Flying straight in the face of recent claims from various Apple blogs, The Financial Times is reporting that Apple is aiming for a September launch of its internet tablet. The Cupertino-based company has also apparently found itself some rather unusual partners for its rumored device — EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group. The partnership, supposedly codenamed Cocktail, is an effort to combat slumping music sales by creating albums that include such things as liner notes and video clips. One thing that isn’t new however, is the claim Apple is preparing for a Christmas-time blitz against both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s e-book stores and readers. As for the possibility of a cellular radio, FT is reporting that it’s slim to none which really makes us wonder what’s up with all of those Verizon/Apple tablet rumors. Separate device? Complete BS? With September just over a month away, information should start flowing pretty soon if the FT rumor has any credence.
Taking a step in the right direction, sorta, MySpace is going to be offering loads of free music starting September 25. Technically, it isn’t really going to be free since it will likely be plastered with ads from the likes of McDonald’s, Sony, Toyota and so on. Still, it’s a pretty cool idea: You get to select all the tracks you want to slap onto your playlist and listen to them all for free with maybe a banner or two here and there to remind you who’s responsible for the luxury. There are already several programs and sites that allow you to do this but none so far that have garnered the approval of the big music companies. Looks like Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and EMI (owner of The Beatles catalog and the cause for delay in their appearance on iTunes) are on board and totally supporting this venture. This is really good news for music lovers and for the music industry in general since it’s cool to be able to listen to the tracks you want to without jumping over hurdles or sneaking behind back doors. The only catch is you can listen to the music online only and aren’t able to download them onto your MP3 players. However if you hear it and like it, there will be direct links to Amazon.com’s music store. With Android having an Amazon music store app and now this feature on MySpace, iTunes is going to have a little competition.
Music lovers in the UK, Nokia now has a new phone for you. The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic ‘Comes With Music’ edition will be the first handset to feature Nokia’s new “Comes with Music” service. Makes sense, right? The subscription model music service allows phone owners one year of free access to Nokia’s music catalog which includes artists from Sony BMG, EMI, Warner Music, and Universal Music Group. Users can download tracks to one phone and one computer and are able keep the downloaded tracks after their free subscription expires. A “relatively high” download limit has been hinted at and PlaysForSure DRM is expected to hinder your overall music experience. After the trial year has ended, you can purchase new music by renewing your subscription (for a fee of course) or by purchasing on a track by track basis. If you buy a new Comes with Music phone, you can transfer your purchased music to your new phone. One little problem with that scenario is how do you coordinate a 12 month subscription service with an 18 month contract? Hmm. Hopefully that question and more will be answered on October 2 when more information about the Comes With Music service will be released at a Nokia event to be held in London.
Enough of the music service, now back to the phone. Only the music service appears to differentiate the new 5310 Comes With Music edition from the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone. The phone will be sold through Carphone Warehouse who will start taking pre-orders today. Carphone Warehouse has an exclusive UK deal until the end of the year so don’t look for the phone outside of the UK anytime soon.