iTunes

Official Apple Store app goes live

Rumors started swirling Monday that Apple would launch an Apple Store application for iOS.

Just a day later, the company has, in fact, launched the free application for its recently renamed mobile operating system.

Dubbed Apple Store, the iPhone/iPad app allows customers to "buy Apple products and accessories, read customer reviews, find an Apple Retail Store, stay up to date with in-store events, and make Personal Shopping, Genius Bar, or One to One appointments."

There is a reason why Apple waited until Tuesday to launch the app--it's the same day that it will start allowing customers … Read more

12 big things we didn't see at WWDC 2010

Like the lead-up to any big, annual Apple event, the weeks and months ahead of this year's WWDC brought the usual wash of rumors about new hardware, software, and online services.

The biggest unknown was not so much on the hardware side--as we all knew there was a new iPhone on the way (even what it looked like and whose fault that was), but the software and online services portion remained a mystery. This is typically the chunk of the WWDC keynote where Steve Jobs and company go into detail about the latest operating system tweaks and new software offerings.

There were rumors on both sides of the spectrum ranging from paid services like MobileMe going free and iTunes getting a streaming component to a fancy new wireless trackpad. Read on to get the details.

1. OS X 10.7

Apple's preview of OS X 10.6, nicknamed Snow Leopard, happened at 2008's WWDC. 10.5 was unveiled during 2006's keynote, and 10.4 in 2004's. Following that logic, 2010's show would bring a preview, or at least an acknowledgment that Apple had 10.7 in the oven. Though given the focus on Apple's iOS, and the shiny new device that will run on it, it's not all that surprising we didn't hear a peep.

An OS update, especially for the desktop, would have likely filled an hour or two on its own. Yet, the downside of this omission is that the eventual preview of that update will likely be shelved until next year's show, since WWDC is Apple's only big developer event of the year.

2. A developer preview for the iPad's iOS 4

When introducing OS 4 at a preview event back in April, Jobs said we'd be seeing a public release of it for the iPad sometime this fall. Again, logic would dictate that developers would get their hands on a build of the iPad 4.0 SDK at Apple's big developer event, alongside the first beta of the firmware for testing on real devices.

So why the no-show? Apple has likely had its hands full getting the iPhone and iPod Touch version of OS 4 ready to go in time for the iPhone 4 launch in two weeks. And developers only got their hands on the gold master candidate version of that late Monday. Maybe the delay was to include some new OS features being baked into the next batch of iPods this fall.

3. A Steve Ballmer appearance

In a note to investors, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry claimed that Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer would be giving a seven-minute presentation of Visual Studio 2010 during the WWDC keynote. This was vehemently denied by Microsoft reps, then later retracted by Chowdhry, though many large news outlets (including us) picked up the story and ran with it.

There was some semblance of truth to the rumor of Microsoft having a presence at the keynote, in the form of Jobs announcing that Microsoft's Bing was now a search option in Safari, both on portable devices and on the desktop software.

4. iTunes streaming service

Like Apple's annual "buy a Mac, get a free iPod" promotion, which always manages to end just a few days before the company announces a new model, it seemed just a little too convenient music-streaming service Lala, which Apple bought back in December of last year, was being shut down just a week before WWDC.

Prior to Apple picking up the company, sources had told CNET that Apple was planning to purchase the company primarily for its music streaming technology and engineering talents. It seemed fair then (given the timing), that Apple would fill in the gap Lala.com's closure had left with something similar built right into iTunes, though that never came to fruition during Monday's keynote. Then again, given Apple's propensity for having its "music" events in September, we might just have to wait three months. … Read more

Slacker iPhone app adds station caching

The latest update to the iPhone app for online radio service Slacker, which offers a combination of personalized radio based on particular artists and curated radio stations, just became available in the iTunes Marketplace.

The main advantage of the update, announced a couple weeks ago, is offline station caching, which lets you listen to stations even when you don't have a wireless data connection. It's been available in the Android and BlackBerry versions of the Slacker app since February, and it's a welcome addition to the iPhone version.

Caching is particularly useful if you spend lots of … Read more

Report: DOJ inquiry of Apple goes beyond music

The federal government's inquiry into Apple's business practices isn't restricted to digital music, according to a published report.

Investigators with the Department of Justice have begun asking questions of executives in the film industry and other media sectors, according to a story that appeared Friday in The New York Post.

"The [Justice Dept.] is doing outreach," an anonymous Hollywood source told the Post. "You can't dictate terms to the industry. The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody."

CNET could not reach its film industry sources this weekend and could … Read more

Djay app lets you spin iTunes from your iPhone

Algoriddim's Djay is a $49.95 Mac application that lets you spin your iTunes library in a virtual two-turntable setup.

Djay's interface stays fairly faithful to the old-school turntablist tradition, with a crossfader, cue points (which let you mark a record at specific spots so you can move the stylus to the desired part of a song), and virtual "scratching," enabled by dragging your cursor across the vinyl on the screen. At the same time, Djay offers digital conveniences such as automatic beat matching and tempo synchronization. In addition, its Automix feature creates a mix on … Read more

Google to take on iTunes with Simplify Media buy

One of the most interesting bits of news to come out of today's Google I/O conference was the company's stealth acquisition of Simplify Media a couple months ago.

Until March of this year, Simplify offered a free software application for PC and Mac that let users stream music from the iTunes or WinAmp libraries on their home computer, over the Internet, to other devices they own. The company also made an iPhone app that let the iPhone or iPod Touch receive these streams.

It was a nifty solution for users with big music libraries at home and … Read more

Twitter debuts official iPhone app

The iPhone app formerly known as Tweetie has a new name and a new owner.

Twitter hit the iPhone market Wednesday with its first official app, dubbed simply Twitter for the iPhone. But the new app is actually just the 3.0 update of Tweetie 2.0, which the company got hold of after acquiring Tweetie developer Atebits in April.

Though it's hardly a revolutionary upgrade, the new 3.0 version sports a few small changes over Tweetie 2.0. First off, it's free--Tweetie 2.0 set you back $2.99, even if you upgraded from a previous … Read more

Why does the record industry hate music lockers?

Once again, it looks as if the recording industry is standing square in the way of giving users what they want: access to their digital-music collections from any device in any location.

Earlier on Friday, a notice appeared on Lala, announcing that the service would be shut down on May 31. Apple acquired Lala in late 2009, and a lot of folks have speculated that Apple would launch its own version of Lala's online-music locker service, which enables users to upload their music collections to Lala's servers, then stream those songs to any Internet-connected device.

(Technically, users don'… Read more

Apple says bye-bye to Lala

Apple will shut down Lala six months after acquiring the struggling streaming-music service.

A note that replaces Lala's home page says the service will no longer accept new customers and informs members that the site will be functional only through May 31.

Lala is a streaming-music site that sells songs for 10 cents apiece and enables people to store their music libraries on the company's servers. Lala has gone through multiple iterations; it was once a CD-swapping service before reinventing itself as a streaming site.

Apple's decision to close Lala isn't much of a surprise as … Read more

iBooks app now available on iTunes store

Numerous big-name app developers are announcing titles for the iPad, and Apple has made its much-advertised iBooks application available in the iTunes App Store. The application will allow iPad owners to access and organize thousands of e-book titles. While it will be running on the iPhone OS, according to the system requirements it will only be available for iPad devices.

This is Apple's version of Amazon's "Kindle for iPhone" application that was released a short while ago for the iPhone and also recently announced for iPad. iBooks will include a complementary illustrated version of "Winnie … Read more