itunes-logoIf the rumors are true, iTunes 9 could be bringing a whole lot of social media aspects to your music experience.

We reported the other day on how iTunes 9 may be getting Blu-ray support and giving you the ability to organize your iPhone applications, but what we didn’t cover was the rumors of social media integration.  Seeing as The Boy Genius Report now has what is reported to be pictures of this new feature, it seems it may actually be a reality.

Seeing as Apple is notoriously tight lipped, and not very friendly to other companies, it seemed a bit far fetched to us that Steve Jobs would throw open the doors to integrating other social media companies in to the beloved iTunes.  However, if the spy photos are to be believed, and they look pretty legit, you will soon be able to tell every one on Twitter and/or Facebook what you are listening to in iTunes.  You also can apparently just update your status to multiple sites with the new version of iTunes, but that seems a bit out there.  Why turn iTunes in to a social networking app?

Well, the rumors go on to say that Apple is working on just such a thing and that this may be a taste of what is to come.  Again, the pictures look pretty legit, but this just seems so “out there” for such a closed off company.

Where I personally think the rumors really fall down is when it is also claimed you will be able to share music with people on your friends list.  Um… somehow I think those lovable folks over at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may have something to say about that one.

September is usually when the new iPods come out for the year, so it is a pretty safe bet that if any and/or all of this is real, we’ll find it in a about a month.

Categories: Apple   

itunes-logoIt looks like someone may have finally smacked Apple up the side of its collective head and told them arranging your iPhone and iPod Touch apps only on the device was a bit of a pain.

Boy Genius Report is reporting that it has received information from a reliable source that iTunes 9 will bring support for Blu-ray, something fans have been been anxious for, but it will also finally allow you to organize your iPhone and iPod Touch applications visually.

Thank you!

As someone who has close to 100 applications on his iPod Touch, dragging them around by finger is okay sometimes, but when you get a new one and want to put it on the second or third page to group like applications together, it is a huge pain. So if I can finally use a mouse on my computer to group them as a I see fit, all the better.

Now if they would just find a way for me to make a folder or stack labeled “Games”… “Social Media”… “Navigation”… etc, that would be a dream come true on the device.

Categories: Apple   

apple logoIt seems there is a lot more going on with this new Apple Tablet than a lot of people suspected at first.

According to the Financial Times (free registration required), not only is the tablet basically an over-sized iPod, but it is going to be an ebook reader.  Speaking to multiple sources, the paper found out that the device is codenamed “Cocktail”, and that Apple is in active negotiations with major book publishers about supplying the new device with content.

If these rumors prove to be true, this would be a direct, and probablys serious, blow to Amazon’s popular Kindle reader.  Seeing as Amazon is insisting on sticking with a gray scale screen at this time, the uses for textbooks and magazines has been somewhat limited.  The “Cocktail” would be launching with a multitouch color screen, and could be quickly adapted to serving up textbooks all across various school systems.  Imagine susbscribing to a paper like USA Today or Time magazine and having it delivered to a full color, zoomable, multitouch screen.  You quickly begin to see the distinct advantages this device would have over the Kindle.

There are also reports that timed to coincide with the launch of this new device will be a new music deal being struck with the four biggest record labels (EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group) that would give you bonuses for buying full albums as opposed to inividual tracks.  You could be treated to an interactive booklet, liner notes, lyrics, videos and more.

Word is that the new device will release in September with the traditional refresh of iPods, placing it in perfect position for the holiday shopping season.  Parents may as well start lining up now for what is sure to be one of the most in-demand items with consumers of all ages this holiday shopping season.

Categories: Apple, Gadgets   

apple logoIt looks like those rumors of a 10 inch Apple tablet device are shaping up to be more than rumors.

Back in March we mentioned rumors of a 10″ iPod Touch, well as time has progressed the rumor just won’t die, although it is now more commonly referred to as the “Apple Tablet”.  Well with a new report from AppleInsider, who name their sources as “people well-respected by AppleInsider for their striking accuracy in Apple’s internal affairs”, it appears more and more likely that this device will soon be a reality.

Everything is pointing to a release in the first quarter of 2010, and the device will have some form of 3G connectivity for Internet access while on the go.  It is also rumored that Verizon will be the carrier for the device, but no one is confirming those claims.

The rumors began when word started to leak out that Apple was buying up large supplies of 10″ touchscreens, but as with all Apple products, you never know for sure what they are up to.  Word is that the product has been in development for four years and has been stopped and started by Steve Jobs, CEO of the company, several times as he was not happy with the various iterations of the product.

Suspicions are running high that we will see the announcement in September at the annual iPod press event, but that is speculation just like everything else.  The scary part is the rumored price of $800, but if it is truly 3G, you may see the cellular carrier of choice subsidize the cost with the usual 2 year contract situation.

Only time will tell how much of this proes to be true, but it sure is looking likely at this point.

Categories: Apple   

ipod touch 2gIf the rumors are to be believed, the next generation iPod Touch will close even more of the gap with its bigger cousin, the iPhone.

According to Wired, Apple is in full production on the third generation iPod Touch, and it will be receiving some major changes.  How does it get there?  Well, basically they give you everything but the actual phone… oh wait… that isn’t totally gone.

According to the source, the new iPod Touch will have a camera, a first for the iPod line, but not wholly unexpected.  When the iPhone 3G S added the ability to shoot video, people pretty much assumed the iPod version would finally be getting a camera.  However, if you’re going to shoot video, you need a way to record audio, so that’s where the addition of a microphone comes into play.

So it looks like the Touch will be doing a lot of new things, but… wait, if it has a microphone…

Well, it isn’t confirmed yet, but it looks like you could use the Skype app to make VoIP calls oer Wi-Fi, so the iPod Touch will indeed have phone functions it looks like.  The only difference will be the lack of access to a cellular network, but anywhere you are in the range of Wi-Fi, you’ll have a phone.  Imagine dumping your landline at home and walking around your house with a Skype-enabled iPod Touch in your pocket.  This could be a real game changer not just for Apple, but for cell phone companies in general.

An announcement will probably come in September at the suspected iPod media event.

Categories: Apple, Gadgets   

apple app store LogoIt took Apple nine months to get to 1 billion app downloads for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but it only took 3 months to get another half billion under its belt.

On July 11th, 2008 Apple launched the App Store as part of the iPhone 2.0 firmware update.  By July 14th, 2008 there had already been 10 million applications downloaded.  On April 24th, 2009 it was announced that Apple had hit a stunning 1 billion downloads.  Now, a mere 3 months since the last milestone, and one year and three days since launch, they have hit 1.5 billion downloads.

Considering that last we heard there were over 54,000 applications in the App Store, it isn’t surprising that speed keeps picking up, but it is still amazing how fast this number keeps growing.  It would be even more interesting to see how many of the downloads are paid apps verses free apps, but that isn’t the sort of thing Apple would ever share with the public.  It would also be interesting to know how many of those apps actually get retained after download as I know I have deleted several off of my iPod Touch after downloading them.

Still, a heck of a milestone for Apple.  Congratulations!

Categories: Apple   

iphone 3gsIf there was ever any question that AT&T isn’t the right carrier partner for Apple’s iPhone, it’s pretty much been proven today.

While other countries were able to offer Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) the same day the iPhone 3G S launched on June 19th, it was known from the day the product was announced that AT&T would be late to the party. The belief was that the ability to send media via text messaging would show up some time in July, but it has now been confirmed that the feature will not show up until September at the earliest.  Why in the world it is taking a minimum of three months to get a feature a goodly portion of the world got on launch date is unkwnon.

The second missing feature at AT&T is tethering.  This is the ability to connect your iPhone to your computer via Bluetooth and use it as a modem to connect to the Internet.  Again, this is something the rest of the world is already enjoying, but it is still currently missing from the American version of the device.  To add to the pain of the missing ability, rumors circulated today that AT&T was going to charge an extra $55 a month for the ability on top of the current data plan.  The company contacted SlashGear to say that tethering to let them know that there would be an extra charge to use the feature, but that the price had not yet been decided upon.

Is it any wonder that both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice want to look into exclusive phone deals to see if they violate anti-trust laws?  AT&T is a perfect example of how lack of competition can lead to a lack of innovation and unfair pricing.  So what if AT&T hasn’t added MMS yet?  What are you going to do, switch to the iPhone over at Verizon?  Think AT&T is charging too much for tethering?  Might as well get the iPhone Sprint is offering!

Oh, wait… you can’t do either of those things.

While the iPhone is the most obvious example of the problem with mobile carrier exclusivity, there are of course plenty of other examples: the Palm Pre at Sprint is probably the other most notable case that people bring up.  Will it would solve all of our problems if exclusivity ended?  Probably not, but it would sure make a lot more sense since we are in a capitalist society supposedly.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of other problems in this country at this time, and a lot of things the government needs to be working on, but this is a situation that will definitely need to be addressed at some point.

Categories: Apple, Mobile Phones, Opinion   

iphone 3gsIt’s June, and in the land of Apple fans, that means it’s time for an iPhone update.

Today at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple took the wraps off of a new operating system for the existing phones as well as updating the physical handset itself.

iPhone OS 3.0

The features of OS 3.0 have been known for quite some time due to the iPhone OS 3.0 features announcement that Apple  did back in March of this year.  All of the features we expected were there such as cut, copy & paste, auto-fill for forms, Spotlight search to look through the entire phone for information and a whole lot more.

One of the most exciting new features had to be “Find My Phone”.  If you lose your phone, and you have subscirbed to the service which will be included with MobileMe, you simply go to a web browser and tell it to locate your phone.  It will show you on a map where it is and it will also begin emitting an audible beep in case it is in the cushions of your couch.  This audible feature will work even if you have the phone in silent mode at the time.

Even more exciting about this is if by some chance the phone is in some place you don’t recognize on the map, you can use a remote kill switch to wipe all of your email and contacts.  If you should happen to get the phone back you will simply need to hook the phone up to iTunes to get it running again.  A great piece of mind for everyone.

iPhone 3GS

The new version of the wildly popular phone is finall going to be adding the ability to record videos on its 3 megapixel camera.  The camera for still photography will have an auto-focus lens that will also have a tap-to-focus that will allow you to tap on the part of the photo you want to focus, and it will automatically do so. It will also be adding the ability to automatically handle exposure, white balance and better low-light sensitivity. If you want to get close to a photo subject, say up to 10cm away, the new camera will also have an auto-macro.

Video recording will also have automatic exposure, white balance and so on.  Once you have the videos you will be ale to do corrections on the phone and then email them to a contact, upload them to YouTube or even send them out attached to an MMS.

Other new features will include voice control for all the main functions of the device from making a call to controlling your music, a compass that can help orientate you in the Maps app and a longer battery life.

iPhone Pricing

The new iPhone 3GS will have a 16GB version for $199 and a 32GB version for $299, both of which require a two-year contract with AT&T (prices and carriers vary by country).  The most interesting announcement was that the 8 GB iPhone 3G will still be available for $99, almost guaranteeing Apple even deeper penetration into the mobile phone market.

iPhone OS 3.0 & iPhone 3GS Release Dates

Current iPhone users can expect their phones to be updated to the latest OS on June 18th, iPod Touch users will also get it the same day, but at a cost of $5.

The iPhone 3GS will be available on June 19th.

Categories: Apple, Mobile Phones, News   

itunes tvIf the rumors are true, you will soon be able to download TV shows and movies directly to your iPhone and iPod Touch.

While nothing is set in stone yet, rumors are swirling all around the Internet of what we can expect from the next iteration of the iPhone and its accompanying software.  The majority of the rumors have focused on the hardware aspects of the new iPhone, but not much has been learned of what the actual software powering the device may deliver in the ways of tweaks.

Open Salon thinks they may have stumbled across something, and they have numerous pictures to back up their claims.  It is a tad odd that they are said to have been found by following an advertisement in an application, but the images do appear legitimate to everyone that has commented on them, and they even appear to be a work in progress.

This seems like a natural extension for Apple, and a bit surprising that it hasn’t been available before now.  It will be interesting to see if these downloads will be allowed over carriers cellular networks, although my personal guess would be a big “no” to that.  While it would still be somewhat useful over Wi-Fi (say while travelling and you want to add a movie during an airport layover), it would still be somewhat slow compared to doing it on your computer when you are near it.  A reenue stream is a revenue stream, though, and it would be silly for Apple not to offer this to their customers at some point.

The next iPhone is expected to be announced on June 8th at Apple’s WWDC event, so that will probably be the day we find out if this new software feature is legitimate or not also.

Categories: Apple, Cell Phones   

dslr iphone remoteSometimes something so wacky comes along that ceases being stupid and just turns in to cool.

A company named onOne has submitted an iPhone and iPod ouch application to Apple for approval that will allow you to control your Canon EOS DSLR camera from your favorite device.  Well, okay, it isn’t QUITE that straight forward.

  • You need either an iPhone or an iPod Touch
  • You need a supported Canon EOS DSLR
  • A laptop or desktop computer running the free companion DSLR Remote Server software
  • A USB cable to connect your supported Canon EOS DSLR camera to the computer running the free server software

Once released, the application will come in two versions: the $1.99 Lite version will only control the shutter release, and the pro version for $9.99 will control multiple functions.

As someone who used to play around with photography as a hobby when I was younger, it sounds cool, and would be especially useful to someone like me who could never hold a lens study to save his life, but it has a few too many steps for my taste.  Any time you add another component to a set up, you just add that many more chances for something to fail. This sounds cool and useful, but it also sounds like something that could frustrate you fairly quickly when one little part doesn’t work they way it’s supposed to.

Categories: Apple, Gadgets   
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