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Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

New iPhone 2 build; iTunes video rumors; Safari on Samsung L870

Apple on Wednesday released beta 6 of its iPhone SDK and also issued a new build of iPhone Software 2.0 to select developers. Meanwhile, the company is said to be warming up to variable TV show pricing as it primes a French iTunes video store for launch. And Samsung has chosen Safari as the default browser for its new L870 handset.

iPhone SDK beta 6, iPhone Software v2.0 build 5A308

Joining the release of Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update on Wednesday was iPhone SDK version 6.0, which requires that users apply the new Leopard update ahead of installation.

More privately, however, Apple also equipped a select group of developers with iPhone software v2.0 build 5A308, AppleInsider has been told. On the heels of build 5A292g, which arrived last week with geo-tagging support, the latest build is said to boost overall performance of the iPhone OS significantly.

Those people familiar with the software say both scrolling and transitions have seen vast improvements over the previous builds — a sign that Apple is now moving towards optimizing the new iPhone OS ahead of its release next month.

Apple iTunes rumors

Apple has changed its tune on variable iTunes TV show pricing, according to unnamed studio executives speaking to the Hollywood Reporter.

The publication cites some of those execs as saying that content providers have been nagging Apple for quite some time to market certain TV shows above the standard $1.99, but others as low as 33 cents.

"The conversations I've had with them over the last quarter are markedly different than they were a year or two ago," one content exec said. "Apple is much more flexible than people presume."

As a result, more than one studio is said to be aggressively asking for TV shows to be structured like films on iTunes, which offers new releases and catalog titles at separate price points.

Of course, this is all relevant now given that Apple has conceded to price some of HBOs shows at $2.99, while seemingly declining to extend the same courtesy to NBC Universal last year, which ultimately led to the networks abandonment of iTunes.

The Reporter, however, adds a bit more color on the matter, citing sources who say "it wasn't Apple but NBC Universal that was being stubborn in their previous negotiation stalemate."

Specifically, those sources say NBC was pushing to not only test a $4.99 price point, but also to institute dynamic pricing — an experimental model that re-calibrates (or taxes up) prices on the fly based on consumer demand for a particular piece of media.

Apple also brings its own opinions to the bargaining table regarding the value of a network's programming, according to the execs, but is believed to have agreed to higher pricing in the case of HBO because the premium network also has a DVD business to project.

In related news, the French-language MacGeneration is reporting that a French version of the iTunes video store may be announced very soon.

"You can already browse the video section if you search the name of a TV show or a series, but it still not mentionned on the iTunes home page," one of the publication's editors told AppleInsider.

MacGeneration's full report, with some screenshots, is available here.

Samsung L870

Samsung drew some attention on Wednesday by unveiling the L870, its latest slider phone. Of interest to Apple followers is that a spec sheet indicates that the handset sports a full browsing experience via Apple's "Safari" web browser.

It's unclear, however, if Samsung made a documentation error and is simply following in the footsteps of the Symbian S60, which uses Apple's Webkit framework, for which Safari is based, but not the browser itself.

Regardless, the browsing experience on the L870 will likely fall well short of that of Safari on the iPhone, given the Samsung handset does not include a touch screen.

Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 2

Apple on Wednesday also released Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 2 [2.4MB], which extends RAW file compatibility for Aperture 2 and iPhoto ’08 for the following cameras:

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/Kiss Digital x2/450D
Epson R-D1
Leaf AFi 7
Leaf AFi 6
Leaf AFi 5
Pentax K200D
Pentax K20D