MediaFile

Apple’s Mac Store cuts the clutter

a screenshot of Apple's Appstore. REUTERS/ Apple Inc1000 apps might not seem like a lot compared to the 300,000 offered for Apple’s iPhone, but there’s enough on offer at Apple’s new Mac App Store to cover most software bases, some of it deeply discounted.

The Mac App Store interface is easy to navigate, much like the iPhone and iPad sections on iTunes, with app icons arranged in rows.

However, if you’re not running OSX Snow Leopard on your Mac, you won’t even get that far. The store isn’t offered on computers running older Mac operating systems. The solution is to upgrade your OS, but that will run you $29. And you can’t download it, so you’ll have to have it shipped to you or pick it up at one of Apple’s retail outlets.

The difference between apps and software is virtual vs material. You’re not getting hard copy versions of the programs you buy when you purchase them through the Mac App Store. For some Apple-branded titles, like the popular photo editor Aperture, the savings can be substantial compared to how much they cost at brick-and-mortar stores and the online Apple Store.

Even third party software titles like Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro are substantially cheaper through the Mac App Store.

Spotify isn’t in talks to be bought by Apple or anyone – source

Music industry types must have had been reaching for their tranquilizers this afternoon, following a report that Apple is in early stage talks to buy Spotify. The report spread quickly, as these things do, and some thought it made  a lot of sense.  So Apple, maker of the world’s most popular music device, the iPod,  which already owns the No.1 music  download retailer iTunes, would be buying Spotify –the much-loved and critically acclaimed music streaming service, just as it’s finalizing deals to launch in the U.S.? This would be too much to handle for many music executives, who think Apple already holds way too much power.

They’ll probably be relieved to know that after an initial flurry of panicky phone calls we got a helpful call from one person close to Spotify, who shot down  rumors of a potential sale to Apple or anyone else  as  “completely untrue”.

Founder Daniel Ek has often tried to position Spotify as a company working with the music industry for the long term, as he did here on his company blog.

eMusic gets Universal Music catalog, overhauls song pricing

LadyGagaInMeatBe careful what you wish for because you might just get another major label’s catalog.

eMusic, the independent music lovers’ independent digital music site, is well, no longer that independent. As of November, it will now have music from the world’s number one music company Universal Music, adding more than 250,000 tracks to eMusic’s catalog bringing it to 10 million.

But with the big dog joining the pound eMusic has had to adjust its monthly subscription model. It will no longer offer a fixed number of song credits and will instead switch to good-old fashioned dollar and cents pricing for individual songs. For example right now a starter package of $11.99 will get you 24 song credits a month but going forward $11.99 a month will get you as many songs as $11.99 will buy. eMusic argues that their price points are on average 20 percent to 50 percent cheaper than iTunes or Amazon MP3 store which means many of their songs are around the 50 cent-mark.

Amie Street nabs Sony deal, works on new funding round

Amie Street, the digital music site which made its name with a dynamic pricing model for songs, has signed up Sony Music as its first major music label. It means songs from acts like Beyonce (pictured), Outkast, Kings of Leon and The Ting Tings are now available on the site as well as plenty of catalog albums.

But the songs will not be dynamically priced like the rest of the music on Amie Street which fluctuates based on demand. Sony’s songs will cost 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, much like they are on sites like iTunes and Amazon.

In an open letter to the Amie Street community the site’s owners said:

We know this is a big change, and we’re confident that it will make Amie Street a better place for you to discover, download, and share new music. We spent hundreds of hours asking members of the Amie Street community whether this kind of catalog belonged on the site, and for most of you the answer was a definite Yes.

Apple cuts off Palm Pre sync (again)

It should probably come as no surprise, but Apple has again cut off iTunes syncing privileges for Palm’s Pre, the latest dig in their tit-for-tat over Palm’s smartphone. Apple’s newest version of iTunes, launched yesterday, disables the sync.

In July, Palm updated its webOS software to allow Pre users to sync the handset with iTunes, Apple’s ubiquitous media management software, where millions of people store their music and videos–after Apple had disabled such functionality in an earlier iTunes update.

At the time, Palm also complained to the USB Implementers Forum — which helps support and promote the USB interface –  about the sync cutoff.

from The Great Debate UK:

iPod Nano redesign challenges Flip

nano- Will Findlater is deputy editor of Stuff magazine. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Apple’s "It’s Only Rock and Roll" launch held a few surprises. Most were expecting major updates to the whole line of iPods, but it was only really the iPod Nano that got a thorough going-over.

Still amazingly slim, it now sports a tiny lens towards the bottom of its rear, allowing it to record video footage. This can then be synced to your computer and sent to YouTube with a single button click. Nifty, and bad news for the likes of Flip who make pocket video cameras for a living.

Beatlemania re-surfaces on eve of Apple event

Britain’s Sky News caused a bit of a stir on the blogosphere on Tuesday after it cited John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, as saying the Beatles back catalog was finally going for sale on iTunes: seemingly confirming a longstanding rumor that had gained momentum ahead of a widely watched Sept 9 Apple music-entertainment event.

But the report by the 24-hour news service, spotted by 9to5Mac and TechCrunch, among others, was stricken off the Sky News Web site hours later and discredited by a numner of other media outlets including Cnet. In response to Reuters’ queries, EMI, which owns the master recordings, sent us this from Ernesto Schmitt, EMI’s global catalog president:

“Conversations between Apple and EMI are ongoing and we look forward to the day when we can make the music available digitally. But it’s not tomorrow,” Schmitt said in comments first made to the Financial Times. Apple declined to comment.

Apple event next month not likely to feature tablet -blog

Tech bloggers love to write about Apple, for better or for worse. The secretive nature of the company means a lot of those blogs are speculative and light on sources, yet  we still all love to read them because the house that Steve built is indeed both a fascinating and hugely successful company.

The latest round of speculation is around Apple’s planned September keynote event which sources have told AllThingsDigital is due to take place on Wednesday,  Sept 9 in San Francisco. There has been a huge amount of speculation around whether Apple will unveil a new tablet device but sources tell the blogs there will be “no discussion whatsoever” of the such a device.

AllThingsDigital’s John Paczkowski isn’t giving up though saying: “Too bad. It’s looking more and more like we’ll have to wait until 2010 for that.”

from Commentaries:

The European browser elections and other tech news links

Microsoft says the best way to resolve its dispute with European Union competition regulators may be an election.  The software giant spelled out late on Friday Brussels time plans for an election-style ballot to decide the question of which browser consumers use in Windows.

The forthcoming Windows 7 operating system would offer a "ballot screen" that lets consumers turn off Microsoft's own Internet Explorer (IE) and instead use rival browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari Google Chrome or Opera Software.

Microsoft browser ballot proposal

 There are two obvious issues with this approach: 1. Most consumers rely on default settings and rarely change their browsers once they are installed. Will more than a small percentage of users elect to change browsers at the moment they are installing Windows?

New Apple iPhone features get under your skin

Among all the limelight-hogging features and rock-bottom prices unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ conference on Monday, two underscored the potential for the consumer electronics giant to sidle up and get up-close and personal with users – whether they like it or not.******For the hundreds gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual developers’ pow-wow, Apple previewed a new iPhone feature that will allow users to remotely locate their  device if they ever get separated from it. Executives highlighted another application that, eerily, can directly monitor a person’s vital signs.******In this day and age, when millions advertise not just their location but what they had for dessert via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s unclear how consumers will respond to functions that monitor their movements or their inner workings. Favorably, judging from the applause and hooting when those features were expounded upon.******Find My iPhone allows users to remotely locate their device via the Web. Logging onto Apple’s MobileMe, users can locate their phone on a map; send a text message to the phone, asking that it be returned; or play a strdient alert or alarm. The feature is intended to aid finding a phone left unattended at a restaurant or hidden under a couch cushion, developers said.******The new software also has a feature that allows users to remotely “wipe” the device of all data if it is truly lost or stolen – but allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site — which usually offers music, applications and even video for sale — if the phone is then found, meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.******Besides additional uses of the phone’s GPS capability, Apple on Monday highlighted a third party app that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely - accessing real-time heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and other data collected by hospital devices on their iPhones – clearly helpful for on-call doctors but also very private information.******The app would allow doctors to zoom in and out, measure different parts of the data, and scroll through historical data.******The Critical Care app from AirStrip Technologies has yet to be approved by the FDA, but the company said it was in advanced testing and expects the app will soon be available.******(By Clare Baldwin)