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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.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k