Apple TV 3.0 Out the Door

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 04:17
Category: Apple TV, Software

appletv

About six weeks after dropping the 40 gigabyte Apple TV model and reducing the price on the remaining 160 gigabyte model to US$229, Apple has released version 3.0 of its Apple TV software. Per Macworld, the updated software offers a new main menu interface that provides direct access to rented and purchased movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos, and YouTube videos. Your content (My Movies, for example) now sits at the top of lists instead of at the bottom. Once you drill down into secondary menus, however, the interface is the same as before.

The new software also lets Apple TV users enjoy iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content for albums and movies, respectively.

The Apple TV now supports Genius Mixes as well, a new feature of iTunes 9 that also works on some iPod models.

For photos, the latest software adds support for iPhoto ‘09’s Events and Faces (but not Places) features.

Finally, Apple has stated that users can now listen to thousands of Internet radio stations and tag stations for later listening. You could in fact listen to Internet radio on the Apple TV previously, you just had to put the stations in a playlist.

The software is a free update for all Apple TV owners and can be snagged via the Apple TV’s Software Update feature.

Apple Posts US$1.67 Profit for Q4 2009

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 04:57
Category: Finance, News

applelogo1.jpg

In spite of a sagging global economy, Apple posted the results to its most profitable quarter ever, the company setting records for both Mac and iPhone sales. According to Macworld, the company reported a net profit of US$1.67 billion, or US$1.82 per share, on revenue of US$9.87 billion for its fourth quarter earnings.

Comparing those numbers to Apple’s year-ago figures, quarterly profits rose 46%, while earnings per share jumped 44%. Revenue increased 25% from the September 2008 quarter. At the end of the corner, the company had US$34 billion of cash on hand.

For the full 2009 fiscal year, Apple’s revenue rose 12% while its income increased 18% from 2008, according to chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. Those increases come during what the Apple executive called “extraordinary challenging times” which have done little to slow the company’s growth.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

For the December quarter, Apple told analysts to expect between US$11.3 and US$11.6 billion in sales and earnings ranging from US$1.70 to US$1.78 per share. This guidance was given without accounting for a rule change in the way Apple recognizes revenue from the iPhone and Apple TV. Apple was uncertain when it would adopt the new accounting method, which was OK’d by the Financial Accounting Standards Board last month.

Over the course of the quarter, Apple sold 3.05 million Macs during the quarter (a 17 percent increase over what it sold for the same three-month period in 2008). That 3.05 million figure sets a record for Mac sales, topping the previous high-water mark of 2.61 million Macs sold during the fiscal fourth-quarter of 2008.

During the quarter, Apple sold nearly 2.3 million notebooks, with portables accounting for an astounding 74% of the Macs sold during the last three months.

“Last quarter was the quarter of the portable,” chief operating officer Tim Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss Apple’s earnings. In response to one analyst’s comment that “the [laptop] price cut worked,” Cook responded loudly, “Yes, it did!”

Cook also said that Snow Leopard sales were stronger than Apple expected, with twice as many sales of Snow Leopard upgrades during the operating system’s first five weeks on sale than Leopard made during its first five weeks.

iPhone sales rose 7% from the year-ago quarter to nearly 7.4 million units. That compares to a little less than 6.9 million iPhones in the September 2008 quarter—a three-month period that saw Apple roll out the iPhone 3G in a number of markets around the globe.

For the quarter, Apple reported recognized revenue from iPhone handset sales of $2.3 billion, a 185% jump from US$806 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

If Apple had any disappointments in the quarter, it would be in its iPod business, where sales of the handheld music players fell 8% from the year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units. It was the second consecutive quarter where Apple saw iPod sales drop from the year-ago period.

However, Apple saw signs for optimism in its iPod numbers. According to the company, 50% of recent iPod buyers were purchasing their first iPod. What’s more, sales of the iPod touch doubled when compared to the same quarter a year ago, and Apple believes it can attract even more customers to the widescreen music player after cutting the price of the 8GB iPod touch to $199 last month.

“We believe the iPod lineup is attractive positioned for the holiday buying season,” Oppenheimer told analysts during Monday’s conference call. And that’s critical for Apple, which traditionally sees its highest iPod sales during the December quarter. In the December 2008 quarter, for example, Apple sold 22.7 million music players.

Rumor: Apple Contacted Media Outfits Regarding Tablet Device

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

Per Gizmodo, Apple recently approached a number of newspapers, magazines and other print media describing putting their products for sale on iTunes via a new piece of hardware. The report cited people familiar with The New York Times, publishers McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press, and a trip that “several executives from one of the largest magazine groups” took to the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

The Apple tablet project has apparently been through a number of different iterations, and the project has been reset numerous times by company co-founder Steve Jobs. The report said that Jobs was presented with a tablet device that ran a modified version of OS X years ago, but the device was shelved because the company could not determine what use people would have for the hardware.

The focus of the hardware now is said to not be the playback of media, which the iPod and iPhone lines already handle well. Instead, Apple is reportedly working to have publishers place their print content on iTunes.

“The eventual goal is to have publishers create hybridized content that draws from audio, video, interactive graphics in books, magazines and newspapers, where paper layouts would be static,” the report said. “And with release dates for Microsoft’s Courier set to be quite far away and Kindle stuck with relatively static e-ink, it appears that Apple is moving towards a pole position in distribution of this next-generation print content. First, it’ll get its feet wet with more basic repurposing of the stuff found on dead trees today.”

The article has stated that the device will debut in early 2010, which seems consistent with the rest of the rumor mill on this issue.

Two employees from The New York Times were allegedly contacted by Apple in June about putting their product on a “new device.” Publishers McGraw Hilll and Oberlin Press are said to be working to put their textbooks on iTunes, possibly in a DRMed format that would allow use for a period of time. Magazine executives are alleged to have presented their ideas on the future of publishing on Apple’s campus. Given the evidence, the report asserts that Apple is looking to go beyond e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle, to “redefine print.”

Apple TV Price Reduced by $100 for 160GB Model, 40GB Model Discontinued

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 06:58
Category: Apple TV, News

appletv

If you recently purchased a 40GB Apple TV unit, now may be the time to start kicking yourself. According to Macworld UK, the 160GB model’s price has been reduced by US$100 to US$229 while the company has discontinued the 40GB model, as seen in the Apple Store.

Some, including analysts, had anticipated a new version of the Apple TV at last Wednesday’s San Francisco event which saw a iPod refresh and new look in iTunes.

iTunes 9 adds a range of features, including Home Sharing and iTunes LP that would benefit the Apple TV.

Apple Introduced New iPod Touch, Classic, Video-Capable Nano Models at Media Event

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 11:42
Category: iPod, News

ipodclassic

Following weeks of anticipation, Apple released all new models of its iPod media player series at its “Rock and Rock” event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The new models include a 160GB iPod classic (which features an additional 40GB than the previous model) and retains the moving hard drive as opposed to a Flash-based drive.

Apple’s revised iPod shuffle, which is physically unchanged from the previous model, now arrives in black, silver, pink, green and blue and arrives in 2GB and 4GB capacities for US$59 and US$79, respectively. A new “special edition” 4GB model retails for US$99.

According to Macworld, Apple has responded to critics of the previous iPod shuffle design which moved the shuffle control on to the cord, Apple says that it’s working with third-party headphone makers to integrate the controls into their designs as well, and that adapters are also available with more on the way.

As expected, Apple also made changes to its best-selling iPod touch on Wednesday, reducing the price of its 8GB model from US$229 to US$199 while adding a 64GB model for US$399 while its 32GB model now sells for US$299.

The company also announced that the new high-end 32GB and 64GB models are now 50% faster and feature support for Open GL|ES version 2.0, the cross-platform graphics API.

The big news, however, arrived in the form of a new iPod nano with a built-in video camera. The unit arrives in 8GB and 16GB models, each model incorporating a video camera and microphone on the back of the device as well as a built-in speaker. The camera itself shoots H.264 VGA video at up to a 640 x 480 pixel resolution at up to 30 frames per second with AAC audio in either portrait or landscape modes.

The nano features 15 special effects that can be applied in real time: Sepia, Black and White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch, and Twirl and can display video or sync it back to your computer. From here, users can easily upload the clip to YouTube, Facebook, MobileMe, or share it via e-mail. The microphone can also be used with the nano’s voice recording feature.

The nano now offers full VoiceOver support, which provides audible navigation cues in 20 languages, and the new Genius Mixes feature, which creates up to 12 endless playlists of music based on your existing library. A new built-in pedometer which can measure your steps and sync the information with the Nike+ service and, in a first for an iPod, an FM radio tuner. The radio tuner now supports live pause, which allows users to pause a live program and resume it later, and iTunes Tagging, which lets listeners tag radio songs they like and then preview and optionally purchase the song next time they sync with iTunes.

The revised nano now features a larger 2.2″, 240 x 376-pixel, display and comes in nine colors: silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, (PRODUCT) RED and pink. The 8GB model retails for US$149 and the 16GB for US$179.

Both new models are shipping today and require Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later as well as iTunes 9 or later to install and run.

Apple Quietly Drops Certain iPod Model Prices Ahead of Media Event

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 03:38
Category: iPod, News

ipodclassic

With things gearing up for Apple’s iPod-focused media event, Apple appears to have begun quietly cutting the prices of certain existing iPods ahead of the event. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the following changes have just taken place:

-The iPod nano is now US$129 for 8GB and US$149 for 16GB.
-The iPod classic is now US$229.
-The iPod touch is now US$189 for 8GB, US$249 for 16GB and US$279 for 32GB.
-There is no change to the price of the iPod shuffle.

Stay tuned for additional news from the media event throughout the day.

Rumor: Apple TV Could Receive Changes at September 9th Event

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: Apple TV, Rumor

appletv

Altering an earlier opinion that surprise announcements weren’t to be expected at Apple’s anticipated September 9th media event, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster released a second note Tuesday suggesting an Apple TV upgrade could debut at next week’s event.

Per AppleInsider, Munster stated that he believed an appearance by Steve Jobs would be the biggest news out of the iPod-centric event. Munster has now said stated that he has reason to believe there will be an Apple TV-related announcement next Wednesday. In a note, he pointed out that Apple’s online store has a wait time of one to two weeks for the 40GB model at US$229. Munster said he has never seen a delay for the Apple TV since it debuted in March of 2007. The analyst suggests that Apple is either phasing out the 40GB model, as the 160GB offering is still available, or is selling its remaining inventory before a new product launches.

“We believe the company is most likely phasing out the 40GB model and possibly reducing the price of the 160GB model,” he said, “but a new model is possible given the hardware has been the same for 2+ years.”

Munster does not believe that a major upgrade to the Apple TV will happen next week because he expects such an announcement to coincide with a subscription service that would need to be negotiated with content providers. Weeks ago, Munster reiterated his belief that Apple is working towards a new Apple TV with iTunes show subscriptions and possibly DVR capabilities.

“It is unlikely that negotiations for new content are finished,” he said.

Given the age of the Apple TV hardware, Munster said he wouldn’t rule out a new lineup as a “wildcard” announcement at the media-centric event.

Munster went on to re-state his belief that Apple will launch a full-fledged television set in two to five years. Such a device, he said, would have DVR and home media functionality built in, and would sync content with Macs, iPhones and iPods wirelessly. He said an Apple television could also play games, with an iPhone or iPod touch acting as the wireless controller.

“Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs,” he said. “We believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers.”

Rumor: Apple to Hold September 9th Media Event, Unveil New iPods, iTunes 9

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009, 03:08
Category: iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

applelogo1.jpg

Apple is apparently planning a full media event for Wednesday, September 9th to introduce new iPod offerings and make a host of other music-related announcements.

AppleInsider, which cites sources close to the story, says that Apple had been teetering between Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 for weeks, but most recently indicated to its industry-related partners that the latter of the two dates would be more feasible.

The company is expected to use the gathering to introduce new versions of its iPod nano and iPod touch digital music players, both of which should serve as dual-purpose point-and-shoot cameras for the first time. AppleInsider also has it on authority that cameras are just one piece to this year’s iPod story.

Also likely is an introduction of iTunes 9, which has widely been rumored in recent weeks to make its debut with a handful of social networking features. Nothing is expected to be heard about the much anticipated Newton Web tablet, which isn’t expected to surface in any form until the first calendar quarter of 2010.

While it’s unclear at which venue Apple will hold the event, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center would seem a likely candidate if past years are of any indication. The Moscone West is also another potential candidate site. Analysts and members of the media should start receiving invitations will full details roughly one week prior.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

elsnowleopard

Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

Additional Details Surface Over Possible Apple Tablet

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 14th, 2009, 05:02
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

New reports surrounding a possible upcoming Apple tablet currently suggest that two versions (the first for educational use and the second with a webcam) could be made available. Both models would utilize an OLED screen and according to Gizmodo, include what an anonymous source described as a 10″ screen and look like a “giant iPhone, with a big black back.” The tipster claimed to have handled a mock-up of the device, stating it has a home button like an iPhone, and will be positioned between an iPod/iPhone and a MacBook.

The report did not elaborate on the supposed separate Web cam and education editions of the device, but said it would retail between US$700 and US$900. The device has allegedly been under development between four and six years, though the first prototype was only created in late 2008.

“To make up for the cost and make the device more than just a big iPod there was, this person claimed, there was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks,” wrote Brian Lam for the Gizmodo article, “much like a few of the USB screens that have come out in recent months from Chinese companies.”

The source also said that there is a question of what operating system the device will run (Lam calls that detail a “huge secret”), but that it’s possible the device could be made for sale this holiday season.

Additional anonymous sources have pointed towards a 10″ screen as well as a customer ARM chip to be developed by the PA Semi division. Other rumors have ascertained that the device will not be available until early 2010. Citing “very reliable sources,” Jim Dalrymple, of The Loop, corroborates that date.

Finally, a new report in Silicon Scoop alleges that Apple will launch in a tablet in limited release at US$899 by the end of 2009. The “SmartBook” device, as author Trip Chowdhry calls it, is reported to have an 8″ to 10″ OLED screen and feature an ARM Cortex-A9 chipset.

Chowdhry reports that Apple wants to launch the device this year, but it will not be available widespread until early 2010. Allegedly Apple’s new device is being compared performance-wise to the Archos 9 PC Tablet, a Windows 7-based netbook.

If you have any thoughts about an Apple tablet or have heard anything from your end, please let us know.