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Briefly: Power6, EMI bought out, YouTube on Apple TV


IBM has helped the PowerPC architecture regain some ground lost to Intel with the advent of a new supercomputer-class chip. Meanwhile, new anti-DRM advocate and iTunes partner EMI has agreed to be bought out by a private group. And hobbyists have put YouTube on Apple's network media device.

IBM debuts 4.7GHz Power6

While most chipmakers are stressing the parallelism of many cores in a single chip, IBM on Monday revealed the POWER6, a new dual-core processor that the company boasts as the world's fastest.

The New York state-based firm has used energy optimizations to double the clock speed to an unprecedented 4.7GHz without consuming added power. The chip could also run at the same speed with half the consumption, IBM says.

Its speed is reportedly three times faster in heavy-duty benchmarks than Intel's pure 64-bit Itanium, representing a comeback for the PowerPC architecture from which POWER draws its base. The PowerPC G5 system used in late iMacs and PowerMacs was based on a stripped-down version of the POWER4 introduced first in 2002.

Perhaps fittingly, IBM also compared the 300GB of raw bandwidth available through the POWER6's system bus to an Apple product. The sheer speed was enough to "download the entire iTunes catalog" — 5 million songs — in a single minute, according to the company.

EMI bought out, unprotected music remains

In a surprise announcement, EMI said today that the private equity group Terra Firma had successfully won a takeover bid, acquiring the music label for about $4.7 billion.

The terms of the deal gave relief to those worried about an acquisition jeopardizing the safety of its landmark deals to offer music without copy protection through Apple's iTunes and Amazon's unnamed store. The music recording and publishing arms would stay together, Terra Firma said.

And while the deal was still wrapping up as of press time, the deal has also eased concerns that Warner Music would validate seven-year-old rumors of its own buyout attempt of EMI. Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman publicly derided Apple head Steve Jobs for even suggesting the removal of DRM, indicating that any music under his label would have to be sold with anti-piracy measures in place.

Apple Store music playlist revealed

ifo Apple Store has successfully discovered the most recent playlist for Apple's retail outlets, which determines the music that plays in the background of all the company's 180-plus stores. The rotation is said to change every three months to stay current and maintain variety.

Though the 150-song list is dominated by clearly recognizable pop songs found on the iTunes Store from artists such as Gorillaz and U2, the company has also included the occasional independent tracks from slightly more exotic artists such as Mulatu Astatke and They Might Be Giants.

YouTube reaches Apple TV

Nicknamed "A Series of Tubes," a new unofficial plugin for the Apple TV promises to expand the media streaming hub's Internet functionality beyond watching movie trailers and reading Top Ten lists.

Using a combination of RSS news feeds and a Flash player, the Apple device can access any of the most recently spotlighted YouTube clips as well as the most commented-on or viewed movies from any given month or week.

The modification is just the latest in a series of unofficial add-ons for the device, which trickled out almost immediately after the device appeared in mid-March.

The Apple TV hobbyist website AwkwardTV is said to be receiving the YouTube extension in its plugin directory soon. In the meantime, view a brief movie demonstrating the software below.