DoubleTwist gains iPhone sync as Apple gets Twitter-friendly for iTunes

While Apple’s iTunes team becomes ever more serious about Twitter, DVD John’s DoubleTwist has reintroduced sync support for the iPhone and iPod touch (Windows) within its latest update.

DoubleTwist 2.4 for Windows is available now and introduced numerous new features, including playlist creation and sync, library search, and a persistent DoubleTwist library. “While we’ll still access your iTunes and/or Windows Media Player [collections] you can now add folders/directories from anywhere on your system to use as your DoubleTwist library for syncing and transferring to your device(s),” the company said.

Music and Video sync is also now available for the latest iPods abnd iPhones in the Windows version of DoubleTwist, the company said.

Apple gets Twitter (a little)
Twitter is big, really big, and while those short info-nuggets lack substance as a reflection of the subconscious murmurings (and marketing messages) of the internet population, it’s hard to beat.

Apple’s iTunes team has been on Twitter since March, when the company introduced iTunesTrailers, an account which now has over a million followers. That million mark likely generates some traffic, which is why Apple has now introduced several more feeds, as follows:

iTunesMusic
iTunesMovies
iTunesTV
iTunesPodcasts

Some of these accounts have only a few followers, though Apple has created a custom background for each available feed, TechCrunch informs.

Apple’s recent iTunes Live festival in London also saw the company introduce an iTunes UK Facebook page, which now boasts 286,291 fans.

Despite this, Apple’s adventures in social media remain shy, with a few small features spread across some apps, principally YouTube export from QuickTime X and “please buy me this” pester messages within the iTunes Store. Hopefully the company will get its hands on some social networking knowledge soon enough.

Apple 'optimistic' to extend iTunes in Europe in the next year

Apple will extend the iTunes Store into many more European countries in the coming year, following a critical meeting with European competition commission regulators.

Following yesterday’s meeting, European authorities released a joint statement in collaboration with Apple, music rights bodies and smaller online music operators detailing a series of agreed principles that should make online music sales in Europe more consumer friendly.

Apple and others agreed to the statement during a round table meeting in Europe yesterday, the fourth meeting of the Roundtable on the Online Distribution of Music, chaired by European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes.

Amazon, BEUC, EMI, Nokia, PRS for Music, SACEM, STIM and Universal also took part.

Apple immediately announced that it was encouraged by progress towards more efficient online music licensing and that it is "optimistic" in making the iTunes store available to consumers in more European countries in the coming year.

Commissioner Kroes stated: "European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings. Today’s agreement by the Roundtable on core principles represents real progress in this direction. It is the first time that players from various parts of the market have agreed on a common roadmap. I also welcome the concrete steps and commitments that have been made and which should improve the availability of online music for consumers."

In a key move which should open iTunes up for business in many more European countries, roundtable participants committed to pursuing new EU licensing platforms comprising the repertoires of collecting societies from more than one country. These platforms should consolidate the widest possible repertoire in their catalogues and should be based on voluntary cooperation among right owners.

They also agreed to work toward providing multi-territorial licences and set up a working group to create a common framework for the identification and exchange of rights ownership information. This will make it easier for commercial users to identify the relevant right owners and secure the necessary rights.

EMI announced that it expects to take an important step forward in digital licensing in Europe via forthcoming non-exclusive deals with the Spanish (SGAE) and French (SACEM) collecting societies.

SACEM will now actively cooperate with as many European authors’ societies as possible with a view to building a common, non-exclusive  portal able to offer the largest possible repertoire to online services on a pan-European basis.

The joint statement as agreed yesterday is available to view here.
 

EyeTV 1.0.1 reaches the App Store.

It was here, it went away, it came back and now it has been replaced.

What are we talking about? The EyeTV app, of course. Elgato have just let us know that EyeTV App version 1.0.1 is now available.

Now, the company have provided us with a list of fixes in this version, but we all know its main aim is to fix the legacy programming code left in the shipping product which enabled savvy users to stream TV shows over a 3G connection.

Win some, lose some, fixes in this patch include:

• Fixed a problem where audio would continue to play after leaving Live TV mode.
• Fixed a crash after zooming and changing channels (requires iPhone OS 3.1.2.)
• Accept iPod Best variants when streaming to the iPhone.
• Fixed a crash in the EPG when scrolling past midnight.
• Compatible with DVB and ATSC programming guide.
• General performance and stability improvements.

Get it here, if you wish.
 

Apple execs book flight time for mystery product, 'not iPhone', bafflement follows

We’re deciphering Apple executives and their fourth quarter statements right now – but the initial take away at this stage is the company’s mysterious admission that “air freight costs” are set to rise "abnormally" in the company’s first quarter.

Now, we know we’re all incredibly curious as to just what Apple’s hatching up for its future product road map, but company executives have so far declined to disclose just what it is they’re planning to send into flight. And they don’t seem to want anyone else to be too excited about it – so ditch those tablet rumour-writing pens, folks.

All execs have said at this point is that these increased air freight costs are “nothing to do with iPhone”, and “are about getting units into the channel for the holiday.”

Units of what? This is bound to inflame the Apple rumour machine.

Specifically, the exchange ran as follows:

Toni Sacconaghim an analyst at Sanford Bernstein asked about Apple’s stated availability issues as per the iPhone 3GS, questioned if component acquisition problems were to blame and asked, "Related to that you had also mentioned that air freight you expected to go up next quarter as a reason for gross margins, I’m not sure if that was in relation to phones or anything else but perhaps you can address that as well?"

Tim Cook confirmed demand for iPhone 3GS simply exceeded supply, "I think you would probably put that in your first category of a good old fashioned demand issue which is a nice problem to have in the scheme of things. Now, because it was outstripping supply it creates component shortages as we go out to the market to secure more components," he said, confirming the problem is pretty much resolved (Ed note: hopefully, unless everyone in China buys an iPhone this month).

Then he hit us with the rumour-raiser: "The air freight is not related to the iPhone so these are unrelated topics. But, generally speaking the air freight is planned to get enough units in to the channel in time for the holidays and is necessary for that reason."

Sacconaghi speculated that Q1 air freight costs most likely are often higher than in other quarters, as company management move assets around the planet to deal with Christmas demand. Then CFO Oppenheimer hit us with a fact to leave us baffled: "It’s more than normal so you’re correct that in general we spend more in freight in Q1. However, this increase is larger than usual. I’m sorry I can’t be specific on the product but it’s an abnormal sequential increase."

So, just to clarify, Apple is spending more on air freight in the future quarter as it struggles to cope with an "abnormal sequential increase". We’re wondering what this could be, dismissing an iPhone nano, tablet, new Mac and so on, we find ourselves speculating on an iPod touch with a camera. Though we’re not sure the new name – abnormal sequential increase – will catch on…

We love Seeking Alpha, by the way.

PS: To cite Shakespeare, this could of course turn out to be much ado about nothing, but if it’s not connected to keeping iPhone inventories strong, then what is the cause? Curious, isn’t it?

Gruber predicting 'Mac Mini Server' and 'Trackpad device' tomorrow

As reported over the weekend, it looks like we might have an announcement tomorrow. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber is throwing his predictions into the ring:

…Redesigned Plastic MacBooks, Redesigned (‘Impressive’) iMacs, Updated Minis (Including One That Ships With Mac OS X Server), the Multi-Touch Magic Mouse, and, as the Wildcard Out-There Rumor, Maybe Even Some Sort of Mentioned-Nowhere-Else-But-in-This-Very-Headline Multi-Touch Trackpad Gadget for Desktop Macs That Apple Is Set to Release Tomorrow Morning

Mostly rehashed, but a few new items from here:

  • Mac Mini Server (will it be a new OS for the rest of us? Or will it be standard OSX Server for small companies that don’t need an Xserve?).  Lots of people use these already so not a huge surprise.  $999 pricepoint is our guess.  Apple is already selling Minis for $499.
  • ‘Magic Mouse’ New name, multi-touch surface on top has been talked about already plenty.
  • Multi-touch trackpad for desktops (which would seem to negate the above?)  Seems more in the wild guess category but certainly something we’d be interested in.  Tune in tomorrow morning.

Apple Q4: Mac sales up 17%, iPhone sales hit 7.4m

Apple today revealed Q4 revenue of $9.87 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 per diluted share.

This contrasts with revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.6 percent, up from 34.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The company confirmed what many industry observers hadn’t expected, that it is continuing to exercise the subscription accounting treatment required by GAAP, presumably while it implements new systems which don’t assess income in this manner.

For the present, though, Apple recognizes revenue and cost of goods sold for iPhone and Apple TV over their estimated economic lives.

What’s important is the adjusted figure, in Apple’s own words: “Adjusting GAAP sales and product costs to eliminate the impact of subscription accounting, the corresponding non-GAAP measures for the quarter are $12.25 billion of “Adjusted Sales” and $2.85 billion of “Adjusted Net Income.”

Numbers look pretty good:
- 3.05 million Macs – 17% up year-on-year (y-o-y).
– 10.2 million iPods  – 8% down y-o-y
– 7.4 million iPhones – 7% up y-o-y.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

“We are delighted with our September quarter and fiscal 2009 results,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, moving on to full year results. “For the full year, we grew revenue by 12 percent and net income by 18 percent in extraordinarily challenging times.”

Pretty positive guidance, too. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue in the range of about $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $1.70 to $1.78,” Oppenheimer said.

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q4 2009 financial results conference call starting at 2pm PDT.

TomTom car kit demoed with 1st Generation iPhone (and iPod touch?)

We first postulated that it was possible to use the iPod touch and original iPhone with the TomTom car kit (which includes a GPS module) back in August.  Mac4ever seemed to have confirmed this a month later, but Apple to this day only advertises that the iPhone 3G and 3GS are capable of using the TomTom kit.  Today the Gemans at iFun.de have YouTube proof (we think!) that the kit does work with original iPhones (and iPods?).

Thanks Oliver!

Facebook.app updates coming soon. Push Notifications to annoy us all

 Last Night Joel Hewitt, the developer of the iPhone Facebook App, tweeted that a 3.03 bugfix update was in the pipe with a new 3.1 version right around the corner.  The big feature in 3.1?  Push Notifications.  Now every time one of your 300 "friends" updates the status of their meal, you’ll be notified (OK, maybe you can set it only to push direct messages – fine).

Us? We’ll take a pass on the Push Notifications but to each their own.