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Mix: Journalists, Apple TV, Fake Steve, Creative Technology

  • January 31, 2007

The San Jose Business Journal reports: “Apple has been ordered to pay the legal fees of online journalists after an unsuccessful attempt by the company to make them reveal sources of information used in stories. Apple will have to pay more than $750,000 to lawyers who defended the journalists.”

According to a survey by ChangeWave Alliance on trends for the digital living room, the Apple TV has the best chance of mass market acceptance among media centers. “Apple has shown the ability both to innovate and simplify its designs to consumers,” said one respondent. “iPod is opening channels to Apple in a big way.” Another said, “They understand the biggest impediment to adoption is that people hate complexity, they just want to plug in and play.”

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, a humorous blog written by “Apple CEO Steve Jobs,” appears to be shutting down. “Well my friggin lawyers are advising me that I will have to shut down this scandalous old blog,” writes Fake Steve. “Details not worth going into here. Someday I’ll be able to explain. Maybe I’ll write a book or something.”

Creative Technology this week reported second-quarter net income of $92.2 million, largely due to a licensing payment from Apple. “The big jump in net income during the second quarter came largely from a US$100 million licensing payment received from Apple. That payment contributed $82 million in net income, Creative said. Excluding the Apple payment and investment gains, Creative’s net income for the second quarter was $9.9 million.”

SyncWear workout shirt targets iPod nano owners

Malachi and Company has introduced a new generation of iPod-ready fitness shirts under the name SyncWear (previously PodWear). The $34 shirts, made from a lightweight polyester material, sport two side-by-side inner pockets; one to hold an iPod nano (or similar flash MP3 player) and the other to hold items like a gym card. Cord management is handled by two fabric loops, one on the right side between the pocket and armpit and one near the right collarbone area.

Super Bowl highlights to be offered on iTunes Store

The National Football League has announced that it will make highlights from this year’s Super Bowl available for purchase the following day at the iTunes Store. The Super Bowl highlights video will be sold along with a 90-minute video of the NFL’s coverage of the Super Bowl. Both videos will be sold for $1.99. “It’s another way for fans to relive the Super Bowl before they get to the water cooler,” said Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s vice president for media strategy. Video highlights from the NFL’s regular season and playoff games have been available from iTunes since September.

Report: Apple to launch iTunes video sales in Europe

Apple plans to launch iTunes Store video sales this spring in Europe, according to Luxembourg’s economy minister. “Apple is going to extend its electronic retail activities in Luxembourg by launching this coming spring its iTunes video platform for the sale of videos in Europe,” said Luxembourg economy minister Jeannot Krecke. “It will provide full-length television series in various European countries.” Krecke said Apple has been in discussions “for several months” with Luxembourg authorities. Apple reportedly chose the small country because VAT is low for online services by European standards. Other U.S. companies, such as Amazon and AOL, have also set up their European operations in Luxembourg. Apple has been selling video content in the U.S. since October 2005. [Thanks, MacGeneration.]

Colored shuffle gallery posted, in-store details added

iLounge has posted a full photo gallery showing off the newly colored second-generation iPod shuffles, along with comparison photographs against the same-colored iPod nanos, plus Proporta- and JAVOedge-branded colored shuffle shells designed to offer silver shuffle owners similar results. The new gallery is here.

Additionally, checks by iLounge at Apple Stores across the United States suggest that the new shuffles are still making their way into retail locations, with some stores already displaying the new models and others awaiting shipments later this afternoon or tomorrow. If you are considering the purchase of a silver shuffle, and are concerned about purchasing the newer version - with its superior included earphones - rather than the older one, look for a silver shuffle in a box with gray printing, rather than green printing. All five of the new iPod shuffles come in gray-printed boxes, leaving the classic green shuffle coloration behind.

Free demo of Vortex iPod game offered

  • January 30, 2007
  • iPod,

Apple is now offering a free demo version of its Vortex iPod game on the iTunes Store. An updated variation of the classic Breakout game, the demo of Vortex (iLounge Rating: B+) contains two sample levels. “Vortex is an intense, futuristic 360º brick-bashing arcade-style game,” says Apple. “Maneuver the bat around the edge of the Vortex to block the ball and keep it in play. Smash bonus bricks for power-ups. Destroy all of the bricks to enter the Vortex and advance to higher levels.” iPod games only play on fifth-generation iPods with iPod Software 1.2 or later.

Apple unveils iPod shuffle in four new colors (updated)

Apple today announced that its second-generation iPod shuffle is now available in four new colors—blue, pink, green, and for the first time in iPod history, orange—in addition to the original silver. Like the iPod shuffle introduced last year, the new models feature 1GB of flash memory storage, an aluminum design with a built-in clip, and weigh just half an ounce. However, they are now packaged with Apple’s most recently updated iPod Earphones, rather than the predecessor model that shipped with prior shuffles. The new iPod shuffle is available immediately worldwide for $79.

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Update: iLounge this morning posed several new iPod shuffle questions to Apple Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing Greg Joswiak; the answers can be found below.

Update 2: iLounge’s editors are weighing in on the new shuffle lineup in this Editorial. What do you think?

‘The Office’ iPod nano up for auction

The Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is auctioning off a limited edition engraved iPod nano signed by stars from NBC’s hit comedy “The Office.” The nano, which has a current bid of $300, was signed by Leslie David Barker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey and Phyllis Smith at the Platinum Guild 2007 Golden Globes Suite. According to the foundation, proceeds from the auction benefit the Children’s Defense Fund, Cure Autism Now and the emergency relief efforts in Darfur (specifically Friends of the World Food Program, Save the Children and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF). The auction ends on March 15th.

Harvard Extension makes select content free for iTunes users

Harvard Extension School is making select content available for free to iTunes users. Free public access is being offered to video previews of 15 of the 50 distance education courses that are available this spring from the university. Previews are in the fields of computer science, management, environmental science, history and the liberal arts. Audio of each complete two-hour introductory lecture is also available for downloading. Course previews include Harvard professor Mikael Adolphson’s Japan: Tradition and Transformation; Harvard professor Shaye J. D. Cohen’s A Thematic Introduction to the Hebrew Bible; Harvard’s Scott Bradner’s Advanced Topics in Data Networking, and Suffolk University professor Robert J. Allison’s The History of Boston.

iLuv i182 offers video recording to iPod, media cards

iLuv has announced its i182 video recording dock, which allows users to record real-time video content to a fifth-generation iPod or various media cards for playback in other devices. The iLuv i182 ($230; March) can record from various A/V sources, including live or recorded TV, DVD players or camcorders, via composite or S-Video inputs. The unit consists of a dock for direct iPod recording, as well as an adapter for recording video to Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo cards, MultiMedia cards (MMC), Secure Digital (SD) cards, PMPs and USB storage devices.

“A simple user interface of just two buttons on the i182 dock allows users to make simple choices,” says iLuv “One button is to adjust the timer to record in increments of 30, 60, 120, or 180 minutes with resolution up to 640 x 480 at 2.5 Mbps for your iPod and 720 x 480 at 5Mbps for other PMPs. The second button on the device is to start and stop recording. The device automatically stops recording at the end of the specified duration. The next step is to transfer the video files to your digital player, memory card or other device. When using an iPod, iLuv software included with the i182 makes it possible to  automatically register the recorded video file with iTunes and sync to a PC or Mac.”

Vauxhall debuts iPod dock for car lovers

The Vaux Dock (£399) from the UK-based Vauxhall VX Collective is a limited edition iPod dock by jewelry designer Daisuke Sakaguchi. The trendy dock was created to store your iPod, car keys and change. It is designed to slip over a standard Apple iPod dock and is crafted from sterling silver. “Daisuke is a member of Vauxhall’s VX Collective, a group of like minded up and coming British talent from the worlds of film, design, cooking, clubbing and sport brought together by the car company to produce a range of collaborative and stand alone projects focused on style, design and driving excitement.” [Via Autoblog]

Verizon passed on exclusive iPhone deal

Verizon Wireless rejected Apple’s offer to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone almost two years ago due to Apple’s demands. According to Jim Gerace, a Verizon Wireless vice president, Apple wanted a percentage of the monthly service fees, say over where the iPhone could be sold, and control of iPhone customers. “We said no. We have nothing bad to say about the Apple iPhone,” Gerace said. “We just couldn’t reach a deal that was mutually beneficial.”

The Verizon executive said only Apple Stores and Verizon stores would have sold the iPhone, much like the current deal with AT&T/Cingular. But Gerace said that would have put Verizon’s distribution partners, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, at a disadvantage. Gerace also said that Apple wanted sole discretion over whether to replace or repair a malfunctioning iPhone. “They would have been stepping in between us and our customers to the point where we would have almost had to take a back seat… on hardware and service support,” Gerace said.

iSkin ships Duo protector for 2G iPod nano

iSkin today announced the availability of its new Duo protector for the second-generation iPod nano. The Duo case combines a silicone inner layer with an impact resistant screen and face protector that’s metallic coated. The Duo also comes with a bottom silicone docking port cover, a removable rotary belt clip, an adjustable lanyard, and a universal dock adaptor. The iSkin Duo is available in five colors and sells for $30. [See iLounge’s First Look at the Duo 2G nano case]

Apple battle over iPhone name moves to Canada

Apple has been met with another fight for the iPhone brand name by a small company in Canada. “Comwave Telecom Inc. has used the iPhone brand since 2004 to sell Internet phone service to its customers, and filed documents opposing Apple’s motion to take the name,” reports Bloomberg News. “The dispute expands Apple’s legal woes over the brand, which Cisco Systems claims to have trademarked in the U.S. The spat also may lead to delays in getting the phone to Canadian consumers.” Comwave president Yuval Barzakay said, “It’s a crucial brand for us… Our legal folks believe we’re certainly in the driver’s seat.” As previously reported, Apple is currently battling Cisco Systems over the iPhone trademark in the U.S.

Belch debuts carbon fiber iPod nano cases

New accessory developer Belch Co. has introduced the Carbon Fiber Case ($50) for the second-generation iPod nano, a modified carbon fiber design intended to look good and offer a higher degree of protection than prior carbon fiber cases. Founded by two Purdue University Engineering students, Belch made these cases so that protective tabs on the top and bottom keep the iPod inside while at the same time providing access to the player’s controls and docking port. Similar cases for other iPod models are planned to debut later.

Apple, Google top two brands in world

  • January 26, 2007
  • Apple,

Google has again beat out Apple for the top spot in an annual global brand ranking. The survey by online branding magazine BrandChannel.com asked 3,625 branding professionals and students “Which brand had the most impact on our lives in 2006?”. Globally, the top five were Google, Apple, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Starbucks. The North American results, however, saw Apple in first place, followed by YouTube, Google, Starbucks and Wikipedia. “The poll does not take account of economic brand value, the murky science of assigning a financial value to brand, which regularly puts Coca-Cola in first place,” says Reuters. “Neither does it ask respondents to consider whether the brand’s impact is positive or negative.”

iPhone demand will challenge suppliers

The expected popularity of the iPhone could create challenges for some of the device’s parts suppliers. According to analysts, Asian handset-component makers may see shortages of key components if the iPhone takes off quickly. “While niche firms from chip maker Toshiba in Japan to Germany’s Balda, a touch-panel supplier, stand to gain from the phone’s debut, analysts say parts makers need to be prepared to quickly ramp up output or risk shortages if the product is a quick success,” reports Reuters. “Companies at the greatest risk are makers of the NAND-style flash memory that will power the phones, as well as makers of product-specific components like the special touch panels that will set the iPhone apart from other more traditional cell phones.” Apple the iPhone in the U.S. in June, with a target of 10 million units in 2008.

 

Rogers Wireless to offer iPhone in Canada

Rogers Wireless has confirmed that it will be the exclusive carrier for Apple’s iPhone in Canada. “Rogers is actively working with Apple to launch the iPhone in Canada as soon as possible and will be the exclusive provider of the iPhone in Canada,” the company said this week in a customer service email. Rogers Wireless is the largest Canadian wireless communications service provider. An exact date and service pricing were not mentioned. Apple is set to release the iPhone in the U.S. in June.

Cingular to give away 18 months of iPhone service?

AT&T/Cingular plan to aggressively push Apple’s iPhone to new customers, offering them 18 months of free service, according to Jim Cramer, director and co-founder of investment site TheStreet.com. “The company made it very clear that it’s going to use Apple’s iPhone to get customers from Verizon Wireless by giving away its service for a year and a half to those customers who buy the phone,” Cramer said after speaking with executives from AT&T/Cingular.

“Management sounded like kids when talking about the iPhone and how it was going to remake AT&T and that it was the greatest invention they’ve ever seen,” Cramer said in a related article. “Now, AT&T’s all about market share, and if you read between the lines, I think you see a strategy coming where the device’s $500 price point is preserved but the service contract is greatly reduced. I think that AT&T—and not Apple—is the key to this next leg, and CEO Stan Sigman can make it happen.”

Update: According to a Cingular representative, the company will not be offering a free period of service with the iPhone. “The report is nonsense,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve always said the only way you can get the iPhone is with a Cingular rate plan.”

Norway steps up fight in battle with Apple

Norway’s consumer ombudsman said Apple must open access to its FairPlay copy-protection technology by October 1, 2007 or face legal action. “They must make iTunes music compatible with other players than the iPod by the end of September, or we will take them to court,” the ombudsman, Bjoern Erik Thon, said. “iTunes is imposing unreasonable and unbalanced restrictions that are not in accordance with Norwegian law.” Last June, Norway’s ombudsman said iTunes violated Norwegian law by only allowing consumers to play purchased music on an iPod. Other European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, and Finland have joined in the battle. The ombudsman said the courts could impose fines on iTunes until songs could be played on rival devices.

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