iPod RIP: How Apple’s Music Player Transformed An Industry

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 22, 2007, customers at an Apple Store wear headphones as they listen to new Apple iPod nanos in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

 

 

At the height of its powers the pocket-sized music player known as the iPod shifted tens of millions of units each year, helping Apple to conquer the globe and transforming the music industry.

But that was the mid-2000s –- a lifetime ago in the tech industry. After years of declining sales, the US tech giant announced on Tuesday it was stopping production after 21 years.

“Clearly this was one of the products that Apple launched that completely changed our lives,” Francisco Jeronimo of analysis firm IDC told AFP.

Social media was awash with emotional tributes under the banner “iPod RIP”.

“Noooo, iPod touch, you were too pure for this world!” tweeted entrepreneur Anil Dash.

“Goodnight, sweet prince. You won’t be forgotten,” tweeted Apple enthusiast Federico Viticci.

The device began life in 2001 with the promise of “putting 1,000 songs in your pocket”.

At $400 it was hardly cheap.

But its 5GB of storage outstripped the competition, its mechanical wheel was instantly iconic and it allowed a constant stream of music uncoupled from conventional albums.

In the following years, prices came down, storage space grew, colours and models proliferated and sales exploded.

– ‘We folded’ –
“It didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry,” Apple founder Steve Jobs said of the iPod in 2007.

Few would disagree.

Digital music was still in its infancy and closely associated with piracy.

File-sharing platform Napster had horrified the industry by dispensing with any idea of paying the record companies or musicians.

Against this background, Apple managed to persuade record company bosses to sanction the sale of individual tracks for 99 cents.

“We folded because we had no leverage,” Albhy Galuten, an executive at Universal Music Group at the time, told the New York Times on Tuesday.

For years, bands from AC/DC to the Beatles and Metallica refused to allow Apple to sell their music.

But the industry has since found a way to stay hugely profitable and even embrace technology like streaming.

It was the first legal model for digital music, industry expert Marc Bourreau told AFP.

After the initial shock to the system, he said the industry has learnt to embrace — and monetise — technology.

“People are now spending money in ways they weren’t before,” said Bourreau, highlighting money from streaming.

“By this logic, the music industry is doing just fine.”

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 6, 2004, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the new mini iPod available in five colors during a keynote address at Macworld, in San Francisco. (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

– Musical glasses –
But the writing was on the wall for the iPod as early as 2007 when Jobs launched the iPhone.

With theatrical flair, he told an expectant audience the new product was an “iPod, a phone and an internet communicator”.

He was lighting a fire under his own product even though at the time it accounted for roughly 40 percent of Apple’s revenue, according to analysis by Statista.

Five years later, the iPod’s revenue share had plunged below 10 percent and it was being outsold by the iPhone.

People no longer needed both products in their lives, and Apple no longer needed both in its portfolio.

“I don’t see why people would buy music players in the future,” said Jeronimo.

“Music players are now a feature of other devices – in cars, smart speakers, watches, even in smart glasses.”

The iPod and all its imitators seem likely to follow the Sony Walkman into a long twilight of nostalgic fandom and eBay listings of products from a bygone era.

Apple Reaches New Landmark With $1 Trillion Valuation

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 14, 2016, the Apple logo is seen at the entrance to the Fifth Avenue Apple store in New York.  PHOTO: Don EMMERT / AFP

 

Apple — the culture-changing company behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad — hit another milestone on Thursday, becoming the first private-sector company to surpass $1 trillion in market value.

Shares of Apple finished the formal Wall Street trading day at $207.39, topping the magic number, two days after the California tech giant reported strong quarterly earnings.

The landmark is the latest victory for Tim Cook, who faced scepticism when he took over as chief executive in 2011 from ailing iconic co-founder Steve Jobs.

Jobs, who founded Apple in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and built it into a global powerhouse, died in October 2011.

After his death, analysts and other industry watchers wondered whether the company would lose its ability to wow the world with “the next big thing.”

But Cook has gradually won accolades from investors by pumping out a series of solid financial results and spreading Apple’s products to China and other foreign markets.

Apple is the first private sector company to reach this level. State oil company PetroChina briefly broke the $1 trillion barriers in 2007 during its initial public offering but has since dropped back down.

“Of course I’m proud of Apple, but I don’t measure the world by human simplifications like round numbers,” co-founder Wozniak was quoted as telling Yahoo Finance.

US tech companies have cemented their position in the broader market, now making up the top five most valuable enterprises based on share prices.

Behind Apple are Amazon, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook.

A trillion dollars is roughly the annual gross domestic product of Indonesia, and more than twice that of Belgium, according to World Bank data from 2016.

As with other landmarks — such as the Dow crossing 25,000 points for the first time — the Apple record is significant because of its resonance beyond the financial universe.

“The $1 trillion mark is more psychological, and sends a message of growth and size into the market,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

But many financial insiders view the record as a non-event.

“There’s no real excitement on the trading desk,” said Karl Haeling of LBBW. “It’s one of those things that does not mean anything by itself… it’s more a testimony of the importance of Apple on the market.”

Focus on digital content

Apple has sold more than a billion iPhones since the first model was unveiled by Jobs in 2007.

Billions of dollars that Apple has been spending to buy back shares was thought to have helped propel the company past the one-trillion-dollar mark for market value.

The company is in the unique situation of controlling the hardware and software in its mobile devices, with content for users required to go through its App Store that takes a percentage of revenue.

Apple also released a kit for developers to create augmented-reality experiences on iPhones or iPads, saying that “overnight iOS became the biggest AR platform in the world.”

It has moved to keep up with trends in artificial intelligence and voice-commanded smart speakers.

Virtual assistant Siri is built into Apple devices, and the company boasts the most popular smartwatch on the market.

Cook has consistently touted innovations in the pipeline at the famously secretive company.

Last month, an ex-Apple engineer was charged in California with stealing trade secrets from a hush-hush self-driving car technology project days before he quit to go to a Chinese start-up.

‘Making technology simple’

Apple has been credited with giving rise to lifestyles centred around mobile apps for seemingly everything from games and messaging to ordering food or summoning car rides.

“At the core, I think Apple’s biggest revolution has been putting consumer experience first and making technology simple,” said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi.

But the phenomenal success of the iPhone led competitors to mirror certain features like touch-screens featuring rows of colourful icons — and prompted Apple to pursue those competitors in court.

Apple has fought myriad patent battles with rivals, particularly South Korean consumer electronics colossus Samsung, arguing that its product design is as much its intellectual property as the hardware and software.

In a US regulatory filing this week, Cook warned tariffs being imposed in a US-China trade war could result in Apple paying more to make its products, eating into profit or forcing up prices for consumers.

“Our view on tariffs is they show up as a tax on the consumer and wind up resulting in lower economic growth, and sometimes can bring about the significant risk of unintended consequence,” Cook said during an earnings call.

Independent technology analyst Rob Enderle said Apple’s trillion-dollar valuation defied financial trends in recent quarters and potential defeat in a legal battle with Qualcomm over mobile chips.

“My view is they are on a bubble, and it is a big bubble,” Enderle said.

“I am expecting to see a correction. Basically, it is still the iPhone company.”

China-based Huawei took the second-place spot from Apple in a tightening global smartphone market during the second quarter of this year, according to the International Data Corporation.

Samsung remained the top smartphone maker.

AFP

Apple Buys Silicon Valley Startup WiFiSlam

Apple has acquired a Silicon Valley startup, WiFiSlam, which makes mapping applications for smart phones.

Apple confirmed the acquisition, but declined to give details. The news was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, which quoted a person familiar with the matter as saying that Apple paid around $20 million for the company.

“Apple acquires smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesman told Reuters.

WiFiSlam develops technology that provides indoor tracking and similar services. Big tech companies such as Apple and Google have been racing to provide more and better map applications for users. Google’s application, Google Maps, is widely accessed on Google’s Android platform and rival Apple’s rival iOS platform.

iPhone 5 over $100,000 stolen in Japan before launch

With the much-awaited launch of the iphone5 in Japan, the honour of being among the first to get their hands on the iPhone 5 has gone a bit awkward as thieves in Japan broke into carrier stores and carted away over $100,000 worth of Apple’s latest smartphone.

The Wall Street Journal reports that both Softbank and KDDI’s au were the victims of burglaries just hours before the iPhone 5 was set to go on sale. Three separate incidents across Osaka resulted in a total of 191 phones being lifted. Police estimated the largest heist, which saw 116 units nabbed from Softbank, was worth an estimated 7.45 million yen ($95,000).

It’s not clear whether the incidents were connected, though proximity and timing makes it possible that all three burglaries were committed by the same perpetrators.

The high value of Apple devices makes them frequent targets of theft. Apple has had difficulty with smash-and-grab burglaries that take advantage of the glass doors in many of its retail stores. One recent high-profile incident involved a BMW SUV crashing through a storefront in Temecula, California.

Friday morning’s burglaries do slightly mar the launch of Apple’s new gadget, but expected record sales should more than make up for the unfortunate incidents. Apple pre-sold more than 2 million iPhone 5 units in the first 24 hours of availability, and the company’s own estimates suggest new orders won’t be shipped for 3-4 weeks.

In nine countries around the world, legitimate owners of the iPhone 5 will begin purchasing the iPhone 5 on Friday. The Next Web obtained two units for testing the new HD Voice feature on the Telstra network in Australia. Call quality was clearly better with the devices, though it could still stand for improvement.

Teardown experts’ iFixit also made their way out to Australia to get early access to the iPhone 5. After breaking down the handset, they found it to be substantially more repairable than previous versions of the iPhone.

iPhone 5 and iOS 6 maps app will get better – Apple

Apple responded to the criticism of the recent map service on the newly launched iPhone 5, which was released in stores around the world on Wednesday.

Below is the statement released by Apple: “Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Apple Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

And to follow up that promise of serving it’s huge customer base,a number of postings to the Apple’s job site reveals the company is looking to bolster its newly-released Maps app, which has been almost universally panned since iOS 6 launched on Wednesday. Over the course of the past week, Apple has posted multiple listings for software engineers who will handle development, real-time rendering and overall upgrades to the fledgling mapping service, among others.

According to one job description, Apple’s iOS Maps team is “responsible for MapKit, the iOS framework that displays maps which is used by countless applications on the App Store.” Apple is seeking to fill positions for developing 3D flyover models, including “mesh generation of terrain” and “road rendering” in a C++ environment. Another engineer is being sought to work on both the client and server to develop “advanced dynamic label layout of road labels, points of interest and other labels on the map.”

Three Map Display team listings points to work on real-time rendering techniques, creating “new and innovative” features and general systems maintenance. Another Map Display team engineer is needed to find and fix what Apple calls “performance bottlenecks” by creating specialized testing tools. Apple’s Maps app is the company’s first foray into the mapping service business, having previously implemented Google’s finely tuned Google Maps in its iDevices since the first iPhone was launched in 2007.

In reviewing the new iPhone 5, critics naturally turned to comparing the two services, and while iOS Maps did garner some acclaim, most found the lack of features and usual Apple polish troubling. The company responded to complaints on Thursday, saying, “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it.” Apple noted that Maps is a cloud-based service and said, “the more people use it, the better it will get.”

Apple introduces earPods with new iPhone 5

Apple’s subtle enhancements made in the iPhone 5 was tagged ‘Unimpressive’ by most people but there was something that would after all tickle the fancy of  lovers of Apple products as the new ingenious EarPods was introduced with the coming of the iPhone 5 which will make  buyers’ experience worthwhile.

iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th-generation, and the seventh-generation iPod nano all ship with the new Apple EarPods – headphones that are as much engineered, as they are simple.

Apple says the headphones feature a breakthrough design that allows for a more natural fit. Not only that, but their durability is far increased and they’re said to offer “incredible acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones.”

According to Softpedia “Unlike traditional, circular earbuds, the design of the new Apple EarPods is defined by the geometry of the ear,” says the Mac maker. “Which makes them more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphone.”

“Creating one-earbud-fits-all headphones is a challenge. That’s because everyone’s ears are different. So when Apple engineers were designing the new EarPods, they didn’t start with the speaker, they started with the ear,” says Apple.

The tiny speakers inside have been crafted so that sound output is maximized, while sound loss is minimized. “So you get high-quality audio that’s just as impressive as what you’d hear from more expensive headphones,” according to the company’s description.

The ever-present built-in remote lets you control your music as well as answer and end calls “with a pinch of the cord.

“You’ll hear deeper, richer bass and better audio all around. And they’re incredibly stable in your ear. Which means they stay in, even when you’re out and about,” according to Apple.