Apple working on networked HDTV?

According to the C|Net UK’s  Nate Lanxon, Internet tabloid celebrity Jason Calcanis is going around the Valley telling people that Apple is about to get into the Networked HDTV business.  Beyond the endorsement from Calcanis, who might just be seeking yet another avenue of self-promotion, it does make sense for Apple to be joining this very big market.  They currently make large screen cinema displays, AppleTVs and all-in one units like the iMac.  They also sell lots of TV shows and movies.  Technologically speaking, Apple could probably put together a product in a three day weekend (or 30 seconds with some double sided tape, a cinema display, an Apple TV and a HDMI-DVI adapter)….the question is: is the market big enough to justify building it?  Is it mature enough?  Too mature?  One would think that time is getting close.

Apple, under Steve Jobs, has always been the master of timing, bringing products out right at the cusp of technological maturity.  The iPod and iPhone are perfect examples of this.  When the technology made sense for a product that people would want to use, and not a moment before, Apple released something amazing.  There were MP3 Players before the iPod and smartphones before the iPhone, but when Apple delivered the products, it changed the game.

Apple hasn’t really had the same experience with AppleTV.  While there are many compelling reasons to get one, it isn’t a "must have".  Yet.  Perhaps if Apple innovated up the value chain making some heavy duty equipment with the ability to play videos (please Apple, acknowledge other file formats besides .mp4 and .mov) from a media server.  Or just put a 1Tb drive in the AppleTV model of the HDTV and a H.264 encoder and let me have my way with my media library.   Lots of possibilities here.  From C|Net:

TVs are a huge market. What better way to extend the iTunes Store than by providing an elegant TV that seamlessly integrates with its movie and TV offerings? Apple Computer Inc dropped the ‘Computer’ for a reason, and I have no reason to doubt that this has been on the roadmap ever since.

Or is Calcanis just doing Apple rumors to satisfy his need to be like Kevin Rose (See Netscape vs. Digg)

Is the October 14th invite a glass trackpad?

It takes the kind of demented mind that is posessed by one Dr. Macenstein to see the cryptic messages Apple is sending us…or so we are hoping.  Dr. Macenstein reports that the October 14th event invite is actually a glass trackpad.  Yes, that glass trackpad!  If you look at it the right way, under certain conditions…well you get the drift.  Set your clock to count down until Tuesday.  BTW, We’ll be doing our livepanel, bringing you all of the best liveblogs on one page…check back here Tuesday morning..See Macenstein’s image after the break.

 

 

Competitors thank Apple for iPhone

 Apple’s success with the iPhone and the explosion of activity surrounding its App Store has driven other handset makers, including Nokia and RIM to reveal plans for their own stores – and has thrown a firework under mobile application developer’s chairs, who find themselves busier than ever – and they’re thankful.

Internet News reports Albert Chu, vice president of global marketing and alliances for mobile software developer, Access Systems, is over the moon at the new entente between mobile makers, carriers and developers. Apple has driven a liberalisation in the market that – realistically – has opened up opportunity across the whole sector.

Chu said, "Our key customers are saying, ‘Make our phone like the iPhone’. There are a lot of things we’ve been trying to sell them in terms of touch and other ideas we’ve tried to peddle, but these are pretty conservative companies. The iPhone has been a disruptive force."

At HP too, the iPhone bell is callinlg, with product marketing man Kurt Kruger remarking, "Thanks to Apple for raising the bar to the mobile operators around the world and helping them really understand that they need to evolve their business practices a bit."

(And yeah, there’s continued rumours HP plans its own iPhone competitor, though there is a danger we’re seeing a repeat of the iPod here, with all devices not being an iPod eventually lumped into a pile called ‘failed iPod killers’. History repeats itself, after all).

Returning to the Internet News report,"Because of Apple’s success, "every platform will have a centralized distribution for applications," said Greg Yardley, CEO of Pinch Media, You’ll see a variety of App stores."

The evolution of touch and mobile application development is very real. As we reported yesterday (‘South Park App’s a comedy as iPhone gold rush booms‘), the mobile ads market’s about to grow into a $12 billion business by 2012, up $10 billion on what it’s worth today. And that’s the cash that’s driving developers to get into mobile right now. And a criticism really of the mobile sector, which somewhat complacently required the entrance of Apple into the business in order to rise to the challenge of innovation.

Android phones gain iTunes remote app

Not to be outdone, a Google Android developer has built software that emulates the function of the Remote app on an iPhone.

Designed by Jeff Sharkey, the application can be recognised by your PC or Mac’s iTunes. Once it is paired you will be able to browse your library, view album art and play music.

It uses the Digital Audio Control Protocol (DACP), which was recently introduced by Apple and is built into all recent iTunes versions. DACP is the actual protocol used by the Remote app on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

The developer explains, "With the protocol now reverse engineered, I wrote an Android client in about a week. Now you can remote control your iTunes from your new Android phone when it arrives later this year."

Here’s a video of the application in action.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1919916&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Android iTunes Remote Control from Jeffrey Sharkey on Vimeo.

Apple TV gets eco-friendly with better music video

The recently introduced Apple TV 2.2 update may have made an appearance with little fanfare, but did in fact introduce a range of cool improvements to the device.

We’re all aware that the system can now generate Genius playlists based on a selected track – that feature’s been widely-reported. But it doesn’t stop there – system handling of music videos has at last been improved, in order that users can simply hit a button and the music videos will play one after another.

That’s significant because until now you had to initiate playback on each music video manually. And you can now also shuffle videos as well, and also build your own video playlists, which can include a mix of music and video.

Green-aware users have complained that the Apple TV is an always-on device. If you’ve ever touched one in operation you’ll know that it exudes a fair amount of heat, suggesting the system also uses a fair amount of power. With no way to switch the machine off, this was a waste of energy – not really in tune with the times. The new software now offers a Standby button within the device menu.

The update also includes user interface tweaks in the YouTube player and photo slideshows and introduces new features like On-The-Go and Genius playlists, HD television shows purchases and an improved standby mode. 

US users can also purchase TV shows in HD format. Browsing the store has been massively improved – you can now browse movies on the iTunes store by actor and director. Select “More” on the movie page and browse the actor and director list on the left to see other movies for that individual.

Additional new features include support for On-the-Go playlist creation and a bunch of security enhancements.

Early reports suggested that installing the software could create problems with the system engaging in an endless cycle of restarts – we experienced similar symptoms, but the system seemed to right itself after around five minutes.

 

Boingboing has it wrong…regular MacBooks will have plastic shells, not aluminum

Boingboing (and others) did some analysis on the aluminum laptop in the Apple event invitation and concluded it was a regular MacBook.  It wasn’t. 

MacBooks will have black (perhaps other colors – we have only heard black) plastic outer shells.  The same type of plastic that is on the backside of an iMac. 

The inside shell, around the keyboard and the screen will be aluminum and that one piece structure will be the skeleton of the laptop.  

It will be two-tone.  Think if a iMac and a MacBook Air had offspring.  Thinner than its predecessor.   They are going to sell a lot of these.  More info on the MacBook.

An interesting sidenote…the invite could be a 13 inch MacBook …Pro.

….or so we’ve heard….by the way, yes the picture is fake but is about the closest we could find to the real…

October 14th it is!

From MarketWatch…

Apple on Thursday e-mailed invitations to media members for an event on Oct. 14 at the company’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters where Apple is set to rollout new models of its Macintosh laptop computers. The invitations, which read "The spotlight turns to notebooks," featured a partially obscured notebook PC coming out of shadows with a light upon the Apple logo. Apple has been expected to do some sort of revamp of its notebook line ahead of the end of the year holiday shopping season. Apple shares rose $2.67, or almost 3%, to $92.42 in afternoon trading.

Contrary to reports from other publications, the long anticipated MacBook event is on!  Did you ever doubt? (us neither)

 

AT&T adds online account setup for iPhone 3G

AT&T has introduced an online credit check and account set-up service for the iPhone 3G, attempting to reduce in store wait time for customers.

The move means iPhone 3G customers can set up accounts online before heading to the nearest store to activate and complete the purchase.

New customers can perform a pre-qualifying credit check and determine eligibility to port an existing phone number to AT&T in advance by visiting http://www.att.com/iphone.

Existing AT&T customers can also determine eligibility to add a new line for iPhone. The new AT&T online service joins Apple’s existing offering to speed iPhone purchasing up.

New MacBook shell pictures popping up all over Asia

It’s like everyone and their brother has some new Apple parts laying around the house at this point.  Apple.pro chimes in against last night’s shot with a few from someone with some fugly hands…  You can see the CRT television, the running shoes, the smokes and some very Apple-icious cases.  Let’s all remember that Asia is the land of amazing knock-offs and just because some dude has a bunch of MacBook type shells in his house, it doesn’t mean thats what will be in stores later this month.  Huge-er shots after the break.

Microsoft stalks your den on new Xbox venture

Microsoft isn’t just suffering from Google-envy – it’s got a high dose of Apple envy, too – now it seems set to do what it can to transform the Xbox 360 into more of an Apple TV-alternate than before.

Microsoft today announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2008 that the New Xbox Experience will launch on Wednesday, Nov. 19, when the company aims to "put more entertainment at their fingertips than any other device connected to the TV."

Microsoft also announced that beginning this month shoppers buying one of these consoles will get a bunch of games for free (at least in the US).

But it’s not just games: existing film, TV and music offerings all seem set to be ramped-up with the new "Experience", which will also offer enhanced sharing and social networking features through Xbox Live (well, that’s if we’re translating this message out of Redmond correctly).

As we all know, the Xbox 360 already offers over 12,000 films and TV episodes from Netflix, and a large online library of on-demand high-definition TV shows and movies from partners such as Constantin, Disney, MGM, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

However, with the company slashing console prices and offering free titles, we wonder just how much cash investors are going to allow Microsoft to fork out as it follows its imitation innovation strategy?