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It’s the last full week of April, and you know what that means -- well, nothing really. We’re in a desert lately when it comes to juicy Apple rumors and no one seems to know what’s going on with new MacBooks, the annual WWDC show or much of anything else out of Cupertino, but that isn’t stopping the rumor sites from digging as deeply as they can. Let’s take a look at what’s new for Monday, April 23, 2012!
The cloud has had a busy day, first with Adobe making its Creative Cloud offering official, followed by Microsoft essentially rebooting its own SkyDrive with a new version 2.0. As part of the revamp, the iOS SkyDrive app got a universal makeover with native iPad support (including the new iPad’s Retina Display), the ability to upload multiple photos or videos, easy links to share with friends and file management skills. But the story doesn’t end there -- Microsoft has also introduced preview versions of a desktop app for the Mac, available to OS X Lion users, which integrates SkyDrive into the desktop similar to Dropbox and competing services. The only downside of this change is that Microsoft is getting stingier with storage -- where Windows Live and Hotmail accounts used to get 25GB free, users who haven’t actively used their storage will be downgraded along with new users to 7GB. Thankfully, this is easily rectified for existing users by visiting your SkyDrive storage management options and accepting Redmond’s kindly offer to get a free upgrade back to 25GB -- or even buy more storage, should you need it.
The Feds continue to pressure Apple over ebook pricing, with the recent antitrust lawsuit kicking things up a notch or three. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s response is that books, magazines and newspapers shouldn’t be treated any differently than apps -- Cupertino gets a 30 percent cut of them all, and the company refuses to simply settle the lawsuit the way publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have. “I don’t think you understand,” explained Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue. “We can’t treat newspapers or magazines any differently than we treat FarmVille.” Of course, that hasn’t stopped publishers from pushing for more favorable terms anyway, despite Amazon clearly being the real monopoly for publishers thanks to its lock-in with the Kindle format.
The dust has barely settled on Microsoft’s purchase of $1 billion worth of patents from AOL earlier this month, and already roughly two-thirds of them are getting snapped up by Facebook. According to AllThingsD, Microsoft has cut a deal with Facebook worth $550 million, which will put more than 600 of the former AOL patents into the social networking giant’s hands. That leaves around 265 patents remaining in Microsoft’s hands, while recouping more than half of the cost of the earlier deal. Given that Yahoo sued Facebook last month over 10 patents they claim infringement on, the deal is probably not much of a coincidence. The deal also includes a license to “approximately 650 AOL patents and applications that will be now be owned by Facebook” in Microsoft’s case, as well as a license to “approximately 300 patents that AOL did not sell in its auction.”
We’re in a definite downturn when it comes to Apple product rumors as the masses wait for whatever is coming down the pipeline next, so a number of websites have been quick to poke around looking for any signs of things to come. One such item popped up today on AppleBitch.com, claiming that the iPhone’s familiar home button may get a facelift when the next model arrives later in the year. The buttons were discovered on TVC-Mall.com, a Chinese supplier site based out of Shenzhen that claims to be selling “iPhone 5 replacement parts.” While it’s quite likely that Apple has indeed locked their iPhone 5 (or is that “new iPhone”?) designs by now and pieces of it may be floating around, we’ll still file this rumor in the “grain of salt” category until we see what CEO Tim Cook and friends have to announce.
If you downloaded the Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 2 released on April 12, you may have noticed a thorny problem affecting the database for Outlook users. (Users of the cheaper Home & Student Edition that doesn’t come with Outlook are immune from this, of course.) On Friday, Microsoft pulled the troubled update from their AutoUpdate service, while documenting a fix for afflicted users in a blog post. “Our goal is provide the simplest update experience for everyone -- so we have temporarily stopped pushing out the SP2 update through Microsoft AutoUpdate while we investigate the issue,” the Mac team noted. A manual update remains available for download, but Microsoft encourages most users to wait for a corrected update to hit the pipelines.
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