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Archive for the ‘iPod/iTunes’ Category

I ran across this “cool” promotion from the CoolSW site.  It’s a user-centric software bundle at LetMeBeMobile.com.  

I did a quick search on the site and 3 of the 4 participating companies were submitted onto CoolSW and it looks like they all got together in a marketing campaign to promote mobile applications and a possibility to win a Zune (30 GB). 

The partners are:

  1. Jajah lets you make ultra low-cost global calls right off your existing phone. No contract, no headset, no computer or Internet connection needed, just big savings. Simply receive a local number for each of your international contacts – dial local and talk global. More information found HERE.
  2. ElephantDrive provides easy-to-use, simple click-to-start online storage and backup capabilities. Get all enterprise-level benefits at a fraction of the cost. Delivering effective and continuous data protections tools for online backup and synchronization, you can keep your stuff within reach anywhere, anytime. More information found HERE. 
  3. Tazti, a free, Web 2.0 style speech recognition application that lets you talk to your PC to navigate Facebook, Myspace & iTunes, search the Internet, create your own speech commands and so much more! For XP, Vista, and Mac via Parallels. More information found HERE.
  4. Talkhouse takes speech recognition for searching to a whole new level. It’s mySpeak voice search engine lets you search by keywords and phrases, just like in routine internet searches. Our next generation voice-activated music player provides users with this easy, intuitive search function. More information found HERE.

The members are part of a Software Partner Program which drives increased business and yadda, yadda, yadda…to use the Seinfeld phrase from the 153rd episode.

It’s no iPod, but check out the promotion LetMeBeMobile.com and win that Zune!

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If you didn’t see the 90 minute MacWorld keynote here is a quick summary of the product launches yesterday.  Jobs photo courtesy of Apple.  

  • Ad:  Hi I’m a Mac and I’m a PC — New Years ad ran which poked fun at Vista…what are you going to do in ’08…  Then Jobs enters stage.
  • Time Capsule:  backup hardware device the same size as the Apple TV product.  Two models both include Airport 802.11N in a 500MB and 1TB configuration.  Priced at $299 and $499 works in conjunction with Time Machine (back up system) which is included in OS X Leopard.
  • iPhone: 4M sold in the first 200 days (averaged ~20K/day); currently has 19.5% MSS (more than combining the bottom three companies – Palm (9.8%); Motorola (7.4%); Nokia (1.3%).  Enhancement announced:
    1. Maps w/ locations (joint effort by Google and Skyhook Wireless (drove the US & Canada mapping 23M wi-fi hot spots and allows triangulation on the hot spots.  Google triangulates off cell towers and Apple uses both systems in iPhone for identifying location)
    2. Webclips (clipping links to favorite web sites or sub-site
    3. Custom home screen (up to 9)
    4. SMS multiple people at the same time was only one prior
    5. Chapter search for videos and song lyric’s displayed if available
    6. Free software update for all current owners which include the above enhancements
  • iTunes: 4Billion songs sold through iTunes; Christmas day sold 20M songs in one day – highest ever; 125M TV shows sold (more than any other service); 7M movies sold (more than anyone, but didn’t meet expectations).  Enhancements announced:
    1. iTunes Movie Rental (music users have not wanted music rental); Studio’s on board at launch (20th Century Fox, TouchStone, Miramax, MGM, Lions Gate, New Line Cinema, WB, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal – essentially all of the studios; More than 1000 films by February
    2. Films available for rental in the 30 days after DVD release
    3. Watch anywhere (PC, iPod or TV)
    4. iPod Touch added 5 new apps including maps, email, SMS, web clips and chapter search
    5. Didn’t state, but looks like progressive download as the movie starts within seconds of the rental purchase
    6. 30 days to watch the movie and 24 hours watch it once started
    7. Can transfer the movie watching to another device in the middle (start on a PC then xfer to iPod for a flight)
    8. DVD quality, but also providing Hi-Def (100 titles today growing fast) with 5.1 Dolby surround sound
    9. Pricing is DVD library release – $2.99; DVD New Release – $3.99; HD library – $3.99 and HD new release – $4.99
    10. Service started today in the U.S. and goes International later this year
  • Apple TV: stated that we’ve all missed (Microsoft, Netflix, Nubu and other logos on screen) how to get the movies to the flat panel in the living room.  Apple TV was designed as an accessory for iTunes & computer, but it’s about Movies, Movies, Movies.  Enhancements announce:
    1. Price dropped from $299 to $229
    2. All new user interface
    3. Leverages the new iTune movie rental service
    4. Rent directly from the Apple TV box – no computer needed now
    5. Photo from Flickr can be streamed or from your dot mac accounts
    6. Will auto sync with your computer if you want
    7. Free software upgrade to all existing users and get the functionality
  • 20th Century Fox: Jim Gianopolos (Chairman & CEO) on stage to discuss movie rental deal.  Talked about biz models being super important, gushed about how great it is to work with Jobs and put a major plug in for Blu-ray winning the format war as the crowd applauded.
  • MacBook Air: launched a new ultra-thin MacBook to compliment the notebook line up. Standard model priced at $1799.  Model with the 64GB SSD flash over $3K,.  Compared the “Air” to the Sony TZ series which had previously set the benchmark in this category.  The thickest part of the Air is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony for comparisons.  Features:
    1. .76 to .16 thin (no optical device, can get one external if you need)
    2. 13.3 inch LCD back light display
    3. Full size and backlight keyboard
    4. Multi-touch (similar to the iPhone – swipe, pinch etc.) capability on the trackpad
    5. 80GB HDD and optional 64GB SSD (pricey however)
    6. 2GB memory and 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo (C2D) standard or optional 1.8GHz
    7. 802.11N and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
    8. Usage model changing and driving wireless even for software download – now leverage a PC optical drive across the network
    9. Talked about environment: mercury free, arsenic free glass, Bromide Fire Retardant (BFR) and PVC free
    10. 56% less packaging waste
    11. Jobs applauded the joint effort and working with Intel
  • Intel: Paul Otellini was invited on stage to evangelize the 30% reduced form factor of the C2D.  Gave Jobs a souvenir of one and gushed about how great it was to work with Apple.  For those of you into little known factual tidbits, it was interesting to note that the video graphic overlay while Paul walked on stage used the old Intel dropped “e” logo.  The graphic/name/title on the projected stage TV was correct.
  • Summation: In the first 2 weeks of the New Year Apple launched:
    1. Fastest ever Mac Pro desktop system
    2. Time Capsule
    3. Software updates for iPhone, iPod Touch along with new apps for Touch
    4. iTunes Movie Rental
    5. Apple TV (software upgrade) along with HD video content
    6. MacBook Air – Ultra thin laptop
    7. Last slide stated…And there’s still 50 weeks left….
  • Randy Newman: Music artist extraordinaire played a couple songs for the audience.  Newman photo courtesy of YouTube. He starts by telling us about his trip to Europe, where he noticed that “they don’t like us so much.”   And he sang a song he wrote about it…”A Few Words in Defense of Our Country.”

 A couple of parting thoughts about Randy Newman.  The song choice was odd.  If Apple signed off on the first song he sang they have some guts.  A little piano ditty that compares the U.S. to Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Europe during the time of the Inquisition.  Now that’s an interesting mix of art meeting commerce.  Highly political and bashed a number of things which will only add to the blog fodder I’m sure.

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itunes_roundJust days before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where legendary musicians and the buzz of new product introductions will showcase how consumers manage and enjoy their digital media “everywhere”, the Washington Post is reporting that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a federal case against Jeffrey Howell, an AZ, man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer.  RIAA maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.  

Huh?  It’s illegal to transfer CDs to a computer?  I thought court rulings over the last 20 years have found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to time-shift TV programs; that is, to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording?

Who is RIAA?  It’s an organization that represents the major recording labels in the USA. These labels pay multi-millions of dollars for this representation and since RIAA is based in Washington, DC., they act as an industry lobbyist, literally.  They often urge, cajole or otherwise influence Congress to take their side in the “battle” against “music piracy.”  I’m not sure who would visit, but the RIAA even ran a Holiday Anti-Piracy Campaign message streaming across its web site offering tips on “avoiding pirate products.”

And northwest news the Oregon State Attorney General and the University of Oregon are being assaulted by RIAA’s tactics.  RIAA subpoenaed the University asking it to turn over the names of students that it suspected of making copyrighted material available to file sharers.  Note the keyword here is suspected.  While no one would disagree that it’s appropriate for victims of copyright infringement to pursue statutory remedies, shouldn’t that pursuit be tempered by basic rights of privacy and due process?

Typically RIAA harassment comes in the form of a pre-litigation letter to “suspects” they believe are guilty file sharers. There is even a credit card payment link – p2plawsuits.com where these so called “suspects” that receive the pre-litigation letters can drop off a quick $3000 to stop the RIAA from suing them.  Maybe next up is payroll deduction options?!  Good grief!

But that’s not good enough.  RIAA is now running around with deep- pocket teams of lawyers saying that even making a personal copy on your computer is a violation.  This hard-line position is clear. RIAA wants to roll back time to pre-internet days of vinyl albums.  If you make copies of copyrighted music recordings – even on cassette tape – you’re stealing.  You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

The RIAA’s legal crusade against consumers (its customers) is a text-book example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed.

UPDATE: The Washington Post left out a couple of facts that are now being reported for the people who need to read all the details.  Turns out the article was misleading in that the RIAA was not only going after Howell for ripping his CD’s, but for also putting those ripped files into a shared Kazaa folder.  I disagree that because he put them in a shared folder its infringement, but its a different claim than the original one of just ripping them to his PC.  It will be interesting to watch…

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itunes cardsI don’t know about you, but I’m bummed over the end of the Starbucks and iTunes music promotion which ended last month.  The promotion ran October 2nd and ended November 7th to be exact, but every time I go to Starbucks I can’t help but look for the little “redeem-me-now” credit sized cards. Maybe I’m in a need deprivation state of mind?   

I remember first learning about the promotion where I get a free, new song every day in Starbucks. It made my morning stop so much more pleasant.  The first artist was Dylan and included other greats such as Gloria Estefan, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and many more.  Personally, I thought this was a great combination of two awesome products, coffee and music, brought to me by folks who know how to pamper my whims and do it so well, “Bucks” and “Mac”.  I don’t have an exact count on the total number of artists, but I collected 31 of those little redeemable cards and punched in 100’s of alpha-numerical characters to obtain the music goods.  How many did you collect?

But, don’t worry about my Apple/Starbuck-withdrawal-syndrome (ASWS).  I continue to frequent the place and now find myself trying to resist the urge to buy a CD every time I get a latte!  Maybe that was the intent…everytime I sip a latte I think of a song?!

 Hey don’t forget — you have until the end of December to redeem all those Song-of-the-Day cards.

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iWait in iLine

Kris Tate and ScobleImage credit, Gabe Rivera of Techmeme

In reading RSS feeds this morning people started lining up at 3am in Palo Alto. It’s a once in a life time event…well, that is until the next game console gizmo releases this fall. They are all there at the Apple store…podcasters (Robert Scoble), the Zooomr CEO (Thomas Hawk), the CTO (Kristopher Tate), legendary Apple developer Bill Atkinson, Digg founder (Kevin Rose – hey Kev, still waiting on that return phone call…guess you’re busy!).

Speaking of PR, Zooomr knows how to get free press.

What sticks out in my mind is that homeless guy (at least he looks homeless from the picture) wearing a Zooomr sticker on his shirt, sitting 5th in line. Now $600 is a lot of money to spend on a combined phone/iPod, but to get your Zooomr logo on the front page of media all over the country—that is priceless!

And speaking of PR (blunders?) a semiconductor company in Santa Clara, CA — launched/unveiled the latest phase of it’s expanded 2nd Life presence — on the same day as the iPhone launch — rounding out what is now known as the Intel Island.

Cool, but a rather difficult day to get PR visibility with all the iPhone noise…

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The iPhone Countdown

iphone
Okay I’m getting ready…sleeping bag – check, bottled water – check, fruit & nut snack – check…for the camp out at the Apple store. Who’s in with me?

The reviews are coming in from the “VIP” journalists. You know the ones we can’t make buying decisions on products with out their advice: Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal), David Pogue (New York Times), Steven Levy (Newsweek) and Edward Baig (USA Today). As you would expect nothing but super duper praise for such a revolutionary device and nothing but cold water on the inadequate AT&T EDGE network.

What do I think about the iPhone? I couldn’t tell you as the sample unit I thought I would get somehow got lost in the mail.

So, in place of the real thing I’ve found a cardboard cut-out of the iPhone and assembled the device. You too can print one out and assemble.

My color cardboard cut-out is “superb,” “revolutionary” and “beautiful”…see? I can spread the hollow rhetoric on the most-hyped mobile phone ever too.

If I left you unfulfilled with that cardboard cut-out then see a snappy video “review”, which entertains vs. truly analyzes. These days, it’s getting more difficult to tell the difference between credible news by objective professional journalists and what I read on joesixpack.blogspot.com.

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Apple will sale EMI music without anti-piracy (DRM – digital rights management) technology — Steve Jobs proclaimed in February that music companies should sell their music DRM-free. Evangelizing that DRM-free music would create a truly interoperable music marketplace.

About a month later (4/2/07), in agreement with music label EMI, Apple is making EMI songs available without DRM through its iTunes music store. The music will be higher quality (encoded at 256kbps AAC), and tracks will cost $1.29, or 30 cents more than the standard 99 cents.

This means you can take those songs (EMIs entire catalog (DRM free) – globally in May) and put them on any device you want too. I think this helps address how I only want to buy a song or album ONCE and be able to play it in my car CD, my iPod, computer, on my PS3 or my TV. I don’t want to buy it 10 times from 10 different sources to play it on 10 different electronic components.

Is this the next big step forward for music interoperability, a significant development for the industry or a move by EMI to garner headlines? Maybe it’s all three, but at the joint press announcement EMI stated they were confident this will grow their sales and put a stake in the groud stating that 1/4 of all sales would be digital by 2010.

Hard to predict music sales let alone the digital elements, but I like the interoperability and hope other label’s follow.

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