Apple Planning Some Super Secret Social App?

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Apple | Tags: , , |

iFriendfeedBy MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Again, this is nothing but a very vague rumor for the time being, but it’s also very interesting. Following up on its iTunes 9 rumors, Boy Genius Report claims to have new details from the same trusted source about what iTunes 9, and specifically the social aspects of it, will entail.

As expected, the tipster says you’ll be able to broadcast songs you’re listening to out to various social networks. But the really interesting thing is the reference to some new social application that Apple is supposedly getting ready to launch. It’s not clear at all if this would be a desktop app or an iPhone app, but it is said to be something that consolidates your various social networking activity from around the web into one place.

Is Apple planning a FriendFeed-killer after Facebook has already essentially killed FriendFeed? That would certainly give the team a good reason to sell, if they caught wind of that. But who knows, it could be anything, or it could very well be nothing. Hopefully we all know by now how rumors, especially Apple rumors, work.

Regardless of what Apple has in store, if there are social elements added to iTunes, it will be a big move for the company. Right now, they basically have absolutely no social strategy beyond a bit of Facebook and Flickr integration in iPhoto. And yes, there are plenty of apps that use Facebook Connect, but that has basically nothing to do with Apple itself.

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iTunes 9: Blu-ray And App Organization And Twitter

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Facebook News, Gadget News, Music | Tags: , , , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

This is completely a rumor, but an awesome one. Citing a “pretty reliable” source, Boy Genius Report is saying that the next version of iTunes will add a bunch of new, highly requested features. Specificially, BGR’s source says iTunes 9 features Blu-ray support, a new way to organize iPhone apps within iTunes, as well some kind of integration with Twitter, Facebook and possibly Last.fm. iTunes

Each of those features have been talked about for some time now on the web. But as BGR notes, the talk of Blu-ray does line itself up well with an AppleInsider report from yesterday that very vaguely suggested Apple has new iMacs due shortly with features that have long been on the wish-lists of Mac owners. Blu-ray is certainly on that list, and seems like a pretty good candidate, despite Steve Jobs’ calling the format a “bag of hurt” as recently as October of last year.

More compelling may be the talk of a new way to organize iPhone/iPod touch apps in iTunes. This has been badly needed ever since it became clear that people were downloading a ton of apps to use on one device. Currently, system for managing them within iTunes is quite franktly, awful. The concept video posted at the bottom of this story shows how it really should work.

BGR says the Twitter/Facebook/Last.fm stuff from its tip was more vague, but you can imagine that if such features were integrated it would involve tweeting out or updating your Facebook status with what song you are listening to. It’s possible that for Last.fm, iTunes would build-in support for logging what songs you are playing, something which Last.fm currently does through its own software.

The Twitter angle is also interesting because of the rumors of talks between the two companies a few months ago. We were unable to confirm those rumors, but perhaps the two sides did meet to talk about something like this. Obviously, that’s just speculation.

Apple has worked with Facebook in the past to get support for uploading pictures built-in to the newest version of iPhoto. The integration is pretty slick as it also allows you to tag Facebook friends in pictures, and keeps edits made on both iPhoto and Facebook in sync.

And just imagine if Apple made a feature not only to send the name of a currently playing song to Twitter and Facebook, but if it included a link to buy the song on iTunes as well. That could mean some significant sales.

While we’re speculating, I would also love to see a Genius feature for iPhone apps, something which I talked about the need for recently.

Again, these are all just rumors for now, but we could see if they’re true or not as early as next month when it’s likely that Apple will hold some kind of iPod even, just like it does every September.

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Amua: cool, minimal Last.fm player for Mac

Posted on March 6, 2009. Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad.com

amua

I went looking for a Last.fm client for my Mac recently, and discovered that Amua is well worth considering. It passes the basic tests for a good Last.fm app: it scrobbles tracks, it lets you skip, love and ban songs, and provides access to artist, user and tag stations. It also stays out of the way in a menubar icon, and only shows its small, discreet current track display when you tell it to.

I didn’t realize it at first, but Amua uses iTunes to stream songs from Last.fm. Not a big deal to me, since I have iTunes open 90% of the time I’m on my Mac. If iTunes is a dealbreaker for you, then you might need to find yourself a different player. There are reasons to stick with Amua: it hardly uses any system resources, and it supports Growl. The main improvement I’d like to see would be hotkeys for the play/pause/skip functions. The iTunes hotkeys will stop Amua, but won’t get it going again or skip to the next track on Last.fm.

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Tap Tap Revenge 2 Has Landed

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Music, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Jason Kincaid

taptapThe sequel to Tap Tap Revenge, the iPhone’s most popular game ever, is hitting the App Store tonight. The original version(iTunes link) of the game has been downloaded over six million times and spawned a number of spinoffs featuring licensed music from Weezer and Nine Inch Nails. You can learn more about the sequel here, and we’ll update the post as soon as it goes live on the App Store. Update: You can download the app here.

Created by iPhone development house Tapulous, the TTR series is akin to a ‘Guitar Hero’ for the iPhone, asking users to tap their fingers on a flurry of scrolling blobs that are presented in time with the music (it’s fairly easy to get started, and very addictive). Tap Tap Revenge 2 will include a new game engine with a revamped look and feel, along with some gameplay additions that include new moves like the “Tap & Hold” and “Multi-Tap”. The game will feature over 150 free songs (downloaded after installing the app) including music from Death Cab for Cutie, an exclusive song by The Cyrstal Method, and another by Stroke 9.

The game is expanding its social options, tapping into the iPhone’s network effect to create a ‘Challenge’ system that lets users face off with friends, who attempt to beat each others scores. The game will also include an ‘achievements’ system, and a complimentary new feed for alerts, allowing users to keep track of their friends’ accomplishments. There’s also a “Kids Mode” that offers a more basic version of the game for younger children.

TTR2 is sure to be another hit for Tapulous, but the game is still hindered by the App Store’s ban on allowing developers to include in-game transactions. Whenever Tapulous wants to release a premium song on the TTR platform, it has to do so through an entirely new game – it can’t sell premium songs through an integrated store in Tap Tap Revenge. If Apple ever does remove the restriction (and it should), Tap Tap Revenge and its sequel could well become some of the store’s most lucrative titles.

Source: techcrunch

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Video shows great concept iPhone App management inside iTunes

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By David Gonzales

What if you could rearrange the icons on your iPhone’s home screen directly through iTunes while syncing and charging? Yep, that would surely be great, wouldn’t it? Apple is slow to adopt this great feature, but you don’t have to wait until they do to see just how wonderful it would be. Simply play the video above and see for yourself — I needn’t say anything else.

Source: electronicpulp

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Apple, EMI unveil iTunes Pass

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Apple, Music | Tags: , , , |

Apple has just launched a new service called Pass for its popular iTunes music store. It’s like a season pass for a favorite artist, in this case the electro band Depeche Mode. Fans who pay $18.99 for this first iTunes Pass immediately get two Depeche Mode singles, Wrong and the “Black Light Odyssey Dub Remix” of the new track Oh Well.

Then, on April 21, they’ll receive Depeche Mode’s new album called Sounds of the Universe. Between now and when the pass expires in 15 weeks, fans will also receive videos, remixes and other content, some of it exclusive. All the material is automatically downloaded (in the DRM-free iTunes Plus format) into iTunes. Subscribers receive an email letting you know it’s there.

It’s worth noting that the press release announcing iTunes Pass came from EMI Music, not Apple. Before thinking this is Apple’s entree into the music subscription business, which is something Steve Jobs has pooh-poohed in the past, note that iTunes Pass is quite different.

Under an all-you-can eat music subscription plan at a place such as Rhapsody, you have access to the material only as long as you keep paying a fee. With iTunes Pass, you own the content that has been downloaded, even after the pass expires.

It’s a safe bet Apple will soon extend iTunes Pass to other performers. In the release, Apple Vice President Eddy Cue says, “iTunes Pass is a great way for artists to give exclusive music and video, on their own schedule, directly to their fans. iTunes customers are going to love getting additional content directly from their favorite artists right when they make it available.”

But Apple isn’t saying who those artists are, much less when the material will be available.

Apple also announced the public beta of Safari 4, which is available today for both Windows PCs and Macs. It incorporates a “Top Sites” visual preview feature, as well as the clever Cover Flow feature (for flipping through your Web history and bookmarks) that is familiar to Mac and iTunes users.

I just started testing the new Safari, and it looks positive at first glance. I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve spent more time with it.

Source: usatoday

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