iCloud replaces iTunes for iOS device syncing, doesn't replace MobileMe?

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has published his thoughts on what’s going down tomorrow with iCloud at WWDC. In short: “Don’t think of iCloud as the new MobileMe; think of iCloud as the new iTunes.” Gruber notes that the iOS syncing process of today requires a user to USB tether their device to their computer in order to sync music, video, apps, etc. iCloud might just be the future of iOS device syncing.

The ideal concept would be that a user can upload all of their media to the cloud, sign into their iOS device, and it will be ready to go.

But in short let’s just think about the ways that iCloud might be a major, dare I say game-changing, step away from USB tethering between iOS devices and iTunes running on your Mac/PC. Consider just the new out-of-box experience. Rather than “Take this out, plug it into your Mac or PC (after first making sure your Mac/PC is running the latest version of iTunes), wait for it to sync before you actually play with it”, you might get something like “Take this out, turn it on, sign into your iTunes account, and start playing with it.”

Gruber also published some interesting thoughts on what he would like to see in iOS 5.

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Apple to offer automatic App Store app updates in iOS with 'Automatic Download'

MacRumors has discovered a new addition to the iTunes App Store update page and that is a new sentence hinting at an upcoming feature called Automatic Download. The greater meaning of Automatic Download is not completely clear at this point but it seems as if Apple will give iOS users the option to have their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch automatically download and install App Store app updates. The leak also hints at this being an option, so perhaps Apple has an iOS update up its sleeve for an imminent release.

Or if your device has Automatic Download enabled for apps, your updates will download to your device without having to sync.

Right now, users have to open the App Store app and manually pick and choose (or click update all) every time they want to update an app. The new sentence, quoted above, has appeared roughly three months prior to the rumored public release of iOS 5. Either Apple is just testing out some of their new iOS 5 literature, or Apple will be making this Automatic Download feature available to the public as soon as next week. Apple, afterall, will be talking the cloud and iOS on Monday at WWDC.

The phrasing of the new sentence does seem to be hinting at just more than App Store apps. This may be the first hint from Apple at their plans to deliver over-the-air iOS software updates and a new iOS software update solution via a new version of the Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme.

The previous wording can be seen below:

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Good idea: Taipei demands refunds on app sales

Money-back guarantee – a promise by a retailer to give you back your money if you are not satisfied with something that you bought – is taken for granted with tangible products and re-packaged intangibles such as the MobileMe box. When it comes to apps, it just seems weird to ask for a refund in the 99-cent economy, many people feel. The Taipei City Government begs to differ, arguing the same rules should apply to digital goods. They are ordering Apple and Google to introduce a seven-day money-back guarantee for sales of iOS and Android apps, Taipei Times reports.

An official said the lack of a return and refund mechanism violated the Consumer Protection Act. In an example of the problem the city government is trying to prevent, Yeh cited a case of software bought on Apple Store on Thursday that did not work, but left the buyer without recourse.

In other words, Taipei imagines a world where you could buy an app and “return” it for a full refund within two weeks if you’re not fully satisfied. When the App Store debuted as this phenomenal virtual bazaar to buy iPhone apps, nobody ever expected someone some day could demand the same consumer protection for digital deliveries. But Taipei’s demands have their merits. After all, the city officials cut a similar refunding deal with online auction web sites. If online sites are OK with it, so should app stores be, right?

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iCloud will be free at first and then $25/year – LA Times


The LATimes reports that iCloud will be a low-priced add on to iTunes costing users just $25/year, perhaps as an add on to MobileMe?

Dubbed iCloud, the service initially will be offered for a free period to people who buy music from Apple’s iTunes digital download store, allowing users to upload their music to Apple’s computers where they can then play from a Web browser or Internet-connected Apple device.

The company plans to eventually charge a subscription fee, about $25 a year, for the service. Apple would also sell advertising around its iCloud service.

Earlier CNet reported that Apple had sewn up the last major record label, Universal, to sell its products in the iCloud.  The deal had reportedly been finalized late last week (plenty of time!).

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GarageBand for iPad, iMovie for iOS get audio output over AirPlay, Bluetooth, HDMI (plus audio copy and paste)

Apple has just updated GarageBand for iPad and iMovie for iPhone/iPad with bug fixes, AirPlay compatibility and other new features. Free updates are now available on the App Store. GarageBand for iPad version 1.0.1 is a 369MB download while iMovie for iOS (supports iPad 2, iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch) version 1.2.1 weighs in at 69.2MB, priced at five bucks each. Don’t panic if those updates don’t show in iTunes or the App Store app yet, propagating changess across all regional stores can take anywhere between a few minutes to a couple hours. Here’s the official list of enhancements from iTunes release notes.

GarageBand for iPad version 1.0.1

• support for audio output over AirPlay, Bluetooth devices and HDMI with the Apple Digital AV Adapter
• import of AIFF, WAV, CAF audio files and Apple Loops (16 bit, 44.1 kHz)
• allows copy and paste of audio from supported apps into GarageBand
• addresses occurrences of GarageBand freezing while playing Smart Instruments
• improves overall stability and addresses a number of minor issues

iMovie for iOS version 1.2.1

• audio plays from your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter
• video plays full screen from Marquee to your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter
• resolves some cases of missing media in projects
• provides more accurate clip grouping by date in Video browser
• fixes an issue where a project’s background music would not fade in or out
• additional performance and reliability improvements

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