Earlier today a report suggested that the launch of Apple’s upcoming streaming music service deemed “iRadio” may be delayed due to difficult negotiations with Sony Music and Warner Music Group.
CNET is offering some additional information on Apple’s trouble with Sony Music, explaining that the fees to be paid for skipped songs have become a point of contention between the companies.
Apple and Sony Music, the world’s second largest music label, are still trying to hammer out details over how much Apple would pay for songs that people listen to a fraction of and then skip, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
While Apple’s music service is said to be more similar to Pandora than Spotify, Apple does plan to deviate from Pandora’s rigid station-based listening rules by giving users extended control, like the ability to rewind or skip a song after listening to a small portion of it. Pandora limits its users to 12 skips per day and pays the full royalty rate for each skipped track.
Apple has faced continual struggles over pricing during negotiations, originally offering to pay just half of Pandora’s royalty rate while demanding more flexibility. The company later agreed to up its offered price, but it may not be willing to make further concessions as an Apple-branded music service offers additional perks that other music streaming sites can’t compete with, such as an established market for purchasing streamed tracks.
The stalled negotiations between Apple and Sony Music are annoying other labels, who are eager to see iRadio launch. Apple finalized an agreement with Universal Music earlier this month and is close to signing a deal with Warner Music Group, according to CNET‘s sources.
That skipping has become an issue is frustrating executives at the other labels because they see Apple’s free radio service as a potential boon for the music industry overall and are eager to help Apple get it launched.
Apple was pushing for a summer launch of iRadio, with possible plans to unveil the service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but it is unclear if the company will be able to meet that deadline.
Gameloft is offering up two of its most popular games for free this weekend. Both N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance and Gangstar Rio: City of Saints can be downloaded at no cost for the first time ever.
Originally released last year, N.O.V.A. 3 is a first person shooter with impressive graphics and a science fiction theme. Like many of Gameloft’s games, it includes a multiplayer mode that supports 12-player battles and voice chat to communicate with friends in real time. Our sister site TouchArcade has a review of both the single player portion of the game and the multiplayer component.
Gangstar Rio: City of Saints was released in late 2011 and is Gameloft’s version of Grand Theft Auto. The game, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, provides players with more than 60 missions to complete across five different neighborhoods. TouchArcadereviewed the game when it was released and found that Gangstar Rio offered a robust open-world crime game experience, despite a weak storyline.
Both games are universal and free through the weekend.
As noted by AppleInsider, MacBook Air supplies are beginning to dry up as Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference approaches.
Currently, the 13.3-inch 256GB 1.8Ghz MacBook Air is out of stock at Amazon.com, with a listed one to two month waiting period. While the low end 13.3-inch MacBook Air is in stock, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air is in short supply. Amazon lists an inventory of just ten 1.7Ghz 128GB 11.6-inch MacBook Airs and just one lower end 64GB 11.6-inch MacBook Air available through a third party.
Several other authorized Apple resellers, such as MacConnection, MacMall, and B&H, are also seeing dwindling MacBook Air inventory, with the higher end versions of 13.3-inch MacBook Air being the hardest to find.
Low inventory supplies at third-party Apple retailers are often one of the initial signs of an upcoming product refresh. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will be introducing new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines based on Intel’s Haswell processors at WWDC, which takes place next month from June 10 to June 14.
ST. LOUIS, May 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – U.S. authorities have seized two accounts linked to a major operator in the booming Bitcoin digital currency market, Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox. The move may prevent the firm from facilitating the purchase and sale of Bitcoins in U.S. dollars at a time when use of the currency and its value has mushroomed.
Last week, we noted that Apple was still struggling to convince the major music labels to sign on to its planned streaming service, informally dubbed “iRadio”, with Sony and Warner reportedly holding out even after market leader Universal had agreed to Apple’s revised terms.
In a new article highlighting how Google was able to announce its own music service ahead of Apple, The Verge notes that Apple’s desire to provide a hybrid listener experience has meant more work at the negotiating table.
For starters, Google chose to offer a standard subscription music service very similar to those built by Spotify and Rdio, and that meant the terms had largely been established, according to multiple sources close to the talks. Apple, on the other hand, is pioneering a hybrid web and radio service — one that resembles Pandora but melds it with some on-demand features, the sources said. The licensing agreement had to be created from scratch.
According to the report’s sources, number four music publisher BMG is also holding out against Apple’s proposed terms, and while there still appears to be significant momentum behind iRadio and a desire by many parties to get a deal done as quickly as possible, it is now looking as though Apple may not be able to launch the service at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Word of Apple’s plans for a Pandora-like service surfaced last September, with subsequent reports indicating that Apple was targeting the first quarter of this year for a launch. As negotiations continued to prove difficult, Apple shifted its focus to a summer launch, but it now appears unclear whether the company will be able to meet even that revised goal.
Following a report from earlier this month indicating that the U.S. Department of Defense was preparing to approve Apple devices running iOS 6 for use on military networks, Bloomberg now reports that the department has officially issued the authorization, opening the door for greater use of Apple’s products.
The Defense Department said in a statement today that it has approved the use of Cupertino, California-based Apple’s products running a version of the iOS 6 mobile platform.
The decision eventually may spur a three-way fight for a market long dominated by Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry. The Pentagon on May 2 approved Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung’s devices, as well as BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.
The report notes that out of more than 600,000 mobile devices used by the Defense Department, only about 41,000 of those are Apple products, with most of those not connected directly to the military’s networks. With the new approvals, Apple and Samsung are expected to eat into BlackBerry’s roughly 75% share of mobile devices within the agency.
As noted in the report earlier this month, the Department of Defense’s approval of iOS 6 devices for sensitive applications is expected to have impact beyond the military, with other businesses requiring strict security standards becoming more likely to embrace Apple’s products.
Pentagon approval for iOS 6 devices comes just as The Street reports that the U.S. Air Force is expecting to save more than $50 million over ten years following last year’s decision to replace thousands of pages of flight manuals with iPads.
“By removing all that paper, [Air Mobility Command] will capture about $750,000 in fuel savings [annually] just based off the decreased weight,” said [electronic flight bag program manager Major Brian] Moritz.
Removing the need to print and distribute thousands of flight manuals, however, equates to an even greater cost saving. “It comes out to just over $5 million a year,” noted Moritz. “With fuel savings, it comes out to $5.7 million annually in pure cost. When you look at $5.7 million a year, over 10 years, that’s well over $50 million.”
The Air Force is not the only group switching to iPads to replace traditional flight bags used by pilots, as a number of commercial airlines have also begun transitioning to the technology in order to reduce weight and therefore fuel costs, as well as lighten loads for the pilots themselves.
“With iPhone and iPad being tested or deployed in almost every Fortune 500 company, Apple continues to scale across enterprise with nearly 30,000 companies globally developing and distributing iOS apps for corporate use by their employees,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “The FIPS 140-2 certification and STIG approval demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver a secure platform to our enterprise and government customers around the world who deploy iOS devices on their networks.”
Corning yesterday announced (via Engadget) the launch of its latest glass substrate for LCD and OLED displays, Lotus XT Glass. While Corning is famous for its Gorilla Glass used by Apple and other device manufacturers to provide durable covers for their displays, substrate glass like Lotus Glass is used within the displays themselves to support the transistors and other components necessary for the displays to function.
The Corning Lotus Glass platform enables organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays and liquid crystal displays (LCD) that use either low-temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) or oxide thin-film transistor (TFT) backplanes. The result is an energy-efficient, immersive display device that features high resolution, fast response times, and bright picture quality.
Lotus XT Glass, an improved version of the original Lotus Glass announced in late 2011, offers improved thermal characteristics and stability to help increase efficiency and yield during display production. Lotus XT Glass is available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 0.4 to 0.7 mm to support various applications.
In an introductory video, Corning vice president John Bayne outlines how Lotus XT Glass will enable better displays with improved yields:
Our customers, the panel makers, are basically making thin-film transistors and aligning those transistors with liquid crystal material and a color filter piece of glass. Everything has to line up just right to work.
The distance features move during processing is called total pitch. And if you measure that from sheet to sheet, it’s called total pitch variation. If panel makers can minimize total pitch variation, they can realize higher manufacturing yields and lower costs. In addition, they can design devices that have higher aperture ratios which are brighter and use less power.
It will still take some time for display manufacturers to adopt Lotus Glass XT for use in their processes and for those panels to make their way into finished products, but with Lotus Glass XT offering up to 75% better performance in total pitch variation than the original version, it seems likely that manufacturers will move quickly to adopt the product.
LONDON (Reuters) – The website and Twitter feed of British newspaper the Financial Times were hacked on Friday, apparently by the “Syrian Electronic Army”, a group of online activists who say they support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.