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: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN