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Pink Pod September 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, iPods, Issues, iTunes Store.
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The US retail chain Target is selling a special edition pink iPod shuffle, complete with a US$15 iTunes Store Gift Card for US$79, with a portion of the proceeds of up to US$25,000 going towards The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

It is yet unclear whether or not this is just a clever (and worthy) repackaging, or if it’s a partnership with Apple, but whatever the case may be, we should have more of these.

(Via AppleInsider)

[Quick Aside: As a professional editor, I’m compelled to point out a typo in the product name. Target, “shuffle” is not supposed to be capitalized. The weird Apple Capitalization Rules extends to its other products, which among others states that the second letter is usually the one that should come in caps – iPod, iMac, iTunes, or that words coming after iPod or Mac should never be capitalized – iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod classic, iPod touch, Mac mini.]

Coffee and a song: 50,000,000 iTunes tracks for free September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Free Stuff, iPhone, iPods, iTunes Store, Music.
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Starbucks announced today that they are giving away 1.5 million songs everyday from October 2 to November 7 across its 10,000 branches in the United States, for a total of 50,000,000 by promo’s end.

This is part of the launching of the “Now Playing” arrangement with Apple that allows iPhone or iPod Touch users or those accessing the US iTunes Wifi Store at one of 600 initial Starbucks outlets in New York and Seattle to preview, buy and download the song current playing at the coffee shop as instant gratification. The “Song of The Day” promo will give customers iTunes cards for a complimentary song download for a specific track selected by Starbucks.

The songs will be selected from a wide variety of artists including Bob Dylan, Joss Stone, Dave Matthews, Bebel Gilberto, John Mayer, KT Tunstall, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney, Sia, Band of Horses, Hilary McRae, Frederico Aubele and Sara Bareilles. Customers have until the end of the year to download their free tracks.

MacPics of The Day: Why when I have just two ears? September 24, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, iPods, MacPics, Meta, Wala lang.
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The pods in the Doodler‘s possession at the moment. (Yes, that’s my grubby hand.)

Roughly a quarter of a terabyte of storage right there. And six pairs of headsets. Somewhere.

Conspicuous by its absence is the original 5gb I bought when it first came out in 2001 (yes, I am a shameless early adopter), when all this iPod mania wasn’t even a gleam in Jobs’ eye. In a moment of weakness I sold it, as I eventually would a white, button-happy 4th Gen. Shoulda kept them. Hope to add a Touch to this handful someday.

Another view:

Possible explanation for NBE September 18, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, iPods, Issues.
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An LCD engineer from Taiwan posted on the Apple Discussions page on the Apple Support site today a possible explanation for the Negative Black Effect plaguing the new iPod Touch as being poor quality control with the anti-reflective (AR) coating on the screens. The engineer says:

The AR coating is essentially a clear layer that prevents light from reflecting off of that surface. What’s happening here is the upper glass layer is reflecting light from the LCD screen back down onto the said screen. Without an AR coating you get exactly what you see – shimmering blacks. The problem isn’t noticeable with vibrant colors on screen. Rotating the screen will change the way this light is reflected to your eyes and may minimize the problem, but since the LCD was engineered to give best color output when looking straight on, you’re left with a losing battle.

No official response yet from Apple, but the AR coating theory seems as good an explanation as any. Let’s hope it’s this simple.

Software update for new iPods available September 17, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPods, Updates & Patches.
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Apple‘s just released a software update for the 3G iPod nano, iPod Classic and iPod Touch.

The iPod_26.1.0.1.ipsw update “fixes bugs”, and is available only by syncing a new iPod on iTunes. The update cannot as yet be downloaded directly from the Apple website nor through Software Update. So those who can, please do.

MacPic of The Day September 17, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPods, MacPics, Oddities, Rants.
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iPod with an iPhone error message.

Amazing how Apple can tweak the software so that Linux and other operating systems that don’t natively run iTunes are SOL where the new iPods are concerned, or tweak an app or hardware for the iPod so that it doesn’t compete with an iPhone and artificially and self-servingly segment the market (such as pulling out the ability to enter new events in iCal, or pull the Bluetooth out) — but are so lazy they can’t even seem to clean up the iPhone software code they’re recycling to use in the iPod.

Sheesh.

Major glitch popping up in TouchPods September 16, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, iPhone, iPods, Issues, Rants, Steve Jobs.
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(That’s my pet name for the ungainly and awkward “iPod Touch”, by the way; some folk call it the iTouch, but I think not. Besides, TouchPod has a nice ring to it, don’t you agree?)

Something called the “negative black effect” (speak about inappropriate names) is appearing in an increasing number of TouchPods.

Reports have surfaced earlier this weekend as the TouchPods began selling at Apple Stores that the new screens seem to be inferior to the iPhone’s, contrary to the Jobster‘s (stupid name; but Stevester seems worse) statement that screens are the same. Blacks aren’t as black, and colors seem washed out, as in this side-by-side pic from Gizmodo (iPhone on the bottom):

More units seem to have it worse: some TouchPods’ black portions look like the shimmery, odd blacks you get from film negatives (hence the “negative black effect” name), and they seem to be a spotty and erratic phenomenon. Look at this comparison from Apple-Touch.com (iPhone on top):

Apple seems to be taking in defective units and replacing them without question (which is a tacit admission that a problem exists), but sometimes the replacements themselves have similar problems. No official statement yet.

Caveat emptor. Certainly a strong argument against early adoption, and for waiting for the first revision. Or just waiting for the 16gb, 3G, open-line iPhone that everyone seems to be expecting. Hmm.

Check out a sampling of reports from Apple-Touch, Tech.Blorge, Gizmodo and Engadget.

iPod Touch Teardown! September 16, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, iPods.
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It’s the one we’ve been waiting for: an iPod Touch autopsy, and the gang at Ifixit have obliged us once again, God bless them.

See the wonderful carnage here.

iPod Touch unboxing September 15, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPods, New Stuff, Pics.
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Apparently the things are on Apple Store shelves already, and our colleagues at AppleInsider have scored an early 16gb unit and did an Unpack pictorial.

For those among us who immensely enjoyed the downloadable Features Guide we previously posted about, this is way better. Apparently the box is smaller than the iPhone‘s (as is the unit itself), and comes with a picture of Corrine Bailey Rae on it (which is just fine where the Doodler is concerned – she’s a favorite).

MacADoodle hopes to get its unit next week and do something similar, but you can see AppleInsider’s first look here.

Breaking News: Linux-less iPods September 15, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPods, Issues, iTunes, Operating System, Rants.
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Reports have come out that Apple has tweaked the new iPods (Classic, Touch, nano) so that iTunes breaks when you use the Linux operating system.

Some folk who like Linux a whole lot (or dislike Apple in general) have repurposed the older iPods to run off Linux instead, but Apple seems to have inserted new code into the iTunes DB file in the player in the hidden i_PodControl/iTunes folder that disables the database and shows exactly zero songs on the player.

Knowing the usual suspects, this qualifies as a minor nuisance. After the iPhone, this should be a piece of cake. But still.

Hackers are at work on it already. Click here for more details on the issue.

(Cross-posted from Mobile Philippines)