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Apple has several software updates it discussed during Macworld

In addition to the usual hardware announcement during Macworld Conference & Expo, Apple also had several announcements regarding its software.

Since its release, Apple iTunes has offered songs for $0.99 -- and has done well, becoming the top online music retailer in the United States -- but will drop DRM for at least 8 million songs.  The price tier will change from a single $0.99 to $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29 per music track.

The Cupertino-based company introduced a new version of iLife, a program designed so users can easily manage photos, make movies and create DVDs.  Two crucial updates to the newest iLife includes the ability to organize and look for photos using face-recognition technology and easy access to share photos through Facebook and Flickr.

iMovie received an update to include a precision editor, animated travel maps, and dynamic themes.  Hand-held movie camera footage will become clearer with the new video stabilization feature that removes the shakiness of users.

The Apple iWork software suite includes Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet and the Keynote presentation tool, and the presentation of the new "Magic Move" technology able to change the position, scale, opacity and range of images, graphics and text.  All 3D charts used in the program also have support for cylinder shapes, new textures, four new 3D build effects and beveled-edge pie charts.

iWork '09 is shipping today for $79 for a single license, $99 for a family pack, or $49 when purchased on a new Mac.

iWork users can also make use of, a new online service -- available for free while it's in beta -- so multiple people can share and collaborate on the same project.  Users can comment, edit and save files they are working on with other iWork users.

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All Songs DRM-Free?
By TomZ on 1/6/2009 4:40:12 PM , Rating: 5
Since its release, Apple iTunes has offered songs for $0.99 -- and has done well, becoming the top online music retailer in the United States -- but will drop DRM for at least 8 million songs.
I read elsewhere that 8 million songs will initially be DRM-free, and that the remainder will be DRM-free by April.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By mmntech on 1/6/2009 5:15:35 PM , Rating: 3
8 million immediately plus an additional 2 million by the end of Q1. Apparently they're going to charge you 30 cents now to upgrade your library to DRM free, on top of the higher song costs. So you'll now be paying the same or more for the digital version as you would for CD tracks, but with less audio quality. Well, at least RIAA got what it wanted. Unfortunately, iTunes is the only DRM-free service in Canada so us Canucks are screwed again.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By Stacey Melissa on 1/6/2009 5:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
They've always charged 30 cents to upgrade the songs you previously bought. And for most of the time iTunes Plus has been around, they've sold Plus songs for 99 cents and got rid of the DRM versions of those songs entirely. The ONLY thing that changed today is that a lot more songs are in the Plus format.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By therealnickdanger on 1/6/2009 8:16:36 PM , Rating: 4 MP3s...

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By meepstone on 1/6/2009 10:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
well i've bought drm free songs off itunes plus and sometimes the albums are a dollar cheaper than amazon and i dont have to dl the amazon downloader.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By drzoo2 on 1/6/2009 10:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but Amazon lets me dl all I want from my Linux PC. Say what you want about Apple but Amazon actually ported their dl app to Linux. They have my business.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By therealnickdanger on 1/9/2009 10:08:04 AM , Rating: 3
dont have to dl the amazon downloader

What's wrong with the Amazon Downloader? At least I don't have to download iTunes...

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By bigbrent88 on 1/6/2009 5:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
Is emusic or amie street not available in Canucklandia?

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By oab on 1/6/2009 6:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
eMusic is available in Canada, I've used them myself in the past. Got 75 free songs out of them with a promotion they were running too.

CD's are DRM free too...

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By NullSubroutine on 1/7/2009 7:04:57 AM , Rating: 2
I accidentally hit not worth reading. I am replying just so your rating is restored. (Because apparently once you post all ratings that you did disappear)

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By Shadowself on 1/6/2009 7:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
I have seen no announcement from Apple about the cost to convert. As far as I can tell it is pure rumor that Apple will charge anything at all for the conversion.

Apple used to charge for the conversion partly because they used to charge $1.29 for DRM-free songs at 256 kbps while charging $0.99 for DRM-burdened songs were 128 kbps. Apple stopped charging a premium for DRM-free songs quite a while ago and also stopped the charge to change.

Apple may or may not restart the charge to change your library. So far I have neither heard nor read anything official. Everything else is pure speculation made up from the vacuum.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By kelmon on 1/7/2009 6:53:42 AM , Rating: 2
The usual iTunes to iTunes Plus charge applies. I upgraded my library for a cost of about £16 last night. Free would be nice but I don't mind the charge since its not much and it doubles the audio quality.

RE: All Songs DRM-Free?
By Staples on 1/6/2009 9:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
I upgraded my library today for 21$. Now most my songs are DRM free. Still about 20% of them still have DRM so I would agree with CNET on 8 million DRM free today and the rest coming soon.

still lots of DRMed songs
By Stacey Melissa on 1/6/2009 5:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
I've always been upgrading my library to the DRM-free Plus versions as they come along. Today, I upgraded the biggest portion yet, but I still have a long ways to go.

I have a total of 723 songs purchased from iTunes. Including the 158 songs I upgraded today, 421 of those are DRM-free. That leaves 302 - 42%! - that are still tethered to iTunes. So Apple still has a long way to go, if my stats are any indication.

Many of these songs are from albums that, for some strange reason, are partially DRMed, and partially not DRMed.

And Apple still hasn't fixed the glitches that sometimes occur during the upgrade process, where the Plus song doesn't replace the DRM song, but only adds a second library entry, and doesn't carry over my ID3 tag customizations. That's quite tedious to fix. Another glitch sometimes occurs when it downloads the edited Plus version of a song that I originally purchased the explicit version of. That one fortunately has only happened a couple times. Still aggravating, though.

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By Gzus666 on 1/6/2009 5:43:41 PM , Rating: 5
Then stop buying from them? When did we all start accepting the crap companies give us and continue to buy it even with major downfalls? Stop buying from them, they will have to change.

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By Stacey Melissa on 1/6/2009 6:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
For any new purchases I make, I always check Amazon MP3 first. Usually they have what I want, so I have all but stopped buying new tracks from iTunes. The vast majority of my iTunes store collection is a holdover from years ago when they were pretty much the only decent music download store. Back then, everything had DRM, and only Apple had a decent selection.

That leaves me with the position I'm in today: I can get rid of DRM for 30 cents a track from Apple, or for 89-99 cents a track from Amazon. Both serve up 256-kbit quality files that are compatible with pretty much all the latest players, including my iPod. I'd be stupid to choose Amazon when they're three times as expensive for a functionally identical product.

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By Josh7289 on 1/6/2009 9:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
Regarding Amazon vs. iTunes Plus. Both are 256 kbps, but Amazon is MP3 and iTunes Plus is AAC.

Which is better quality?

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By Staples on 1/6/2009 9:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
The quality difference is logrithmic. For low bit rate, AAC is much better but at 256kbs, the difference is not so huge. Still, logically the AAC versions should contain better sound quality.

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By 9nails on 1/6/2009 7:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know what has DRM on it and what is DRM free?

Is there some button in iTunes that tells you?

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By kelmon on 1/7/2009 6:58:04 AM , Rating: 2
You can see this in the Kind field of the track's information (Command/Control+i). An iTunes Plus version of a track will show "Purchased AAC audio file" while the old DRMed versions show "Protected AAC audio file". If you want to see a list of your currently DRMed files then simply create a Smart Playlist that searches for Kind = "Protected AAC audio file".

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By kelmon on 1/7/2009 7:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
It should be noted that the change applies to music from Sony, Warner and Universal but it does not impact independent record labels. Given this I don't think iTunes itself will be 100% DRM-free until it signs more new contracts.

RE: still lots of DRMed songs
By kelmon on 1/7/2009 7:08:54 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, keep checking back. I upgraded my library last night but checking iTunes again this afternoon gave further tracks and albums available for upgrading.

By Rodney McNaggerton on 1/6/2009 7:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone even read comments at the bottom of the page?

Itunes used to be a lot less restrictive on what you could do. I stopped using it a few years ago after it started getting more and more restrictive on what I could do with music that I owned! It's really interesting how Apple has not been criticized for this lately.

By Shadowself on 1/6/2009 7:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
Apple did a major, one time shift -- forced by the music industry -- from the initial number of computers you could have authorized to the industry standard number.

At about the same time Apple also made it so you could not load up your iPod and then download the entire library to another PC that was not already authorized (see above).

Other than these two changes (both made years ago) how has iTunes gotten more restrictive over time?

DRM Free = lower costs.
By greylica on 1/6/2009 10:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
Offering DRM Free Music:

With no discounts = More Money to Apple
With Discounts = More money to Apple, selling more.

Good for them, good for us.
Simple. Finished.

RE: DRM Free = lower costs.
By Smilin on 1/7/2009 3:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
Charging you to remove DRM that shouldn't have been there in the first place = More money to Apple, Bad for us.

Any other restrictions?
By 9nails on 1/6/2009 8:00:33 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty worried about this. With the RIAA recently dropping MediaSentry and picking up DtecNet, I can't help but think that they'll remove the restrictions but somehow fingerprint the file to your computer or iTunes account. I think their intentions are ill, and they're just negotiating a slam dunk method to sue customers.

Until I know what business DtecNet is doing with the RIAA and how or if that has any involvement with Apple, I'm going to stay away from this.

By Josh7289 on 1/6/2009 8:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is almost a godsend for those of us who have to put up with $30+ albums before shipping (Japanese music).

I just checked by chance today and found my favorite Japanese artist is now DRM-free on iTunes. Really, I checked just after I decided to give up expensive Japanese CDs for cheaper (more sanely priced) download music (and before I heard about this news of the new totally DRM-free iTunes), so that's cool.

Really, I'm just so so so so glad iTunes is totally DRM-free now (well, March/April), since I don't have an iPod nor do I plan to buy one.

This is so great. Now, let's get more Japanese music on iTunes (and Amazon, etc.)!

And keep it cheap, at most $0.99 per track wherever at all possible.

The real story
By IcePickFreak on 1/6/2009 8:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
This is an obvious sign that Jobs is really on his deathbed, and this his penance.

He has kinda got that Mr. Burns thing going already, he really needs to start playing the part if he wants to live to be an old man and we can see the Apple "eeeeexcellent" marketing campaign in 2025.

By Scott66 on 1/6/2009 10:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
This article has the most misleading headline I have seen in a while.

When I hear 80% words like most and majority come to mind.

Also it is a three tier pricing system not "$0.69 Pricing Tier"

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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