While Apple may not be exhibiting at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, Apple is making an impact on the show, according to one columnist. In addition the numerous accessories and gadgets for the company's tremendously popular iPod, Apple is on the minds of many of the largest consumer electronics companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Sony--behind closed doors, many companies are struggling to develop strategies to counter Apple's gaining momentum in the digital music/video industry and in the consumer electronics space. "Jobs' company is on the minds of lots of tech executives these days, whether or not they mention it out loud. Bill Gates' presentation gets graded, consciously or not, by the standard set by Jobs' famously theatrical presentations--and his performance Wednesday night was 'his attempt to out-Job Jobs, and it didn't work,' sniffed one tech executive cum drama critic."
Gefen this week introduced a range of connectivity solutions for Apple's Cinema Displays. The new HD-Mate acts as the interface between multiple HDTV sources and an Apple Cinema Display. It supports high definition resolutions up to 1920x1080i and comes equipped with one DVI and two component inputs that connect satellite television systems, camcorders, DVD players and gaming systems such as the Xbox 360. A total of three HD sources can be connected at the same time using the HD-Mate, which allows the user to easily switch between sources using a simple push-button menu on the unit itself. It features intuitive on-screen menu pages, accessible through the menu buttons on the HD-Mate unit, to offer image adjustments to accommodate different view outputs and screen sizes.
Gefen (booth 2746) this week introduced its Wireless USB Extender, which allows any USB 2.0 peripheral to be powered from remote distances up to 30 feet from a Mac without cables. The first-of-its-kind device for the US market supports the instantaneous transfer of data using Freescale Semiconductor's Ultra-Wideband wireless solution. The Wireless USB Extender uses small sender and receiver units connected to the computer and the extended USB device. It can connect cameras, keyboards, printers or any USB 2.0 device located up to 30 feet from the computer. Freescale's UWB technology enables high transfer rates of video, audio and data streams wirelessly, reaching rates 100 times faster than Bluetooth technology while maintaining wire-like quality, according to initial testing.
ezGear has introduced its ezStart nano Starter kit for owners of Apple's iPod nano. The company says the value-priced Kit includes everything to use, charge, share, and protect the iPod nano, including ezCharge Car Charger, ezPower wall charger, ezSkin nano protective case, ezGold earphone splitter, and ezCassette cassette adapter. The ezCharge Car Charger delivers fuse protection and is compatible with the iPod USB synchronization cable, while the ezPower Wall Charger is a power transformer that charges the Nano via your iPod USB synchronization cable. The ezSkin nano is a silicon case that protects the Nano from dirt and scratches and includes an integrated clickwheel cover, a screen protector, a removable belt clip, and a removable neck strap. The kit included with the Frost white or Onyx black versions. ezGear says that the five items sell separately for $130, but are available for only $60 via the ezStart nano Starter Kit.
Audiovox this week introduced several high-tech digital products at CES, including a universal iPod docking station that recharges while playing iPod or MP3 content (model CE602IP). Features include super bass speakers, iPod shuffle adapter and AC/DC adapter. The company says that it is compatible with all iPod products and other MP3 players. It will retail for $70. (Expected date of availability was not noted.) The company also launched a digital MP3 player housed in designer-style sunglasses (model MP256SG). The device includes an interchangeable, polarized shatter-proof lenses, 256MB flash memory, a built-in rechargeable battery, and up to 8.5 hours of music playback (per charge). Additional features include digital voice recorder, integrated microphone, PC/Mac compatible USB drive, and support for MP3/WMA/ADCPM. It offers standard USB 2.0 connectivity (via an included cable) and ships with carrying bag for $130.
Valor Multimedia has introduced the first multimedia interface for the iPod, which it says enables any iPod to play video on any multimedia system--either in the home or in the car. The company says that its new iLink enables users to to watch movies stored on the iPod, listen to both MP3 and WMA audio files as well as iTunes audio files, view photos on any attched video monitor, and more. Users can also control the iPod with a wireless IR remote control and display on-screen menus on any video display. Valor claims iLink will work with any brand of car or home audio/video product and will charge the iPod when connected.
Now AAPL Stock: 92.17 ( -1.07 )
Retail VP Kupbens leaves Apple
Bob Kupbens, who joined Apple in 2014 just ahead of Dame Angela Ahrendts to run the online Apple Store and other web-based retail programs as vice president of online marketing efforts, has reportedly left the company for another position. Kupbens, who was previously in charge of digital marketing initiatives and e-commerce at Delta Air Lines, replaced Jennifer Bailey when she was appointed to run the Apple Pay project. He has overseen the redesign of the online store, the online iPhone upgrade program, and has generally worked to make the site better integrated with the retail Apple Stores. No replacement for Kupbens has yet been named.
Xcode updated for Git security
Apple on Friday patched two known critical vulnerabilities in its Xcode development tool that were concerned with the Git source code management client portion of the program. For unknown reasons, Apple waited seven weeks to update the version of Git shipping with the command-line tools in Xcode to v2.7.4, released by Git developers on March 17 to address the vulnerabilities. The flaw, now corrected, could allow for cloning a repository with a specially-crafted file structure, giving attackers a chance to execute malicious code on systems where cloning operations were initiated, reports Computerworld. The Command Line Tools package is not installed by default on OS X, but users have the option of installing it, and in some cases were forced to disable Git until the tools were updated. http://apple.co/24BQJP3
Twitter for Mac gets Moments, Polls
Twitter has updated its Mac app with Moments and Polls, features previously rolled out in its web portal and in its mobile apps. The new Moments tab is designed to make it easier to find more interesting and relevant content. Content is curated in categories including News, Sports, Entertainment and Fun, with trending topics highlighted for an easier to use, more engaging experience. The Twitter for Mac app also picks up the ability to create custom multiple choice polls via Tweets that are live for a 24-hour period. Users can also share GIFs in both Tweets and Direct Messages thanks to a new GIF search function. http://apple.co/1rxCvA0
GoPro revenue drops, Karma drone delayed
Action camera maker GoPro announced its first quarter results on Thursday, and the news was largely bad. While unit sell-through of the cameras was close to the year-over-year compare, revenues dropped 49.5 percent from Q1 last year, though was slightly above the company's guidance. Overall, the company lost $107 million in GAAP net income, and margins declined to 32.5 percent from 45.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. The company further announced that it would be delaying its planned Karma drone product until this winter, which will likely further impact next quarter's results. The upside of the delay, said GoPro Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman, is that the Karma will now benefit from debuting just before the holiday buying season. http://bit.ly/1OgpdgD
Netflix iOS app now offers cell-data controls
In a new update to its iOS app on Thursday, subscription entertainment service Netflix has introduced new user controls for streaming over cellular networks to prevent overages, throttling, or other usage issues caused by the high data rate of streamed HD video. Users can choose from a given amount of streaming video that "costs" 1GB of cellular data, which lowers video quality to allow as much as four hours of video per GB (the "automatic" setting provides three hours, while higher quality settings reduce the time to two hours, or one hour at the best setting). In addition, the updated app now offers more 3D Touch options from the app icon, beyond the "peek and pop" previews for video. http://apple.co/24AD1vR
Bentley launches app for Apple Watch
Carmaker Bentley now offers an Apple Watch app for its Bentayga SUV -- a vehicle with a starting price of $229,000 -- that offers some advanced automotive functions not previously seen in other car apps for Apple's wearable. The app allows Watch wearers to control various seat adjustments, environmental controls (including seat massage), and the entertainment system. In addition, various vehicle stats are available at a glance, including distance traveled and vehicle speed. The app is available free on the App Store. http://apple.co/24AyXvs
Lunch with Cook auction nets $515K
The Charitybuzz auction that offered lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple HQ and a pair of passes to a future Apple event (winner's pick) has ended with a high bid of $515,000, the highest amount the annual auction has fetched since 2013. Proceeds of the auction will benefit Cook's preferred charity, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, where Cook was recently named to the board of directors. The winner, who was unnamed, will be responsible for their own transportation and accommodation, and Cook has up to a year to schedule the meeting -- making it possible that the winner will be among the first to dine with Cook in the new Campus 2 cafeteria, which is set to open along with the rest of the new facility early next year. http://bit.ly/236Wf9N