New iPods have landed
Apple Computer Inc. in July introduced its fourth generation iPod, revised with a new interface similar to that found on the iPod mini and a new feature called Shuffle Songs. The new iPod also sports a battery that’s good for up to 12 hours of use at a time, according to Apple. The iPod is available in 20GB and 40GB capacities for US$299 and US$399 respectively. The iPod’s new Shuffle Songs feature is a new command that appears in the main menu. Activating Shuffle Songs causes the iPod to shuffle the songs in your active playlist (or all songs on the iPod). The iPod’s new Click Wheel is similar to the interface found on iPod Minis, pictured here: it’s a continuous-scrolling surface that features five push buttons: a center button, a menu button positioned at 12 o’clock, fast forward and rewind buttons positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, and a play/pause button positioned at 6 o’clock. Apple said the Click Wheel offers users better one-handed navigation.
Calgary, Toronto big on Xbox Live
Microsoft Corp. announced last month that more than one million people are now members of the worldwide Xbox Live online video gaming service. First introduced in November 2002, Xbox Live reached the million-member mark three times faster than other subscriber-based services such as America Online and TiVo, it said. Microsoft claims that players in 24 countries have spent more than 160 million hours playing Xbox Live, with an average of 265,549 hours a day. The top 15 cities worldwide in Xbox Live members are Tokyo, London, Houston, Chicago, Toronto, San Diego, New York, Brooklyn, N.Y., Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Calgary, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea.
Keep on rockin’
Digital music sales in the U.S. will more than double this year, analysts claim. Jupiter Research Inc. announced its new projections at the recent Jupiter Plug.IN Conference and Expo 2004. It anticipates that sales will reach more than US$270 million in 2004, and will grow to reach US$1.7 billion in 2009, the report claims. This equals 12 per cent of consumer music spending. Previous expectations from the company had anticipated 2009 sales of US$3.3 billion. “While digital music will return the U.S. music industry to growth after four years of deeply-declining sales, digital music will not replace CDs or bring music sales back to its 1999 peak,” the analysts said. Jupiter also anticipates future success for subscription-based digital music services. Senior analyst and vice-president David Card said: “The so-called celestial jukebox is in sight,” but warned, “for now, it will appeal to music aficionados.
Motorola gets in the groove
Users of some Motorola Inc. mobile phones will be able to purchase songs from Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes service to store and listen to on the phone, leaders of the two companies announced recently. New, advanced Motorola mobile phones will be able to carry about a dozen iTunes songs downloaded from a PC or Macintosh starting in the first half of next year, said Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, who appeared via videoconference at an address by Motorola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander in Rosemont, Ill. Apple will develop an iTunes mobile music player application that Motorola will use as the standard music software on mass-market music phones expected in next year’s first half, according to Motorola.