NYT: Apple declined offer from Sony Pictures to stream ‘The Interview’ on iTunes

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Update: Sony has now announced that “The Interview” will be available on YouTube, Google Play, and Xbox Video today, December 24th, at 1PM Eastern. The film will cost $14.99 to own or $5.99 to rent. Google Play Movies & TV is available for iOS on the App Store.

The New York Times reported earlier today that Sony Pictures had approached Apple about the possibility of streaming the upcoming film “The Interview,” which features actors James Franco and Seth Rogen (who will also appear in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic) as a US talk show host and producer tasked by the CIA with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Earlier this month, hackers with ties to North Korea breached Sony’s system, stole terabytes of data, and threatened physical attacks against theaters that showed the movie. Most national theater chains backed out of the premiere and Sony decided to scrub the entire affair.

The studio immediately began searching for an on-demand service that would host the movie online, including iTunes. According to the Times:

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Facebook Messenger and Heads Up take top slots in Apple’s most popular iOS app lists

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Apple has released the list of this year’s most popular iOS apps, with Facebook’s Messenger app and Warner Bros.’ Heads Up! game taking the top spots on the free and paid charts, respectively. The freemium Clash of Clans was the top grossing app of 2014.

Social networks claimed all of the top five free spots, with Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram coming in behind Messenger. Between the main Facebook client, Messenger, and Instagram, the social networking company managed to capture the majority of the top five slots.

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Apple expands its social presence with new iTunes Tumblr blog

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In an interesting move, Apple has today launched a Tumblr blog for iTunes. The ‘blog’ runs a highly customized theme that more closely reflects Apple’s own website than a typical Tumblr page. The page features music, movies, TV and books content, with individual posts consisting of images, videos and animated GIFs of artists. Tumblr users can reblog these images on their own feeds, for social sharing. On a related note, iTunes also opened an official Instagram account earlier this month.

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Apple wins iPod & iTunes DRM antitrust case, jury decides

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Update — Apple’s statement via CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”

A jury has decided that Apple is not guilty of violating antitrust laws in the decade-old lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes Music Store, and digital rights management usage. The jury had to determine if the iTunes updates affecting customers’ iPods were “genuine product improvements” with Apple citing security concerns for implementing the usage of DRM. Read more

Jury begins deliberations in antitrust lawsuit over iPods, iTunes, and third-party music stores

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The class-action lawsuit against Apple over alleged anticompetitive behavior in how the iPod handled songs from third-party much stores is finally in the hands of a jury. Following last week’s final witness testimony, the jury has started deliberations in the decade-old case.

The evidence and testimony in this case have given us quite a bit of insight into the way Apple operated ten years ago with regards to its iPod and iTunes business. Former CEO Steve Jobs took jabs at rival Real Networks in a videotaped deposition (which the media wants the public to see, but Apple doesn’t). We also learned details of Apple’s contracts with record labels.

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iPod Classics are hot gift item as surprise holiday demand pushes prices through the roof

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Apple kept making the iPod Classic for much longer than many expected, but when it finally called time over lack of components there were still plenty of people who wanted one. The Guardian reports that some iPod Classics are now selling for up to four times the original price.

Versions of the 160GB Classic – which can hold around 40,000 songs – are being sold as new via Amazon for up to £670. More than 3,000 of the models – the seventh, final version came out in 2010 – have been sold on eBay since the Classic was retired in October, most for between £350 and £500. Even refurbished older models now cost far more than the £229 for which the later generations retailed.

While The Guardian was looking at UK prices, the same phenomenon can be seen in the US on Amazon and eBay …  Read more

Apple fighting media requests to air Steve Jobs deposition from iPod antitrust suit

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As we noted earlier today, several media outlets have filed a motion that would allow them to air the videotaped deposition of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that was played for jurors in the ongoing iPod antitrust lawsuit. Now the Verge reports that Apple is fighting back against the motion, with the company’s lawyers accusing the media of wanting to see “a dead man.”

As Apple attorney Jonathan Sherman put it:

The marginal value of seeing him again, in his black turtleneck — this time very sick — is small. What they want is a dead man, and they want to show him to the rest of the world, because it’s a judicial record.

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AP, Bloomberg and CNN file motion to allow them to broadcast Steve Jobs deposition video

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We may get to see the two-hour video of Steve Jobs giving pre-trial evidence in the iPod antitrust case, if the judge approves a motion jointly filed by AP, Bloomberg and CNN to make it public. CNET reported:

“Given the substantial public interest in the rare posthumous appearance of Steve Jobs in this trial, there simply is no interest that justifies restricting the public’s access to his video deposition,” attorney Thomas Burke, who is representing all three media organizations, wrote in the filing Monday

The video currently has the same status of live testimony given in the case, meaning that it can be reported on but the video cannot be broadcast …  Read more

Last plaintiff in iTunes antitrust lawsuit disqualified, but the show must go on as lawyers search for replacement

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In the latest twist in the iPod antitrust lawsuit that has already given us a deposition of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and details about Apple’s deal with record labels to sell music in the iTunes Store, a judge ruled on Monday that the trial will continue even though there are no plaintiffs left.

Yes, you read that correctly. Every single plaintiff in the case has been disqualified. Marianna Rosen, the last complainant standing, was discovered to have never purchased an iPod that was affected by the song-deleting software updates in question.

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Apple’s new ‘Change is in the Air’ ads show novel uses for the iPad Air 2

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Apple released a new iPad Air 2 campaign during Sunday football today showcasing various unique physical and software applications for the iPad Air 2.

Featuring the song “Who Needs You” by The Orwells [iTunes Store, YouTube], the ad is a departure from last year’s iPad Air which were focused on a single user.

iPad Air 2 isn’t just the thinnest and lightest iPad we’ve ever created. It’s the most powerful. From the studio to the classroom, the field to the garage, it’s helping people discover new and better ways to do the things they love. Imagine what you’ll do with it.

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Steve Jobs deposition reveals details of Apple’s contracts with record labels, requirements for DRM on music

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The videotaped deposition of Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs was played in court today as part of the ongoing antitrust lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes, and digital rights management. As CNET reports, the video revealed new details of Apple’s deals with record labels and why the FairPlay DRM was created.

Jobs said in his statement that because the record labels were afraid that a store like iTunes could lead to music piracy, they required Apple to create and implement a digital rights management system—which would become the FairPlay system—in order to gain the rights to distribute music. DRM wasn’t something that Apple wanted to do, but had to do.

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