Today on iFans: Forum Threads of the Day

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Today on iFans is a new column that features some of the most interesting forum threads started on any given day. They can include the most viewed, most insightful, most helpful or even the most controversial topics started on any given day by any given user. These are hand picked and represent healthy and productive discussion.

Today, Tkf1 wrote up an awesome guide and _JKK_ posted about what he believes to be the best calculator for Mac OS X. These threads and more make up today’s best discussions!

Feel free to jump in to those threads and more!

If you think your thread, how-to, question, poll, or discussion should be featured here, be sure to tag my forum username (@steqheu) in the thread with the phrase “Today on iFans” included somewhere. This post will always lead to the comment thread of the first post on the list. This thread has been selected as the most useful, insightful, or interesting.

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Amazon Introduces AutoRip, Provides Free Digital Versions of CD Purchases

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MacRumors reports today that Amazon has introduced a service that provides free MP3 versions of CDs you purchase on their online store. The digital versions come through Amazon Cloud Player, and are encoded as 256 Kbps MP3 files, playable on most modern devices. Interestingly, the service will also provide — as of today — free MP3 copies of physical CDs you purchased on Amazon previously. Of course, those CDs must be actually participating in the AutoRip program.

The most obvious advantage of this service is to instantly provide digital MP3 copies of songs to customers who prefer to also own the physical media. At Amazon’s prices, this service will almost certainly bring even tighter competition to iTunes, because if I can get a CD and a free MP3 download through Amazon for the same price of the lone download on iTunes, I almost certainly will. With a CD, I can conveniently play it in my car, or to give it to a friend to borrow, for example. (more…)

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Amazon Lists, Pulls “Basics” Lightning Cables

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Update: It appears that the Amazon Basics Lightning Cable is once again available. Thanks, HeadReaper.

Amazon sells a wide variety of “Amazon Basics” generic products, most mimicking more expensive alternatives. Among the offered products are batteries, cases, computer and mobile accessories, and cables —  Apple product knock-offs included. Most products are, of course, manufactured in Asia, making Amazon Basics basically the online dollar store of electronics.

Earlier this week, Amazon began offering Amazon Basics-branded lightning cables for use with Apple’s new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The accessory was originally available for $14.99, but mysteriously disappeared this morning. While Amazon has completely removed them for unknown reasons, advertisements linking to them are still up. (more…)

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Amazon: Three Kindles Still Costs Less Than the iPad

In similar fashion to recent marketing tactics by Samsung, online retailer Amazon has released a new TV commercial that combats or downplays Apple products — in this case, the iPad. The commercial features a woman using a Kindle, with her two children each using a Kindle Fire. In a conversation with a man using an iPad, the woman claims that all three Kindles still cost less than the price of the iPad… (more…)

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Kindle Fire was No Threat to iPad Sales

During Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call yesterday, Tim Cook — the corporation’s chief-executive-officer — was asked what impact the Kindle Fire had on Apple’s iPad sales. Cook’s answer detailed that Apple had sold a record 15.4 million units in the previous quarter, hinting that the Fire had little if not any effect on the iPad’s sales. Cook went on to say that Apple does not consider ”limited function tablets and e-readers to be in the same category as the iPad” and that he believes the ecosystem for the iPad is ”in a class by itself.”

We strongly believe in optimizing applications from day one to take advantage of the larger canvas. There are only a few hundred apps designed for the competition, versus more than 170,000 apps designed specifically for iPad. People who want an iPad won’t settle for a limited function tablet. (more…)

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Amazon iPod touch deals

In case you are currently without an iPod touch, want to give one as a gift, or are looking to upgrade to the latest generation, there is no better time than Black Friday. As usual, Amazon has some excellent prices on the iPod touch, and with free shipping and no tax in most states, this may well be one of the better deals on the internet. Prices and links below:

Find any other great Amazon deals today? Post them in the comment thread.

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Major Retailers Release iPad-Optimized Shopping Apps

At the risk of waxing nostalgic, I fondly remember the anticipation of the arrival of the Sears catalog in the mail.  The behemoth contained thousands of potential dreams-come-true in its glossy pages.  We kids would fight over the opportunity to circle our hearts’ desires among the myriad of sports equipment, bedroom ensembles, and of course, toys.  Within a few days, the pages would bear the scars of our ravenous cravings: dogeared, torn and replete with numerous gouges where our pens and pencils had ripped through the flimsy paper.

The cost of printing and shipping has driven the catalog to near extinction.

Browsing for merchandise on the iPad has revitalized the experience.  Read on for some favorite iPad apps.

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Google Makes Headway in European E-book Market

Google has reached an agreement with Hachette Livre to scan and sell out-of-print books. The publisher will control the content and pricing of books, points of contention that led Hachette to withdraw some its e-books from Amazon earlier this year, and take a hard stance with Apple and their iBooks releases.

29 countries claim French as its official language, with 250 million persons speaking French as their first or second language.  An additional 500 million are estimated to parles les mots. Hachette also distributes a variety of Spanish titles.

The agreement represents another step forward by Google in its attempt to create a universal library, a project started in 2004, and is a major toehold for Google in the European market.  In the U.S., Google is close to finalizing a settlement with the Authors’ Guild over copyright issues.

Publishers are scrambling to defend their content and pricing from Internet sales, as e-books’ market share grows rapidly.  The deal lays the foundation for future releases and the control publishers are desparate to maintain.

[Reuters]

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Accessing Digital Magazine Content: Coverleaf and Zinio

Reading digital content on the iPad is, of course, an extremely easy and enjoyable experience.  However, while iBooks and the Amazon Kindle app have been broadly touted, magazine content has not been so widely promoted.  The Zinio app provides digital subscriptions to some of the most popular magazines, as well as the ability to purchase single issues including present and back issues.  The Coverleaf website does the same but offers a welcome twist: free digital downloads for current subscribers and serious discounts even on current issues. (more…)

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Otterbox Commuter for iPhone 4: A Halloween Story

Editor’s note: Read on for Danls92′s tale of Halloween mischief masquerading as a review of the Otterbox Commuter

As some of the more astute readers out there might have noticed, it is currently November. However, it has not always been that way. Why I remember when, some time ago, it was October. October, the 10th month of the year (but not necessarily in our hearts), the month of pumpkins, the month of Halloween. This is a story of that month, and an event that transpired in it.
There are many traditions that occur during October. Some go around gathering obscene amounts of sugar, others dress up in scary/promiscuous/scarily promiscuous costumes. Personally, I dropped pumpkins off the top of a tall building.

After gathering 14 of the shapeliest pumpkin projectiles we could find, some friends went to grab photography equipment to set up at the bottom to capture the mayhem while myself and another friend embarked to the roof of the building. Using the extent of our wits, a table, 2 accomplices and a small diversion we managed to grab our ill fated pumpkin friends and prepare them on the edge of the roof. As my friends on the ground started the countdown for the first pumpkin, I had an idea. Why not film the pumpkinsplosion ™ from the roof. I took my iPhone out of my pocket and leaned over the edge. At this point, several stories off the ground, iPhone in my outreached hand I was very glad that I had the Otterbox Commuter Series case on my phone.

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