At a press conference scheduled for September 9, Apple will unveil "unspecified new products," reports Reuters. Thanks, Reuters guys — that really helps! The event's theme is "let's rock." In August, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose predicted Apple would announce a new iPod Nano, minor changes to its iPod Touch, price cuts to older iPod models and version 8.0 of iTunes — in other words, the same kind of update to its iPod product line Apple makes every fall. Our eternal gratitude, Captain Obvious!
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry claims “there have been multiple cases of overheating and fire damage, in particular during recharging" iPod Nanos sold during the model's first year of production in 2005. An Apple spokesperson confirmed that “in very rare cases”, batteries in first generation iPod Nanos sold between September 2005 and December 2006 can overheat. Full statement from Apple:
Much like the first day of elementary school, Katherine Heigl spent a decent portion of her first day back on set catching up with the cast and crew of the popular medical drama Grey's Anatomy. When it came to time to explain what she did over her vacation, an uncomfortable silence filled the parking lot. A pensive Heigl kicked at a few imaginary pebbles then explained that she's got to listen to her lines on her iPod in her car and added that she might check out that 'cake fart' website everybody is raving about as well.
Apple reported numbers for its third fiscal quarter today: Based on the sales of 2,496,000 Macs and 11,011,000 iPods, Apple generated revenues of $7.46 billion and a net profit of $1.07 billion. In the same time period last year, Apple's revenue was $5.41 billion, with a profit of $818 million. Apple didn't release numbers for iPhone sales — those come next quarter. Steve Jobs, skipping over talk of his health, also hinted at more new product releases in the coming months. New products from Apple? Yes, we're not shocked, either.
Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal dropped by the Today Show this morning to shill a movie, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Eckhart earnestly related to host Matt Lauer a story about their deceased costar Heath Ledger which he'd told Ledger's mother — namely, that friends were passing around Ledger's iPod as a form of remembrance:
With the purchase of a laptop, students can choose to get a free 8GB iPod touch worth $299. First reported by MacRumors, Apple's online store now confirms the deal. Apple, which
used to knock down knocks down the price of its wares by as much as 20 percent to students, has also been offering consumer-electronics giveaways instead of in addition. Until recently, the company was giving away iPod Nanos. But you can't get that $299 towards an iPhone.
Apple has settled a class-action suit in Canadian courts over first, second and third-generation iPod batteries that fell well short of claimed battery life. Up to 80,000 Canadians are eligible for CA$45 credits. I'd make a joke about worthless Canadian currency, except that it's now trading near parity with our own worthless currency. [Canada.com]
While in the strictly platonic section of Craigslist, this anonymous Angeleno writes in a tone more suited to casual encounters, what with the desire to "rocket sweet tracks up each other's Zune slots" and the need for "a hearty and steadfast product." I'm willing to bet my Shuffle against your Zune the author is NBC's Jeff Zucker, and that he wasn't being ironic.
Why is Apple suddenly in talks with record labels about bundling an unlimited music plan with new iPods, after resisting such a move for years? Steve Jobs has scoffed at music subscriptions in the past, saying customers want to "own their music." Never take Steve at his word: For years, he shot down the idea of iPods with video or an Apple-branded cell phone — until he made them happen. The same is about to happen for music subscriptions, I suspect — but not because Jobs has suddenly changed his mind about consumers' tastes.
Apple executives will meet with music labels next week to discuss selling music subscriptions on iTunes, the New York Times notes, confirming prior reports. At the meetings, label execs will argue that customers are ready for subscriptions because they're used to watching movies expire after they rent them on iTunes. Despite his long-held reservations, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is reportedly willing to listen. He's even said to be considering making music subscriptions part of purchasing an iPod or iPhone — probably just to spite NBC CEO Jeff Zucker.
Apple has opened negotiations with the major record labels by offering only $20 per customer for a proposed unlimited plan at the iTunes music store, according to the Financial Times. Nokia is offering $80, but then cell-phone manufacturers have the price of phones subsidized by carriers who've gotten used to paying hundreds of dollars to acquire new customers. Apple has traditionally made its profits on the devices themselves, since iTunes margins are paltry, and are already slashing prices on units in order to meet sales forecasts. Labels are looking to get as much as $100 from iPod buyers and $8 a month from iPhone subscribers. Both sides are really fighting over how much of the profit from music they'll keep. Me, I'll stick with vinyl. (Illustration by Gizmodo)
Forget ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or your office pools. Why not spend March Madness this year with the New York Times [click to enlarge]? There's a possibility of a fancy top prize for you: an iPod. A shiny new iPod, to one lucky fan. Millions will clamor for this bauble! Second prize: a shiny nickel.
Apple COO Tim Cook revealed an iPod-sales statistic at Wednesday's Goldman Sachs Tech conference: "For last quarter in the U.S., 40 percent of iPods sold were sold to people who did not own an iPod. In thinking about this number, this doesn't feel like a saturated market to us." The vast majority of my (admittedly gadget-loving) friends have bought several iPods over the years. I'm on my sixth, if you include my iPhone. Even my mother has had two and is thinking about a Shuffle. Just how many people bought an iPod last year? And how many were new to the white-earbud cult? Here's our rough estimate.
Apple COO Tim Cook explained Apple's iPod strategy at a Goldman Sachs conference yesterday: Sell less, make more. Worldwide iPod unit shipments were up 5 percent December-to-December — relatively low growth, thanks to slumping sales of Apple's cheap Shuffle. But iPod revenue still grew 17 percent. "Shuffle pulled the units down, the iPod Touch pulled the revenue up. Frankly, it was much more important for us to have a great launch on Touch and to establish that product ... than it was on units," he said. Cook continued:
Rumors are flying about a secret event Apple is holding next week in New York City. Potential introductions include long-expected software which would allow developers outside Apple to make applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Other rumors are circling about new high-end notebooks, a new iPhone, or more labels offering DRM-free music on the iTunes Store. Rock band Linkin Park posted a note on its blog about a special show in NYC in with Apple. "Shh... it's a secret..." Got more details? Drop us a line. (Photo by AP/Jeff Chiu)
The U.S. Government's proposed tax rebate checks, totaling about $60 billion, will mostly be spent on "household goods" and "electrical items." Translation? Toilet paper and iPods. "These kinds of stimulus packages trigger a rise in sales for clothing, household furnishings, and household goods." [Times Online]
Apple has fattened the iPhone and iPod Touch's memory — and the company's profit margins. The 16GB iPhone retails for $499 — a $100 price jump, which might kick the iPhone above a 40 percent gross margin. Not bad for an industry that normally gives away phones as a loss leader. [Silicon Alley Insider]