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Apple Kicks Palm Pre off iTunes

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Apple just released a new version of iTunes. No big deal, right? Point releases happen all the time. The Apple discussion blogs reveal a tame “FYI: iTunes 8.2.1 released” followed by the bland description of what kind of update it is: “iTunes 8.2 now supports iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. iTunes 8.2 also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes. iTunes 8.2.1 provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

However, the little nod, “verification of Apple devices,” has banished the Palm Pre from syncing with iTunes. iTunes

Apple has a right to do what it wants to do with its software. After all, it wasn’t Apple who started the fight. Palm, in an effort to expand its user base in every direction possible, designed its devices to seamlessly integrate with iTunes, making itself into an iPod look-alike for syncing purposes.

The Palm Pre is not an iPod.

What’s more, Apple takes phonies very seriously. In an aphoristic territory-marking statement, Apple explained: “Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.” So there.

What about the iTunes lover with her shiny new Palm Pre. Well, it’s back to prehistoric versions of iTunes. The Pre will function fine, as long as you don’t update to the grim and narrow iTunes 8.2.1. It is still possible to do the laborious manual upload of tunes, with the Pre plugged in as a USB device.

No one knows what Apple’s finger-in-the-eye will do for Palm Pre, long hailed as the deliverer of Palm’s sinking ship, but Apple is pretty sure that it has claimed a few extra iPod customers.

Labels charging iTunes more to carry the same songs

Music labels are looking to dilute Apple’s influence on the music download market by causing the media giant to charge more for songs in its music store than the competition. At least, that’s the only conclusion to draw from numbers examined by Engadget this morning.

The evidence is pretty damning: of the iTunes top 10 downloads, all but a few carry the maximum price of $1.29, while Amazon’s top 10 list (which is almost identical) holds steady at $0.99 for each and every one. Both stores sell DRM-free files, encoded at 256kbps.

The days of the $0.99-for-everything iTunes store are over. Of course, when Apple introduced the variable pricing feature into the iTunes store, they touted it as a way to get lower-priced songs — as low as $0.69, in fact. But what’s actually happened is the opposite. Thanks to the death of the album (something we can thank iTunes and other music downloading services for), labels are trying to squeeze as many dollars as possible out of the single song hits that get downloaded over and over again.

Now, Amazon has the exact same pricing structure as Apple. There are indeed songs at the $1.29 price point in the Amazon catalog — there just aren’t any at that price in the top ten downloads. The interesting thing about this, though, is that these song prices aren’t set by Amazon or Apple. They’re set by the music labels themselves.

So what’s going on here? If the labels are trying to undermine Apple’s position as market leader — and thus take away some of the company’s bargaining power — this is one place to start. Apple still has the advantage, since the iTunes store is integrated into the music playing software (and in the case of the iPhone, the device itself). People will probably pay a little extra for the convenience, but we’ll have to wait and see if this is part of a concerted effort or just a one-time blip.

iTunes Charge

iTunes Updates to 8.1.1

Today, you’ll notice an update waiting for you on iTunes (8.1.1). There’s a couple of key improvements. First, is the overall improvement for downloading from iTunes Plus. The major addition is now iTunes will support HD movie rental.

Here are some of the other updates:

–Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation)
–Allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ
–Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows
–Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs
–Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods
–Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus
–Includes many accessibility improvements
–Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls

iTunes Store To Begin Offering HD Movie Purchases & Rentals

Apple announced today they will allow customers to download HD quality movies, for purchase or rent. The first two movies featured for this option will be ‘Twilight’, and ‘Quantam of Solace’.

The price points will be $19.99 for purchase, or $4.99 for a rental. Check out the details in the press release below…

CUPERTINO, California—March 19, 2009—Apple® today announced that iTunes® customers can purchase and rent box office favorites including “Quantum of Solace” and “Twilight” in stunning HD on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com). Starting today, movie fans can purchase box office blockbusters for download in HD for $19.99 from iTunes, and films will be available as iTunes Movie Rentals in HD for $4.99 within 30 days after release. Customers can enjoy these films in HD on their Mac® or PC and on their widescreen TV with Apple TV®, as well as in standard definition on their iPhone™ or iPod® with video. The iTunes Store is the world’s most popular online TV and movie store, with over 250 million TV episodes purchased and over 33 million movies purchased and rented.

“Movie fans are going to love being able to buy and rent films including ‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘Twilight’ in stunning HD from the iTunes Store,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “Customers have made HD content on iTunes a hit, with over 50 percent of TV programming being purchased in HD when available.”

Starting today, iTunes customers can pre-order “Quantum of Solace” which will be downloaded to their computer on March 24, and the smash hit thriller “Twilight” will be available on March 21. iTunes customers can purchase “Transporter 3,” “Punisher: War Zone” and other select titles in HD today, and the action/comedy “The Spirit” will be available on April 14. The iTunes Movie Store will be adding more HD movies soon and customers can view the latest offerings at www.itunes.com/movies/hd.

The iTunes Store is the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 10 million songs, over 40,000 TV episodes, and over 5,000 movies including over 1,200 in stunning high definition video for rent. With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

Pricing & Availability
iTunes 8.1 for Mac and Windows includes the iTunes Store and is available as a free download from (www.itunes.com). Purchase and download of songs and videos from the iTunes Store requires a valid credit card from a financial institution in the country of purchase. Video availability varies by country. iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 (US) for library titles and $3.99 (US) for new releases, and high definition versions are priced just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 (US) and new releases at $4.99 (US).

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

iTunes Updates to 8.1

For those who load up iTunes today, you’ll see a new update available to install. There are few improvements, but the biggest addition if the supported syncing with the iPod Shuffle.

To sync with the 3rd generation iPod Shuffle, you must have iTunes 8.1 downloaded. Another odd addition is the improvement of CD imports to be the same quality as iTunes Plus. If anyone tries this, please report how it works out.

Here’s the features of the iTunes 8.1 update:

iTunes 8.1 is now faster and more responsive. You will enjoy noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing.

iTunes 8.1 provides many other improvements and bug fixes, including:

• Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation).
• Allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ.
• Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows.
• Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs.
• Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods.
• Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus.
• Includes many accessibility improvements.
• Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls.

Apple’s iTunes Replay Could Have You Stream All Over The Place

With iTunes 8 looming on the horizon, there could be one feature coming with it that some of you might be ecstatic about. The service is called, ‘iTunes Replay’ and could be the next big leap in video streaming technology.

For anyone who downloads a large amount of video for iTunes, knows that memory space gets eaten up rather quickly. Apple looks to remedy this problem, if this report is true. iTunes Replay is a streaming service that will allow you to build a video collection without ever having to physically download the media. If iTunes Replay is on its way, this would allow you to access your video files anywhere, anytime.

There are scarce details at this point, and no official confirmation. The biggest question is how much will the service cost, if Apple decides to implement iTunes Replay.

This is quite an ambitious feature that Apple has concocted. This will greatly enhance the functionality of Apple TV, and will provide iPhone, and iPod Touch users with much more space. Before we all get too excited though, let’s wait until Apple gives us a confirm.