Apple to Abandon Ping with Next Major iTunes Release

Remember Ping? Yup, neither do I. All Things D reports that Apple will discontinue the service when iOS 6 is launched this fall. During the D10 conference, Tim Cook said that the company may decide to discontinue Ping, but promised to add more social integrations into its products. This became true when Apple revealed system-wide Facebook integration in iOS 6 yesterday. Facebook’s integration is very similar to Twitter’s integration in iOS 5.

While Ping remains active in the recently released iTunes 10.6.3, sources say that Apple will remove the social network in the next major release of iTunes this fall.

Ping was first unveiled in 2012 by Steve Jobs during the demo of iTunes 10. “It’s sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” Jobs said of Ping. At the time of launch, critics weren’t very optimistic about the service and the future of it.

You know a significant difference between Google and Apple? Apple knows when to give up on a bad idea, Google doubles down on bad ideas.


Universal Studios’ Movies Now Available on iCloud

In March, Apple began to offer users the option to re-download movies that were already purchased on iTunes via iCloud. The service also applies to the iTunes Digital Copy format, which allows users the ability to download a digital version of a film when they buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc. At launch, Universal Studios and Fox were initially absent from iCloud due to content deals with premium cable network HBO.

Starting from this weekend, Universal Pictures’ films have become available on iCloud. Users who have previously purchased the films from iTunes can re-download them at no cost, which leaves only one major studio, Fox, that is not part of iCloud.

Even though Universal’s Films are now available via iCloud, customers wanting to re-download 20th Century Fox films still must wait for that content. Last month it was reported that HBO has already reached an agreement and The Wall Street Journal said at the time that Fox expected to have its content on iCloud “within weeks”.

TV content is now available in high-definition 1080p. Previously, content maxed out at 720p, which was the highest resolution output of the previous generation Apple TV.

Google Rebrands Android Market as Google Play

Google has rebranded the Android Market as Google Play. Android Market started out offering apps and games, but had since expanded to a lot of other stuff like ebooks, music and videos as well. Apparently, Google finds the term “Android Market” too narrow, and hopes to change that with “Google Play”.

With Google Play, Google is trying to create a unified marketplace for all content, including apps, games, music, movies, books, etc.

Google Play

While the core Android Market offering has been a huge success, Google’s music and ebook offerings haven’t seen much traction yet. Now, by bundling everything in a single service, Google is trying to leverage the momentum and popularity of Android Market to boost usage of its other offerings.

Google Play will compete primarily with iTunes, and will be a major part of Google’s content strategy. It will work with all Android devices and can also be accessed directly through the web. Users can purchase movies, music or ebooks without the need for an Android device, and their purchased content will be stored in the cloud.

Movies and Music don’t seem to be available currently in some countries like India, probably due to content license restrictions. Hopefully, Google will do a global rollout soon.

Check out Google Play at Google Play Store

iTunes Match Coming to Japan Soon?

A couple of week ago, it was reported that  Siri, the voice assistant found in Apple’s iPhone 4S, will get support for the Chinese language next month. It was also suggested that Apple would introduce support for Japanese and Russian. Then a week after, it was reported that watchful iPhone 4S users have noticed that Siri is now claiming to speak Japanese.

iOS Japan iTunes Match
Now it seems that the company maybe adding Japanese support for its iTunes Match service. Mactakara has discovered that the “iTunes in the Cloud” music component has gone live in Japan. Also, the “Purchased” tab within the desktop iTunes Store and iOS music application now allows users to access their previously-purchased iTunes Store music. Before this, iTunes in the cloud service was only limited to apps and books in Japan.

iTunes Match is a service that allows all your music, even songs you’ve imported from CDs to be stored in iCloud. The service is currently available in 37 countries, but international availability of the service has continued since it debuted in the U.S, Europe, and Australia in December. Since then, it was made available in 19 more countries across Latin America and Europe in January.

How to Fix iTunes 3200 and 3002 Errors

It was nearly a week ago since Apple released iOS5 for the general masses to download and update. Sadly, things did not go as Apple planned, and their servers got hammered by the iOS5 IPSW download request. Due to this, many users got an error 3200 and/or 3002 while updating their iDevice to iOS5 using iTunes.

The only way to solve this issue is to download the required IPSW file for your iDevice, and manually restore that using iTunes. Users can download the required IPSW file from here.

To manually restore the IPSW file, users need to connect their iDevice to their PC/Mac, and fire up iTunes. Once their device is detected, they need to press the Command/Shift key and then click on the Restore option. After that a new window will open, and users need to select the IPSW file they downloaded above.

A step by step guide to manually update your iDevice to iOS5 can be found here.

Apple Working on International iCloud Music Rights for October 4th?

iCloud logo

Earlier this week, Apple announced that they will be holding an event for the next-generation iPhone on October 4. Today, CNet’s  Greg Sandoval reports that Apple is trying to obtain international cloud-music licenses from record companies and publishers. These licenses would be similar to the ones they acquired for iCloud. Nothing is confirmed yet, but word has it that  Apple is said to be close to reaching deals.

Sandoval believes that Apple will announce an international option at next Tuesday’s press event if the company is able to “wrap up negotiations in time.” Apple has invited members of the press to a “Let’s talk iPhone” event scheduled for 10 a.m. PST on Oct. 4.

Sources familiar with the discussions between Apple, record companies, and music publishers, say Apple is seeking international music licenses for its iCloud service. The licenses would be similar to those the company has already obtained for U.S. operations, the sources said.

Apple’s iCloud offers number of different backup and syncing services over the air. If the company is able to reach a deal, iCloud could be made available in  Germany, France and the UK.  Previous  estimates  had suggested the UK support to be delayed until 2012.

iCloud is a new feature in iOS 5, which is expected to be launched “this fall. iOS 5 will be available for free to iOS device users.

Apple Working to Allow Users to Merge Multiple Apple IDs

iTunes 10 icon

Today, MacRumors  has discovered that Apple is working on a way to merge multiple Apple IDs into a single login.

Currently, using multiple Apple IDs into a single login is inconvenient for users. Switching between multiple logins while using Apple’s Automatic Downloads is, particularly, inconvenient because users can’t easily switch between logins. In addition, MobileMe users especially have found that they now have at least two Apple IDs their original one and their MobileMe account.

At present, there is not a way currently for users to combine their accounts into one unifying Apple ID. A representative from Apple reportedly said that the company is working on a solution. The representative recommends that in the meantime, users should continue using a single account and make all future purchases through it.  Apple has provided no official guidance on the issue, except to let customers know  that Apple IDs can not be consolidated at this time.

Two users who reached out to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, via e-mail received a phone call from the company explaining they are aware of the issue. Lately, Tim Cook has been responsive to customer emails and inquiries. Anyways, as usual, Apple’s evil and doesn’t care about its customers.

Apple Reopens iTunes Match Beta to Additional Developers

The iTunes Match beta was initially opened last month, but closed to new registrations within a few hours after the initial quota of developers was reached. Today, Apple has sent out an email to registered developers notifying them that iTunes Match beta has reopened to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match beta testing has now been expanded to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match stores your music library in iCloud and allows you to enjoy your collection from anywhere, any time, on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or computer. Any of your songs, including music you’ve imported from CDs, that matches with the 18 million songs in the iTunes Store will become available in iCloud and will play back at iTunes Plus quality (256 Kbps DRM-free AAC) — even if your original was of a lower quality.

Apple says that developers must upgrade to the new iTunes 10.5 beta 8 in order to use iTunes Match, and continues to warn that all iCloud libraries will be deleted at the end of the beta testing period. So users should be sure to retain copies of their music libraries.

iTunes Match Beta Reopened email

iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers. The service is priced at $24.99 per year, and is expected to launch alongside iOS 5 this fall.

How To Change iTunes Sync Media Location

I have a 250GB SSD and have partitioned it into 2 drives. However, I have to run regular cleanup of files and folder to make space. One of the biggest space constraints I face is in the primary drive where Windows is installed.

The reason is that I have a lot of apps and music on my and iTunes also takes up more than 35GB space. This has become a constant headache which I have been trying to solved. I did that by moving the iTunes Media folder location to another drive on an external device and now have lesser space constraints.

Well, moving your iTunes files and changing the sync location is definitely possible and in-fact very easy. All you have to do is to copy over the files from your iTunes folder and change the location in iTunes. I will show you how exactly it is done below.

Step 1: Locate Your iTunes Media Folder on your Computer. To do that open iTunes and then click on "Edit -> Preferences"

Copy iTunes Sync Media Location

Step 2: In the preference Window, click on the Advanced tab and copy the media folder location as shown in the above screenshot. Do not close the Preference window yet as we will require it for a future step.

Step 3: Open a explorer window and paste the location you copied in step 2 in the address bar. This will open the folder where iTunes stores the media files.

Step 4: If you want to clear up space, just cut the entire folder and move it to another drive or an external drive. Make sure to note the location of the folder in the other drive because we will need it in step 5.

Step 5: Now go back to the iTunes Advanced tab you opened in step 2 and click on the "Change" button and point it to the new location you copied or moved the files in Step 4.

That’s it. iTunes will now sync your music, movies, books and more to your new location. If you are using an external drive, just make sure that you attach it before you sync your device with iTunes.

Moving the backup location for iTunes is a little bit more difficult and I will be covering it in the next article. For Mac users, the steps should be similar and easy to perform as well. Just use the Finder instead of Explorer to move your iTunes media files over.

Apple’s iTunes U Hits 600 million Education Downloads

In 2007, Apple unveiled iTunes U, a service encouraging schools to offer print, audio, and video downloads of their education programs almost entirely free to the public. Today, according to Apple’s figures obtained by The Loop, the service has hit a new milestone of 600 million downloads.  Last August, Apple noted the service hit a milestone of 300 million downloads.

Apple claims that there are now over 1,000 universities actively participating in iTunes U. Prolific universities like Stanford and Open University are part of the program. Both have shared more than 30 millon downloads with users. In addition,  Yale University, MIT, University of California Berkeley and the University of South Florida have all reached 20 million downloads each, while Emory University, Harrisburg Area Community College, Ludwig Maxmillians University of Germany and Oxford University have all surpassed the ten million download mark.

Nearly 30 percent of iTunes U traffic now originates from iOS devices.  The service is a available worldwide in 123 countries, also counts 60 percent of its users as being outside the US.

Participating organizations often make their content available free to the public, although some limit access to their own members.