It’s tune-up time for iTunes: Apple on Monday released iTunes 10.4.1 to address a collection of pesky bugs in the application.
The update, which is available for both Mac and Windows systems, provides “a number of improvements,” according to Apple’s Support Downloads page. Among them, Apple specifically calls out the following: Third-party keyboards’ media keys (play/pause, forward, backward) now work properly in iTunes; an issue has been fixed regarding the adding of artwork to songs and videos; and iTunes should no longer become unresponsive when purchasing an HD movie or take longer than normal to open after waking your Mac from sleep. There are also several unnamed issues resolved regarding VoiceOver support.
The Bookeen Cybook Orizon joins a growing group of ebook readers with built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to download material without having to hook the device up to a computer. The $240 (as of August 5, 2011) Orizon also has a 6-inch touchscreen electronic-paper display, which makes for easy and intuitive menu navigation, text selections, and page turns using your fingertip.
Wi-Fi and touchscreen are great technologies, but on the Orizon they don’t always work well in tandem, which I discovered when I tried to shop for books using the Orizon’s built-in browser. Because pages loaded slowly on the Wi-Fi connection, tapping a book from a search results list (for example) often produced unintended selections, making the whole experience painfully time-consuming and frustrating.
In most other respects, the Orizon was much more satisfactory. Like its pocket-size sibling, the Cybook Opus (), the Orizon—available with a black or white plastic case—is thin for its 6-inch screen size and 7.5-by-4.9-inch footprint: It’s not quite three-tenths of an inch thick. That’s about the same thickness as the current 3G/Wi-Fi Amazon Kindle (), but the Kindle doesn’t have a touchscreen. The Orizon weighs about the same as that third-generation Kindle, 8.6 ounces to the Kindle’s 8.7 ounces.
Bookeen’s latest iteration of its Cybook Opus (originally reviewed last year) puts a little spit and polish on the original, which was one of the skinniest and lightest e-readers available. At 5.3 ounces, the new Cybook Opus retains the featherweight crown, but the current Sony Reader Pocket Edition () almost matches it at 5.5 ounces—and that model offers an easier-to-navigate touchscreen. On top of that, the Opus’s $190 price remains steeper than most (though competitive with Sony).
Still, if you’re on the market for a slim and straightforward e-reader, the Opus delivers. The new version, powered by a 400MHz Samsung ARM processor and updated firmware, is snappier than its predecessor. And when you press the power button, it quickly returns you to the last page you were reading (rather than showing the library view).
You’re likely aware that the Internet is full of streaming radio stations—both those that exist entirely on the Internet as well as traditional, terrestrial radio stations. You may also be aware that iTunes’ radio stations aren’t the only way to access this audio. In fact, there are many stand-alone devices that stream this content. Grace Digital Audio makes several of these devices, including the Bookshelf Micro System. While this system lives up to its name in being perfectly sized to fit on a bookshelf and provides a fair number of features for its $250 price tag, it has a lot of rough edges.
Before we get to the specifics of those edges, here’s the obligatory description. Grace’s Bookshelf Micro System is made up of a package of components that includes the brick-and-a-half-sized main unit, a power supply, a remote control, and two speakers—each featuring a 3.5-inch driver, 1-inch tweeter, and 4-inch port to enhance bass performance. The back of the main unit bears a single USB port for connecting a flash drive or external hard drive, two sets of RCA jacks (one for auxiliary input and another for output), and a jack for connecting the included Wi-Fi antenna. The device uses 802.11n Wi-Fi by default, but you can connect the device to your network via ethernet with an optional $20 USB-to-ethernet adapter. On the front of the main unit is a headphone jack.
When Macworld first reviewed Zediva, we cheered its innovative approach—streaming actual DVDs via DVD players that the viewer controls—but worried about how the movie studios would react to Zediva’s clever but controversial take on the law. Unsurprisingly, the answer was “not well”: On Thursday, the company informed subscribers that the service will now take an unplanned, court-mandated hiatus.
The battle for the digital music arena has lost one of its earliest players, as Walmart announced Tuesday that after almost eight years in the business, the Walmart.com Music Downloads store will shut its virtual doors on August 29.
According to a statement provided to Macworld, Walmart “recently notified our music partners that we’ve made a business decision to no longer offer MP3 digital tracks as of August 29, 2011.” Customers thankfully won’t be left in the dark: Anyone who purchased digital music from the store will still be able to seek support for any issues.