Livepanel coverage of the "It's only rock and roll" event

We’re rolling out our good ol’ fashioned 9to5mac Livepanel which will be circulating the best feeds throughout the iPod event.  As you might remember, this framed page shows four of the best feeds at once and is refreshed every 15-30 seconds so your mouse button finger doesn’t have to bleed.  It works best on large (24"+) monitors and uses 1990’s html frames technology to bring sweet, sweet iPod camera information to your eyes as quickly as possible.

We are also Tweeting the event on the 9to5mac twitter account and trying to get an audio or video feed of the event.  We’ll just pop it in if we find one.  Have fun!

 

Apple Store blips out in US, UK, as pre-keynote anticipation grows

OK folks, we all know the drill.

Apple has shut down its online store in the US and the UK (and now, beyond, we hear) as it prepares to add whatever new products it announces in the next few hours….seems an early close, though, so it may well pop back up again. (Spurious music video after the jump).

 

OK, it seems unlikely, but we’d like The Beatles to make an iTunes debut. Song felt aprpopriate.

Rock 'n' roll surprise: Apple TV to get a browser?

We’ve been told not to expect an Apple TV at today’s Apple event, and speculation has pretty much moved away from the device, now an analyst has re-ignited the discussion, voicing his opinion the Apple TV will gain Web browsing in a software update.

“We believe that Apple TV does not sell because it does not support the fastest growing distribution medium for television content: the Web," wrote Technology Business Research analyst, Ezra Gottheil.

"We think Apple will fix Apple TV and realize this potential,” he added in a note released to clients late last night.

While movie rentals have helped Apple triple sales of the Apple TV, Gottheil thinks the company can take it much further.

“A full Web browser would significantly enhance any home theatre installation," he said. "The Web is rapidly emerging as the dominant delivery system for video, including television and movies." The analyst speculates that to enable Web video, Apple would have to license Flash for use on the device.

We’ll wait and see.

Sources have said there’ll be no Apple TV news today, so this announcement may not surface during Apple’s keynote later on.
We do know Apple will launch a new iPod range, though these may potentially not ship until a later date following this morning’s price discount on its existing range. The iPod touch is expected to carry an aggressively low price.

We also expect the introduction of iTunes 9, equipped with the capacity to create digital copies of films you purchase on DVD, saving tedious trans-coding sessions. (Microsoft and UK retailer, Tesco, announced such a move in the UK this morning, we don’t expect Apple to stand still on that opportunity). Apple will also bestow some social networking features to iTunes. There’s even talk of music subscription services and iTunes in the cloud. One thing we do know is that iTunes 9 will usher in a new music format, Cocktail.

Other expectations favour new iPhone/iPod touch software, the potential that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will use this highly starred event to make a return to the keynote stage he excels at hosting.

There’s talk too that the Beatles may make it to iTunes (Eversheds, their lawyers, has revealed it took six months to get all the requisite deals for Rock Band and the new Beatles boxed set together – could online deals have been part of this? Otherwise given that some see Cocktail as being more like an application than a music download, could the Beatles and Apple have concocted a Cocktail deal, to side step EMI’s reluctance to vouchsafe true online downloads?)

The Beatles deal remains completely confusing, with Yoko Ono last night claiming an iTunes deal had been clinched and music from the band would appear on the Apple music service, even while UK music industry insiders we’ve been speaking to have heard nothing – absolutely nothing – to confirm such a deal. EMI execs have also denied such a deal is in place.

Interesting times. We’ll find out more later on, check back for our live event coverage here on 9to5Mac.

iPod price changes imply delay in new iPod shipping

Something strange happened this morning.  Before (not during) an Apple event, the store went down briefly and iPod prices dropped significantly. As far as we can remember, this hasn’t ever happened before. 

We think that it lends some credibility to earlier reports that iPods may have seen some manufacturing issues and have been pushed back (toward October) or be available in limited numbers initially.  It may also mean that the current iPods may stick around for awhile even as the new iPods are introduced – in much the same way that iPhones 3g and 3GS are now both being sold.

This may have also been Steve Jobs not liking every single thing about the new products and making some last minute changes so the devices are "just right" – or maybe moving the camera position to screw all of the iPod case leakers.

Microsoft caught influencing Best Buy sales people

AI got a bunch of screengrabs of Microsoft’s new ExpertZone "training courses" that were given to Best Buy employees.  The role of the "course" is clear – to convince customers that may be looking for a Mac or a Linux computer to drop that notion and instead get a PC.  They even "reward" employees with a $10 copy of Windows 7 for taking the re-education camp training.

We know this is how Microsoft plays the game, but it is surprising to see Best Buy in on the act.  Imagine if you are looking for a stereo or a refrigerator?  Are the salespeople going to steer you toward the best product or one that they are getting paid to send you towards?  Now we know the answer.  In our mind, Best Buy lost any credibility they may have once had. 

 

 

Apple slashes previous-gen iPod prices as new models prepare to launch

As the world grows ever more curious at what Apple will reveal at its keynote event today, and commentators ponder a Sky News report in which Yoko Ono said music from The Beatles will indeed make it to iTunes, Apple has quietly applied price cuts across its existing iPod touch range.

The price cuts – presumably to offload existing stocks of older models to make way for the new – also lend some weight to claims Apple will introduce an iPod touch at a new low price, perhaps $149 (you can now buy a refurb 2nd Gen iPod Touch for exactly $149).

As it is, visitors to the Apple Store in the US can today pick up an 8GB, 16GB or 32GB iPod touch at generous discounts on their usual price – cheaper than Amazon’s recently discounted prices

The 8GB model has seen a $40 discount, it now costs $189; the 16GB model has seen a $50 price cut, now retailing at $249 while the 32GB iPod touch is available for $279 – that’s a $120 saving on the previous price.

It doesn’t stop there: Apple has also cut costs for iPod nano customers – that product now costs $129 for the 8GB model and $149 for the 16GB version.  Refurb Nanos now start at $99 for 8GB and go to $129 for 16GB.

Even the iPod classic, reports of the death of which we feel might have been greatly exaggerated – has seen a discount, from $269 to $249.

As we all believe, Apple will announce its new range of camera-equipped iPods within hours.

(Oh, there’s a tiny £5 discount on prices as announced in September 08 on the UK Apple store, but we’ve no idea when these were put in place, and doubt UK readers will see a fiver’s saving as particularly significant).

Palm releases Pixi ahead of iPod event

Palm, as of midnight, took the wraps off of its new Candybar (not slider) smartphone for Sprint now officially dubbed the Pixi. Yes, September 9th is a great date to release a product but they might not get all of the PR they are after.  Again, Sprint may not match the iPhone but they certainly are in the "Best of the Rest" category.  Specs below.

 

Carriers

  • Regions offered:
    North America (US)
  • Carriers (US):
    Sprint-Nextel

Radio type

  • Comm standard:
    CDMA
  • CDMA type:
    1xRTT, EV-DO rA
  • CDMA bands:
    800, 1900

Display

  • Screen size:
    2.63 inches
  • Screen resolution:
    Other (320 x 400)
  • Screen type:
    LCD (Active, Color, Backlit)

Audio and voice

  • Audio / headset jack:
    3.5mm
  • Speakers:
    Mono
  • Speakerphone:
    Yes
  • Voice dial:
    Speaker independent

Size and weight

  • Dimensions:
    4.37 inches (h)
    2.17 inches (w)
    0.43 inches (d)
  • Weight:
    3.51 ounces

Yoko Ono blows it again. Whole Beatles catalog to be available on iTunes – Sky News

We’ll believe it when we see it but  late comments by John Lennon’s Heiress seems to indicate that the whole Beatles back catalog will be showing up on iTunes…perhaps at tomorrow’s event. 

Update: The Sky News link is down but here’s some twitterin’ evidence below.

Update 2: A Sky News employee has told us they were told to cut the story out immediately and not to comment.  Directive came "from the very top".  Here’s a Google Cache of the story if there are any unbelievers…This is getting interesting!

Update 3: Google’s News cache is gone but it is still in the general cache.  The whole thing is kinda Twilight Zone at this point.  In the other corner we have EMI’s chief saying it ain’t going down… "tomorrow". 

Shouldn’t Sky News be issuing a retraction – or something at this point?  Isn’t that what normal News news orgs do if they run a story and then pull it?  This is very very weird.  Has something like this ever happened before?

Remember: We’re again rolling out our good ol’ fashioned 9to5mac Livepanel which will be circulating the best feeds throughout the iPod event.  As you might remember, this framed page shows four of the best feeds at once and is refreshed every 15-30 seconds so your mouse button finger doesn’t have to bleed.  It works best on large (24"+) monitors and uses 1990’s html frames technology to bring sweet, sweet iPod camera information to your eyes as quickly as possible.

We are also trying to get an audio or video feed of the event and will pop it in if we find one.  Have fun!