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Believe it or not, Apple can hold a boring event now and again, and today it was the annual shareholders meeting -- the first with CEO Tim Cook at the helm. Sure, the company has boatloads of cash and its only real drama at the moment is coming out of China, but guys, let’s try to spice things up for next year and at least throw some chairs at each other or something, will you? Thankfully, the rest of the tech world had a more interesting day, so without further ado, here’s all the news that’s fit to print for Thursday, February 23, 2012.
While most recorded music these days are separated into standalone tracks, classical music, live recordings and conceptual albums are often seamless, which has historically created a problem for services like Spotify. That all changed today, with a new version of the desktop Spotify application now available that offers gapless playback, a new feature that’s on by default which allows tracks to flow seamlessly from one to the next with no silence in-between (the feature can also be turned off in preferences, should you prefer your music with gaps). Crossfade is another often-requested feature in the new version, which allows one song to fade out as another comes in. Who needs a DJ when you can do it all yourself? Spotify also gains some speed improvements in the latest version, with faster artist browsing, a new save and restore feature for Now Playing, improved Subscribe, Buddy List and Favorites options and even a “hide purchase buttons” feature for Premium users. If you’re too impatient to wait for your copy of the app to be automatically updated, head over to the website and download the Mac version today.
AllThingsD is reporting back from Apple’s annual shareholders meeting -- the first with CEO Tim Cook at the reins -- and things are just swell in ol’ Cupertino. In fact, the report claims the meeting “was as anticlimactic and uneventful as they come” -- and that’s saying something for an Apple event. Among the items on the agenda: The reelection of the company’s board of directors, with each member gaining “more than 80 percent approval.” No dividend or share buyback was announced, which many investors have been clamoring for. “I’d be the first to admit we have more cash than we need to run the daily business,” Cook said told shareholders. “So we’re actively discussing it. I only ask for a bit of patience, so we can do it in a way that’s best for the shareholders.” Or in other words: “Move along, nothing to see here, folks…”
While the tech media debates whether or not Microsoft Office for iPad is coming or not, the folks at Quickoffice are pushing out a new update to their own solution today which “adds the ability to view and edit 2010 Microsoft® Word and Excel files, and view 2010 Powerpoint® files.” Quickoffice Pro HD already received a substantial update over the holiday season, but the company isn’t content to rest on its laurels, also introducing an innovative desktop-style freeze pane functionality for Excel users. ““We are excited about the updates in this release and know our users will value the added Office compatibility and cloud connectivity,” said Gregg Fiddes, SVP sales and business development at Quickoffice. “In particular, our execution of the freeze pane feature demonstrates an innovation in product design and shows our commitment to furthering the mobile Office experience.” As always, the latest version of Quickoffice Pro HD for iPad is a free update for existing users and currently 20 percent off the usual price (only $19.99) for new buyers.
It’s been three months since the free Google Music service officially launched to the world, but a new report from Cnet claims it “hasn’t lived up to expectations” quite yet. “Google's managers have told counterparts at the labels that customer adoption and revenue are below what they expected,” the report reveals, according to “multiple sources” privy to the communique. With 200 million Android users and a free app, the service would seem to be a cinch for the music industry -- especially when they’ve been giving away free or cheap music right out of the gate. “Google managers have told label executives that the service will get a boost once Google implements its hardware strategy,” sources have revealed. “Google plans to start competing against Apple by building an array of consumer devices.” It’s far too early to sound the death knell quite yet, but if Google hopes to make Apple quiver in their iTunes boots, they have an awfully long fight ahead of them, at any rate...
Unhappy with the general stability of your 2011 era Mac? If so, head to Apple’s Support Downloads page, because some freshly baked EFI firmware updates have just popped out of the oven. There are four such updates available: Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.6, which “improves the reliability of booting from the network, addresses an issue that can prevent HDCP authentication after a reboot, and resolves an issue with boot device selection when a USB storage device is hot-plugged” for your mid-2011 model; MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.4 does the same for the your ultra-thin notebook; iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.9 for early 2011 models; and MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.7, a treat for both early and late 2011 notebooks. The downloads average around 4MB, but as usual you’ll need to restart your computer to install them -- so make sure you finish reading today’s news recap before you pull the trigger on them.
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