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Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 03:55 pm PT (06:55 pm ET)

iTunes vids failing on 5th gen iPods; GPS in iPhone code? More

Owners of Apple's early video-capable, fifth-generation iPods have found that some recent iTunes Store videos refuse to play. Also, beta versions of the iPhone's 2.0 software emulator make reference to currently unused GPS features, Apple has released its Aperture SDK, and Sony has acquired the company that provides track titles for iTunes.

5G iPods stalling on newer iTunes videos

Owners of Apple's previous-generation, full-size iPods are reporting on the company's support forums that many videos released through iTunes from April 10th onwards aren't playing properly on their devices.

While no apparent changes have been made to the videos, any attempt to play them stalls out or plays only one component, such as audio. Videos either obtained from different sources or those posted to the Apple-run service before April 10th work properly, even if purchased after the apparent switchover date.

The issue is described as independent of the exact version of iTunes and persists after restoring iPods or reinstalling iTunes.

Apple hasn't offered an official explanation or solution to the problem, but is now known to be "working toward a resolution" and may have at least resolved the issue for videos purchased within the past two days, which some users say are playing properly. Newer players such as the iPod classic and iPod touch haven't encountered playback difficulties.

iPhone 2.0 code mentioning GPS support?

Apple has built in hooks for iPhone GPS features that aren't possible with the current hardware, according to a user's report sent into iPhone Atlas.

Reader Steffen Voigt notes that the background process for location data in the iPhone Simulator component of the SDK points to use of the NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) spec used by many GPS devices to format navigation data.

While basic GPS information is necessary for the iPhone and iPod touch to triangulate their 2D positions using cellular or Wi-Fi signals, the code also makes specific references to features that can't be simulated by Apple's current methods. This includes both satellite info as well as live location information, such as speed and time.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm hasn't discussed any changes to its mapping code for the iPhone, which for now has been left to rough, manually updated position estimates in Google Maps.

Apple releases Aperture SDK

Making good on promises of third-party plug-in support for Aperture 2.1, Apple this week has released the Software Development Kit (500KB) for the photo management software.

The platform lets programmers write code that adds new features for editing and exporting images handled inside the program.

A number of extensions from outside companies have already been made available on Apple's developer site for Aperture.

Sony snaps up music identifier Gracenote

In a late announcement, Sony on Tuesday evening said it would acquire Gracenote for $260 million in a friendly takeover.

Previously named CDDB, the smaller company is best known for its large, partly user-built database of album and track titles that help automatically fill out song details during the CD import process.

Gracenote's service is currently used by Apple's iTunes as well as other playback programs.

The company says it will continue to run its existing business separately from Sony but that the integration will "accelerate" next-generation features by virtue of Sony's connections to content (via Sony BMG and Sony Pictures) and digital services.