iFive: Cloud iTunes Due Soon, Windows for Tablets Delay, Groupon Sued Over Expiries, South Korea DDoS’d, Iceland Likes WikiLeaks

Want to race through Friday to get to the weekend? Let’s get off to a running start with the early tech news, in quick-to-read format:

With memories of the trilogy fading from minds of recent generations, Lord Lucas deemed it time to re-energize his movies with a new type of Force–3-D. Yes, Star Wars fans–The Phantom Menace is due for a release in glorious 3-D in February 2012. This may be the most welcome use of 3-D yet: Getting everyone’s favorite sci-fi movie hexology back on the silver screen. On with the news.


1. Apple didn’t reveal much other than iPad 2 this week, but is back in the news due to further info about its cloud iTunes plans. Several people with inside knowledge have confirmed Apple’s in advanced talks with the recording industry to allow iTunes subscribers to “back up” their music to the cloud, then download it as often as they like to their mobile devices–creating a de facto music streaming service. It’s due midyear.

2. Is Microsoft effectively ceding the tablet PC market to Apple and Google? You’d think so when you hear that its tablet version of Windows has now been slated for a 2012 release date. Public testing will begin later in 2011, but it will then take months for MS to integrate all the necessary tweaks, fixes, and polish to create a full public release version.

3. Groupon is facing a class action suit this week that centers on a key part of its business–short expiration dates of offers. The date is key to ad partners, who’d prefer not to have to redeem loss-leading coupons over an long period (it hardly preserves the momentum of an offer-driven sales push), but the suit alleges credit card protection laws in the U.S. forbid sale of gift certificates that expire faster than five years.

4. South Korea revealed a number of government websites, including the presidential one and national intelligence agency’s were subject to an effective DDoS cyber attack yesterday. In character the attacks are similar to a spate of DDoS events in 2009 that came from North Korea, so says the South. Is this the first evidence of a real, visible cyber war? Innovative, and we suppose it’s better than fighting with bullets.

5. Krstinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist and spokesman for WikiLeaks, just won Iceland’s Journalist of the Year award for “excellent processing of a video of a helicopter attack in Baghdad” (the controversial attack that killed Reuters reporters, revealed on WikiLeaks) and “his work as a representative for WikiLeaks.” An Icelandic MP was also a WikiLeaks volunteer, and is being investigated by the U.S.

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