Apple today announced that Paul McCartney’s new album, “Memory Almost Full,” is available for pre-order beginning today exclusively on the iTunes Store. Those who pre-order the former Beatle’s 13-track album will receive the “Dance Tonight” music video when the album is delivered as well as the single “Ever Present Past”, immediately upon pre-ordering the new album. Apple also announced that McCartney’s full catalog of 25 solo albums will be available for the first time digitally on iTunes later this month. “Paul McCartney is one of the greatest musicians of all time, and we’re extremely excited to offer his first digitally distributed album on iTunes,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Nokia CFO Rick Simonson has expressed hopes that the iPhone could help expand the high-end mobile phone market, according to Reuters. “The consumer ... hasn’t had a lot of choice to go out and purchase these kind of higher-end, feature-rich multimedia devices. If that can help that market grow, I think that gives us an opportunity,” said Simonson at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit. “It (the N95) is already out there, doing many of the things that people are talking about the iPhone doing. The iPhone is interesting. It’s very much a validation of what we’ve been doing, in terms of saying there is a multimedia device out there that people will pay for.”
L.A.-based iStyle is offering custom laser etching for the iPod, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, either by mail or by physical appointment at its Melrose Avenue location. The etching is permanent, but can be scratched out or designed over, and does not void the iPod warranty. The service is also available for laptops. Pricing for the etching service starts at $25 for the iPod shuffle or iPod nano; full-size iPods run $35.
Pre-sales of the iPhone on eBay are now ranging between $1000 and $5400, but the offers may be fraudulent due to eBay’s policy of the product being available within 30 days of the auction’s start.
A new plugin for modified Apple TVs called Streamer has been released and allows streaming of internet radio to the set-top box.
Podcast aggregation site Odeo has been acquired by New York-based digital media company SonicMountain for an undisclosed amount.
iPods and classical music may drive a boom in two channel audio, according to a KPMG analyst: “...as more high quality audio systems with an iPod docking station come onto the market sales of two channel sound will start to grow significantly.”
Online video stores such as Apple’s iTunes could peak this year as more advertising-supported content is made available for free, according to a new study by Forrester Research. The firm said sales of digital movies and television shows are expected to almost triple to $279 million in 2007, but that sales will likely flatten out next year. “In the video space, iTunes is just a temporary flash while consumers wait for better ways to get video. They’re already coming,” said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey, who called the paid download video market a “dead end.” Networks including ABC, Fox and NBC are currently offering some shows online for free.
This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums:
Some people - okay, lots of people - have opinions on the best music ever made. In our Music Forum, reader Silvio asks: “Is this the greatest song of all time?” with a link to a certain Led Zeppelin track. Register your vote in the thread.
Our iPhone Forum continues to pick up steam as readers continue to wonder about Apple’s eventual goals for iPhone technology. In “iPhone as UMPC,” readers discuss whether the iPhone is Apple’s way of testing the ultra-mobile PC market - or may actually evolve into one as time goes on. What do you think?
In the iTunes (Mac + PC) Forum, TheDoctor started a thread called “Your Smart Playlist Ideas—Post them Here” back in 2004, and readers are still discussing “Super Smart Playlists” with all sorts of different ideas for building fun automatic playlists from your library.
Finally, in our iPod Culture and Stories Forum, reader Peacefroggyac started a discussion called “Memories of the old days…” to ask if other readers remembered what it was like when no one understood what an iPod was, and “why you needed that many songs.” Share your recollections in the thread - did you lead the bandwagon or jump on only recently?
ModYFire has introduced its new iWear case for first- and second-generation iPod nano. The case, designed by Peter Zsolt Koren, sits underneath the user’s clothing, letting the nano clip to the outside. iWear can be used with clothing up to 1mm thick, and it was the winner of the first Hungarian Apple iPod casing design competition. The iWear is available from the ModYFire website and sells for $28.
The Beatles’ music catalog may soon be available for sale online, according to Paul McCartney. The former Beatle told Billboard magazine that a deal to put the band’s music online is “virtually settled.” Following a settlement between Apple Inc. and the Beatles’ Apple Corps. earlier this year, there has been much speculation as to when the Beatles’ catalog would be released on the iTunes Store. Apple Corps executive Neil Aspinall recently confirmed that the entire works of the Beatles were in the process of being remastered for a digital release. McCartney’s new album, “Memory Almost Full,” will be his first solo release available for download online. It will be available from iTunes and other stores on June 5th.
Despite initial reports that the iPhone would be a “closed” platform, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that the company is still considering allowing third-party applications to run on the device. During Apple’s annual shareholders meeting yesterday, Jobs said that the company is “wrestling with” the issue, which comes as a surprise given comments made by the Apple chief earlier in the year. “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” Jobs said in an interview following the iPhone introduction in January. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”
iPods can cause cardiac implantable pacemakers to malfunction, according to a study presented by a 17-year-old high school student to a meeting of heart specialists at Michigan State University this week. “The study tested the effect of the portable music devices on 100 patients, whose mean age was 77, outfitted with pacemakers,” reports Reuters. “Electrical interference was detected half of the time when the iPod was held just 2 inches from the patient’s chest for 5 to 10 seconds. In some cases, the iPods caused interference when held 18 inches from the chest. Interfering with the telemetry equipment caused the device to misread the heart’s pacing and in one case caused the pacemaker to stop functioning altogether.”
An analyst with JupiterResearch claims that DRM, variable pricing, and digital bundling are all key issues in Apple’s negotiations with the recording industry. On his weblog, analyst Mark Mulligan states that “It’s unlikely that they’ll get UMG, WMG and Sony BMG to echo EMI’s move [to offer DRM-free tracks], but Apple must be hopeful of gaining at least some concessions from one or more of them across at least some portion of their catalogue.” He also discusses variable pricing, saying “The new tier of DRM-free high quality music tracks on iTMS has essentially opened the doors to variable pricing,” and finally touches on digital bundles, claiming “The labels would love to see greater variation in product formats e.g. bundles of videos and tracks.”
The latest entries in our iPod Fashion Photo Contest are getting better and better. If you want a shot at one of four Apple iPhones or iTunes Gift Card money from iLounge, it’s time to submit your photo! Take a look at what we’re seeing so far:
Official rules and more samples can be found here. Entries are due by May 20, 2007, and winners will be announced on June 1 inside The Free iPod Book 3. Good luck, and show your creativity!
Motorola CEO Ed Zander says his company is ready to take on Apple’s iPhone. “How do you deal with that?” Zander was asked at the Software 2007 conference yesterday. “How do they deal with us?” he quipped. “I think it’s going to, in some cases, reinforce what we have been trying to do and are doing with the mobile Internet. Applications such as multimedia and video and photos and music are going to be done on these devices,” Zander said of the iPhone.
The Motorola chief said he is planning to introduce a high-end mobile phone next week in Europe that will compete with the iPhone. “This has unbelievable video capability. It’s a media monster,” he said. Motorola has seen recent financial problems following a dry spell of innovative devices. The company recently reported a first quarter net loss of $181 million, compared to a profit of $686 million in the year ago quarter.
A report for TheStreet.com claims that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion could see few, if any, effects from the release of Apple’s iPhone. “RIM’s business could remain unaffected by the upcoming release of Apple’s iPhone, whose features are likely to appeal to a different audience from RIM’s, say analysts,” the report states. “Also, the iPhone’s multimedia features are likely to appeal more to consumers rather than to business users. And that could mean that companies such as Motorola and Nokia, which have a greater stake in the consumer market, will feel the effects more than RIM, whose customers are largely businesses.” RIM recently released the consumer-oriented BlackBerry Curve, which is expected to be sold at AT&T stores alongside the iPhone.
A new Apple patent filing shows an iPod-like device that would boast a display on one side and a touch-sensitive surface on the other. Apple’s summary of the patent reads: “An electronic device uses separate surfaces for input and output. One of the surfaces (e.g., the bottom) includes a force-sensitive touch-surface through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection). On a second surface (e.g., the top), a display element is used to present information appropriate to the device’s function (e.g., video information), one or more control elements and a cursor. The cursor is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface. The cursor identifies where on the back-side touch-surface the user’s finger has made contact.” [via Gizmodo]
Pioneer Electronics has announced a new line of Elite A/V receivers with iPod connectivity. The Pioneer Elite VSX-90TXV, VSX-91TXH, VSX-92TXH and VSX-94TXH receivers allow access and control of music and video on the iPod via the optional Pioneer IDK-80 universal iPod docking station. Navigation is controlled with the remote control and on-screen display. Other features include HDMI and component connectivity, THX Select II certification, and Dolby Digital EX decoding. The 90TXV and 91TXH will be available in June for $650 and $1000 respectively, while the 92TXH and 94TXH hit stores in August and sell for $1300 and $1600. The Pioneer IDK-80 universal iPod docking station is priced at $100.
Microsoft has released a Windows Vista update to fix iPod compatibility problems. “The release is for users worldwide and works with the latest version of Apple iTunes to correct an issue that caused some iPods to become corrupted when ejecting them using Windows Explorer or the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ function in the System Tray,” reports Microsoft’s Windows Vista Team Blog. “The long and short of it is this: Apple and Windows have partnered together to ensure a great experience in using Windows Vista with iTunes and the iPod, and both companies recommend you download this update.”
Apple has released a demo of the game Ms. Pac-Man for fifth-generation iPods. The game, published by Namco Networks America and released this past February, is based on the arcade classic of the same name in which players control the pellet-chomping female through a series of mazes while being chased by four different-colored ghosts. The demo of Ms. Pac-Man is a free download; the complete game remains priced at $4.99.
During a conference call discussing second quarter earnings, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger revealed that the company has sold around 23.7 million TV episodes and 2 million movies through Apple’s iTunes Store. The company’s offerings include hit TV programs such as “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives,” as well as films such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series and the entire Disney/Pixar library.
“The sales of movies and TV shows on iTunes is pretty much concentrated on what I will call the big titles,” Iger said during the call with analysts. “So on the television side, you just have to look at the charts on iTunes and you can see, but for the most part you are looking at Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives leading the pack. And on the movie side, just as you would expect, Pirates and Cars led the way in terms of titles. We’ve done well with some other movies too, but people are flocking primarily to the top titles, and also to what I will call new titles, since right now we are the only studio making current titles available, we pretty much have the market to ourselves on iTunes.”
Electronic Arts executives have revealed that the company plans to release four new iPod games. During EA’s quarterly earnings conference call, EA Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson said the company’s EA Mobile division will launch the iPod games this year, but did not give specific release dates. The only title mentioned by name was Sims Bowling. EA currently sells five iPod games on the iTunes Store—Sudoku, Tetris, Mini Golf, Mahjong, and Royal Solitaire.