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How one family deals with digital downloads

“He liked the easy-to-use iTunes program, and decided to make it the central jukebox for digital copies (altogether legal) of his conventional CD’s. I set up the downloading account for him, and decided to show him how to download from the music store. I selected Dutch DJ JXL’s excellent remix of the Elvis Presley song “A Little Less Conversation” and paused before hitting the “buy” button. [...]

Here’s the shocker: more than ever, he began asking us to buy CD’s for him. He wanted discs from artists he had come to know online, with the liner notes and lyrics. His less copyright-friendly buddies send him the stuff they like, and if he likes a song, he listens to a better-quality version on Rhapsody or buys the track.

Amazing but true: music downloading spurs music sales, at least in our house. (Sam’s 16-year-old sister, Elizabeth, has proven resistant to digital music’s allure, content to lug around a case full of CD’s.)”

iPod battery lawsuit to be filed in January

  • December 31, 2003
  • Apple

“Another growing source of complaints surrounds Apple’s wildly-popular iPod line of digital music players, which many enthusiasts believe will get an upgrade at Macworld with the introduction of smaller, less-expensive models and a range of case colors.

In California, a lawsuit seeking class-action status is expected to be filed January against the company over the claim that Apple’s warranty does not run long enough to cover problems with the player’s battery.”

The Mac Night Owl asks, “Does a Cheap iPod Make Sense?”

  • December 31, 2003
  • iPod

“But the pricing calculations appear to be skewed. Today’s cheapest iPod sells for $299 and carries a 10GB hard drive. Can you really believe that a 4GB version would sell for a third of that price? And if it did, how many folks would still plunk down a lot more cash for the bigger models, unless, of course, Apple added some extra features, such as video display and a color LCD.

Regardless of what Steve Jobs pulls out of his top hat, I am skeptical of a version with flash memory for one simple reason: It’s too expensive. Take a look at the price of, say, a 256MB flash card for your digital camera. I’ve seen retail prices in the $40 range, after rebate, but that’s the low-end. Double that capacity and scale it upward appropriately. So how much do you really expect a full-fledged music player with flash memory of reasonable capacity to cost, especially one as carefully crafted as an iPod?”

Refurbished iPod 5GB for $169

  • December 31, 2003
  • Deals

Dealmac: Expercom offers the factory-refurbished iPod 5GB MP3 player for Mac or PC for $169. It’s among the cheapest iPods we’ve seen. Add $10.50 for shipping.

Mini iPods not likely

  • December 30, 2003
  • iPod

“Don’t count on seeing dramatically smaller or cheaper iPod music players in the new year, despite Internet rumors that Apple Computer will announce them next week in San Francisco.

For Apple CEO Steve Jobs to introduce such a product during his speech Tuesday at Macworld Conference & Expo, Apple would have to either unveil a breakthrough hard drive technology, begin selling iPods based on the same flash memory storage cards that many digital cameras use, or adopt a new small drive made by Cornice.”

CNET: Would $100 iPod compete or cannibalize?

  • December 30, 2003
  • Apple

“The widely reported rumors, which Apple declined to address, suggest that the company will unveil an inexpensive iPod that will cover the end of the market dominated by cheaper MP3 players from Creative, Rio and Dell.

The risk in such a move would be undercutting brisk sales of iPods, which now range in price from $299 for a 10GB drive to $499 for a 40GB drive. In Apple’s fourth quarter, ended Sept. 27, sales of the iPod generated $121 million in revenue, up 9 percent from the prior quarter and 128 percent from a year ago. The company has said the iPod business is profitable.

‘I don’t think Apple currently needs to sell a $100 iPod at risk of cannibalizing sales of existing models and sacrificing gross margins,’ said Tim Deal, analyst with Technology Business Research in Hampton, N.H. ‘Apple already has the market lead, so I don’t see the need for (the $100 version) when people are buying $299 and $399 models.’”

RadTech PodSleevz Give-Away

Radtech and Geekshelter partnered up to bring you an after Christmas give-away. We thought those lucky ones who got an iPod from Santa would need a case to keep their precious iPod in, so we are giving away five (5) PodSleevz! Please enter your information [at the link] for a chance to win a PodSleev with the color and size of your choice!

iPod #1, dominates MP3 player market

  • December 30, 2003

“Apple continues to dominate the overall portable MP3 player market in the US with the 10GB iPod the number one selling device leading into the Christmas buying season, according to final numbers just released by industry intelligence group IDC.

The monthly retail numbers show the Apple US$299 10GB iPod “virtually neck and neck in terms of unit sold” with the US$140 Digitalway128MB player for first and second place respectfully, according to company analyst Steve Baker. The US$399 20GB iPod was third, followed by the US$140 128MB iRiver player. The US$499 40GB iPod rounded out the top five best sellers.”

Financial Times says iPod “has helped redefine music on the move”

  • December 30, 2003
“Today’s Financial Times publishes a positive story on Apple, saying its iPod portable digital music player has helped redefine music on the move since it was launched a little over two years ago.”

Culprit behind iPod plane fire is captured

  • December 30, 2003
  • Humor
“Earlier this week, a planeload of iPods mysteriously caught fire, in what was seen as the only way left to slow down the skyrocketing rate of iPod sales worldwide:” ...

Mini iPod Roundup

  • December 30, 2003
  • iPod

As we draw closer to Macworld 2004, many major news outlets are now reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will announce low cost, mini iPods during his Keynote Presentation. The following is a roundup of articles with varying details about the mini iPod. In the Scotsman newspaper report “New smaller iPod is going for a song” states “Apple has announced it is unveiling a smaller version which will cost around £65 - £185 cheaper than the current bottom-of-the range model.” Also, This is London has headlined its report “Apple launches mini iPod.” Contrary to both these newspapers, Apple has yet to make any formal announcements regarding mini iPods.

Microsoft “aims to topple Apple” for digital tunes

“‘This will be the year downloadable music ... goes legitimate,’ says Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft’s digital media division.

Those jumping on board the digital music bandwagon can thank Apple Computer for getting it rolling. Apple opened its iTunes online music store in April and was the first to let patrons download individual songs for 99 cents, without having to commit to a subscription service.

The software giant aims to topple Apple as the early market leader by spurring the growth of a cross section of digital music suppliers and device makers all using the Windows Media format, it says.

‘The best part about Windows Media is that it unlocks choice,’ Microsoft’s Fester says. “You can buy from the store or use the device that gives you the best experience.”“

CNET: Online music’s winners and losers

“Since May 2003, when Apple Computer’s online music service iTunes opened its digital doors, the drums announcing other online music services—new enterprises as well as existing music services spruced up and recharged—have been steadily beating. [...]

The future looks good, too. Jupiter Research expects online music sales to grow to $3.3 billion by 2008. Forrester Research expects that within four years online music will account for 33 percent of the music industry’s sales. But behind the vaunted successes and the optimistic predictions lurk at least two big questions: Which online music vendors, among the nearly one dozen operating today, have found the business model that will guarantee they will be around in 2008 to share the profits? Can the for-fee services make a dent in the billions of musical tracks exchanged, at no cost, on pirate networks?”

Apple and iPod in Yahoo Top 2003 Searches

  • December 29, 2003
  • iPod

Apple has made the Yahoo Top 2003 Searches twice. No other company or product made it to the list. The iPod is listed #6 in the “Top 10 Tech Searches” and #5 in the “Top 10 Rumor Searches” for “Apple Rumors”.

I think its an important milestone that the iPod is listed by product name. In this regard, Apple has successfully branded a product to be synonymous with the product category. Very few products have ever reach this level of branding like Walkman and Kleenex.

iPod Battery FAQ

  • December 28, 2003
  • iPod

With all the incorrect and misleading information and news articles, rumors of class action lawsuits, and other ridiculousness surrounding the iPod battery, I’ve decided to start an iPod Battery FAQ.

It contains concise, correct, up-to-date information dealing with questions people may have about iPod batteries. Comments, suggestions, corrections, and updates welcome at info@ipodbatteryfaq.com.

Editor’s note: Also take a look at ‘The truth about the iPod battery and charging’ in the forums.

Crisis? What Crisis? A debate on the future of the music business

In the January 2004 issue of Word magazine 16 experts discuss the future of the music industry and try to sort fact from hysteria. Amongst those answering questions are musicians Moby and Peter Gabriel, Executives from EMI and MTV and passionate advocates like Nick Hornby and Tony Wilson.

From the future of the album, through how musicians will adapt to downloading, the panel give their opinions on the future of music. Inevitably the iPod comes into the discussion.
The panel was asked “Does the iPod fundamentally change something about the way you listen to music. And if so, what?”

iPod, Therefore I Am

  • December 26, 2003
  • iPod

“Apple’s popular MP3 gadget is at the front lines of a battle for digital rights. Can the government, the entertainment industry and Microsoft stop it?

The phenomenon known as the iPod is emerging from the shadows of Napster and the Mac to become a force unto its own. As a designer toy, it offers the promise of mobility, the allure of 21st Century Art Deco and the gratification of impulse buying.

But behind the scenes, Apple Computer’s MP3 device is the bulwark of an increasingly serious battle for digital rights versus the virtual law firm of Achcroft, Valenti and Gates. With the help of an increasingly pliable Congress, Microsoft has moved rapidly to encapsulate digital content in a digital-rights-management layer of protection.”

10GB 3G iPods: $270 Shipped, 40GB: $450 Shipped

  • December 26, 2003
  • Deals

Deals On The Web: A reader points us to Circuit City for discounts on current generation iPods. The 10GB iPod is $269.99 and the 40GB iPod is $449.99. Both include Free ground shipping and are the lowest current price we’ve seen on new units. Search for “iPod” to find the deals.

Editor’s note: We have corrected the headline from ‘4G’ to ‘3G’. Deals On The Web is incorrectly stating it as 10GB 4G iPods.

“Apple has caused a tidal wave of change in the music industry”

  • December 26, 2003
  • Apple

“In the not-too-distant future when compact discs are museum pieces and vinyl records are near fossils, 2003 will be remembered as the year digital music stepped into the mainstream. [...]

Mark Mulligan, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said: “A lot of the important building blocks have now been put into place. [...]

Effectively a device for storing music files, the iPod helped kickstart a rush to move music from the compact disc to the portable hard disc drive.

In an effort to boost iPod sales, Apple launched its own online music service in May 2003, offering music lovers a wide range of tracks for 99 cents.”

10% off iPods at CircuitCity.com

  • December 26, 2003
  • Deals

Dealmac: Apple’s iPod MP3 players are 10% off at CircuitCity.com. The iPod 10GB costs $269.99, iPod 20GB costs $359.99, and iPod 40GB costs $449.99. All ship for free. Offers end tomorrow.
In related news, The Apple Store’s free custom engraving offer (a $20 value) on iPods ends tomorrow.

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