Yes, it seems that Steve Jobs knew what he was doing when he decided to launch the iTunes store all those years ago. Apple (AAPL) announced on Wednesday that it has now sold more than 25 billion songs over iTunes, an astonishing figure for the online store that has changed how people buy and listen to music. For the record, the 25 billionth song downloaded was something called “Monkey Drums” (Goksel Vancin Remix) by Chase Buch, which was downloaded by a German man named Phillip Lüpke. To celebrate his remarkable achievement of downloading a song, Apple is giving Lüpke an iTunes gift card worth €10,000.
Apple (AAPL) announced on Thursday its iTunes Store is now available in 56 new countries including India, Russia, South Africa and Turkey, bringing the company’s digital store to a total of 119 countries. All customers will have access to music available in DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding as well as iCloud. Along with popular international artists such as The Beatles and Coldplay, Apple says the new iTunes Stores includes music from local artists including “Elka in Russia, Sezen Aksu in Turkey, AR Rahman in India, and Zahara in South Africa.” Movies for rent or purchase are available only in the four aforementioned countries. MacRumors also has a great breakdown of every single new country that now has the iTunes Store. Apple’s press release follows below.
With just one day to spare, Apple (AAPL) on Thursday released the latest version of its popular media hub, iTunes. Announced this past September and reportedly delayed due to engineering issues, Apple promised that iTunes 11 would launch in November and now it finally has. Highlights include a completely redesigned player view, a new library view, a new recommendation system, a redesigned store, enhanced iCloud and iTunes Match support, and a new feature that finally saves the position of a video or audio book if you pause on one device and continue playing on another. iTunes 11 is available immediately for both OS X and Windows, and it can be downloaded via the source link below or using Apple’s software update feature.
Apple (AAPL) has reportedly been unable to come to an agreement with the world’s largest music publishing company over licensing fees for its Pandora-like music streaming service that was set to debut alongside the iPhone 5, according to the New York Post. Sony/ATV is said have wanted a higher rate per song stream, however Apple refused to agree to the publisher’s request. Music distributors, such as Pandora (P), usually pay a statutory rate that has been set for all songs played on the Internet. Apple is looking to do more than Pandora, however, and instead had to negotiate with individual rights holders like Sony/ATV. According to the New York Post’s sources, Apple is interested in more flexible licenses that will permit the company to direct users to its iTunes store to generate sales. The license would also allow the Cupertino-based company’s service to play a selected artist more times than Pandora and other music services are currently allowed. Talks are said to be ongoing. More →
Not to be overlooked in the hype surrounding the iPhone 5 was Apple’s (AAPL) revamping of its classic iTunes music software to feature full integration with its iCloud data storage service. Among other things, the new iTunes has added a “play next” feature that lets users queue up any song as next on their playlist without dragging and dropping, as well as a revamped mini-player that now comes equipped with built-in search functionality to make it less intrusive than previous versions. The new iTunes will be available for download in October.
Reports dating back more than a year have suggested that Apple (AAPL) is working on a streaming music offering similar to the services provided by Pandora (P) or Spotify, and chatter resurfaced late Thursday. The Wall Street Journal cited multiple unnamed sources in claiming that Apple is currently holding talks with music labels to offer such a service. Earlier reports suggested the service would be tied to iTunes, and the Journal notes that it would be available across Apple’s range of computers and mobile devices, and possibly also on Windows PCs. A recent Nielsen survey found that more adults use Pandora to listen to music than iTunes. More →
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 →