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August 13 2013

'Breaking Bad' Fans Furious About iTunes Season Pass

Apple's iTunes Store is receiving an avalanche of complaints for the way it has promoted and sold Breaking Bad season five to season-pass subscribers. Some who bought the pass for the popular AMC show's final season, which started in July 2012 before taking a mid-season hiatus that ended last Sunday, just discovered the second half won't be included in the pass

To those subscribers' surprise, the final eight episodes will be sold separately and packaged as "The Final Season" instead of as part of the previous package, dubbed "Season 5."

More about Entertainment, Itunes, Itunes Store, Amc, and Tv

July 04 2013

Vine's iOS Update Unlocks a Whole New Vine Experience

Vine released an update to its iOS app on Wednesday, its biggest refresh since the app’s launch earlier this year.

Among other enhancements, a number of Twitter features are now available within the app, as well as a few new features — including a dramatic update to the app's camera — which, in many ways, make Vine feel like a totally new app.

I took the new version of Vine out for a spin and walked away impressed with many of the new features.

New Camera Tools


If you’ve been using Vine for a while, especially to create stop-motion videos, the new camera features will wow you. Read more...

More about Twitter, Itunes, App, Vine, and Ios

September 04 2012

August 21 2012

Google Play Takes on iTunes With New Gift Cards

Rumored last week to be in the works, Google Play gift cards are now official and headed to number of popular retailers. Cards will be available for sale at Target, RadioShack, and GameStop locations in the United States over the coming weeks, and will be available on Walmart.com later this month.

Available in $10, $25, and $50 denominations, the cards can be used to purchase music, movies, books, apps, and games from Google Play. Cards can also be used from in-app purchases in games.

SEE ALSO: With Jelly Bean, Google Play Embraces Its Inner iTunes

With the quickly approaching holiday season, it makes sense for Google to introduce Google Play gift cards now. Apple sells a ton of…
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More About: Google, Google Play, apple, itunes

August 16 2012

Google Play Gift Cards, Wishlists Appear to Be in the Works

Google is gearing up to launch iTunes-like gift cards and wishlists on Google Play, according to a report.

Android Police did some sleuthing and found evidence of a "My Wishlist" setting an option to redeem gift cards via a code. The wishlist would let users signal their affinity for various apps, movies, music, books, TV shows and magazines, though its unclear how exactly it would be used.

As for gift cards, Google seemed to pave the way for such a product by letting consumers who bought a Nexus 7 have a Play balance.

Google reps could not be reached for comment. The move, timed a couple of months before the holiday season kicks in, appears to be a logical addition to P…
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More About: Google, Google Play, android, itunes

August 08 2012

NBC’s ‘Grimm’ Embraces the Second Screen [EXCLUSIVE]

NBC is getting into the second screen game with a new interaction companion ebook for its hit drama, Grimm.

Grimm: The Essential Guide will give fans entrée to exclusive "behind-the-scenes" content, including concept art, 3D renderings and video clips. The eBook will also offer a season 1 recap and a teaser trailer for season 2, including the introduction of a terrifying new creature.

All of this content comes just in time for viewers to whet their palates before the second season premiere on Monday.

NBC Publishing hopes that the ebook won't just provide a supplement to the show, but will create an "entirely new 'second-screen' experience." The company hopes to pave the way f…
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More About: Entertainment, Kindle, Mobile, TV, Tech, amazon, apple, eBook, grimm, ibook, itunes, nbc, nook, once upon a time, season 2, second screen, social

July 30 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony Album Hits iTunes Top 10 in 19 Countries

Olympics Opening Ceremony Soundtrack on iTunes and SpotifyThe soundtrack for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony has become a hit across the globe.

Isles of Wonder has claimed the top spot on at least five countries' iTunes Store Top 10 Albums charts since becoming available for download at midnight on July 28. It's topped the charts in UK, France, Norway, Spain and Belgium.

The two-disc collection -- filled mainly with British music -- currently is on top 10 lists in 19 of the 22 countries iTunes publicly tracks.

Isles of Wonder features the ceremony's music director, Underworld, an electronic music group, as well as Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, Emeli Sandi, London Symphony Orchestra, Chemical Brothers and more.

SEE ALSO: How to Wat
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More About: 2012 Olympics, Entertainment, London Olympics, Music, itunes, olympics, spotify

May 10 2012

February 10 2012

Mystery: Apple Secretive About Ongoing iTunes Store Hacks [VIDEO]

iTunes Store users have long reported curious problems with Apple‘s digital store — mysterious purchases, gift card money disappearing, changes to account information. And recent reports have revealed that those complaints account for more than 70 pages on an Apple forum.

These problems, which some sources such as The Global Mail say is the work of hackers, range from funds disappearing completely from PayPal accounts to purchases being made for songs or apps.

When The Global Mail asked Apple for a statement on the issues, it responded with a blanket statement.

“Apple takes precautions to safeguard your personal information against loss, theft and misuse, as well as against unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. Apple online services such as the Apple Online Store and iTunes Store use Secure Sockets Layer encryption on all web pages where personal information is collected,” according to The Global Mail.

Check out the video above to learn more, and tell us in the comments: Have you experienced these kinds of problems with your iTunes account?

More About: apple, itunes, iTunes Store, mashable video

January 19 2012

Everything You Need to Know About the Apple for Education Talk

Today’s Apple event presented a giant leap forward in the process of updating American education. As of today, elementary, high school and college students are all able to experience a new, dynamic digitization of textbooks and course materials through the iPad. Textbooks for iBooks marks a new wave of modernization in the educational system, and if it succeeds, a new learning style might be on the horizon.

Combined with iBooks Author for Mac and a revamped iTunes U interface, Apple has officially established itself as a conductor for the digital education experience. The WYSIWIG interface of the application means that even technologically green teachers will be able to develop customized coursework companions for their curriculums. From soup to nuts, users are able to take part in developing educational tools for any level and also do it relatively cheaply. All of the apps iTunes debuted today are free from the iTunes or Mac App Store, and are available for immediate education.

The revamp of iTunes U also brings a new wave of promise to an old idea. Users can now participate in open courses from some of the country’s best universities, without ever having to leave their homes. Dynamic and interactive, iTunes U’s new facelift could possibly attract more universities to the platform and, in turn, produce more overall educational content through Apple’s mediums.

Take a closer look at the highlights from the event, including in-depth anaylsis from the Mashable Team.

What are you most excited about as Apple begins its foray into education? Let us know in the comments.

1. iBooks 2

The iPad's iBooks app is what the rest of the Apple for Education apps cleverly rest on. Available for free today in the iTunes store, iBooks 2 provides deeper functionality and a special section for Apple's major announcement...

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, apple event, education, features, higher education, itunes, iTunes U, textbooks

January 16 2012

‘Smash’ Pilot Lands on iTunes and Amazon 2 Weeks Before TV Premiere

NBC is offering the pilot of its upcoming television series Smash for free download from iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and other online video services.

The network is betting big on Smash, giving the Broadway-style musical show prime placement in its spring TV schedule. The pilot will debut Monday, Feb. 6 at 10:00 p.m. ET, right after The Voice, NBC’s breakout hit of 2011.

Smash references and promos were aplenty during the 69th Golden Globe Awards, which aired on NBC Sunday. NBC will also be heavily promoting the program during the Super Bowl.

Viewers can check out the pilot a few weeks early for free via iTunes [iTunes link] and Amazon Instant Video. The pilot will also be available on Vudu, Xbox, PlayStation and the Samsung Media Hub.

Starting Jan. 23, Hulu and NBC.com will have the pilot available for streaming.

Starring American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston, the show is about the making of a Broadway musical based on Marilyn Monroe. The show will combine original musical numbers (written for the show-within-a-show) and contemporary covers.

Like Glee, NBC plans to release digital downloads and soundtrack albums for music from the program.

NBC is investing a lot in Smash, as evidenced by its comprehensive digital campaign. The goal is to build up strong word-of-mouth before the show debuts in order to ensure the pricey production is a hit.

So what do you think? Will Smash be a smash hit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: amazon instant video, itunes, nbc, Smash

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December 26 2011

December 22 2011

Steve Jobs Wins a Grammy

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will honor Steve Jobs with a Grammy Award, naming him a Trustees Award honoree on Wednesday.

This 2012 Special Merit Award will be presented posthumously at an invitation-only ceremony to be held on February 11, 2012, with a formal acknowledgment made during the 54th annual Grammy Awards television broadcast on Sunday, February 12, 2012.

According to a statement from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Jobs will be honored for his long-standing career of innovation, helping to “create products and technology to transform the way we consume music, TV, movies, and books.”

Besides his role in the creation of the iPod, Steve Jobs was instrumental in convincing the major record companies to sell their music on the iTunes Store, which has sold more than 16 billion songs since its beginning on April 28, 2003.

More About: Grammy, itunes, steve jobs

December 20 2011

Parental Advisory Warnings Come to iTunes and Other Digital Stores [VIDEO]

Apple joins a growing list of digital music stores adding the Parental Advisory logo to their digital collections. Until now, Apple has only listed explicit content song by song.

Amazon, HMV, Napster UK, eMusic, 7digital, Tesco and Vevo will also all carry the logo, according to The Telegraph.

Do you think explicit warnings are necessary? Share your opinion in the comments below.

More About: apple, itunes, mashable video

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December 16 2011

iTunes Match Goes Live Internationally

iTunes Match, Apple’s service which allows users to access their music library – including non-iTunes songs – from Apple’s cloud, has started rolling out internationally, TUAW reports.

Users are reporting the service going live in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France and other countries, even though Apple hasn’t officially announced it yet.

iTunes Match, which went live in the US in November 2011, appears as an option in iTunes, allowing users to access their entire music collection from up to 10 PCs and iOS devices for $24.99 a year.

The service matches users’ music with the 20 million+ songs in iTunes Store, and the users only need to upload the songs which aren’t available there, which is usually a smaller part of their music collection.

All iTunes matches can be played back from Apple’s iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC quality, DRM-free, even if the original copy was of lower quality.

[via TUAW]

More About: apple, itunes, itunes-match, Music

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November 14 2011

October 24 2011

11 Apps and Services for Sharing, Discovering and Organizing Music

The Trendsetter Tech Series is supported by smart. Test drive the space saving, eco-friendly, totally unique, smart. Visit smartusa.com to find a new smart center near you. smart — unbig. uncar.

The digital music revolution might have started in the late 1990s, but in the last few years, the way that we find, share and organize music has undergone drastic changes.

Users are no longer reliant on file-sharing services to distribute tracks from person to person or device to device. Instead, thanks to subscription streaming and cloud solutions, accessing music from your laptop or home stereo is just as easy as pulling up a playlist on your phone.

Still, it can be difficult to differentiate one service or app from the next. We’ve scoured the web for eleven different apps and services that improve the experience of listening to music — as well as sharing, discovering and organizing tracks.

Streaming Services

Music streaming services are a dime a dozen — and depending on where you live, the differences between one subscription streaming service and the next is difficult to gauge.

This is especially true now that companies like MOG and Rdio have followed in Spotify’s footsteps, offering users free access to streaming music libraries on their computers.

As 2011 draws to a close, the biggest differentiating factor for streaming services isn’t the size of a library — or even price — it’s what devices the service supports.

Spotify — Before making its stateside debut, Spotify was already a big player in Europe. The service has become even more ubiquitous in recent weeks thanks to its integration with Facebook.

With apps available for every mobile platform and growing support on connected devices like the Boxee Box, Spotify is really trying to be the subscription-streaming successor to iTunes.

MOG — MOG might only be available in the U.S. (though the company hopes to expand in the future), but the service is committed to getting on as many devices and platforms as possible. In addition to appearing on devices from Sonos, Boxee and Roku, MOG has a developer API that is targeting a greater range of devices.

Rdio — Rdio is another subscription streaming service that isn’t afraid to target outside devices. Rdio was one of the first services to create dedicated apps for the Mac and iPad and it continues to target other devices and platforms.

Sony Music UnlimitedSony’s Music Unlimited is one of the few subscription streaming services with big international support.

Music Unlimited is available on Android, PS3, the PSP, Blu-ray players, Bravia TVs and through a standard web browser. The PS3 interface is particularly slick and integrates well with the other aspects of the Sony Entertainment Network.

Cloud Services and Apps

Streaming music is great — but the ability to store downloads and playlists for access from many devices is the great promise of the cloud. Cloud-based storage lockers have been around for years, but in the last six months, the idea has really started to go mainstream.

Amazon, Apple and Google are the big players here. Cloud-based services can co-exist with streaming music libraries, but the line between the two is going to continue to blur in the months and years to come.

iTunes in the Cloud — With iOS 5 and the latest version of iTunes, Apple has introduced the first major component of its cloud-based music strategy — iTunes in the Cloud.

iTunes in the Cloud is great because it lets users easily access or re-download any of their past iTunes music or TV show purchases from iTunes, Apple TV or an iOS device. For $24.99 a year, Apple will up the ante with its iTunes Match service. iTunes Match goes a step beyond iCloud and lets users upload (or if the track is already in the iTunes library “match”) their local libraries for cloud availability. iTunes Match — especially when combined with iOS 5 — is a stellar combination and will be available to the public at large later this fall.

Amazon Cloud Player — Amazon managed to get in front of both Apple and Google with its Amazon Cloud Player service for music. The Cloud Player works very much like iTunes in the Cloud in that it lets users upload tracks to a storage locker that can then be accessed from other devices.

Amazon has an official Android app but an unofficial iOS app [iTunes link] is available for $1.99. The upcoming Kindle Fire will work seamlessly with Amazon’s Cloud Player.

Google MusicGoogle Music is still in beta, but rumor has it Google will be launching the service to a wider audience soon. Right now, Google Music is more of a standard music locker than anything else — it lacks a native music store like Amazon and Apple.

Google is reportedly preparing to launch its own music service later this fall. As it stands, Google Music is available on the desktop, the browser and for Android. An unofficial iOS app [iTunes link] is available for $1.99.

Other Apps and Plugins

Of course, it’s not just music services. Music apps and utilities are great ways to discover, share and organize your tunes. Some of our favorites:

Exfm Exfm is an awesome browser extension for Chrome that turns the web into your personal music library. The recently revamped version 3.0 makes sharing a snap, and exfm boasts strong integration with SoundCloud, bandcamp, Tumblr and the Live Music Archive. It also makes it easy to save and share MP3s and playlists at your favorite websites.

The exfm iPhone app is a great tool for music curation and discovery.

SongzaSongza has been around for a long time but it recently exited beta and released an awesome iPhone app.

The service is a one-stop shop for digital mix-tapes that can be shared with friends and listened to on the go. With a great selection of hand-curated mixes from users, musicians and editors, Songza is a great way to get an instant mix for almost any activity or party.

Tomahawk — For better or worse, iTunes has long been the de facto desktop music player. Sure, there are alternatives, but most essentially do what iTunes does, but without the iTunes Music Store.

Tomahawk is different. It’s an open source, cross-platform, socially aware music player that quite simply, is awesome. With the intuitive Tomahawklet, users can turn playlists from a slew of places across the web into custom Spotify playlists that can be shared or accessed directly within the app.

Evolver.fm wrote up a great overview of the app and it is on our shortlist of desktop players to watch.

doubleTwist — Another desktop player to watch is doubleTwist. Think of doubleTwist as iTunes for Android users. The app works on Mac and PC and manages Android apps, music, videos and podcasts.

The upcoming music player in Ice Cream Sandwich looks great, but doubleTwist is available today. It lets users easily sync their iTunes playlists and podcasts with Android, including over the air. It also supports AirPlay and syncing between devices over NFC.

Your Picks

What apps and services do you use to find, share and organize your music collections? What apps can you not live without as a music fan? Let us know in the comments.

Series supported by smart

The Trendsetter Tech Series is supported by smart. Test drive the space saving, eco-friendly, totally unique, smart. Visit smartusa.com to find a new smart center near you. smart — unbig. uncar.

More About: exfm, Feature, features, google music, itunes, mashable, music-subscription-service, spotify, subscription streaming, tomahawk, Trendsetter Tech Series

Read the Steve Jobs Biography With Us [OPEN THREAD]

Paul Jobs holds a very young Steve Jobs in his arms

This is going to be a tough day. Early this morning, I downloaded the new Walter Isaacson Steve Jobs biography (simply titled Steve Jobs), which arrives in stores and in digital devices today, and started reading it almost immediately. Now I can’t put my Kindle down. This is a problem. I have work to do today. Can I read and work at the same time? Not likely. Yet, here I am at my desk with my laptop in front of me and the Amazon Kindle next to it.

Apple’s former CEO and tech icon Steve Jobs died less than a month ago and the fascination with this mercurial and visionary leader has only grown since the world learned of his death. The early days were filled with hagiography, but as is natural, a truer picture of the man has begun to emerge. This eagerly awaited biography promises to paint the clearest image of Jobs yet.

So far, I’ve read just 3% of the 656-page tome, but I’m already hooked. Here are just some of the interesting insights and revelations I’ve already discovered:

Isaacson on Jobs and their semi-frequent meetings and communication:
“He would take me to a sushi restaurant in Lower Manhattan to tell me that whatever he was touting was the best thing he had ever produced. I liked him.”

On Steve Jobs’s early tech desires:
“He began by recalling that he had wanted to build a frequency counter when he was twelve, and he was able to look up Bill Hewlett, the founder of HP, in the phone book and call him to get parts.”

Steve Jobs taking responsibility for, perhaps, his biggest mistake:
“I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was twenty-three and the way I handled that,” he said.”

Isaacson on Jobs and “The Reality Distortion Field”:
“I witnessed what his veteran colleagues at Apple used to call his ‘reality distortion field.’ Sometimes it was the inadvertent misfiring of memory cells that happens to us all; at other times he was spinning his own version of reality both to me and to himself.”

Jobs’s wife Laurene on how Isaacson should approach the biography:
“You shouldn’t whitewash it. He’s good at spin, but he also has a remarkable story, and I’d like to see that it’s all told truthfully.”

Isaacson’s succinct description of Jobs and his impact on society:
“A creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. You might even add a seventh, retail stores, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize but did reimagine.”

Isaacson on Jobs’s view of products, himself:
“He wants to control his environment, and he sees the product as an extension of himself.”

An early and surprising influence on Steve Jobs:
Jobs said that his appreciation for [Real Estate Developer Joseph] Eichler homes instilled in him a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market. “I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much,” said Jobs.

I know many of you are reading the Steve Jobs biography today –probably right now — as well. As you read along, share your reactions in our open comment thread below.

More About: apple, ipad, iphone, ipod, itunes, steve jobs

Google to Launch Music Download Service in 2 Weeks [REPORT]

Google’s long-rumored music download service could launch within the next two weeks.

The music store will be an add-on to Google Music Beta, a free service that lets users upload and manage their existing music library in the cloud, “people familiar with the matter” have told The Wall Street Journal. Currently, access to the service is optimized for the desktop web and Android devices.

Like Apple’s iTunes service, songs will be available as MP3 downloads for about $0.99 apiece. The company plans to leverage its social network, Google+, to drive sales. Users can share songs with their Google+ contacts, who can then listen to those songs once for free with the option to purchase a download copy.

According to the Journal, Google is unlikely to secure rights to sell music from two of the four major label groups, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, which would inevitably frustrate users who are unable to find songs they might be looking to purchase. Other music services, including iTunes and Spotify, decided to delay their U.S. launches until they had signed agreements with all four label groups.

Sony is reportedly unwilling to sign because it believes Google doesn’t do enough to stem piracy on YouTube and its Android operating system. Warner Music is unmotivated by the lack of financial incentive; Google Music is free and generates no revenue on behalf of the record companies — beyond driving sales through the downloads store, at least — while Apple’s forthcoming music locker, a $25-per-year service called iTunes Match, will share proceeds with the record labels.

More About: apple, Google, google music, itunes, Music, sony music entertainment, warner music group

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