Saturday, May 03, 2003

Cryptic indeed...

Mac Rumors has quoted a forum claiming that Apple will release something next week. Too bad they didn't say what.

This speculation fuels rumors behind the mystery "Communication Device" that first surfaced a few weeks back. While some believe the release could be a Mini Tablet, MacWhispers has reported that such a device is months off.

While still cryptic, this latest rumor gives us something to look forward to next week. I hope you didn't spend all your cash on that new iPod.

Friday, May 02, 2003

The iPod of tomorrow?

As you probably know, iTunes 4 has added the ability to put album cover art with each of your songs.

I put art on about 180 songs today, and then updated my (old 5 GB) iPod. To my surprise, each song that I had added cover art to had to be updated in my iPod. More surprising, is the fact that this update consumed hard drive space on the 'Pod.

I'm not going speculate on this (yet, at least), but it would suggest that some data is being added to the iPod after applying cover art. I haven't seen any reliable evidence suggesting that Apple will actually create a color-screen iPod, but this definitely suggests that something's up.

It should be noted that the most reasonable explanation is that iTunes incorporates the cover art into the file's tag, increasing its size.


This iPoding article has revealed a somewhat shocking, and very suspicious hidden feature in the new iPod's firmware.

After running a diagnostic, the folks at iPoding discovered a hidden recording mode, suggesting that Apple might implement a recording feature in the future. People have also noted that the iPod's audio jack is unusual, with support for unknown input/output.

I can see it now, "Note to self: Stop using iTunes to download Bono music."

A quote of the day of sorts...

As this busy week of major music announcements comes to a close with tonight's big Apple Store bashes across the country, I stumbled upon this quote that sums everything up.

"What we do at Apple is very simple: we invent stuff."
-Steve Jobs

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Pod thoughts...

With forums raging in debate over Apple's apparent decision to rob owners of existing iPods of the latest software features, something came to my attention at the Apple website.

Many people have commented that this Apple comment on version 2.0's compatibility is vague, and I tend to agree. It sounds as if Apple just wants to buy some time with the iPod software updates, but why?

Well, here's what I realized. At this page for updating to software version 1.3, Apple makes a point that there's no Windows version of the software ready yet. Apparently, that's coming in "early May." Hey, today's early May! And so's tomorrow! And the practically all of next week! Interesting.

And, of course, things get more interesting, because when you thing about it there's no reason to give Windows users version 1.3. The update is just designed to add AAC support (and move that stupid backlight selection), and Windows users don't have the whole AAC iTunes Music Store thing (at least not for a good five or six months). If they aren't downloading AAC, why do need to support it on their iPods?

While there's always a possibility that Windows users might just get their backlight selection inconveniently moved, I can't help but doubt that. It's more likely that Apple is holding back software that either is 2.0 or has some of 2.0's key features just so they can get as many impulse buys of the new iPod as possible.

So for all the reasons listed above, "iPod Software Update" has been added to the Rumor Watch column, with "Soon" listed for the release. Yes, it's a bit of gamble, but I guess we'll just have to wait for soon to come and go, and find out what's really going on here.


According to music-minded folks at Billboard, the iTunes Music Store sold 275,000 songs in its first 18 hours.


Wednesday, April 30, 2003

'Pod dilemma...

According to this discussion post at Apple, iPod Software 2.0 will not be available for older iPods. The feature-rich software, which includes On-the-go Playlists, new games, and text memo storage, will only be installed on "new" iPods (for now at least).

While I still believe there is some possibility that Apple will make the software compatible with "old" iPods, this comment from Apple has caused me to remove the software from the "rumor watch" column (once again, for now at least).

We'll have to wait and see what happens on Friday, when the new iPods are officially released.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Not quite as shocked, but still in awe...

As the Apple Turns has been added to the "recommended" links column. Who knows? They might actually continue broadcasting on a less freakishly-irregular basis.

I'm both shocked and in awe...

As the Apple Turns, possibly the most entertaining Mac site is back and updating for the first time in two months.

From the entire one-man MacUnderground staff, welcome back AtAT.

Software follies...

LoopRumors is reporting (after some slightly inaccurate last minute predictions yesterday) that Apple is working on a completely new iPod OS, 2.0. Such speculation has been sparked by the iPod feedback page, which lists one of the possible iPod software versions as 2.0. The most recent release was 1.3.

LoopRumors has gone to speculate that this could be the software to a color screen iPod coming this summer, but they're wrong. While I haven't confirmed this, version 1.3 is the software release for existing iPods (the version that doesn't contain features like Solitaire and On-the-Go Playlists), while version 2.0 will be the standard OS on the new iPods available this Friday (see "'Pod party!" below).

By the way, if you're upset that you can't get version 2.0's spiffy features on your "older" iPod, head over to that feedback page and tell Apple (here's the link, again). It appears version 2.0 just isn't available yet, and some people are speculating that Apple will make an "older iPod compatible" version downloadable by the end of the week (perhaps on May 2?). Such software speculation is now reflected in the "rumor watch" column.

Come on Apple! We want to play Solitaire, not have a solitaire game! (that's bad, I know...)

'Pod party!

This Friday Apple Stores nationwide will be hosting "Live on Stage, the New iPod" from 6 to 10 p.m. to show off the new iPods.

All guests will get a free event poster and special edition iPod T-Shirts will be available for $10 (or free with the purchase of a new iPod). You can also enter to win an $1800 JBL Sound System.

Monday, April 28, 2003

'Pod dilemma...

Many people have noticed that "old" iPods updated with the latest software don't support the new features touted at today's Steve-Note. Among these features are two new games, solitaire and parachute, the ability to type up text notes, and on-the-go playlists.

There appears to be no actual reason the new features aren't supported on the existing iPods, and some are predicting that Apple will provide such support in another software update later in the week.

"Beyond Music," understatement of the year...

That's right folks, Steve Jobs has concluded his fantastic little expo-less Keynote - which was viewable over a Quicktime stream - and has set a new level of innovation for the music industry.

Of course, the big announcement was the release of iTunes 4, including the iTunes Music Store. iTunes 4 is available for download today, although as of now the Apple website has yet to be completely updated. And it gets better, as the iTunes Music Store will be PC compatable by year's end.

Obviously, the other major announcement is the near-immediate availablity of redesigned iPods (note, this is the iPod Specs page, the iPod main page hasn't been updated to reflect today's announcements, yet). Sporting a sleeker, lighter design, backlit buttons above the scroll wheel, a docking station supporting USB 2, and the most functional iPod OS yet (available today). The new system features two new games, a customizeable UI, the ability to make playlists on the go, and more. Best of all, it works on all iPod models (hurrah for the 5 GB iPod!).

More later (when I get a chance to download this stuff). But until then, good job Steve.

T-Minus five hours...

As you may have already noticed in the "rumor watch" column, Steve Jobs is expected to announce new iPods and a music downloading service built into iTunes 4 at a satellite press event at 12 noon CDT. There's also a possibility that a mystery "communication device" will be featured, but such rumors are very sketchy and unconfirmed.

MacMinute is promising continuous coverage of the event, described to invited reporters as "Music to your ears." It appears that Apple has not set up a Quicktime stream for the event, but some Apple retail stores will have a live broadcasting.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Absurd to the point of hilarity

If you're a regular reader (assuming I have regular readers) you know that I, on occasion, am editorially critical of the rumormonger LoopRumors. That said, I believe they've gone quite insane with their latest, and most absurd, prediction: Apple is making an iPod/iPhone/(here's the kicker)Mouse.

That's right, a mouse with phone on the bottom, and a hard drive inside. Where did such a crazy idea come from? Well, recent (and less insane) rumors suggested that Apple is putting a iPod-like rotary wheel on the standard Pro Mouse. It would be used for scrolling, and would have a button in the middle for a two-button mouse effect (accuracy of such mouse rumors is debatable).

So, LoopRumors claims that someone emailed them diagrams (posted with their little story) of this all-in-one-ish "thing." It has this rotary scroller on the top mouse part, with a 15 or 30 GB internal hard drive. Heavy for a mouse, eh?
On the bottom, you'll find (mind you, this is the same bottom that will touch various surfaces during mouse use) phone and iPod controls, operated by a number pad on the bottom and the scroller on the top. There's also an iPod-screen on the bottom, and the laser for the mouse.

This is completely absurd. Apple won't make a phone. Apple won't make a mouse with a hard drive in it. We're not even sure if Apple is actually making a scroll wheel mouse. The diagrams illustrate how massive this mouse is (sure, Yao Ming could use it, but what about the rest of us?), and LoopRumors doesn't explain how the thing connects to a Mac (details, details, details...).

So absurd, it's kinda funny.