Monday, January 3, 2011

Best Buy to Launch 'Buy Back' Program on January 5th?

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Best Buy looks to be readying its 'Buy Back' program for a January 5th launch. The program will let customers return their phones, laptops, netbooks, tablets, and TVs priced under $5,000 and receive money towards their next Best Buy purchase.

According to BGR, the pricing structure for television "buy backs" will vary from that of computers, tablets, and smartphones. TVs under 6 months old can be turned in for 50% of the original full-retail price; 6 to 12 months, 40%; 12 to 18 months, 30%; 18 to 24 months, 20%; and 10% during the third and fourth years of ownership.

Buy Backs will be issued in the form of Best Buy gift cards. Hit this link for more info.





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Apple Approves iOS App to Control Transmission Torrent Downloads

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Apple has approved iControlBits, a native front-end to remotely control Transmission torrent downloads.

iControlBits is a feature rich iPhone native front-end to remotely control a Transmission client daemon via its RPC protocol. Transmission Remote GUI is faster and has more functionality than the build-in Transmission web interface.

Transmission client daemon works great with MAC OS X. All you have to do is enable remote access and you're ready to go. You can also use it with QNAP NAS server instead of buit in download station.

You can purchase iControlBits from the App Store for $1.99.














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Apple Crosses $300 Billion in Market Capitalization

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Apple surpassed $300 billion in market capitalization this morning crossed a major psychological barrier, according to FORTUNE.

In a broad 2011 rally that pushed the Dow up nearly a point in mid-morning trading Monday, Apple (AAPL) popped more than $7 (2.25%) to hit new record intraday highs -- and to cross a major psychological barrier. The company's market capitalization -- its stock price times the number of shares outstanding -- is now more than $300 billion.

Apple is still trailing ExxonMobile, the world's most valuable company. Last October the gap narrowed to less than $50 billion; however, ExxonMobile has now widened its lead to more than $73 billion.




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Apple Will Have a Predictable 2011?

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Apple analyst Gene Munster has released his roadmap for Apple in 2011, BusinessInsider reports. Unlike 2010, Apple isn't expected to wow with new products. Rather, 2011 is set for many minor improvements to existing devices.

Major Announcements:
● Verizon launch of the iPhone: Probability 95% (March qtr) (our est)
● Mac App Store: Probability 100% (Jan. 6 launch)
● iTunes cloud services: Probability 90%
● iPad geographic expansion: Probability 100%
● iPad subsidies from carriers: Probability 80%
● OS X Lion: Probability 100% (summer 2011)

Hardware Upgrades:
● iPhone (March quarter). We are modeling for Apple to launch a CDMA version of the iPhone at Verizon in the March-11 quarter. The fifth generation iPhone will likely ship this summer with NFC capability.
● iPad (spring). We believe the second generation iPad will launch in spring 2011.
● Macs (uncertain). We have moderate confidence that Apple will release redesigned MacBook Pros in 1H11 and redesigned iMacs in 2H11.
● iPods (fall). As usual, we expect Apple to refresh its iPods in the fall.



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Some Rumors on Final Cut, Xserve, and Blu-ray for Mac

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HardMac has learned some information from their sources that might be intriguing to those interested in Final Cut, Xserve, or Blu-ray for Mac.

First, Final Cut should be unveiled in March or early April. It will be a substantial update but may not have all the features hoped for. Apparently, two betas already exist. One for Snow Leopard and one for Lion. Some features may not be available in the Snow Leopard version because they require changes that Lion makes to QuickTime layer.

Second, the discontinuation of Xserve has been met with huge disappointment from pro users. Steve Jobs has reportedly received hundreds of letters and emails to complain. They originated from IT departments of large corporate, studios, researchers, and according from some of our sources, from Arthur D. Levinson, Genentech CEO himself, who is sitting on Apple’s administration board. It's unclear if the uproar will be enough to convince Apple that Xserve is a needed product line.

Third, Steve Jobs opinion on Blu-ray has not changed. He admitted that retrospectively he feels ashamed that Apple’s name is associated to Blu-ray, as he thinks that BD supporting associations look today more like Mafia than anything else. It seems very unlikely that Apple will add Blu-ray to its lineup. In fact, Jobs reportedly thinks that Blu-ray is the last physical media that will be used to distribute movies and videos.




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Google Plans Digital Newstand to Rival iTunes Subscriptions

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Google is planning its own Digital Newstand to rival the upcoming iTunes Subscriptions feature from Apple, according to the WSJ.

The e-newsstand would include apps from media companies offering versions of their publications for smartphones or tablets running Android, say people familiar with the matter. Google hopes to launch it in part to provide a more consistent experience for consumers who want to read periodicals on Android devices, and to help publishers collect payment for their apps, these people say.

Google has discussed its intentions with many publishers but details and timing are still vague.

Meanwhile, Apple is readying its subscription feature which will give publishers 70% of revenue.

Apple is planning to share more data about who downloads a publisher's app, information publishers can use for marketing purposes. According to people familiar with the matter, Apple would ask consumers who subscribe to an iPad version of a magazine or newspaper for permission to share personal information about them, like their name and email address, with the publisher.

The WSJ notes that some publishers are upset with the arrangement because they believe few customers will opt to share this information.




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