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Apple presenting "secret" at Final Cut meet; Radiohead on iTunes


Apple will present a product it has yet to announce at a Final Cut Pro user group event just a day after the Macworld keynote. Also, longtime digital music holdout Radiohead has officially released its first album through iTunes.

Final Cut Pro group meet provides clues to Apple's MWSF plans

When a collection of Final Cut Pro user groups assemble to hold a meeting at Macworld San Francisco later this month, Apple will have a surprise presentation for its guests, AppleInsider has learned.

The January 16th gathering, which follows a day after Apple chief Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote, will feature "something super secret" from the Mac maker, according to the announcement.

Despite the nature of the group, the Apple unveiling is unlikely to include an update to the Final Cut Studio video production suite, which was updated in April and has rarely been updated during the San Francisco show in the past.

Historically, Apple has at times used professional audiovisual industry gatherings to discuss its high-end computers, including the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and Xserve.

Radiohead makes its iTunes debut

Scoring a minor coup in its fight against Amazon, Apple today announced that the iTunes Store now carries In Rainbows, its first album offering from the British rock group Radiohead.

The deal places Apple's catalog on a more even level with its competitor. Amazon MP3 struck a blow against its older rival in September by securing Radiohead's back catalog for its September launch. Apple is selling the album in its unprotected iTunes Plus format, largely matching Amazon's MP3 files in quality, but also offers a free podcast with videos of several songs performed live in a recent web event held by the band.

The availability confirms previous reports that the musicians were in talks with Apple to bring their music to iTunes in earnest. Despite Radiohead's popularity, the group has remained almost entirely divorced from Apple's service outside of a few singles on compilation albums and the brief appearance of OK Computer in the store's catalog upon its launch in April 2003.

Radiohead recently revealed to Wired magazine that its apparent slowness to bring its music to digital stores has stemmed from an EMI contract that excluded digital sales from Radiohead's income. The band launched its first direct-download sales in October by offering its album from its own website, using a set-your-own-price approach.

iPhone 1.1.3 validated by earlier Apple patent?

Although debates are still ongoing as to the legitimacy of the iPhone 1.1.3 media posted over the weekend, enthusiasts note that a recently published patent may support the rumor.

As noted by Hrmpf, an August filing for a reconfigurable touchscreen interface patent contains virtually the same interface behaviors as the bootleg iPhone 1.1.3 video. This includes both the "wiggle" that indicates icons are movable as well as their automatic separation to indicate where an icon will land once dropped into place.

Not all elements of the patent have translated over to what appears to be a shipping product. To date, the leaked iPhone firmware does not allow users to "toss" icons to or from the bottom icon tray.

Study: notebooks seen outselling desktops in 2008

For the first time, an American shopper picking up a new computer in 2008 is most likely to buy a notebook than a desktop, the analyst group IDC predicts in a new report.

Both platforms were nearly on par in 2007 in terms of shipments but told very different stories in terms of growth, the researchers say. While US desktop sales were stronger at 35 million, this represents a 4 percent drop from year to year. By contrast, notebook sales soared by 21 percent to reach 31.5 million and are expected to continue this growth into the new year.

In 2009, this trend should be far-reaching enough to affect the entire world, IDC adds. Longer-range forecasts would also have 66 percent of businesses and 71 percent of regular consumers buying notebooks in 2011.

Fujitsu, Hitachi quit micro hard drive business

An increasing shift to flash-based, solid-state hard drives is pushing two Japanese electronics giants out of the ultra-small rotating hard drive business, according to a new report.

Fujitsu had been developing a compact 1.8-inch disk of its own and intended to release the product in 2007 but has since canceled the project; in turn Hitachi has announced that it will halt production by mid-2008. The latter company had already stopped producing one-inch microdrives.

The move parallels Apple's own shift towards flash storage, which leaves the iPod classic as its only handheld with a conventional hard drive. Hard drives in the 1.8-inch form factor are still being produced by firms such as Toshiba.