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.
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Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX