Even though there are currently 150 companies undergoing stock option investigations—which have resulted in the resignations of 9 CEOs and at least 27 executives or directors—Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster believes Steve Jobs will remain Apple’s CEO. Munster said today that Jobs should be in the clear, given that he was aware of these grant dates but was not aware of the accounting treatment and did not benefit from them. “We believe the options backdating issue is in Apple’s rearview mirror and Steve Jobs will remain Apple’s CEO,” Munster said. “Although these issues tarnish Apple’s squeaky clean image, they do not impact the company’s underlying fundamentals. As a result, we expect investors to shift their focus to CPU market share gains and strong iPod sales through the upcoming holiday season.”
Urban Tool recently introduced several pieces of iPod-compatible apparel. The company’s grooveRider ($150) is a modern-style athletic shirt featuring an iPod pocket and a washable, smart fabric interface for controlling the Apple device. The iShirt ($36), designed for sports enthusiasts, features a side pocket for an iPod, cell phone, or other MP3 player. Urban Tool’s line of everyday usage holsters are designed to help you carry various gadgets and other daily essentials. The wearable holsters ($25-$55) include the hipHolster, sportHolster, basicHolster, and mHolster.
McAfee has detailed the newly revealed Windows virus that can be found on a small number of fifth-generation iPods. “The W32/RJump.worm, which was discovered June 20, 2006, recently reappeared on video iPod devices released by Apple late September,” explains the software company. “W32/RJump.worm uses the Python scripting language and is converted into a Windows portable executable file (RavMonE.exe). It attempts to spread by copying itself to mapped and removable storage drives and also opens a backdoor on an infected system.” McAfee has released a new version of its McAfee Stinger utility to detect and remove specific viruses, including the W32/RJump.worm and W32/QQPass.worm, another Windows-based virus that can be found on other MP3 devices.
Streaming Networks has introduced the iRecord, a new digital recording device that allows you to record video directly to an iPod or Sony PSP. The iRecord uses H.264/AVC for video encoding and AAC for audio encoding and gives you three hours of video/audio recording per gigabyte of storage. Music only recording is supported by MP3 audio compression. “Simply connect the iRecord device to any analog video or audio source to record video or audio contents,” explains the company. “The digitally recorded files can be immediately played back on your iPod, PSP or any other USB mass storage device that plays audio files as MP3 or video files as MP4. The recorded contents can also be taken to other players supporting H.264 video and AAC audio in MP4 file format.” The iRecord sells for $200.
In an interview with iLounge this morning, Apple Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing Greg Joswiak disclosed that the company has discovered and taken steps to fight a Windows virus found on a small number of enhanced, fifth-generation iPods sold since September 12, 2006. The virus, RavMonE.exe, affects only Windows computers, and anti-virus software included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. According to Joswiak, “it appears that this Windows virus or worm does not directly cause any data damage, but it can lower the security of the machine.”
“We recently discovered that a small number, less than 1% of video iPods, left our contract manufacturer carrying a virus that affects only Windows computers,” explained Joswiak, who says the company has had “less than 25 reports concerning this problem.” “The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. We’re upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset at ourselves for not catching it.”
Apple’s official Support page for the virus provides links and applications to detect and remove the virus, if a Windows-installed PC lacks the ability to do so on its own, and recommends that you scan other mass-storage devices for the virus if it is detected. Though the company did not specify whether the virus’s presence was attributable to Apple’s decision to ship recent fifth-generation iPods pre-formatted for Windows PCs rather than Macintosh computers, Joswiak noted that Apple has taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future.
To help consumers interested in choosing a fifth-generation iPod- or second-generation iPod nano-compatible recording device, iLounge has posted a set of three audio files that will help you make direct comparisons between all of the current and soon-to-be-available options. All three files were recorded at the same time using new iPod nanos, with Griffin’s final iTalkPro, Belkin’s TuneTalk Stereo, and XtremeMac’s MicroMemo placed next to each other on identical angles. Each device is set on high (stereo) recording mode and given an opportunity to use its built-in automatic gain control feature, if any, to record audio at close and increasingly far distances, with slight ambient background noise. The files are:
Also: see our full reviews and First Looks coverage in the Recorders - Audio section of our comprehensive accessories guide.
Apple has apparently made a deal with MySpace to promote its new second-generation iPod nano lineup on the large social networking site. Apple has created MySpace profile pages for the green nano, blue nano and pink nano, allowing members to add the nanos as “friends.” Each nano profile page features a music playlist, the nano TV commercial, a photo gallery, a free screensaver, desktop pictures, a MySpace site skin, and a link to buy the nanos at the online Apple Store. Each nano currently has over 4,000 friends. It appears Apple did not create pages for the black, silver or red nano.
Update: The profile pages appear to have been removed. No reason was given, though iLounge still believes the profile pages to be the work of Apple.
Update #2: The profile pages are back online.
To shed even more light on the birth of the iPod, Wired News writer and “Cult of iPod” author Leander Kahney has written an informative articled entitled the “Straight Dope on the iPod’s Birth.” In the article, Kahney provides all of the Apple executives’ individual roles in developing the device, as well as details on design and prototyping, original parts and components, the genesis of the scroll wheel, Apple’s licensing of the SoundJam software, and the origin of the iPod’s name—according to Kahney, the iPod name came from an earlier, cancelled Apple project to build an internet kiosk. On July 24, 2000, Apple registered the iPod name for “a public internet kiosk enclosure containing computer equipment,” according to the filing.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting profile of Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer and the man seen as succeeding Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “The difference in personalities between Messrs. Cook and Jobs has helped foster a solid working relationship between the two, people familiar with them say. While Mr. Jobs is known to have a mercurial temper and a sharp tongue, Mr. Cook has the courtly demeanor of a Southern gentleman.”
Wikipod is a Perl script that loads a limited number of Wikipedia articles onto an iPod. “Wikipod starts from a Wikipedia page and traverses all the links it finds, downloading each page to the iPod,” explains the creator. “It will then traverse each link on the new pages, continuing this process until it finds no new links or has reached the size limit you specify.”
Apple plans to introduce two cell phone models which the company could launch at Macworld Expo in January, according to a report by Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora. The analyst said “recent checks” indicate that Apple will begin selling a slim, iPod-based phone and a more advanced smartphone model with added features. Tortora said at least one of the phones will include wireless connectivity, but that both will be manufactured first in small numbers. Tortora is the second analyst that recently said that Apple is readying a cell phone. In releated news, Apple has reportedly filed for a trademark on the term “iPhone.” The filing, made last month with a Far Eastern trademark office, describes the iPhone as “handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players.”
XtremeMac today announced a new version of its TuffWrap silicone case designed to fit the second-generation iPod nano. The $30 case features ridged sides for grip, as well as a built-in Click Wheel protector, removable screen protector, and a detachable belt clip. In addition, the TuffWrap comes with a special universal dock insert that accommodates the nano with the case on. “This practical add-on allows the nano to be inserted into a variety of speaker systems and other accessories without removing the case,” explains XtremeMac. The TuffWrap case will begin shipping on November 1st in several translucent and opaque colors.
To coincide with the iPod’s fifth birthday, Newsweek’s Steven Levy will release a new book this month about the iPod entitled “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness.” According to the publisher’s description, the book aims to be “the definitive account, from design and marketing to startling impact, of Apple’s iPod, the signature device of our young century.” You can read an excerpt from the book here.
“Detailing for the first time the complete story of the creation of the iPod, Levy explains why Apple succeeded brilliantly with its version of the MP3 player when other companies didn’t get it right,” says the publisher. “Besides his inside view of Apple, Levy draws on his experiences covering Napster and attending Supreme Court arguments on copyright (as well as his own travels on the iPod’s click wheel) to address all of the fascinating issues—technical, legal, social, and musical—that the iPod raises.”
Apple will report its fourth-quarter financial results on Wednesday after the markets close. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are expecting earnings, on average, of 50 cents a share, up from 38 cents a share a year ago. Revenue for the quarter is expected to be $4.4 billion, up from $3.69 billion last year, on strong iPod and MacBook demand. Marketwatch notes that it will be the first Apple financial report since the company said that it will restate some past earnings because an internal probe found evidence of employee stock option grant irregularities.
In excerpts from a Newsweek interview with Steven Levy, Apple CEO Steve Jobs says he’s unconcerned that the iPod might lose its cool factor because it’s too popular. “That’s like saying you don’t want to kiss your lover’s lips because everyone has lips,” Jobs said. “It doesn’t make any sense. We don’t strive to appear cool. We just try to make the best products we can. And if they are cool, well, that’s great.”
Jobs also said he was not impressed by Microsoft’s Zune media player. “I’ve seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever,” Jobs said. “By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.”
The just-announced special edition iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED is available now in Apple retail stores across the U.S. Apple’s latest nano is nearly identical to other models, save for the red aluminum enclosure and small “(PRODUCT) RED” engraving on the back. The packaging is also very similar to other nanos, but now comes with a (PRODUCT) RED information card. You can find photos in our updated review of the second-generation iPod nano here.
In addition to the special edition red iPod nano, Gap, Motorola, Converse, and Giorgio Armani also rolled out red products to help benefit the (PRODUCT) RED initiative.
Apple has posted a number of new iPod video tutorials on its support website. The company has also created a podcast so folks can subscribe and get future updates.
In an interview with iLounge this morning, Apple Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing Greg Joswiak answered several questions regarding the company’s decision to release the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, and matching, specially designed iTunes Gift Card.
On why Apple became involved with (RED): According to Joswiak, the effort to create a Special Edition iPod for the cause was led “by both Bono and Bobby Shriver,” founders of (RED), who consider the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa a “very important cause.” Proceeds from sales of (RED) branded products go directly to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which focuses its investments in AIDS programs, especially for women and children. Bono has described AIDS as the “greatest health crisis in 600 years,” and has aided in efforts to convince several leading companies to sell special (PRODUCT) RED offerings.
On the gains to Apple and (RED) from the release of the new iPod nano: Joswiak noted that Apple’s and (RED)‘s goals are to create “sustaining revenue and increased awareness” through the (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition campaign, and Apple has “not set any end date” for the product. The company will produce as many Special Edition red nanos as consumers demand, with availability beginning today.
On additional Apple contributions to the (RED) effort: Joswiak noted that a (PRODUCT) RED iTunes Gift Card will be available in November. The card will be “designed to match the (PRODUCT) RED campaign,” and Apple will donate 10% of revenues from each gift card purchase to (PRODUCT) RED. It will be available in a $25 denomination.
The iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition comes in packaging almost identical to the standard iPod nano box, save for its red print and PRODUCT (RED) Special Edition markings. As with other Special Edition iPods, etching on the nano’s back indicates its special status.
As expected, Apple today announced the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition. The 4GB RED nano, which is available immediately, features a red aluminum enclosure and sells for $199. Apple will contribute $10 from the sale of each RED nano to the Global Fund to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa as part of a partnership with the (PRODUCT) RED initiative created by U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver. Apple said it will also offer a $25 iTunes (PRODUCT) RED gift card next month.
“We’re ecstatic that Apple is giving their customers the choice to buy a red iPod nano and help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa,” said Bono, co-founder of (RED). “It’s wonderful to see this incredible level of commitment from companies that are willing to lend their creativity in the fight against AIDS in Africa, the greatest health crisis in 600 years.”
“Now customers can buy the best music player in the world and do something to help the world at the same time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re honored to work with Bono, (RED) and this team to contribute to an incredibly important initiative and help change the way people think about AIDS in Africa.”
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has announced its Care Kit for iPod, a surface restoration and daily cleaning product for iPods. The $30 kit includes three cleaning solutions with separate cloths for heavy scratch removal, fine scratch removal, and daily cleaning. “The DLO Care Kit brings back that like-new look to your iPod,” says DLO. “The full 3-step process can restore a heavily-worn or lightly scratched iPod or iPod nano to its previous glory.”
U2’s Bono will reportedly announce a special edition red iPod during tomorrow’s Oprah Winfrey Show as part of the Product RED initiative aimed at battling AIDS. According to two separate reports by Apple enthusiast sites, the show was taped earlier today in Chicago and featured Bono and a 4GB “iPod nano RED.” The special nano will reportedly be priced at the same $199, with $10 of each sale going to the Global Fund to support AIDS programs in Africa.
Oprah’s website currently has the following teaser posted: “Get ‘red’-y! It’s something so huge, it took Oprah, Bono and a convertible to make it happen! Plus, Penelope Cruz and Kanye West are in on it! An extraordinary launch! Chicago goes ‘red’ today and this is just the beginning!” Rumors of a Product RED iPod first surfaced in February. Companies including American Express, Converse, Gap and Armani have all released specially-designed red products as part of the project.
Update: The Chicago Tribune is now reporting that it has confirmed with both Apple and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS that a Product RED iPod will be introduced tomorrow.
Update #2: The Chicago Tribune is now hosting a photo of Bono and Oprah listening to the Product RED iPods at the Chicago Apple Store.