Apple is offering several different models of refurbished iBooks, PowerBooks, Power Mac, iMac G5s, iPods, and Mac minis at the Apple Store. Twelve-inch iBooks start at $800 (1.2GHz/ 256MB/ 30GB) or $850 (with a Combo optical drive and AirPort Extreme), while the larger 14-inch model is available for $1000. Both current-generation and previous-generation 12-inch PowerBooks are available for $1,300 (1.33GHz/256MB/60GB) and $1500 (1.5GHz/512MB/80GB), respectively. Refurbished previous-generation 15-inch PowerBooks with Combo drives start at $1,500, while current generation ones start at $1,700, while their faster siblings with SuperDrives are each $300 more. A refurbished current-generation 17-inch PowerBook is $2,300, while Mac mini's are avaialble for $430 (1.25GHz/256MB/40GB), $450 (1.25GHz/256MB/40GB), $500 (1.42GHz/256MB/80GB), and $630 (1.42GHz/512MB/80GB/AE). iPod shuffles, iPod minis, Power Macs, and iMac G5s are available as well.
This week saw the debut of three new threats to Apple's dominance of the digital music market. iRiver's new T line of subscription-capable music players, SBC Yahoo's debut of its new online music service, and SIRIUS offering up a portable satellite radio signal the beginning of a fierce holiday sales race.... iTunes also came under pressure this week, with Yahoo Japan offering free song previews on any of 100,000 songs offered in an attempt to counter Apple's online music store. News of a serious mistake didn't help matters either, iTunes Japan sold albums for just 50 yen each, instead of the intended 1,500-yen price.... Fans of podcasting rejoiced this week, as new software by Pod2Mod enables mobile phone owners to play podcasts on mobile handsets, and Apple launched its Podcast Directory service in Taiwan.
Marketcircle today announced the release of DayLite 1.8, a free update to its business-relationship software that features rule-based scheduling. DayLite "goes beyond contacts and appointments to include project management and introduce a powerful concept, opportunities. Opportunities offer a simple way to track details, helping you 'close the deal' on new business." DayLite v1.8 has the ability to define recurring or repetitive activities that take place in every project, providing greater time and task efficiency. DayLite requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later and is available for $150.
Forums roundup: One member seeks help with speeding up his slowing system.... PowerBook enthusiasts discuss recent rumors of a 13" widescreen model.... Other members discuss the possibility of a G5-based Mac mini.... An iPod user seeks advice on sound-iscolating headphones for portable use.... A new Mac user asks other Windows-to-Mac "switchers" if they have any regrets about making the transition.... The GUI Customization forum includes the latest themes, skins, icons, and other Mac OS X interface modifications.
iSkin today announced the availability of its Shuffle Duo, the World's first dual-layer protective skin covering engineered specifically for Apple's iPod shuffle. The iSkin's moisture resistant design is made of durable, flexible and long-lasting high-grade silicone and leaves all control buttons accessible for easy access and uninterrupted playtime. The Duo's form-fitting, contoured design is available in four distinct colors: ADRENALINE (a vitalizing outer blue layer combined with an energizing inner green layer), VIGOR (a intense red outer layer with a frosted clear inner layer), OXYGEN (a refreshing frosted clear outer and inner layer) and IMPULSE (a strong grey with a frosted clear inner layer). The new iSkin also features an integrated headphone port cover and includes a high quality custom neck strap and is available for $20.
Widget Maker X 1.1.3 ($17) provides for the creation, modification, and management of widgets in Mac OS X Tiger. Version 1.1.3 adds a build and preview button, a widget wizard, an online tutorial, and more. Fewer items now require the administrator password to function, and some additional minor fixes are included. [Download - 1.4MB] SPSS 11.0.4 ($300) is a maintenance release to the statistical analysis software that brings compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Changes include a bugfix with regard to opening datasets on a mapped Windows drive and prevention of crashes when running a set of syntax several times. [Download - 133.1MB] Advanced Web Ranking 4.1 ($60) is a utility designed to check a website position on all major search engines. Version 4.1 adds full integration with Wordtracker and Overture keyword suggestion, popularity tools, and an event logger for monitoring purposes. [Download - 11.8MB] Kiwize v1.0.0b01 ($50) is a filter for Eudora Internet Mail Server (EIMS and EIMS X) to block email based on the total size, accomplished by a fully customizable set of rules. Rules allow different email addresses, domains, and more to have different maximum allowable email sizes. [Download - 412KB] ColorWasher 2 ($50) is a plug-in for correcting the colors, contrast, exposure and saturation of 8-bit and 16-bit photos. ColorWasher works with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Image Ready, and Illustrator. A greatly improved color and exposure correction option is provided with version 2, along with many more improvements. Doc Merge 1.1 ($35) provides a quick, easy method for merging Microsoft Word documents with simple drag-and-drop support. Doc Merge requires Mac OS 10.2 or higher and is compatible with Windows XP (SP2). The update fixes issues when merging documents on the Mac and repairs the software update functionality for both Mac and Windows versions. [Download - 1.4MB]
D&M Holdings, which markets the Rio brand, today announced it would exit the mass-market portable digital audio player business. D&M Holdings is based in Tokyo and owns the Denon, Marantz, McIntosh Laboratory, D&M Professional, ReplayTV, Rio and Escient brands. The company's decision to exit the Rio business followed a determination that the "mass-market portable digital audio player market was not a strong enough strategic fit with the company's core and profitable premium consumer electronics brands to warrant additional investment in the category."
Negotiations between music copyright holders and several prominent online music services have broken down over royalty payments for streamed music. The Wall Street Journal reports that an agreement was struck in 2001 where online music services could stream music as part of their subscription-based services pending a final settlement on royalty amounts. "The impasse means copyright holders, such as songwriters and composers, will continue to miss out on royalties for online subscription music services that offer an unlimited number of streamed songs for listening on computers or portable devices."
The success of Apple's flash-based iPod shuffle has prompted Samsung to offer Apple a deep discount with the promise of dedicating 40 percent of its flash-memory manufacturing capacity to seal the deal. The most likely reason that Apple would want to boost its buying of NAND flash, says BusinessWeek, is for a new version of the iPod. Rumors have been circulating that a Flash-based iPod mini (or similar device) may be in the works. "One of the biggest criticisms of the iPod Shuffle, successful as it has been, is that it doesn't have a display screen that lets users see what song is playing. A more expensive player using flash memory boasting capacities of 2 gigabytes to 4 gigabytes -- and which includes a display screen -- might make sense from a cost standpoint." Apple may less obvious plans as well. "They may be using all this flash memory for something else," speculates Tim Bajarin.
Apple should have made customers aware of battery limitations on first three iPod models, a San Mateo County judge ruled Thursday. Because the company failed to do so, it must replace as many as 1.3 million iPod batteries belonging to owners of first, second, and third generation iPods. Under the settlement, which has now received final approval, those users who already paid Apple to replace their iPod's failing battery are entitled to up to half of that cost back. Steve Williams, lead counsel for the suit that people who bought iPod's first two models are entitled to either $25 cash or a $50 credit at the Apple Store. Owner of iPod's third model are entitled to free replacement battery if the battery fails. Consumers have up to May 2006 to file a claim to be entitled to the settlement. Based on the number of people continuing to make claims, the settlement has a minimum value of approximately $15 million.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu believes Apple will sell 7.1 million iPods in the current quarter, according to a report by Macworld UK. The figure for the company's fourth fiscal quarter, which ends in September, represent signficant sequential growth from previous June quarter in which the company sold 6,155,000 iPods: the figure is up 15 percent from the previous quarter, but the analyst said that the average selling prices of iPods may come under greater than expected pressuress. The research firm cites recent "aggressive" pricing and other 4GB iPod mini promotions--an effort to clear out existing high inventory levels--and a reported Apple-Samsung deal for substantial amounts of flash memory in the coming quarters as evidence of upcoming flash memory-based iPod mini. The analyst maintained a 'hold' on Apple stock with a price target of $42.
First indications from Mac developers point to a quick and smooth transition to the Intel platform. In fact, this transition could be "the easiest of all those yet experienced by Apple developers," according to a report by RedNova. "The most difficult part about it is switching to Xcode, which is something that we'd be doing anyway," said Chuck Rogers of MacSpeech. For those who have already made that transition, the Intel switch promises to be painless. Because Apple has prepared well for the move to Intel, developers are expecting relatively few problems. "They had the OS up and running for so long," said Rich Siegel of Bare Bones, "and because the fundamental architecture of the OS is different -- everything is abstracted -- it's much easier to adapt your code for a new CPU architecture because the OS really protects you from all that."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe