Apple's iPod Hi-Fi has received high marks from a Stereophile senior contributing editor, who says the device produces "glorious sound." A review on NewJersey.com talks about Apple's new iPod stereo jukebox, noting that while the iPod Hi-Fi may not live up to Steve Jobs' claims of replacing a high-end stereo system, it delivers high-quality sound along with some nice extras -- despite some misgivings with its weight and aesthetic appeal: "But the dual-ported box, fitted with a robust 5-inch woofer, outputs surprisingly deep, supple, musical bass. A pair of rich-sounding 3-inch midrange tweeters deftly integrate with the woofer to deliver the rest of the music with equally smooth composure. Apple didn't neglect functionality, or its famous obsession with small details -- too many to list here."
Apple is exploring new ways to market and sell music videos in bulk as interest in downloadable video grows, according to Billboard. In recent weeks, the company has begun offering all the clips from Tori Amos' "Fade to Red" -- a 21-song music video collection released on DVD -- as individual downloads for $1.99 each or as a complete package for $24.99, according to the report. While the company has always sold individual video clips, the report notes that Apple has been trending toward higher-margin video bundles, including vingles (videos bundled with the corresponding song) and iTunes-only "video albums," which offer of six to seven exclusive videos that are not available elsewhere--either digitally or on DVD. The trend toward video collections is expected to continue on iTunes, currently the leading online service for music: "It's a natural fit," says Eddie Cue, vice president of applications for Apple. "These are not replacements for people buying individual songs or albums. But they're great for well-established artists with a fan base behind them that wants more product."
Unusual price drops in the advertised price of Apple's iPod have prompted some to speculate that the company is set to introduce a line of iPods to replace its existing products, according to a new report. Retailers such as Amazon.com have begun below-MAP (minimum advertised price) advertising for Apple's range of iPods. Amazon is offering a seven percent (about $20) discount on Apple's video iPod and a five percent discount on the iPod nano. While retailers sometimes offer discounts, they are usually hidden until a customer has added the item to the cart and/or available as an "instant rebate". The below-MAP advertising suggests that Apple has lifted the MAP restrictions in order to allow retailers to clear their inventory, hinting at the introduction of new iPods in the near future, according the publication. Earlier this month big-box retailers were told that the high-end 60GB is "at risk" of being replaced and/or discontinued. In addition, AppleInsider reports that Meijer, a discount superstore chain in the Midwest, is advertising 10 percent discount sales on Apple's iPod in its weekend circular.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.24 ( -0.95 )
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
Free Windows 10 upgrade program ends July 29
Ending speculation, Microsoft has officially announced that it will end free Windows 10 upgrades on July 29, the one-year anniversary of the rollout of the OS. Following the 29th, Microsoft's ubiquitous OS will retail for $119 and up. http://bit.ly/1O0a7kA
US tech giants to candidates: support TPP
Tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Uber are among thirteen major US corporations who have written an open letter to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton urging them to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, reports Reuters. Although not yet made public, the letter also asks the candidates to make it easier for the companies to hire tech workers from overseas. Both are not happy with the TPP deal, although Trump is sterner in his opposition to any kind of trade deals between countries. Trump has not rejected outright the idea of importing high-tech talent from overseas, while Clinton has already voiced her support for the idea. http://reut.rs/1Wb0Zwq
Apple mandates June 1 app IPv6 support
Apple has set the deadline for IPv6 support for App Store-supplied software. On June 1, apps thast use a custom networking stack and that are submitted to the app store must support IPv6-only networks. The rule, announced last year as coming soon, will only affect a small portion of submitted applications that do not use the NSURLSession and CFNetwork APIs. http://apple.co/24yBTIY