Apple will kill off its iPod shuffle and iPod classic lines to instead focus on the iPod touch and iPod nano, TUAW reported recently. The rumor follows early speculation by CNET, which noted just 8% of Apple’s fourth quarter 2010 revenue was from iPod sales. Typically, Apple unveils its new iPod family in the fall of each year. However, an invitation to Apple’s October 4th press conference suggests the iPhone will be the star of this year’s show. In addition, we have heard numerous reports that Apple will make minor changes to the iPod touch this year, if any at all, and will also offer a white version. We will be reporting all of the news as it breaks on October 4th. More →
According to new projections issued by market research firm NPD Group, Apple is poised to break its previous quarterly sales record. For the first time, Apple’s Mac unit sales are set to surpass the 4 million mark, with fourth quarter totals expected to fall in the range of 4.1 to 4.3 million. Apple’s new MacBook Air will apparently play a big role in Apple’s record-breaking quarter, and early demand for the sleek laptop makes solid sales a foregone conclusion. NPD’s numbers, if met, will represent remarkable year-over-year growth of approximately 22% to 28%. Apple is also expected to sell between 18.5 million and 19.5 million iPods during the December quarter. More →
Apple has made changes to its internal screening process pertaining to iPod liquid damage, a source told BGR. Apple builds a series of Liquid Contact Indicators (LCI) into its iPod line of devices. When these LCIs come in contact with moisture, they become activated. In the event of a warranty claim or other repair, the LCIs indicate to Apple that the device in question may have been affected by a liquid. Employees of Apple Stores and AppleCare Repair Centers then have specific guidelines used in the event liquid damage is suspected. Previously, the presence of an activated LCI within the headphone jack was cause enough for employees to state that an iPod may have been damaged by water or another liquid. Now, employees must first inspect the iPod for other signs of liquid damage before reaching that conclusion. It is currently not known if the new policy applies to iPhone models as well.
Whether or not Apple has concerns internally regarding the reliability of its LCI devices is unclear at this time. Apple may have also discovered LCIs located within the headphone jack are overly sensitive and activate even when they come in contact with permissible amounts of moisture.
According to an iLounge source, the upcoming fourth generation iPod touch will be changing shapes once again. If true, it is said to be more flat than curved, with a flat surface and curved edges; much like the top of your MacBook Pro. Additionally, the back is rumored to not be modeled after the iPhone 4’s all glass surface; so we’re guessing stainless steel or aluminum. There is that much-awaited rear camera, though what’s not clear at this point is a LED flash next to it or a second microphone for audio capture while shooting video. Lastly, that tiny, tiny Apple-branded touch screen display we saw? Well, according to iLounge, it is indeed a new iPod nano, and won’t have anything to do with an iPod shuffle. September 1st is close enough, friends. More →
The folks over at iLounge stumbled upon some curious info regarding the new iPod Shuffle that has us scratching our heads. We all know the controls for the new Shuffle are on the headphones, but apparently Cupertino decided to make it even more difficult for headphone makers to get in on some Shuffle action. Control of playback and adjustment of volume will not be permitted unless the headphones used are equipped with an Apple authentication chip. D’oh! To further complicate matters, headphones with this new authentication chip are not yet available. Phooey, you say, I will pair my high-end headphones with a third party remote control device instead. Denied! Third party remotes with this authentication chip are not yet available either. Until these new accessories hit the market, shuffle owners are stuck using the stock headphones for the time being. What is Apple’s reasoning behind the move? We’re not sure, though we imagine it has to do with ensuring Apple can prevent companies from producing Shuffle gear without its blessing. Good job Apple, now it’ll cost less-than-scrupulous manufacturers overseas an extra 7¢ per unit to make compatible headphones. Major fail.
Talk about a sneak attack. It’s a little hard to get excited about a new iPod Shuffle but hey, new toys are new toys. The third-generation Shuffle features a completely new design, 4GB of storage and perhaps most notably, the controls have been moved off of the device and onto the headset cord. Cool, yes, but have fun trying to use your current headset with this little guy. The new Shuffle also sports Apple’s “VoiceOver” technology, which essentially is little more than a text-to-speech engine that can speak song, artist and playlist titles. Apple’s new 4GB iPod Shuffle will run you $79 and is available immediately in the two colors pictured above.