Is Google preparing to challenge iTunes in the cloud?

CNET reports that as the four biggest record companies wait to hear more about a proposed iTunes cloud music service, word comes now that Google has kicked the tires on a start-up specializing in cloud media. Google has showed interest in possibly acquiring Los Angeles-based Catch Media, a company that intends to help make it simple for consumers to enjoy their digital movies, music, and books across numerous different hardware and service platforms, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations. It’s unclear whether talks between Google and Catch have gone beyond informal discussions. If Google did acquire the company, it could help the search giant keep pace with Apple’s expected efforts to take iTunes to cloud computing. Last month, CNET reported that Apple has spoken to the top labels about plans to offer a streaming music service free of charge to consumers. Before agreeing to any new licensing deals, the labels are waiting for Apple to supply more information…

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Educators intrigued by Apple’s iPad

The Apple iPad will start at $499.
The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.

Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, could push other companies to bring more color-capable eReaders to the market in a move that could make digital books more commonplace on school campuses, educators said after the long-awaited release of the technology giant’s latest product.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad Jan. 27, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

The iPad, which is Wi-Fi enabled, has 10 hours of battery life, features a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 lbs, and will use the iPhone operating system, meaning education companies that have made iPhone apps can make their technology available for iPad users.…Read More