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Thursday turned out to be a big day for those awaiting the arrival of iTunes 11, which swooped onto Mac and Windows computers with just one November day left to spare. While the app redesign may not be as radical as many of us hoped it would be, there's still plenty to like about the latest version and we're looking forward to seeing some of its new features — namely Up Next — added to iOS 7 next year. Here's what else was making news while you were playing with iTunes 11...
If a Merrill Lynch analyst is correct, T-Mobile USA may finally officially offer the iPhone come this time next week. According to CNNMoney, analyst Scott Craig wrote a note to investors claiming that "speculation is heightening" about parent company Deutsche Telecom announcing a deal with Apple at the carrier's analysts day, which actually takes place on December 6 and 7. That runs counter to T-Mobile USA COO Jim Alling's quote only last week about the carrier waiting for the iPhone "economies" to be a good match, but perhaps that has come to pass sooner than expected.
As the third-party Twitter app debate seems to finally be on low boil for the time being, developer The Iconfactory pushed out a tweet of their own on Thursday, letting word slip that Twitterrific 5 would be spreading its tiny wings and flying into the App Store come next Thursday, December 6. "Rethought and rebuilt from the ground up, tweeting has never been simpler, easier or more delightful," the website teaser reads. It appears the developer is only referring to the universal iPhone, iPod touch and iPad version for now, at least judging from the appearance of their Mac app website, which doesn't mention a peep about a new desktop version.
Coffee giant Starbucks is partnering with iTunes for a holiday e-gift card promotion. "You make one $30 purchase, and they get two great gifts," the order web page reads. That would be a $15 Starbucks e-gift card as well as an iTunes e-gift card of equal value, but the best part comes later, when the two merchants then contribute five percent of the purchase price to the Global Fund, which helps deliver an AIDS-free generation by 2015. Starbucks and Apple are both proud partners in the organization's (PRODUCT) RED campaign, so if you're in the market for e-gifting this holiday season, this is certainly a great way to go.
9to5Mac reported Thursday that Apple is about to open the floodgates for buying an unlocked iPhone 5, presumably now that supply is finally starting to catch up with demand. As usual, the SIM-free handsets won't be cheap, starting at $649 for 16GB and maxing out at $849 for 64GB of storage. The report claims the unlocked handsets should be available first from Apple's website, with retail store availability to follow soon after. Who's picking one up?
To say that Microsoft just doesn't get the iPad is an understatement, and if you need further evidence, look no further than a post on The Official Microsoft Blog on Thursday. The Windows publisher is finally committing to a January release date for its super-powered Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablets — yes, that's the one that runs a full version of Windows, powered by Intel Core i5 processor, unlike the current ARM-based version that runs a truncated Windows RT. So how much will one of these babies set you back? The 64GB version is $899 — that's actually more than the most expensive, cellular-equipped 64GB iPad with Retina Display, and a mere $100 less than the entry-level MacBook Air with the same storage capacity. Instead of that MacBook Air, you could also spend the extra $100 to get a Surface with Windows 8 Pro with 128GB instead. And hey, both versions come with a Surface pen, in case you don't want to soil your digits on all that Windows 8 action.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter