Report: Apple working on high-fidelity iTunes audio with adaptive streaming

The Guardian reports that Apple is working on a new high-definition audio format to adapt to bandwidth or hardware capabilities. Presumably, Apple will leverage the new format to distribute high-fidelity music through iTunes and perhaps upgrade the iTunes Match service that currently provides matched songs in 256Kbps AAC format.

It is believed the new audio format would intelligently adjust itself to the bandwidth and storage available on the receiving device. Such a description also gives hope that an iTunes music streaming service, which is akin to Spotify and based on Apple’s Lala acquisition, could be in the works.

According to “a source with inside knowledge of the process,” the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is working with a London studio to prep existing audio files for the new format. An anonymous source told the paper:

All of a sudden, all your audio from iTunes is in HD rather than AAC. Users wouldn’t have to touch a thing – their library will improve in an instant.

Apple’s annual iPod refresh that usually takes place in fall could be a fitting venue to announce the new high-fidelity format. Another possibility is the forthcoming iPad 3 event rumored to take place March 7.

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In Japan, iTunes gains ringtones, 3G purchasing, iTunes Plus, Complete My Album, iTunes in the Cloud

Following yesterday’s story by the usually accurate Japanese blog Macotakara on Apple’s Japan arm rolling out iTunes in the Cloud for music, Japanese music journal AV Watch reported this morning that the California-based iPod maker has its sights set high on the 130 million people market. According to the report, customers in Japan are now finally able to purchase and download music on iOS devices through 3G cellular networks rather than just wireless hotspots, as before. The story also quoted Apple’s Senior iTunes Director for the Asia, Pacific, and Canada region Peter Lowe, who confirmed that iTunes Match would roll out to iTunes Japan in the second half of this year.

“We are keeping good relationship with Japanese music publishers,” said Lowe as he highlighted that iTunes Japan’s catalog now includes Sony Music’s Western artists, such as Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Sade. Interestingly, Apple did not allow the music journal to publish Lowe’s mug shot. In case you were wondering, iTunes in the Cloud files as the first-ever music re-downloading service in Japan. The iTunes Store launched in Japan in 2005…

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Apple looking to launch iTunes Store, App Store overhauls later this year

In a move that will surely keep the Mac and iPhone maker on top of the digital music and software application industry, Apple is preparing its first iTunes Store redesign in nearly three years. In late 2009, Apple launched a new iTunes Store that traded in a blue-themed, convoluted store for a much simpler, white-themed store that provides a great focus on the store’s downloadable content.

The redesign of the iTunes Store that runs on both the iTunes application for the Mac and the PC is a top priority for Apple. The work on the redesign comes soon after the launch of new services in the United States such as the Spotify music streaming service and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store. Apple dominates the majority of the digital music market, and it will continue to bet on an in-application download store and not an online store found only in a web browser.

The new design is said to be even simpler and more user-friendly than the current design. Apple is working on ways to enhance the speed and efficiency of finding new content, such as songs, videos, and applications. The cornerstone element of Apple’s new iTunes Store is interactivity. As Apple vaguely explained to a number of music labels and entertainment partners, Apple is looking to make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience. Read on for more…

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Get 20% off iTunes eGift cards at Best Buy (Digital Delivery) today until 7PM ET

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, until 7 pm ET, Best Buy takes 20% off iTunes eGift Cards, as listed below. At up to $20 off and no shipping, each is tied with our mention from four weeks ago and at or near the lowest price we’ve ever seen. Sales tax is added where applicable. The gift cards will be emailed for redemption so those overseas with US iTunes accounts can take part.

iTunes credit can be used for Mac Software, iOS Software, Games, iBooks, music, movies or just about anything besides hardware.
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Here’s the heartwarming clip played at Apple’s education event in NYC

With Apple’s education event now behind us, there is a lot to digest here. In addition, today has brought us three interesting software releases: “iBooks 2” and “iTunes U” apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and the “iBooks Author” program for the Mac. If you missed our live coverage and have been wondering why all the fuss, a clip Apple played at the presser should get you up to speed.

Available for viewing  by clicking on the above image, the video sports both teachers and students who rave about the mess that is the United States education system and how Apple is arriving to the rescue. As always, the video is heartwarming and it is well worth the 7 minutes and 22 seconds of your time. You may also want to check out this resource on Apple’s website dedicated to iBooks Textbooks for iPad that contains many video tours.

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3

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Along with today’s Education updates, Apple released a new version of iTunes today to allow the syncing of interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad and to presumably add new features for the “iBooks 2.0″ app and the updated iTunes U program.  On my install, the 107MB download took an additional 257MB of storage space.  Get downloading folks.

What’s new in iTunes 10.5.3

iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These multi-touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

iBooks textbooks are created with “iBooks Author” — now available as a free download on the Mac App Store

For information on the security content of this update, please visit: support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

iTunes 10.5.3 requirements… Read more