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Briefly: New iPod games, iPod constraints, MacBU blunder


Apple on Tuesday posted two new iPod games to its iTunes Store. Meanwhile, tipsters report that strong sales of iPods at retail this past weekend have constrained some models last minute. And a booboo by the Microsoft's MacBU let an update to Mac Office slip out the door a bit early.

Two new iPod games

Apple's routine Tuesday morning iTunes Store updates produced two new iPod games this week: Sudoku and Royal Solitaire.

The former is a portable version of the "wildly popular" Japanese logic-based puzzle game, offering five levels of various difficulty. Users can choose regular grid mode or enter a puzzle from their favorite publication under newspaper mode.

Meanwhile, Royal Solitaire offers "10 of the most popular and well-known versions" of Solitaire. "Test your skills with the classic Canfield, the popular Klondike, or the easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master Pyramid," reads Apple's description. "Crisp graphics and simple, intuitive controls translate into hours of playing fun."

Both games are compatible with fifth-generation iPods, and are available for purchase and download from the iTunes store for $4.99 a pop.

Shuffles and RED iPods direct from China

Sales of Apple's $79 iPod shuffle along with 4GB PRODUCT (RED) iPod nanos put on a pretty strong showing this weekend at the company's retail stores, tipsters tell AppleInsider.

Some locations were hit so hard by the flood of shoppers that they expect to face supply constraints on the players by week's end.

In order to address the issue and assure ample supply of the players for the last-minute holiday shopping surge, tipsters say Apple plans a flash refresh of inventories to those locations through drop shipments direct from China ahead of the weekend.

Microsoft blames blunder on "craziness"

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) has offered an explanation for the company's recent accidental release of some Mac Office updates via the team blog, according to MacNN.

The slip occurred last Tuesday, December 12th, when Microsoft mistakenly posted pre-release binaries of an Office 11.3.1 update that were staged internally as part of the company's testing for a forthcoming release.

"Things were a little crazy here on Wednesday and Thursday working out what happened and how we should resolve the problem," the Redmond, Wash. software giant explained.

"We need to test the actual download process to make sure we've got the right URLs in place, that the right bits are up on the server, etc. On Tuesday, while testing that download process for an upcoming Office patch, we accidentally released the bits to the live servers."

According to Microsoft, the patch included some normal stability issues as well as prepatory work for an upcoming security release. In the meantime, the company has posted detailed instructions on how to uninstall the un-released code and is working on a utility to automatically remove the patches.