Last week was relatively busy with news about Apple and its products. Here’s a quick consolidated look at what came out of the shareholder meeting and what else is brewing from Apple-land in Cupertino:
Beatles are coming to iTunes
Not officially yet, but soon. The rumors have been swirling since Steve Jobs played the Beatles song Lovely Rita during the announcement for the iPhone in January (not to mention Apple resolving its issues with Apple Corps and EMI). But this week, Paul McCartney confirmed that a deal is imminent. He said the Beatles library would be available soon in an interview with Billboard magazine. He characterized the deal as “virtually settled.” The report also confirmed McCartney’s next solo album “Memory Almost Full” will be available for download. The press reports would lead me to expect the Beatles music will be available within the month but I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple waited to announce a deal until it rolls out the iPhone in mid June. That kind of two-pronged high-profile announcement fits well with the company (and its CEO’s) showmanship style.
Two Sided Device Possibly in the Works
News of a January patent filing specifying a hand–held device with a smaller touch sensitive screen on one side and a larger touch/pressure-sensitive input screen on the back, flooded the web. The basic concept of the patent was a device with user controls on one side and user-displays on the other. The most likely application is to allow the use of a full virtual keyboard on future devices (something that’s long been wished for, but that would be difficult to use even as on overlay on a full screen device) Speculation abounded as to whether this might be for a next-generation iPod (Nano or Full Size), or even a second generation iPod, or a new device altogether. As is sometimes the case with patents, what has been filed may be defensive and never implemented – accordingly, speculating on what device this is for may be futile. The one sure conclusion is that Apple remains committed to improving and advancing user-interface technologies (and defending their IP in the space). – Their improvements, I think, are welcome for all. One thing Apple has always focused on, and done very well, is intuitive, efficient user-centric design. Their advances have influenced more than a few companies.
Disney confirmed that that 2m films and 23.7m episodes of its Television shows were sold through iTunes. Disney’s CEO expressed satisfaction with the deal, and the growth rate in comments – including pricing. CEO Bob Iger said of the pricing “it allows us to take revenue out that is equal to, in terms of per click sale, store sales. So, yes, we’re quite comfortable with iTunes.”
iTunes rentals may be coming next year
While Apple has been vocal about the unlikeliness of the company considering a subscription model for iTunes music, rumors coming out of Apple’s Thursday Shareholder’s Meeting hinted that Apple might be working to allow some form of video rental service to work through the iTunes store with a likely delivery date sometime in 2008.
The iPhone is on schedule
Also coming out of the Shareholder Meeting, Steve Jobs stated the hotly anticipated iPhone is on schedule for a mid June release. In the discussion, it was also hinted that the planned closed-system may not be the absolute law. Apple is "wrestling" with the decision to allow 3rd party applications access to the iPhone system.
Apple’s web traffic is way up
Apple’s website saw a large rise in visitors between March and April. ComScore’s data showed the number of American visitors to Apple.com increased from 27.3 million to 38.8 million. That moved Apple to the 13th rank for most visited properties on the web.
Apple’s retail computer sales were up
For March, Apple was fourth on NPD’s best selling retail notebook vendors list with 9.9 percent market share. The 9.9 percent notebook share was up from February, when Apple did not place in the top five. Apple also broke into the top five of NPD’s list for desktop computers for the first time this year with a 7.7 percent market share.