By David Leishman,
When I was a kid, the after-school beverage choice was between a 10-oz. bottle of Coke and a 16-oz. bottle of RC Cola. They cost about the same, but while the Coke tasted much better, the RC had MORE. Pepsi was around, but who cared? So, often as not, I chose the RC bottle that was as big as my forearm.
Now, I’m a discriminating consumer and I have the luxury of choosing products based on a number of quality metrics, rather than being limited to quantity-per-penny.
So, forget last week’s editorial wherein I admonished Apple for not easing RealNetwork’s path to iPod bliss. I’ve changed my tune, so to speak. Consumers already have plenty of choice — if they want Real tunes on their iPods, they can convert ’em to MP3’s and have at it.
Apple has to protect the family jewels, and that means it can’t offer a seat at its table to distant half-cousins like Real. And the seats
above the salt
need to be reserved for other princes of the realm — such as Motorola and HP — who through alliances can extend Apple’s reach while reducing its need to invest so heavily in manufacturing.
Because, after all, it’s the idea of Apple and Apple’s ideas that lie at the heart of its success. Vision is Jobs’ one, as it were. (Godspeed.)
And the real riddle wrapped in the enigma of the iPod is digital rights management, now and in the future. Remember, like the iMac, the iPod is a product with a limited lifespan of “star quality.” It won’t be long until iPod, too, settles comfortably into the Apple product line, while being replaced on the marquee by another whiz-bang item.
Among an array of changing products, what will remain constant into the foreseeable future is the growth of downloaded content — songs, movies, and at some point, an incarnation of Aldus Huxley’s “feelies” — all wrapped in an unseen “bit binder” that will allow you to play it locally. Whether that container will be a version of Apple’s Fairplay remains to be seen, but it now gets my vote.
(For a more comprehensive look at how the future might unfold, I urge you to take a look at drunkenbatman’s ”
” and its
redux version. They’re spot-on reads, and he even captures the nuances of Steve Jobs’ repeated use of misdirection to hide what Apple might be doing behind the veil.)
The issue of compatibility (or rather the lack thereof) between Apple’s iPod and Real files pales in comparison beside the importance of Apple’s need to consolidate its role as Gatekeeper in the brave new media world. I can’t buy RC Cola nor “real” Coke anymore, but I look forward to buying Apple products far into the future.
Apple 10-Q reveals operational, financial details
Apple on Thursday filed its latest quarterly report with the SEC. The document offers a continuing view of Apple’s financial condition, its operations and various risks and issues that could affect the company’s plans for future business. One of the more interesting sections of the filing outlines Apple’s current legal woes, including details about the settlement of a 2003 case and a new case concerning Apple’s FairPlay technology.
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Toshiba announces 60GB, 1.8-inch hard-disk drive
Toshiba Corp. announced on Wednesday it will begin mass-producing a 60GB, 1.8-inch hard-disk drive before the end of the year. The new drive offers 50-percent improvement in storage space over Toshiba’s current highest capacity 1.8-inch hard-disk drive that Apple uses in its iPods.
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iRiver PMP-100 offers portable video playback
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Quicken 2005 simplifies online banking, home inventory
Intuit Inc. has released Quicken 2005 for Mac, the latest version of its popular accounting software. The new version, available exclusively for Mac OS X, provides easier connectivity to online accounts, enables users to create a visual record of valuables linked to iPhoto images, and updates its Tax Planner. It’s available online now and will hit store shelves on or around August 11.
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Kanaka to offer Novell eDirectory support for Mac OS X
FutureBASIC 4 revamps editor, project manager, more
OpenSIMS integrates network security tools
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Around the Web
Mossberg: BMW iPod solution brilliant but crude
The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg tested a variety of iPods with BMW’s new iPod Adapter and finds the mating “a decent first step (that) works, but in a pretty crude way.” Sound quality was excellent, though there were a few “flaky moments.” Bottom line: a “welcome development,” but “it’s frustrating that the car industry can’t do better.”
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