Apple advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day last night was given the Grand EFFIE Award for its work on the iPod “Silhouettes” ad campaign. “Our Grand EFFIE winner honors a product at the forefront of popular culture complemented by a creative, breakthrough marketing campaign that has proven to skyrocket sales,” said Mary Lee Keane, Executive Director of the New York American Marketing Association.
In addition to the Grand EFFIE, TBWA\Chiat\Day walked away with three Gold EFFIEs (two for iPod and one for Nissan), two Silvers (Adidas and Infiniti) and one Bronze (Nextel), bringing their total awards to seven. The EFFIE awards, now in their 37th year, are the “only award program that recognizes effective advertising and marketing campaigns that have achieved market place results.”
In addition to announcing a transition to Intel processors for Macs, Apple CEO Steve Jobs offered an update on iPod and iTunes sales, as well as a look at the upcoming podcast support in iTunes during his keynote speech at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.
Jobs said that 16 million iPods have been sold as of the end of March, accounting for 76% market share of all music players. He said more than 430 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store so far, and that it commands 82% of legal digital music sales.
The Apple chief next discussed the previously announced podcasting features of iTunes 4.9. Jobs called podcasting “iPod plus broadcasting,” “TiVo for radio” and “Wayne’s World for Radio.” He said that anyone can make it and get a worldwide audience, and said Apple sees it as the hottest thing going in radio right now.
Jobs said you can easily subscribe to the podcasts and have them automatically synced to your iPod. “We’re going to make this even easier,” he said. “We’re going to build it right into iTunes and iPod.” Jobs then went into a quick demo in which podcasts were shown in the source list of iTunes, and there was a podcast directory directly in the application. He quickly went to Adam Curry’s “The Daily Source Code” and then to KCRW public radio. Subscribing was as easy as clicking one button.
Finally, Jobs said that Apple plans to do its own podcast for iTunes Music Store releases every Tuesday, and revealed that artwork will be supported for each podcast.
Update: We’ve now posted our photo gallery from the WWDC keynote.
Following a meeting with Apple management in California, Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich said that despite all of the news recently surrounding the company, Apple doesn’t want to get distracted from its music products.
However, Milunovich said Apple continues to downplay bringing video support to the iPod. “Movies take too long to download for now, are not watched over and over, and that unlike music there are many ways to acquire movies,” he said Apple pointed out. “Still, we think video capability (especially for music videos) could be added to the iPod.”
The analyst said that audio books and podcasting should contribute to iPod’s popularity, but that the Apple executives were not optimistic that satellite radio would take off.
Milunovich also said that Apple is not against a subscription service like those offered by its rivals, but the company still thinks most users want to own their music instead of “renting” it. “We think Apple could introduce a subscription service in the next year, which could be less profitable than selling songs initially though possibly more profitable long term if sub rates rise,” he said.
Milunovich said that Apple doesn’t expect iTunes to make much money. “Although moderately profitable, the company doesn’t seem optimistic that songs will be a major profit contributor,” the analyst said.
Following months of pressure from environmental activists, Apple today announced a free iPod recycling program with an added incentive. The company said that beginning today, “customers can bring iPods they no longer want to any of Apple’s 100 retail stores in the US for free environmentally friendly disposal, and those who drop off an iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo will receive a 10 percent discount on the purchase of a new iPod that day.” Apple said that iPods received for recycling in the US are “processed domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas.”
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has been pressuring Apple since late last year to do more with its environmental practices, claiming that the company doesn’t do enough to ensure that its products are disposed of properly. The group focused largely on the iPod and its hard-to-replace battery. Protests were staged outside Apple’s headquarters in January and during this year’s Macworld Expo a few days later. The group also picketed at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting in April.
The Toxics Coalition described the iPod as “a time-bomb for our health and environment because of the toxic metals that will either go into incinerators or landfills.” Apple has acknowledged the device does contain “a small amount of lead,” which the company says it is working to phase out. “To call the iPod an environmental time bomb is just inexcusable,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at the shareholders meeting.
If you’ve been reading iLounge recently, you’re probably familiar with Luxpro’s line of iPod shuffle knock-offs. What you may not know is that there are numerous companies copying every model of the iPod and even iPod accessories. At this week’s Computex trade show in Taipei, an iLounge reader snapped several photos and collected specs on a number of these clones.
The most brazen iPod copy seen at the show was an iPod mini look-alike from a Taiwan consumer electronics OEM supplier. Said to cost only US$50, the “i-Pocket” is roughly the same size as Apple’s iPod mini, but includes no internal storage—instead it has a memory card slot. It supports SD/MMC/MS cards for music storage, and acts as a card reader for SD/MMC/MS/MS Duo/MS Pro formats. The player also offers voice recording, an FM radio and recorder, a color OLED display (128 x 64), USB 2.0, and supports MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, WMV, ASF file formats. It is available in gold, red, blue and black.
Continue reading for a full report (with photos) on iPod shuffle and iPod accessory clones, as well as new products.
iPod owners who complained of battery problems will get $50 vouchers and extended service warranties, according to the terms of a tentative class-action lawsuit settlement. Lawyers representing consumers said that the settlement could affect as many as two million people who purchased first, second and third-generation iPods through May 2004. Eight consumers filed the suit against Apple in 2003 claiming the iPod failed to live up to claims that its battery would last the product’s lifetime and play music for up to 10 hours.
“People who fill out a claim form are entitled to receive $50 redeemable toward the purchase of any Apple products or services except iTunes downloads or iTunes gift certificates,” reports AP. “They can redeem the voucher within 18 months of final settlement approval at any bricks-and-mortar Apple Store or online. Consumers who had battery troubles can also get their battery or iPod replaced through the lawsuit. Apple currently replaces or repairs defective products that are returned within one year but the class-action settlement extends the warranty to two years, plaintiffs’ lawyers said.”
As announced late last week, we’ve teamed up with Mediafour, publisher of XPlay, on a new photo contest for iPod owners. The “X Marks the Spot” contest will run for four weeks and will feature four different challenges with a total of four prizes.
To enter, submit a creative photograph of yourself and your iPod at each week’s themed location. Photos will be judged on the creative depiction of iPods in the context of each week’s theme. The deadline for this week’s entry—“Public iPod
iBar is new software that turns your iPod into “the ultimate bartending tool.” It includes 450 drink recipes organized by category, beverage and bar tips and tricks, drink histories and toasts. “Bring your iPod anywhere you will be mixing a drink and impress with your bartending savvy! From mastering essential mixing techniques, to stocking your own bar, to learning the history of alcohols, to mixing over a thousand classic and contemporary drinks. iBar will surely make you the talk of the party or give you the knowledge to mix drinks professionally.” iBar sells for $29.95.
Silvanti Development has released iShop, a collection of audio files that when added to your iPod help create an editable shopping list. iShop is basically a series of more than 300 blank mp3s—each with a different name (for example “Snacks: Ice Cream”)—that you add to your iPod as a playlist. After syncing the playlist, you then create an on-the-go “shopping playlist” that you can add these product named files to just like you would when adding tracks to an on-the-go music playlist. iShop is free, but donations are accepted.
Piper Jaffray said today that it expects Apple to ship slightly more iPods in its fiscal third quarter than it did last quarter. The research firm said it believes Apple will have iPod unit shipments of 5.5 million for the June quarter, up from 5.3 million in its second quarter.
“The bottom line from our checks is that while we are not expecting significant upside to June [third] quarter numbers, Apple’s business appears to be solid in what is typically a seasonally slower period,” Piper Jaffray said. “We believe iPod sales are increasingly becoming less of a focus for Apple specialists, due to improved iPod supply and availability at mass retailers.”
Apple received four design awards at the 43rd D&AD (Design and Art Direction) awards last night in London. The iPod and iPod mini, along with Apple’s Cinema Display won silver awards for product design. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s head of industrial design, was honored with a special president’s award in recognition of outstanding contribution to the industry. The iPod won a gold award in 2002.
A journalist from UK-based magazine Time Out London is looking for iPod fans to tell their “iPod stories.” He writes: “Especially interested in individuals who feel the iPod has altered their lifestyle, if they use it to avoid awkward and stressful situations or interaction. Or maybe they’re found a whole bunch of new friends via iPod. Attached [download here] are the questions that iPod users can answer if they find themselves stuck for ideas but they’re free to ignore this in favor of their own stories. Replies should be sent to: email@example.com
CD-to-MP3 conversion service RipDigital today announced that it is now selling iPods pre-loaded with customers’ CD collections.
“By combining the leading digital music player and leading CD conversion service, RipDigital has created the easiest and fastest way to make the jump to digital music,” the company says. “Since RipDigital originated the CD conversion service in 2002, the company has saved thousands of people countless hours converting CD collections. Now, RipDigital is offering an irresistible customer experience for anyone that wants join the world of digital music but would rather have someone else handle the legwork. New iPods are delivered to RipDigital customers loaded with all their music and ready for listening.”
RipDigital’s conversion service costs approximately $1 per CD. iPods will be “priced in line with Tekserve’s in-store pricing” (a 20GB iPod with 200 CDs preloaded sells for $499).
The Sydney Morning Herald has published an interesting excerpt from “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business” that details the birth of the iPod, iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. The excerpt touches on the choice of a music device over a PDA, battery issues with the iPod, and more. Apple recently pulled all tech books from the publisher of “iCon,” John Wiley & Sons, because Jobs was reportedly unhappy with the biography. It will go on sale June 1, 2005.
“Jobs stayed close to the project all the way, his brilliance as a marketer and his flawless taste in design shining through in his rigorous-as-ever demands for the highest standards. PortalPlayer’s Ben Knauss recalls, ‘Steve would be horribly offended if he couldn’t get to the song he wanted in less than three pushes of a button.’ Because of the impossibly short schedule, there wasn’t any time for custom-designed computer chips.”
“Unlike in the past Apple’s design chain now relied on off-the-shelf components elegantly integrated. Critical pieces such as the digital-to-analog converters were selected from a manufacturer’s catalogue. Even the hard drive was standard Toshiba hardware. How many companies could tackle a project in a new category, create a ground-breaking widget that looked great and worked better than anyone else’s and do it all in under a year? It only happened because of Steve Jobs cracking the whip.”
The Chicago Tribune has an interesting interview with U2 frontman Bono about the band’s ties with Apple.
When asked if associating a song with a product such as the iPod is a good idea, Bono said: “Our being on TV, I don’t have a problem with that—we should be on TV. But OK, associating our music with a product. You’ve got to deal with the devil. Let’s have a look. The devil here is a bunch of creative minds, more creative than a lot of people in rock bands. The lead singer is Steve Jobs. These men have helped design the most beautiful object art in music culture since the electric guitar. That’s the iPod. The job of art is to chase ugliness away. Everywhere we look we see ugly cars, ugly buildings… ugly objects in the work place. Everywhere. And these people are making beautiful objects.”
Bono said being in the Apple commercial helped get their new single heard by new music fans. “We looked at the iPod commercial as a rock video. We chose the director. We thought, how are we going to get our single off in the days when rock music is niche? When it’s unlikely to get a three-minute punk-rock song on top of the radio? So we piggybacked this phenomenon to get ourselves to a new, younger audience, and we succeeded. And it’s exciting. I’m proud of the commercial, I’m proud of the association… But we have to start thinking about new ways of getting our songs across, of communicating in this new world, with so many channels, with rock music becoming a niche.” [via Cult of Mac]
In addition to showing off podcasting support in a beta version of iTunes 4.9 at the D: All Things Digital conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed the cell phone industry’s move towards digital music, Yahoo’s new subscription service, and even ribbed Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. The Wall Street Journal has the complete story (paid subscription required).
Jobs said downloading music from mobile phone carriers would be “a lousy buying experience” and likely to be two or three times as expensive as iTunes, adding that “it’s hard to see their customers as that stupid.”
The Apple chief also said that Yahoo’s $60-per-year music subscription plan was “substantially” below the company’s costs and would soon be raised. Jobs said Apple employees have a betting pool on when Yahoo will raise the $5-a-month rate. He said he put his money on five months from now.
And finally, Jobs took advantage of Gates being in the crowd (he spoke today). During his talk at the conference, Jobs asked everyone in attendance how many had iPods. After a number of hands went into the air, Jobs asked “Bill, do you have your hand up?”
Just one week after its last new iPod and iTunes commercial, Apple has aired yet another featuring silhouetted dancers. The new ad features the song “Technologic” by Daft Punk and is entitled “Pop-Lock” because of the style of dance moves used in it. Like last week’s “Rollerskating” ad, the commercial was shown during Saturday Night Live on NBC. Also of note, actor and Apple fan Will Ferrell wore an iPod shuffle in one skit.
A Melbourne, Australia teenager caused a “small explosion” when trying to fix his iPod with a screwdriver this week after his mother accidently ran the device through the washing machine.
“The boy was treated by paramedics at his Bayswater home for breathing difficulties after ingesting fumes emitted by the device as he pulled it apart in his suburban bedroom about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday,” The Age reports.
Country Fire Authority spokesman Peter Philp said the iPod had been taken away for testing by CFA investigators, but noted that it was “more of a pop” than an explosion and that it was “more smoke than fire but it did leave a burn mark on the [bed] cover.”
Echoing comments from Piper Jaffray, Banc of America Securities said today that Yahoo’s new music service will “have very modest near-term impact” on Apple. “The stickiness associated with iTunes and Apple’s hardware has had a protective effect (as they are only compatible with one another), and Apple has held share in music downloads and gained shared in MP3 in the last few quarters,” the research firm said. “If the subscription model does prove to be popular, we would expect Apple to counter and match with a subscription model of its own, which would increase margins.”
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates sees consumers moving to mobile phones for listening to music on the go, and expects the iPod’s popularity to wane.
“As good as Apple may be, I don’t believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run,” he said in an interview published Thursday in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface—like the iPod today—and then lost its position.”
“If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I’d bet on the mobile phone for sure,” Gates said.