Get the lowest prices anywhere on Macs & iPads: Apple Price Guides updated Dec 25th (exclusive coupons)

Briefly: New Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta, iPod levies in EU, News Corp shelving digital newsstand project

Apple has released a new beta for its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6.5 update, while an EU court ruling may block 'copying levies' placed on iPods and iPhones. Also, News Corp. is putting its plans for an iPad-specific digital newsstand on hold, a new report claims.

Mac OS X 10.6.5

Apple's latest pre-release copy of Mac OS X 10.6.5 is labeled build 10H562. The beta was released to developers late Thursday as a 616MB delta update. According to the release notes, there are no known issues. With new builds coming steadily for several months now, the update is expected to arrive in advance of the November release of iOS 4.2.

The seed note accompanying the build specifies Printing as a "Focus Area." 10.6.5 will work with iOS devices running iOS 4.2 to enable the new AirPrint wireless printing functionality. 10.6.4, the last update to Mac OS X 10.6, came in June with fixes to Adobe Creative Suite 3 issues and a resolution for unresponsive keyboards and trackpads.

EU rules on iPod levies

The European Court of Justice has ruled against overly broad copying levies that could affect iPods, smartphones and other devices, according to iPodNN. Copying levies place a fee on blank media and devices that allow copying, then distribute that fee to content owners and copyright holders. The ruling, which needs to be codified by the European Commission, would limit private copying levies to devices explicitly meant for copying (e.g., a DVD burner). If upheld, it could result in lower prices for European consumers on devices like the iPod, iPhone, and even printers.

News Corp.'s iPad Division

News Corp. is shelving a plan to create a subscription-based digital newsstand for iPad content, a person "familiar with the matter" has told the Wall Street Journal. "Project Alesia," as it was known, was a tablet-focused initiative with the goal of "selling access to news from a variety of publishers."

The source told the Journal, which News Corp. owns, that the media conglomerate had invested around $31.5 million on the venture, with over 100 people working on it in the U.K., although the company still sees the idea as potentially having "tremendous value" to the industry.

Rumors of a News Corp. tablet subscription service emerged this summer, picking up steam when News Corp.-owned Fox agreed to a 99-cent TV show rental plan for streaming the network's shows to the new Apple TV. At the time, it was suggested that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch had agreed to the rental model to cement a relationship with Apple in hopes of creating a digital newsstand for the iPad.