Thursday, October 16, 2003

And carry the one...

For you statistics lovers, here's a really cool one to wrap up the day.

Apparently the iTunes Music Store (pre-Windows) accounted for 70 percent of all paid music downloads. And that's only 3 percent of the computing market share.

Pigs fly...

And "Hell froze over" today with the release of iTunes for Windows.

Here's a round up:
- iTunes for Windows and iTunes 4.1 for Mac
- "Second Generation" iTMS which supports allowances and gift certificates
- According to Apple, iTunes is the nubmer one music downloading service in the world (impressive, considering the fact that it wasn't on Windows until today)
- New business deals with Audible.com (5,000 audio books on the iTMS), AOL (iTMS links throughout AOL's music section), and Pepsi (100 million song give away coming in February, with a Superbowl ad lauching the promotion)
- iPod peripherals (codeveloped with Belkin) for recording voice ($49) and uploading pictures from flash memory cards ($99)
- New iPod software features a music trivia game (ooohh...)

Sounds good to me.

Oooohh...

Apple's homepage happens to mention that the iTMS is "second generation" now. Unfortunately, that's the only mention of it on the site right now (the rest of the site remains to be updated).

By the way, this wraps up MacUnderground's post-event coverage for now. I'll have more updates later this afternoon.

Got the blues?

It looks like the new color of iTunes may be blue.

While almost all of the Apple website beyond the homepage has yet to be updated for today's iTunes announcement, the iPod "Cool Accessories" page has. The iTunes tab at the top of the page is now blue, instead of green, and says "iTunes + iPod", instead of just "iTunes".

A groovy business engagement...

As part of the new music bonanza (I wish I had thought of that title sooner), Apple has announced two major iTunes partnerships.

First, Audible.com will be putting over 5,000 audio books on the iTMS.

And secondly, AOL will be cramming iTunes into itself every which way possible. iTunes will be featured at AOL, AOL users will be able to use their AOL IDs to buy music through the iTMS, and most songs in AOL's music section will feature iTMS links (also, AOL will AOL its AOL and AOL).

Sounds like Apple's really ready to pounce on PC music-downloading competition here.

A Belkin-Apple affair?

Okay, so that title it just a bit Fox-like, but if you head on over to the now back up and running Apple Online Store you'll discover that the new iPod accessories are actually made by Belkin.

Hmm... interesting...

More on the music store...

Apple.com's headline might be great (see "Hell yeah!", below), but things aren't quite up and running yet.

The download iTunes for Windows link still takes you to the old iTunes 4 for Mac OS X page. So far, the Apple homepage is the only part of the site to be updated. I'm sure this will be fixed in a jiffy.

Hell yeah!

The headline at Apple.com says it all:

Hell froze over.
That's right, iTunes for Windows is here.

More details soon.

In other news...

AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is doing a major redesign of the iMac. They claim the update will be as major as the CRT to LCD transition (G5s are considered a possibility).

According to AppleInsider's sources, Apple is shooting for an early-2004 release, hoping to announce the machines at MWSF04 (Stevenote, anyone?). However, production issues may force a spring release.

Note: I've taken down the iTunes/iPod rumors from the Rumor Watch. I'll get around to putting together some new items in the next couple of days.

Music Event Update...

Well, Steve sure can talk. The Apple music event began over an hour ago and has still yet to wrap up.

Here's the latest:
- Apple Store online still down
- Spymac reports that the iPod peripherals are a $49 mic/speaker accessory and a $99 digital photo gizmo (with iPhoto syncing, of course)
- The Apple website still hasn't been updated with the new announcements
- Still no word on iTunes or the iTMS

I should point out that I don't have access to any real "live" coverage of the event. The Mac Rumors IRC channel is probably the best place to stay up-to-the-minute.

But I drink Coke...

The LA Times (registration required at their site, see Mac Rumors for details) is reporting that Apple and Pepsi are working on a promotional campagin for the iTunes Music Store.

The deal would offer codes under Pepsi caps that could be used at the iTMS. Details on what the codes could be redeemed for aren't completely certain, but free songs should be a major item.

A multi-million dollar ad campaign would also accompany the deal. Details (assuming this is accurate) will probably be announced at Apple's press event this afternoon.

Late breaking groove...

Think Secret has confirmed some details on today's music announcements.

iTunes 4.1 will be released, along with recording and flash card reading iPod accessories.

The UK Apple Store online has also posted a dead link supposedly to iPod peripherals (see Mac Rumors for details).

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Groovy...

The latest rumors on tomorrow's iTunes update claim that the app may go to version 4.1 instead of 5. Also, Quicktime may go to version 6.4, though the new version is included in Panther.

Recent, though unreliable, rumblings suggested that iTunes 5 had problems working with Jaguar.

Here's what we know for sure:
- iTunes and iTMS for Windows
- iTunes will see some sort of revision

Here's what seems generally likely:
- iPod peripherals (specifics generally unknown)
- New iTMS features (possibly rumored "Listener Loans")
- Windows Media Audio (WMA) support in iTunes (whether that would be in only the Windows version is unknown, though WMA support would probably speed up PC adoption of iTunes)

The Music Event is at 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow. Unfortunately I won't be able to cover this live (that's school for ya').

Holy profit, Batman!

Apple's financial results are in, and guess what? It's a profit!

Yes, Apple posted a $44 million profit today, citing a 7 percent rise in shipping Macs and a whopping 140 percent rise in shipping iPods from a year ago (that's a total of 787,000 Macs and 336,000 iPods).

Not bad at all...

It's like everyone already knows...

If you happen to be near your TV, try tuning into Headline News during the 5:00 (CDT) hour. Apparently they're doing an mp3 player round up. Why? Because iTunes for Windows will be announced tomorrow (that's what they actually said).

Go figure.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Can I borrow a groove?

(Happy Long Weekend Everyone!)
AppleInsider has tossed more fuel on the fire for the latest musical rumors. According to their sources, iTunes 5 is in fact on the way (both Mac and PC) and new features are in store for the iTMS.

One of these new features would be the ability to "borrow" a track from the Music Store for a set period of time and try it out without being billed. This could be the already rumored "listener loans."

In fact, the parallels between this AppleInsider report and last Thursday's Mac Rumors Page 2 report are quite stunning. Mac Rumors is in fact speculating that there could be a common source between the two sites. Consider that before you take this as confirmation to the still "Unconfirmed" iTunes rumors.

But back to the rumor.
The ability to test out a song before committing to it would definitely be a strong selling point, but would it last? You may remember that the original iTunes 4 had internet streaming for listening to tracks across the web. The problem? You could record those songs with an application like Ambrosia's WireTap. What's to stop us from doing the same thing with these free previews (unless Apple made you pay for those previews with some kind of subscription fee, but that's both highly speculative and very unlikely).

This latest report also fuels speculation that Apple will finally release iPod peripherals. AppleInsider's source points to the new iPod's recording abilities which currently lay hidden in the debug mode, but could easily become a main feature with a simple software update (actually, problems with software have been blamed for the current delay). In my opinion, a recording peripheral seems far more likely than last week's rumored CompactFlash reader and movie transporting dock.

Apple has a press event scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT on Thursday, and Mac Rumors revealed over the weekend that a music (supposedly, but not necessarily, iPod) ad will be airing during Friends this Thursday night.

Damn, I might actually have to watch Friends...