$100 Worth of iTunes Cards for $80 at Sam’s Club

Apple may have ended its relationship with Costco, but its partnership with Sam’s Club is still going strong.

Shoppers who may have multiple iOS fanatics on their lists are in for a deal as Sam’s Club is currently advertising 20% off iTunes gift card multipacks.  The discount big box store is offering a pack of 4 $25 gift cards for $79.88.

The special price is valid until December 14th.  The deal is an in-store purchase only, not available online, and may not be available at all locations.  Check your local listings.

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Apple Patents Peer-to-Peer App Sharing (The Legal Kind)

Apple has patented a new method for sharing apps with friends, and it actually is pretty ‘magical’.

The technical details are a bit confusing, so here it is in a nutshell: Your friend wants to try out the sweet new app you’re using, so you link your two devices together and select the app from a list to share. It is then sent to the recipient’s device directly from your own. Depending on your personal preference, the recipient can access the full app with all your current settings, a limited version, or something in between. The sender can also specify a time limit for how long the app can be used, be it for a few minutes, hours, days, or even months.


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Desktop Version of Google Docs Now Supports the iPad

The simplified mobile version of Google Docs is great for making quick edits and composing rough drafts, but it doesn’t allow users to change advanced formatting settings like font or paragraph alignment. Google has acknowledged this limitation, and has updated the desktop version of Docs to support the iPad. It works with both word documents and spreadsheets, and has full support for entering formulas. As you would expect, the site is slightly more cumbersome than the optimized mobile version, but it’s nice to have the option if you ever need it.


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Apple and Costco Sever Ties

It’s been confirmed that Costco, previously one of the absolute best places to purchase basically any expensive electronics due to an outstanding warranty, will not be carrying Apple merchandise in the future.

The Seattle Times is reporting that severing of ties between Costco and Apple has been confirmed, culminating with both parties signing a ‘mutual agreement’ that will put an end to Costco carrying any Apple merchandise.

The chain is phasing out Apple products, per a mutual agreement between the companies, Galanti told The Seattle Times. Costco had sold iPods and pre-loaded iTunes cards for years, although never at huge discounts; and Apple never allowed Costco to sell its products online like other retailers, he said. “In the past couple months, we agreed to wind down.”

Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette said the company has no comment.

Apparently, this has been in the works since at least October, starting with various stores such as Target and Costco’s chief competitor Sam’s Club selling the iPad. Astute observers witnessed Apple products disappearing from Costco shelves soon after.

So, Costco, I know I’ll miss your outstanding warranty and service.


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ABC/Disney Caught in the Middle of Fight Between Comcast and Netflix

Netflix has reached an agreement to stream content from the Disney and the ABC family of networks.  Previous airings of hits like Lost, Ugly Betty, and Scrubs will be available at launch, with a 15-day delay for new episodes of current shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Desparate Housewives.  The Disney Channel and ABC Family network will make available episodes of kid-friendly fare including Phineas and FerbWizards of Waverly Place and movie series Camp Rock and High School Musical.

Comcast subscribers who use the conglomerate’s Internet services may be out of luck.  As pointed out in our forums, Comcast is fighting Level 3 Communications, the Netflix content delivery firm, from streaming to Comcast subscribers.  In preparation of a potential merge with NBC, Comcast is perceived to be trying to shut out Netflix, iTunes and other content providers.

In anticipation of the move, Comcast will release a new iPad app, PlayNow, that will allow xfinity subscribers to not only control their home DVRs as they can now using the xfinity TV app, but stream over 150,00 video items from their TV Online portal.  Play Now will first work with premium networks such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime with other network rights being negotiated. 

Comcast president Neil Smit was quoted as saying that he doesn’t believe subscribers are moving to cutting the cord and that only a “small trace” of customers have left Comcast in favor of free-over-the air TV.  He admitted there has been some loss to other competitors.

Netflix can’t have exclusive streaming rights to the Disney/ABC content, so Comcast should be able to stream the channels.  Slingbox owners can already time shift and stream content from any cable box, including DVR recordings and VOD to iDevices.  It will be interesting to see how cable companies evolve to catch up and how Slingbox improves to provide additonal value.

[Engadget] [Light Reading Cable] [Electronista]

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iTunes 2010 Review Demonstrates How iOS Games are Gaining Market Share

The iTunes Store offered today a chance for users to review their best offerings for 2010 in music, podcasts, TV shows, apps, music and audiobooks.

As pointed out by Macstories, games are taking over the App Store.  They noted:

  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPhone Apps: 9 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPhone Apps: 5 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPhone Apps: 7 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPad Apps: 2 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPad Apps: 1 game
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPad Apps:  4 out of 10 are games

This confirms the report by the research firm Interpret that Apple has made serious headway in the mobile handheld game market.  Overall, mobile handsets make up 44 percent of the handheld gaming market, up 53 percent from last year.  The DS and PSP share of the market has declined 13 percent.  An informal poll at ArsTechnica revealed that nearly one-third of respondents have an iOS device and it is the only thing they use for gaming.  An additional 22.25% of respondents stopped using their DS, PSP or other device in favor of their iOS device.

Read on to see the other top sellers in the various categories at iTunes.

[Macstories] [ArsTechnica]


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Mac App Store Not Coming Soon Enough for Steve Jobs

Excited Mac App developers eager to have the Mac App store open Dec. 13th will have to wait until January 2011 after all. 

Steve Jobs originally stated at the Oct. 20th press event that the App store would open “within 90 days” putting the grand opening at the end of January 2011.  Rumors have been circulating that Jobs had been pushing for the opening before Dec. 6th.  As that date came and passed, sources suggested it would open as early as Dec. 13th.  “Word has come down” that troublesome issues continue, resulting in the fall back to the original January 2011 estimate.

The grand opening will have to come after the Christmas rush.  Hopefully it will be before Valentine’s Day.

[Computerworld] [Appletell]

Thanks DrewGzy!

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Infinity Blade Released, That Is All.

Shut. Down. Everything. Infinity Blade has just been released. Here is the iTunes link, click it now, since I’m sure you don’t want to wait until you’re finished reading this post to download it. If you’re one of the few who do, in fact, live under a rock, here is a quick synopsis of the game:

For untold ages, the God King has ruled with an iron fist – his power is incalculable; his followers, legion. Now you must journey to the Dark Citadel to battle his Titans, one by one, until you face the tyrant himself. As it has been for all in your bloodline, this is your birthright – to free your people from an endless legacy of darkness. The immortal can be vanquished – but only if heart, mind, and steel are one.

The first mobile game powered by Epic’s cutting-edge Unreal Engine 3 technology, Infinity Blade takes handheld gaming to new heights with gorgeous visuals, adrenaline-fueled battles and advanced character progression in a fully 3D castle realm.

Infinity Blade features a “dynamic single-player campaign” and massive amounts of character customization. (Read: swords. Lots and lots of swords.) It’s available for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod Touch 3/4G for $5.99.

In case you missed it:

[iTunes] Gameplay Trailer

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Free iPhone 3GS at Best Buy, Provided You Sell Your Soul

…Or just sign a 2 year contract, which, if you’re in the market for a new cellie anyway, is not a bad deal at all. (An 8GB iPhone 3GS is normally $99!) The sale will take place this Friday, the 10th, at Best Buy stores nationwide. It’s an instant rebate, so you won’t even have to scrap together cash or wait around for a mail-in rebate. The promotion applies to new and additional lines, as well as qualified upgrades.


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