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iRiver scoffs iPod shuffle
Following similar comments by Creative Technology, yet another digital player manufacturer has said that Apple's introduction of iPod shuffle is 'surprising', but also that it doesn't compete with iRiver's more premium, feature-focused product offerings: "'The first [surprise] is that iPod (Shuffle) is targeting the low-end area,' he said. The low price is no surprise, as Chinese products are already available at that price: the surprise is that Apple is producing a low-end product, he said. 'The second is that they introduced the 1G (byte) player that can contain about 200 songs. It will be very difficult for users to look for and find their favorite songs.'"
iPod shuffle slogan
Apple's "Life is Random" slogan, used by Steve Jobs at last week's Macworld Expo keynote, may be a perfect marketing phrase for its iPod shuffle, but it also affirms the growing sense of information overload, according to John Schwartz of The New York Times. "But clever Apple knows that most users will simply want the gadget to grab songs out of the main computer's library and then play them in an order of its choosing. Random. Like life....Apple, with the attitude of an artist and the eye of an anthropologist, has asked: How do we listen to music? What do we want from it? A response from the company, and its millions of customers, is that music is a kind of ambient grace, which blocks out the cellphone jabber on the train, the honking horn on the walk to the grocery store. And the result is that little white earbuds have become ubiquitous around the country." [free registration required]
Apple capitalizing on cool
Apple has found a way to capitalize on cool, after 20 years of trying with the Mac. With the iPod, Apple has finally offered "a product that combined cool with inexpensive, truly personal computing that fits in a pocket" and its iPod silhouette commercial may displace Apple's 1984 SuperBowl ad as No. 1 ad of all time, according to Randall Stross of The New York Times. "[Until the iPod,] Mr. Jobs had not been able to leverage it in traditional computers because technology in crucial areas had not matured enough to make cool affordably practical on a mass scale. To the extent that cool is based on exclusion of the uncool, Apple was too hip for its own long-term health.....Mr. Jobs now has at his disposal ridiculously cheap processing and memory, which render meaningless the distinction between computer and peripheral." [free registration required]
Player: Gateway vs. Apple
The Chicago Tribune's technology James Coates has posted a review of the Gateway MP3 Photo Jukebox, which he says is a worthy competitor to Apple's iPod mini. The Gateway player, according to the review, offers many features not found Apple's iPod, including a color screen, a replaceable lithium-on battery, and more: "There are things that the iPod can't handle, such as plugging the connector cord from a digital camera directly into it and storing pictures on the hard drive. This means that photo hobbyists can use the Gateway MP3 Photo Jukebox as a 4 gb picture storage vault about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Of course there are things that iPods have that Gateway lacks."
MS Junk email filter
Microsoft this week released its Entourage 2004 Junk E-mail Filter Update 1 (11.1.0) via the Web and via its AutoUpdate application. The update offers a more current definition of which e-mail messages should be considered junk e-mail, according to the company. The optional update is available for all versions of Entourage 2004 version 11.1 or later. Microsoft says that additional updates will follow. The 3.5MB download is available in seven langauges.
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