Friday, November 30, 2012
Posted by gkJr. at 10:30 PM
Posted by gkJr. at 5:08 PM
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Apple just released the long-awaited iTunes 11. After downloading, users should expect a totally redesigned version. In October, the company said that there would be a one-month delay. Little has changed over the years, but today’s new version represents a major milestone and a much needed simplification in some ways.
We have picked a few major new features in iTunes 11 to give you an idea of what you should be looking for when it comes to improvements. The general philosophy of the application remains the same: iTunes is your digital hub for all your entertainment content (music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, books…) with a store to buy, rent and download new things. It is also the iOS media and software synchronization application.
The interface is totally new with more whitespace and less UI chrome. Content comes first. Among the new features, the default view is now a grid of album arts that you can expand to reveal song listings. The left-side column is gone. You can switch back to the old artist, album, song column view just like in iTunes 10.
The iTunes Store has a new design as well, in order to share the same user experience across all devices and operating systems.
The most important improvement is a deep integration with iCloud. Users are now able to browse and stream their content much more easily than before. For example in the screenshot above, you can see that this particular user has only a few downloaded songs of the Maroon 5′s album. He can stream and download the other songs that he has already bought and buy the remaining songs without leaving his music library.
It is new paradigm that will certainly boost iTunes Store purchases as most clients usually buy individual songs instead of albums. For example, a user should be able to listen to a one-minute preview without having to search the store.
It should attract a bit of backlash as well, as clogging up the interface with a dozen of songs when you only bought one song from one artist is a lot of cluster and a hard selling technique. You can switch back to the old column view, but many users don’t change default settings.
iCloud integration built-in is a much needed improvement for video content as well, as you don’t want to keep gigabytes of HD movies and TV shows on a small SSD.
A new feature, “Up next”, is very reminiscent of the “queue” feature in Spotify. It allows you to put some tracks in a queue to play automatically after the current track, without building a playlist.
For example, after starting a track in your library, you may already know what you want to play next. With iTunes 10, you can either switch back to the application after the current song or build a playlist. Now you can just queue up the song you had in mind immediately after starting the first one.
As Spotify users will tell you, it was one of the key features that made the service popular. It is a perfect party tool as well.
NEW MINI PLAYER
The mini-player is redesigned, with the ability to search directly from the small window. You can even manage your “Up Next” queue without opening the app.
In addition to being added to the mini player, the search function has been greatly improved as well. It now has a pop-up interface that returns results for artists, albums and songs with album art for each result.
To download the new version, head over to Apple’s website.
Posted by gkJr. at 11:18 PM
Apple (AAPL) has already accidentally leaked its unlocked iPhone 5 pricing and now9to5Mac’s sources say the contract-free smartphones will be available for purchase on the online store as early as Thursday night at 9 p.m. Apple retail stores are reportedly receiving stock for the unlocked iPhone 5 and will begin selling them “soon.” As previously reported, the factory unlocked GSM iPhone 5 handsets will be priced at $649 (16GB), $749 (32GB) and $849 (64GB) and will be available in white/silver and black/slate. Of course, if you didn’t already know, the CDMA iPhone 5 on Verizon (VZ) comes with its nano SIM card already unlocked. 9to5Mac also reports Apple Stores will make a small change to its Personal Pickup program that lets shoppers reserve devices for pickup after 10 p.m. to anytime during the day.
Posted by gkJr. at 10:59 PM
Apple's interest in wireless charging technology was detailed in a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled "Wireless Power Utilization in a Local Computing Environment," it describes a system that would rely on "near-field magnetic resonance" to provide power to nearby devices.
Apple's filing notes that transferring power wirelessly has historically been successful only in fairly limited applications. Specifically, the technology requires a power source and receiver located very close to each other.
This method may be acceptable for devices that require a very small amount of electricity. But Apple says this process is not acceptable for devices that require between a few watts to hundreds of watts.
However, Apple noted that electricity can be transferred from a power source to a receiver within a "near field," or a distance a few times larger than both objects involved in the transfer. In most scenarios, this near field would be about a meter large.
"In this way, a realistic and practical approach to wireless transferring useable amounts of power over distances suitable for limited applications can be realized," the filing reads.
By adopting wireless charging technology, Apple could minimize or eliminate what it referred to as "unwieldy" existing chargers that must be plugged into the wall.
Apple's system goes one step further than the near field, and aims to improve efficiency when transferring electricity wirelessly. It would also allow a number of peripheral devices to be charged wirelessly within the near field, thanks to "cooperation" between them.
Apple's charging accessory would be able to provide electricity to a number of devices located within the near field, or "virtual charging area." Low-power devices cited by Apple include a mouse and keyboard.
The power supply transmitter could be a stand-alone device, or it could be embedded in an existing device such as a desktop or notebook computer. The transmitter could also be portable, such as a dongle that could be connected to a legacy device via a port like USB.
Peripheral devices would need to be tuned to the appropriate frequency. This would allow them to receive power from the near-field magnetic resonance (or NFMR) power supply.
"The device being brought into the range of the NFMR power supply can communicate its initial presence using a standard communication protocol such as WiFi or Bluetooth," the application reads. "However, once incorporated into the resonance circuit, the device can use a communication back channel."
Apple's application also describes the use of a "re-resonator" that would allow electricity to be wirelessly shared between multiple accessories. In one example, a Mac desktop may not be able to adequately provide power to a wireless mouse because of an obstacle interfering with the connection between the two devices.
"In this case, (the) keyboard can act as a re-resonator such that a portion of the power delivered to (the) keyboard from the NFMR power supply can be passed on by way of a re-resonator transmission unit," the filing states.
Apple's patent filing for a wireless charging system, published this week by the USPTO, was first filed by the company in November of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Michael F. Culbert, Brett. C. Bilbrey, David I. Simon, and Peter M. Arnold.
Posted by gkJr. at 6:40 PM
Posted by gkJr. at 9:43 AM