I’ve noticed a slight uptick in misinformation about the AAC audio format. It could be coincidence, but I suspect it’s a result of Apple’s recent push towards selling DRM-free music on the iTunes Store. There are some people who have long insisted that Apple’s grand scheme for the iPod and iTunes hinges on proprietary file format lock-in, and I think what they’re doing now is grasping for some way to continue making this argument.
Last week’s announcement with EMI put those arguments to rest.
But why did these lock-in arguments gain so much traction in the first place?
Apple late yesterday began airing the first television commercial for the Apple TV. The 30-second spot, which has already run on several networks, features a scene from the Jack Black movie “School of Rock” with a voice over saying, “It’s on your computer. It’s on your iPod. Now, it’s on your TV.”
Pros: A simple, reasonably priced second-generation iPod shuffle armband that’s well made and capable of holding a shuffle sideways on your arm while you run. Visually neutral single color scheme and design.
Cons: Unlike closest competitor, offers no iPod shuffle front, top, bottom, or side body protection whatsoever; nothing more than an arm mount. Not recommended for use in rainy or heavy sweat conditions.
Yesterday Apple announced it had sold over 100 million iPods.
Damn, that’s a lot of iPods.
I’m not one to brag, but without my help, Apple might have had to wait nearly another .0000136 seconds for its Official iPod Odometer to reveal that important ninth digit. I’m writing, of course, about my collection of iPods, the glories of which I will now recount.
Apple has posted a firmware update for its AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, to bring it to version 7.1. The new update can be downloaded from Apple’s Web site; users will also be notified of its availability if they launch the AirPort Utility software that comes with the device.
This release of the firmware “includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n,” according to Apple.
Generally, Apple has very little use for anniversaries. Recent milestones—like 2006’s 30th anniversary of the company’s founding, the Mac’s 20th anniversary in 2004, and the iPod’s fifth anniversary last fall—passed without much official to-do from the company. But when Apple sold its 100 millionth iPod recently, the company made sure not to let the occasion go by without comment.
And for good reason, tech industry analysts say: “Obviously it’s a big threshold for Apple and industry,” said Tim Bajarin, president of high-tech consulting firm Creative Strategies. “ This clearly reinforces Apple’s dominance in the market.”
“I don’t think anybody knows what it takes to knock them [Apple] off,” Bajarin said. “They are in a leadership position that is not threatened by anyone.”
With the latest would-be iPod rival, Microsoft’s Zune, failing to make much of a splash—recent media reports have the Zune losing market share between December 2006 and February 2007—the only questions facing Apple as the iPod surges past the 100 million mark seem to be how the company managed to sell so many devices in the past five-and-a-half years, and whether there’s still room to grow.
UPDATE: John Nack of Adobe can't make it tonight. We've rescheduled him for next week
No video this evening but you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
You can also join one of the two Chat Rooms that run during the live show - on the World Without Borders site or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.netmug.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.
Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.
We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.
No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.
Their plan goes beyond cluelessness.
The new Drobo by Data Robotics is promoted as the "world's first storage robot." In reality it is actually a hard drive enclosure, but with the unusual ability to automatically detect and format up to four 3.5-inch SATA drives of any capacity. Perhaps more importantly, the Drobo handles a number of maintenance tasks automatically, such as creating redundancy, and sensing and repairing data corruption. When attached to a Mac or PC via USB 2.0, the computer sees the Drobo as a unified drive. Colored LED lights indicate the status of each bay: yellow for instance indicates low space, while flashing red indicates failure. An empty Drobo enclosure costs $699.
(Shawn's Comment: Saw this at Photoshop World. Looks kinda cool)
It seems like iPod users should now be extremely careful as Security vendor Kaspersky Labs has recently announced it has detected the first virus designed to infect iPod portable media players.
(Shawn's Comment: "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!")
...users need not be too concerned as this is simply a concept program which does not pose a real threat. The virus can only function when Linux is installed on the iPod.
(Shawn's Comment: "Oh...")
If Podloso is inserted by the user, it installs itself to the folder which contains program demo versions. It cannot be launched automatically.
(Shawn's Comment: So you have to install this "virus" yourself?)
The good news is the virus cannot automatically spread and infect other devices without users installing it first.
(Shawn's Comment: Not much of a "virus" then is it? But thanks for scaring every one needlessly...)
Remember how, on a previous show, Lesa and Sly promised not to talk about Shawn while they were in San Francisco?
But, to their credit, they only failed after a few glasses of wine. Unfortunately, they failed in public.....and it was captured on video.....
Lesa has the videos (one on the way up the Gondola to the Sterling Winery so they are sober and one on the way down - let's just say they were less sober than before and apparently, they have some language issues so this video is rated PG-13) posted on her Travel Blog site.
Enjoy - I didn't.....
On this week's show we've got Rick Champagne, product manager for Corel Painter and Photoshop CS3 product manager John Nack. These are two of the "deepest" applications in the Mac Universe and I'm going to need your help. I know you've all got a thousand questions about these apps so please send them along ahead of time to <onair [at] yourmaclifeshow [dot] com> and we'll do our best to get them on the air!
The Apple-EMI accord marks a fundamental change in the digital music landscape, a feat Apple is pulling off with increasing regularity of late. If I were an employee of Microsoft and involved with its confusing digital-music efforts, built around its highly DRM-protected WMA format, I'd be sweating right now.
But one of the truly remarkable aspects of the pact is how Apple is pulling it off.
During its quarterly earnings conference call, Best Buy announced that it will be expanding its pilot program to test Mac sales. The retail giant was initially selling Mac hardware in just 50 of its stores, but later added another 45 stores to test Mac sales late last year. The company said during the call that it expects to sell Macs in roughly 200 stores by the latter half of this year.
Best Buy president Brian Dunn said on the call that "we'll be expanding our relationship with Apple in 2007." This announcement comes just a couple weeks after Best Buy announced that it will be carrying the recently-released Apple TV as well. An expansion of the pilot program likely indicates that Mac sales have gone well in the piloted stores thus far and Best Buy is merely taking baby steps before deciding to do all-out Mac sales in all of its retail locations.
Is uploading as we speak.....Still. :(
The hotel network "timed Out" *AGAIN*!
It's 9AM ET. I'm headed to the show floor to see if I can get it uploaded there. Check back later for the link to the show file.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Streamed Audio Only Archive - http://www.yourmaclifeshow.com/QT/YML070404s.mov (Open QuickTime, type Command-U and type in the address)
Streamed Video Archive - THERE WAS NO VIDEO OF THIS WEEK'S SHOW
Our guests on Wednesday's show were:
A European Commission probe is looking into allegations that Apple Inc. and the major record labels are violating competition regulations throughout Europe. News of the investigation was released while Apple and EMI were announcing a deal on Monday to sell copy protection-free songs through the iTunes Store, according to Financial Times.
Apple, Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG are supposedly violating European laws by preventing users in one country from purchasing music from the iTunes Store in a different country.
The office of the European Union competition commissioner stated that Apple's practice of limiting iTunes Store sales on a country by country basis "violate the [EU] treaty's rules prohibiting restrictive business practices."
Apple representatives added "We do not believe the company did anything to violate EU law and we will continue to work with the EU to resolve this matter."
RadTech™, makers of digital lifestyle accessories and more, today announces the immediate availability of new accessories for the Apple second-generation iPod shuffle in the company’s Acclaro, ProCable and RetractCable product lines.
Google on Wednesday will release Google Desktop for Mac, marking the first time the search giant will make its desktop tool available to Mac users. Mac users already have a search tool with Apple’s Spotlight, but Google said its utility will work alongside the Mac OS X 10.4 feature perfectly.
“We designed Google Desktop for Mac to be a companion for Spotlight,” said Rose Yao, Google Desktop for Mac Product Manager. “Google Desktop searches users’ Web history and you can set it up to search Gmail too.”
Google Desktop will also utilize any Spotlight plug-ins users have on their systems. There is no need for developers to have to rewrite plug-ins specifically for Google. The application also respects Spotlight’s privacy list and will not search those items.
Using Google Desktop quick search is kind of like launching a Widget without the need to go into Dashboard, according to Google.
Apple on Wednesday updated its desktop Mac Pro computers adding two new 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, bringing 8-core processing to the Mac. The new machines can run the 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processors and are available as build to order options.
Using two “Clovertown” 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors, the 8-core Mac Pro comes with 8MB of L2 cache per processor (16MB total), 667MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM memory, eight FB-DIMM slots on two memory riser cards (four slots per card) supporting up to 16GB of main memory and 1.33GHz, 64-bit dual independent frontside buses. The Mac Pros have a double-wide, 16-lane PCI Express graphics slot with the option to install an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB of GDDR2 SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port; an ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM and two dual-link DVI ports; or an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM, two dual-link DVI ports, and one stereo 3D port.
There are many configuration options available to build an 8-core machine from the Apple Store, but at the high-end of the processor spectrum, the cost will run about $3,997.
Following this week’s announcement of DRM-free music from EMI in the iTunes Store, many are calling for a similar plan to offer DRM-free video at the store. Jobs’ stance on video DRM, however, differs greatly from his views on music. During the EMI conference call, Jobs was asked about the potential for a similar DRM lift on video. “Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 per cent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation and I wouldn’t hold it to a parallel at all,” Jobs responded.
Due to Apple’s 10 percent share of US music sales, it has a good position to negotiate with the music industry. This is not the case when it comes to video, where Apple has yet to prove itself. “No movie studio would ever support the iTunes store if it was clear that Jobs would be pushing them to remove DRM,” said James McQuivey, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.
When Steve Jobs speaks, everyone listens. And when the Apple boss does open his mouth, it's on his terms: only during Apple-sponsored events, almost always in his Cupertino, Calif.-based company's backyard, and rarely with anyone else.
So when Jobs showed up at EMI Group's London headquarters Monday morning to sit next to EMI chief Eric Nicoli, the message was clear: The two companies were up to something big.
And they are. Sort of.
It's only the 1st day of Photoshop World and already, I've learned 20 things to make me a better photographer!
While the conference track is sold out, you can still come down to the Convention Center on Thursday and walk the Expo floor for free. Register for the free pass here.
On tonight's show, we'll have Dave Moser of KW Media (organizers of Photoshop World), "Explorer of Light" Ken Skulte and many more. It won't be a live show tonight but it should still be a lot of fun!
I've been playing around with Apple's Aperture. Apple describes it as the "ultimate photographer’s workstation". It's not as easy to jump into as Adobe's Lightroom (or as visually attractive) but it's quick enough to get a handle on.
In the past, I would take hundreds of pictures, open them in Graphic Converter, resize the good ones, toss out the bad ones, drop them into (the excellent) WebPics, caption them, export them and then upload to our site.
It seems like a long involved process but I've got it down to a science and can turn around my photos in a couple of hours.
The problem has always been the shots I missed - those that didn't come out for one reason or another. I've often had to toss out photos that were too dark or overexposed or the flash blew out an area of it or whatever. That's where Aperture comes in.
Two months ago, when I imagined a world without DRM, I had no reason to believe that such a world would be upon us quite so quickly. But today, with the announcement that EMI would be bringing its catalog to iTunes free of soul-sucking DRM, it seems that that future may be just around the corner. While this is great news for anybody who likes music, there’s still a ways to go before that DRM-free world is a reality.
Don’t kid yourself: as exciting as it is that high-quality, DRM-free tracks will be available at the iTunes Store in May, all this really does is level the playing field between iTunes and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Apple and EMI announced today that the music label will begin selling all of its music through the iTunes Store, DRM-free. During a press conference in London this morning, EMI said that all of its unprotected tracks will be available from the iTunes Store for $1.29 and that customers will be able to upgrade their already-purchased EMI tracks for 30¢ if they so choose.
EMI and Apple said that the bit rate of EMI's tracks will be bumped up as well.
EMI said that the iTunes Store will be the first to carry its higher-quality, unprotected music. The company will also be selling unprotected music videos through iTunes with no change in price, and plans to continue selling full upgraded albums at the existing wholesale prices.
One side effect: other music labels may now feel pressure to join EMI in dropping DRM through iTunes. There is no doubt that the rest of the Big Four will be watching this move very closely.
Several iLoungers note that Apple has cut prices on its fifth-generation iPod models in the UK. Apple has lowered the price of the 30GB iPod to £179 (from £189) and dropped the price of the 80GB iPod to £239 (from £259). UK iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remains the same. The US Apple Store does not currently show any iPod price cuts—fifth-generation models are still priced at $249 for the 30GB version and $349 for the 80GB version.