App Store volume purchase program for businesses goes live in the U.S.

As pointed out by The Loop, Apple’s App Store volume purchase program for businesses has gone live. The program, which is currently exclusive to the United States, allows businesses to easily purchase and distribute applications – with volume-based pricing – to employees. Businesses that are interested can now enroll and you will need the following to get started:

  • Basic contact information to verify your business
  • Dun & Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S) number
  • Corporate credit card or PCard to purchase apps

App Store distribution through this program consists of iTunes redemption codes:

The Volume Purchase Program makes it easy to distribute apps within your organization. When you buy apps in volume or custom B2B apps, you will receive redemption codes for each app. You can control who gets the apps by providing these codes to users via email or an internal website. You can also use third-party Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to manage redemption codes centrally.

A guide with all the instructions is also available from Apple.

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Apple discontinues boxed versions of several software titles at physical stores

Today Apple announced End of Life (EOL) status for several boxed software titles. As of 7/20/11 Apple will be discontinuing boxed versions for the following software at Apple retail and Authorized reseller stores:

  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server
  • iLife
  • iWork
  • Aperture
  • Apple Remote Desktop
  • Xsan
  • GarageBand Jam Packs
  • Mac Box Set

*Retail boxed versions of Logic Express and Logic Studio will still be available in-stores

The aforementioned software titles will only be available from the Apple online store.  The only exclusions are “GarageBand Jam Packs” and “Mac Box Set,” which will no longer be available through any channels.  This is certainly another move by Apple to decrease the Mac user’s dependence on physical media.  Not one of today’s Macs has an optical media drive.  Apple announced this immediate change via a “U.S. Field and Channel Sales” email sent to resellers, Apple consultant Network, and others.  This news comes hot off updates to the MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and OS X Lion release. Read more

Apple Retail has 3 Lion install images and a possible dedicated Lion Caching Server

As we get close to the Lion launch, several tipsters have provided more information regarding the Apple retail overnight and  days after.  Tonight, Apple retail will hold an overnight from approximately 11pm – 7 am to give the retail staff enough time to update the stores visual elements with new marketing materials and re-image all display Macs with Lion.

As previously reported, our tipsters say most stores have recently received an external LaCie hard drive containing Lion installs, but we have received new information that the drives contain 3 different install images for Lion; Normal, Pro, and Joint Venture. 

JointVenture is an enterprise membership program to support businesses running Macs and iDevices.  It is believed that each of these installs will include unique software titles, and some of which could be new.

Furthermore we’ve heard rumblings that some stores will be receiving maxed out Mac Pro towers to be used as Lion distribution caching centers (speculation here).  Some believe that these stations would allow customers to purchase Lion (3.5GB) from the Mac App store and download it directly from the store server in minutes rather than hours it takes over a normal broadband connection.

MacOS X Server and internal builds of Time Capsule allow for Software Update Caching, so this is certainly something within Apple’s capabilities.  Also, Apple told Computerworld that users could come into the store to download Lion last month.

This would also be a huge help to customers who do not have access to a broadband Internet connection or users who want to walk through the install process with an Apple employee during a personal training session.  It would obviously also save Apple some internet bandwidth which at 3.5GB per user adds up.

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Is the AppleTV 2 the future of low-CPU use servers? Desktops?

Why run a family pictures website, DNS or any other low CPU-use server on power-hungry Intel-based hardware when an AppleTV2 does the trick?  The folks at MacMinivault.com have set up a webpage on a AppleTV 2 (go ahead, try to take it down) jailbroken with httpd as an example of what can be served off of the little 6 watt, A4-powered dynamo.  Put 10 of these together and you’ll be using the same power as a single 60 Watt light bulb.

The Apple TV is running iOS 4.2.2 (obviously jailbroken) with lighttpd for a web server. You can see the webpage we set up by visiting atv.macminivault.com. We’ll keep an eye on the CPU load and watch the analytics to record how much traffic the Apple TV receives.

They say this won’t be a cost effective solution for their customers (8 GB of storage won’t cut it) but is a ‘fun experiment.’

What’s interesting is that Apple likely has an dual core A5-platform AppleTV coming out shortly which may push a little more into the Intel server space.  Perhaps more interesting is that the A5 chips could also make nifty little ChromeOS-busting terminals or even cheaper laptops.

If you want to create your own little AppleTV 2 server, they recommend the following: Read more

Apple consortium wins Nortel patents with $4.5B bid

A consortium including Apple Inc, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion bought bankrupt telecommunications gear maker Nortel Networks Corp’s remaining portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion, in an auction that began early this week.

RIM reportedly paid $770 million, Ericsson paid $340 million.  It wasn’t immediately clear how much Apple paid.

Google had originally opened bidding with a $900 million bid.  The consortium of strange bedfellows will split up the portfolio based on the split of the purchase price.

The sale is subject to Canadian and U.S. court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11.  Full press release follows:

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Import of previous Final Cut Pro XML coming soon to Final Cut Pro X

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There has been a big stink (several actually) about Final Cut Pro X’s lack of ‘Pro’ features.  One such glaring omission has been the lack of Final Cut Pro 7 XML imports.  MacMagazine.br did some digging and found that the code for doing Final Cut Pro 7 imports is actually inside Final Cut Pro X and for some reason hadn’t been enabled for shipping.

 

As per usual, Apple will likely enable that functionality (and many others that are missing) in updates to Final Cut Pro X.  If you are daring, MacMagazine offers a workaround that might be able to import now (they haven’t yet tested).

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Apple selling Promise Thunderbolt products alongside Mac Pros

As we broke last night, Apple is now carrying Thunderbolt parts. The Pegasus RAID units just showed up but we noticed something a little odd:

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Interesting combo.  Currently the Mac Pro doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port.

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So yeah, Apple art team either jumped the gun, used the wrong equipment, or pre-announced the new Mac Pros.  We were hoping for a slight redesign which doesn’t look to be the case (see what I did there?)… Read more

Why buying the 3TB Time Capsule is crazypants

We know Apple charges a premium on storage.  That’s why many people buy RAM and HDD/SSD storage for their Macs from third party retailers, saving lots of money.   With iOS devices, however, Apple is able to keep out third party upgrades because the devices are sealed shut.  That’s why a device with 16GB costs $100 less than a device with 32GB of RAM, which in turn costs $100 less than a device with 64GB of flash storage.  Apple buys Flash for less than anyone else on earth but mere mortals can get storage for a fraction of what Apple charges.

So here’s this Time Capsule thing.

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 $299 for 2TB.  To upgrade to a 3TB drive, you’ll need $200 more.  How absurd is this?  The difference between a 2TB and 3TB drive is like $40.

Not only is this beyond the call of the “Mac Tax” but it is crazy easy to get around.  For an extra $150 (Still $50 less than the 3TB model) you can buy a perfectly good 3TB USB Seagate or Western Digital hard drive from Amazon.  Then just plug it into the back of the 2TB model and you have 5TB of addressable space.    You’ve been able to use USB drives since 2008 as Time Machine backups or Network Attached Storage.

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Of course it is nice to have the drive in a convenient little package with only one plug, but for $200, only getting an extra TB seems a little absurd.   Read more

Final Cut Pro X Notes: Some Mac Pros not burly enough, first reviews up, BluRay coming?

Had you heard? Final Cut Pro X hit the virtual streets today ($299 App Store Link).  Motion 5 ($49 Download link) and Compressor 4 ($49 Download Link)

Some users aren’t quite as happy as others.  Those include first generation Mac Pro users with ATI video cards.  Reader John writes:

BAD NEWS: I have a 2 year old, Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 6 Gigs of memory and I can’t download FCP X from the app store because my Mac Pro isn’t good enough!
I have an ATI Radeon HD 2600. What about all those iMac editing stations when they cant upgrade either? Nice timing, right before the new Mac Pros to be released.

I spoke to Apple, my Mac Pro from Early 2009 needs NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (early 2009) for $149 1-2 week wait.

You can find out if you are in good Graphics card shape here.  You’ll want an OpenCL-capable graphics card with 256 MB of VRAM.  Somehow Apple accepts Intel HD Graphics 3000 (or later), even though earlier GPUs are much quicker.

It is good however, to know that the App Store is blocking purchases before they are made.  Chalk another one up for having an integrated App Store.  As for system requirements, this is Apple:  We’re fairly certain some new FCPX Mac Pro rigs are right around the corner.  But, for now, you older Mac Pro users will need to drop $149 on this.

Another pro reader writes in: Read more

iOS 5 'Unsecured Calls' warning lets users know if they are talking on unencrypted networks

One interesting feature of iOS 5 that we’ve been tracking since yesterday is that users have been reporting the above ‘unsecured call’ warning. While it isn’t in any of the documentation we’ve seen, it appears that Apple is warning users of the possibility that their phone calls can be eavesdropped on.

It likely warning of the possibility of a GSM IMSI Catcher basestation which can intercept unecrypted calls.  Wikipedia notes that unecrypted call detection isn’t new:

there are a few mobile phones that show a small symbol on the display, e.g. an exclamation point, if encryption is not used. Another point is the calling number. Since the network access is handled with the SIM/USIM of the IMSI-catcher, the receiver cannot see the number of the calling party. Of course, this also implicates that the tapped calls are not listed in the itemized bill.

Video of a DEFCON talk on IMSI catcher below:
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Help: How to make a Lion Client into a Lion Server

Simply add a few bucks (to the Mac App Store) to get the “Server.app”.  Apparently that’s all you need according to this screenshot from Lion Help. (via Hardmac).  No word on exactly how much the server.app costs (we’re thinking a few hundred?) or how much Lion itself will cost for that matter.  We’ll know soon, though.

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