is not yet available in the Mac App Store, but it can be downloaded for free directly from the company’s website. A video showcasing the app follows below. More →
The past year was a good year for the music industry as sales rose to their best highest point in eight years. According to the IFPI’s annual Recording Industry In Numbers report, revenue from physical media fell by 8.7%, compared with 13.8% in 2010, but were vinyl sales up nearly 29%. Digital revenue continued to grow, increasing 8%, compared to 5.6% in 2010, with digital track sales growing 19% to 3.7 billion songs. Australia leads the way in the digital space with 60% growth, compared with 8% growth in the U.S. and 10% in the U.K. $1.27 billion in digital singles were sold in the U.S., while the U.K. accounted for $176.2 million. Digital sales made up 31% of the total revenue of the music market and reached $5.3 billion in sales. Overall global music revenue fell by just 3% in the last year, however. “2011 marked the least negative result in global recorded music sales since 2004, when revenues were flat,” the report read. The IFPI credits services like Spotify, iTunes, and unlimited-access operators like Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody for bringing new revenue models to customers that have helped the U.S. music market. More →
Three separate lawsuits have been filed in China on behalf of 12 writers who claim Apple is selling unlicensed versions of their works in its iBookstore. Apple is accused of selling 59 unlicensed works in total, and the three suits seek a combined $3.5 million in damages. Apple has not denied the allegations, though the company did say that it responds to intellectual property complaints quickly. “As an IP holder ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately,” Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told the Associated Press. Wang Guohua, a lawyer representing the group of writers, said Apple violated copyright laws by making the books available for purchase without securing the necessary licenses. Wang also said that while some titles were removed after lawsuits were filed in January, many have been uploaded to Apple’s digital store again and Apple has not taken the appropriate measures to prevent the pirated books from being sold. “Some developers, with whom Apple has contracts, put them back online again,” he said. “It is encouragement in disguise, because they did not punish the developers. The developers could have been kicked out. But nothing happened to them.” More →
Apple’s rumored iOS-powered high-definition television will enter production in May or June ahead of a launch slated for the fourth quarter this year, one analyst claims. Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek met with unnamed sources during a recent trip to the East, and he now believes Apple’s “iTV” is a sure thing. “Specialty components have begun to ship to Apple’s Asia panel suppliers with polarized films, filters, and IGZO components starting to move in small quantities,” the analyst wrote in a note to investors Tuesday morning. “We expect commercial production in May/ June with 2M to 5M builds likely. We still expect a CQ4 launch.” Apple’s HDTV has been rumored for quite some time, and it is expected to feature unique voice controls powered by Siri. Apple’s is also reportedly working on a subscription offering that will treat TV channels like apps and allow users to subscribe to individual channels or bundles of channels a la carte.
Apple on Tuesday was granted a significant patent by the United States Trademark & Patent Office, Patently Apple reported. The technology, which is supported by 23 Patent Claims, allows credit card companies to send statements directly to a user’s iTunes account for purchases made using an NFC-enabled iPhone. Account holders will also be able to allow a secondary account holder, such as a child, to make purchases on the same card while allowing the primary account holder to control spending and implement various limits. Even though NFC technology has been featured in a number of Android devices, some believe that the technology won’t go mainstream in a number of markets until an iPhone is equipped with a mobile payment solution. More →
Apple has plans to launch a subscription television service by Christmas this year, according to a recent report from the New York Post. The paper states that Apple wants the service to treat channels like apps, allowing the user to purchase subscriptions for either individual channels or groups of channels a la carte. Apple has long been rumored to be pitching the service to top media executives, but according to the Post, the negotiations are not going well. Eddie Cue is reportedly leading the talks and content providers have seemingly not been partial to his propositions. Apple’s pitch can be summed up as “we decide the price, we decide what content,” one of the Post’s sources said. “They want everything for nothing,” said another. Apple apparently plans to launch some form of its TV service by the end of the year with or without full cooperation from the networks, and the service is expected to be available on Apple TV as well as the new iOS-powered HDTV Apple will reportedly launch later this year. More →
Apple has hired a former marketing executive from Microsoft to help promote the App Store and iTunes in Europe, MCV reports. Robin Burrowes, former head of Xbox LIVE marketing in the EMEA region for Microsoft, joined Apple in January according to his LinkedIn profile. His formal duties at Apple remain unclear — Burrowes’s profile only states that his role involves “App Store Marketing” — but the executive’s background suggests gaming will be a strong focus. Apple has hired a number of executives with experience in the gaming market recently, including Nintendo’s former head of public relations Robert Saunders and former Activision, EA and Xbox PR head Nick Grange. The video game industry finds itself among a number of businesses that have been disrupted by Apple’s iOS lineup, and the company’s recent hires suggest that Apple intends to continue pushing the gaming capabilities of its mobile device lineup. More →