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Sassafras Software on Thursday announced that the upcoming K2 6.1 (KeyAuditor and KeyServer) includes several new features to simplify software discovery and classification of programs. K2 is a cross-platform IT asset management suite for software/hardware auditing, usage tracking, and license compliance enforcement. The new version features an all-new Web Reports Server will automate report generation and enhance integration with other IT asset management processes. Plus, a Dashboard Monitor Widget will be included to give software managers quick access to K2's new Web reports. The new version will be available in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Pogue on Nano
Tech columnist David Pogue disagrees with PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster's assertion that "nobody can sustain an 80 percent market share in a consumer electronics business for more than two or three years." According to Pouge, Apple's market share won't stay at 80 percent -- "It's about to go up." He cites the iPod nano as the reason behind a possible increase. "If you doubt it, then you haven't yet handled the iPod Nano: a tiny, flat, shiny wafer of powerful sound that Apple unveiled last week. Beware, however: to see one is to want one. If you hope to resist, lash your credit card to your wallet like Odysseus to the mast."
Nano forces price cuts
iPodNN roundup: Vendors of non-brand name flash-based MP3 players have reduced their retail prices by 10 to 20 percent for 512MB models and 20 to 35 percent for 1GB models in the Taiwan market, in response to the launch of Apple's highly competitive iPod nano.... SendStation has announced the earBuddy carrying case for the iPod's white iPod earbuds (pictured at right).... ScotteVest has expanded its clothing line to include Version 4.0 TEC (technology enabled clothing) for iPod users.... A few changes inside the iPod would allow a video connection, but video iPods probably won't be about watching movies on the move.
MacNN review, giveaway
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Roxio Toast 7 Titanium, the company's new utility for burning CDs and DVDs.... Virgin Mobile has joined O2 to offer the Motorola ROKR iTunes phone to customers on its network.... Inventive announced the upcoming release of iClip 4, and to celebrate it is giving away a Mac mini, an iPod nano, or an iTunes Music Card to three winners.... Ovolab will be exhibiting this week at Apple Expo 2005 in Paris focusing on Ovolab Phlink, its telephony solution for Mac OS X.... Ballistic Publishing is now issuing a call for artwork from all digital artists using Corel Painter for its newest book, Painter.
Sendstation earBuddy case
SendStation Systems today announced the earBuddy carrying case for the iPod's white iPod earbuds. The ultracompact case--about the size of a jewelry box--has been designed "specifically with the iPod earbuds in mind, but can hold many other earbuds as well." It is coated with ballistic nylon and built to withstand 200 lbs. or 90 kg of force, according to the company. The ABS frame on the inside lets users easily wind up the cable and "store everything simply and safely in the smallest possible space.... By using an earBuddy, your iPod earbuds not only are protected, but you also have them at hand when and wherever you need them. With its detachable keyring earBuddy goes everywhere: on your keys, your backpack or your sling bag."earBuddy is expected to ship in late September 2005 in either orange/gray color or all-black. (Pricing not yet available.)
Yahoo, Napster compete
Apple's iTunes still dominates the online music industry with 82 percent of the U.S. market, leaving others such as Napster, Yahoo, MSN, and RealNetworks fighting for the leftovers. Analyst firm Piper Jaffray notes that over the past few months, the competitive landscape in online music has remained virtually unchanged. Yahoo has retained its low initial pricing and altered its website to exclude references to "introductory" with regard to its subscription pricing, which could lead to a positive market share shift for the company, according to Piper Jaffray. Yahoo is also expected to maintain its current low prices throughout the year, and indicated that portable subscription pricing will go up at some point, but not until there are Windows based audio devices that can leverage it. Napster raised estimates in the June quarter and is slowly making use of new initiatives to leverage its brand, which is the company's core asset.
ScotteVest TEC clothing
ScotteVest (SeV) today announced that it has expanded its clothing line to include Version 4.0 TEC (technology enabled clothing) for iPod users. New items include the waterproof Tactical 4.0 all-season jacket ($230) with 40 pockets and compartments; Tactical VC 4.0 all-season jacket ($310) with built-in volume control; super soft, chocolate brown lambskin Milan jacket ($450) with 41 pockets and compartments; Rodeo ($200) chic walnut micro suede jacket with 39 pockets; Fleece 4.0 black fleece jacket offering 12 pockets and compartments; and many more.
Video iPod possibility
Video iPods probably won't be about watching movies on the move, but rather watching them in the living room, according to a BusinessWeek columnist: Laptop computers and portable DVD players already play movies on the go, but the iPod could be easily changed into a video-storage platform that connects to television sets. An AV connection already exists on the iPod docking station, however it currently only displays stills and slide shows with custom soundtracks. A few changes to the inside of the iPod would allow a video connection, according to the report. A video download service may see opposition from Hollywood executives concerned with piracy as well. According to the report; however, the columnists believes that Apple may be "the only company that can do it right."
In its latest attempt to gain more control of the iPod brand, Apple this month filed for multiple trademarks on the term "iPodcast." The term describes the "broadcasting" of audio content over the Internet for download to an iPod. This process is more commonly known as "podcasting" by the public. Apple recently exercised its control of the "iPod" trademark when it forced several makers of iPod-related products to change their product naming. iPodStyles was reborn as "istyles," and theiPed accessory line became "Ped." Additionally, some iPod fan sites using the "iPod" trademark were asked to re-brand.
Portraits and Prints 2.1
Econ Technologies today announced an update to Portraits and Prints, its personal photo studio for Mac OS X that adds direct access to iPhoto. Portraits and Prints 2.1 provides template-based printing and easy importation/exportation of photos. The update displays Finder/Spotlight comments and iPhoto titles in the photo information panel, as well as ratings and comments of photos in the catalog. The new "Collage" set of templates are included free, and over 200 additional free templates are downloadable with the template manager, also included. The professional edition creates and edits custom templates, in addition to providing all of the features supported in the personal edition. Portraits and Prints requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, the standard edition is priced at $30 while the professional edition is $50.
Apple at IBC
Investment firm PiperJaffray reports a strong Apple presence at the International Broadcasting Convention. The company's booth was "very busy during the time we were at IBC," wrote analyst Gene Munster. According to a survey conducted by the firm at IBC, nearly 40 percent of respondents said that Apple would be the primary beneficiary of their spending on technology in 2006. For post production technology spending, 53 percent expect to spend the same or more in 2006 vs. 2005. In a related research note, PiperJaffray said iTunes remains dominant in the online music sales industry with an 82 percent share. Napster, Yahoo!, MSN, and RealNetworks appear to be fighting for the "remainder of the pie." Yahoo! has focused on price competitiveness, while Napster has worked to leverage its brand recognition.
iTunes 5 bugs
Users of Apple's new iTunes 5 for Windows are reporting a number of major issues with the software. The widespread problems have been identified on Apple's official discussion forum. Apple has stated that it is aware of the problems, but has yet to provide solutions for affected users. Problems include: crashing during installation, loss of playlists, inexplicable duplication of songs, conflicts with other software, and issues with the iTunes Music Store. Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, points out that rolling back to iTunes 4.9 "can be difficult or impossible, and Apple's lack of official recognition or public response regarding these problems is driving many users up the wall."
Taiwan MP3 prices
Vendors of non-brand name flash-based MP3 players have reduced their retail prices by 10 to 20 percent for 512MB models and 20 35 percent for 1GB models in the Taiwan market, according to DigiTimes. These vendors have slashed prices in reaction to the launch of Apple's highly competitive iPod nano. An industry source points out that these prices indicate that the iPod nano will have a large competitive impact on the Taiwan market, putting heavy pressure on non-brand name 512MB and 1GB MP3 players. Additionally, about 200 small and medium-size makers of MP3 players in Guangdong, China have been forced to close operations during the first half of this year due to tough competition, according to China-based on-line media SINA.com.
Apple in Ibn Battuta Mall
Arab Business Machines (ABM) will open the first exclusive Apple Center in the UAE on Saturday, September 17th. Located in the China themed court and covering 140 square meters, the new location is to showcase Apple's digital lifestyle by featuring the entire Apple product line of hardware and software, according to a report from AME Info. Visitors can discuss technical issues and product information, and experienced salespeople as well as customer service staff will be on hand. Weekly educational sessions are to be held in an effort to educate visitors about the advantages and benefits of Apple products, according to the report. On the opening day, an iPod will be given away every hour.
Mossberg on ROKR
WSJ writer Walter S. Mossberg takes a look at the Motorola ROKR, as well as some of the competition. Mossberg points out that Apple hasn't given much attention to the ROKR, with only a small button on its main site dedicated to the phone. While the phone works fairly well, Mossberg shares "Apple's indifference." However, when compared to the competition, the ROKR comes out on top. Sony Ericsson's $500 W800 Walkman cellphone is "very attractive," but its interface is "nowhere near as intuitive as iTunes." The low-cost LG VX8100 also suffers from interface shortcomings. The "abysmal" UI was "by far the worst in this bunch." Still, Mossberg says the ROKR isn't much to be excited about. "If you're desperate to have some songs on your cellphone, be our guest. But a smarter plan would be to wait for a better combo device. These aren't the phones that will replace your iPod."
On average, iPod owners carry more music than owners of other digital music players, according to a recent survey cited by Macworld UK. The average number of songs carried was 375. Researchers found that 50 percent of the sample group carried under 100 songs, with iPod owners storing an average of 504 songs on their player. In the sample group, 53 percent of all user music players used were iPods. Sony and RCA tied in second place with 9 per cent share each. Also noteworthy is the the number of music listeners using online services to buy music. Just 22 per cent of digital music player owners bought a song online at some point in the past, according to the survey.
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