Digitimes throws us the daily tease

What would a day be like without a vague Digitimes post stating that new Apple iPhone parts are moving around Asia?  Today it is flash chips.  Apple just bought 100 million 8Gb (not GB) NAND flash chips which is causing some shortages in the market.   Didn’t Apple and Samsung have some sort of deal on flash?

Apple has reportedly placed orders for 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips mostly with Samsung Electronics, which is likely to cause a supply shortage, according to sources at downstream suppliers. Nokia and Sony recently also began building their NAND flash inventories, further tightening supply, the sources added.

As Toshiba, Hynix Semiconductor, Intel and Micron Technology have allocated less chip supplies to the Asia market since early April, downstream memory suppliers are striving to grab more NAND flash chips to meet substantial volumes of short lead-time orders from device makers, the sources indicated.

Supply is expected to remain tight until at least the end of May, the sources said.

Plex gets Netflix integration (with Silverlight)

Plex, everyone’s favorite mediacenter for Macintosh, just got a little more awesome today with a new Netflix application that looks perhaps better that the Roku box that Netflix itself sells.  The Netflix App can be downloaded for free from the Plex store but does require the Silverlight plugin (Netflix requires this, not Plex).  Make sure you have the latest version of Plex running before installing this one.

Great work on this one guys!  (more pix below)



Toys Deal: 4GB RAM for Pre-DisplayPort Macs for $25

From the Toys Section:

Once again, Amazon.com offers the OCZ 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 SO-DIMM Dual Channel Notebook Memory Kit with two 2GB SO-DIMMs, model no. OCZ2M8004GK, for $39.90. This $15 mail-in rebate drops it to $24.90. With free shipping, that ties last month’s mention as the lowest total price we could find.  Why not max out your Mac for for a few bucks.

This RAM will work in Pre-DisplayPort MacBooks, MacBook Pros, Minis and iMacs.  Make sure to check your device before purchasing.

iPhone 3,1 parts now shipping…

As we begin the slow decent into the June iPhone release, more and more parts news is coming out of Asia.  Today, Digitimes is reporting, in some awfully unspecific terms, that:

Taiwan-based handset component suppliers have begun shipping components and parts for the new iPhone that Apple is likely to launch in June, the Chinese-language Commercial Times has quoted sources at component suppliers as indicating.

Shipments of the old and new iPhones could top 2-3 million units, respectively, a quarter after Apple launches the new models, the paper quoted component suppliers as saying.

Yep.  Hard to pull anything good from there.  But just thought you’d like to know.


Toys: Seagate 1TB Drive is $79 at Amazon today only

From the Toys section:

Today only, Amazon.com offers the OEM Seagate Barracuda 1TB Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive, model no. ST31000333AS, for $79.99 with free shipping ($0.08/GB). That’s $10 under our mention from last week and the lowest total price we’ve seen. This drive features a 32MB cache and runs at 7200 rpm.


Elan sues Apple over multitouch rights

We had trouble staying awake during law classes in college, and reading lawsuit articles kind of puts us in that same place.  This one seems to be a big deal though, at least in the world of multi-touch, something that Apple is heavily vested in.  The NYTimes is reporting that a Tiawanese firn, Elan, is suing Apple over some of its Multi-Touch IP:

“We couldn’t find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” he said, adding that the companies had been in licensing talks for about two years.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple products including its MacBook computer, iPhone and iPod Touch use technology that infringes on two of Elan’s “multi-touch” patents, the company said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear what damages or remedial action Elan was seeking in the suit. In January, Apple reported stronger than expected fourth-quarter earnings of $1.61 billion, in part due to robust iPhone, MacBook and iPod sales. The company said it sold 4.4 million iPhones that quarter, nearly double the amount sold in the year-ago quarter.

Ironically, Elan makes the touchpads for the EeePCs, something which is conventionally thought to have followed Apple into the multi-touch arena.  The firm has Chinese language press release which looks like a retort to the media inquiries.  OK, nap time.


Does Apple's pricing really need to be at $1.29 per song?

A lot of you seem to be upset by the new iTunes music pricing scheme released today.  At first, we were kind of ambivalent but when we dug deeper we can see the point.

Why does Apple need to charge $1.29 when Amazon charges $.99 or even $.79 for the same track.  Both are high quality DRM free music files. Apple sells way more music and isn’t even trying to make a profit (or so it says) so it isn’t a scalability or a margin issue. 

Read on why (surprise) the recording industry isn’t playing fair with Apple.

News today was that Amazon’s prices would also start hitting $1.29  If you look at Amazon’s top 100 Music sales, you’ll see some prices at $.79 and some as high as $1.29.  (Taken at 11:30 PM EST on April 8th).

But these $1.29 songs are few and far between, while most of Apple’s top 100 are $1.29.

The number one song in both stores shows significantly different prices: the Amazon Store has the Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow for $.99, while iTunes charges $1.29.

Amazon’s price above, vs. iTunes price below.

The #2 song on each chart, Poker Face, by Lady GaGa produced an even bigger discrepancy.  Amazon has it for only $.79 while iTunes charges $1.29.

Update: Amazon has raised Pokerface to $.99


New Google Mail expereince for iPhone (and Android)

From the Gmail Blog: We hear that Google is offering some new offline support for Gmail on the iPhone?  We’re not sure if this uses the current Safari or new Safari or if the offline support is just for Android which uses Chrome.  Lots of other good stuff to rumage through below.

Today we’re introducing a major revision to Gmail for mobile that takes advantage of the latest browser technology available on iPhone and Android devices. We’ve updated the user interface, made it faster to open messages, allowed for batch actions (like archiving multiple messages at once), and added some basic offline support redesigned the Gmail for mobile client app last October, we’ve gone back to the drawing board and redesigned Gmail for the mobile browser to overcome some of these limitations. We made performance more consistent, regardless of connection type, and laid the foundation for future improvements.  

Now, when you go to gmail.com from your iPhone or Android browser, archiving email is quicker because it doesn’t require a response from a remote server. Instead, we cache mail on the device itself (using
database storage on the iPhone and a device-local mobile Gears database on Android-powered phones). Actions like archiving or starring messages are first applied to this cache and then sent to Gmail servers in the background whenever a network connection is available. You only have to wait for a response from the server when you’re requesting an uncached message or list of messages. As a result, you can start-up Gmail even if you’re on a slow connection. You can even compose mail and open recently read messages while offline.

We made extensive use of other browser functions too: for example, the floaty bar that lets you archive, delete or apply more actions is animated via CSS transformations and controlled in part with touch events (when you scroll the screen, it follows you).

The HTML5 canvas tag is used to render the progress spinner without the overhead of downloading animated GIFs to the device. Now that we’ve developed a framework for the new Gmail for mobile, we’re planning a whole lot more: faster performance, improved offline operation, new functionality, and interface enhancements that take advantage of the unique properties of smartphones.

To try this new version of Gmail for mobile, just go to gmail.com from your mobile browser. It’s currently available on any Android-powered devices or iPhone OS 2.2.1 or higher. For now, the new version is available in English only. We’ll be rolling this version out to everyone over the course of the day, so if you don’t see the updated user interface yet (you’ll know you have it when you see that floaty bar), check back soon. For easy access, we recommend creating a homescreen link.

iPhone Video Recording screenshot found

Macrumors is posting the screenshot of what appears to be iPhone 3.0’s video recording interface.  It looks pretty basic but indicates that it will be part of the Camera.app. 

The video recording is not presently functional in iPhone 3.0 beta, and the interface is not accessible by default. Only when configuration files were modified telling the firmware that a Video Camera was present will this interface appear.

Other interesting capabilities found in the configuration files include "auto-focus camera", "magnetometer" (digital compass), and "Voice Control".

The "pooh your pants" feature in all of this is the "auto-focus camera".  That implies that the camera on some of the new iPod, iPhone, etc. devices is going to be more point and click worthy – perhaps that 5 Megapixel jobbie we’ve heard so much about.

Combined with the GPS, the Magnometer could be used to build 3D worlds in a future iPhoto type of application.  The application would know the location and direction of the photos shot.  Photosynth, watch out.

We also like the idea of voice control in a camera: Being able to say "Snap!" and having it take a picture instead of you rather than doing the rusty trombone reach around..

Jailbreakers and other smartphone users: Yes we know we’ve had video recording/5 megapixel cameras  for 300 years.