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Christmas falls on Sunday this year, which means most of us have an extended work week and are now truly feeling the “hump day” blues like never before. The good news is, you still have time to take care of everyone on your gift list, but hurry -- time stands still for no one, after all. We’ve found one of the best ways to get through “hump day” is to kick back for a few minutes and catch up on the day’s news… which we just so happen to have right here for Wednesday, December 21, 2011.
We haven’t heard much news from the folks at Naturespace since covering them at this year’s Macworld Expo, but they haven’t been exactly sitting idle all this time. The company announced this week that the Naturespace app has hit version 3.0, bringing with it a new feature dubbed “Visitor’s Pass,” which offers 30-second previews of the high-quality nature sounds offered in their catalog. Visitor’s Pass itself is a $1.99 in-app purchase, but users that have purchased five or more tracks can access it for free. Users can now review tracks right from within the app, which has been updated with 15 new soundscapes for your listening pleasure. Last but not least, Naturespace is offering a holiday deal on the entire catalog for only $49.99, which is a significant discount over the normal $150 price. Naturespace 3.0 is available now from the App Store as a universal build and requires iOS 4.0 or later.
The folks in Cupertino’s iTunes Connect developer portal division are shutting off the lights later tonight and going on an extended vacation until Friday, December 30, but they couldn’t help pushing out one more beta of OS X 10.7.3 so developers have something to play with over the Christmas holiday. According to MacRumors, the new build 11D36 “comes with no documented known issues” while developers are encouraged to test iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari in the meantime. The new build is available as a 986MB download for updating from OS X 10.7.2, or a beefier 1.2GB combo version for those updating from a prior build of the big cat. If we had to venture a guess, we’d say OS X 10.7.3 will be unleashed to the public sometime next month, but Apple remains mum on those details for now.
Taking a cue from Apple’s Macworld departure two years ago, The Official Microsoft Blog today announced that the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show will be the company’s last -- at least where swanky booths and splashy keynote addresses are concerned. According to vice president of corporate communications Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s “product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing,” so the folks in Redmond will forego the keynote and booth after the 2012 CES, which kicks off on January 9. That rationale was almost the exact same reason Apple gave for their withdraw from the annual Macworld Expo after their January, 2009 keynote there. Like Apple, Microsoft plans to focus on their own events as well as take advantage of existing social networks and the company’s own website and retail stores (?!) for new ways to “tell our consumer stories.” The move ends a nearly two decade run for Microsoft and CES, where former CEO Bill Gates was always a lively way to kick off the festivities -- big shoes that current CEO Steve Ballmer has been quite happy to step into.
Not content to simply push their own tablet and e-reader devices, Amazon today pushed out version 2.9 of their Kindle iOS app, bringing some feature parity to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users at long last. iOS users can now email documents to your Send-to-Kindle email address and have them delivered on your device, while also syncing them across hardware Kindle devices as well. The Kindle app is also now a PDF document reader with table of contents and thumbnail navigation as well. Last but not least, Amazon’s own Newsstand is now built into the app so purchases or subscriptions made on the e-tailer’s website will now sync across to the iOS app, with an all-new design on the iPad. The Kindle app is compatible with all devices running iOS 3.2 or later and available now from the App Store.
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