SAN FRANCISCO — We’ve just had a hands-on taste of what might be the future of car audio at an intimate press event in downtown San Francisco — and we think they’re on to something big.
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Boom boom, pow — the Black Eyed Peas, already one of the most cutting-edge bands to rock an iPod, may just have made music videos so two-thousand-and-late. That’s because they released an app today that includes a stunning, immersive 360-degree, augmented-reality enabled music video that sticks you in the middle of the action with the ability to pan around and become part of the action. And guess what — it’s only available on the iPhone, with no plans announced yet to make it available for any other platform.
When a company with as fabled a name as Bowers & Wilkins proffers up an iPod dock, one expects nothing less than enough oomph to satisfy even the most discerning audiophile, and enough svelteness to elicit a smile from even the most ardent aesthete. B&W’s first shot at a dock, the Zeppelin, certainly turned heads when it debuted in 2007 (at least, once word got out about it). But its sprawling, bulbous shape — and sprawling, bulbous, $600 pricetag — limited its appeal. Two years later the company followed with the Zeppelin Mini, a much smaller, less expensive dock that nevertheless tried to maintain the aesthetic and sonic reputation the company was known for.
But at $400, the Mini was still significantly pricier than almost any other dock sitting on, say, an Apple Store’s dock table. Then earlier this year B&W brought the price down to $300, placing it on a level field with other upper-mid-end docks — a league that seems to be gaining players at an almost alarming rate — and allowing it to stand out among its peers as the compact, high-performance star it is.
Despite a massive lion lurking in the background of the press invite for today’s event, the big news didn’t have much to do with OS X 10.7 (now officially “Lion”); instead, the big news was about the new MacBook Air pair, the Mac App Store, FaceTime for Mac — and iLife ’11
In fact, iLife almost stole the thunder from the later “one more thing” MacBook Air announcement. And for good reason: There’re some really impressive features included in this round of what is quite possibly the best software suite to ever come standard on a manufacturer’s entire product line.
In just a few hours, Apple will announce a new version of OS X, and will almost certainly unveil new MacBook Airs and new versions of iLife/iWork. But we’re wondering if they won’t reveal one more thing: a social media network with the goal of creating millions of home-based Apple Genii at its core.
Steve Jobs made an unusual visit to Apple’s quarterly conference call today, sounding ebullient about Apple’s record sales figures for the fourth quarter of 2010, and boasted of Apple’s dominance over RIM, bashed Google and praised both the homogeny of iOS and the careful thinking that went into the design of the iPad compared to the “avalanche of tablets. Here’re the highlights, and some juicy quotes:
Are you wondering how a company like Nokia can, on the one hand, claim that it is selling more smartphones every day than the iPhone, and yet be kicking its CEOout the door like a mangy dog? These pie charts ought to make everything crystal clear.
Advisory firm Canaccord Genuity told investors to buy, buy, buy Apple stock on Tuesday, targeting Apple’s price at $356 per share… and to give investors an idea on why they were so excited about Apple’s prospects, they accompanied their note with the following observation: even though Apple only sold 17 million handsets in the first half of 2010, Apple has pulled in 39% of the mobile sector’s profit.
Meanwhile, Nokia, Samsung and LG sold 400 million phones last year — over twenty times as many handsets as Apple sold iPhones — and yet their profit was dwarfed by Apple’s in the same period.
As Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley notes, “[W]where most handset OEMs struggle to post a profit or even 10% operating margins… we estimate Apple boasts roughly 50% gross margin and 30%+ operating margin for its iPhone products.”
No wonder the boards of companies like Nokia are lopping off their key executives’ heads and bowling them out the door.
Last week, Twitter announced a serious overhaul of their website. It might mean diddly to iPhone users though, who usually access Twitter through any one of a growing heap of mobile Twitter apps — all of which are equipped with a vastly superior set of features compared to Twitter’s site (at least, currently).
Now, I’ve always held that selecting a Twitter app is a highly subjective, personal process, kind of like picking out a bicycle saddle — you just sort of squish around on it for a few days and see if it feels right. Personally, I currently tend to favor HootSuite over any other Twitter app, even though I’ve installed, and sometimes use, half a dozen or so others. But one Twitter app has foisted itself to essential status: Twitter’s own official app. And it’s above the rest for one key reason, really.
iPhontography is a revolutionary new art form of images inspired by, shot with, and edited on the iPhone. A series of exhibits, the result of a presentation made in August at the Artistic Photographers of America meeting in San Francisco, will bring together artists and their work at some of Apple’s larger retail stores around the country and the world starting later this month.
The work is curated from art submitted to Pixels at an Exhibition, a website created to showcase images submitted by iPhone users from across the globe. Show curator Knox Bronson and other iPhone artists will attend each exhibit and present information about the Pixels project and talk about techniques and apps used to create the images on display.
The exhibits begin September 27 at the flagship Apple retail store in downtown San Francisco at One Stockton Street, with a reception from 6:00 – 8:00pm.
Additional exhibits are thus far scheduled for Chicago on October 21, and at the New York City Soho Apple store on October 29 – in conjunction with the PhotoPlus International Photography Expo and Conference. Plans for shows in Los Angeles and London are also said to be in the works.
The blog AutoSpies.com captured pictures at the Paris Motor Show of BMW’s new replacement for the old-and-busted rear-seat DVD screens: Apple iPad cradles that rotate, and support both portrait and landscape orientations. No, this isn’t just some concept. It’s the new hotness.
The cradle debuted on the new BMW X3, but will be available for all other model series starting in the Spring.