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Apple’s Closing In On 50 Billion App Downloads, And They’re Giving Away $10,000 To Celebrate

Apple 50 billion apps giveaway

It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s been almost five years since Apple launched the iTunes App Store, and it’s even crazier to think that in less than five years they are already rapidly approaching 50 Billion (yes that’s Billion with a “B”) app downloads. In the past Apple has celebrated major iTunes milestones with some pretty insane giveaways. For example, for the billionth app download in 2009 they gave away a 17-inch Macbook Pro, 32 GB iPod Touch, Time Capsule router AND a $10,000 Gift Card for the iTunes Store. So as you’d expect for this massive milestone, Apple’s giving away a few other big prizes.

This year the lucky downloader of that 50 Billionth app will receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card that can be used in the App Store, iTunes Store or iBookstore. Considering that most paid apps, movies and books in the iTunes store are between $0.99 and $15 that’s an insane amount of money to spend in one place (and unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can use the gift card in the regular Apple Store to buy a new Mac, iPad or iPhone).

Now in the past Apple only gave away one grand prize for their iTunes contest but this time they’ve changed it up a bit. If you aren’t that exact 50 Billionth app downloader don’t worry, you can still win something as Apple will also be giving out fifty $500 iTunes gift cards to the people who download the next 50 apps after that 50 billionth app is downloaded. So if you do the math that’s $35,000 in free iTunes money up for grabs!

As of this writing the download counter on Apple’s website says that they have passed 49.85 billion apps, with about 1,000 apps being downloaded every second. That rate is only going to pick up as we get closer to that magic 50 billionth app so if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch go charge it up and get to downloading apps.

For more info and the latest counter either open up the App Store on your iDevice or head on over to Apple’s site here. And as always, good luck!

More info: Apple

iPhone 5 with 4G LTE, New iPods Confirmed On Apple’s Site

iphone 5 render white

Apple’s big iPhone event is still a few hours away (it officially kicks off at around 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific), but it looks like some of the days surprises are leaking out a bit early.

iphone 5 leak apple search

The internet is buzzing this morning as some searches on Apple’s site reveal links to pages for the upcoming iPhone 5, as well as for a new iPod Touch (with a new design and larger screen like the iPhone 5), Nano and iTunes 11. The links themselves aren’t live yet, so we still don’t know all the details on what’s new with these iDevices (though we have some guesses for what the new iPhone 5 will be). We do though now know one feature that will be in the new iPhone: 4G LTE. A quick search for LTE iPhone shows yet another not yet live link for LTE on the iPhone.

iphone 5 leak apple search lte

As always stay tuned, things here are just getting started. We’ll have more from Apple’s big event later today.

Apple Announces Back To School Deal: Buy A New Mac And Get A Free $100 iTunes Gift Card

apple back to school 2011

Apple today finally took the wraps off its annual, highly anticipated back to school deal with a major new twist: the traditional free iPod Touch has been replaced with the new deal being the usual discounts on all Macs and a free $100 iTunes gift card that can be used in any of Apple’s iTunes stores (iTunes, App Store for iPhone/iPad, Mac App Store and iBookstore).

While we don’t know why Apple decided not to do free iPod Touches again this year (or even better, some discount on an iPad with the purchase of a new Mac) the deal, which runs from today, June 16th,  through September 20th, is still pretty good in our opinion. Think about it, most of us have iPods– or are using our phones as our iPods– now anyway so unless you really needed a new one, getting $100 to spend in iTunes and getting apps for your new Mac can be very valuable (as Apple puts it: “so you can get Pages, Numbers and Keynote for your studies. And still have plenty left for your study breaks.”). Oh, and the brand new, upcoming OS X Lion will be free to anyone who buys a new Mac now and before whenever the official launch date is, so you don’t have to worry about buying that for $30 next month either.

Now a lot of you want to know what’s different between this new 2011 Apple back-to-school deal and Microsoft’s offer of a free Xbox 360 with any new PC $699 or higher. There actually is a lot. Beyond the fact that Microsoft’s deal is cheaper (you can buy a PC for $699 and get the free 360 whereas the cheapest MacBook– the one from last year and not the new MacBook Pros— is $899 even after the $100 discount), Microsoft’s deal is also open for any current high school or college student unlike Apple’s which looks to be only college (the official language is “college students or students accepted to college” so incoming college freshmen you’re still good. Parents of college students and teachers of any grade are also eligible so if you’ve got a sibling in college or a nice teacher you can still get in on this deal). Microsoft is also giving away more in terms of the free add-on (an Xbox 360 4 GB is $200 whereas even if you include Lion in the Apple deal you’re still at $130).

I guess what it really comes down to which would you rather game on: Xbox 360 or Mac/iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch? Let us know your pick of which deal you think is better in the comments.

Info from Apple

Apple Introduces iOS 5 and OS X Lion– What You Need To Know

wwdc 2011 invite

It may be hard to believe but iMessage was only one of the many things unveiled by Apple this week at WWDC 2011. In addition to that major news, Apple also had a few other pretty big announcements regarding what we can expect in the next versions of iOS and OS X: iOS 5 and OS X Lion (sadly there was no new iPhone 5 announced here).  So what exactly did Apple say and what does it mean for you? Read on for the full breakdown.

Read the rest of this entry

Amazon Goes After iTunes, Lowers Pricing For New Bestselling Songs To $0.69

amazon 69 cent songs

Hate iTunes and it’s extremely expensive price for singles at $1.29? Wish you had a cheaper and still fully legal alternative that offered you all the same music at almost half the price? Then allow me to introduce you to Amazon’s long running Amazon Mp3 music store which has now made iTunes look like the one that’s stealing from you with their ridiculously high music pricing.

First introduced over the weekend, Amazon has lowered the pricing for the bestselling songs (the ones you’ll probably wanna buy) to a much more affordable $0.69. That’s right, 69 cents or almost half the price of what iTunes charges for the same songs. And downloading from Amazon’s online store will even import the songs into iTunes for you so you can still easily transfer them to your iDevice.

Personally, while I now will look to Amazon when I wanna buy a song, most of the music I listen to I get from either Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker or YouTube (or when I’m driving, the radio) so this doesn’t really affect me too much. But what about you– how do you get your music? Do you buy from iTunes and are excited by this news of a much cheaper, yet equally reliable and legal alternative? Do you go online or use an app to listen to new songs like I do, or did you just read this and go ” what? who still buys music?” while downloading the latest changes on the Billboard Hot 100 from, well, not as “legal” sources? Let us know in the comments.

Full info at Amazon’s Mp3 Store

The iPad 2– It’s Official

ipad 2 official

The iPad 2– officially 

Yes, as expected the iPad 2 is officially official. Like all of Apple’s big event, the new iPad features some major new changes over the previous iPad. New changes on this new iPad include: the new design that we saw leaked earlier today that’s a third thinner than the first iPad (its thinner than iPhone 4!), a very fast dual core A5 processor with 9x better graphics (this is awesome news for gamers), the dual cameras and improved speaker that everyone has been waiting for (front camera for FaceTime video chat, back for HD video recording), 10 hour battery, and it ships in both white and black from day one for both AT&T and Verizon (this is in addition to the WiFi only versions).

ipad 2 facetime

Facetime, now on the iPad 2

The iPad 2 will be available next week, March 11th, for the same prices as current iPads (starts at $499 for 16 GB WiFi only up to $829 for 64 GB WiFi+3G).

ipad 2 photo booth

Photo Booth on the new iPad 2

In addition to the iPad 2, Apple also announced the next version of iOS, version 4.3. New features in iOS 4.3 (which also comes out next week, March 11th for iPhone, iPod touch and first-gen iPad owners) include Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4 (the ability to turn your iPhone 4 into a WiFi hotspot. This finally comes to all iPhone 4s, not just the Verizon iPhone 4), Photo Booth for iPad (like on the Mac, this is a fun way to mess around with the iPad’s new cameras. See pic above), improvements to Apple’s AirPlay (for streaming movies, music and pictures from your iOS device to your TV through Apple TV), and iTunes Home Sharing (so you can stream your music, movies and pictures from your iTunes on your computer to your iOS device over your home WiFi– no cables required to play).


More Palm Pre Features Revealed

palm-pre-21

Over the past couple of days there has been a conference in San Fransisco run by the Wall Street Journal called D7 (you can find out more bout D7 here). This conference brings out some of the top tech players like Microsoft, RIM (makers of the BlackBerry’s), and Palm, and while usually it is just “CEO talk” about their thoughts on the tech market and such, sometimes, these CEOs reveal info on new products. The other day, Palm was one of those companies, releasing a whole bunch of new info on the previously very secretive Pre.

As we know the Palm Pre is coming next week, and there are still a bunch of features hidden. So when Palm CEO John Rubinstein (ironically initially from Apple and the guy who helped create the iPod) took the stage today, he obviously demo-ed some new features. Firstly, he elaborated upon the structure of the Pre’s App Catalog (the Pre’s version of the App Store), and then he proceeded to announce a most shocking and exciting piece of information: as part of the Palm Media Sync, the Pre will sync with iTunes! Yup, it’s completely compatible with the popular Apple music player, in part allowing you to sync your iTunes library (as long as the purchased iTunes music is non-DRM, which applies to all music bought recently off iTunes- read more about it in our previous post) to your Pre as you would an iPod, whether your iTunes is on Windows or Mac. Yeah, we got a feeling Apple can’t be too pleased about this. Just check out this snapshot:

Palm Pre itunes

Palm Pre syncing with iTunes, notice it even has an iPod icon next to it in the devices list! (Pic from Engadget)

For a video of Palm’s demonstration see here, and for a full press release of the new features see here.

In other Pre news, while Sprint will be launching the phone, Verizon AND AT&T have both said they want the Pre, and are said to be getting it by the end of the year (Verizon’s CEO, for example, said that the Pre and the BlackBerry Storm 2 — which we’ll get to in another post — will be coming within 6 months!). Palm wouldn’t confirm this, as not to jeopardize their relationship with Sprint and the launch of the Pre next week, but this is definitely great news for AT&T and Verizon customers, and definitely not the news Sprint wants to be hearing right now.

Still no word on 4G on the Sprint Pre, though we should  find out though if that rumor is true when the Pre comes out next week.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? You like iTunes and Pre working together- will this sway you to get a Pre as it is now even more iPhone like? What do you think Apple’s reaction will be to all this? And with news of AT&T and Verizon getting Pre (or Pre-like devices, like the Eos rumored for AT&T), if you were leaning toward buying the Pre on Sprint are you now inclined to hold off? We are interested in your opinions, so sound off in the comments.

Apple Contest to Download the 1 Billionth App

apple-1-billion-apps

We all know how popular the iPhone and iPod Touch are (unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year– in that case your excused 😉 ), and how awesome it is to be able to download apps right to the device using the App Store. Well, for those of you who don’t believe how popular the iPhone and iPod Touch have become, just check this: Apple right now is running a contest for the person who downloads the BILLIONTH app. Yup, as we said in the title, thats BILLION with a B!

This is rather amazing, considering it’s been really under a year since the App Store launched (technically it came in July of  ’08), but it gets even better for us users! Like what Apple did a couple of years ago when they were closing in on selling their 1 billionth iTunes song, they’re giving away a boatload of gear to the lucky soul who happens to download that 1 billionth app. What kinda gear you ask? Well, try a 17″ MacBook Pro; an iPod Touch 32GB; a $10,000 iTunes Gift Certificate (yes 10 GRAND– honestly, this is crazy!); and an Apple Time Capsule (basically a back up hard drive for your Mac or Windows PC that will automatically back up your hard drive using your wireless network). Total Retail Value of all the prizes? $13,746 (again– WOW!). You can follow the countdown to 1 billion apps at Apple’s site here.

Wanna know something even better? The app you download doesn’t necessarily need to be a paid app! You can just download a free one and you could win.

Listen, this won’t be easy to win, especially as they’re going at about a thousand apps every 10 or so seconds (at the time I’m writing this at least), but hey best of luck to ya!

New Pricing System Begins for iTunes

itunes-plus-pricing1

The new iTunes pricing method

At MacWorld ’09 in early January, Apple announced that they would introduce a new pricing system for iTunes, with songs costing either $.69, $.99 or $1.29, depending on how much the record label and artist wanted to charge– which really means based on the song’s popularity.

Apple, true to it’s word, released this new pricing system yesterday, and I’m not gonna lie: this ain’t cool. The economy is still in the toilet, and their gonna raise prices? Doesn’t really make much sense to me, and already 33 out of the iTunes Top 100 songs are going for this new price, and this new pricing has only been out 3 days! The other 77 songs are staying at the previous $.99 for now, though I don’t think it will stay that way for long. See now how this whole popularity thing changes the price?

I also don’t get why they’re giving Amazon and other services a chance to gain some ground in the online music store; you can also get DRM Free songs (DRM= Digital Rights Management, which is the copy protection previously found on iTunes songs, limiting song sharing on computers and iPods. iTunes Plus now removes DRM from the iTunes songs, though movies and TV shows still have them) at Amazon’s Mp3 store for as low as $.79 (they too have the $.99 and $1.29 price listings as well), including a majority of the songs on their Top 100 being either $.79 or $.99 (though Amazon also has a few $1.29 songs– which we hope they keep to a few and try to make up ground vs Apple and iTunes with the cheaper pricing). I mean, the number 2 song currently on both lists– Poker Face by Lady Gaga– sells for $.79 on Amazon, and $1.29 on iTunes, and their the exact same song! (And yes you could say it’s only a $.50 difference, but when you buy a lot of songs, it’ll add up to be much more pretty quickly).

I know that most of this really ends up hurting the consumer, but there is one good thing out of all this though in my opinion– the fact that now all iTunes songs are DRM free. This is something that is actually good for us consumers as we can all now listen to our higher priced songs on any device we want 😉 (though just so you know, to make this happen tech wise, they didn’t need to raise the price, as evidenced by the $.69 songs which are the exact same DRM free quality as their $1.29 counterparts).

So while its great that now all iTunes songs are DRM free, I’m still not gonna pay over a dollar for a song when I can get it for less than a dollar at another, reputable site like Amazon.

What are your thoughts– you agree or disagree with the new iTunes pricing? And are you still gonna get songs from iTunes even though they raised the prices? You gonna switch to Amazon, or another site like Rhapsody? Or have you stopped buying your songs entirely and instead go the more illegal, torrent (or otherwise known as file sharing) route to get your stuff 😉 ? Let us know in the comments.

First Look: iTunes Store on iPhone over 3G

Apple today unleashed the restrictions on the iPhone’s wireless iTunes Music Store, letting you finally download songs over 3G! So me being crazy to try this out, took out my iPhone 3G and put this to the test.

I gotta say it works as advertised; I was able to download a 4 minute song in about 1 minute, and my 3G wasn’t even going at its normal speeds! (I think this has something to do with AT&T’s data/internet network going down earlier yesterday morning on the east coast, and it hasn’t fully recovered as of this writing). Anyways, the quality of the songs are the exact same as the ones on your computer’s iTunes, and the mobile iTunes Store even started selling the new DRM free tracks – which you can also download today.

All the songs you downloaded get transferred to your regular iTunes on the computer the next time you sync and go to File–> Transfer Purchases from “____’s iPhone”, so don’t worry about losing your newly bought tracks 😉

Another pretty important thing worth mentioning here is that the pricing on the iPhone’s iTunes store remains the same. Unlike other carriers’ music downloading services (we’re looking at you Verizon, and AT&T with your non-iPhone phones’ $1.99 pricing per song), you’re not paying more than the standard .99 cents to download a song.

Oh, and for all you original iPhone owners: don’t worry, this works over EDGE as well, but I would recommend sticking to Wi-Fi for your downloads, as you may not have enough time to sit and wait for your song to download (downloading over EDGE is that slow).

iphone-3g-music-store

iTunes Music Store over 3G on my iPhone 3G. Click on pic for bigger version.

(The song, by the way, is “If Today Was Your Last Day” by Nickelback, and the download is paused so I could take the pic- not because of 3G problems 🙂 )

I still was hoping (wishing really) that Apple did more for the iPhone today (please, all I want is: a landscape keyboard like in Safari for texting, syncing with more than one computers like a regular iPod, a lil video recording, and some picture messaging. Honestly Apple, is that so much to ask?). But all in all, the “new” iTunes Store over 3G is great, and gives the iPhone yet another edge over the competition as both a music player and phone.

What you think of the new iTunes Store- both the iPhone’s new ability to download over 3G and the new DRM free songs? How the iPhone 3G’s wireless iTunes Store working for you? Let us know in the comments.