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Mac sales to stay strong; more 3G iPhone rumors; Amazon No. 2

post #1 of 44
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Planned purchases of Macs should buck a drop in computer spending created by a poor economy, according to a new study. Meanwhile, Digg's chief now claims to have additional evidence of a 3G iPhone, Amazon's music store is catching up to iTunes, ASUS' Eee PC has gained multi-touch, and Apple has updated a security fix for Aperture users.

ChangeWave sees Apple untouched by economic slump

If a client survey accurately reflects buying habits, Apple will have little to fear from a downturn in the US economy, according to new data collected by ChangeWave Research.

The analyst group notes that the percentage of respondents looking to buy a Mac has only dropped slightly from all-time highs set in January, with 31 percent of notebook purchasers (down 2 percent) and 28 percent of prospective desktop buyers (down 1 percent) intending to pick up a Mac.

Apple also continued to rate the highest for satisfaction among ChangeWave customers, with 53 percent saying they are "very satisfied" with Mac OS X Leopard compared to next-best Linux at 44 percent. Just 8 percent of Windows Vista Business said the same of their software.

Digg head claims more knowledge of 3G iPhone

In a terse message through the micro-messaging service Twitter, Digg founder Kevin Rose on Wednesday claimed to have received more information about a 3G-capable iPhone from a purportedly high-level vice president at a company that does business with Apple.

In contrast to his original source, which gave only a vague release window and mentioned video conferencing, the new contact narrows that timeframe to June and further suggests that the device will have some form of GPS navigation.

Again, Rose has had an inconsistent record with rumors but obtained legitimate information regarding the first-generation iPod nano just before its launch. The news also follows comments by a Gartner analyst who on Wednesday was reportedly aware of orders for 10 million 3G iPhones as well as past analysis predicting an upgraded phone by mid-year.

Amazon MP3 takes number two spot behind iTunes

Although it's been an option only since September, Amazon MP3 is now in second place behind iTunes in the US for downloadable music sales, USA Today says.

No independent explanation for the jump is available, though Amazon digital music chief Pete Baltaxe points to a larger DRM-free library of 4.5 million songs that allows all its music to work with any portable player, including iPods.

"They appreciate that everything is DRM-free and so comprehensive," Baltaxe claims.

In contrast, Apple has only 2 million unrestricted songs and only obtains major-label music from EMI versus additional support from Sony BMG, Universal and Warner at Amazon.

ASUS second after Apple to offer multi-touch trackpads

Apple's early, near-exclusive access to multi-touch technology in notebook trackpads may have already come to an end, according to one FCC filing.

The user manual for a variant of ASUS' upcoming Eee PC 900 points to "multi-finger gestures" that allow the miniature portable to both scroll with two fingers -- a staple of Apple's portable line since late-model PowerBook G4s in 2005 -- as well as to make pinching motions to zoom in or out while using certain Linux programs, including Adobe's PDF reader and OpenOffice. Until the revelation, Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were the only computers known to offer this last feature.

ASUS has said it will release the new Eee PC during April and will make it available in the US.

Security Update 2008-002 1.1

Apple on Wednesday issued a fix for Security Update 2008-002 to address a specific software problem.

Valid only for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2 (Client, Server), the patch mends reliability problems when using Aperture 2.0's "Printer Settings" button.

No changes to security have been made along with the fix, the company says.
post #2 of 44
A June announcement makes sense, otherwise they'd have to announce it next month for a June delivery. OLED screens are stunning, but a bit risky. I could see Apple doing it though, especially if they wanted to position the 3G phone as premium product. Front camera is par for the course in 3G phones. GPS is a no brainier. A bit more flash (32G) a couple of hundred dollars over the current price and you've got something I can see Apple flogging. I can see them having the same high end/low end division in their phones like their other machines.
post #3 of 44
I Plan to buy a Mac mini in the future, just waiting for that rumored upgrade to do that. Meanwhile our office just bought 3 Mac Pros and are planning on 5 More
post #4 of 44
Funny with the record labels and promoting Amazon (at the expenese of Apple). Amazon will likely become the number 3 distributor in the US for music after Walmart and Apple. This might move Apple out of a position of power in negotiations with the label on digital downloads, but for all sales avenues Apple keeps becoming more significant in their role.
post #5 of 44
Starting to really think hard about dropping T-mo for at&t if this iPhone rumor pans out...

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post #6 of 44
I don't believe nor really care about the video conferencing technology on a phone.

I would imagine the GPS functionality will be Assisted GPS. Most of the work is done on servers which can be faster and more reliable. This saves battery life and extra equipment in the phone itself.

From what I'm reading OLED is ready for use its just more expensive than LCD.
post #7 of 44
I suspect Asus's Linux pinch-zoom works more like Safari text-sizing: the pinch is interpreted as a single command. As opposed to the live, full-motion interactivity of photo sizing in iPhoto, Finder and Preview, and on the iPhone and iPod touch.

That's how it sounds to me--hard to be sure though.
post #8 of 44
No surprise about Amazon catching up. I've stopped using the iTunes store for music. The web-based store-front at Amazon is more intuitive to me, the prices are lower, and the selection is as good or better. Not to mention the lack of DRM. The great integration with iTunes is also nice.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

No surprise about Amazon catching up. I've stopped using the iTunes store for music. The web-based store-front at Amazon is more intuitive to me, the prices are lower, and the selection is as good or better. Not to mention the lack of DRM. The great integration with iTunes is also nice.

Disagree about the web interface, but I agree otherwise. I'd easily pay a slight premium for Amazon because it's all DRM-free, so that a lot of what I'm looking for is the same or cheaper than iTMS locked material is just a great bonus.

Amazon MP3 Downloader is easy and seamless as far as iTunes integration goes - never understood how people could manage to whine about it.
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Amazon MP3 takes number two spot behind iTunes

Although it's been an option only since September, Amazon MP3 is now in second place behind iTunes in the US for downloadable music sales, USA Today says.

No independent explanation for the jump is available, though Amazon digital music chief Pete Baltaxe points to a larger DRM-free library of 4.5 million songs that allows all its music to work with any portable player, including iPods.

Has any of the stupid reporters at USA Today realised that Amazon had a HUUUGE music giveaway with Pepsi and that pushed the number of the songs downloaded from Amazon? duh!

You would assume reporters would go and do some kind of research or something...
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyGee View Post

Has any of the stupid reporters at USA Today realised that Amazon had a HUUUGE music giveaway with Pepsi and that pushed the number of the songs downloaded from Amazon? duh!

You would assume reporters would go and do some kind of research or something...

Which is totally different from those few years when Apple had a HUUUGE music giveaway with Pepsi and that pushed the number of the songs downloaded from iTunes in what way?
post #12 of 44
Sony, Universal and Warner all balked at the idea of DRM-free music when Apple suggested it yet now sell DRM-free music on Amazon and go out of their way not to offer it on iTunes. What's up with that?

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post #13 of 44
Just for the record, the 3G iPhone is hardly a rumor. Steve Jobs stated there was going to be 3G support in the future during the very first unveiling of the original iPhone. He also said they would roll out iPhone in Asia in 2008. It's pretty easy to connect the dots.
post #14 of 44
Amazon should be climbing up in the rankings since they are giving away free songs through pepsi.
I wish it was DEW instead....
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

No surprise about Amazon catching up. I've stopped using the iTunes store for music. The web-based store-front at Amazon is more intuitive to me, the prices are lower, and the selection is as good or better. Not to mention the lack of DRM. The great integration with iTunes is also nice.

Agree except for the interface. Now if they only could offer high quality Music Videos and Movie Buy/Rentals
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post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyGee View Post

Has any of the stupid reporters at USA Today realised that Amazon had a HUUUGE music giveaway with Pepsi and that pushed the number of the songs downloaded from Amazon? duh!

You would assume reporters would go and do some kind of research or something...

And Apple gives away 2-3 free songs every week on iTunes (at least on the U.S. store) for whoever wants them...should about even the playing field as far as giveaways go. If Apple counts these songs as "purchases," a good portion of ITunes music "sales" could easily be free songs.
post #17 of 44
Kevin Rose is so busy getting "additional information" that he prolly didn't notice Digg has been down all afternoon.

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post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

And Apple gives away 2-3 free songs every week on iTunes (at least on the U.S. store) for whoever wants them...should about even the playing field as far as giveaways go. If Apple counts these songs as "purchases," a good portion of ITunes music "sales" could easily be free songs.

Hey Caliminius...
I don't think the free downloads are accounted for, but free tokens (which count as sales ARE counted in) and do you know how many songs were given away through PEPSI-AMAZON.. just do a google search and have a look yourself.. it's 1 billion songs!!! (1,000,000,000)
post #19 of 44
Is the Pepsi Amazon promotion really that significant? I was barely aware of it myself. I think I've seen an ad, and had seen the points on the Pepsi box but it still didn't register with me. Don't promotions take half a dozen exposures before it's effective on most people?
post #20 of 44
I like the idea of DRM-free music as much as anyone, but I feel bad that the record industry is artificially giving Amazon an advantage by withholding DRM-free music from iTunes.

It strikes me as anti-competitive to cause an organization to lose market share by not allowing it to sell the same product as another. That is what the record companies are doing to iTunes.
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelb View Post

It strikes me as anti-competitive to cause an organization to lose market share by not allowing it to sell the same product as another. That is what the record companies are doing to iTunes.

Apple is not playing nice with the record companies; Amazon is.
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

Apple is not playing nice with the record companies; Amazon is.

What with regard to variable pricing you mean?
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

What with regard to variable pricing you mean?

How open is this hostility to iTunes? Have the record companies come out and admitted that they are supporting a rival to weaken iTunes grip on downloadable music?

Their behaviour sure sounds strane- embracing DRM free for Amazon, while punishing Apple for wanting DRM free, low cost songs from the outset.
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post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexTraverse View Post

Disagree about the web interface, but I agree otherwise. I'd easily pay a slight premium for Amazon because it's all DRM-free, so that a lot of what I'm looking for is the same or cheaper than iTMS locked material is just a great bonus.

Amazon MP3 Downloader is easy and seamless as far as iTunes integration goes - never understood how people could manage to whine about it.

I have made a few purchases from amazon and maybe its just me, but the music at 256k doesnt sound any better than itunes 128k to me. actually I think they sound worse. just doesnt seem to have the dynamics, maybe they are using inferior equipment? IDK.
also i have had 2 occasions that the downloads messed up and combined parts from 2 different songs on an album. weird... I contacted amazon and never received a resolution to the matter. so i am stuck with screwed up songs that don't sound as good as itunes.
post #25 of 44
They are catching up because they are selling non-DRM'ed MP3s.

This is the ancient and bizarre business 101 principle called "selling a product people want."

Here are two things Apple is selling that people don't want:
- AAC files (AA-what now?)
- DRM
post #26 of 44
Are there no patent issues with ASUS's new machine? I am so sick of Apple getting sued for everything under the sun and it seems like they have a good bit of intellectual property in this area. I know you dont want to dignify a truly feeble imitation (if that is what it turns out to be) and give it more press than it deserves, but if it is a blatant rip off of technology that Apple has spent a fortune bringing to market...
post #27 of 44
I have just purchased 3 albums from amazon as MP3's, the first electronic "albums" I've ever purchased. I own about 850 CD's and I rip them to FLAC and MP3 myself. I can't take the iTunes store seriously with the vast majority of the MP3's ripped at a mediocre 128 kbit rate. Combine that with DRM and it's a total non-starter.

What I did before I bought the music from amazon is to browse with itunes and listen to snippets of the music on the iTunes store, then I went and found it on amazon and bought. The iTunes browsing experience is a lot nicer IMHO than the amazon web store.

Sheldon
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

What I did before I bought the music from amazon is to browse with itunes and listen to snippets of the music on the iTunes store, then I went and found it on amazon and bought. The iTunes browsing experience is a lot nicer IMHO than the amazon web store.

That has to be the understatement of the year, the Amazon web store for MP3s is *terrible*!!! They aren't even in the same league with iTunes. The DRM-free 256k VBR MP3 downloads are the only reason Amazon is remotely competitive.

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post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

What with regard to variable pricing you mean?

What variable pricing? People bring this up, but I didn't see different prices for different songs like iTunes fans alledge.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Here are two things Apple is selling that people don't want:
- AAC files (AA-what now?)

I've always thought that the MPEG made a huge mistake in not calling AAC "mp4". If they had, then everybody would realise that AAC is the successor to mp3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

I can't take the iTunes store seriously with the vast majority of the MP3's ripped at a mediocre 128 kbit rate.

The iTunes store doesn't use mp3, it uses AAC which is a much more efficient codec. Have you ever performed a double-blind comparison between a 128 kbps AAC and uncompressed audio? The comparison is much more favourable than between 128 kbps mp3 and uncompressed.
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post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I've always thought that the MPEG made a huge mistake in not calling AAC "mp4". If they had, then everybody would realise that AAC is the successor to mp3.

Mp3 isn't an official name either. Apple probably could have just called it MP4 if they wanted to.

Quote:
The iTunes store doesn't use mp3, it uses AAC which is a much more efficient codec. Have you ever performed a double-blind comparison between a 128 kbps AAC and uncompressed audio? The comparison is much more favourable than between 128 kbps mp3 and uncompressed.

Even so, most of the reports I see say that Amazon's 256kbps VBR mp3 is quite a bit better than iTunes' 128 AAC CBR, and not that far from iTunes' 256 AAC CBR.
post #32 of 44
Seems Amazon was lying according to emusic:

http://www.macworld.com/article/1327...03/emusic.html
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

The iTunes store doesn't use mp3, it uses AAC which is a much more efficient codec. Have you ever performed a double-blind comparison between a 128 kbps AAC and uncompressed audio? The comparison is much more favourable than between 128 kbps mp3 and uncompressed.

Actually yes, and to both the Fraunhoffer and LAME MP3 encodings at many bit rates as well as variable bit rates.

I keep music I care about in lossless formats for streaming to my main audio system, and use MP3's for the ipod (iphone too) and for less critical streaming to background systems.

I've spent a lot of time and effort trying to understand the differences and the trade-offs of the different codecs. I also spent a bit of time to get the ripping process up to my standards. that means ripping the CD with either Exact Audio Copy or CDparanoia, then operating on the resulting data. The process of getting a good rip from the physical medium is harder than many people think to get right, particularly with older disks.

Yes you are right, MP4 is better, but still MP4 at 128 kbits is still more marginal than variable bit rate LAME encoded MP3 at 250 kbit average files. It's pretty obvious even on questionable sound systems.

Sheldon
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They are catching up because they are selling non-DRM'ed MP3s.

Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Here are two things Apple is selling that people don't want:
- AAC files (AA-what now?)
- DRM

Disagreed.

People don't want? Then how has Apple sold more than 3 billion songs so far? Either people did want those or didn't care. Your claim is especially dubious given that people have always had a way to get non-AAC, non-DRM music into iTunes and onto their iPods by buying and ripping CDs, yet they have still purchased over 3 billion songs.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla View Post

Agreed.



Disagreed.

People don't want? Then how has Apple sold more than 3 billion songs so far? Either people did want those or didn't care. Your claim is especially dubious given that people have always had a way to get non-AAC, non-DRM music into iTunes and onto their iPods by buying and ripping CDs, yet they have still purchased over 3 billion songs.

4 billion
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adjei View Post

Seems Amazon was lying according to emusic:

http://www.macworld.com/article/1327...03/emusic.html

I think it's likely they're both trying to frame their arguments. The Yahoo article isn't a press release, but they don't say exactly how they know Amazon is #2. There is a hint there though, they do cite some SoundScan numbers in part of the article. Amazon might be #2 in terms of Feb 08 sales, eMusic is comparing the amount of music they sold since Amazon started their service, which Amazon started out with no customer base in that business. Another thing to keep in mind is that eMusic works out to about half to a third the cost per track, so the dollar figures may end up changing the order vs. the track figures.

Edit: I think I found it. It's not Amazon, but the labels:

"Amazon's (AMZN) MP3 store — which sells only songs without copy protection — has quietly become No. 2 in digital sales since opening nearly six months ago, say the four major labels"

I don't know if the big four sell much through eMusic. So eMusic probably doesn't figure into their sales.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyGee View Post

Hey Caliminius...
I don't think the free downloads are accounted for, but free tokens (which count as sales ARE counted in) and do you know how many songs were given away through PEPSI-AMAZON.. just do a google search and have a look yourself.. it's 1 billion songs!!! (1,000,000,000)

Has Apple ever stated that the free songs are not counted as sales? Unless you can say for certain that the free songs don't count, there's the potential of a good portion of iTunes "sales" to not really be "sales" at all. I used to download them every week and they showed up in my account history just like any other purchase.

As for the Pepsi - Amazon giveaway, it's a potential 1 billion songs. How many people are actually doing it? How many points get tossed in the trash every day? Plus those points can also be used to purchase videos from Unbox so who knows how many go that way. So what portion of that 1 billion will actually be claimed?
post #38 of 44
I am pretty sure that free songs aren't free. somebody is paying for them, whether it be pepsi or apple, the RIAA is getting their money. Because somebody paid for them, they are counted as sales.

Many companies sell products to themselves, I suspect this is no exception.


Sheldon
post #39 of 44
I looked over the articles and couldn't find an actual statement of percent market share that gave amazon the no. 2 rank. we only know that apple is at approx. 80%. there is a big difference between being number 2 at, say, 15% share, and being no. 2 at 5%. i'm surprised that the usatoday article didn't try to pin this down before deciding whether it was newsworthy.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The analyst group notes that the percentage of respondents looking to buy a Mac has only dropped slightly from all-time highs set in January, with 31 percent of notebook purchasers (down 2 percent) and 28 percent of prospective desktop buyers (down 1 percent) intending to pick up a Mac.

Isn't that missing the point? Or proving the opposite

If sales of computers are decreasing overall - then for Mac sales to stay strong, the percentage of notebook purchasers intending to pick up a Mac would have to increase. To have both the numbers of overall buyers decrease AND the percent wanting Mac to decrease... that'd have to mean a reduction in sales.

Or was there something else, that I missed?
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