MediaFile

Neil Young: iPod inventor Jobs preferred vinyl

Neil Young wants a convenient digital device to play music — like an iPod — but with higher-quality sound than consumers hear now with digitally compressed files.

The rock legend — whose ‘Heart of Gold’,  ‘Old Man’ and many others are still top-sellers on iTunes — said he had discussed the idea with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and that he and Jobs were working on the issue before he died.

Although Jobs was “a pioneer in digital music and his legacy is tremendous, when he went home he listened to vinyl,” Young said on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog. “You’ve got to believe if he lived, he would have done what I’m trying to do,” Young added.

Now that Jobs is dead, “not much” is going on in that area, and development will be up to “some rich guy” who sees the need for crisper music from a device that fits in your pocket, he said.

Consumers hear just a fraction of what musicians create in the studio but deserve 100 percent, he added.“People should not associate high resolution with inconvenience.”

Tech wrap: Apple’s iOS 5 debuts

Apple rolled out its iOS 5 mobile operating system, one week after pancreatic cancer claimed the life of its former CEO and visionary Steve Jobs. The update adds voice recognition software called “Siri”, instant messaging and support for Apple’s iCloud service, although the inclusion of Siri is limited to the iPhone 4S. MacWorld’s Dan Moren says the free update is “ambitious” and that “there’s hardly a part of Apple’s mobile operating system that isn’t altered in some way”. Engadget’s Dante Cesa says that “other than turn-by-turn navigation, more multitasking APIs and some delectable widgets, there isn’t much, headline-wise, left on Apple’s hit list for iOS 6“.

Despite Jobs’s death, investors still like what they see at Apple and want the company to start giving up some cash, according to a Reuters Poll. Apple has a cash hoard of $75 billion and record demand for the iPhone 4S has pushed its stock price near an all-time high. Six of the 11 money managers polled by Reuters called for a dividend payout as a reward for their loyalty.

A three-day disruption of BlackBerry services spread to North America, frustrating millions of users of RIM smartphones and putting more pressure on the company for sweeping changes. RIM advised clients of an outage in the Americas and said it was working to restore services as customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India continued to experience patchy email delivery and no access to browsing and messaging. RIM said the root cause of the failure was the malfunction of a core router switch and the subsequent failure of a back-up system to kick in. It then experienced a severe backlog of unrouted messages that is taking time to deliver.

Tech wrap: Apple’s iPad 2 launches

People look at their phones and computers as they wait for the iPad 2 to go on sale at the Apple store in Boulder, Colorado March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Hundreds of people across the U.S. lined up to get their hands on Apple’s iPad 2, the update to last year’s wildly popular tablet computer. If you’re wondering how much the iPad 2 could cost you, Michael Hickins of The Walls Street Journal adds up the tab and discovers you could easily spend $300 on top of the $499 price tag for the cheapest model. Tablet sales are expected to surge to more than 50 million units this year, with Apple capturing more than 70 percent of the market.

If you do buy an iPad and you happen to be a politician, you might not want to use how much you paid for it as an example of why inflation isn’t a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood.

Neil Young, the CEO of mobile-gaming success story Ngmoco, tells VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi about his quest to create a multibillion-dollar mobile entertainment company. And how he’s relying on two technologies, Mobage and NG Core, combined into a worldwide mobile social network, to make it happen.

Apple’s list of top apps offers insight into mobile web

Among the year-end lists popping up around the web, one of the most closely watched is Apple’s annual Rewind lists. It’s almost like an awards ceremony for the things we carry around on our mobile devices, and it’s an especially informative proxy for trends that emerged in the burgeoning market for mobile apps.

Unlike previous years, Apple didn’t break out the top-selling games and non-gaming apps into different categories, making comparisons a little tricky. Even so, there are a couple of interesting things to note. For example, the top-selling iPhone games of 2009 were largely from big gaming companies like EA and Gameloft. Four of the top five were from Electronic Arts alone, including the Sims and Madden NFL.

This year, the most popular free apps on the iPhone games were developed inside small gaming companies: Angry Birds was the clear winner: It was the only app that appeared on the iTunes Rewind free and paid lists. The game was developed by Finland-based Rovio, and its distributor Chillingo was bought by Electronic Arts in October, so EA sort of bought its way onto the Rewind list this year.

Spotify isn’t in talks to be bought by Apple or anyone – source

Music industry types must have had been reaching for their tranquilizers this afternoon, following a report that Apple is in early stage talks to buy Spotify. The report spread quickly, as these things do, and some thought it made  a lot of sense.  So Apple, maker of the world’s most popular music device, the iPod,  which already owns the No.1 music  download retailer iTunes, would be buying Spotify –the much-loved and critically acclaimed music streaming service, just as it’s finalizing deals to launch in the U.S.? This would be too much to handle for many music executives, who think Apple already holds way too much power.

They’ll probably be relieved to know that after an initial flurry of panicky phone calls we got a helpful call from one person close to Spotify, who shot down  rumors of a potential sale to Apple or anyone else  as  “completely untrue”.

Founder Daniel Ek has often tried to position Spotify as a company working with the music industry for the long term, as he did here on his company blog.

Apple’s annual audit find some violations from suppliers

chinaapplApple has identified 17 “core” violations in an audit of suppliers that scrutinized 102 of the facilities where iPods, iPhones and Mac computers are produced.

Apple said its annual supplier responsibility assessment uncovered eight violations involving “excessive recruitment fees,” three with underage workers, three relating to hazardous waste disposal by noncertified vendors, and three of “falsified records.”

For example, it said three facilities were found to have hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum employment age is 16.

Timeline: iPad joins list of Apple product milestones

apple two steves aThe iPad is just the latest in decades of big milestones and product introductions for Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs.

Here’s a quick list:

1976
Apple LisaHigh school buddies, and dropouts, Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs found Apple Computer. Their first product, Apple I, built in circuit board form, debuts at “the Homebrew Computer Club” in Palo Alto, California, to little fanfare.

1977
The company unveils the Apple II, perhaps the first personal computer in a plastic case with color graphics. It is a big hit.

Leftover Apple…

photoThere were plenty of interesting little nuggets sprinkled throughout Apple’s iPad extravaganza Wednesday, some of which may have gotten lost in the headlines:

    The iPad is an impressive device to handle. It’s light and fast, with a bright screen and easy functionality. Movies appeared without a stutter and the gaming experience was an obvious asset.  The iBook e-reader application had a nice look, but it doesn’t mimic old-fashioned print in the same way that Amazon’s Kindle does. Steve Jobs pointed out that since the iPad runs on a version of the same software that powers the iPhone and iPod touch, many people will be quite comfortable using the new tablet: “Because we shipped over 75 million iPhones and iPod touches, there’s over 75 million people that already know how to use the iPad.” Jobs also noted that between the iTunes Store and the App Store — and the forthcoming iBook store — “we have over 125 million accounts with credit cards all enabled for one-click shopping on all these stores.”

 

    No details on what books will cost on the iBook store. Also nothing on a potential TV subscription service, as had been rumored. The iPad has no camera, as many had speculated it might, and doesn’t support Flash. Not exactly news, but Jobs is still no fan of netbooks:  ”The problem is netbooks aren’t better at anything. They’re slow, they have low quality displays and they run clunky old PC software. So they’re not better than a laptop at anything. They’re just cheaper. They’re just cheap laptops.” As many had predicted, the iPad features Apple’s own silicon, the A4 chip. Apple acquired a semiconductor company, PA Semi, in 2008. Apple just sold its 250 millionth iPod. Safe to say it would be thrilled to see that performance from the iPad.

What Apple’s “iTablet” could mean for Asia

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs walks through the crowd after a special event in San Francisco September 9, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

global_post_logoJonathan Adams serves as a GlobalPost correspondent, where this article first appeared.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Here comes, maybe, Apple’s “iTablet.” Or “iSlate.” Or “iWhatever.”

Apple’s so-called “Jesus Tablet” has been described as the ultimate gadget: A netbook, e-book reader, movie player and games platform all in one. It’s going to revolutionize publishing, and education. No mention yet on solving Middle East peace, but surely it’s only a matter of time.

Sony’s PlayStation chief: We’ll get iPod game dabblers

So what happens when the Apple suggests your handheld game device is sub-par? Out of touch? Passe? ‘Dems fighting words, right?******That’s what I asked Sony’s PlayStation boss Jack Tretton during a recent interview. His response? Keep talking, Apple — you’re only creating more future PlayStation users.******A little background: Earlier this month, Apple’s Phil Schiller said this about Sony’s PlayStations Portable (PSP) and the Nintendo DS, which have together sold more than 150 million units around the globe:***

When these things came out they seemed so cool. But once you play a game on the iPod touch, they don’t really stack up anymore. They don’t have this amazing multi-touch user interface. The game are kind of expensive. they don’t even have anything like the Apps Store to find great games and titles. And they certainly don’t deliver a media experience like the iPod that is built into the iPod touch.******But worst is the buying experience. Having to go to the store and trying to find a hot new title is not a lot of fun.

***Not long after, Apple CEO Steve Jobs piled on to the New York Times, saying that the new lower price for the iPod Touch would draw in gamers.******Tretton, whose full title is CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, counterpunched:***

The gaming heritage and the home of gaming is PlayStation. Dabbling in gaming is nice and ‘thank you’ for getting people interested in gaming — because they are going to end up with us.******Its sort of like saying, I got my drivers license and my first car was a beat up Subaru, but if you are ultimately going to be on the track, you are going to be driving a race car, and not something that’s basic transportation. So if you are going to be seriously interested in gaming you are going to end up a PlayStation consumer.

***Tough talk between two consumer electronics giants.******Personally, I have played games on all three devices — but not the same games — so I can’t testify to an apples-to-apples comparison. But I’ll say this: Poker and Tetris on the iPod Touch? Fun. Super Mario Bros on the DS? Cool. FIFA Soccer on the PSP? Wicked.******(Photo: Sony’s Jack Tretten at E3; Reuters)