In an article on eWeek, Andreas Pfeiffer says the success of the iPod is not enough to "pull Apple out" of its "niche innovator" role. Apple's 2005 challenge, Pfeiffer says, is to "to take its knack for making products desirable in a new direction" and "surpass the iPod." While some factors are pushing Windows users to the Mac platform, "it is also quite clear that the Macintosh platform on its own will not be able to grow significantly if it continues its course at the current rhythm of market penetration." Instead, Pfeiffer suggests Apple should focus on the "The Great Living-Room Conundrum": the convergence of digital media with lifestyle and entertainment. "Apple may have a better chance than others at cracking the way in which entertainment, the Internet and computing come together."
Piper Jaffray has reiterated an "outperform" rating and $100 target price on Apple, saying that the possible introduction of a $500 iMac would accelerate the "halo effect" of the iPod. The report notes that several Mac rumor sites, including AppleInsider, are reporting that Apple will introduce an iMac (without display) priced in the $500 range, but notes that "Apple has made no comments related to the speculation." However, the analyst says it believes that such a PC would appeal to many potential 'switchers' that would likely not make the move at Apple's current entry-level price point of $1,299: "Piper Jaffray said the move would accelerate the iPod halo effect (i.e., the notion that strong sales of iPods will spill over to sales of Macs), which is currently estimated at 13%. The research firm currently estimates 2005 and 2006 earnings per share for Apple of $1.52 and $2.17, respectively."
Bleu Rose Ltd. has said it will no longer develop products for the Macintosh. Citing a "shrinking Mac base" and an increased rate of piracy as its most significant factors, the company said on its website that Black & Bleu v10 will be the last version of its Mac OS error code analyzer for developers. The company also said that Apple's product quality and lack of developer support as other reasons behind its business decision: "...Apple's seeming lack of concern about compatibility across its product versions and the alarming problem with its software quality (over 100,000 new bugs reported during the months of October & November, 2004 alone) has combined to render Mac OS software development unprofitable for us." The company says it will continue to sell its Mac products for the next several months, but will focus its development and business on other markets.
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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