news of 2004-01-09

Is rebranding iPod/iTunes through HP (and possibly others) the solution?

We've (among many others) criticised Apple for basically locking iPod and iTMS together so that no other digital music players can play tracks bought through iTMS as well as that iPod cannot play tracks sold by other online music services. Now Apple has announced a deal with HP, which will essentially sell iPods that look HP (but show the Apple logo at startup). But is this the right answer?
Well, yes and no. The game's still the same, basically. For buyers of HP's iPod clones, the rules are the same as for Apple's direct customers: They're locked into the iTunes Music Store (unless Apple and/or HP go a step further and add WMA playback to iPod/iTunes). While Apple is likely to announce more of the same deals later this year (there are several possible partnerships), Apple is unlikely to add WMA playback and probably won't allow HP to do it, as it would kill the iPod rather quickly, should HPs player be able to do more in this game.
However, with iPod being the top-selling player and iTMS being the top-selling online music store, chances are that people see it the way Apple wants, i.e. that if you want the most choice, you lock yourself into Apple's game. Which isn't bad either, because iPod (and the clones that will come) is the most attractive and the best digital music player (albeit not the cheapest) and the iTMS is the biggest and easiest-to-use online music store.

Several questions, however, remain...

1.) When will international versions of iTMS appear? In time for the market?
2.) Which (if any) other players will do the same as HP and sell rebranded iPods? (And when?)
3.) How will Apple's partnerships with Pepsi and AOL play out?

We've also got to remember that this game is only very young now. iTMS is not yet one year old - and after all it was the kick-off for the legal online digital music revolution. 2004, in our opinion, is the year that will decide much of what's going to happen in the rest of the decade. There are very big names besides Apple that will also have a voice: Microsoft and Sony being only two of the strongest.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-01-09 at 17:23 CET ]
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A comparison between high end PCs and Macs has published a 10+ pages report comparing PCs and Macs in digital photo handling. While the Mac doesn't come out at the top, the comparison looks much better than a year ago, when the dual G4 PowerMacs were easily crushed by the competition.
However, it remains to be seen what the 90nm PowerPC 970+ processor can add to the bottom line - along with other enhancements to the underlying hardware.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-01-09 at 17:08 CET ]
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About those 90nm PowerPC 970+ chips...

IBM is set to introduce the chips at up to 2.5/2.6 GHz (depending on other factors such as cache and bus speeds) in early February. The recently introduced Xserves use the 2.0 GHz variant of this new chip already. And Apple will, according to our sources, reveal the new PowerMacs with 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5 GHz (middle and high-end versions are dual) at the end of January or early February. All of the new machines will make use of the new chip, although there's the possibility that the low-end version will initially use the older 130nm chip to still sell more of those (with a silent upgrade later on). This, however, seems less likely now that Apple's already taking orders for 90nm chip Xserves. We'll see soon enough...

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-01-09 at 15:44 CET ]
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HP iPods, VPC 7, WinExpose

Apple an HP have announced that HP will sell rebranded iPods and include iTunes with their PCs.
Microsoft will release VPC 7 in June (with or without MS Office 2004).
And here you'll find Expose for Windows. It's shareware for 9.95$, and it quite certainly will be stopped by Apple, we think. So if you use Windows, grab a copy as fast as you can. ;-)

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-01-09 at 15:36 CET ]
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