- June 9, 2008
Below is a complete transcript of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address from the 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Updates are presented in reverse chronological order.
11:50 AM: Seems like he’s wrapping up the event. Thank you, all done.
11:47 AM: Phone is $199 for 8GB $299 for 16GB. The 16GB one comes in white and black colors, the 8GB version only in black. July 11 release date. In 70 countries worldwide. Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall called out for their hard work, with their teams.
11:38 AM: Standby time is 300 hours. 2G talk time is 10H. 3G talk time is 5 hours versus 3-3.5 on competing products. Browsing - 5-6 hours of high-speed. Video 7 hours. Audio: 24 hours. Surprisingly similar to last version on those latter numbers, but with 3G speeds. GPS. Now added into iPhone 3G. Location data from cell towers, Wi-Fi, and GPS.
11:33 AM: Why do you want 3G? For browser and e-mail attachments. Showing how fast it loads National Geographic page. 21 seconds on 3G, 59 on EDGE. 2.8x faster. Next to wi-fi, 3G approaches Wi-Fi. Faster - 36% than Nokia N95 or Treo 750. For readers’ clarification the phone looks exactly like the glossy casing photos posted to iLounge a while back, and again today. The side profiling has the taper shown in our Backstage article.
11:32 AM: So, as we arrive at iPhone’s first birthday. Today iPhone 3G. It’s beautiful. Black back, silver side. glossy back. Full plastic back. Solid metal buttons. Same screen. Camera headphone jack is now flush - audience cheers. Dramatically improved audio.
11:31 AM: Next challenges: 3G networking. Enterprise support. Third party applications. More countries. They’re being used all over the world from stores in USA. More affordable. 56% say it’s too expensive.
11:29 AM: Jobs back on stage. “I think we finally got it right.” iPhone’s first year - June 29, 2007 was first birthday. Amazing intro. iPhone has had tremendous critical acclaim. Widely believed that this is the phone that has changed phones forever. Users love the iPhone, he notes. 90% customer satisfaction. 98% are browsing. 94% using email, 90% are using text messaging. 80% are using 10 or more features. You can’t even begin to figure out 10 or more features on a normal phone. Six million sold so far before running out weeks ago.
11:27 AM: 60-day free trial to be offered in early July along with new iPhone software. What about .Mac? This is a replacement for .Mac. .Mac users can continue to use services and get upgrades to this whenever they want.
11:25 AM: Demos of calendar synchronization etc. People cheering at seeing stuff getting synced from computer to iPhone. Also, you can travel around, take pictures, send to MobileMe, and pick an album to add photos to. Look back at your gallery on the computer and there it is. $99/year. 20GB of online storage.
11:22 AM: Push e-mails arrive on phone instantly. Standard iPhone stuff. You can create contacts on the iPhone, shoot them back over to the iPhone.
11:19 AM: Basically looks like a next-generation .Mac with drag and drop features that are more like Apple’s desktop applications. Wow, Phil has Daiwa Sushi on his contacts list. Wonder which location he’s referring to. Gallery provides iPhoto-style photo library skimming from events list, reorganization. Sharing galleries very easy. iDisk now has a complete online interface - share files by just right-clicking.
11:15 AM: Works with Mac Mail, iCal, Address Book. On the PC, works with Outlook. Also has an “incredible Web experience” using Ajax and web 2.0 to provide interfaces for this stuff. Me.com is the address. Rich e-mail application, photo, calendar, contacts/address book - it looks like a fusion of Apple’s current Mac apps with iPhone. Based upon .Mac services. You can also send photos directly to MobileMe from the iPhone. You can store your favorite documents and content in MobileMe and access it from anywhere.
11:13 AM: MobileMe. Phil Schiller will come up and discuss this. (Actually mobileme) is the way it is written. Brand new service from Apple - Microsoft Exchange for the rest of us. Not all people have Exchange servers, so this lets you do push email, contacts, and calendars directly to devices. Everything is up to date no matter where you are. It’s stored “up in the cloud” of the Internet, so you can retrieve it from Mac, iPhone, or PC. E-mail is pushed automatically to all devices. Or address book contact changed in iPhone gets pushed back to the other devices. Meetings - same things. Everything is up to date. Works wirelessly over the air, with all iPhone apps.
11:12 AM: If you’re teaching a class on making apps, Ad Hoc distribution will let a professor register up to 100 iPhones, letting apps created by one person run on up to 100 iPhones. So these needn’t go through iTunes/App Stores either.
11:11 AM: Enterprises wanted another way to distribute apps. Today, Enterprises will be given a way to distribute apps - you can authorize iPhones within your own enterprise, and create apps that only runs on those phones. You can distribute via your own Intranet any way you want with any security you want. Sync will take place via iTunes. So no need to push all enterprise apps through iTunes Store. A new way to add apps: Ad Hoc.
11:10 AM: The App Store was going to be in 22 countries. Now it will be in 62 countries. Almost anywhere in the world where there is an iPhone, you can get apps. If app is 10MB or less, you can get via cellular or Wi-Fi or iTunes, if over 10MB, only via Wi-Fi or iTunes.
11:08 AM: Early July release for all iPhone owners. $9.95 for iPod touch. Intimately linked to this is the App Store. Users can wirelessly download apps, plus automatic updates. Devs set price, Apple takes 30%, no fees for hosting or credit cards. FairPlay DRM, and no charge for free apps.
11:04 AM: So now Steve Jobs is back. New Features are next. A few new ones in 2.0. First is Contact Search, so you can now search for a person’s name. Second is full iWork document support to let you view all the docs on iPhone. Completed support of MS Office documents - now PowerPoint on iPhone along with Word and Excel. Bulk delete and move of email messages too, as well as saving images directly to your library from email. Calculator improved to scientific mode. Parental Controls. Also language support for many around world, including Asian languages - two forms of entry for Japanese and Chinese as well with a drawing character feature. Sophisticated character rec. He knocks plastic keys for the keyboard.
11:02 AM: When user quits app, there will be a persistent IP connection right to the phone so that services can push 3 types of notifications - badges (how many messages), custom alert sounds, and custom textual alerts. You can provide buttons to reload the app on the text message. It scales to many third party services, but only uses one persistent connection - one to Apple. A unified push notif service for all developers, preserving battery life and performance, all works over the wi-fi and cellular networks. Available in September but devs will get it next month. End of SDK update.
11:00 AM: Clearly, an incredible SDK. There has been one feature request: developers of IM and eBay clients want notifications even when users aren’t currently running the app. Background processes are allowed on some platforms. Bad for a number of reasons - it drains battery life. Also hurts performance. Shows Samsung giving you a task manger for their apps. People laugh, as like a game it challenges the user to manage all of the memory. This is nuts, he says. Loud cheering. Far better solution: Push Notification Service for all developers.
10:57 AM: Digital Legends Entertainment. Based in Barcelona Spain, started only two weeks ago on a game. Xavier Carrillo Costa to discuss. The game looks and sounds like a medieval version of Ninja Gaiden for Xbox 360. Cinematic effects, full 3-D polygon art. Seems like a mix of Ninja Gaiden and Tomb Raider - Krull is the name? Ready by September of this year, he says.
10:55 AM: MimVista, another medical app. Mark Cain. Medical imaging. Interface is key to making it possible. Now you can look at animated radiological imaging data - slides of a fusion study showing photo data you can scroll through using finger sweeps, showing multiplanar reconstructions of the body, and also switch from various angles. You can zoom into the images and look at how parts of the body change in recorded realtime. You can also do measurements. MIP movie is a 3-D reconstruction for PET images, letting you change colors, contrast, etc. Will be at launch of App Store.
10:51 AM: Modality. Medical community - Forstall notes that 1/3 of Epocrates’ community plans to buy iPhone if any phone. Modality is about creating more physicians - S. Mark Williams to explain. Medical students typically use flash cards and atluses. They are going to use the Netter Collection’s gold standard anatomy photos to help people learn all the regions of the body. You can scan all of the parts of the body with map-style pins that note what you’re seeing. You can do quizzes based on the parts you see. People can learn on the go, instantly. A dozen apps within weeks of App Store launch, more by end of year.
10:48 AM: MLB.com. Official web site of Major League Baseball. Their app for iPhone - Jeremy Schoenherr to talk about it. MLB.com At Bat has all today’s games, with details on who is currently on base, pitching, and what the line score is. You can’t find anywhere else: video. Realtime video highlights. Clips live during the game, not after it - via WiFi or EDGE. No price - in App Store at launch.
10:46 AM: Cow Music. This is an England-based insurance industry developer who created a different sort of app - it’s Mark Terry. He develops in his spare time. App is called Band, virtual instruments that let you create music on your iPhone from scratch. Two octave piano, with touch keys. Funky drummer is a touch-based drum set. Lets you make beats. The sound quality is surprisingly good - realistic. 12 bar blues simplifies blues guitar and other instruments, like a synthesizer. Finally - bass guitar for backing tracks called Bassist. You can record, overdub, mix together into a song. Band - no pricing announced, in a few weeks time.
10:42 AM: Pangea Software. Long time Mac game developer. Has ported two games - Brian Greenstone to show off the games. Both games have been improved. Enigmo is a physics based puzzle game to drop water into buckets. 15 levels. Entirely touch based with particle animations in the visuals. Better than the original. Cro-Mag Rally is a 3-D caveman racing game. Nine different tracks, 11 cars. iPhone is the steering wheel. The graphics are fine - not exactly 30 frames per second (maybe 15-20) but textures are interesting. Uses polygon art with sprites. $9.99 per game at launch of Store.
10:39 AM: Associated Press. 5,000 news organizations cooperate together. They provide news to over 1/2 of world pop every day. They are creating a native app from their prior web pp. Benjamin Mosse to speak. Will combine sources from thousands of news organizations. They’ve created a mobile news network, with information from locations you set, as well as from current location. There is now a way to display thumbnail style photos from gallery on the iPhone screen via the app, as wel as having access to videos and translucent overlays on top of photos. You can also send in reports from remote locations directly from your iPhone. MNN will be a free download from App Store.
10:36 AM: TypePad. A great mobile blogging application native for the iPhone. Michael Sippey of TypePad on stage. Photoblogging one of the most popular features. TypePad on iPhone is simplified to create post editor, photo taking, or adding a photo. It basically streamlines the e-mailing, camera use, and adding of photos from collection processes direct over to TypePad. You can now add multiple photos to an e-mail to send to TypePad - looks like this is a feature available to standard Mail too. Appears on your blog web site. App will be free at App Store launch.
10:33 AM: Loopt. Core location for social networking. Sam Altman from Loopt will show how you can connect with people on the go - show where people are, what they’re doing, and what’s available nearby. You can look at what people have entered in as their entries, click on photos they’ve taken, and use calling, text messaging, or pinging to contact them - you can also leave a comment. Loopt will be free at launch of App Store.
10:31 AM: eBay on stage, building native app - Ken Sun from eBay. Auctions on the iPhone - #1 mobile device being used on eBay. 5 weeks ago they started development. Now you can see whatever’s on the site - they are showing Wii Fit auctions. You can watch items, look for more details on a given item, and bid from the iPhone. It’s fully integrated with eBay’s servers. He looks at Wii Fit, a Canon camera lens, and now a $12.5m home. Photos are easy to see on the iPhone; free on iPhone when App Store launches.
10:30 AM: This game will be available at launch of App Store for $9.99.A slide was just shown accidentally with eBay.
10:27 AM: Developers. Sega is first. Sega blew us away with what they accomplished in 2 weeks with Super Monkey Ball - polish and readying for market is astounding. Ethan Einhorn on stage. Another Sega producer on stage to drive the phone. Other Ocean is named as the developer that made some stages - finished game has 110 stages. Also all four of the classic monkeys. This game, for those not familiar, is based on an old Nintendo GameCube title. 3-D graphics look good for the iPhone - the polygon counts aren’t high but they’re kept the frame right up very high and it looks smooth.
10:26 AM: This has been out for 3 months - thousands of developers are using it. They have been unbelievably positive. A quote from Disney praising the SDK: “a breath of fresh air.” InfoWorld: “I have coded with (other platforms), iPhone just blows them away.” Pogue at NYT praising as well, as a new platform.
10:23 AM: The app runs on the simulator. Now it is running on his iPhone. Demo done at 10:25.
10:21 AM: (Readers: Remember, this is a _developers conference_ and the audience here is largely developers, which should explain why the discussion here is so technical and slow.)
10:19 AM: NearbyFriends application is being coded. It will use Address Book APIs to access Contacts Database on the phone, as well as Core Location - a location-based service. This will show only contacts within 10 miles of current location. He drags code into the Interface Builder and is going to show how to build the interface.
10:18 AM: Xcode used to write code + debug. Interface Builder is to create interface + connect to code. iPhone simulator lets you debug and run apps on Mac. Last tool is Instruments, for measuring and optimizing app for best performance. Demo of the tools. He is going to concentrate on structuring a user interface in Interface Builder.
10:16 AM: The power of a laptop in the size of a smartphone, says one person. Video’s over - all this stuff built right in. Next up is the SDK with Scott Forstall. He’s on stage: we’re opening up the same native APIs and tools we use internally to build apps that ship as part of the iPhone. APIs and frameworks on iPhone share extensively with Mac OS X. Same OS X kernel is used between Mac and iPhone. (For what it’s worth, the image of the iPhone on screen right now looks identical to the current iPhone; they’ve given away nothing on the new model yet.) They’re repeating the same features that were mentioned at the SDK event in March.
10:12 AM: Testimonials about employees of the enterprises using the iPhone. This video isn’t going to be of much interest to consumers, basically just an educational video to help businesses learn what the iPhone can do from relaxed real people rather than a spec sheet.
10:11 AM: 35% of the Fortune 500 is now in the Beta program. Top five commercial banks, 5 securities firms, 6 of 7 top airlines, 8 of top 10 pharma, 8 of top 10 entertainment. Also higher education participation for major universities. Video of enterprise customers. Disney’s SVP is first. Then law firm Sonnenshein, then Genentech, then the guy from the army we saw outside.
10:10 AM: Enterprise, SDK, and new End User features. Enterprise: Microsoft Exchange has push email, push contacts, push calendars, auto discovery of your Exchange servers, global address lookup, and remote wipe. All built into iPhone 2.0. Cisco has built in secure VPN services, and other network security demanded by Enterprise - everything asked for has been built in.
10:09 AM: New software - iPhone 2.0 platform. Dev program started Mar 6, 95 days ago. 250,000 developers have downloaded the SDK. 25,000 applied to the paid developer program. 4,000 people admitted to the program.
10:08 AM: Three parts to Apple now - Mac, Music Businesses (iPod/iTunes), iPhone. This morning - talk about the iPhone. Scott Forstall SVP iPhone Software and Phil Schiller SVP Product Marketing to talk. After lunch, Bertrand Serlet SVP OS X Software for peek of next OSX - Snow Leopard.
10:07 AM: WWDC 2008 - record 5200 attendees. Wish we could have had more - sold out. We can’t find a bigger venue than this. 147 sessions - 85 on Mac, 62 iPhone. 1000 Apple engineers on site. Sessions on iFund and Intel on Friday morning.
10:06 AM: And so it begins. Steve takes the stage. Really glad to be here this morning.
10:03 AM: Despite Apple having billed this as a packed media event, there are plenty of empty chairs in the media section at the moment. From outside the hall, the crowd did not seem as heavy as it was at last Macworld Expo. The standard contingent of international media is here. They’re still playing classic rock - now Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire.
10:01 AM: Here’s the announcement; turn off all cell phones, iPhones, paging devices, etc. There was a giggle in the crowd.
10:00 AM: The classic rock continues. Two iMacs are on stage - no announcement yet to have people sit down.
9:56AM: Unlike virtually every other Apple event we’ve attended, the music they’re playing before the event is classic rock. Roll Over Beethoven at the moment. Wonder if The Beatles are on tap?
9:52AM: AT&T’s network appears to be straining under the pressure of so many iPhone users on site here. This is the second time this has happened at an Apple event—will AT&T’s 3G network be able to better handle local data demand?
9:47AM: Media and VIPs are now sitting inside the convention hall. There weren’t many crazy sightings outside the hall, as there were with the introduction of the iPhone last year - Steve Jobs’ family was spotted walking into that event. Here, the biggest surprise was a member of the U.S. Army, dressed in fatigues and toting an iPhone - could Apple be planning to tout government-friendly iPhone apps today? You’ll find a photo in our Flickr photostream.
8:05AM: We’re in the door at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for Apple’s 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference. Developers began to line up hours ago for first-come, first-served seating to Steve Jobs’ keynote speech, which will begin at 10:00am. They were let in around 7:30, with media registration starting at a couple of minutes after 8:00. A massive crowd of developers filed into the convention center in a snaking line. TV crews from the United States and Japan were outside the hall, taping and sending live feeds from outside the center.
- June 6, 2008
Apple has launched an official Apple Keynotes podcast ahead of CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address at the Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday. Currently the podcast contains video of the keynote addresses from Macworld Expo 2007 and 2008, as well as Apple’s March 6 iPhone Software Roadmap Event. As the company typically posts video of such events online a couple of hours after they conclude, video from Monday’s event will likely appear in the podcast sometime Monday afternoon or evening.
- June 6, 2008
According to a report from Australian Apple enthusiast site MacTalk, a number of Australian resellers have received sealed packages from Apple, which are not to be opened until Tuesday June 10 — the same day (in Australia) as Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Little more is known about the smallish boxes, which are labeled “Subject to terms of NDA: Do not open until Tuesday June 10th 2008.” MacTalk’s sources believe that the packages contain next-generation iPhones, to be used for promotional purposes prior to the handset’s launch in Australia. [via Mac Rumors]
- June 6, 2008
Apple last week made several executive changes to the company, including creating a new position related to iPhone software. AppleInsider reports that Scott Forstall, who previously held the position of vice president of iPhone software, was promoted to Senior Vice President of iPhone Software, a new position that will have Forstall reporting directly to CEO Steve Jobs. Prior to the iPhone, Forstall held the position of Vice President of Platform Experience and was responsible for several releases of Mac OS X. He also played a major role during Apple’s iPhone Software Roadmap event. Along with Forstall’s promotion, the company also named Bob Mansfield Senior Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering.
- June 3, 2008
Apple has launched its new Back to School promotion, offering a rebate of up to $299 towards the purchase of an iPod with the purchase of a qualifying Mac system. To receive the rebate, education customers must buy a new Mac (Mac Mini and 17” iMac excluded) and an iPod touch or iPod nano (video) on the same order. Customers will receive a rebate of $299 with the purchase of an iPod touch, making the 8GB model free and substantially discounting 16GB and 32GB models; alternately, the customer may receive a $199 rebate with the purchase of an 8GB iPod nano. The promotion runs from June 3 to September 15; for more information, see Apple’s official terms and conditions.
- June 2, 2008
Apple will not be exhibiting at Apple Expo in Paris, France, scheduled for September 17-20, according to Macgeneration (Translated link). Earlier show floor plans for the event showed a designated area for Apple, but the area is now listed as “reserved.” Confirmation of Apple’s move is expected to be provided by Reed Exhibitions France, the organizer of the show, later this week. Once the world’s largest Apple trade show, the Expo is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, although the future of the show has remained questionable for years because of Apple’s absence. In recent years, Apple has scaled back its participation in the show, and has not held a keynote presentation at the event since Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller introduced the iMac G5 during his 2004 address. A limited question and answer session was held in 2005 with Apple executives.
- May 29, 2008
Several new Apple patent applications published online this week outline the company’s research into different applications implemented with wireless technologies. The first, titled “Wireless communication out of range indication,” describes a system by which the user is notified that he or she is nearly out of range of a wireless network, and given an estimated amount of time before their device will be out of range. The filing covers a range of wireless standards, including FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, IR, and others.
The second filing, titled “Location discovery using Bluetooth,” deals with a system by which users of a Bluetooth-enabled device would be able to locate a separate external Bluetooth device by transmitting a signal which enables the external device to guide the user to its location. One of the more obvious possible implementations of this technology would be a “headset finder” function for the iPhone or a future Bluetooth-enabled iPod.
Finally, a broad patent filing simply titled “Media Player System” describes a method for wirelessly connecting a main media player system, via a wireless-enabled docking station or built-in wireless functionality, to one or more other media devices capable of receiving media items. According to the filing, “the transmitter is configured to at least transmit a continuous music feed to one or more personal tuning devices that each include a receiver capable of receiving information from the transmitter over the wireless connection.” The filing goes on to describe a myriad of possible connections and transfer options, noting that “the wireless communication link may correspond to FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, UWB (ultra wide band), IR (infrared), magnetic link (induction) and/or the like.” As with all Apple patents, these filings do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in these areas.
- May 19, 2008
Apple is in negotiations with the major music labels to try and expand the variety of mobile music offerings available to iPhone users ahead of the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. The New York Times, citing anonymous label executives, says that Apple is looking to expand its inventory of available ringtones, and is also hoping to begin offering ringback tones. Discussions concerning Apple’s ability to sell songs from the iTunes Store over the cellular broadband (3G) network are also ongoing, with the music labels arguing that they should be paid more for over-the-air downloads than for a standard purchase made over the Internet. Apple is said to be hoping for a quick end to the negotiations so it can announce the new offerings alongside the next iPhone. As one label executive said, “They want a big launch in June.”
- May 16, 2008
In a case that outlines the legal strategy that will be used against companies that create iPod accessories without joining Apple’s Made for iPod program, the company has filed suit against Atico International over a series of patent and trademark infringements relating to the latter’s iPod accessories. Apple is claiming infringement of a patent on remote controls, infringement on the design patents for its Universal Dock well, as well as three Dock Adapters, and trademark violations relating to the Made for iPod, iPod mark, and iPod image trademarks. Apple has also alleged that Atico is unfairly competing with Apple in violation of federal law based on its use of Apple’s trademarks, falsely suggesting that its products are associated with Apple. Some of Atico’s products are being sold at Walgreens under the Living Solutions brand; offerings include an AM/FM Alarm Clock Radio with iPod Dock, a Portable Boom Box with iPod Dock, and the JBL On Stage-styled Portable Speaker with iPod Dock. Apple’s complete filing is available here.
- May 15, 2008
An Apple patent application published this week suggests the company is working on multiple wireless applications for its personal media devices. The patent describes a method for the wireless notification and downloading of new podcasts, and multiple instances of location or site-based wireless applications. Site-based applications would be handled by local short-range wireless protocols, such as Wi-Fi, and would provide location-specific information and capabilities. The filing covers both wireless applications and dock-based information transfers, and covers a broad swath of possible uses.
“For example, if the merchant is a restaurant, the merchant may provide a menu to the personal media device and the user may place an order on his or her media device by selecting items on the menu,” the patent states. Likewise, a movie theater could list currently running films and times, and allow the user to purchase tickets with the device, or an attraction such as a zoo or museum could offer up relevant content — like information on a particular artist or animal — when the user enters a certain area. Another example covers larger tourist attractions: “Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a tourist attraction (e.g., a museum or zoo). Local content may include, for example, audio podcasts, maps, event schedule, advertisements, general information, graphics (e.g., animal pictures), and any other suitable information. Because tourist attractions can be relatively large (e.g., Disney World) and children often frequent such places, parents may be concerned of a child’s whereabouts if not directly within their sight. Assuming the parent and child both have a media device, and the tourist attraction or other large area (e.g., city) has a distributed network, a location program may be executed to determine the location of the child’s media device.” As with all patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
- May 13, 2008
Apple today announced that CEO Steve Jobs will kick off this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco with a keynote address beginning at 10:00 a.m. on June 9. Interestingly, the official press release also refers to the iPhone and iPod touch’s software as “OS X iPhone™,” the first time the software has been referred to in this way. The WWDC event will feature the first ever iPhone track for mobile developers, providing in-depth sessions and hands-on labs to “fully explore the capabilities of the OS X iPhone 2.0 software, including the iPhone SDK and the App Store.” Apple’s 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference will run June 9 to June 13 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
- May 8, 2008
A new Apple patent filing published this week outlines a “3D remote control system” that would include Wii remote-like sensing capabilities and could possibly be used as a new type of controller for Apple TV-based games. The application, originally filed in November of 2006, describes “a remote control having a relative motion sensor, wherein the relative motion sensor outputs data indicative of a change in a position of the remote control; at least one predetermined light source; a photodetector that detects light from the at least one predetermined light source and outputs data indicative of the detected light; and at least one controller configured to determine an absolute position of the remote control based on the data output by the relative motion sensor and the photodetector, wherein the absolute position is determined with respect to a reference location.” The patent also says the remote can “zoom into and out of an image or a portion thereof based on the absolute position of the remote control in the third axis,” which could be used with the Apple TV’s photo browsing functionality.
The patent also directly references a “console” that can communicate with the remote using a cable “and/or one or more wireless communication protocols” and “can perform some or all of the processing described for [the] controller.” The console described in the patent can also have “one or more connectors to which accessories can be coupled. Accessories can include cables and/or game cartridges, portable memory devices (e.g., memory cards, external hard drives, etc.), adapters for interfacing with another electronic device (e.g., computers, camcorders, cameras, media players, etc.), or combinations thereof.” As with all patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]
- May 7, 2008
Following NBC Universal’s abrupt removal from the iTunes Store, which followed a breakdown in discussions between the television network and Apple regarding pricing and piracy, competitors Microsoft and SanDisk have been working to develop anti-piracy technology to remedy one of the network’s concerns. Both companies are selling NBC video content at prices similar to Apple’s pricing for the iTunes Store.
According to a New York Times report, NBC Universal digital distribution president J.B. Perrette claimed that Microsoft is developing a “copyright cop” to be installed in Zune devices, that will supposedly be capable of removing pirated videos rather than playing them. While the system is “still in development and its exact form has not been set,” NBC plans to create “filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content,” and “is also working with Internet service providers like AT&T to put similar filters right into the network.” Microsoft confirmed in the report that it is exploring anti-piracy measures with NBC, but would not divulge additional details; the Times notes that the Zune’s lagging market position relative to the iPod will make it difficult for Microsoft to add consumer-unfriendly features.
Updated: Contrary to the NY Times report, Microsoft’s official Zune blog claims that the company has “no plans to add content blocking features in Zune,” and suggested that NBC was “expressing hopes.” Thanks, Justin.
- April 23, 2008
In its second-quarter 2008 Quarterly Results Conference Call, Apple Inc. executives CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its music-related products, which accounted for 36% of the company’s total revenue in the second fiscal quarter. During his opening remarks, Oppenheimer revealed that Apple’s share of the U.S. MP3 market was 73% for the quarter, according to data from the NPD Group. He also discussed the enthusiastic developer response to the iPhone SDK, which has now seen more than 200,000 downloads. Over one-third of the Fortune 500 has applied to Apple’s iPhone 2.0 beta Enterprise program, along with over 400 higher-education institutions. Due to the pre-announcement of the iPhone 2.0 software on March 6th, Apple also plans to defer revenue of new iPhone sales until after the release of the 2.0 software, which both executives repeatedly said will come in “late June.”
Speaking about iPhone inventory and recent supply problems, Tim Cook said, “In terms of the shortages, we expected iPhone to decline more on a sequential basis than it did… as we got towards the end of the quarter we began to experience stock-outs. Our US stores have experienced more stockouts, relatively more… we believe that more iPhones are bought there with the intention of unlocking.” Cook went on to explain that iPhone revenue would be deferred “because the customers who purchased after March 6th were presumably aware of the free software upgrade when they purchased the phone,” and also said that iPhone carrier partners “are free to price the iPhone as low as they wish.”
Cook declined to comment on whether Apple sold more iPhones in Europe specifically than expected — there was a suggestion that it did not — but he did say, “In total, we sold more than we expected. We expected a sharper seasonal decline than what we experienced.” He also noted that once units have been shipped to one of Apple’s carrier partners, they can’t be easily pulled out and re-shipped to another partner. “Once the unit’s already shipped and designated to a carrier, the ability to move them around is very low,” Cook said.
- April 23, 2008
Reporting its second quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 10.6 million iPods during the quarter—on par with most analyst predictions, and pushing the total number of iPods sold to just over 152 million. Despite Apple’s dramatic iPod shuffle price drop during the quarter, which saw the iPod family for the first time become accessible at the $49 price point, iPod sales were almost flat compared to the year-ago quarter, with only 1% growth in unit sales, and 8% growth in revenues. It also sold 1.7 million iPhones in the quarter, bringing the total number of units sold up to 5.4 million as of March 31, a number that is likely over 6 million by now.
The company posted revenue of $7.51 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $5.26 billion and net quarterly profit of $770 million, or $.87 per diluted share in Q2 2007. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 35% over the year-ago quarter and 9% over the first quarter of 2008, to $881 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. Total iPhone revenue, including carrier agreements and all iPhone accessories from Apple and third parties, was $412m, up 57% over the preceding quarter despite a 26% drop in unit sales.
“We’re delighted to report 43 percent revenue growth and the strongest March quarter revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over $17 billion in revenue for the first half of our fiscal year, we have strong momentum to launch some terrific new products in the coming quarters.”
“We’re thrilled to have generated $4 billion in cash flow from operations in the first half of fiscal 2008, yielding an ending cash balance of $19.4 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the third quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $7.2 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.00.”
- April 2, 2008
Despite any suggestion to the contrary, Nike’s official announcement today of the Nike+ Sportband—a new watch-like accessory that works without the iPod nano—does not represent a break between the shoe maker and Apple. Similar in appearance to the company’s earlier Amp bracelet for the iPod nano, Sportband allows runners to track distance, pace, time and calories burned when they run, and also allows their training data to be loaded onto a computer and uploaded to nikeplus.com, using a USB plug-in rather than an iPod as a data conduit. The similarities in functionality between the Nike + iPod Sport Kit and the Sportband have led some to suggest that there might be a rift between Apple and Nike, which Nike denied in a statement to iLounge today. “Absolutely not… we are simply expanding our Nike+ arena of products to allow those runners/walkers who do not want to use music to experience Nike+ and nikeplus.com,” answered Nike’s Kerry Sobol when asked if the release meant the end of Nike and Apple collaboration. “We are still very much working with Apple daily.”
- March 16, 2008
A page posted on the Swiss Apple Store over the weekend showed a 802.11n-capable version of the company’s AirPort Express router, leading to speculation that the product is likely to be introduced this week. The page has since been removed. Originally introduced in 2004, the AirPort Express is a compact wireless router which also functions as an AirTunes client, allowing any iTunes user on the network to send audio to speakers connected to the AirPort Express. In addition, it also offers wireless printer sharing functionality. The 802.11g AirPort Express Base Station currently sells for $99.
Update: The 802.11n AirPort Express has been officially released for $99, and appears to be cosmetically and functionally identical to its predecessor except for the addition of 802.11n support.
- March 13, 2008
ZapMedia Services has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple over iTunes and its related media players such as the iPod. According to ZapMedia, the suit comes after multiple attempts to resolve its concerns with Apple, including offering Zap’s patents for license. In question are U.S. Patent Numbers 7,020,704 and 7,343,414, each of which is entitled “System and method for distributing media assets to user devices via a portal synchronized by said user devices.” The suit was filed in the Marshall Division of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. “The Complaint alleges that ZapMedia Services’ property is being exploited in a manner which is unlawful, and by law ZapMedia Services is therefore entitled to a reasonable royalty on Apple’s revenues related to the infringement,” said Steven G. Hill, of Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP, lead litigation counsel to ZapMedia Services. Robert J. Frohwein, general counsel of ZapMedia Services, said, “When someone takes our vision and our intellectual property without a license after several attempts, we have no option but to protect it through every means available to us.”
- March 11, 2008
Apple has yet to begin making large procurements of NAND flash memory in 2008, according to a DigiTimes report. Citing sources at Taiwan memory makers, the article states that Apple bought $1.2-1.3 billion worth of NAND flash over a short time period in 2007, resulting in a rapid price fluctuation in the components. Due to the lack of major orders from Apple, the article suggests, current pricing on multi-level cell NAND flash is below cost, with little seen on the horizon to push prices upward. Apple currently uses MLC NAND memory in all flash-based iPods and iPhones. [via Electronista]
- March 6, 2008
Fortune has published a series of excerpts from an interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, covering a broad range of topics including the iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV. Worth reading in their entirety, the excerpts include several interesting details on each of Apple’s major initiatives, such as:
iPod. Before the iPod, Jobs explained, slow Mac sales had led Apple to a crisis of confidence; the company had to “wonder sometimes whether [we were] wrong,” said Jobs. “Maybe our stuff isn’t better, although we thought it was. Or maybe people don’t care, which is even more depressing.” Strong iPod sales were “a great shot in the arm for everybody.”
iPhone. After an extended period of living with the originally designed enclosure for the iPhone, Jobs concluded that he didn’t “love” the shell, an emotion that he would need to feel for what he believed was the company’s most important release ever. “[W]e pushed the reset button. We went through all of the zillions of models we’d made and ideas we’d had.” And, with too little time remaining before the device’s announcement, he challenged the designers to do better, quickly. “It was hell because we had to go to the team and say, ‘All this work you’ve [done] for the last year, we’re going to have to throw it away and start over, and we’re going to have to work twice as hard now because we don’t have enough time.’ “
Apple TV. Jobs suggests that the original version of Apple TV failed because people didn’t really want to send iTunes content from a Mac or PC to a widescreen TV; they wanted, he says, to watch movies—the reason the company negotiated with Hollywood studios for rentals, and dropped the starting price to $229. “Will this resonate and be something that you just can’t live without and love? We’ll see. I think it’s got a shot.”
Control. Being able to write and control software is, Jobs explained, the key to the company’s current and future product plans. “[W]e didn’t want to get into any business where we didn’t own or control the primary technology because you’ll get your head handed to you.”
On PDAs. Despite years of pressure to release a Newton-like PDA, Jobs said that the company was smarter not to release such a product. “I realized one day that 90% of the people who use a PDA only take information out of it on the road. They don’t put information into it. Pretty soon cellphones are going to do that, so the PDA market’s going to get reduced to a fraction of its current size, and it won’t really be sustainable.” Instead, Jobs said, the company put its efforts and resources into the iPod.