Get your first look at the 2010 New Year’s Ball set in Times Square. Though they didn’t add to the previously installed 32,256 Philips LED lights, they did include new Waterford glass panels. Every year “a new hope” is constructed onto the ball, and this year the theme is “let there be courage.” This year’s ball is going to be a shining colorful beacon of brilliance.
For 2010 Waterford Crystal has designed a new sparkling “Let There Be Courage” triangle. The crystals feature a unique interlocking ribbon pattern woven into the Celtic knot. The triangles, each about 3/8″ thick and 6.8 ounces in weight are custom made and built to exacting standards to withstand the stresses of high winds, precipitation and temperature fluctuation that exist over 400 feet above Times Square. 288 are being installed alongside crystal installed in previous years.
And get this–a Waterford iPhone app has been developed for the special occasion. It’s called Clink-Clink and it’s a a virtual toasting application. When two iPhones tap each other and “clink” glasses, contact information is shared and can even posted on Facebook. Ah, ’tis the year of “there’s an app for that.” Am I right? Head after the break for an additional video showcasing the New Year’s Ball and watch how the Waterford app works.
Let’s get right to it, shall we? The Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and Walt Disney Company (among other major TV networks) are “consideringparticipating in Apple’s plan to offer television subscriptions over the Internet.” CBS will offer shows from CBS and CW and Disney will offer selections from its ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family networks. Though details are being kept under wraps, word has it that Apple will offer its iTunes customers a $30/month subscription to choose from the TV networks’ selection of shows. This is all starting to make sense now that Apple has ate up streaming company Lala; they might just have a Hulu-esque TV streamingservice in the works. Whatever it may be, “sources” claim that Apple could finalize licensing deals and switch on the service sometime in 2010.
The Financial Times delves further into this matter and regurgitates the followinginformation: ”Apple has contacted other broadcast and cable networks, including Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System and Viacom, which have so far been unconvinced by Apple’s proposal. The computer maker has also courted the book publishing industry, sector executives say.” This is all very interesting, to say the least. Major publishers like the WSJ and the FT reporting on a potential iTunes subscription-based service can only mean that something is brewingat Apple HQ. Talks with CBS (Viacom), Time Warner, and ABC are vital if Apple plans on making such a TV show subscription plan work. And let’s not forget about their “court[ing] [of the] book publishing industry”…cue the Apple tablet/iPhone rumors.
Addional news comes from the Financial Times, and this time it’s about the impendingannouncement of the Apple tablet: “Apple is preparing an announcement next month that many anticipate will be the official unveiling of its tablet, but the company has so far declined to confirm the existence of the device. Wall Street analysts expect mass production of an Apple tablet to begin as early as February.”
To spread to the gaining hype around the tablet and the next-gen iPhone comes news today from a Silicon Alley Insider report: “Apple is preparing to show off a new, larger mobile device with a higher resolution display in January — probably a version of the Apple tablet we’ve been hearing about for months — according to a plugged-in source in the mobile industry.” This source says that Apple has asked a select group of app developers to prepare their apps to support a full-screen resolution (rather than the fixed 320×480 rez the iPhone currently uses) and to demo on a “new, larger mobile device.” In addition, the report says that the tablet will be demoed in January but not released into the market until a later date. This matches up with the FT news posted above; Apple will unveil it in January, ramp up production in February, and have it ready for the public by March 2010. And there’s more! DigiTimes reports that the next-gen iPhone will be packed with a 5 megapixel camera sensor.
And that’s it for now. Exhausting, huh? I think Apple just needs to come out with it already and unveil this coveted (albeit non-existent) tablet to calm our nerves and get us excited for something that we at least know is real. With Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster claiming that there’s a 75% chance that an Apple January event is coming and word that the tablet will be the main focus of the event I am waiting in much anticipation. An overhaul of iTunes, the next-gen iPhone, the tablet…so many potential topics to discuss! Here’s hoping that Apple hits at least one of them next month.
Thanks to the iPhone’s internal OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics capability, Epic has no reason to hold back from porting their Unreal Engine 3 (the same engine that runs mega-games BioShock, Gears of War and Mass Effect) to the iPhone 3Gs and iPod touch (3rd gen). Do you know what this means!? Soon Apple’s little genius devices will turn into real portable game machines. Not that they aren’t already gaming machines; but the integration of such a powerful graphics engine backing future games should definitely give the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS a chill down their spines. Check out the video above for a quick snippet of Unreal gameplay and look forward to the iPhone and iPod touch becoming synonymous with “portable gaming machines.”
Welcome the latest addition to the App Store, Type n Walk! This apps allows you to text on the go by “display[ing] a transparent viewport of what’s directly in front of you.” In other words, using the iPhone’s camera, the app displays a transparent text messaging screen, allowing you to ‘type n walk’ without worrying about tripping on a rock or walking into a tree. Seems a bit unnecessary; but then again, there’s an app for everything these days.
We’ve been here before, so let’s do it again. According to an Oppenheimer research note from analyst Yair Reiner, who apparently has no real connection to Apple, the oft-rumored Apple tablet will release around March or April with production starting as soon as February. Reiner says that the tablet will feature a multitouch 10.1 inch screen, it will look similar to the iPhone, and will sell for $1,000. He also says that Apple has approached book publishers in hopes of forming “a very attractive proposal” to distribute their content digitally. Reiner: “As innovative as it is, we believe the [Amazon] Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue. The tablet is set to change that.” According to Reiner, Apple has offered the publishers a revenue cut of 70% without requiring exclusivity. Sure, this is interesting and all, but there has still been no word at all from Apple about this tablet device and Reiner’s information is not entirely substantiated with proper evidence. Folks, take all of this with a grain of salt, would you?
In related Apple news, analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says that the Verizon network with be “the next big feature” of the iPhone. Munster: “We continue to believe there is a 70% chance that Apple will launch the iPhone with Verizon in mid-CY10.” He also mentions that the next-gen iPhone may feature hardware support to read RFID chips, enabling swipe payments. ”The iPhone could feasibly become a full digital wallet,” says Munster. News of a new iPhone comes from another direction with Eldar Murtazin, editor in chief of Mobile Review. Murtazin tweeted ”Foxconn received order for next generation iphone.” Engadget calls him “the ultimate insider” when it comes to mobile news, so maybe you can take his word of a manufacturer ramping production for a new iPhone with a smaller pinch of salt.
Whether these rumors about the tablet and next-gen iPhone are true or not, sompthin’ is a brewin’ at Apple and we can all smell it.
New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is known for showing off his show-tunes background in funny tech-based gags. Check out his latest titled “Apps!…I Did it Again,” a song about the iPhone’s ability to run a myriad of (pointless) apps to the tune of Britney Spears’ hit song.
These concept UIs were created by Ocean Observers. Apple, take note.
Looks like Verizon is about to play some hardball with AT&T. Yeah, the iPhone may have thousands of cool apps, but Verizon can boast its vastly superior 3G expansion. The question is, which is more important to you: thousands of games or better data reception?
The day has finally come, people. AT&T has enabled MMS, the ability to send and receive pictures and video, on the iPhone. (iPhone 3G & 3GS customers only, sorry original iPhone owners.)
The steps to getting MMS running on your iPhone are simple. First open up iTunes and make sure you are running iTunes 8.2 or later. Next, connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac. The update window should pop up automatically after iTunes recognizes the connection. If it does not, go to the iPhone device tab and select “Check for Update.” If you have not updated your iPhone to version 3.1 you must do this first. The actual MMS update is installed via a “carrier settings” update; this means that it is not an iPhone software update, and it should install on the phone within seconds.
Once you’ve completed the update, disconnect the phone from your computer and RESTART the phone. The MMS feature will not show up until the phone has been restarted by holding down the power button. After the phone turns back on, check that the update installed by opening the Messages application and looking for the small camera button next to the text input bar. It looks like this:
And there you have it. MMS on the iPhone. One small step into the 21st century, one giant leap for AT&T.
The Lexus LF-Ch concept car sports headrest mounts for iPhones.
According to the press release:
“The LF-Ch has four sport seats that feature trim lighting along the cushion’s edge for cabin illumination. Rear passengers can enjoy headrest-mounted iPhone® docking capability for audio and video entertainment. In addition, the LF-Ch has storage in the rear seat armrests for small items such as iPods®, PDAs and cell phones.”
Very cool indeed.
Guess who’s back, back again? Steve Jobs graciously owned the stage in San Fransisco on Thursday during the latest Apple keynote presentation. There was lots of discussion and reveals on the iTunes and iPod front. Let’s not waste any time and get right to it. Read on for all the juicy details of the keynote.
- iPhone OS 3.1
- Genius will now “automatically make recommendations from the App Store based on the applications you own.” Think of it as iTunes Genius for your music, but now for your purchased apps.
- Ringtones – over 30,000 ringtones available to purchase at $1.29 each. All four major record labels are on-board.
- 3.1 firmware update is a free download available now for iPhone and iPod touch owners (there is a $5 upgrade price for those iPod touch users who have not upgraded to 3.0)
- iTunes 9
- Features a cleaner, easier-to-navigate UI with a redesigned store
- Genius Mixes – Think of this as your own personal DJ spinning your favorite songs continuously. Genius Mixes takes your current music library and groups songs/artists/genres together for you to listen to; it’s like listening to your preferred radio station.
- Improved syncing – Now you have the option to manually sync exactly what you want (for example, you can sync specific artists, genres, albums, etc.)
- App organization – You can arrange your apps in iTunes. Plug in your iPhone or iPod touch and you get a visual copy of your home screen and your multiple pages; you simply drag and drop 1 or more apps at a time. This couldn’t be any simpler.
- Home Sharing – Allows you to “manage your family’s iTunes collection between computers in your home.” You can copy songs, movies, TV shows, etc. with up to 5 computers. For example, say you have 5 family members each with their own computer and iTunes accounts. Now you can all easily share your iTunes content by dragging and dropping other family members’ songs into your library. The files copy right over and viola–you now have songs in your library that originally resided in your brother’s music library.
- iTunes LP – Tools are now given to record labels and artists to create and distribute many album extras in their digital music albums. These extras include behind-the-scenes videos, photos, liner notes, lyrics, chronology of albums, credits, animations, and more. Although digital downloads will never be the same as buying a physical CD or record in a retail store, iTunes LP is a step in the right direction for those who have switched to digital music and who miss receiving the entire “album experience” you get when you purchase your favorite artist’s latest album.
- iTunes Extras (for movies) – Think of the extras you would find on a DVD; they will now be included when you purchase a movie from the iTunes Store
- Facebook and Twitter integration – You now have the option to share your favorite songs and artists with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. There is an embedded option that allows you to link a song, artist, or album information to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- iTunes 9 is available today as a free download
- iPod touch
- Lineup: $199 (8GB); $299 (32GB); $399 (64GB)
- cheaper and new storage capacity
- up to 50% faster; OpenGL|ES Version 2.0 (adds more realism in games)
- Publishers discuss upcoming games for the App Store – Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II Discovery; Tapulous’s Riddim Ribbon (an awesome music game that incorporates racing and DJ control); Gameloft’s Nova; EA’s Madden NFL 10
- iPod classic
- Lineup: $250 (160GB) (holds 40,000 songs)
- Same price, capacity upgrade from 120GB
- iPod shuffle
- Lineup: $59 (2GB); $79 (4GB); $99 (4GB Special Edition in stainless steel, Apple Store exclusive)
- all new shiny colors: black, silver, pink, green, blue
- expand range of headphones with an adapter that will allow you to change volume/tracks
- new VoiceOver features ( reads statuses, like battery level)
- iPod nano
- Lineup: $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB)
- all new colors in polished anodized aluminium: green, blue, purple, black, silver, pink, red, orange, yellow
- larger 2.2 inch display
- new included apps: FM radio, Voice Recorder, pedometer (syncs with Nike +)
- VIDEO CAMERA (the one more thing) – Integrated video camera; only shoots videos (no picture stills); VGA resolution (640×480); includes microphone and speaker
- iPod touch
Note: When asked why Apple did not include a video camera in the new iPod touch, Jobs responded: “Originally, we weren’t exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer? What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine. We started to market it that way, and it just took off. And now what we really see is it’s the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that’s the big draw. So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199. We don’t need to add new stuff. We need to get the price down where everyone can afford it.”
Check out the gallery below for some official press shots of the new products and services.
[Gallery images via Apple]
The long hoped for feature for the iPhone finally gets a date of arrival: the Multimedia Messaging Service feature will be enabled on all iPhone 3G and 3GS devices (sorry, original iPhone users) on September 15. For those of you not in the know, MMS is the feature that allows you to send and receive picture/video messages to other cell phone users. Up until now, iPhone users have been stuck in the dark ages, only able to send and receive texts (and more recently audio and contact files). MSS will be enabled through a required software update via iTunes.
What took so long, you ask? Put simply, AT&T’s service is sucky and they believed that their cell tower structure was not ready to handle the heavy traffic of iPhone users sending pictures to each other. After having plently of time to fix and upgrade things (and breaking a promise of a Summer MMS release), AT&T is confident in saying:
“We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end. … We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.”
Note that there was no new information divulged about tethering. It was only mentioned that it will be supported “in the future.”
Tell me something I don’t know….
Boy Genius Report has received information from “a pretty reliable source” spilling the beans on some of the upcoming iTunes 9 capabilities. First up is Blu-Ray support. Rumors spreading from Apple Insider are pointing to the next lineup of iMacs packing Blu-Ray disc drives, making this lastest tidbit of news all the more convincing. However, we cannot forget Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “bag of hurt” comment from the notebook event in 2008: “Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It’s great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we’re waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace.”
According to the same source, there were mentions of some sort of Facebook/Twitter/Last.fm integration with iTunes. No details about this were shared. Perhaps “…broadcasting what song you’re playing to your friends” is in the pipes. The last grain of news states that iTunes users will gain the ability to “visually orgainize and arrange” their purchased apps. It is likely we won’t have to wait long to find out if all of this is fact or fiction; Apple’s September iPod+iTunes event is right around the corner.
Rumor alert: According to “an industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans,” said company is planning on releasing an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that will allow users to bring their Watch Instantly queues on the go. The feature will most likely be limited to WiFi-use only. Attemping to stream full length movies or TV shows to your iPhone over an unstable 3G connection could be risky. Although this rumor feels shaky at best, it is something to cross your fingers and hope for; imagine a world where you could watch your favorite movies and TV shows on your computer, Xbox, and on the go with iPhone/iPod, granted you have a Netflix account!
[Via Engadget (image, too)]
“I am proud today to introduce to those who really, truly deserve it, our most incredible iPhone yet,” announced Apple CEO Steve Jobs, extending his seemingly empty left palm toward the eagerly awaiting crowd. “Not only is this our lightest and slimmest model ever, but as any truly savvy Apple customer can clearly see, it’s also the most handsome product we’ve ever designed.” …
“Oh my God, I can’t believe how much faster you can get online with this,” said Delaney, who exited the store holding a cupped hand up to her ear and yelling into her wrist about how wonderful the new phone was. “The reception is so clear, and you can pretty much get a signal no matter where you go.”
The Onion at its finest. Click here to read the full article. It’s genius.
[Article and Images via The Onion]
Today Apple held their fiscal 2009 thrid quarter conference call with investers and analysts. Apparently Apple had the “best non-holiday quarter [in terms of] revenue and earnings.” From their official press release:
The Company posted revenue of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.35 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.3 percent, up from 34.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 44 percent of the quarter’s revenue.
Apple admitted that “we expect traditional MP3 players (read: iPod classic, nano, and shuffle) to decline over time as we cannibalize ourselves.” Basically, Apple points out here that all iPod models (except for the touch) are “walking dinosaurs.” Apple sees the iPod touch and iPhone continuing to dominate the market well into next year, while the traditional iPods will continue to decline in sales. More from the offiicial press release:
The Company sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhones sold were 5.2 million, representing 626 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.
If you’re wondering about Mac sales: Apple sold 2.6 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a four percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.
Other notable mentions include…Apple on its relationship with AT&T: “I think it’s an excellent relationship and we’re very happy with it.” …Apple on the netbook rumors: “At this point we don’t see a way to build a great product for this $399, $499…for this kind of pricepoint unit. Some customers, maybe many customers buying these become disappointed and disenchanted buying these.” …Apple on the recent tablet rumors: “…without discounting anything for the future, I think most customers buying a portable want a full-featured notebook.” And “many people won’t be happy” with the crappy experience of a netbook, so Apple is “only going to play in something that’s very innovative that we’re very proud of.”
The title of the official press release summarizes it best: Apple Reports Third Quarter Results – Best Non-Holiday Quarter Revenue and Earnings in Apple History. Way to go, Apple!