iPhone/iPod Sales Create Flash Memory Shortage

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Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 15:19
Category: Finance

We’re kind of all to blame for this one – or at least everyone who went out and snagged an iPod or iPhone.
The guys over at Macworld U.K. are reporting that flash memory prices have climbed 20% in the last two weeks. The article cites electronics wholesaler Chinavision.com, which has stated that the increased prices make Christmas gadgets more expensive this holiday season.
Short-term price boosts may be attributable to a recent power failure in a Samsung flash memory plant. The outage could have set production back by a week or more and created a worldwide shortage of flash memory, according to Chinavision.
An extremely strong demand for Apple products, namely the iPod and iPhone, may have compounded this. Apple is estimated to consume about 25% of the world’s flash memory supply for its products.
The news may be even worse for other companies, as smaller manufacturers of MP3 players have been forced to close shop in reaction to the price shift. “Their orders just dried up,” said Rose Li, PR manager for Chinavision.com. Li also commented that while flash memory price changes are historically known to be volatile, the latest jump has been both unusually severe and sudden.
An exact guess as to how dramatically the price fluctuation would affect holiday shopping was not immediately available.
If you have your two cents to throw in on this, let us know in the comments or forums.


Skype 2.7 Public Beta Released

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Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 13:17
Category: Software

On Wednesday, Skype released a public beta of version 2.7 of its self-titled Voice over Internet Protocol software.
The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following features and changes:
-Now you can organise your contacts into as many groups as you need. While there are some pre-defined groups (like Online, Recently Contacted, Address Book Contacts), you‚Äôre free to add new ones that suit your life. This is very useful to those who are very popular and have a contact list with hundreds of people. Explore this feature under the cogwheel icon on the main screen and selecting “Show Contact Groups”.
-See your Apple Address Book contacts in Skype Рeasily call or SMS anyone who has a phone number in their address-book profile. When sending a SMS, just make sure the number you’re sending to can receive SMS.
-Create and manage public chats by clicking on Chats in the menu bar and choosing Start Public Chat. A public-chat assistant will walk you through the necessary steps.
-Auto Redial for busy or unconnected calls. When your call hits the busy signal, Skype will give you the option of automatic redial every two minutes until the call goes through. This setting can also be adjusted in Skype > Preferences > Calls.
-Easy sound controls – when you need to tweak the sound level during a call, use a simple slider in the call window, or change your device by clicking this icon.
-Overhauled file transfer – wearing a more fashionable jacket, file-transfer now looks elegant and acts even nicer, especially when receiving many files at once.
Skype 2.7 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is coded as a Universal Binary which can run at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’ve tried the new version and have any kind of feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.


Apple to Expand iPhone Sales to Authorized Business Partner Channel

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Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 08:14
Category: iPhone

Since its introduction, it hasn’t been a challenge to get your mitts on an iPhone. Still, additional purchasing options never hurt.
According to The iPod Observer, Apple is now allowing the iPhone to be sold through consultants and other value added providers currently participating in the Apple Authorized Business Agent Program.
The change, which might be seen as a ramping up in production for the iPhone, could also be an effort to test the waters before instituting a wider-scale iPhone sales program. Should such an effort prove successful, iPhone sales could then expand into additional channels such as online and catalog-based authorized resellers.
To date, Apple has sold approximately 270,000 iPhones and expects to sell one million units by the end of its September quarter.
If you have any thoughts or feedback on additional iPhone retail outlets, let us know in the comments or forums.


Energizer to Release Energi To Go Systems for iPods

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Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 08:21
Category: iPod

On Tuesday, battery maker Energizer announced this is would be bringing its Energi To Go power systems to dock-connecting iPods this fall.
According to Engadget, the Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod will be powered by a pair of AA batteries, sport a “flip design” that allows it to double as a stand and will feature a “patented intelligent control chip that maximizes power transfer to the iPod.”
Energizer has stated that the Energi To Go system will be able to provide “more than 46 hours” of power to an iPod Nano and “more than 32 hours” of power for an iPod video.
The device will retail for US$29.99 and include the charger as well as two complimentary Energizer e2 lithium AA batteries upon its release.
And no matter how well the device works, I still love that bunny…
If you have any ideas or feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.