How will Apple spin iTunes on iPad?

Apple posted some short Guided Tour videos about the iPad on Monday, confirming my first impression that the iPad isn't a great leap forward for music. That's understandable, since there are other gaps that the iPad is trying to fill first--I think the big draw will be iBooks and Web surfing from the couch over a Wi-Fi connection, which can be done with an iPhone today with much eyestrain.

But the video about music playback (labeled "iPod") did give a couple of hints on how the iPad might evolve to take advantage of all that extra … Read more

iConcertCal concert-listing app comes to Android

I test a lot of iPhone apps, but because I've only got an 8GB iPhone 3G, I end up deleting most of them after a few days or weeks. One of the very few exceptions has been iConcertCal, which helps you find local shows by your favorite artists. Not only has it stayed on my iPhone since I first reviewed it in July, but it made my year-end list of most welcome digital audio products.

Now Android users can get in on the fun with iConcertCal for Android. Like the iPhone version, it will identify artists in the music … Read more

ScatterTunes sells digital albums with a visual twist

ScatterTunes is a Texas start-up focused on making the experience of digital music more visual and interactive. In September, the company introduced its V-Album format, which includes audio tracks in unprotected MP3 format, plus material such as lyrics, photos, videos, and links to merchandise and (where applicable) concert tickets. Although the audio portion of the download works with any software, and can be exported to any MP3 player, the video part requires downloading and installing the free ScatterTunes Player. So far, ScatterTunes has only released a couple of V-Albums, and none by artists I'm interested in, so I didn'… Read more

iTunes contest winner's surprise--a call from Jobs

It's not every day you get a personal call from Steve Jobs, so it stands to reason that when you pick up the phone and Jobs is on the other end, you'd think you're being pranked.

That's exactly what Louie Sulcer, winner of iTunes' 10 Billionth Song Contest, thought when Jobs dialed him up to tell him the good news, according to a report from Rolling Stone.

Apparently, when Sulcer heard Jobs say, "This is Steve Jobs from Apple," he replied, "Yeah right! Come on now, who is this?" But when he saw the caller ID, which was simply "Apple," Sulcer he realized he was actually the winner of a $10,000 iTunes gift card. He later told Rolling Stone he had a son who loves playing tricks and thought he was the one making the Jobs call.… Read more

Johnny Cash song iTunes' 10 billionth download

Yes, things really do happen that way. Only this time, somebody is going to like it very much.

Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Ga., just won Apple's iTunes Countdown to 10 Billion Songs contest with the purchase of Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way." This also means the song is the 10 billionth song downloaded from Apple's Store using iTunes.

With his purchase, Salcer got the best deal ever for an online music purchase, a gift certificate for music worth $10,000.

Apple announced the contest and started the countdown earlier this month as the … Read more

Apple counts down to 10 billionth song download

Apple on Thursday began its "Countdown to 10 Billion Songs."

Apple is getting close enough to having 10 billion songs downloaded since opening in 2003, that it is beginning a countdown on iTunes. Official rules are available from Apple's Web site.

The winner of the countdown--the person that downloads the 10 billionth song--will win a $10,000 gift card. You can download any song from iTunes and be eligible for the prize, the company said.

Apple also posted a list of the most downloaded iTunes songs of all time. The top song right now is the Black … Read more

Report: Apple to test $1 TV downloads

A new report Wednesday evening says cheaper iTunes TV show downloads could be in the offing.

Apple will be offering U.S. TV shows for $1 each, according to the Financial Times. The offer will coincide with the release of the iPad--expected sometime in April--and is described by "people familiar with the discussions" as a "test" to see whether cheaper downloads will result in increased sales.

TV episodes are normally $1.99 for standard-definition and $2.99 for high-definition through iTunes. The Financial Times says that "some" television networks acceded to Apple's push … Read more

Opera readies mini browser for iPhone

Watch out Safari. There's a new browser looking for a spot on the iPhone.

Norway-based Opera announced Wednesday that it will unveil its new Opera Mini 5 browser for the iPhone at next week's 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The developer of the desktop Opera Web browser is touting Opera Mini as faster than Apple's Safari, thanks to its use of compression. Opera said it compresses pages by up to 90 percent before they're sent to the mobile device.

Opera Mini 5 will also offer such features as tabbed browsing, a password manager, and Speed … Read more

Microsoft on iTunes in 2003: 'We were smoked'

There has been a lot of commentary following last week's New York Times op-ed by Dick Brass, a former Microsoft executive who claims that the company is bogged down by process and infighting, and has hence lost its ability to innovate.

One of the most interesting follow-ups comes from Groklaw, which dug up some e-mails placed into the public record a few years ago during an antitrust case against Microsoft. (These materials have been a treasure trove of interesting and sometimes-embarrassing internal communications, including then-Windows chief Jim Allchin's 2004 admission that he would have bought a Mac over … Read more

Apple extends iTunes Web previews to apps

Just a few months after introducing its browser-based iTunes Preview pages for music, Apple has expanded the feature to include items from the App Store.

Now, when a user clicks an iTunes link for an iPhone or iPod Touch app, they're taken to a page with a similar layout to what they'd see when browsing the iTunes Store in Apple's iTunes software. But instead, it's in their browser. This allows users who don't have iTunes installed to see more information about an app without having the software installed. That said, preview pages attempt to launch … Read more