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back to article Apple goes social with musical Ping

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has unveiled the next two generations of iOS, updates that will bring multiplayer gaming and high-definition photography to iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches next week and wireless printing and media streaming in November. At the company's heavily promoted “special event” in San Francisco on Wednesday, Jobs …

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FAIL

High Dynamic Range != High-definition

"Apple CEO Steve Jobs has unveiled the next two generations of iOS, updates that will bring multiplayer gaming and high-definition photography to iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches"

Last time I looked HDR was about extending the range of brightness that could be captured in an image and is not the same as "high-definition". HDR processing is starting to appear in compact cameras so it's no great surprise to see it appearing in a phone. Not that I see it working that well. My Lumix compact camera also has this feature but its not a lot of use without a tripod and fairly static subjects. Last time I looked there wasn't a tripod socket on an iPhone. To create decent HDR images still takes a camera with a good lens, a good tripod, a subject with ideally no movement (or very little) and a lot of time post-processing the image.

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Dead Vulture

Ayup. Article error

You can see at 8:30, he calls it High Dynamic Range, and never claims it's high-definition. He also doesn't claim to have made it.

I'll wait until it's in third party hands before I believe any claims of whether or not it does a good job at high resolutions. It's worth noting, however, some factors that may make it easier for an iPhone to do the job vs a standard camera.

First, the images are likely lower resolution, so less to capture, less to process, and less error to be seen by movement. Secondly, the iDevice cameras on devices that can run 4.0 (And thus, 4.1) can handle video, so it's likely that the CCDs will be fast. Thirdly, the iDevices have enough RAM and CPU to squirrel away the images so that the next ones can be taken. Fourthly, the 600MHZ-1Ghz iDevice CPUs are probably much more powerful than a standard camera's. And lastly, MacOS (And by extension, iOS, even if end devs don't get access to it) can use the OpenGL GPUs for fast image processing.

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Thumb Down

Read the quote

See the quote? The bit where it claims "high-resolution images" are coming to iOS4.1? I agree further in the article he does mention HDR and not high-resolution but my point was that the headline was wrong.

I generate HDR images using a high-end PC with a high-end GPGPU. Admittedly I am working on larger images than the iPhone (or a compact camera) but it still takes appreciable time for HDR software to churn through the image. I prefer to do the job by hand anyway as Photoshop, Photomatix etc. are not the best at generating a combined HDR image. Unless Apple have worked out some incredible magic pixie dust to sprinkle on the images I am not convinced that the feature will be that useful. Of course if Apple have managed to make said magic pixie dust then I'll gladly retract my comment but my feeling is that this is more a marketing feature than anything practical except for a tiny minority of cases.

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Camera snobbery

I've been taking HDR photos on my iPhone 4 using third party apps and some of them come out wonderfully. Not necessary to load up with ridiculously expensive DSLRs, complicated photo editing software or fast computers. Not even necessary to use a tripod.

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available immediately*

*Availability will not be immediate.

As of 1:40pm Pacific time, only 9.2.1 is available for download.

Any word on whether or not the new Nanos actually have iOS running on them, or only the appearance of such?

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Paris Hilton

re: Nano

I imagine just the appearance, but there's nothing to stop them calling it iOS I suppose.

It's a shame that more wasn't made of the Nano in this article - I quite like the look of them. Though presumably no-one was interested in recording or watching video on their Nano, so they've dropped the features very quietly?.. It really looks like they just offer a screened and screenless version of the Shuffle. The Nano as we know it is dead..

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g e
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HDR photography?

So Honest Steve has invented that now, eh.

Photographers with exposure bracketing cameras have been doing that for a good while now. In fact Il Honesto might want to look at some software made by his friends at Adobe which is called Photoshop.

No doubt the fanbois and fangurlz will be proud to own this brand new previously unheard of invention in photomagography and lord it over all their pals - at least the ones with shite cameras, anyway.

Oh, did Stevo mention what display devices would be capable of rendering the whole dynamic range of an HDR merged image? Perhaps that got accidentally overlooked.

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Anonymous Coward

So Honest Steve has invented that now, eh.

Where did you get that idea?

You're clutching at straws to knock a product announcement. Which is typical I suppose.

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WTF?

Eh?

Where did you get the idea that Jobs claimed to have invented HDR? He didn't. He didn't even claim that it was a panacea for all photos. It's a free upgrade, and may be helpful in some circumstances. I could certainly have done with it today when taking a photo of lake mid mountain biking. My DSLR was at home, so only an iPhone with me. No phone I've had before offers bracketing or HDR, so why complain?

And, if you can spare the time from venting spleen, you might notice that the iPhone and new Touch both have 24 bit displays, so really should have little problem displaying the resultant photo.

I'm amazed at what people fond to complain about...

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

I don't recall el Steve saying anything about inventing HDR. I can't say vie seen it implemented in many other phone cameras though, so maybe that's what's confused you?

Oh and I think it was pretty clear from his presentation. The phone takes 3 shots, saves one of them and a second image that is a composite of all three. It seems pretty obvious that anything that can render a JPEG can render these images cos that's all they'll be, it's just that one of them will be pre-shopped though the phones software.

What exactly is not to like there? There maybe many reasons not to buy an iPhone but these don't seem to be even close to being relevant.

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Jobs Horns

Available immediately

unless you try to download it and then it says that I already have the newest version.

And that's when I follow the iTunes 10 link (and it's not even the Windows version I'm trying to get)

Good old apple (it's also fairly safe to assume that v10 will be even bigger and slower than ever)

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Megaphone

Ping

Ping was already the name of a BBM-like iPhone app. Seems that the name of that app has now been changed to PingChat - wonder if Mr. Jobs had a hand in this?

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Jobs Horns

Ping can't be copyrighted since it's in common use already

Ping is in the public domain, and used for software so once again Job's and Apple are trying to steal someone else's IP.

Funny how it's OK for Apple to steal things but heaven help you it they think you've knobbled something their lay claim to.

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@JaitcH

Your argument is:

• the term Apple have used is in the public domain;

• by using it, Apple are trying to steal someone else's IP.

Do you want to rethink that?

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WTF?

Any word is fair game in the USA

Many times US corporations have adopted words in the public domain and tried to make them a trademark, or similar.

Poor choice for another reason: Bing.

At least all of Jobs followers will be able to enjoy their incestuous, narcissistic relationships without troubling others.

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Not yet!

As I write (21.45), iTunes 10 is still coming "soon".

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Grenade

Pricing

New iPod Touch 32GB = £249, iPhone 4 32GB = £599

Why the disparity in pricing? Isnt the new iPod Touch the same as an iPhone 4 less the Phone module?

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Boffin

The same way a bicycle is just a motorcycle without the motor.

Vs an iPhone 4, the iPod touch is missing the phone module, GPS module, the antennas, fancy backing, second microphone, vibrator, and mute switch. Also, don't forget that the iPod is using a lower quality camera and has a much smaller battery (No expensive GPS and 3G to support).

Given that the price difference in an iPad with JUST the 3G data chip is £100, not including voice phone hardware, I can see where it adds up quickly.

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Flame

Pricey

Indeed, that's £350 for a f***ed up antennae system - it's nice that Apple are willing to put a price on that.

Though I note that the new iPod Touch hasn't followed in the iPhone 4's design footsteps...

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Not quite

The camera on the iPhone is much better, and there's a flash. You've also got a more expensive enclosure with the machined antenna and glass back. And phone modules aren't that cheap.

But I agree, that's a pretty big price difference still.

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A little more than that

The iPhone 4 has a much better rear facing camera (5Mb with a flash compared to 0.7Mp) and has GPS, compass and proximity sensor. Plus the 32Gb is a good deal cheaper for Apple to provide in the iPod (which has two lower density modules ) than in the iPhone (which has one higher density module in a smaller space). And the iPhone has a much bigger battery in order to power the cellular connection.

But yeah, it is a bit hard to see how that justifies an extra £350. I guess it is what the market will bear.

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Why would it need to?

The whole point of the iPhone 4 design was the seperate antennae. Antennae which aren't needed when the device only communicates via Wifi.

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Anonymous Coward

I have no subject

Who knows why they are priced so differently after all they do have a lot in common, not least they both have the same mobile reception... ;)

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Paris Hilton

Will iTunes 10 finally fix all those flaws?

My money's on that it won't :( Sorry, but I do need to vent on this. Before anyone starts going on that I'm a <this vendor> hater or <that vendor> hater, I have Windows computers, a MacBook Pro and run Linux - right tool for the right job kinda guy.

Apple make nice hardware albeit a bit pricey but for the main part, very compact.

However, when it comes to iTunes, its utter toss. Yes, it may have revolutionised the way people buy music; yes, you need it to properly sync everything with your i<trademarked the lot>, etc.... but it's utterly useless as a media manager which essentially what it is.

Will it fix the following? I'm quietly hoping that it will but in all honesty, I know it won't. Ironic given their unwritten motto seems to be that stuff should 'just work' (note this is a purely iTunes rant!).

* Reading the title tags from MP3s correctly when adding them into the library instead of leaving the title of the track with <Artist> - <Title> in it. The only way to fix it is to write an AppleScript / VBScript that iterates through your whole library and effectively does a 'Get Info' on every track which corrects the problem.

* Understanding genre tags from MP3s correctly - why can't it understand the genre 'Indie' or 'Drum & Bass'? No way round it if you are on Windows unless you manually change the genres yourself (doubley sucks if your tunes are on a read only drive because you can't!). Workaround on OSX is to do the above with an AppleScript (of which is very inefficient).

* Monitoring directories / folders for changes - where are we, the 1990s? When you have a big collection (like 20k+) and make changes to existing tracks for whatever reason / add new tracks, why can't it pick up those changes automatically? And why should I have to write my own AppleScripts to do this, perform the 'Get Info' trick above and combine it with Doug's Apple Scripts (good site) if you are on OSX or buy a bit of software to do it for you? Every Media Manager under the sun does it (albeit poorly for Media Player on Windows 7).

* The fixation on Title being the first column in the Library view - why can't I have some other column as my first one? This smacks of a possible bit of Jobsian 'Do it my way or go screw yourself'. What if I want Album Artist, Artist and then Title? No.

Also as a N.B., am I the only one slightly concerned about iOS appearing on more of their hardware these days? Fearing it to be targetted for the MacMini and then the MacBook ranges - now that's a scary thought for total control of the hardware estate they sell.

Paris? Well, she can manage her media....

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Jobs Horns

Vapour ware being used against competitors - Lemon 4 defects remain

This is classic. Apple has millions of defective Lemon 4 product in peoples hands and what has Job's done for them. I realise that most are iPhans and have knowingly bought a defective product but I think it is very telling the product appears to have been abandoned. Even iPhans are entitled to their monies worth

As if it had never happened. Vapor - which is how all Apple promises should be regarded.

This should be a lesson to all - iPhans and disbelievers alike - Apple, and Jobs, could care less about customers or the fact that they shipped, and continue to ship, defective product.

Where is the WHITE Lemon 4? It must really be bad for Apple not to ship it, given their demonstrated give a dam attitude.

The HTC, Lenovo's and Samsungs would never ship product in this condition. Motorola deserves a ha tip for manufacturing product that works.

Another aspect that has not been addressed is power. Apple, in it's ignorance, has not made batteries to be user changeable, unlike their competitors, Apple has already changed the Lemon power cycles in order to extend battery life and with additional uses the power consumption will rise - so where/how will this power demand be satisfied?

This highlights another Apple weakness: power connectors. Apple obviously wants to bleed every shekel from iPhan's pockets so it continues to use non-standard connectors and power packs.

Smart manufacturers know to use trusted product - connectors are a case in point. How many Apple competitors make their own connectors? How many standard connectors does Apple use?

Apple chooses to design it's connectors and the result is they have caught fire, endangering users. So Jobs fetish for owning everything is damaging in so many ways and simply demonstrates how the throw away society is very much with us.

There are so many reasons not to own anything Apple only iPhan's egos override everything.

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Stop

@Jaitch

Nurse? Nurse... More medication please.

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WTF?

@JailtcH

Even by your lofty standards, you have sunk to new lows of stupidity with that post.

Exploding Apple connectors? Please, please tell me you are just on the wind up.

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Unhappy

Apple connector problems

< http://www.google.com.vn/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=burned+apple+connectors >.

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Jobs Halo

Apple SET the standard...

I feel sorry for you - you really do have a cross to bear against Apple.

Let's provide some history for a noobie that is obviously too young to have been there...

CONNECTORS: Apple designed the standard iPod connector over ten years ago to provide a power and music interface to chargers and external speakers, and for digital data interchange. Way back then, there was no concept of an "iPhone", and no one else in the entire mobile industry had a standardized plug on anything. At the time the original iPod came out, I believe the most famous mobile phone was a Moto StarTac or similar - at least that's what I carried in 2001.

Third-parties built a veritable ecology of iPod-connecting devices - chargers, speakers, car radio interfaces, bluetooth transmitters, etc. HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of devices, all predicated on the iPod connector standard. There were many other competing music players, and some even had their own connectors for external devices, but NONE of them came anywhere close to becoming the de facto standard that the iPod connector became.

About five years ago, Apple decided that it was time to re-invent the smartphone, in part by making it a music player. No one expected them to succeed to any great degree. Apple already had one interface that was a de facto standard for music players, and at that time very few phones had moved to a standard USB interface for charging. So Apple decided to use the iPod dock connector for their iPhone, so that their third-party accessories could also be used for playing music, playing video, loading data, charging, and all the rest.

Please note that the USB connector interface totally lacks the ability to transmit analogue music and video via the connector, which is a key component of the iPod dock connector functionality to interface with speakers, alarm clocks, car interfaces, etc. Of which, there are the above mentioned hundreds if not thousands of designs...

So, you see, Apple doesn't use a standard - they SET the standard for musical and video device connectivity -- and the iPhone is as much a media device as a phone. And if they change it, well then millions of iPod-dock connector devices will stop being compatible, which will be terrible for those that have purchased them, and devastating financially for their masses of third-party manufacturers that have products based upon the iPod connector. (N.B. - they did change it slightly over time, dropping the +12v power supply line about two years ago, which DID cause some consternation by some third-parties...)

So JaitcH, when you have a "standard" connector that the industry uses that provides power, digital connectivity via USB, AND passes analogue music and video signals for playback...you just write Steve and tell him what to use. And then we can take your diatribe seriously.

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WTF?

Wow, you need to get out more.

"Smart manufacturers know to use trusted product - connectors are a case in point. How many Apple competitors make their own connectors? How many standard connectors does Apple use?"

Erm, last time I looked pretty well all manufacturers have their own connectors. I have two laptops on my desk, both made by Fujitsu and they are unable to use each other's power supply because they're different connectors (that's apart from the fact that the supplies provide different power anyway).

I've seen the same thing for laptops from Sony, Compaq (RIP) and Dell, so this is not an isolated case.

"Apple chooses to design it's connectors and the result is they have caught fire, endangering users. So Jobs fetish for owning everything is damaging in so many ways and simply demonstrates how the throw away society is very much with us."

Yes, no other manufacturer has had this kind of problem. Oh wait, Sony had to replace ~18,000 faulty batteries in 2006 because they started exploding and Dell had to replace about 15,000 power supplies in 2007 because they could catch fire.

You're right, there are so many reasons not to own Apple gear. Being a blinkered twonk is probably the best one, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Calm down chaps...

He'll be back at school soon, with lots of homework to occupy him.

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FAIL

Would be good to get your facts right . .

. . or does your i<device> filter facts to fit apples version of the truth

On your comment regarding USB connectors not being able to transmit analogue signals, I would point you to HTC. They allowed for the "industry standard" mini usb connector to be used for charging and usb data transfer. However, they also allowed for analogue video audio (in and out) from the very same connector.

Rather than recycling old tech and putting it in a nice shiney cool package. They actually innovated and provided the ideal solution. Maintaining the standard, but also allowing for expansion.

I guess thats why I would rather own an innovative product that does what I want, rather than a shiney product that dictates how you use it. I still laugh at those i<device> owning friends that are constantly asking for some way to charge their shiney toy . . whist everyone else uses the standard.

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Pint

Standard (non-licenceable) and Propietory (patented/used with licence)

A Standard connector is one that is available from multiple sources, without licencing, whereas Apple, or other propitiatory connectors, are those that require a licence. Making millions of proprietary connectors doesn't make it a Standard until it as approved by an internationally recognised authority.

Apple tries to, and gain wealth from, in patenting various connectors. The Magsafe, were first used on Japanese rice cookers and fryers. Unfortunately Apples copied design was flawed as it's insulation failed and metallic bits were attracted to the connector causing shorts. It was never licenced but workarounds were designed to beat it.

Then Patent #D585375 was issued in respect of a cigarette lighter adapter (see: < http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/28/apple_power_connector/>). How stupid can they - the USPTO - get?

The Mac IIX machines had 13 pin D connectors when everything else had EGA or VGA D-sub connectors. Then came a bunch of 7100s and Powerbooks with odd square connectors, etc. whilst the rest of the world managed with VGA D-sub connectors.

The post suggesting different 'standard' connectors were used for different computers still doesn't detract from the fact they used connectors that were not unique to their products but could be purchased from multiple sources.

The Mini DisplayPort, created by Apple, was released to VESA so it could become a 'standard' connector.

iPhans will be happy to learn that Apple is retiring the standard 2.5 and 3.5mm audio connectors for yet another, unique, design. Guess this 'advancement' will preclude the use of hgih-end headphones. This can't be to eliminate dust as the other connectors are available in waterproof versions.

Even Apple is hard-pressed to produce reliable connectors - money doesn't cure everything as is witnessed by hundreds of millions of dollars pf RF anechoic chambers and the failed antenna design - whereas a 'standard' connector is subjected to rigourous testing. Apples power connectors have failed spectacularly, and dangerously, over the years as they lacked the experience of dedicated connector manufacturers.

AMP, Canon, Molex can all give Apple lessons. Billions of 'Molex' type connectors are used world-wide; millions of Amp-designed 25-pair connectors were made for the telephone industry - all released from licencing to become 'Standards'.

Apple clearly wants to control what and how things are connected to their products. Their continued bleating about size constraints is meaningless when you view the reams of connector catalogs and the variety available.

The only standards Apple set are the ability to maintain the wall around their products by using unique connectors whereby they determine who can licence their use, and control the accessory in question, whilst generating money - driving overall costs higher.

This is hardly in the interest of customers.

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Happy

I like these products.

Apples sometimes releases some really great products. Its best to skip the marketing hype and research exactly what you are getting, but often Apple really delivers.

I think the new Apple TV is actually worth owning. I won't be getting one as I have a HTPC already. I will however probably end up replacing my 1st gen ipod touch with the 4th Gen.

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Thumb Up

I'm no fanboi...

but a box that streams GOOD pay per view media for $99? Seems pretty cheap to me, I'm tempted. Cheaper than a freeview HD box and 99% of the content is wank on them. No doubt once the UK tax hits it'll be £150 quid or unavailable though.

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@Tathan Jones

I think it's ended up being £99. Which is above the amount that $99 would convert to, but I've made no calculations for tax so probably isn't all that bad.

That said, it sounded like you could stream content only from iTunes, at 99 cents (probably 59p ala the app store?) a pop, so that's me lost as a customer. If it was iTunes + iPlayer, 4OD, etc then I'd probably buy and occasionally rent a film to Apple's benefit.

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Coat

Fangurlz?

fang urlz -- malicious URLs or something?

Ah well... Friday yet?

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multiplayer gaming and high-definition photography?

not that big of a deal...

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Jobs Halo

Wireless display?

Ok so if I can stream video from my MBP to the new AppleTV can someone build an application which relays my laptop display through the AppleTV to my screen, essentially giving it the added functionality of facilitating a wireless display system. If it can keep up with streamed video I can't see how the bandwidth needed for relaying the display would be any higher...

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Silver badge

@Cantab

I think the difference is that when you're streaming video latency isn't really a problem and somebody has already done a lot of work in advance to compress the stream. To view your MBP through an AppleTV you'd probably need a real time encoder, likely swallowing a large portion of your processing resources, and still have to watch everything a few seconds behind. Or, I guess, at a very low frame rate if a trivial encoder was used.

The amount of bandwidth required for uncompressed video is one of the reasons that monitors are almost the only thing left using a task-specific connector to the computer, rather than just moving to USB.

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JDC
Thumb Down

Ping?

Nothing particuarly new about Ping, seems to be Spotify tied to a single platform.

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AppleTV looks interesting now

To my mind, the previous AppleTV was too expensive, which meant a Mac Mini was the better bet, but for that money, a PS3 and a lot of change was an even better bet

now, the AppleTV is priced where it should have been

good stuff really

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Alert

$99 = £99

wow, i never knew....is it true that if you're in the US and order online from another state that's got lower sales tax, you only pay for that lower states taxes on your purchase?

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US State Taxes

You pay taxes based on the state you have it delivered to. For example, I live in New Hampshire which has no state tax, so I pay zero extra. If I sent it as a gift to my in-laws in Michigan, I would have to pay Michigan state tax, which is 6% IIRC.

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Silver badge

It seems to vary from state to state

Presumably when states set their own sales tax they also set the rules covering the mechanisms by which those taxes are collected. Per Amazon:

"The amount of tax charged depends upon many factors, including the identity of the seller, the type of item purchased, and the destination of the shipment. [...] Items sold by Amazon.com LLC, or its subsidiaries, and shipped to destinations in the states of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, or Washington are subject to tax."

So it sounds like Kansas, Kentucky, et seq, all impose the local sales tax irrespective but the other 45 states quite probably don't.

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Bronze badge

@AC; RE: "Will iTunes 10 finally fix all those flaws?"

"iTunes [...] you need it to properly sync everything with your i<trademarked the lot>"

No you don't. In terms of media management WinAMP, with the ml_ipod plugin (as the built-in iPod support is rubbish!) is, in many ways, actually far superior to iTunes and doesn't require CrapTime to be installed either (which is the main reason why iTunes will never go anywhere near my computer!)

Granted it does take a bit of effort to setup (properly*), but then again anything that is designed to give you more flexibility than that aimed squarely at the technically inept does, doesn't it?

* For instance, transcoding ANY audio file you care to throw at WinAMP

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Jobs Halo

Jobs has built an ecosystem...

... that few can escape from.

I envision a time where practically everyone will scrimp, scamp and save to buy atleast ONE Apple product; and then on, covet the rest of the items to complete a seamless "ecosystem" of Apple products.

And Apple will get cash from both sides; buyers as well as sellers desperate to capture a large dynamic.

All hail Apple; the new Google. (Microsoft has fallen way behind).

I am astonished at my admiration of Steve's strategy.

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Anonymous Coward

Usual Shiny iBore

Still, now we have the IFA in Berlin with some real "new" products!!

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Letter to Santa

99USD is 64GBP this morning (xe.com), so even after adding VAT (making it £75) the Apple TV is still going to be nearly £25 more here than it is in the States, and I doubt even the highest regional sales tax over there would add up to that kind of difference.

Damn shame; I'm kind of tempted, and £79 would be a much sweeter price point...

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Silver badge

Maybe you could...

... take advantage of the 28 days of statutory paid holiday a year we get in the UK versus the 0 they get in the US to obtain the extra £20 that seems to be your sticking point?

Giving Apple the absolute strongest benefit of the doubt, for the purposes of discussion, I'll guess that the padding is insurance against exchange rate variations over the coming year given that part of Apple's product launch strategy is not to change prices for the duration of that iteration of the product.

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