A Merrill Lynch research report released late last month said Apple is expected to sell nearly 4 million iPods in the December 2004 quarter. In the report, analyst Steven Milunovich reiterated his 'buy' rating on Apple with a 12-month target price of $78. Offering strong evidence about the popularity of the iPod around the US and other countries, Merrill Lynch said that despite the growing number of "iPod challengers," Apple's share in the digital player market is increasing. With Apple expected to enter the flash-based digital music player market in the near future, Apple could potentially double its iPod-based revenues, the report states.
Apple is hoping to bolster the iPod's durability with technology that will make the iPod more likely to survive a fall, according to CNET News.com. Citing a patent published on December 16, the report says that Apple has applied for "a patent on technology that would allow a portable media player to detect when it is falling and then stop reading or writing to the hard drive. Such technology would work by detecting the increase in acceleration that accompanies a drop. 'The portable-computing device protects its disk drive by monitoring for such accelerations and operating to avoid usage of the disk drive during periods of acceleration....Through such protection, the likelihood of damage to the disk drive or loss of data stored on the disk drive is able to be substantially reduced.'" Apple also reportedly applied for patents to cover video conferencing technology and the concept included in Mac OS X Panther's Expose feature, where overlapping windows are separated on the same screen as well as the iTunes Producer patent application noted yesterday.
Forbes has published a "Tech Wish List" for 2005 by Arik Hesseldahl. A video iPod tops Hesseldahl's list: "Apple Computer iis halfway there with the iPod photo. And Microsoft and its many hardware pals, including Creative Labs, have proven that video can be done in a handheld device--though they've yet to prove it can be done well. Apple, more than any other company, is up to the task of perfecting this. The experience shouldn't be about watching video on a tiny handheld screen. What I do want is to output video from the iPod to a TV. An 80-gigabyte hard drive would make it practical. ... Additionally, I'd like to be able to buy or subscribe to TV shows that I often miss through an iTunes-like service that lets me watch them on my PC or Mac, or save them to an iPod that allows me to watch them on any TV."
iCab 3.0 beta (free) is the latest version of the popular alternative Web browser for Mac. This is the first public beta release of the next-generation browser. Details of new features and other improvements were not published. [Download - use auto-update] NewsFire 0.5 (free) is an elegant RSS news reader for Mac OS X that features a dynamic animated user interface. This new release includes enhancements such as the addition of a new title & summary list view, the ability to chain Smart Feeds together, the ability to hide subscribed feeds, and an improved search feature with as-you-type searching. [Download - 697KB] OmniGraffle 3.2 Beta ($120) is the latest beta release of the diagramming and drawing program. It supports the OmniOutliner 3 file format, which means OmniOutliner 3 files can be imported into OmniGraffle. Other improvements include a reworked interface for the Action inspector. [Download - Basic, Pro] iGetter 2.1 ($25) is a full featured download manager and accelerator for Mac OS X. Version 2.1 allows exploration of entire Web or FTP sites. Additionally, Site Explorer displays the Web contents rendered in a separate view below the site tree. A few bugs were also addressed. [Download - 2.0MB] StevePerfect 6 (free) is a word processor, picture viewer, email client, and dictionary, MP3 player, and more. Version 6 offers a new interface, Mac OS X-style toolbars, scaling in picture viewer, iTunes controller, steaming audio, and speech recognition. [Download - 1.5MB] MoniTOR 1.0.3 ($20) is a system utility that allows users to test and adjust the most relevant parameters of CRT and TFT monitors. New features include a popup menu with convergence and contrast options, a faster original Geometry option, and the ability to modify the sample text used for the Text test. [Download - 3.0MB]
Last week, Apple filed a patent application covering the iTunes Producer application and backend architecture, used for managing and sending music to the iTunes Music Store, according to Waxy.org. "The patent includes screenshots of the application, which Apple only distributes to authorized musicians and record labels. One screenshot includes some interesting fields, such as Parental Advisory warnings, BPM, and various sales and copyright information. There's a button for adding Lyrics, which may indicate future support for lyric searching in iTunes Music Store." The site has posted web-friendly images available at the patent location.
Thieves swiped $9,000 in high-end laptop computers from an Apple store in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, police said. Surveillance video from Dec. 12 shows someone smashing through the glass front door at the store in the 5500 block of Walnut Street. A man is seen rushing to the back of the building while a woman grabs three laptops from a shelf. Both people then run outside. The entire episode takes just 19 seconds.
Apple is offering a $10 coupon for shoppers of its retail locations who responds to an survey about the stores. The discount applies to purchases over $100. "As a valued customer, your opinions are very important to us. That's why we would greatly appreciate your feedback regarding your experience at the Apple Store. Your participation in this survey will help us to improve the retail shopping experience."
Econ Technologies has released 14 new Christmas templates for use with Portraits & Prints. These templates are classically styled and designed to be printed and placed in standard picture frames. "Take your Christmas photos and turn them into cherished keepsakes to hang on the wall, place on the mantle or give them as gifts to family and friends." The new Christmas templates can be downloaded and automatically installed via the Portraits & Prints Template Manager. Customers can purchase Portraits & Prints Standard Edition for $30.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE