Tag Archives | iPod

Remoteblogging the Apple iPod Event

For the first time in a while, I’m not at an Apple product-launch event–I’m at DEMO in San Francisco today, so I’ll miss “Let’s Rock” in San Francisco. (Which probably means it’ll be an especially good one…the last one I missed was the original iPhone launch at Macworld Expo 2007.)

The good news is that the Web will be full of live coverage, including liveblogs at Cnet, Macworld, Engadget, Gizmodo, and elsewhere. I’ll be reading ’em and chiming in here. Call it remoteblogging, if you will–and refresh this page for updates. It’ll be an interesting experiment, if nothing else.

11:05: Apple event is over! I had fun even though I wasn’t there. I’m going back to attending DEMO–more thoughts later.

11:02: Unrelated news which I may or may not write about at greater length later: PC World has announced that my friend and former boss Steve Fox, who has an ever longer history with PCW and IDG than me, is the new head of editorial. That’s amazing news, and he’ll do a great job.

11:02: More music from Jack Johnson.

11:01: Twitter is down. Possibly killed by Apple-related tweets.

11:00am: Jack Johnson speaking to crowd.

10:57: Johnson is apparently playing something with political overtones, or understones. I can’t tell from here.

10:53: Musical conclusion with Jack Johnson, #1 selling male artist on iTunes. Does Jobs ever announce anything after the music? Not that I can recall.

10:52: iPhone 2.1 software available today Friday, fixes lots of bugs.

10:50: My EVDO choked, so I’m playing catchup. Schiller showed soccer game and Need for Speed. Touch prices: 8GB, $229, 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399. Available now. People at event see new ad.

10:41: Guy in front of me here at DEMO is reading Engadget’s liveblog of Apple event; Bet he’s not alone…

10:38: Steve invites Phil Schiller onstage, apparently to talk games. He’s demoing Spore, which just shipped.

10:37: Demo of Genius feature on the Touch. And watching Iron Man.

10:34: 100 million apps have been downloaded from the App Store. It’s available in 62 countries. 700 games available.

10:32: New Touch has built-in speakers, volume controls on side, built in Nike support, App Store, other software enhancements. Jobs is showing Genius feature again.

10:32: Is the fact that he announced the Nano first a hint that something REALLY interesting will be the “Just one more thing?” Maybe, maybe not.

10:31: Jobs is introducing new iPod Touch. It’s contoured, in a stainless steel case.

10:30: If I were at the event, I’d be watching a new Nano ad right now.

10:28: New Nanos in stores in next few days. Also introducing new $79 headphones with built-in microphone, woofer, and tweeter.

10:26: Announcing colors (blue, purple, orange, green, pink, yellow, red, violet, silver) and pricing:  $149 for 8GB, $199 for 16GB.

10:25: New Nanos are highly recyclable.

10:24: New Nano has 24 hour battery life for audio, four hours for video.

10:23: As rumored, shake the Nano and it’ll shuffle your songs!

10:22: Rotate the Nano into landscape mode, and it automatically notices, adjusts the screen, and goes into Cover Flow mode.

10:20: New Nano is, as rumors had it, curved. And as last-moment rumors said, it has accelerometer from iPhone and iPod Touch.

10:19: New Nano is extremely thin–Jobs says we’ll be blown away. Thinnest iPod ever. Aluminum case, curved glass screen.

10:18: He’s announcing the new Nano. It’s the skinny model I was skeptical about, from all the spy shots. Wrong again!

0:16: Microsoft-bashing: Zune has 2.6 percent market share. Sandisk has 8.6 percent–actually kind of amazing for a memory company. iPod has 73.4 percent. Still dominant after all these years.

10:15: Remoteblogging is fun, but it just ain’t the same when you can’t hear Steve Jobs. Yes, it’s what creates the reality distortion field. But without Jobs, it’s all a lot more clinical.

10:14: He’s moving onto iPods and quoting impressive stats.

10:13: Jobs is demoing Genius by listening to Elvis and getting a playlist with Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison automatically.

10:11: Jobs is browsing songs by artist, genre, etc. You can browse albums by cover and look at albums by artist. Works for TVs and movies, too.

10:09: Genius sends info about your musical tastes to the cloud, but it’s anonymous. Also uses combined data of all iTunes users.

10:07: iTunes 8 has Genius feature that makes playlists of songs that go great together. Will also recommend songs you should buy from iTunes Store.

10:06am: NBC is returning to iTunes Store; HD TV Shows available on iTunes for $299; iTunes 8 is launching today.

10:03: Okay, he’s quoting stats about iTunes sales.

10:02: Actually, Steve is onstage. He says there’s some exciting stuff to come, and makes reference to Bloomberg’s premature obituary for him.

10:00: It’s 10. But these events usually start a few minutes late, and begin with some fairly standard stats on sales of iPods and iPhones, iTunes successes, etc. So I’m not overly anxious. Yet.

9:58: Engadget says that the Doors’ “Touch Me” is playing; sign of new touch-screen products? Who knows?

9:56am: If I were actually at the event, I’d be blogging about the crowds and music right about now; if I spotted Al Gore or Woz in the crowd, I’d mention that, too…


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Microsoft’s Zune: 24 Hours of Glory

Steve Jobs goes onstage to unveil new iPods at 10am today; we’ll all be drowning in coverage of them shortly thereafter. So I understand why Microsoft made its Zune announcements yesterday morning.
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An Intensely Selfish Apple Wishlist for Tomorrow’s Event

I’m telling you, I’ve given up trying to predict what Apple will announce at its press events, such as the one that’ll happen tomorrow in San Francisco. Safe predictions (“The event is called ‘Let’s Rock,’ so it’s likely that it will involve new iPods”) are boring, boring, boring. Out-there ones (“Apple will release a touch-screen Mac tablet”) are too random. And the most interesting things that happen at Apple events are usually so unpredictable that nobody predicted them.

That doesn’t mean I’m not curious, though, or that there aren’t things I’d like to see announced. So in lieu of a list of predictions, here’s a wish list, in rough order of its chances of actually being announced tomorrow (that doesn’t count as a prediction, does it?).
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Apple Monopolistic? Maybe. Control Freaks? Definitely!

Dan Lyons, who used to be best known as Fake Steve Jobs but who now writes for Newsweek under the name of…Dan Lyons, has written a piece called “One Bad Apple” for his new employer. It makes the case that Apple is a would-be monopolist that’s beginning to resemble the Microsoft of a decade or so–the one that wanted to dominate every market it could, and which left smaller companies with only crumbs off the table.

Lyons’ piece starts with an example that that’s not that compelling: Apple TV vs. the nifty movie box from a small company called Vudu. He correctly points out that Apple TV has added features that resemble some of those in Vudu, and that Apple cut Apple TV’s price. But Apple TV predates Vudu and sold for less than it in the first place; you can’t blame Apple for competing in a market when it was there first, and I don’t think you can criticize it for improving its product.

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Dell Joins the Mini-Laptop Movement

Remember when laptops were big, heavy, and cost two or three thousand dollars? Most of the action at the moment involves undersized cheapie models like the eee PC, HP Mini-Note…and Dell’s new Inspiron.
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New iPod Nano? Sure. This One? I’m Skeptical.

Digg’s Kevin Rose has blogged that new, cheaper iPods will arrive in the next two or three weeks. That I can believe. (I’d bet on the outer edge of the prediction timewise or even a bit later, since Apple will almost certainly need a little time to invite journalists to a press event to roll out the new line.) But Rose has also posted a photo of what is supposedly the new iPod Nano in a skinny form factor that looks more like the original Nano than the current, more squarish design:

Like all alleged spy shots of unreleased products, this one is conveniently fuzzy-wuzzy…actually, it appears to be in black and white. (How come nobody with access to a top-secret product ever has a decent digital SLR handy?) But the shot is clear enough to see that the touch wheel has a menu button, backward and forward buttons, and a play/stop button.

And that’s why I think this photo is a fake. Presumably, the design involves holding the iPod in portrait mode when listening to music, and rotating it into landscape orientation to watch video. But in landscape mode, the orientation of the touch wheel doesn’t make a lot of sense: Backwards becomes up and forward becomes down, and the “Menu” label is sideways. Yes, you could figure it out. But I have a hard time believing that Apple would do anything so apparently ungainly and inelegant. (The iPhone’s rotating screen makes perfect sense, since the touch-screen controls rotate, too–and note that the one button on the iPhone’s face was designed to look exactly the same no matter what the orientation.)

Full disclosure: I’m probably predisposed to hope that this isn’t the new Nano, since I think the current square one is one of Apple’s nicest industrial designs ever. (I’m not sure why, but think of it as being a little guy; there’s something human about the proportions and styling.) If this one looked like an improvement, I might be more inclined to suspend my disbelief. For now, though, I don’t wanna believe.

Let’s end with a flashback to late 2006: Kevin Rose said that the iPhone was on its way (right!) but said it would be released on all carriers simultaneous, would have a slide-out keyboard, and would sport dual batteries (wrong, wrong, wrong)!

I hope that once again, he’s right on the timing and wrong on the details…


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Apple: Superhuman or Merely Human?

Strange but true: These are either the best of times or the worst of times for Apple’s reputation–and it all depends on which developments you choose to pay attention to.

First the good news. The company’s performance in the just-released American Customer Satisfaction Index was terrific. The company scored an 85 in the study, well ahead of other computer companies such as Dell (75), HP (73), and Gateway (72). (Google, incidentally, did Apple one better, scoring an 86.)

Apple’s score represented its biggest jump ever over the previous year’s results, and the largest gulf ever between it and the rest of the PC industry. And it comes shortly after PC Magazine released the results of a reader survey that also showed Apple customers to be a more generally gruntled bunch than folks who use Windows-based PCs.

But these survey results arrive at a time when much of the news about Apple products involves them misbehaving. There’s the launch of the Mobile Me service–so glitchy that Apple says it’s still not up to the company’s own standards, and has extended three months (so far) of free service to subscribers to make amends. There’s the iPhone 3G’s ongoing issues with flaky 3G data and dropped calls, which Apple isn’t talking about much–although Steve Jobs is supposedly dashing off quick e-mails to iPhone owners saying  fixes for this and other problems are in the works. Even old first generation iPod Nanos are apparently deciding to catch on fire, just to add yet another burst of news stories about problematic Apple products.

Did I mention Mike Arrington’s post over at TechCrunch today saying that Apple is “flailing badly at the edges” and recounting the woes he’s had with multiple products from the company?

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The iPod Nano is Hot, Hot, Hot!

It’s been months since I’ve seen a good story about the battery inside a gadget spontaneously bursting into flames. So today’s news of Nanos overheating (again!) manages to make the top of the T-List.
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