iPhone just another phone Down Under

iphone.jpg In comparison to the U.S. market where iPhone fans have been in a frenzy over all its highs and lows, consumers in Australia are a bit more nonchalant about the Apple device, which bloggers have called the Jesus phone.

“I think its impact in the United States is probably greater than anywhere else in the world,” said Sol Trujillo, head of Australia’s biggest phone company Telstra.

“At launch it was exciting (in Australia) .. Now its back to BAU — business as usual.”

Even though the phone of all phones now supports push email, Trujillo said the Bold, a high-speed version of the BlackBerry, was creating more excitement among business users.

(Photo: Reuters)

Apple computers getting touchy-feely?

iphone.jpgApple Inc has filed a patent application for a way to apply touchscreen technology to a computer.

In papers filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Thursday, the Cupertino, California-based company appears to be looking for a way to take the touchscreen technology showcased on its iPhone and give it new life on computers. (Note – your browser may need a plug-in available through the Patent Office site’s help section to see the drawings.)

AppleInsider reported on Apple’s patent filing in a story posted on its Web site.

Madison Avenue feels your pain


These days, it’s not just Wal-Mart that’s beating the cost savings drum in its marketing. Indeed, in this climate of costly gas and food, job insecurity and falling home prices, you can’t beat cheap on Madison Avenue.

The next to jump on the value bandwagon are McDonald’s and Burger King, according to Adweek.  The trade magazine says that McDonald’s will roll out five new ads starting on September 1. One of them declares, “Fresh flavor with change to spare. I do love the sound of a tasty deal.”

Rival Burger King is also launching a campaign this fall that plays up cost savings. The ads, created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, are built around “the King putting money back into consumers’ wallets,” Adweek reports.

Heard this before? Music industry isn’t sold on iTunes

kid-rock.jpgOnce again, record companies are questioning the wisdom of selling music on iTunes. This time, the griping shows up the Wall Street Journal.

Basically, the argument is that music companies are starting to believe that selling single songs through Apple’s iTunes is bad for the industry (an industry, by the way, that is badly depressed and counts heavily on iTunes for sales and promotion).

The case for steering clear of iTunes is made through the example of Kid Rock’s “Rock ‘n Roll Jesus” album, which wasn’t sold through Apple’s site. Yet the album still sold an impressive 1.7 million copies, the article points out…

Trulia asks iPhone for help with housing slump

openhousepicture.jpgNever mind that the U.S. real estate market is in crisis. Web site plans to take advantage of the slump with a free mobile application for the iPhone and other devices.

The software lets house seekers find listings or open house events on the fly, and works with GPS technology to pinpoint users’ locations and select appropriate properties. If one looks promising, a home seeker can call the broker with just one click.

Trulia, which has operated an advertising-backed real estate website for three years, has also designed applications for the BlackBerry and for phones from Samsung, Nokia and Sony Ericsson and for Dash Navigation, a maker of GPS devices for the dashboard.

Apple: World’s best customer service or most dangerous products?

stevejobs-an-ipod.jpgTwo different reports on Apple this morning left us undecided how to view the Cupertino, California maker of iPhones, iPods and MacBooks run by Steve Jobs (left).

In the first report Apple blew away its PC industry peers in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index for the fifth straight year. CNET News believes it had much to do with the fact Apple was the only company in its category that didn’t release a Windows Vista PC, which is not to say Apple’s products done speak for themselves.

The ASCI, is prepared by the University of Michigan, and measures a consumer’s overall satisfaction with a company but customers might not have been so satisfied in Japan after their iPod Nanos caught fire according to the second report.

Get ready for the battle of the superphones

fencing1.jpgNow this should be one good duel.

The New York Times is reporting that T-Mobile will be the first carrier to offer a mobile phone powered by Google’s Android software. And it will go on sale… soon!

Talk about anticipation. This is right up there with Apple’s introduction of the new iPhone, which, of course, is only appropriate since the two high-end phones will directly compete with one another in an Olympic-worthy battle. 

From the New York Times:

The phone will be made by HTC, one of the largest makers of mobile phones in the world, and is expected to go on sale in the United States before Christmas, perhaps as early as October.

Entire iTunes libraries at your finger tips

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It’s been available for a few months for unlocked iPhones, but Simplify Media’s iPhone application has finally hit Apple’s App Store. Simplify Media’s software, which can also be used on the iPod Touch, will let users stream entire iTunes libraries wirelessly.

Start by downloading the desktop version of Simplify Media’s software for the PC, Mac or Linux and create a screen name. Then find and download Simplify Media’s iPhone application from iTunes or directly from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

The software will let you stream your entire iTunes music catalog and those that belong to up to 30 of your friends who also have the application running on their computers.

Sirius XM on the iPhone

starplayr2.jpgWe’re not entirely sure if the current round of leaks will lift Sirius XM out of its $1.40 per share doldrums, but screenshots of a new iPhone application in development that will let users stream Sirius XM radio stations could put a new shine on the company.

The shots, leaked to Orbitcast, show a login screen that would appear to imply that the service would likely only be available to existing Sirius or XM subscribers or subscribers to the mobile service. We’ve seen various mobile applications that do just that over the years for Windows Mobile phones. But this is the first to offer a common platform for both services — and months ahead of the company’s own timeline for an interoperable receiver.

Citigroup’s Tony Wible thinks the link to Apple “highlight that SIRI’s value lies in its content and not its hardware or infrastructure.” And such applications could help it gain share in the audio entertainment market. “SIRI bears argue that AAPL’s products will take share from SIRI, but we disagree as both MP3 players and satellite radio have unique advantages that leads us to believe both will co-exist. New satellite radio plans create a greater opportunity for synergies between the two,” Wible writes.

Take cover: Forecast darkens for cable spending

storm-clouds.jpgAnybody out there in TV land riding an Olympic buzz (NBC’s ratings have been scorching) will be brought back down to earth by these numbers from SNL Kagan.

Cable TV ad revenue is forecast to grow at just 4.7 percent in 2009, the firm says. That compares to growth of about up 10 percent for 2008, when cable has been one of the few bright spots for media.  Or as paidContent sums it up, ”This year appears bad enough for media revenues, but for cable TV, 2009 is nothing to look forward to.”

The SNL Kagan numbers back up concerns that were voiced in an article by Reuters’ Kenneth Li after Viacom’s quarterly earnings report last month.