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Mix: Apple.com, Keynote, Hockney, South Africa

  • June 12, 2007

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Following yesterday’s Keynote address at WWDC, Apple unveiled a newley redesigned, simplified Apple.com. The new site trims the main navigation options to six: “Store,” “Mac,” “iPod+iTunes,” “iPhone,” “Downloads,” and “Support.”

Apple has posted the complete video of Steve Jobs’ Keynote from WWDC 2007 online.

British artist David Hockney commented that the iPod age is creating people who use their ears more than their eyes. “I think we’re not in a very visual age. You notice that on the buses. People plug in their ears and don’t look much.” He also stated that it was “producing badly dressed people.”

A clever iPod advertising campaign staged in South African movie theaters featured miniature boxes of popcorn with the slogan “iPod: Movies in your pocket,” as well as tiny movie posters. [via TUAW]

Developer response to iPhone announcement mixed

Third-party developers are giving mixed responses to the announcement that while they are welcome to create Web 2.0 applications that run on the iPhone, they are currently blocked from creating widgets that run locally on the device. “We’re a little disappointed,” said Daniel Waylonis, a software engineer at Google. “It was not the announcement we were hoping for.” Although web-based applications have been heralded as the future of software, many developers at Apple’s WWDC conference were hoping for a true iPhone SDK. “Using Ajax for the iPhone is [bullcrap],” said French programmer Jacques Foucry. Web programmer Dominique Baillon, a colleague of Foucry, agreed. “I’m quite comfortable with web applications, but I need something that I can run locally (on the iPhone) and that will work when I’m not connected to the internet.”

Mossberg displays iPhone during speech

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal showed a group of college leaders his review iPhone unit during a speech at The Chronicle‘s Presidents Forum. “I don’t know whether I’ll give it a good review or not,” he said. “I can already see some things I don’t like about it. I see some other things that I do like a lot about it.” Mossberg told the audience that a crucial element would be the iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard, and whether it would prove an adequate replacement for physical keyboards found on traditional smartphones such as the Palm Treo and Blackberry. “They are claiming that through clever software they have figured out a way for this to be actually far more accurate and efficient than you think it will be, and I’m testing that proposition,” he explained. “And I can tell you that in the first hour it works a little better than I thought, but I’m still not sure it works as well as a regular keyboard — and the first hour is not a very fair test, so I’m going to keep going at it.”

“This is the next level or elevation of the cellphone,” he said of the iPhone. “Not because it’s better or necessarily better than your Blackberry … but this runs a real computer operating system.”

iPhone to use third-party Web 2.0 applications

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During his keynote address at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that the iPhone will support third-party applications based on Web 2.0 standards. Developers will be able to create apps which look and behave like built-in iPhone applications, and can seamlessly access the handset’s services, include making a phone call, email, and Google Maps. “Developers and users alike are going to be very surprised and pleased at how great these applications look and work on iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.” He also stated that the handset will go on sale at 6:00 p.m., June 29.

Movie studios fear Apple TV

Despite rumors of an upcoming iTunes-based movie rental service, many movie studio executives are worried that the Apple TV could give Apple the same advantage in negotiations with their industry as the iPod does in the music industry. Concerns over this issue are part of what has kept most of the major studios from signing deals to sell their films on the iTunes Store, as is the fear of Apple’s pricing on new releases causing bigger retailers such as Wal-Mart to retaliate by slashing prices on new DVDs. “As a long-term business matter, Apple has to get all the studios feeling good about the product and what they’re doing with iTunes,” said Gartner Inc. analyst Mike McGuire. Currently, only The Walt Disney Company offers new releases for sale on the store.

‘Days of Our Lives’ heading to iTunes

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Long-running daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” will appear on the iTunes Store Tuesday morning, according to a Variety report. The soap will see standard pricing ($1.99) for individual episodes, but customers will be able to purchase a 20-episode pass for $9.99, bringing the average cost per episode down to $.50. Sony Pictures hopes that the move will not only provide revenue from sales of the show, but that placement on the service might also help boost sagging ratings by exposing new, younger viewers to the soap. The possibility of bonus scenes being included in the iTunes version of the show has been discussed, but no decision has been reached. The move will make ‘Days’ the most widely distributed daytime soap in the U.S., with episodes on broadcast, cable, and online.

Movie rentals coming to iTunes?

Apple is currently in talks with major Hollywood studios regarding the launch of an iTunes-based online movie rental service, reports Financial Times. The rentals would supposedly be priced at $2.99 for a 30-day rental, and would incorporate DRM that allowed transfer of the title to at least one other device, such as an Apple TV or iPod. The software would also prevent the movies from being copied. “[It would] compete against cable companies and anyone else offering VOD into the home,” said one studio executive. Apple has yet to comment on the report; the company is said to be aiming for an autumn introduction.

AT&T training workbook reveals iPhone details

Full scans of AT&T’s iPhone Sales Training Workbook have been posted online by Mac enthusiast site MacRumors.com, revealing several small details about Apple’s upcoming handset. Previously speculated but unconfirmed features like speakerphone and vibration are in, while other supposed features, such as possible TeleNav support for the phone’s Google Maps, instant messaging support, and MMS messaging, are not present on the device. The workbook does include room for added features, however, with the statement “Keep in mind that there might be additional iPhone features that are announced at iPhone’s launch as well as additional information about the features in this guide.”

Mix: iPod suit, TV Skins, Gift Cards packs, iPDA

  • June 8, 2007

Marks & Spencer is now offering a business suit with iPod controls built into the lapel and a Dock Connector sewn inside the pocket. The suit sells for £149, or around $292.

iStyles is now offering matching skins for Apple TV and the Apple Remote. The skins are available in various patterns and styles, and sell for $15.

Apple is offering 50 packs of iTunes Gift Cards in $10, $15, $25, and $50 denominations. A recent email with the subject “Get iTunes Gift Cards for your next promotion” promoted the packs, which are described as “perfect for employee incentives, for handing out at trade shows, or for using in a promotion.”

ZappTek has updated its iPod companion software iPDA to version 3.3. New features include the ability to download driving directions from Google Maps directly to the iPod, and backup of selected folders, as well as sub-folders, to the iPod.

iPhone unaffected by cell phone ban

The U.S. International Trade Commission has issued a ban on U.S. imports of new cell phones containing certain Qualcomm semiconductors, which may include upcoming models such as the Motorola RAZR 2, but will not affect the iPhone. The commission has said it was banning the phones because the chips, which are found in 3G phones using EV-DO and WCDMA technology, violate a patent held by Broadcom Corp. Apple’s iPhone does not fall under the ban, because it uses quad-band GSM and EDGE technologies, and does not use any Qualcomm chips. iPhone carrier AT&T will be affected by the ban, as will Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. Eighty percent of Verizon Wireless phones sold use the technology in question.

NAND-based, video-capable iPod on hold?

Despite rumors and speculation focused on a NAND flash-based iPod video, Apple may have to hold off on introducing such a device due to recent price trends. DigiTimes reports that Taiwan-based memory module producers claim Apple has placed monthly orders for around 20 million 1 Gbit units, which the companies are attributing to a flash-based, video-capable iPod. Based on recent pricing trends, however, at least one flash-related sales manager at a Taiwanese memory house believes “Apple may need to postpone its launch plans for the NAND flash-based iPod video beyond the third quarter as the product would not be competitive.” All fifth-generation iPods are currently based on hard disk drives, while the iPod nano, shuffle, and upcoming iPhone all use flash-based storage.

TerraTec intros Noxon 2 radio for iPod

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TerraTec Electronic has introduced its Noxon 2 radio for iPod, a cube-shaped speaker system that includes an integrated iPod Dock, Wi-Fi, remote control, and an FM radio. The Noxon 2 can connect over a wired or wireless LAN to provide streams of internet radio, podcasts, or connect to your music library stored on your computer. In addition, its built-in iPod dock can charge your iPod while playing, and line-out and digital-out ports let you hook the cube up to a larger system. The TerraTec Noxon 2 radio for iPod is available now and sells for 349€, or around $470. [via MacWorld UK]

iPodweek sign-ups, Forums: Future iPods, 6/29, Pre-Orders

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The iLounge Discussion Forums are full of intense debates this week! A collection of established members, including iLounge Contributing Editor Jesse Hollington, are slugging it out in the Future iPods Forum over the future of Apple products. Which Mac is the Toyota of the family to the Mac Pro’s Rolls Royce, and will Apple create iPods to cater even more up and downmarket? Skip to the later pages in Why Apple Won’t Make 6Gen Wide/Touchscreen to see a very active brawl over where the company is headed, and why.

Will you camp out for the iPhone? In our iPhone Forum, readers are talking about their plans for June 29th in June 29th… It’s Yours!. Several people have chimed in to ask for a surprise Canadian release or new, more affordable pricing information. Get this topic back on track: are you going to help create iPhone sell-out lines, or sit this one out?

Finally, in our iTunes Store Forum, a thread on an unusual iTunes Store album pre-release bug has appeared under the title Help With New Paul McCartney Album Please! Readers are reporting that they’ve pre-purchased albums to get the first single, only to find that the track details don’t match up with the rest of the songs when the final album comes out. Have you experienced this issue? Add your comments to the discussion.

Mix: Cramer, Titanium, iGadget, Survey

  • June 7, 2007

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Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC program “Mad Money,” has named Apple one of his new “four horsemen” of the tech industry. He said the company, along with Amazon, Google, and RIM, has “taken over.”

A new solid titanium iPod nano case is being offered by Kiwami Studio. The Factron Re-nano case is priced at ¥99,750, or approx. $822.

Purple Ghost Software has introduced its new iGadget application for PC and Mac. The app “allows you to realize the full potential of your iPod.” Features include iPod backup, and the ability to transfer to and from the iPod.

A study conducted by Solutions Research Group shows that 48% of potential iPhone purchasers do not currently own an iPod (PDF Link). In addition, the study found the average age of those interested to be 31, and the group to be overwhelmingly (72%) male.

3 million iPhones for launch, 45 million iPhones in 2009?

Apple plans to have three million iPhones ready for sale on launch day, June 29th, according to BusinessWeek sources. Most analysts look for Apple to sell around 3 million units in 2007, contradicting this number. PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster believes the company will sell 3.2 million units in 2007, but also claims the company could sell as many as 45 million iPhones in 2009. “While this may seem like a bold prediction, we believe a number in this area is not as far of a reach as some may think.” Munster said. “Specifically, to reach iPhone units of 45 million, we believe the product will have 7.0 percent hand set market share in North America and 2.8 percent handset market share in the rest of the world.”

Belkin now shipping iPod charging accessories

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Belkin has announced that it is now shipping its new line of power accessories for the iPod. The Power Dock AV is a silver-finished dock that charges and provides AV out, as well as a USB-to-mini-USB cable for syncing. It sells for $50. The Power Dock shares all the features of the Power Dock AV, minus the AV out. It retails for $35. The Charging Kit for iPod includes wall outlet and in-car power adapters, and is priced at $35. The Power Adapter for iPod is a wall outlet iPod charger, and sells for $25.

Apple removes ‘2-year plan’ disclaimer from iPhone ads

Apple has removed the small disclaimer stating “Use requires minimum new 2 year activation plan” from the end of all online iPhone ads. The revised ads began appearing online sometime yesterday evening, and have now apparently replaced the older ads appearing on televisions nationwide. What this means for the rumors that the iPhone would be available with prepaid service, or whether the text was simply removed without a change in policy, is not clear.

BoxWave iPhone accessories available now

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BoxWave Corporation has announced the immediate availability of its Apple iPhone accessories. The lineup includes ClearTouch Anti-Glare and Crystal Screen Protectors, the Designio Leather Case for iPhone, available with a vertical or horizontal flip cover, Designio Leather Sleeve for iPhone, available with and without a clear protective window, and FlexiSkin for iPhone, a thin, silicone-style case. The ClearTouch Screen Protectors sell for $13 each, both the Designio Leather Case and Leather Sleeve sell for $30, and the FlexiSkin for iPhone is priced at $28. Wing Onn Lum, Founder & CEO of BoxWave Corporation, added, “We will continue to support Apple’s iPhone extensively in the coming months and will continue to rapidly release new products to enhance the already complete line of accessories for the iPhone.”

Book 3 hits Times Square, over 300k downloads

After last Friday’s release of The Free iPod Book 3.0, iLounge’s editors received an e-mail with this great image from Times Square, showing the announcement that sparked over 300,000 downloads by the end of its first weekend online.

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Now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued readership and participation in the iLounge community. Beyond just the huge download volumes we see for our Guides, we truly appreciate the contributions you make to iLounge’s articles, forums, and galleries—each of our publications is as much a celebration of the fantastic collection of iLoungers as it is the iPod itself.

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On that subject, if you haven’t seen some of the amazing photographs from our iPod Fashion Contest yet, the winners are here. Thanks to all who entered; our next contest is coming very soon!

Apple airs fourth iPhone ad (Updated)

Apple has begun airing a fourth iPhone ad, focused on the handset’s version of Safari. “This is not a watered-down version of the internet,” the ad voiceover claims. “Or the ‘mobile’ version of the internet. Or the kinda-sorta-looks-like-the-internet internet. It’s just the internet. On Your Phone.” The new commercial, like the other three iPhone ads that began airing earlier this week, ends with a “Coming June 29.” Apple has yet to post the commercial in its gallery, however, it is available on YouTube. [via Gizmodo]

Update: Apple has now added the commercial to its site, along with the spot’s name: “Watered Down.”

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