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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.'"
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 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]
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."
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.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko