In a post from a few days ago that could just have easily been written at any point over the past seven years, Mashable proclaimed that Apple might be working on a thinner iPhone. No shit. New things are better than old things. Upgrades are made with better parts and built to be more efficient. This will happen every. single. year.
Two weeks after it was supposed to be delivered, Apple has issued an update to its Apple TV set-tops, bringing with it Flickr integration and iTunes movie rentals. On January 15, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised the update "within 2 weeks." The company later pushed that back "another week or two." Well, better late than never, I guess. What I want to know is who's taking the fall for this one: Tony Fadell, head of the iPod division; Bertrand Serlet, Apple's software-engineering chief; or Sina Tamaddon, who's in charge of application software. Let the fingerpointing begin!
Apple announced today that while the MacBook Air has started shipping, the Apple TV 2.0 update, which was promised "in about two weeks," will be available "in another week or two." Apple didn't say what the holdup was, but it could be related to Flickr integration issues (Steve Jobs's Flickr demonstration failed during his keynote), other quality control problems, or, quite possibly, due to last-minute wrangling with the movie studios.
A few weeks ago, at the Macworld keynote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced online movie rentals from all the major studios. At the same time, he rolled out a significant upgrade to the Apple TV, transforming it from an underwhelming side project into something consumers might actually purchase. Online movie rentals, in high definition no less, are what the Apple TV has been begging for since it was introduced. I suspect that Steve Jobs wanted to roll out movie rentals when the Apple TV was released, but couldn't get the deals done — a testament to the reluctance of the movie studios to make this deal and to the coup that Jobs has pulled off. Now though, we're wondering about the price drop on the Apple TV that was announced as the same time, from $299 to $229. Just how can Apple afford that?
Vudu, the set-top movie rental box just cut the price of its entry-level model to $295, following Apple's price cut on its revamped Apple TV to $229. If they want to compete in the current streaming frenzy, they probably want to seek distribution beyond Tweeter and other third-rate electronics stores. If the well-stocked kiosk in one San Francisco mall is any indication, Vudu's boxes are not flying off the shelves. [last100]
So we dinged Yahoo for not updating 8 of their 26 official blogs in the last month. Apparently word got around. In the image to the left, find the reply from Yahoo's Digital Home Blog. Click to expand it. It's either as fine a demonstration of snark you'll find or a snapshot of a very sad reality. Either way, the message is clear: At Yahoo, somebody forced somebody to start these pointless blogs and nobody likes writing them. So leave us alone. (Snark only goes so far: The blog post, ostensibly about the launch of Flickr photos on Apple TV, does not mention that the demo of this feature during Steve Jobs's Macworld keynote completely failed.) Here's a note, more to the point, from the Yahoo! Research Berkeley bloggers.
"We've said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple," NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said in the Financial Times this morning. Of course you have, Jeff. Except for maybe that time last fall when you told an audience at Syracuse University that "Apple has destroyed the music business ... If we don't take control on the video side, they'll do the same [there]." What does Zucker's pirouette mean?
Toshiba is insisting that its HD-DVD disc format is doing well, despite Warner's defection to the Blu-ray side. Citing strong fourth-quarter sales of HD-DVD players, Toshiba's going ahead with the fight. Which has to give Steve Jobs a chuckle. The continuing war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD just redounds to his advantage, as he preps a laptop without any optical drive at all and a retooled Apple TV to deliver movies to the living room.
Just confirmed at Macworld: all six major studios are onboard for iTunes movie rentals. That's Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal.Variety thought Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. were unlikely to sign on for "various competitive reasons." Maybe there's hope for the flailing Apple TV yet. Why? It's all you need to access the films. No computer required. (Photo by Boereck)
Look for yourself. Apple's world-changing TV console, introduced just a few months ago, is completely absent from the landing page of its holiday gift guide. It didn't even make the photo montage. Apple TV is hiding below the fold on a second-tier "iPod Gifts" page, with lower billing than a set of Bose headphones. I only noticed because I was moving old mail out of my inbox. I found a bunch of messages from fanboys warning me to repent, repent my published disinterest in the device, because quote "cable TV will be dead by Christmas." Just like record companies!