Survey Finds 33% of Users Wanting FM Playback on MP3 Devices

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Date: Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007, 07:30
Category: News

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In a Jacobs Media survey conducted between late February and March of 2007, approximately 33% of respondents in a survey consisting of over 25,000 listeners of various rock stations around the United States cited that they’d like FM radio playback on current or future iPods. Jacobs Media operates as a radio consulting firm within the United States.
The poll also established that an FM playback ability seemed more important to users than an increased storage capacity, larger screen or video playback according to Macworld UK.
To date, Apple has never included a built-in FM receiver with its iPod devices, leaving third-party firms to provide these features. Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player, which debuted in late 2006, made a point of including FM radio support and marketing this as a missing feature not found on the iPod.
The poll also discovered that MP3 player ownership has steadily increased, rising 47% in 2006 to demonstrate a 34% increase.
“iPods are showing no signs of stopping,” said Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media. “Last year, our data showed that the growth of personal MP3 players was far from over. This year, our new study confirms that this phenomenon continues to have lots of life, and we expect strong growth throughout ’07.”
This brings about a good question. How important is an FM playback feature on your iPod to you and have you gone to a third party outfit to fill this need? What’s your overall take on it?
If you have an idea or comment, let us know.

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It May Not Be Pretty…

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Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2007, 13:14
Category: News

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But it could be functional. French IT services outfit Theithelper.com has released the Comp Shade, a foldable laptop shade capable of blocking 100% of incoming light designed to reduce eye strain as well as provide privacy in public places.
Small, light (about seven ounces) and portable, the device connects to the laptop and itself via a mounting strip, then attaches to itself with hook and loop strips. The Comp Shade retails for 20 Euros (or about US$26.74), weighs seven ounces and forms a nine inch deep viewing tunnel for the user.
If you’ve tried this or something similar and have feedback about it, let us know.

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Apple and EMI to Start Selling DRM-Free Music

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Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2007, 11:15
Category: News

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On Monday, Apple Inc. and EMI announced that beginning in May, the two firms will begin selling digital rights management-free music.
These files will be available at a higher audio quality (256 kbps AAC format as opposed to 128 kbps AAC format) at a higher price of US$1.29 per song according to Macworld News. Apple currently charges US$0.99 per song on the iTunes Store.
During the event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented that users would have a choice between the standard DRM-encoded songs and the higher-quality DRM-free tracks, which would supplement the Apple Store’s current selection. Users who already owned EMI-based tracks could upgrade these songs for US$0.30 per song should they wish to do son.
Earlier this year, Jobs sent out an open letter pushing for the removal of digital rights management code from music purchased from online stores such as the iTunes Store. EMI seems to be the first major music label to follow through on this, a point Jobs specifically commented on.
“Hopefully, by our actions here today and over the coming months they will conclude that we are continuing to do exactly what has earned us these number one positions — doing the right thing for the customer,” said Jobs. “The right thing for the customer going forward is to tear down the walls that preclude interoperability by going DRM free. That starts here today.”
A big step no matter how you look at us. If you have an opinion about this, let us know.

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Apple Offers Reduced 5G iPod Pricing to UK Customers

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Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2007, 10:50
Category: News

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Back in the Old World, Apple has made the somewhat surprising move of offering lowered prices according to iLounge.
The discounts, which apply to the 30 gigabyte and 80 gigabyte models, reduce the prices from 189 pounds to 179 pounds for the 30 gigabyte model and 259 pounds to 239 pounds for the 80 gigabyte model. Pricing for the UK Apple Store’s iPod Nano and Shuffle units remains the same.
These same price cuts are not reflected on the U.S. Apple Store.

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iScroll2 0.27 Adds 2-Finger Scrolling to Older Apple Laptops

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Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2007, 07:28
Category: Software

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Though hardly a secret feature by any means, discovering that your iBook, PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro can be scrolled through simply by using an extra figner on the trackpad amounts to one of those “Hey, that’s kind of cool!!!” moments.
Unfortunately, this ability wasn’t present until Apple’s 2005 laptops came on the market.
Daniel Becker’s iScroll 2 0.27 adds full support for this on most of Apple’s aluminum PowerBook G4 units as well as all iBook G4 models introduced from 2003 to 2004. The program, a free 176 kilobyte download courtesy of sourceforge.net, is based on Apple’s AppleADBMouse driver, which was written for the Apple Desktop Bus-powered trackpads found on older Apple laptops. This code was then released via Apple’s Darwin project and has since been rewritten to support newer laptop models.
iScroll 2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later and a 2003 aluminum PowerBook or iBook G4 to run.
If you’ve had either positive or negative experiences with this, let us know.

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Rome Apple Store to Open on Saturday

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 14:56
Category: News

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Moving into the European market, Apple opened its doors to press in a special dedicated preview session. The guys over at macitynet.it were there to capture the action in an event that marked Apple’s first store inside continental Europe.
The location, which measures 500 square meters, serves as a full Apple Store location and can be found inside the RomaEst big Mall. The site will open to the public on Saturday, March 31st at 9 AM with surprises being given away to people at the front of the line.
In the meantime, take a gander at the photo gallery that’s been assembled and if you have Mac user friends or family in the city come tomorrow, point them towards the opening event.

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The Apple Core: Windows Users Can’t Search iTunes Store in iTunes 7.1.1

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 09:22
Category: News

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Jason O’Grady’s Apple Core blog is reporting that Windows users are currently unable to search through the iTunes Store after downloading and installing iTunes 7.1.1 on their computers:
Thousands, if not more, of Windows users cannot search for music in the iTunes store since the latest upgrade. Apple has not responded to requests for help and is instead blaming each individual user.
From a spirited thread on Apple’s discussion forums:
I’m unable to successfully use the iTunes Store. The following error occurs randomly, though it most often happen when searching and power searching, the progress bar on top will just never stop and the error message will display after about 30 seconds. It sometimes occur when browsing and clicking on links (the page will not load).
Here’s the error message :
“We could not complete your iTunes Store request. The network connection timed out. Make sure your network settings are correct and your network connection is active, then try again.”
For the rest of the story, click here.
If you’ve seen this problem on your end, let us know.

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First Impressions: Apple TV

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 09:39
Category: Review

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With Apple TV mania at its zenith, PowerPage associate editor, Philadelphia PowerBook Users Group co-creator and Emmy award winning NFL videographer Rob Parker sped out to the King of Prussia Apple Store location to snag a unit.
Here are his first impressions:
I’m a gadget freak and I usually buy cool new stuff immediately after it becomes available. Apple TV is just this kind of toy. However, it has limitations that I decided I wasn’t willing to deal with. I did want to see one in the flesh though so I headed to the King of Prussia Apple Store to see what’s up.
The Hardware:
Apple TV is supremely thin and attractive. I personally would rather it be a little thicker and include a DVD player. While the Apple TV’s chipset and QuickTime itself is capable of 5.1 surround sound, the unit is currently not able to do it. Let’s hope for some improvements in version 2.0. The two store units on display were connected via HDMI to a pair of Sony 32-inch HD LCD Televisions. Both units were noticeably hot. And by that I mean that you could iron your boxers or make a nice panini between them. Where’s my spray starch?
Click the jump for the full story…

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Cingular Confirms June 11th iPhone Release

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 08:06
Category: News

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When in doubt, just call and ask. Declan McCullagh over at news.com Gadgets blog writes that he called Cingular last Thursday and spoke with a customer service manager at their 1-800-947-5096 number who provided the date, then transferred McCullagh to sales.
No additional information was available beyond this.
June 11th also coincides with the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled to be held in San Francisco from June 11th to the 15th.
If you’ve heard differently or have comments or ideas about this, let us know.

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OpenOffice.org 2.2 Released

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 07:34
Category: Software

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OpenOffice.org, the free, open source miltilingual office suite project, has been updated to version 2.2. The software, based on free code and XML capabilities with support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, features the following fixes and improvements among others:
-Enhanced text display throughout.
-Better support for Pivot Tables in Calc.
-Several key improvements in Base.
-A more robust Mac version for X11.
OpenOffice.org supports both the PowerPC and Intel hardware architectures for the Mac with multiple versions available for Mac OS X. The program is about a 134 megabyte download depending on version selected and requires Mac OS X and the latest version of Java for the operating system to run.
If you’ve tried the new version and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know.

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