Archive for iPod

iPhone 5 Announced…. Along With New iPods

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 12, 2012 by itnerd

If you’re an Apple fanboi, or Wall Street, you’ve been waiting for today. The much rumored and hyped iPhone 5 was launched. If you want to see the whole event, watch the video here. But here’s the highlights in case you don’t have time. First there’s the iPhone 5. The key features are:

  • A glass and aluminum enclosure that’s 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 and weighs in 20% lighter than these previous models at 112 grams.
  • It has a 4-inch 1136 x 640 pixel (326 pixels per inch) Retina Display giving it the same width as the iPhone 4S but a taller form factor.
  • LTE connectivity
  • An A6 processor that’s twice as fast as the previous A5 processor, and is 22% smaller and more efficient.
  • 8 hours of 3G or LTE talk time or browsing or 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing or 225 hours of standby time.
  • Improved camera optics
  • The front camera will do 720p HD video capture with the ability to take photos while recording video.
  • Three microphones
  • New earphones called Earpods which you can purchase separately.
  • iOS 6
  • Improved Siri interface

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will begin on Friday, September 14 and Apple will begin shipping the new device on September 21 in nine countries including the US and Canada. Other countries will follow shortly.

Apple also announced two new iPods today. There’s a new iPod Touch that mimics the form factor of the iPhone 5, but only comes sporting an A5 processor. comes in five colors and will be available in October at $299 USD (32GB) and $399 USD (64GB). Next is the new iPod Nano which now has a 2.5″ screen and multi-touch interface. It has an FM receiver, widescreen video, pedometer, and Bluetooth. The new iPod nano comes in 7 colors and will be available in October for $149 USD for 16GB.

In all cases, Apple has introduced an new connector called “Lightning” to complement the “Thunderbolt” connector on their computers. It’s described as an all-digital, 8-signal design with an adaptive interface, and improved durability. Apple will be providing an adapter for existing accessories. Companies like Bose, JBL, B&W, and B&O are already working on devices that use the new connector. Oh yeah. There’s also the iPod Shuffle which was upgraded with new color choices, but the same $49 USD pricing and 2GB capacity.

So, will you be lining up for a iPhone 5 in a couple of weeks?

Own A First Generation iPod Nano? You Need To Read This

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 13, 2011 by itnerd

Owners of first generation iPod Nano’s should read this post on the Apple website. There is a worldwide replacement program for owners of these iPods that’s meant to address the fact that they might overheat and catch fire:

Apple has determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the iPod nano (1st generation) may overheat and pose a safety risk. Affected iPod nanos were sold between September 2005 and December 2006.

This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. While the possibility of an incident is rare, the likelihood increases as the battery ages.

Apple recommends that you stop using your iPod nano (1st gen) and follow the process noted below to order a replacement unit, free of charge.

I’m not sure how rare this is. I’ve written about problems in Japan has had problems with this generation of iPods before and there have been similar reports elsewhere which includes a similar recall in South Korea when the government forced them to do it. Clearly there’s a major problem with this iPod. I might have given them a free pass on this if they dealt with this sooner. But it appears that they decided not to for whatever reason. That really looks bad on Apple.

Apple Releases New iPhone 4S And iPods…. World Says “Where’s The iPhone 5?” [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on October 4, 2011 by itnerd

Today was the first Apple media event that didn’t have Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, but that to my surprise was not the main storyline. The main storyline was a new iPhone. No, it was the iPhone 5 that was rumored for weeks. Instead, the fanbois got the iPhone 4S. It looks the same as the iPhone 4, but everything inside is new. It has Apple’s A5 dual core processor that is in the iPad . That makes the phone 7x faster than the iPhone 4. It has an 8 megapixel camera that also records 1080p video. In an attempt to avoid another episode of “antennagate” it has a completely redesigned the antenna system which makes the iPhone 5 the first phone to intelligently switch between antennas for sending and receiving. The phone has a new feature called Siri which is an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by using speech. Another new feature is that the iPhone 4S has both GSM and CDMA technologies, and also supports HSDPA download speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps. That’s great news because Sprint in the USA will get the iPhone. Maybe that will stop their bleeding.

But I digress.

iOS 5 will make an appearance on this phone (with upgrades for existing iDevices coming soon). Not to mention Bluetooth 4.0. Sweet.

The phone will be available in both black and white and comes in three difference capacities: 16 GB  for $199 US, 32 GB for $299 US, and 64 GB for $399 US. All the prices I quoted are for the usual 3 year contract with the carrier of your choice. Pre-orders beginning this Friday, October 7 and they should be in stores on Friday, October 14th in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

iPods were featured as well. The new iPod Touch was announced in 8 GB, 32 GB and 64GB sizes with iOS 5 included. They have a white unit shipping alongside a black unit. Expect to pay $199 US and up for one starting on October 12th. Joining the iPod Touch is the new iPod Nano. The user interface has been updated to improve navigation and it now 16 clock faces to facilitate its use as a watch. Nike+ is now usable out of the box without additional hardware (such as a sensor in a Nike branded shoe which my wife who is a running enthusiast hated because it limited her choice of shoes to Nike shoes). Expect to pay $129 US for the 8GB model and $149 US for the 16GB model. They’re in stores now.

So what do you think of all of this? Do you miss the fact that there was no iPhone 5 announced? Leave a comment below.

UPDATE: A video of the media event is now online.

Apple iPod Battery Issues Resurface

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 17, 2010 by itnerd

Apple really have a lot of issues that they have to deal with. First there’s “antennagate” and now there’s a report that an iPod overheated in a Tokyo subway causing a delay. This hasn’t been the first time that this has happened:

Apple, the world’s largest technology company by market value, has come under scrutiny in Japan since the trade ministry last month ordered it to improve safety warnings following cases of overheating in its first generation iPod nano music players.

There have been around 60 such incidents in Japan, including four cases involving minor burns, according to the ministry.

Apple for its part has had no comment. But in Japan, Apple has offered to replace batteries in iPods:

In a brief statement Tuesday, Apple Japan acknowledged “very rare cases of overheating” in some units sold between September 2005 and December 2006, and said the malfunction links back to a specific battery supplier, which it didn’t identify. It also offered to replace the batteries of the affected first-generation devices.

Sorry Apple. 60 cases doesn’t sound all that rare to me. I’ll also note this that this action came only after the Japanese government twisted the screws on Apple:

“We’ve been asking they outline the preventive actions that have been taken for two years, but we question whether enough has been done so we took official action,” said Seiji Shimagami, a ministry official who works in consumer product safety.

I’ve previously noted that Apple has threatened owners of iPods that exhibit this behavior. Not only that, they’ve apparently attempted to keep the media from investigating this in the past. So it will be interesting to see how Apple deals with this so that this doesn’t turn into “batterygate.”

Apple Event Includes Appearance From “The Steve”… Fanbois Rejoyce [UPDATED x5]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 9, 2009 by itnerd

Apple today announced a slew of new products, but that news was almost secondary compared to God Steve Jobs being seen in public for the first time since his liver transplant. Apparently he got a sustained standing ovation. It’s good to see him back in action as he’s had a difficult time of it as of late.

Back to what was announced today. Here’s a brief list:

  • iPhone Software 3.1 was announced today and is available TODAY. Plug your iPhone or iPod touch into iTunes to get your copy. It’s apparently free iPhone users and iPod touch users with version 3.0 installed.
  • Ringtones are coming. There will be 30,000 available for $1.29 USD each.
  • iTunes 9 has been released. There’s quicker and easier navigation options, preview buttons, and new ways to experience media purchased in the store. iTunes LPs lets you have the full album experience with lyrics, liner notes, and band photos and videos, and iTunes Extras will allow you to experience DVD-style extras with movies you buy from the iTunes store. There’s also Genius mixes which will make you think that your tunes were mixed by a virtual DJ. Apparently there’s improved playlist syncing options too. Here’s a feature that you’ll love. Home sharing: Copy songs, TV shows, etc. with up to 5 computers in your house. There’s also the ability to share stuff on Facebook and Twitter, though I’ll have to download and try it to see how that works. Finally, you can drag and drop to move certain apps or whole pages of apps on your iPod Touch or iPhone. It will likely be available for download later today (it’s not available for download as I type this).
  • The iPod Touch now comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB sizes and starts at $199 USD.
  • The iPod Classic is now going to be 160GB, but remain at the same price of $249 USD.
  • The iPod Shuffle is now $59 USD for 2GB and $79 USD for 4GB. New colors are available including a polished steel edition at $99 USD for 4GB. There will also be a wider variety of headsets with integrated controls available as well.
  • The iPod Nano now has a video camera built in along with FM Radio… Radio? On a digital music player? Didn’t Microsoft do that with the Zune? Anyway, a pedometer and a voice recorder is included too. You can sync the pedometer directly to Nike+ as well. Like the Suffle, new colors are available. 8GB is $149 USD and 16GB is $179 USD and it’s apparently available today. Hey Steve, why no camera on the iPod Touch? Don’t want to steal sales from the iPhone perhaps?

Not exactly overwheming IMHO, but I’m sure the fanbois will have something to say about that.

UPDATE: Here’s a story from the Globe And Mail that talks about Steve’s appearance on stage.

UPDATE #2: Something I missed earlier. The 32 GB and 64 GB iPod touch models are “50% faster” than previous models and will run OpenGL ES 2.0. That means that gaming on those iPods will be the same as the iPhone 3GS.

UPDATE #3:  iTunes 9 has once again broken the Palm Pre’s ability to sync. I wonder how long that will last? Oh yeah, Mac users also get a Quicktime update too. Here’s the Apple doc on what’s in it.

UPDATE #4: Minor correction. The iPod Touch version of the iPhone 3.1 update is $4.95 USD according to this page.

UPDATE #5: A QuickTime stream of the event is now live.

Apple Threatens Owner Of Exploding iPod

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 3, 2009 by itnerd

Methinks “The Steve” needs to have a chat with his iLawyers. Why? Simple. The Times in London reports that Apple attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gag order after the child’s iPod music player exploded and the family sought a refund from the company:

The Times has learnt that the company would offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.

Lovely. But there’s more:

The letter also stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.

“I thought it was a very disturbing letter,” said Mr Stanborough, who is self-employed and works in electronic security. He refused to sign it.

“They’re putting a life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling.

“We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back,” he added.

Because of this, Apple has just become the latest victim of the Streisand Effect as this has become more than just a Times of London story. For example, this Google search brings up a ton of hits on this story alone. Not to mention a Google search of blogs.

That’s not exactly positive press for Apple now is it.

Apple via another story had no comment other than this:

Apple denied its response had attempted to gag the family when Sky News Online contacted them, instead describing it as “standard practice to have a letter of settlement”.

I’m sure it is, but I guarantee that it isn’t being seen that way right now. If you factor in what I told you in this post from last week, Apple seems to have a major PR problem on its hands.

Are iPods Too Hot To Handle?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 22, 2009 by itnerd

Amy Clancy of KIRO 7 TV in Seattle recently investigated reports of iPods overheating, smoldering and catching fire. The complaints, made to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, amount to over 800 pages of documentation covering 15 incidents. Here’s the kicker. Apple’s iLawyers repeatedly tried to prevent Clancy from accessing this info under a Freedom of Information Act request.

That doesn’t sound good for Apple, and the optics of using the iLawyers to stop this info from coming out suck. But it may actually be worse that that. Consider the following:

So does Apple have some sort of problem on its hands? At first glance, it seems so. But in the absence of hard facts, that’s hard to say. One thing is for certain. Until facts come out to either prove or disprove this, this won’t be good for the public perception of Apple Inc.

iTunes 8.1 Screws Over 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle Users

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on April 11, 2009 by itnerd

If you’ve got a second generation iPod Shuffle, you may want to put off upgrading to the latest version of iTunes. That’s because Apple’s latest version of iTunes causes a number of issues for owners of these iPods and Apple’s own discussion boards are littered with the postings of pissed off users. The symptoms are:

  • It dupes existing files on the iPod
  • It copies podcasts out-of-order
  • It doesn’t remove deleted podcasts,
  • It won’t play when connected to the computer
  • It has issues with Smart playlists

Perhaps this is a not so subtle hint sent by “The Steve” that these users should buy the third generation iPod Shuffle? Or perhaps this is an oversight in the rush to get the third generation iPod Shuffle out the door? Either way, Apple better come up with a fix for this fast. Until then, downgrade to iTunes 8.

Apple: No DRM In Apple Headphones…. But There’s Still An Apple Tax, So This Still Sucks

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 16, 2009 by itnerd

The Interwebs have been buzzing with news of the “authentication chip” inside the new Apple headphones. To try and put the issue to rest, BoingBoing managed to talk to an Apple PR droid employee and got this response:

Just spoke with Apple. There is no encryption or authentication on the chip, so clones could conceivably be made, just not with “Made for iPod” official certification. And now we know!

Great. But it still means that there’s still an “Apple Tax” on accessories as to make them work right and more importantly to get people to have the warm fuzzies when buying them requires paying money to Apple so that you can license the technology. Plus by doing so likely keeps the iLawyers at bay if Apple ever decided to become draconian when it came to accessories that didn’t have their stamp of approval.

Frankly, I didn’t care if their headphones had some sort of DRM scheme or not. What I do care about is the fact that my choice of headphones is being restricted by Apple because they want to keep the cash rolling in to buy Steve Jobs more black turtleneck shirts charge accessory companies licensing fees which get passed onto consumers. So what my feelings were in my original article still stands. I won’t be buying the iPod shuffle and nether should you as a closed ecosystem is not in the best interests of all concerned.

Thinking Of Buying The New iPod Shuffle?…. You May Want To Rethink That…

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on March 14, 2009 by itnerd

You’ll recall that I said the following when I posted the original story about the iPod Shuffle:

First, the controls for the new iPod Shuffle are on the headset. Can you say “Cha Chnig” as there’s no third party products that work with this iPod (yet?).

I didn’t know the half of it. Apparently, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the only third party accessories that work with the iPod shuffle are ones that have an “authentication chip” on them:

Normally, of course, independent headphone makers could simply reverse engineer the interface. The “authentication chip” is there so that Apple’s lawyers can invoke the DMCA to block those efforts. So this shows us, yet again, what DRM is for — not stopping piracy, but rather impeding competition and innovation.

By the way, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management (a.k.a. copy protection) and this link will fill in the blanks on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

And iLounge goes further:

This is, in short, a nightmare scenario for long-time iPod fans: are we entering a world in which Apple controls and taxes literally every piece of the iPod purchase from headphones to chargers, jacking up their prices, forcing customers to re-purchase things they already own, while making only marginal improvements in their functionality? It’s a shame, and one that consumers should feel empowered to fight.

Apple has done things like this in the past. For example, when the new iPod Nano and the iPhone 3G came out, it was noted by iLounge that the way that the device charged itself had changed, rendering many accessories that had charging capablities useless for that purpose. They did say this at the time:

As we noted with the release of the iPhone 3G, Apple alerted developers to this change quite some time ago, so the only people who will be surprised will be the many users with incompatible accessories, including some high-end car kits. Thankfully, it doesn’t disable most accessories entirely, but it’s yet another example of a disconnect between Apple’s “Made For iPod” program and the customers who have relied upon it to purchase add-ons.

This time my friends, this is a disconnect of epic proportions. Currently were are stuck with Apple only accessories. When third party accessories finally surface, you can bet they won’t be cheap as those companies are likely going to have to pay Apple to make sure that Steve Jobs pockets continue to be lined with cash some sort of licensing fee. As a result, I say that the best way for consumers to fight this is not to buy the iPod Shuffle. Or, you can buy the previous generation iPod Shuffle since they’re still available (for now).

Either way, voting with your dollars is the best way to tell Apple that this sort of behaviour sucks.