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Thursday, May 10, 2007, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Apple Pro App 4.0; notebook drives; new UK stores; Beatle(s)

Apple has released Pro Application Support 4.0 just as Hitachi hits a new storage capacity milestone with its 7200 RPM notebook drives. Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed plans for two more UK-based retail outlets. And one of Britain's Fab Four is said to be on his way to iTunes.

Pro Application Support 4.0

Apple on Wednesday afternoon released Pro Application Support 4.0 for users of Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

The 7.6MB update improves general user interface reliability for the company's professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express.

Hitachi paves way for larger 7200 RPM MacBook drives

Meanwhile on Thursday, Hitachi announced that it has started shipping the TravelStar 7K200 — the industry's first notebook drive to store 200GB while maintaining a desktop-class 7200 RPM speed.

The drive, which will likely emerge as a build-to-order option for Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro notebook, is said by Hitachi to be roughly 18 to 33 percent faster than previous drives operating at the same speed

The updated TravelStar also consumes roughly the same power as 5400 RPM drives and is designed to be quiet enough for watching movies and other clips directly from the hard disk.

In addition, the 7K200 also offers an added layer of security rarely seen in notebook drives. A technique dubbed Bulk Data Encryption can be switched on to dynamically encrypt and decrypt data as it's written to and read from the drive, reducing the chances that information will be stolen through a software hack. Old drives' information can be locked away from access simply by deleting the encryption key that handles traffic.

Two new stores confirmed for UK

Apple has confirmed plans for two more retail stores in the UK, promising new shops in Reading and at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex.

The news means Apple hopes to have at least sixteen retail outlets operating out of the region by the end of the year, notes Macworld UK. Earlier this week it began recruiting staff for a new Apple retail store in Exeter.

Apple is currently recruiting retail staffers for newly-confirmed shops in Brighton, Glasgow, Milton Keynes and Solihull. Additional UK-based Apple retail locations in Edinburgh and Liverpool are also rumored.

One Beatle on his way to iTunes?

February came and went without the Beatles' arrival on iTunes, but the folks over at Ars are telling fans of the legendary British rock band not to fret.

According to their sources, former Beatle Paul McCartney is going to be joining the Apple download service with his new album available as a preorder as soon as next week.

Furthermore, the site says, McCartney plans to make his entire back catalog available soon thereafter — possibly the following week.

"It's unclear whether McCartney will be going exclusive on iTunes for the launch of the new album and back catalog or whether he will be launching it all on other stores," the report states.