AAPL’s numbers today are going to be huge, analysts predict: double-digit growth in all but iPads

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With Apple set to reveal its fiscal Q2 earnings after market close today, analysts are expecting double-digit year-over-year growth in all categories except iPads. Fortune‘s roundup says that analysts predict revenue of $56.84B, up a massive 24.5% year-over-year, and above the top end of Apple’s $52-55M guidance. Earnings per share is predicted to be $2.21, up a third on the previous year, with gross margin just shy of Apple’s top-end guidance at 39.4%.

Double-digit growth is expected in both iPhones and Macs. For iPhones, the prediction includes sales just under 56M, 32.6% higher than the same quarter last year, while Mac sales are forecasted to hit 4.7M, 13.6% up on last year …  Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s streaming music service mean I finally stop buying music?

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I was an early adopter of digital music (you hide your surprise well). I bought my first mp3 player in 1998, some three years before the first iPod. It cost a silly amount of money and stored exactly one album at a time in its 64MB (not GB) of flash memory.

Me being me, I went through a few different generations of mp3 player before Apple completely changed the game with the iPod. Ironically, by adopting a less sophisticated technology–a hard drive in place of flash memory–Apple created a far better product. One that allowed us to carry around 80 albums at a time. I bought one the day it went on sale, having by then finished ripping all my CDs to mp3.

When the 160GB iPod came out in 2007, I again bought one immediately. That was large enough to hold my entire music collection at the time. I not only carried it everywhere with me, I also plugged it into my hifi at home and to the AUX socket of my car stereo. At which point, I started wondering why I still had a wall full of CDs …  Read more

Review: Griffin’s iTrip Bluetooth adds wireless iPhone music streaming to your car’s stereo

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Twelve years have passed since Griffin released its first iTrip, a breakthrough FM transmitter that enabled iPods to send music wirelessly to car and home stereos. The original model, a glossy white housing that sat atop early iPods like a tube of Chapstick, effectively defined iPod accessories for an entire generation of early adopters. And it was fun, too: using an radio antenna and brilliant software, iTrip could flood an empty FM radio channel with iPod music, acting like a pocket-sized pirate radio station.

Everything changed when the FCC cracked down on FM transmitters, forcing reductions in broadcasting power that made iTrips (and numerous competitors) sound staticky, reducing their appeal. Around the same time, Apple and car companies transitioned to better-sounding solutions — Bluetooth and aux-in audio ports, respectively — leaving FM transmitters with fewer customers. But Griffin is rejuvenating the iTrip family with iTrip Bluetooth, aka iTrip Aux Bluetooth, which provides a different type of dead-simple wireless solution for cars. Priced at $50 but available online for $38, it has one purpose: to receive Bluetooth audio sent by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, conveying it through an included 3.5mm audio cable to your car’s aux-in port…

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Review: Elgato’s Game Capture HD60 livestreams your iPad, iPhone, and console games at 1080p/60fps

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Over the past decade, video gaming became social, as voice chat, multi-player matchmaking, and live game streaming enabled gamers to share their experiences with friends and strangers online. Streaming game video was the hardest, requiring so much horsepower that consoles needed computer assistance. Elgato entered the market in 2012 with Game Capture HD, which was designed to record directly from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now there’s a more powerful version called Game Capture HD60 ($180), which offers professional-quality full 1080p HD recording support at 60 frames per second, plus one-touch live streaming to uStream, Twitch, and YouTube. It works with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches using Apple’s Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation 4 game consoles with nothing more than an HDMI cable.

Elgato has years of experience making cutting-edge video recorders: back when Macs weren’t nearly as powerful as they are today, its EyeTV DVRs could record live TV while streaming video to iOS devices. Similarly, Game Capture HD60 lets you simultaneously enjoy lag-free gaming, stream live video to the Internet, and optionally include voice commentary with automatic audio level balancing. It also does all of these things with barely any need for user involvement. And although the price was just a little too high when it debuted last year, it’s now hovering around $150 — a great price given the quality of its video output. Read on for all the details…

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Apple plans relaunched Beats streaming music service for WWDC, skipping March event; Apple TV still coming

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Apple won’t take the wraps off of its upcoming Beats-based music streaming service at its March 9 “Spring Forward” event, according to music industry sources briefed on the launch timeline. Instead, Apple currently plans to introduce the service, at least in beta form, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June. The WWDC keynote likely takes place on Monday, June 8th, and that’s the event where the debut will occur. The new iTunes music streaming service is based on technology acquired from Beats Music, including curated playlists, cloud-based libraries, and offerings customized to the musical tastes of individual users. The service will be priced as high as $7.99 per month, which is less expensive than current $9.99 pricing for Beats Music, Spotify, and Rdio…

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Apple puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in charge of boosting accessibility efforts

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Apple Watch Accessibility Settings

Apple told employees during a week at the flagship Berlin Apple Store in Germany that the company will increase its focus on product accessibility by putting executive Lisa Jackson in charge of the efforts, according to people in attendance. Asked by an Apple Store employee if the Apple Watch will include accessibility features, Cook reportedly replied:

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Apple dominates holiday giving, iPhones & iPads making up more than half of mobile device activations

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Data from Yahoo-owned analytics company Flurry shows that iPhones and iPads comprised more than half of all mobile device activations between 19th and 25th December, at 51.3% – almost three times as many as second-placed Samsung.

Apple accounted for 51% of the new device activations worldwide Flurry recognized in the week leading up to and including Christmas Day (December 19th – 25th). Samsung held the #2 position with 18% of new device activations, and Microsoft (Nokia) rounded out the top three with 5.8% share for mostly Lumia devices. After the top three manufacturers, the device market becomes increasingly fragmented with only Sony and LG commanding more than one percent share of new activations on Christmas Day.

The company notes that while Chinese companies Xiaomi, Huawei and HTC didn’t reach 1%, this reflects the fact that Christmas is not celebrated in their home market …  Read more

Review: Just Mobile’s TopGum adds glam + a magnetic charging base to a 6,000mAh battery

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The secret to understanding USB battery pricing is that you tend to get what you pay for: cheap batteries lose their charges faster and can bulge and leak over time. Other companies specialize in selling atypically nice batteries that last longer and work better. Just Mobile is a leader in quality batteries: for the past six years, its Gum series (shown below) has spanned every Apple device type, size, and speed, but it has never built a Lightning cable into a battery before. That changes with the January release of TopGum ($80), which advances the company’s prior state-of-the-art Gum++ model in two ways: an authentic Lightning cable’s integrated into the battery’s left edge, and a matching magnetic battery charging dock is included.

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Of course, these features – and a choice of gold or gray metal exteriors – come at a premium over typical all-plastic batteries, so if you don’t need the cable or dock, you’ll be equally well-served with the company’s earlier batteries. Read on for the full story.

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Apple wins iPod & iTunes DRM antitrust case, jury decides

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Update — Apple’s statement via CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”

A jury has decided that Apple is not guilty of violating antitrust laws in the decade-old lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes Music Store, and digital rights management usage. The jury had to determine if the iTunes updates affecting customers’ iPods were “genuine product improvements” with Apple citing security concerns for implementing the usage of DRM. Read more

Jury begins deliberations in antitrust lawsuit over iPods, iTunes, and third-party music stores

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The class-action lawsuit against Apple over alleged anticompetitive behavior in how the iPod handled songs from third-party much stores is finally in the hands of a jury. Following last week’s final witness testimony, the jury has started deliberations in the decade-old case.

The evidence and testimony in this case have given us quite a bit of insight into the way Apple operated ten years ago with regards to its iPod and iTunes business. Former CEO Steve Jobs took jabs at rival Real Networks in a videotaped deposition (which the media wants the public to see, but Apple doesn’t). We also learned details of Apple’s contracts with record labels.

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iPod Classics are hot gift item as surprise holiday demand pushes prices through the roof

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Apple kept making the iPod Classic for much longer than many expected, but when it finally called time over lack of components there were still plenty of people who wanted one. The Guardian reports that some iPod Classics are now selling for up to four times the original price.

Versions of the 160GB Classic – which can hold around 40,000 songs – are being sold as new via Amazon for up to £670. More than 3,000 of the models – the seventh, final version came out in 2010 – have been sold on eBay since the Classic was retired in October, most for between £350 and £500. Even refurbished older models now cost far more than the £229 for which the later generations retailed.

While The Guardian was looking at UK prices, the same phenomenon can be seen in the US on Amazon and eBay …  Read more

Apple fighting media requests to air Steve Jobs deposition from iPod antitrust suit

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As we noted earlier today, several media outlets have filed a motion that would allow them to air the videotaped deposition of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that was played for jurors in the ongoing iPod antitrust lawsuit. Now the Verge reports that Apple is fighting back against the motion, with the company’s lawyers accusing the media of wanting to see “a dead man.”

As Apple attorney Jonathan Sherman put it:

The marginal value of seeing him again, in his black turtleneck — this time very sick — is small. What they want is a dead man, and they want to show him to the rest of the world, because it’s a judicial record.

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