Emerging Technology

Apple drops copy protection from iTunes in low-key MacWorld address

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Computer giant Apple has used the annual MacWorld conference to announce that it will remove copy protection from the 10 million songs sold on its iTunes download service.

Computer giant Apple has used the annual MacWorld conference to announce that it will remove copy protection from the 10 million songs sold on its iTunes download service.

Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) policy meant users could only play songs downloaded from iTunes on Apple’s iPod music players. The divisive DRM system was also intended to reduce copyright infringements by reducing the sharing of songs between users.

Apple says copy protection will be removed from around eight million songs immediately, allowing users to transfer songs between computers, different brands of music players or mobile phones.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, who addressed the conference in the place of Apple chief Steve Jobs, also announced that the company will introduce variable pricing to iTunes. Instead of every song being sold for US99c, individual tunes will be available for US69c and $US1.29.

But unfortunately for Apple lovers, that’s where the excitement pretty much ended.

While Apple has traditionally used MacWorld as a platform to introduce its major products, including the iPod and iPhone, this year’s address was decidedly low key.

Apple has decided not to appear at the conference in future years, a move seen as a way for the company to relieve itself of the pressure of coming up with a blockbuster product at the start of each year.

Schiller also announced the release of a MacBook with a 17-inch screen (which will sell for $US2799) and the release of a beta version of its new document management product, iWork, which will compete with Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live.

Tech writers and bloggers largely described Schiller’s address as “underwhelming”.

“While Schiller put in a flawless performance under the media spotlight, many journalists struggled to stay interested at a lack of new and innovative products from the company to kick off the conference,” wrote Stuart Miles of gadget site Pocket-lint.

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