$200 iTunes Gift Cards Sell for $2.60 On Chinese Website

Counterfeit iTunes Gift Cards

Some clever hackers have been able to crack the algorithm Apple uses for their gift cards allowing them to create gift certificate generators. All the sellers are actually selling are the the code which are sent directly to the customer who then inputs it into their iTunes account, and some of these sellers are selling $200 gift cards for as low as $2.60.

According to the owner of one of the sellers the business started about 6 months ago, Apple hasn’t commented on the issue but I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the algorithm for their gift cards rather quickly (especially since it has been receiving a lot of press over the past few days).

What confuses me about this is why anyone would purchase these counterfeit codes anyway when bittorrent is even cheaper and is less likely to be cracked down on. That is unless you are using the purchased code to buy apps in the App Store.

AppleInsider | Hackers crack Apple’s iTunes gift card algorithm.

Apple Let’s Rock Event, Results Are In

So the Apple event was a little underwhelming (not to me, but to most) but I’ll just take a little bit of time to shortly recap what happened at the event.

  • NBC back in iTunes.
  • iTunes adding HD TV shows for $2.99 per episode.
  • iTunes 8 with Genius playlists and the Genius sidebar (suggests songs similar to a chosen song)
  • 120GB iPod Classic for $249 (supports new iPod Earphones).
  • iPod Nano, 8GB $149, 16GB $199. curved aluminum design, thinnest iPod ever, accelerometer. Available in 9 colors.
  • New in-ear headphones for $79 and earbuds for $29. Has, squeeze button, mic, and volume up/down buttons.
  • iPod Touch, 8GB $229, 16GB $299, 32GB $399. Hardware volume controls, and built in speaker. Built in Nike + iPod support.
  • iPod Touch firmware 2.1 with iPhone firmware 2.1 coming Friday.

Apple Event Today: “Let’s Rock” 10PM Pacific, 1PM Eastern

Unfortunately I will be at work while the event is going on so I won’t be able to find out what happened until about 3PM eastern time and won’t be able to post about it until after 4:30. But, I can start the day by doing some final predictions as to what I expect to see at the event.

  • iPod Nano update with new design featuring a widescreen display (while turned on its side)
  • iPod Touch Update, slight changes to the design and the possible inclusion of GPS.
  • iTunes 8, new visualizer, Genius playlists, and Genius sidebar.
  • Entire iPod line to see price drops (excluding the iPod Shuffle).
  • iPhone and iPod Touch firmware 2.1 (if not available immediately then available in the next few weeks).
  • HD TV shows

So that’s all I’m expecting at the event but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Steve Jobs pulled a “one more thing” and showed off something amazing (but I’m not going to get my hopes up).

I doubt that Apple will have a live stream of the event but they usually put one up a few hours after the show. But, during the event I would suggest those who are interested to follow Engadget’s live blog of the event.

There have also been a few of interesting images regarding the event floating around yesterday and today. The first is a mockup of what iTunes 8.0 will look like.

From KevinRose.com.

The last two images are claiming to be the interface of the upcoming iPod Nano.

From Gizmodo.

Apple Accidentally Leaks iTunes 8

Last night UFailPix posted about downloading iTunes 8 from Apple’s own website. This is of course unconfirmed because there has been nothing more than a screenshot of Apple’s website with an oddly placed download link to iTunes.

The blog says that it is a huge upgrade from the previous version but after shortly updated the post saying that he believes the version he downloaded is actually a release candidate.

I’m not sure if I believe the post since there are no screenshots of the application itself only of the web site, but, who knows. Mistakes have been made in the past and it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for Apple to have accidentally leaked the new version.


Update: they decided to post a link to the download which you can download here (link removed). I can’t confirm that it is iTunes since I just started downloading it, but once downloaded (in about 10 minutes) I’ll install on a see how it is. Hopefully it is the mac version but if not I’ll have to install it on one of my old PCs.

Update x2: This seems to be completely fake, I downloaded the file and even though it has a password on the archive I could see what files are inside of it. There are two files in the archive, one called obama.doc and one called zunesetuppkg-x86.exe. So I guess all the people in the comments that have said they downloaded it and liked it can’t tell the difference between iTunes and the Zune software.

So, the leak is fake and other than the rumors that say we’ll be getting iTunes 8 tomorrow we won’t know for sure until then.

More iTunes 8.0 Info and New iPod Dimensions Posted

Kevin Rose is at it again with more information about iTunes 8. This time quoting one of his sources saying:

“What’s new in iTunes 8

iTunes 8 includes Genius, which makes playlists from songs in your library that go great together. Genius also includes Genius sidebar, which recommends music from the iTunes Store that you don’t already have.

With iTunes 8, browse your artists and albums visually with the new Grid view; download your favorite TV shows in HD quality from the iTunes Store; sync your media with iPod nano (4th generation), iPod classic (2nd generation), and iPod touch (2nd generation); and enjoy a stunning new music visualizer.”

We still don’t know if there will be an unlimited iTunes subscription (but it is unlikely) I would say though that Genius could become an unbelievable feature if combined with an unlimited option.

TV shows in HD is going to be really great but I wonder if this means that the newer iPods and/or the iPhone 3G are actually capable of playing back HD content. If you remember when the original iPod 5G came out it was only capable of 320×240 video but was later updated to allow playback of 640×480 video, could this also happen with the new iPods?

According to the quote we’ll also be seeing a 4G Nano, a 2G Classic, and a 2G iPod Touch. Oddly enough iLounge posted an image of what they claim to be the dimensions of the new iPod Nano and iPod Touch.

None of this really surprises me at all but what I’m wondering is what is going to be the pricing on the HD TV shows. Are they going to be $2.99? That is the same price as renting a movie and seems very over priced. Or, are they going to go the route of letting users rent HD TV shows for $1.99 with the same 30 day/24 hour system set up for the movies?

All of these questions will be answered on Sep 9th at 10am Pacific time but I sure hope that we’ll get HD TV shows and I also really hope we get some more info about iPhone firmware 2.1.

Kevin Rose

September 9 Apple Event Confirmed

Yes, I know, I was wrong, and even though I was wrong I am still pretty sure my logic was (at the very least) good. But, we will be seeing an Apple event on Sep. 9. The invitation went out yesterday to all of the “big guys” with the title “Let’s Rock,” the picture next to it depicted a typical iPod touting dancer who seemed to be carrying the rumored iPod Nano 4G.

There are strong indications that this event will bring about a new iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and more than likely some news about the 2.1 software update for the iPhone. While other rumors have suggested that we may be seeing MacBook and MacBook Pro updates, we probably won’t be seeing them until October or later.

On the software front there are rumors that we will be seing iTunes 8.0 and along with it might come features such as music suggestion and (hopefully) an unlimited iTunes subscription option.

I expect to see a new iPod Nano, new iPod Touch, iPhone 2.1 info, and iTunes 8.0. But, I don’t expect to see anything else.


The iPod Event Will NOT Be Happening On September 9th

No I don’t have any inside information and no I’m not just going on a hunch here. The iPod event cannot be held on September 9th because the “free iPod with the purchase of a Mac” deal for college students is still available until September 15th meaning that if Apple changes the iPod lineup 6 days beforehand it is going to be incredibly confusing to those who still want the free iPod (or incredibly frustrating to those who purchased a new Mac the day before because of the deal).

Kevin Rose proclaimed the date September 9th on the podcast This Week In Tech produced by the wonderful Leo Laporte but no one seemed to argue with him on that date. Kevin Rose does seem to have some pretty good evidence that his recent information is correct, even emailing another batch of images to Leo Laporte who seemed to think they were real as well. But, the date didn’t come under scrutiny at all.

The event will still come in September but I find it unlikely that it will be released in the first half of the month.

Along with the September 9th prediction Kevin also suggested that one of the new features in iTunes 8 would be the ability for iTunes to suggest music that you may like based on the contents of your music library. Now, iTunes already suggests music based on your music purchases but that doesn’t include music gathered from other sources. This new feature doesn’t seem that far fetched and if anything else just seems like the logical progression for iTunes to take.

I will be willing to admit that I’m wrong on this but like I said above, it doesn’t seem very likely that Apple would release new iPods before the college promotion is over.

Kevin Rose Says iPod Price Drops, New iPod Nano, iTunes 8.0, and Blu-ray in OS X 10.5.6

Kevin Rose says that there will be a skinnier longer iPod Nano that will be more rounded released sometime between now and the end of September. Along with the iPod Nano update the iPod Touch will be getting small cosmetic changes and will be the first device to get the 2.1 software update (iPhone getting it shortly afterward). There should also be price cuts in the iPod line to differentiate them from the iPhone, with these price cuts Apple hopes the iPhone won’t cannibalize so many of the iPod sales.

iTunes 8.0 will also be released soon with many new features and functionality. He also says that OS X 10.5.6 may have integrated Blu-ray support allowing Apple to release Macs with Blu-ray drives.

Now the question is whether or not you should believe these rumors. Kevin’s track record hasn’t been the greatest. We all remember when he said that the iPhone wasn’t going to have two batteries, but Kevin seems very confident in these statements and all of it is very possible (no outrageous claims here, except maybe the changes to the iPod Nano hardware).

I’m not going to be holding my breath for much of this but all of it will surely be very welcomed changes to Apple’s product line.

Kevin Rose

Apple May Offer iTunes Subscription In Late September

Many Apple rumors sites have recently began reporting on the possibility of Apple offering an iTunes subscription option. Many other online music sites have been offering subscriptions for quite some time now but the big one (iTunes) hasn’t yet.

The rumor says that about half of the music currently available on the iTunes music store would be available to subscribers. The pricing would also be incredibly cheap (compared to some others which often charge $15 per month). How does $129.99 per year sound? How about $179.99 per year with MobileMe bundled in?

That comes out to roughly $11 per month for just the music subscription and about $15 a month for the MobileMe bundle. Many say that this subscription offering would be announced in late September, when they normally have their iPod event (and I would agree with them).

But, the question now is will it persuade those pirating music to go legit? My guess is that it wouldn’t. I’ve talked to many people I know that do pirate music and they have said that $10 is too much, they are already getting it for free and have absolutely no restrictions. I think the only way to persuade pirates is to give them MP3s for a low monthly price ($5-10).

I’ve said that a music subscription offering would be awesome but I just don’t know if I consume enough music for it to be economical for me. I am probably only interested in maybe 1 album per month, and since I can buy the CD for about $10 I don’t know why paying for a subscription would be worth it. On the other hand, paying for a subscription would allow me to try a lot more music that I might not have been interested in otherwise.

9 to 5 Mac

iTunes 7.7 Pre-Release Screenshots and iPhone 2.0 Video

The folks over at Gizmodo have spent some time with iPhone software version 2.0 and the pre-release version of iTunes 7.7 and post a video along with a small gallery of screenshots.

They say that both iTunes 7.7 and firmware 2.0 are rock solid so you shouldn’t worry about instability issues when it is finally released. The App Store is not up yet so the video doesn’t show any of that, the new push data feature is there along with parental controls, the BCC field in Mail, etc.

iTunes doesn’t have very many new features except for the “Look for iPhone & iPod touch Remotes” option, age gaming restrictions, and “Automatically Check for Available Downloads.”

So we are just a short (or long) 8 days (assuming it will come on the 11th) away from finally being able to get our hands on all of these new features. I’m really excited and since I just purchased an iTunes gift card I’ll be ready to start downloading apps as soon as the App Store hits.

HBO Arrives in iTunes, Standard Pricing? No

The rumors were going around early yesterday but now it is official, HBO content is now available for download through iTunes. What’s strange is that Apple has seemed to give in to the idea of variable pricing with HBO with most of their content being sold for $2.99 per episode (some content is still $1.99 per episode though).

And with this begins the questions of when will we see NBC back in iTunes, the biggest issue was variable pricing, right? Who really knows, I’ll tell you one thing though, if NBC comes back to iTunes and episodes are priced at $2.99 I will not buy them, I understand that HBO and NBC think that their content is worth more than anyone else but $1.99 seems to be that sweet spot where I almost don’t even have to think about the purchase at all, but when it reaches $2.99 I DO think about it, just enough to realize that it is too expensive.

HBO in iTunes