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Who’s feeling the hump day blues? Sure, the weekend is just two full work days away and some of us might have even had a day off on Monday for President’s Day (not us!), but this last full week of February sure feels like it’s taking its sweet ol’ time. Why not perk up the day with some Beatles ringtones, which are now available from iTunes? Or if you happen to live in Amsterdam, it might be time to start lining up at Apple’s new retail store there. For everyone else, here’s the rest of the tech news for this sleepy Wednesday, February 22, 2012.
Amazing how rumors sometimes quickly become reality, even within the same week! MacRumors is reporting that Apple will be opening its first Dutch retail store in Amsterdam on Saturday, March 3. The 10am grand opening has been confirmed both on Apple’s website as well as emails to local customers. To celebrate the unveiling, press will get an advance look at the new digs with a preview event two days earlier. The Amsterdam location marks 12 countries worldwide that have at least one Apple Store.
FireCore, LLC has announced Seas0nPass 0.8.2, a new version of the jailbreaking tool for the second-generation black Apple TV. Since there’s no newer firmware than 4.4.4, the update introduces a new feature called “stitching” which “allows Seas0nPass to utilize previously saved firmware signatures to jailbreak and restore an Apple TV version that Apple may no longer be signing.” As you may recall from iOS jailbreaking on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Apple typically only allows users to restore from the most current firmware, which means tinkerers have no way to go backwards. The free TinyUmbrella software can be used to save these SHSH signatures from any iOS device (including the black Apple TV), which can then be used by Seas0nPass 0.8.2 or higher to restore an older firmware. As always, the Seas0nPass software can be downloaded free of charge from FireCore’s website.
It may have taken forever and a few days for The Beatles to land in digital format on iTunes, but it isn’t taking quite as long for The Fab Four to accessorize your iPhone with ringtones. The Beatles’ official website broke the news today about an exclusive deal with the iTunes Store to offer The Beatle’s 27 U.K. and U.S. number one hits for just $1.29 each. “Beginning today, fans around the world can, for the first time, purchase ringtones for the Beatles’ 27 UK and US #1 hits, exclusively on iTunes,” the website announced. “You can even assign your favourite tracks to your favourite people. The ringtones can be downloaded for iPhone, iPad and iTouch.” Of course, you could save yourself the $34.83 and just use GarageBand to make them yourself from the DRM-free iTunes tracks… but where’s the fun in that?
Apple just can’t seem to catch a break in China lately, with investigations of its partner factories and a trademark battle over the iPad name. Now, BGR is reporting that two workers claiming to have been poised by toxins “while assembling touchscreens for Apple’s iPhone” in a Suzhou, China factory have written an open letter aimed at those who are buying these products and asking them to push Cupertino for reforms. The letter was issued to the media on Wednesday afternoon from SumOfUs, an organization pushing an initiative known as the Ethical iPhone Campaign, which was penned by Guo Rui-qiang and Jia Jing-chuan, the two former factory workers in question. “In early 2010, it was independently confirmed that 137 workers, including us, were poisoned by a chemical called n-hexane which was used to clean iPhone screens,” the letter reads. “N-hexane is known to cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation, and leads to persistent nerve damage. Apple admitted to gross labour rights violations more than a year later.” The timing of the letter is also no coincidence: It comes a day before Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, and SumOfUs aims to get 100,000 signatures on their petition in an effort so they can deliver it to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday. If you’d like to make your voice heard on the subject, head to the online petition and get signing.
Beatles ringtones aren’t the only iTunes news for this fine hump day -- 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple has introduced a new section of the iTunes Store called “Mastered for iTunes,” which promises users they can “experience music as the artist and sound engineer intended.” Universal Music Group has released a number of offerings for the high-fidelity section including Madonna’s MDNA, U2’s Achtung Baby and hey, there’s the cute Beatle himself, Paul McCartney, with his latest effort, Kisses from the Bottom. The “Mastered for iTunes” section also comes with a new white paper PDF from Apple which details the company’s audio mastering tools, outlining the “best practices for mastering and preparing music for distribution on iTunes.” A “Mastered for iTunes droplet” automates the task of creating iTunes Plus format masters from WAV and AIFF files, so indie musicians don’t have to over-think the process.
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