In the past Apple online store had held one day sales event for "Black Friday" (aka "Boxing Day", the day after Christmas). Usually any other times Apple products are rarely discounted; unless it is through the Corporate or Education sites or refurbished items. So it is a bit surprising to receive a Sale event announcement from Apple Hong Kong this morning. Let along a one day sale event from Apple HK. The email announcement detailed their first ever Chinese New Year 2011 one day sale event to be held on Friday, January 14th in their online store. There are currently no additional details about the deals, discounts or products included in the one-day-sale event. Visiting the page on Apple HK online store right now, one will see a message asking visitors to return on Friday for details.

As many of you know, Apple will be holding its annual invitation-only music event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on September 1st, 10:00 (US PST). For the first time in a long while, Apple will be streaming this event live over the Internet using its "HTTP Live Streaming" (presumably "QuickTime Broadcaster"). Unfortunately, if you do not own one of Apple's products you will not be able to watch it via the Internet.

Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards. Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™. The live broadcast will begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT on September 1, 2010 at www.apple.com.

Sep 1, 18:00 London Time Sep 1, 13:00 US Eastern Time Sep 1, 12:00 US Central Time Sep 1, 10:00 US Pacific Time Sep 2, 01:00 Hong Kong Time Sep 2, 03:00 Sydney Time

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AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

iPod Shuffle 3GWhat is Apple doing? They released a new generation iPod Shuffle tonight (morning US PST) that is ultimate in minimalist.

Like the 2nd generation iPod Shuffle it had no display, which when the 2G was released back in September 2006, people thought Apple was crazy to release a MP3 player without a display. So much so, that the imitators (in China) created versions of the iPod Shuffle (2G) look-a-like that had a display and radio tuners.

Now with the 3rd generation iPod Shuffle Apple went further to remove over 50% of the controls from the previous model and achieve to deliver the rest of the controls with just one (3-way) switch.

Of course, Apple did not do this minimalistic approach hastily, they replaced the removed 50% controls with a multi-positions switch on the headphone. This is the same headphone that was shipped with the iPod Touch (2G).

To satisfy the critics who complain that the original iPod Shuffle did not have a display, Apple included voice over in the new Shuffle to announce the details of the currently playing track and playlists.

A flaw I see with this latest minimalist design, is for people who do not want to use Apple's headphones, they will have lost the ability to control the skipping, pause and play of the shuffle. Apple could have solve this by sliding the headphone control down the headphone cord and then made the cord a two pieces detectable. With one piece housing the pair of headphone and the other piece becomes an extension cord with the single switch control. So users with 3rd party headphone can easily plug their own headphone into Apple's extension cord with the control switch. Of course, this is not my original design, many manufactures (ie. Sony, LG, etc.) have this design.

Aside from a minimalist design of the new iPod, did Apple marketing also adopted a new approach? There was no fan fare to announce the new iPod, nor did they make any rumble when they released the new Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro last week. They also did the release on a Wednesday (US PST time) rather than the normal Tuesday release date.

Is this the new Apple, or is it just while Steve Jobs is absence? How many more product announcement are we to expect before Jobs' return? Given that almost all the hardware had been upgraded, they are only left with Apple applications and OS X, that latter which everyone have been expecting at this year's WWDC.

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AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

I should add "YET!". Apple made available firmware 2.0.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

iPhone Firmware 2.0.1 Availability

If you have an iPhone 3G (non-jailbroken), original iPhone (non-jailbroken and locked) or a pristine iPod Touch, then you should definitely upgrade to this latest firmware. So far all reports show that applications runs faster, quicker synchronization with iTunes and spiffier overall functions of the iPhone or iPod Touch.

WARNING: if you are not in the above group of Apple device owners, meaning you have jailbroken and/or unlocked your iPhone or iPod Touch you should NOT upgrade. You will need to wait for the hacking community to update their hacking methods (currently Pwnage Tool) before doing any firmware update.

The only exception will be the iPod Touch owners who had jailbroken their device and do not mind returning their iPod to Apple factory condition (ie. no more unauthorized 3rd party applications).

BTW: As I have reported on Twitter and other Social Networks, I am experimenting with a method to resolve much of the frequent crashes on the iPhone with firmware 2.0. I will be reporting here on my blog as soon as I have definite results. Please stay tune.

iPod TouchHave been in New York City for the past 3 days.

Today, while going into the Apple Store on 5th Ave. for a friend of mine who wants me to help them purchase an iPod nano in Red.

I notice something very odd. There were a table of iPod Touch set up for people to play with. They sat among the a bunch of iPod Classic (aka. 6G iPod) and there was no fan fare or poster advertising the fact that they had arrived.

According to Apple's original information the iPod Touch was not to be available until September 28th in United States. I wonder if they have also arrived early else where around the world.

Will this mean that the iPhone v1.0.3 firmware upgrade, that rumors to enable the WiFi iTunes Store on the iPhone is also imminent?

If you are located else where other than United States, please comment to this post to share your findings.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesNews

Jane Szeto's iPod
Originally uploaded by VinkoT.

Today my friend's daughter became one of the youngest user of an iPod.

I kind of donated my old 3rd generation iPod to my friend's daughter, who is 2 and a half. So she is now an official Apple product owner.

According to her father, she now listens to Sesame Street on her new iPod. I hear that Jane also favors Barnney.

PS: I am happy to say that she does not do "Windows" (including the OS) and has started to use a Macintosh PowerBook.

Technorati Tags: ,

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

So many people are being too hard on Apple's recent release (Oct. 12). Particular with their announcement of the Apple iPod® with video.

First of all note that they [Apple] did not label it the "iPod Video". This is an important and subtle fact. In no way Apple or Steve Jobs thinks that people will want to watch high resolution videos on their 2.5 inch LCD screen of the new iPod®.

This new version (5th generation) iPod® is foremost a MP3 player with video capability.

In my opinion, the current version of the iPod® is a transport medium of video and it is a tip of the iceberg for what Apple will do for this area of digital media.

As in the original launch of iPod® there were very few features as compare to other MP3 players in the market at the time. Although due to its ease of use and design along with the introduction of iTunes Music Store (iTMS), which is how Apple took the MP3 market from the its well established competitors (Creative, iRiver, Sony, Rio, etc., the latter even went closed its doors).

Again Apple is doing the same thing here with videos. They are introducing a device that can do basically the same thing as everything else in the market. With only 2000 music videos and a handful of TV shows, it is not particular different from the 10s of thousands of songs available in the iTMS when it was first launch.

Yesterday iRiver just announced; to be released next month [November], a new device called "iRiver U10", which has a smaller screen than Apple's new iPod 2.2 inches compares to 2.5 inches. Most importantly the two devices have similar functionality, but the iRiver is much smaller in capacity compared to the new iPod (iRiver's 1GB or 2GB compared to Apple's 30GB or 60GB).

Another thing people are hard on Apple with, are the video codecs that the new iPod supports. Officially the new iPod supports the H.264 (aka MPEG-4 AVC) and MPEG-4 codecs.

People need to remember that Apple, unlike many others (namely Microsoft), supports industry standards. Both the H.264 and MPEG-4 are ITU-T and ISO/IEC respective approved standards.

I understand that many of the "torrent" videos available are encoded with the DivX codec, but that is not the standard for videos. Although it uses codec from MPEG-2.

They other misnomer is that the .AVI format is better than .MOV (QuickTime) or .MPG (MPEG). All three of these are "video/audio containers". Neither of them are conclusively better than any other, except both QuickTime and MPEG are industry standards.

So what Apple has done and introduced to the world is only the "tip of the iceberg" of what to come. I do not know for a fact, but you can follow my trail of thought by reading my previous weblog article ("Next iPod") on the subject.

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AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

hmm... I am glad.

Back on July 23rd this year I wrote in my blog:

... about short videos. Like music videos, TV sitcoms, TV commercials, Movie Trailers, audio skits of any kind which are 15 minutes or less. In these case the entertainment value out weights the quality of video or audio quality of the handheld device on which these videos would be played on....

I wonder if the rest of my post will come true in the near future.

I guess time will tell.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion
Firewire

Ever since last night's (morning in San Jose) Apple announcement. There had been post all over the Internet complaining that Apple dropping the support for Firewire (aka i-Link, aka IEEE-1394) on their iPod®.

Firewire is an industry standard that is approved by the IEEE (hence the IEEE label). It was developed primary by Apple back in the 1990s, but this is not an Apple exclusive technology.

As long as video is still important in consumer electronic and film industry, Firewire and its variants will still be around, and will be supported by Apple and its devices (ie. Macintosh, iPod®, etc.)

Like QuickTime, DVD-R and CD-R, Firewire was made popular by Apple (and to a certain extent Sony). The fact that the original iPods have Firewire does not mean that the USB versions are any less superior.

Removing the support for Firewire is a business decision. Being one of the inventor of Firewire, it is to Apple's advantage to include Firewire in everything (royalties). But I am sure to maintain the same price point and add new features, I think Apple had made the right decision to drop it from the current line of iPod®

Consumer should equate this decision to Apple's decision to remove the AC Adapter in every iPod® shipped. Similarly, I don't think Apple believes that AC Adapter is any less superior to charging via USB or Firewire ports or after market AC Adapters.

Don't be mislead by these individuals who believe there is a feature lost or the unfounded conclusion, that the decision is based on the fact that there are more Wintel users of iPod®.

We are not talking about a large quantities of data being transfered; even with the new 5G iPods. Unless may be you're using your iPod® as an external drive. Even for the latter, USB 2.0 is arguable faster than Firewire 400. Each technology has its own flaws, and the jury is still out on which is better. You can be assure that both technologies are still being advanced as we speak.

The most important thing people need to remember, most USB compatible devices; including the Apple iPod® are backward compatible to USB 1.1. So again there is no worry here. Do NOT believe the notion that one will have to upgrade their computers (Mac® or Wintel) to connect their iPod®'s.

People please read Apple's web page for the products.

Mac system requirements
  • Macintosh computer with USB port (USB 2.0 recommended)
  • Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later

Windows system requirements

  • PC with USB port or card (USB 2.0 recommended)
  • Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or later, or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2 or later

The Internet is a powerful medium and we should all be responsible for spreading the wrong rumors.

Also some people had complained that their iPod® are not always recognized on their Windows machine when using the USB connection. You should be complaining to Microsoft about their OS rather than Apple of their iPod.

[Update 13:54]
I have found another article by "Gareth Potter" on the subject.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

With HP's launch of the new "Apple iPod by HP" (the result of an Apple HP partnership), it also announced the availability of "HP iPod Tattoos". To get to the list of HP iPod Tattoos, you will have to click on the lower left hand image of the center Flash image within the HP Digital Image web page. HPiPod1

At this resulting screen you will see Flash movie animations of each of the available tattoos from HP. The images below are examples of the Vanessa Carlton album cover.

HPiPod2 HPiPod3

According to HP, there will be clear tattoo sheets available in which you can print your own designs. Of course this is another way to sell HP printers and HP Ink. They also mentioned that they are working with record companies to make available to consumers more album cover art.

For the die hard iPod lovers I think they may choose to stick to the clear tattoo sheet to avoid tampering with their beautifully designed white iPod.

Unfortunately, none of the material I read from HP mentioned the Macintosh. It even fail to mention that the Apple iPod by HP is "Macintosh compatible". I will presume the required software to print to these clear tattoo sheets will be Windows specific software.

Also of note, at the time of announcement there do not seem to be "tattoo sheets" available for the iPod Mini.

I guess this is another opportunity for 3rd party to come in and fill the holes left by Apple and HP.

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AuthorVinko
CategoriesNews