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Stephen Hackett's weblog about Apple, Apple history, technology, journalism and design.

Beats officially part of Apple

Apple:

Today we are excited to officially welcome Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the Apple family. Music has always held a special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled to join forces with a group of people who love it as much as we do. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have created beautiful products that have helped millions of people deepen their connection to music. We’re delighted to be working with the team to elevate that experience even further.

Here's Beats' announcement, which I couldn't paste as it's not actually text on the page.

Apple's CDN goes live with ISP interconnect deals

Dan Rayburn:

Since last year, Apple’s been hard at work building out their own CDN and now those efforts are paying off. Recently, Apple’s CDN has gone live in the U.S. and Europe and the company is now delivering some of their own content, directly to consumers. In addition, Apple has interconnect deals in place with multiple ISPs, including Comcast and others, and has paid to get direct access to their networks.

Early tests show Apple is using this $100 million CDN to distribute OS X upgrades to customers as directly as possible.

This investment is another example of Apple liking to control the whole stack, but the company isn't an ISP. Paying for direct access (not unlike Netflix) puts Apple in better standing with companies like Comcast, but the net neutrality implications are a little icky.

That said, with Comcast, Time Warner and others having the ability to slow down any one body of traffic and hold it hostage isn't Apple or Netflix's fault they have to play the interconnect game. It's the federal government's.

E.W. Scripps spinning off newspaper business

Dan Monk:

The deal calls for Milwaukee, Wisc. –based Journal Communications Inc. to merge its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations into Cincinnati-based Scripps. Both companies will spin off their newspaper assets into a new publicly-traded company, Journal Media Group.

The deal is subject to the approval of shareholders and regulators. It is expected to close in 2015.

Big news in the journalism world, but no one else will notice the re-arranged deck chairs.

Modbook Pro X hits Kickstarter

The original Modbook hails from 2008, when the company took plastic MacBooks, cut them in half and turned them into tablets.

Currently, you can just get a non-Retina MacBook Pro from the company. However, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign is for a new product, based on the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

If the $150,000 goal is met, customers will be able to send in their own machines for conversion at $1999 or reserve complete systems directly from Modbook starting at $3999.

The idea of the Modbook has always intrigued me, and I can see how designers or artists would be interested in it, but the Mac hardware nerd in me can't help but wonder what terrible things happen to these MacBooks.

The App Store Box Office

Jared Sinclair, in an excellent article about the launch of his RSS application Unread:

If you want to make “real money” from a paid-up-front app, your launch week has to be be a box-office smash.

All of Jared's piece is interesting, but that statement really hit me. I've heard it said before, but his data really backs it up.

It's a shame Jared hasn't made more on Unread. As he points out, the app was both featured on the App Store and garnered a fair bit of media attention. I can't imagine how rough it is for developers of less popular paid apps. The whole thing really highlights how the free fall of App Store prices has affected developers.

It's not good for anyone, really. Without good money coming in, developers can't make the kind of apps they want to make, which in turn, drives the price further into the ground and hurts the ecosystem as a whole. I fear the App Store is in some weird chicken-and-egg downward spiral.

The Macintosh II

True story: I was going to write up the history of the Macintosh II, but then ran across this artcle by Benj Edwards.

If you want to understand why Apple went off the rails in the 90s, reading up on this machine isn't a bad place to start.