Archives For Apple

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Seriously, what is up with Apple TV? It’s been such a spectacular commercial failure (in my opinion), that I now have to wonder (in paranoid fashion) if there’s a master plan we the public are simply not aware of. Since the Apple TV launched earlier this year, it’s been heavily eclipsed by other online video news and new hardware players like Vudu and the new TiVo. Apple’s given its TV box virtually zero attention and the company refuses to publish sales numbers. (Analyst estimates are low)

So what’s the deal? Was Apple TV created just to give the company a brand in the living room video space? Is Apple biding its time until a 2.0 version is ready to take the world by storm? Or is Apple TV just a flop?

Nano “Fatty” Misaligned

Dave Zatz —  September 17, 2007 — 5 Comments

crooked-ipod-nano.jpgBased on feedback in the Apple forums, Engadget reports that new iPod nano components are misaligned in some units:

the screen doesn’t appear to be completely level within the casing

Having played with several of these in the Apple Store, I encountered the defect on just one. The degree of tilt is pretty small, but it is noticeable (and surprised me). Assuming Apple hasn’t replaced the model I saw Saturday at Montgomery Mall (MD), you can see for yourself – in the front section, check out the silver Nano attached to the iMac furthest in on the far left.

Supposedly Apple is replacing these units. As they should.

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A periodic roundup of relevant news… Apple-style:

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  • iTunes Store Slip Reveals Movie Rentals: Engadget
  • iTunes TV Shows May See 50% Price Cut: Variety
  • iPod Touch May Have Bluetooth Support: Gizmodo
  • Apple axes iPod Hi-Fi: Boy Genius

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Today’s Apple event was all about the iPod, with a little iPhone thrown in for good measure. (Nothing on Apple TV) Engadget and Ars Technica live-blogged the show. Here are the basics:

  • New ringtone maker – pay another $.99 to make ringtones out of your iTunes songs
  • New iPod Shuffle colors – pretty
  • (P)hat new iPod Nano – wide screen for pretty video
  • Cheaper 8GB iPhone – It’s gotta make the first movers feel good to see the 8GB model come down in price from $599 to $399. Be an early adopter, pay an extra $200.
  • The revolutionary iPhone, er, iPod touch – Yup, it’s an iPod that works like the iPhone without the phone, but it’s got Wi-Fi built in and you can access the iTunes store wirelessly
  • Wi-Fi and a dash of caffeine with your iPod – partnership with Starbucks so iPod Touch users can instantly tap in to whatever is playing over Starbucks’ speakers when they walk into a store and purchase the music if so desired.

Engadget is already calling the Starbucks feature weak, but I think I disagree. (How’s that for a strong statement?) Impulse music buying is still largely untapped. Sure you can bookmark songs with some services in order to buy them later, but we haven’t really seen an effective on-the-go version of this feature before. And this is music you can buy that you might never have discovered any other way. With the joy of personalized channels, I know my discovery of new music outside of my own set parameters is limited. Clearly the partnership with Starbucks is a first. Wonder how long before other partners jump on board.

Buried toward the end of this morning’s WSJ article on Sony is a short blurb on Apple TV:

Apple’s set-top device called Apple TV, which lets users play music and video from their computer-based iTunes library, has not been selling strongly since it went on sale earlier this year, analysts say.

apple-tv.jpgI had numerous debates with people when Apple TV first launched about how successful it could be. Then and now the biggest argument for Apple TV has always been that it has the potential to become so much more. If you add HD content to iTunes it could be a great HD video machine. If you add a TV tuner and DVR features it could replace your set-top. If you give people a chance to pay a premium for no DRM, it could transform the video purchasing experience.

Unfortunately, each “if” is fraught with complications. The content companies are fiercely protective of their content and only want to work with Apple on their own terms. This goes double where HD video is concerned given fears of piracy and lost revenue. As for consumers, they (we) want access to content they’re used to getting from their cable, satellite or telecom company, and that means dealing with CableCARDs or some other workaround technology. No simple task.

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