iTunes Match Loses Its First Label

Posted by Japrax on Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prior to launch iCloud, Apple was apparently in talks with all four of the major labels – Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI about licensing their songs for what would be later revealed at WWDC, iTunes Match which is a service that matches the songs on your computer against what iTunes has to offer and for a fee of $25 a year it basically allows you to access those songs via the iCloud while at the same time making it “legal”. It's almost like money laundering except with music.Well apparently not all the labels were too enthused about the idea and one of smaller labels – Numero Group, has decided that they did not want to be part of iTunes match, quoting from their blog post:

“The simple reason is that Apple and their major label "partners" have created a reward system that is both incomprehensible in scope and totally out of sync with iCloud's streaming peers' (Rdio, Spotify, et al) financial mechanics. As we have been entrusted with an incredible wealth of creative assets, and our primary responsibility is to our partners; the artists, producers, and songwriters that make up the Numero catalog, we feel that Apple's pittance is an insult not only to them, but every other musician, living or dead, and, if the latter is the case, their heirs.”

Since the specifics of the deal that Apple has worked out with the major labels and the smaller ones is unknown, it's hard for us to comment on whether Numero Group's reasoning is a sound one but we do know that for $25 a year, it's a good price to pay for those who have been illegally downloading their music all this while and it could be one of the answers to piracy that the music industry has been trying come up with all this while. So readers, would you be willing to pay $25 a year to make your music collection “legal”? We're not sure how much those artists will be getting from our $25 but it's a lot better than zero.
source: Ubergizmo
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Window N5 TOP MP4 Player

Posted by Japrax

Window is proud to introduce their latest MP4 player, the N5 TOP. Powered by a 660MHz RK2818 processor, the player sports a 5.0-inch 800 x 480 multitouch display, a 256MB DDR2 RAM, a microSD card slot, a web browser, an e-book reader, a G-sensor, OTG function and WiFi connectivity. Pricing and release date are still unknown at the moment. [iMP3]
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Project Spartan: Facebook's plan to bypass Apple

Posted by Japrax

Facebook is working on an app platform built entirely in HTML5 and geared for Apple's built-in iOS web browser, Safari. Sneaky.

Tech Crunch reports that Facebook plans to bypass Apple's security guards and sneak in through the iOS back door with its own app-based platform. This will be accomplished by publishing an iOS-focused HTML5 platform within Apple's own Safari browser, the one area in which Apple doesn't have full control.

Called “Project Spartan,” the new platform has already attracted 80 or more app developers including Zynga and the Huffington Post. Unnamed sources claim that Facebook wants to have these apps ready to roll out within the next few weeks for a formal unveiling shortly thereafter, so there's a good chance the apps may not be fully polished at launch. Developers have reportedly been working on the HTML5 apps for a few months; Facebook began constructing the platform long before the developers signed on.

“Imagine loading up the mobile web version of Facebook and finding a drop-down for a new type of app. Clicking on one of the apps loads it (from whatever server it's on depending on the app-maker), and immediately a Facebook wrapper is brought in to surround the app,” Tech Crunch said in a hands-on report. “This wrapper will give the app some basic Facebook functionality, as well as the ability to use key Facebook elements - like Credits.”

The goal of “Project Spartan,” it seems, is to get iOS consumers to use Facebook as the distribution model for games and other apps, not Apple's App Store, Amazon's Appstore or any other distribution platform. But at the same time, the platform will serve as an outlet for developers to create their games and other apps in HTML5 instead of Flash. We already know what Apple thinks of Flash.

“Project Spartan” will also help Facebook push its Credits monetary system out into the mobile sector. Facebook intends to have Credits built-in to alloy developers like Zynga to sell apps and offer in-app purchases. Naturally this system would bypass Apple's own App Store payment system and 30-percent cut, putting consumer dollars directly into the pockets of Facebook and the associated developer.

But naturally there are pluses and minuses about developing apps in HTML5. Taking Apple's route means developers have direct access to the device hardware, but in turn they must shell out a yearly membership fee and abide by Apple's guidelines. Like the initial apps, updates are required to go through an extensive approval process, but users may or may not even download and install those updates. Of course, if said apps were created in HTML5, then updates would be applied automatically. HTML5 apps also aren't bound to Apple's guidelines, but they don't have direct access to iOS hardware.

The Tech Crunch report also states that Android is in the scopes, but for now Apple's iOS is Facebook's primary target. A Safari-compatible HTML5 platform means that app developers have a chance to reach out to iOS consumers on the iPod Touch devices, iPhones and iPads without having to endure Apple's censorship. Does that mean Facebook's “App Store” will be like Google's Android Market and play host to malware and adult content? Most definitely not.

We expect to hear more about Facebook's HTML5 app platform in the coming weeks.
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Genie MP3 Player Concept

Posted by Japrax

Designed by Jiyoun Kim, the Genie is an MP3 player concept that automatically plays music according to your mood. The player features a unique design that looks like a sculpture. The conical shape helps radiates sound and eliminates the need for traditional speaker grills.
source: TechFresh
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iPod nano bands with serious GQ style

Posted by Japrax

Sure. There are a few bands on the market for the 6th gen iPod nano. OK, more than a few. Many are similar: colorful silicone or resin strap with a fun, sporty style, like the iWatchz Q Collection reviewed by Julie a few months back. But if you're after something a bit less sporty and a bit more boardroom, feast thine eyes upon these two new styles, also from iWatchz. The Timepiece Collection features 10 different colors of alligator-textured leather with a wicked cool fastener, $89.95 each. The Carbon Collection features black carbon fiber pattern with 8 different colors of stitching, $49.95 each. Both include the patent-pending Watch Integration System (WIS) for easy Press, Slide & Click nano install. Now, if someone would just create matching cufflink Bluetooth speakers, we might be able to complete the James Bond look.
source: The Gadgeteer
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International Toy Show: Wiz Inc introdudes AppToyz Products in Japan with appBlaster, appCopter, appRacer and appWheel

Posted by Japrax on Friday, June 17, 2011

Developed by the british company appToyz and Introduced by WizInc Japan, appBlaster, appCopter, appRacer and appWheel are a series of Games made for iPhones that comes with a wide range of peripherals going from the remote Car or Helicopter to the Mario Kart Wii Wheel like games and to the impressive appBlaster ant its riffle like toy.

appBlaster is definitively the coolest game from appToyz and once your iPhone iPod touch mounted with the appToyz alien invasion an AR app and secured on your riffle, you will have to shoot virtual aliens that are surrounding you.

appWheel in the other hands comes with a steering while like pad that will support your iPhone and use your smartphone gyroscope to let you steer right or left in appToyz's racing game.

Finally both appRacer and appCopter will let you take control over a remote car and helicopter directly from your iPhone/iPod touch a bit like Parrot's AR.Drone.

Apptoyz, AR, AR Shooting Game, AppBlaster, Video Game, Game, AR Video Game

YouTube Embedded Version
source: Akihabara News
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JVC Introduces Updated RV-NB70 Kaboom! Boombox For iPod

Posted by Japrax

The new JVC RV-NB70 Kaboom! features a 40 watts of power and retains the original's general design. The new model has a dock for iPod and iPhone, which is shielded from the elements by a protective door, and a USB Host for playback of music files stored on a USB mass storage device. The updated JVC RV-NB70 Kaboom! also offers a guitar and microphone input with mixing capabilities. Other specs include a CD player that can handle MP3 and WMA file playback, a remote controller and an FM tuner. The JVC RV-NB70 Kaboom! retails for $299.95. [JVC]
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Angry Bird Speakers

Posted by Japrax

Gear4 offers a line of Angry Bird cases for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. They'll soon be adding a line of external speakers to their Angry Bird line. The red bird works with any phone, music player, or tablet with a 3.5mm jack. It comes with a device stand and will sell for $89.99. The black bird has a dock that works with iPhone, iPod, and iPad. It comes with a remote control and will sell for $129.99. The pig with helmet is for iPhone and iPod only. It also comes with a remote and will sell for $119.99.
source: The Gadgeteer
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Onda VX570+ Full HD PMP

Posted by Japrax

Onda has released another Full HD PMP ‘VX570+' into the market. The player sports a 4.3-inch 480 x 272 touchscreen display, a 4GB/8GB of storage, a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), an e-book reader, a picture browser, a TV-Out and supports up to 1080p Full HD video playback. The Onda VX570+ sells for 299 Yuan / $46 (4GB Model). [Onda]
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The Best of Mobile Music

Posted by Japrax

With the recent unveiling of the long awaited Apple iCloud – the cloud service for sharing file across all Apple devices – we know that accessing media content on-the-go without the hassle of moving files from one place to the other has become a priority for consumers. Additionally, with the rise of Android, many people may wonder how they could switch to another mobile platform when they think they are "trapped" inside iTunes, in this case, streaming services may be the right answer (although it is always possible to transfer your library but painful). If you would like to know what mobile music offering is out there, I have reviewed the top mobile music apps on My Life Scoop - Note: I have tested on iOS but most of the applications are available on Android and BlackBerry.
source: Ubergizmo
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SONOS Review: The Ultimate Music Experience

Posted by Japrax on Thursday, June 16, 2011

I have no hesitation in calling SONOS the ultimate music experience. Five years ago I lost my entire music collection. My computer died, I lost my iPod, and all of my CDs (remember them?) were stolen in the same week. Years of meticulous music collection… gone. And sadly, I gave up on music.

Then SONOS sent me their music system for review including a ZoneBridge and two SONOS S5 speaker systems. Instantly my interest was piqued. After using it a short while, I was motivated to rebuild and revitalize my entire music collection. But that's the funny thing… the moment I turned it on, I instantly had access to more music than I had ever previously owned.

Listen up ladies and gentlemen… SONOS rocks.

The SONOS Hype

What is SONOS, why is it cool, and is it easy to install? Consider this video your mini “School Of Rock” (just remove Jack Black, insert Rob Jackson):

Installing SONOS is an absolute breeze and in many ways, helps explain exactly what SONOS does:

Install a “Zone Bridge” that connects to your internet provider through Ethernet
Install SONOS software on your computer
Plug in Sonos Zone Player(s) (all-in-one speaker system) in the rooms you want an awesome musical experience

All of a sudden, in every room you've effortlessly connected SONOS, you've got instant access to a ridiculously large music library and incredible control of what is playing in each room. Your iTunes library, archived music folders, worldwide radio stations, streaming music services… it's all there for immediate access. Not to mention, you can control every little aspect of your entire home's music system right from your Android Phone.

SONOS Music: Your Collection On Steroids

As I said, upon installing SONOS for the first time, I instantly had access to more music than my personal library ever could have contained. And the SONOS Android App tied the whole experience together brilliantly.

Let's take a quick look at the SONOS music sources:

Your Computer. Whether it's pulling directly from your iTunes library or from folders neatly organized on an external harddrive (or both), SONOS pulls your personal music collection into the library. The music once confined to your computer is now set free, released into the airwaves of whatever rooms you've installed SONOS.
Local Radio (Anywhere). Whether you want to listen to local radio, browse the world by genre, or listen to a station from a particular location, SONOS allows you to tap into thousands of radio stations with the press of a button. One example from the above video: sitting on my couch, I used my phone to load up a Top 40 Music Station from Cairo, Egypt.
Streaming Radio. There are a LOT of great streaming music services out there and SONOS supports both free and paid models. You can use a few of the most popular ones (Last.FM, Pandora, & iheartradio) absolutely free. SONOS also supports SiriusXM, Napster, MOG, and Rhapsody; these are pay services but they've all got free trials you can test out. Wolfgang's Vault is also an option.

Combine YOUR music with traditional radio stations from around the world and both free and paid streaming radio services and what do you have? The most epic music collection known to man. Further customization and control is offered through the desktop software, but for the most part I found myself using the Android App, even when sitting directly in front of my computer.

Living With SONOS

It's not just about what you're listening to, it's also about how you're listening to it. I was amazed at how seamlessly SONOS fit into my life. For me, it took all the trouble, irritation, and complication out of the equation and returned the joy of music to my busy life.

The SONOS Android App makes all the difference. Whether I'm folding laundry in my room, playing cards in the family room, or eating dinner on the deck, SONOS is in my pocket, ready to play whatever suits the mood. It's crazy to say, but if I could dream up my optimal music solution I wouldn't be dreaming at all… I'd just think of SONOS. It's amazingly easy to setup, even easier to use, and offers access to your music and more music than you could ever imagine. One small request? A tablet optimized version of the app.

Simply put, SONOS works. Set it up once, plug it in, and listen to the music you want, when you want it, where you want it. The perfect balance of simplicity and flexibility… SONOS would fit seamlessly into pretty much anyone's life. It injects a Eureka of musical omnipotence that makes you wonder why you hadn't been using something like this all along.

SONOS Hardware

Since the whole SONOS system “just worked” I almost forgot that the whole concept is powered by some pretty powerful hardware. The main component for our review, in addition to the ZoneBridge which connected the whole thing, was the SONOS ZonePlayer S5:

I was really impressed with the S5′s performance: it was conveniently compact and portable yet packed a powerful punch, crisp playback, and the audio was fantastic. I'm not the biggest audiophile geek, but you'll be happy to know that (on the software side) you can adjust the equalizer for various bass and treble levels.

The S5 was perfect for my needs because it's basically an entire musical system in one conveniently compact body. Put it in a room, plug it in, and it's a musical experience in and of itself. The SONOS S5 sports:

A 3.5-inch subwoofer
Two 3-inch mid-range drivers
Two tweeters

Each of these five elements is powered by it's own Class-D Digital Amplifier.

While the S5 system was perfect for me, maybe you've already got a home entertainment system you'd prefer to use as a music source or a ridiculous sound system in a certain room that you don't want to go to waste. The S5 is of the all-inclusive variety, but SONOS makes other products to fit various needs:

ZonePlayer 120. Already got an incredible speaker system? Connect SONOS with the ZP120.
ZonePlayer 90. Want to leverage your home entertainment system? Survey says ZP90.
ZoneBridge: As seen in this review, plug an Ethernet cable into it, and all of a sudden all your SONOS equipment have access to the full menu of music. It's like magic!
Sonos Controllers. You don't need these… because you can install the SONOS App on your Android Phone and your phone becomes the controller!

Smart move by SONOS to take into account people's existing inventory of musical equipment. You can mix and match different SONOS products with each room to create the musical masterpiece of your choice.

3 SONOS Shortfalls

My review of SONOS has thus far been glowing, but part of my job is to try and point out the potential pitfalls to help you – the consumer – make the best purchase decision possible. Here are three criticisms you may want to consider when deciding whether or not SONOS is for you.

Price If you're looking for a budget solution, SONOS isn't for you. It's expensive, and while worth every dime, it isn't cheap to outfit your whole house with SONOS. Take a look at the SONOS Store and you'll see that the solution I've got is (in my opinion) the best deal: a ZoneBridge and 2 SONOS S5s will help you suit up two separate rooms. Even if you're bringing your own speaker system or home entertainment system to the table, you're still forking over several hundred for the SONOS experience.

Is it worth the investment? That's for you to decide. If you buy it… I definitely don't think you'll be disappointed, but the cost definitely prices some people out of the option immediately. I'd love to see SONOS work on some more affordable solutions for the everyman. All-in-all… it costs money… but it is money.

Wi-Fi You're somewhat limited in your SONOS experience by your home's Wi-Fi connection. If your phone doesn't get Wi-Fi in a certain spot, you won't be able to connect to the system and control your SONOS devices from your phone. Of course you could still control it from your computer, but as Android enthusiasts we know the other way is more fun and convenient. So before you purchase, be conscious of where you plan on putting your systems, how good your Wi-Fi is in those locations, and from where you plan on controlling your SONOS.

Something to keep in mind: you can always purchase a Wi-Fi extender that you can strategically place to help increase the signal in various parts of your house. And interestingly enough, places my phone's Wi-Fi hit dead spots, my SONOS player was still perfectly transferring music and playing it crisp, clear, and without hesitation.

Slacker I've done a bunch of bragging about how awesome it is to have access to so many music sources with SONOS. However, SONOS doesn't currently provide support for one of the most popular Streaming Music Services – Slacker – what we named our Best Streaming Music App in our list of Best Android Apps.

This is a small gripe. SONOS continues to add more music services to their offerings and I'd guess that Slacker will land on SONOS in the future. Let's hope sooner rather than later. But even without Slacker support, you've got so many options that it's hard to see this complaint holding anyone back.

Conclusion It's hard NOT to love SONOS: it does what every music fan wants. With minimal effort, you can instantly connect your entire house with endless amounts of music, all controlled right from your phone with a simple app. It's not cheap, but the outcome is a positive transformation of the way you enjoy music.

Perhaps the greatest feature of SONOS is it's transcendability (coined it). It doesn't matter whether you're an obsessive music enthusiast or just someone who casually enjoys some good tunes. It doesn't matter whether your personal music collection is bursting at the seams or if you just like listening to a few personal favorites. All you've got to do is plug it in… and the opportunities are endless.

I used to be both a music junkie and a music maker, stopped dead in my tracks by a few unfortunate events. SONOS brought me from 0 back to 60 in the shortest time imagineable… and now there's no looking back.
source: Android Phone
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BBC develops iOS app for mobile reporting

Posted by Japrax

It looks like the iPad and the iPhone got a lot more important to BBC reporters. According to a report by, BBC will be releasing an app that will allow its reporters to send reports in from the field over 3G - using their iOS devices. The app, that should be available within a month will be the opposite of the app it currently offers now (BBC iPlayer).

While consumers use iPlayer on their iOS devices to watch content, journalists will be using this new BBC app to send in reports back to the station. The app will allow reporters to upload images, audio, and audio using an iPhone or iPad - tools which many journalists own today, though sending in photographs taken with the iPad 2 can be quite questionable considering how terrible its camera is.

Using technology to submit news in this fashion can be pretty exciting since it allows journalists to get their content on the air within seconds of finishing a report, giving BBC watchers/subscribers instantaneous news on all the latest events. Expect other news companies to follow suit if BBC pulls this off successfully.
source: Ubergizmo
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BBC developing iOS app for field reporters

Posted by Japrax

The BBC is developing an app for their reporters in the field to directly file video, stills and audio from their iPhones and iPads. The app is also designed to broadcast live using a Wi-Fi or 3G signal.

The broadcaster hopes to have the app live within a month, but still needs to secure licenses for the Luci Live audio broadcast technology. The BBC already uses the Luci Live app in the field, reducing their dependency on Wi-Fi, satellites and codex equipment.

With the BBC in cash crunch mode, the idea to repurpose tools already in place is a logical one. While he would not comment on the app's development costs, the BBC's head of operations for newsgathering, Martin Turner, made a point to note that they held no blood oath to Apple or the iPhone.

“Smart phones and portable devices are a crucial part of that, but we are not wedded to the iPhone by any means, it is just one option. We are using it at the moment because it offers us the best combination of features, but it is not the only solution.”
source: Unwired View
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STATS: Android leads iOS in ad impressions, but Apple ahead on revenue

Posted by Japrax

Time for a bit of mid-morning MARKET ANALYSIS, courtesy of new mobile phone advertising data published by Millennial Media. During the month of May, the ad platform saw Android devices way ahead in terms of number of ads served across its network, with Android trouncing Apple by 53% to 27%.

However, Apple applications still manage to earn the most money from their ads, with iOS generating 45% of the network's revenue – and Android slightly behind on 43%.

Which means either advertisers are happy to pay a premium to advertise on iOS devices, or Android is home to more apps trying, and failing, to make money through ads alone. Or a mixture of the two. We're not very good at market analysis.

See if you can work out the truth by reading the full Millennial report.
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Photofast Introduces a Flashdrive You Can Use with iPhones and iPads

Posted by Japrax

Photofast has introduced a flashdrive that you can use with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. The i-Flashdrive, when used in conjunction with the app you'll be prompted to download for free when you plug the flashdrive into an iOS device, will allow you to do automatic backups of your contacts. You'll be able to copy files from your iOS device to back them up or to transfer them to another iOS device or computer. You can use the i-Flashdrive as a normal USB flashdrive with computers running Windows, OS X, or Linux. The i-Flashdrive will be available in July. An 8GB drive will sell for about $98, 16GB for about $120, and 32GB for about $192.
source: The Gadgeteer
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Apple Back To School Freebie Is iTunes Card, Not iPod?

Posted by Japrax on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Traditionally Apple has been giving away iPods as part of their back to school promotions whenever a customer purchases a Mac computer, but if 9to5Mac has got it right, it looks like this time Apple will instead be giving away a $100 iTunes gift card. This could be rather disappointing to users who were hoping for a free iPod but perhaps this is Apple's way of getting their new Mac users ready for the Mac App Store by providing the $100 for them to purchase and download apps.

On a deeper level this could also mean that those who are hoping to see a refresh of the iPod line may have to wait a couple of months more. The reason Apple gives iPods away during their back to school promotion is a way for them to clear old inventory of iPods to make way for a brand new lineup of iPods which normally make their appearance in September.

Since the rumors are pointing to an iPhone release in September, and since Apple doesn't mix iPhone releases with iPod releases, the chances of seeing a new lineup of iPods in September are starting to look rather unlikely. Could all of this be an indication of Apple pushing everything back a couple of months? I guess we will have to wait and find out.
source: Ubergizmo
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JayBird JF3 Freedom Bluetooth Earbuds Put Wireless Music In Your Ears

Posted by Japrax

If there's one thing I hate about exercising while wearing earbuds, it's that it's far too easy to accidentally snag the cable on something and yank one or both buds out of my ears. Bluetooth headphones solve the cable problem, but most Bluetooth headphones are either circumaural or supra-aural, and thus too big and heavy to wear while exercising.

JayBird has brought together the best of both worlds with their JF3 Freedom Bluetooth earbuds. Designed specifically for active users, the JF3 earbuds are lightweight and sweatproof, and come with a selection of ear tips and secure fit ear cushions to help keep the earbuds seated during your workout. The right-side earbud features volume and playback controls for devices that support AVRCP, and a microphone so that you can make or receive phone calls without missing a beat. JayBird claims that the JF3 battery will last for 6 hours of music playback or phone talk time, which should be enough for even the most hardcore fitness regimen.

The JF3 Freedom Bluetooth earbuds are available now for $99 at the JayBird online store.
source: The Gadgeteer
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Colorfly Media Player Targets High-End Audio Snobs

Posted by Japrax

For audiophiles in search of equipment with perfect sound reproduction quality, media players like the iPod are out of the question.

If you don't mind shelling out a wad of cash, you could score a slick, high-performance alternative: the Pocket HiFi C4 Pro.

The Colorfly Pocket HiFi C4 Pro not only looks awesome — check out the hand-engraved black walnut case, a retro pushrod volume slider, and an almost Steampunk-style brassy face — the hardware specs read like they'd make even the most seasoned aural aficionado swoon.

The Pocket HiFi C4 Pro surpasses average PMP performance with the ability to play 24 bit/192 KHz WAV files. Inside, it uses a CIRRUS Logic CS4398 DAC and CS8422 SRC for a dynamic range of up to 120 dB and a signal-to-noise ratio of 108dB.

Listening on some quality cans? The headphone jack features a built-in amp for 13.3 mW of power. It accommodates 6.3 or 3.5-mm jack sizes.

For the hefty price tag of $799 (the price it's going for on Amazon), you also get an SPDIF port for connecting with stereo equipment and what looks like an SD card slot.

Pocket HiFi C4 Pro [Colorfly via Oh Gizmo!]
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SANYO introduces audio processing solution for IC recorders

Posted by Japrax

This product features a built-in hardwired MP3 encoder/decoder system, enabling the industry's lowest power consumption of 5 milliwatts (mW) and supporting advanced functionality via a built-in digital signal processor (DSP). SANYO said that compared to their previous products, the new MP3 decoder and playback algorithm included enables variable speed playback function to operate at up to twice the speed, 0.5x to 4x speeds and 1.2 volts operation.

The LC823425 also has a Class D headphone amplifier to reduce power consumption during playback, it extends operating time, and enables noise cancellation, making audio clearer during playback.

SANYO has it scheduled to go into full production in July.

SANYO Semiconductor's 24-bit DSP also enables diverse audio processing algorithms, applying proven software assets, shortening time to market for various types of audio processing applications. For example, this device enables functions often used for IC recorders, such as noise cancellation (including reducing noise from air conditioners, and making audio clearer during playback), sound collection (making audio clearer in real-time by using low delay noise-reduction processing and a high-gain amplifier) and voice speed adjustment (lowering voice speed and maintaining the original playback time by expanding voice data to silent parts).

The new MP3 decoder and playback algorithm included in the LC823425 enables the variable speed playback function to operate at up to twice the speed [at 0.5x to 4x speeds and 1.2 V operation], compared to SANYO Semiconductor's previous products.

Additionally, by utilizing the LC823425′s “music extraction technology,” which extracts music data from among audio data, it also possible to extract and record only the music part of an FM radio broadcast.

SANYO Semiconductor also offers to develop software to meet customers' specific needs and further expand the functionality of the product.

Samples of LC823425 are already available. Full production is scheduled in July 2011. The device is offered in both a FBGA221J (11 mm x 11 mm) and a TQFP128L (14 mm x 14 mm) package. The device is priced at $7 per unit in quantities of 10,000 units.

Visit SANYO Semiconductor at
source: Akihabara News
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Court battle ends, Apple to pay Nokia royalties

Posted by Japrax

Nokia and Apple have just announced that they signed a patent license agreement, which settles all the patent litigation between the companies. Apple will make a one-time payment to Nokia and on-going royalties for the term of the agreement and both sides will withdraw their patent complaints.

After several months of court battles and several lawsuits filled by the parties it all ended with a settlement, rather than a court order. Obviously it was Nokia that had the stronger arguments in their favor as Apple has agreed to make pay an undisclosed amount upfront as well as on-going royalties to the Finnish company. Unfortunately, given the confidential nature of the agreement we'll probably never learn the actual numbers.

Here is the relevant part of the official Nokia press release:

The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple and on-going royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement. The specific terms of the contract are confidential.

"We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees," said Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia. "This settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market."

So, the Nokia vs. Apple thing is over for now. Now would everyone just focus on making better smartphones?

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Apple and Nokia patent dispute ends in Nokia's favour

Posted by Japrax

The patent battle between Nokia and Apple just ended not with an injunction, but with a press release citing a license agreement and payments from Apple to Espoo. The specifics of the agreement are confidential, but Nokia does say that Apple will make a one-time payment followed by on-going royalties. So, while Nokia may be having troubles selling its zombied handsets, at least its IP portfolio can help fill the coffers during the transition to Windows Phone.

Nokia enters into patent license agreement with Apple

Apple payments to Nokia settle all litigation and have positive financial impact

Espoo, Finland – Nokia announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with Apple. The agreement will result in settlement of all patent litigation between the companies, including the withdrawal by Nokia and Apple of their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission.

The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple and on-going royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement. The specific terms of the contract are confidential.

“We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees,” said Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia. “This settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

During the last two decades, Nokia has invested approximately EUR 43 billion in research and development and built one of the wireless industry's strongest and broadest IPR portfolios, with over 10,000 patent families. Nokia is a world leader in the development of handheld device and mobile communications technologies, which is also demonstrated by Nokia's strong patent position.

This agreement is expected to have a positive financial impact on Nokia's recently revised outlook for the second quarter 2011 of around break-even non-IFRS operating margin for Devices & Services.
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Lifeplayer, a Wind-Up MP3 Player For Developing Countries

Posted by Japrax

This big, ugly gadget is the LifePlayer, and it can change people's lives. It's a solar-powered five-band radio and MP3 player designed to be used as a teaching aid in the developing world. Currently, the units are being tested in Rwanda where the government has decided to switch the nation's language from French to English. I know — crazy, right?

The LifePlayer can be run from either a removable solar cell or by turning a hand-crank. It has 64GB to store educational materials — in this case English lessons — and content can be added via a microSD card slot or by recording direct from the radio.

The device also performs another key role: it can charge cellphones. This is essential in developing countries that have deployed cellular networks but have few power outlets.

You can't buy one but then it's not meant for you: an iPod Nano and a speaker can perform the same duties. But a big rugged radio that can run without power and time-shift radio broadcasts could probably have a much bigger impact than the OLPC in the countries that need it.

Lifeplayer [Lifeline. Thanks, Meaghan]
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App-Enhanced Clock Radio for iPhone/iPod from iLive

Posted by Japrax

This app-enhanced clock-radio from iLive incorporates your iPhone/iPod like no other that I've seen before. Without an iOS device on the dock (bottom left), it looks a bit funny because the 12 has been replaced with a digital display. Plug the iOS device in, and there's no way to tell the time (bottom right) - unless you're running the free ICP391 app from the iTunes app store. With the app, you've converted the iLive into an “analog” clock. You can wake to music from your iPhone/iPod, radio, or a buzzer. There are 10 radio pre-sets and a remote. The iLive ICP391B will charge your iPhone/iPod. List price is $49.99, but you can find it cheaper at various online retailers like Amazon, HSN,, etc.
source: The Gadgeteer
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Sony releases a new pair of Speakers for iPhone and iPod Touch

Posted by Japrax

Sony introduced today the SRS-GX50IP SRS-GM5IP a new pair of DSP Speakers that are made for both iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 as well as all iPod Touch families.

Both models comes with a 20Wx2Ch output and comes for the SRS-GM5IP with an internal battery letting you use your Speaker and iPhone on the go.

These two speakers will be put on the market at the end of June in Japan and will cost respectively around 19,800 and 7,980 Yen.
source: Akihabara News
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SugarSync adds mobile device management, lets you push digital delights directly to iOS

Posted by Japrax

Apple's iOS is great at displaying content already on a device, but transferring documents from your computer to your iPhone or iPad has traditionally been a tedious, inefficient process. SugarSync's new mobile device management sets out to help change that, allowing you to send files directly to your smartphone or tablet using a simple web interface.

After selecting a connected device from the sidebar, you can click to upload content, booting it directly to your handheld. A push notification will appear, prompting you to download any or all of the files you uploaded, which will also remain in the cloud — so you'll be able to access files synched with the SugarSync app from the Web, even when your device is offline.

The feature is rolling out for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this week, and will be available for Android and BlackBerry soon. It looks like the concept of emailing documents to yourself just to access them on the go is about to follow iTunes sync and tethered updates to a permanent group home in the sky.
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Sony Unveils Two New Speakers For iPod Touch

Posted by Japrax

Sony will release two new DSP speakers in the Japanese market namely the SRS-GX50IP and SRS-GM5IP. Designed for iPod touch and iPhone, both models produce a 20Wx2Ch output and a built-in battery. The company will launch the SRS-GX50IP and SRS-GM5IP later this month for 19,800 ($246) and 7,980 Yen ($99), respectively.
source: TechFresh
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O'kestra Portable iPod Speaker

Posted by Japrax on Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here's another budget-friendly portable iPod speaker ‘O'kestra' for you to grab from Overstock. This portable iPod speaker has a cylindrical design, 4 channel stereo, 360 degree surround sound effect and can deliver a total output power of 12 watt (4 x 3 watt). Powered by 4x AA batteries, the O'kestra Portable iPod Speaker retails for just $51.49. [Product Page]
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Snugg Luxury Wrist Strap for Apple iPod nano Review

Posted by Japrax

There are a multitude of watchband straps for the 6th generation Apple iPod nano, and I've already reviewed a couple. Each strap is a little different from the others, and it may require some looking to find exactly the one you'll like best. Some lend themselves more to using them as a sports strap while exercising, while others will work better for simply listening to music and checking the time. This band from Snugg is sophisticated enough to turn your nano into a nice wristwatch. I received a Luxury Wrist Strap for review. Let's give it a look.

The Luxury Wrist Strap is available only in black. The strap is made of a rubbery black plastic. The area where the nano clips on is made of a hard plastic, and the buckle appears to be brushed aluminum. It has double strap keepers made of the same rubbery material as the strap.

Fully extended, it measures 9.25", and it's about 1.4" at the widest point and 0.75" at the narrowest point of the band. It should be adjustable to fit a wrist as small as about 6" and as large as about 8". The back of the strap has raised ridges along the strap edges. This should minimize the amount of strap coming into contact with your skin. Hopefully, this will keep your arm cooler and reduce sweating under the plastic strap.

The area where the nano clips has a large cutout in one side. This is for the hinged side of the nano. Opposite the large cutout is a rectangular slot. The "tooth" on the open side of the nano's clip fits in this slot. The nano is held surprisingly firmly. It took a little effort to open the clip and remove the nano once it is seated firmly on the wrist strap.

The nano is completely exposed on the Snugg watch strap. The back of the clip will be in contact with your skin. The nano itself will have no protective covering for the screen or body, so it could be scratched or banged into something as you move your arm.

The Snugg strap plus the nano make a very nice looking, very large watch. It's comfortable to wear, but I do think the rubbery plastic band will make your arm sweaty if you intend to wear this while exercising or even on a hot, humid day.

The Snugg band orients the nano so that its controls don't interfere with hand movement. The sleep/wake and volume buttons and the docking connector and headphone jack will be on the left and right sides of your wrist. You'll be able to plug headphones or a Bluetooth dongle for headphones or a Nike + Sports receiver into the docking connector without interfering with hand movements. Adjusting the sound feels very natural when the buttons are oriented to the outside of my wrist.

The Snugg Luxury Wrist Strap for iPod nano is an attractive watch band. It looks sophisticated enough to wear to work, but it can be used in casual situations. I like the orientation of the controls, but I wish the nano had a bit of coverage for protection against bumps and scratches. The fit is tight enough that I don't think you could use the nano in a silicone case, though. I must say that the black watch band looks very nice with the colors of the iPod nano. Maybe a clear sticker-type skin added to the nano would be sufficient protection for use with the Snugg wrist strap.
source: The Gadgeteer
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Jailbroken iOS 5 gets third-party widgets

Posted by Japrax

Apple introduced iOS 5 and its new widget system just last week during WWDC, and a day later it was jailbroken. Now, Cydia developers have taken iOS 5 a step further by providing new third-party applications that allow users to tweak the Notification Center with new widgets. iOS 5 currently only offers widgets for viewing the weather or a stock ticker, but one app - UISettings - will allow users to quickly toggle their network and phone controls, too. Similarly, a widget called MusicCenter is being developed that enables users to view the current audio track they're listening to. We can't wait to see what other developers have in store. Hit the jump for an image of UISettings.
source: Boy Genius Report
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Pioneer Upgrade its VSX AV Receivers line-up in North American with AirPlay and DLNA

Posted by Japrax on Monday, June 13, 2011

Pioneer USA has introduces five new VSX Elite receivers in the USA with the Pioneer VSX-40, VSX-50, VSX-51, VSX-52 and VSX-53. All models offer seven channels with a power output ranging from 80 to 110W and with the exception on the entry level one, the VSX-40, these receivers all comes with DLNA 1.5, vTuner AirPlay and additional Pandora, Rhapsody and SiriusXM support on the VSX-52 and VSX-53.

These five new receivers are compatible with Pioneer Air Jam an iPod/iPhone and iPad application that can let you take control over your receivers to create you own “Jam Session” directly from the comfort of your sofa!

Press Release:
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today unveiled its new line of Elite® branded AV receivers designed to meet the needs of today’s connected consumers and their portable devices. The five new Elite models, consisting of the VSX-40 ($450), VSX-50 ($600), VSX-51($700), VSX-52($900) and VSX-53($1,100), incorporate state-of-the-art performance and specifications based on Pioneer’s uncompromising standards of engineering and manufacturing. All five new receivers utilize the renowned Elite audio and video technology and the VSX-50 and up have advanced network features like Pioneer’s proprietary iPhone and iPad apps including iControlAV21 and Air Jam2, as well as Apple’s AirPlay, DLNA Certified® (1.5) and Internet radio to become the hub of a consumer’s home network and entertainment system.

“By expanding on networked features such as AirPlay and DLNA, and combining them with exclusive control functions such as iControlAV2 and Air Jam, Pioneer’s new line of Elite receivers is making it easy for consumers to integrate their portable devices while still providing them with superior audio and video performance they expect from our brand,” said Chris Walker, director AV marketing and product planning for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

The Power of Connectivity

Starting with the VSX-50 and up, each Elite receiver is network capable, offering Ethernet connectivity to provide consumers with a wide range of new content, set-up and control of their home theater system. Features and apps that consumers can take advantage of with the new line of Elite receivers include:

AirPlay – Elite consumers have complete access, control and playback of their entire iTunes music library wirelessly through their home theater system. The AS-WL300, optional wireless LAN converter from Pioneer (sold separately), is available to simplify the connection process. Users can quickly and easily enjoy all their music with song information and album art simultaneously displayed on a connected monitor/TV. AirPlay requires iTunes 10.1 or later and iPad, iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.

Air Jam – Encouraging social connectivity via entertainment devices, Pioneer’s free Air Jam App is available from the App store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at Compatible with four of the five Elite receivers, the app allows pairing of up to four devices via Bluetooth (optional AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter required). Once linked, each individual can cue songs from their own music libraries to create a shared playlist to play back on the AV Receiver. Each connected device also displays the list of songs added by all the users and which device a song plays from. The Air Jam App conveniently stores the lists of songs created for each session for future purchases at the iTunes Store.

DLNA Certified (1.5) – The new line of Elite receivers are also DLNA Certified (1.5), allowing music content to be shared from a PC to the receiver via the consumers’ home network. Through Ethernet or the optional AS-WL300 wireless LAN converter (sold separately), each receiver can access and play high resolution music (up to 192kHz/24-Bit). Audio can also be streamed and controlled through the Elite receivers using a device that supports UPnP / DLNA media servers and renderers, enabling an entirely new way for consumers to share and play their music collection.

Bluetooth Audio Streaming – With the optional Bluetooth adapter, the entire lineup of receivers features wireless Bluetooth transfer of audio content from any A2DP Bluetooth wireless enabled mobile device or personal computer. Pioneer’s AS-BT200 ($99) Bluetooth adapter allows listeners to keep their phone close to them while they enjoy music through their home theater system. And, with Pioneer’s exclusive Sound Retriever AIR technology, specifically designed to enhance Bluetooth audio transmissions, music playback delivered through Bluetooth is near-CD sound quality.

vTuner – The line also brings thousands of high quality Internet radio stations into the living room with vTuner for endless music entertainment. The feature is further enhanced on the VSX-52 and VSX-53 with the addition of other Internet radio based music services such as PANDORA.

Growing Mobility

Portable devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are becoming exciting and ever-expanding components of home entertainment systems. Pioneer’s Elite receivers are designed to utilize the wealth of content from these types of devices as well as provide a larger emotional experience of high definition multi-channel home theater.

Each receiver in the lineup is “Made for iPad, iPhone and iPod” and comes with a free USB/video cable to provide an “out of the box plug-and-play” convenience. Consumers can enjoy audio, video and photos stored on their mobile device with no “optional dock required,” in addition to charging while plugged into the receivers.

iControlAV2 – Pioneer is placing even more home entertainment control in the hands of enthusiasts with its iControlAV2 App enabling an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to control four out of the five Elite receivers. Available free from the App store for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or, the iControlAV2 App controls volume, bass, balance and room settings as well as the ability for the user to choose Internet radio stations and music files from network-attached storage (NAS) on a home network. For iPad users, the iControlAV2 integrates all four app controls into an intuitive single screen. The app also includes control for Pioneer Blu-ray Disc players. Additional features include sound adjustments that enable users to create their own equalizer settings by simply drawing their desired equalizer curve on the screen and for iPad consumers, detailed graphic representations of before and after Pioneer’s MCACC room calibration feature.

Maximize Television Performance

Taking advantage of Pioneer Elite’s long history as an industry leader in high performance video processing, the 2011 Elite receivers use proprietary enhancing technologies to maximize the user’s television performance with video conversion and scaling, image enhancement, and video adjustment for detail, sharpness, brightness, contrast, chroma level and black level for individual video sources. To enhance the video performance from any source connected, Elite receivers convert analog signals to HDMI and scale both analog and digital signals to 1080p resolution for a highly improved visual experience. Additional technologies include Marvell™ Qdeo™ processing, Advanced Video Adjust and Stream Smoother to enhance the picture quality of any source.

Marvell Qdeo video processors – The top Elite models, the VSX-52 and VSX-53, offer high quality video processing for maximum performance and flexibility powered by Marvell’s award-winning Qdeo technology. Marvell Qdeo offers a truly immersive viewing experience by capturing, processing and rendering a wider variety of video signals ranging from high definition Blu-ray Disc to portable video sources such as smartphones.

Advanced Video Adjust – Available on the VSX-50 and up, Pioneer’s new Advanced Video Adjust technology automatically optimizes video signals by the type of display (selected manually) connected to the receivers, such as Plasma, LCD and Front Projector. For example, the receivers can reproduce a detailed and virtually noiseless image on Plasma panels, enhance the black level of LCD displays, and produce sharper, more vivid image matching for front projectors. The receivers can further adjust and enhance images based on the user’s viewing distance from their display by utilizing the distance information established during MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System) calibration to determine how much adjustment is necessary.

Stream Smoother – Pioneer is among the first to create its own technology to enhance compressed video files with Stream Smoother, available on the VSX-52 and VSX-53 models. The feature automatically calibrates images coming from the Internet via other devices such as Blu-ray Disc players reducing compression noise and establishing more detailed, finer images. The technology is especially helpful with low bit-rate video sources originally intended for viewing on small screens.

AVNavigator (Interactive Assistance)

Wiring Navi – Pioneer is making the installation process for each receiver simple by providing consumers an interactive guide application with the use of a Window-based PC. Users simply answer a series of questions about the hardware connected to the system and the application will automatically update the receiver with the correct settings.

Interactive Manual – Once the receiver is connected using the Wiring Navi application set up, the Interactive Manual application provides a linked two-way interactive manual giving users a way to quickly learn about all of the new features of each AV receiver (i.e. a push of the ALC button on the front of the receiver will take the user directly to the portion of the manual that explains the Automatic Level Control feature). Alternately, users can click on a section of the owner’s manual and the feature of the receiver will automatically activate (i.e. when the user clicks on the FL Dimmer section of the owner’s manual, the Front Panel Display of the receiver will dim).

The new line of Elite AV receiver models will be available in the summer of 2011.
source: Akihabara News
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ACHO A602 MP3 Player

Posted by Japrax

The A602 is another upcoming MP3 player from ACHO. This stylish player comes with an aluminum alloy casing, touch sensitive control buttons and supports both MP3 and WMA audio formats. Sadly, there's no word on release date yet. [ACHO]
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Umbrella Pole iPod Dock And Light

Posted by Japrax

The Sharper Image has started selling the Umbrella Pole iPod Dock and Light, which will turn your outdoor umbrella into a high-tech sound system. Priced at $199.99, this unique iPOd dock attaches easily to any umbrella pole up to 3-inch in diameter. It has 8 individual super white LED lights, which can shine down on your nighttime party. The gadget also provides a bright LCD display that shows you the time, the temperature or the radio station. Its internal rechargeable battery is good for up to 30-hour of light or up to 5-hour of music playback (battery charger included).
source: TechFresh
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iTunes Match not coming to the UK until 2012?

Posted by Japrax

Music collectors in the US will be able to subscribe to Apple's iTunes Match service this fall, but it looks like our friends across the pond will have to wait a little longer before lofting their libraries up to the cloud. According to sources within the British recording industry, licensing negotiations between Apple and the country's major labels have only just begun and likely won't be concluded until 2012.

A spokesman for the Performing Right Society, an organization that protects the rights of musicians and songwriters, likened the situation to the launch of iTunes, which only spread to international markets some 14 months after launching in the US. Speaking to the Telegraph, Forrester Research vice president Mark Mulligan echoed these predictions, while offering some insight into the industry's approach:

“Apple's cloud music service will not launch in the UK until at least quarter one of 2012. These types of negotiations take a long time… For one thing the UK arms of all the major record labels are biding their time and waiting to see how the service affects download sales in the US before they sign up to anything.”

Neither Apple nor any of the major labels have commented on the negotiations.
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Apple gives in to publishers, changes policy on in-app subscription prices

Posted by Japrax

It looks like Apple has decided to make some pretty major changes to its App Store Review Guidelines — and, in particular, to its controversial in-app subscription policy. Under the new guidelines, publishers will be able to offer subscriptions to content outside of the App Store, as long as their apps don't include a “buy” button that directs users away from Apple's marketplace. Under the previous version of the policy, which was set to go into effect at the end of this month, app owners offering subscriptions outside of App Store were required to sell equivalent, in-app services at the “same price or less than it is offered outside the app,” while giving a 30 percent cut to Cupertino. Now, however, they can price these in-app subscriptions as they see fit, or circumvent the system altogether, by exclusively selling them outside of their apps. Apple will still receive 30 percent of the revenue generated from in-app subscriptions, but won't get any money from purchases made outside of its domain. Theoretically, then, publishers would be able to offer in-app subscriptions at higher prices, in order to offset Apple's share. This is how the new rules are worded:

11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.

It's important to note, though, that Apple hasn't made any changes to its policy on sharing user information. Publishers had been lobbying to gain access to subscribers' credit card data and other personal information, which they see as critical to applying a TV Everywhere model to online publishing. With today's concessions, though, these demands may become less insistent.
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