Archive for the ‘iPod’ category

Qtrax FREE Music Site Launches. Again.

January 27, 2008

Browsing the AP headlines this morning I see Qtrax is coming out of cold storage with a fresh angle: 25 million free songs with a FairPlay work around. Sounds like they’ll be protecting the files while retaining the playability on iPod devices. Lest we forget the Achilles heel here… What Apple giveth, Apple can taketh away. Just look at all the jailbreaked iPhones out there. Qtrax may have their headlines for a couple of days – Good for a bump in curiosity traffic. But, the first update Apple issues to the iPods will most certainly be busting the playability of those trax… Qtrax had better have a compelling and strong value proposition to retain customers. The Mac beta of Qtrax will be available March 18 according to their site (which is slow as can be). [EDIT: It may not matter anyway… looks like someone at Qtrax was over-zealous and made some misleading claims about “who” and “how much”.]

If you’ll recall, Qtrax was/is a P2P approach much like Napster was in its day. In a move to stay alive, avoid legal entanglements, etc they shuttered the doors and hunkered down to buy time. All the while they’ve been cutting deals with the labels with an interesting model (similar to SpiralFrog‘s): namely ad sponsored distribution of music files which are somehow playable on the iPod as something other than your house variety mp3.

I’m certain this isn’t what they want to hear… I love music and I’m positive somehwere in that 25 million large pile of digitized music I’ll find some new stuff I don’t already own… I can ignore ads with the best of them. They’ve gotta know this about us. Seems to me they’ll have to be very intrusive with their ad plays in order to pay the license fees their labels are going to demand. Doing the rough math… if they’ll owe .50 on each distributed track I will have to have earned Qtrax enough during my site visit to offset what they’re going to owe (not to mention enough for infrastructure, salaries and operating costs). That’s one helluva lot of ad sponsored clickstream.

I don’t see them living to see 2009 with this model.

Installing Leopard 9A559

September 25, 2007

Wouldn’t it be fun for Apple to snooker us all and launch Leopard this Monday, October 1?

Hell, might as well fan the flames of desire here a bit. C’mon, dontcha think?!

They’re calculating like that. Take for instance, the iPhone. They deliberately launched it late 2Q2007. All just to get a pop for the quarter on ye olde stock ticker (AAPL) and punch up the Q2 results.

I can see them trying to milk Q4 for everything it’s got in it with an October 1 release. Yeah, I know, it’s all blue sky speculation and tin-foil-hat tom-foolery. But, still, they’re sly like a fox that way and I could totally see them kitting up the DVDs for the past two weeks while they feed us three or four week old images throwing us off and onto a cold trail. Why would dear old Apple do that pray tell? ‘Cause they can Timmy. Cause they can.

This release has been given the back seat while iPhone an AppleTV took center stage for the first half of 2007. As of 9A559 Leopard’s tight. REAL tight (especially Server). I’ve been using the latest greatest as my production machine for two solid weeks. So, it wouldn’t shock me in the least if Apple came out swinging for a full Fourth Quarter performance. Get this right and get it tight as a drum before the holiday season, gin up word of mouth and I see AAPL posting some mighty fine numbers on unit sales all the way around. Leopard has the teeth in it to drive some killer innovation across their product lineup (iPod, iTunes, iPhone and of course Macs).

Speaking Of The Zune…

September 6, 2007

el Jobso announced his engagement with Starbucks complete with an icon on the new iPod deck and everything. Ah, l’amour.

Wonder how long it will be before those others guys get a Denny’s icon on their Zunes?

Furthermore, since Apple Stores play some better-than-average tunes… wonder how long it’ll be before we can wi-fi into the iTunes Store while in an Apple Store?Kinda makes sense, n’est pas?

Apple’s Next Gen Products

July 27, 2007

Apple flashed some guidance that has those of us in the contrails of the iPhone launch reading the tea leaves for heady news once again.

“Product transition” would normally not garner ANY press. But, it’s Apple after all. So, we’re all back to the guessing game of what, when, where and how (we don’t much care about Why: it’s Apple!).

Some speculation is the iMac is about to get an aluminum clad look. Others, the iPhone is about to go 6G and inherit multi-touch. Still others are going way out on a limb and suggesting Apple has an ultra secret UMPC up their sleeves. Whatever it is, it’s enough for Apple to suggest lowered guidance to the analysts in their last call (which I listened to while it was in progress). Total speculation here, but it might just be Apple is now tending toward pre-announcement of product and is wise enough to tell the analysts – in hushed tones – we’re going to announce stuff in one quarter that will tight-hole us till the next. One analyst (Bear Stearns I think) asked why they should put any credence in this guidance since last quarter was such a runaway miss. I love Apple’s answer which was basically, Go pound sand, it is what it is.

If the rumor mill is worth its salt (and often it’s not) then we should be getting a news of the new stuff in the August timeline. One thing is certain, Leopard is going golden master release one of the 31 days in October. The 9A499 seed from Tuesday is SWEET! and once again reminds me… for all the frustrations I have with Apple (there are many)… They have some of the coolest stuff under the hood I’ve ever had the privilege to bang on.

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Jobs on Zune’s Wifi

June 28, 2007

Remember when we were all under a different spell. You know. BEFORE iPhone?

We all wanted an iPod with wifi. Looks like it’s here. And, it contains a phone too… hmmm. Cool.

Now, Walt and friends were never on the same subnet as other phones. So… Wonder if we’ll be able to share our playlists like we do at our desks. 22 hours and we find out.

Hey, anybody know what happened to that Zune thing?

Zune’s Marketing Director’s Nuts!

February 7, 2007

From the NY Times:

Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune at Microsoft, said Mr. Jobs’s call for unrestricted music sales was “irresponsible, or at the very least naïve,” adding, “It’s like he’s on top of the mountain making pronouncements, while we’re here on the ground working with the industry to make it happen.”

“He’s certainly a master of the obvious,” Mr. Reindorp said, adding that “the stars were already aligning” to loosen the restrictions.

Is it just me or is Jason Reindorp acting like me trying to tell Tim Berners Lee how the web should have been invented? Yeah, I thought so.

iPhone Shuffle and Nano Pix

January 15, 2007

Great iPhone concepts… OK, the Photoshopping is coming online finally and Spymac not only has pics of “the book” Mr. Jobs used to deliver the keynote (Cingluar’s CEO Mr. Sigman could use some help) but they also have some interesting side by sides of what the Shuffle and Nano iPhone’s might look like.

Digitizing 45s to MP3?

November 30, 2006

Dad’s got these humungous stacks of 45’s. Some are from his personal collection. Some were inherited from Grandma. Saw a title in there, Mel Tillis’ Coca-Cola Cowboy made me smile about Grandma dancing around in her kitchen years ago.

I’d love to digitize some (if not all) of them to MP3s as a special present to him. Anyone have any good advice on getting this done? I’d like to do it myself rather than farming it out. Call me cheap… Heck, I’d just love to learn how to do it in a high quality kinda way! It’s for my dear ole Dad after all. 🙂

Tips? How to clean them? Wire them through to a Mac for capture? Tweaks, etc?

iPod versus…?

November 17, 2006

There’s a lot of smack being talked about “the next iPod killer” whether that’s the Zune, the Sansa, the next thing from iRiver… Even collectively they’re not taking ANY marketshare AWAY from Apple. They’re simply making a bigger market and that’s happening for a variety of reasons. Face it. Very few people (I know only two) refuse to own anything Apple. They’re down on the company, brand, technology, kool-aid thing. One of the guy’s old and cranky and just plain off his rocker half the time. And, the other fellows closer to my age than he is to Cranky’s… and well, he just doesn’t like anything that isn’t built from components from Fry’s. Everyone else I know is at least open to owning at least an iPod (most already do).

So, what’s the real threat here? We know Apple’s not going to stand still. The iPod platform is a moving target. But one that’s getting bigger all the time. They’ve picked up a TON of new Apple customers (for iPods, MacBooks, etc)… The truth of it is – Microsoft is probably hemhorraging customers right now. But, and this is significant, Microsoft *HAS* entered the MP3 player market with a version 1.0 Zune. That just brought them one VERY significant step closer to threatening iPod. Ballmer’s not going to sit still either. He’s going to take the fight to iPod. His version 1.0 may not seem like much. But, do you remember version 1.0 of iPod? Compared to today’s experience… I wouldn’t have one. I’d have been very shocked if Microsoft had come out with a winning hand for version 1.0: They haven’t learned their lessons yet.

So, the bar’s been raised pretty high. Right? Well, yes and no. See… Apple’s learned a gob of lessons first-hand. They know and remember exactly how they came to be where they are now. They learned to grow up fast, iterate, grow more, iterate, etc. The only saving grace Apple has is no one else is really iterating a whole package across multiple platforms. The saving grace (and it’s not to be counted on really) is that Microsoft doesn’t seem to have iterative design in their DNA. They just don’t do things too very quickly. And, no one on the Windows side of life is going to seriously threaten Apple’s lock on the Mac platform. Unless… you see that little brown app pop up on a Mac some day. That will signal some serious throw down is coming.

DVD Jon Fairplays Apple

October 2, 2006

GigaOM » DVD Jon Fairplays Apple

So, let me get this straight… Jon Lech Johansen (aka DVD Jon) has reverse engineered the FairPlay DRM and has now put some DRM of his own together that works okie dokie on the iPod. Uh huh.

And, how, exactly does this not get him sued?

Or, put more precisely. If Apple can shut the door behind them on DRM once… and with the quick generation of new devices how long do you think they’ll allow competing (if essentially same) DRMs to function on their gear?