A few days ago, Apple killed off the stripped-down 16GB version of its iPod touch as quietly as it was introduced last year. In its place, a new 16GB model emerged with the same 5-megapixel iSight camera and color selection as its counterparts with higher storage capacities. Best of all, the new configuration is actually cheaper than its predecessor despite an improvement in hardware. It launched immediately in the US, and now it’s available from Apple in the UK for £159, down from £199 for the previous, camera-less model. And, if 16GB just doesn’t cut it, there’s never been a better time to spring for the 32GB or 64GB models, given they’ve also received a favourable discount. Originally £249, the 32GB iPod touch is now £199, while the 64GB version that used to be £329 has dropped to £249.
Apple has finally brought parity to its iPod touch line, which before treated the 16GB model as some sort of necessary, but unwanted, entry point for the family. It only came in one color, didn’t have a camera and seemed a tad overpriced at $229. Today Cupertino finally rectified this long standing wrong. For one, the smallest model now clocks in at a reasonable $199. More importantly though, it finally comes in the same rainbow of hues and sports the same 5MP iSight camera as its bigger brothers. While clearly the 16GB version got the most love today, the 32GB and 64GB models have some news to report of their own. The middle child is now only $249, while the biggest of the three siblings is now only $299 — that’s $100 less than its original price. The new prices and colors are available in the Apple store now.
Nest creator Tony Fadell, who formerly worked at Apple before starting Nest Labs and launching both a connected thermostat and smoke detector, has shared some details on both his experience at Apple and his encounters with Steve Jobs in a lengthy profile and interview with Fortune.
Dubbed one of the “fathers of the iPod,” Fadell started at Apple in 2001, moving on to become SVP of the company’s iPod division from 2006 to 2008, where he helped produce early versions of the music player. Fadell clashed with Jobs and other executives at times, and says he had to “repeatedly quit” to get his way at the company.
One time, after key members of his iPod team had been raided for another Apple project, Fadell informed Jobs he was done, and the CEO asked him to stay, telling Fadell he was overreacting. “I said, ‘I’m not overreacting.’ I told him I was out. If you didn’t stand up for yourself, no one else would.” (Fadell says he recanted at least two resignations, having gotten his way each time.)
Jobs and Fadell reportedly had a relationship that “alternated between the father/son and school principal/naughty student archetypes.” Fadell often argued with Jobs, who thought Fadell “asked too many questions,” which would frustrate him. Fadell left Apple after marrying Danielle Lambert, a human resources executive who worked as a “super-key” recruiter.
Fadell, who launched a stealth startup in home automation in 2010 that eventually lead to the ultra popular Nest, says that he wishes he had been able to tell Jobs about Nest. While they spoke about Fadell’s startup, Jobs was very ill when the Nest was ready to launch.
By the time Fadell was ready to share more in the summer of 2011, however, Jobs had grown gravely ill, and he died several weeks later. “I would have loved to have been able to show it to him, but the timing didn’t work,” he says. Jobs presumably would have been proud of Fadell. And he almost certainly would have asked a lot of questions.
Nest went on to be acquired by Google in January of 2014, in a deal that netted the company $3.2 billion. Though now a Google employee, Fadell continues to operate Nest independently, budgeting one day a week to visit Google and learn how it can help Nest in the long run.
The full profile of Tony Fadell, which includes more information on his history, the development of Nest, and his time at Apple, can be read over at Fortune.
It’s our 10th birthday, and to celebrate we’ll be revisiting some of the key devices of the last decade. So please be kind, rewind.
Before the Rio Carbon arrived to take on Apple’s iPod juggernaut in 2004, there was Diamond Multimedia’s first stab at the digital music market: the Rio PMP300, a portable music player released in 1998. Since it was one of the first portable MP3 players ever to be sold, Diamond ended up embroiled in a fight for the future of the format. The PMP300′s ability to play digital music files downloaded from a computer led to a groundbreaking legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA challenged the company in court, claiming that its use of digital music files was copyright infringement, but Diamond won out and cleared the way for a new wave of portable music players (PMPs) to hit the market.
In the years that followed, Diamond Multimedia released over a dozen portable players. But it was 2004′s sleek Rio Carbon that caught consumers’ attention, a device praised by many reviewers for its superior audio quality. The timing of its commercial release also positioned it as a head-to-head competitor to Apple’s iPod mini. The Carbon offered a 5GB hard drive where the iPod mini only had 4GB, and its chrome, pebble-like body matched Apple’s tiny player for size — even weighing slightly less. The Carbon’s remarkably smudge-resistant exterior and 20-hour battery life trounced the iPod mini’s meager 8-hour span. It even featured USB charging, which was far more convenient than Apple’s reliance on proprietary cables. It was this attention to detail that made the Rio Carbon such an attractive alternative for consumers and earned it many lifelong fans.
It wasn’t just the hardware that drew customers to the Rio Carbon; it had some compelling software chops as well. The Carbon stood out from the PMP pack by offering users the ability to bookmark audio and record digital voice memos. It was also compatible with Windows Media DRM 10.0, a digital rights-management solution that allowed users to store and play songs from subscription services like Napster to Go and Rhapsody to Go. The Carbon also offered users an open ecosystem, giving them the freedom to sync and manage files from Windows Media Player 10, iTunes, MSN Music and several others.
Although the Rio Carbon was a solid effort from a small, enthusiastic company in the PMP space, it ultimately failed to stave off the inevitable market crush from Apple’s iPod. And by 2005, just one year past the Carbon’s introduction, the brand shuttered. Even Microsoft, a company with the vast resources to take on Apple, struggled to succeed with its now scrapped Zune digital audio player. In the end, Apple’s iPod surfaced as the undisputed king of the portable music player hill, a title it’s now ceded to the multitasking machines our smartphones have become today.
Filed under: Apple
There have been several mockups of the next-generation iPhone and Apple’s much-rumored iWatch, but few designers have tackled what could lie in store for Apple’s upcoming revamped Apple TV set-top box.
German technology magazine Curved has explored what the future of the Apple TV could look like, posting some conceptual images of a set-top box that includes iPhone 5s design elements and a touch-based remote.
The reimagined remote control features a touch interface that mimics the existing interface of the Apple TV, offering access to specific channels like Netflix along with specific controls for music and playback.
The main attraction is the revamped remote control, completely redesigned as a touch device that might be wirelessly rechargeable via Apple TV. iPhone 5 / 5s / 5c are still functioning as remote controls as well. Additionally, a separate App Store for Apple TV should be available. With 9,8 x 9,8 cm, it comes in the same size as the 2-year-old 3rd generation, but will be even thinner with 1,67 cm. We expect models to be available in grey, gold and silver.
There has been no indication that Apple is planning on launching a product with a touch-based remote control, but an analyst suggested the company could go in that direction back in 2012.
It is also unclear what a redesigned Apple TV might look like, but Curved imagines a new product might retain the existing product’s square shape while adopting some of the features of the iPhone 5s, such as a shiny white or black exterior with gold and slate accents.
Rumors have indicated that Apple has plans to release a redesigned Apple TV product in the spring, with a number of improvements including an upgraded processor, game support, and possibly even a full App Store. Apple may also have more ambitious plans in the works, aiming to partner with traditional cable companies to provide additional content on the set-top box.
During its earnings conference call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the state of the iPod, noting that the product is a declining category for the company:
The way we look at it, our business is a sell-through point of view less iPod — all of us have known for some time that iPod is a declining business.
The iPod was Apple’s “halo” product for years, getting new customers to buy Apple products for the first time. Since their peak in 2008, however, iPod sales have seen a fairly steady decline as the iPhone and iPad have captured more of the market that the iPod occupied previously.
Apple’s last change to the the iPod line came with the debut of a new Space Gray color option for the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle at its September 2013 iPhone event. However, Apple has not updated the iPod classic in over four years, with that device more likely to be discontinued rather than refreshed.
Verizon’s subscription streaming TV service, Redbox Instant, now supports Apple’s AirPlay thanks to a new version 1.4 iOS app update — with some caveats. For starters, though you’ll be able to play streaming content on your iOS 6 device, the app …
Two sticks, four face buttons, a pair of shoulder paddles and a d-pad: the formula for a modern gamepad and the layout of MOGA’s Ace Power controller. It’s a pretty standard assortment of inputs, but this controller happens to be the first fully f…
So, how exactly does a voice app work on devices without any cellular ties? Glad you asked! Google has just updated the iOS Google Voice app to include support for the iPod touch and iPad, but neither of them can make cellular calls directly. Instead, you can use the app to initiate GVoice calls with a nearby phone. The process is known as Click2Call — users simply click any ‘Call’ button within the app and then choose which of their phones they want to ring. It’s probably more time consuming than just grabbing your phone from the start, but hey, there it is. In other news, the app now disables text forwarding when you enable Push Notifications (to avoid double alerts), and there’s a new Do Not Disturb option in the Settings tab for those who’d prefer to disconnect. Hit the iTunes link below to get your download on, and let us know how things shake out in comments.
If you can’t afford to splash out £25 on the North Face Etip gloves, and you cannot be bothered to sew on your own conductive tips, but still need to use your touchscreen whilst keeping your paws warm, then the Suck UK Touch Pad Pencil Stylus could be just what you need.
Taking the form of a retro pencil that will remind you of your school days, the Touch Pad Pencil Stylus is made up of a conductive rubber material, that will work on the capacitive screen of your smartphone or tablet.
“They say the pen is mightier than the sword, so by extension it’s safe to assume the pencil is mightier than the finger,” says the official site. “Make you and your smartphone look even smarter with a Suck UK Pencil Stylus.”
It’s makers describe it as the “most stylish stylus money can buy” and we have to agree. Well, it beats using a sausage anyway.
The Touch Pad Pencil Stylus is available from Suck UK for £7.50.