Apple raises ruckus with baby-shaking app

It used to be that Apple could do little wrong, if the unrelenting mania among the masses for the iPod and iPhone is any indication. Now, the company may have made an unusual and embarassing mis-step in selling a 99-cent “Baby Shaker” application for the iPhone.

Designed by Sikalosoft, the program encourages users to silence an incessantly crying baby by shaking their iPhone until the infant desists, and two red crosses replace the baby’s eyes.

On Wednesday, the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, whose mission is to spread awareness of infant brain injury incurred through abuse or disease, condemned Apple for hosting the application.

“As the father of a 3-year-old who was shaken by her baby nurse when she was only 5 days old, breaking 3 ribs, both collarbones and causing a severe brain injury, words cannot describe my reaction,” Patrick Donohue, Founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, stated in an open e-mail to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and several of his executives, demanding a personal apology.

“You have no idea the number of children your actions have put at risk by your careless, thoughtless and reckless behavior! We will do everything we can to expose your reckless actions and reverse the horrific impact it will have on the innocent children throughout the United States.”

Apple schedules June conference

With the Apple’s developers conference now formally on the schedule for June 8-12, that leaves more than two full months for the rumor mill to really crank up.

With updates of Mac laptops, desktops and iPod shuffles already on the books, whispers, speculation and conjecture abound about what — if anything — the company has in store for the gathering, to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

A new iPhone is a distinct possibility, analysts say. Apple released the 3G version at the event last year.

Dell offers gifts cards for your e-junk

As part of the ongoing battle among PC makers to out-green each other, Dell says it will now take your unwanted gadgets off your hands and give you something for the privilege. Most of us are familiar with the concept of trade-ins in some form – cars, mainly – but under the program launched today, the company will exchange Dell gift cards for your e-junk.

Dell Exchange covers all sorts of products, from phones to cameras to PCs to media players. It’s partner in the program, Dealtree, will refurbish and resell the gear it can, and items with no trade-in value can be recycled for free. The program is similar to services already offered by third-party sites such as Gazelle, which pay you in cash.

A 2-minute test drive of the new Dell program turned up predictable results. An 80GB iPod classic in good shape could land you a $116 gift card from Dell — but a rickety and slow 5-year-old laptop will get you little more than an exceptionally clean conscience.

Apple, Jobs and health: A Reuters roundup

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs told the world Wednesday that he discovered that his health issues are more complex than he had previously thought, so he’s taking a medical leave of absence. Jobs, who earlier this month said his recent weight loss was caused by a hormonal imbalance that was relatively easy to treat, plans to be off until the end of June. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will mind the shop in the interim. Once Apple shares resumed trading after-hours, investors knocked off about 10 percent of their value.

Here’s a quick roundup of what we found online about these latest developments (And of course, here’s the Reuters story before we get to the other ones):

Silicon Alley Insider:

Tim Cook should do fine as Apple’s interim day-to-day leader. He took control of the company last time Steve went on a leave of absence to treat his pancreatic cancer. Steve says he plans to “remain involved in major strategic decisions” while he is out.

Even Apple music wants to be free, sort of

The New York Times headline on Apple’s Macworld convention is so snappy that it almost frees me of the obligation to write this blog entry today:

Want to copy iTunes Music? Go Ahead, Apple says.

Fortunately, the Times couldn’t fit this other part into the headline, giving us something to quote:

Beginning this week, three of the four major music labels – Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group – will begin selling music through iTunes without digital rights management software, or D.R.M., which controls the copying and use of digital files. The fourth, EMI, was already doing so.

Apple, give us some new toys!

Despite strong sales of Apple’s iPod Touch and Macbook computers, bloggers are clamoring for Steve Jobs and his team to introduce a range of new devices, or significant upgrades to existing models, beyond the usual Mac rumor mill.

At Silicon Alley Insider,  they think it’s time for Jobs to consider a tablet Mac. SAI says the iPod Touch could be combined with the cheap, small ‘netbook’ laptops that are selling well for Dell and Asus.

It’s time for Steve Jobs to smash them together into a killer multi-touch tablet. We’re calling ours the iPod touch HD for now, and we’re hoping we can buy it before next Christmas.

iPods’ scarcity points to popularity, analyst says

With all the hand-wringing about consumer spending and the holiday shopping season, at least one technology device appears to be holding its own: Apple’s trusty iPod. In fact, the now ubiquitous music and media player is faring so well that Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu is beginning to see a shortage.

Wu said stocks of certain iPod models have been harder to come by at, Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. He expects iPod sales to reach 21 million in the current quarter, down 5 percent from last year.

Wu says: “Frankly, we find these sell-outs on iPods surprising given how difficult the macroeconomic environment is, putting a crimp on consumer spending. From our assessment, we believe iPod is holding up better than most, due to its relatively low ASP (average selling price) and strong consumer understanding of the value it provides.”

Apple says new iPod nano is “toxic free”

iPod nano 2 iPod nanoApple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new iPod nano that lets users shuffle songs by shaking the device.


Not content with the so-called “shake to shuffle” feature, Jobs also boasted that the nano is the thinnest and cleanest iPod Apple has ever made, calling it “highly recyclable,” “mercury free” and … um … “toxic free.”

The 8-gigabyte model costs $149 and the 16-gigabyte version costs $199.

(Photo: Reuters)

Hello Steve Jobs!

We all know about the interest in Steve Jobs’ health – how many blogs and columns have been devoted to the subject? He even joked about it on Tuesday, with the help of a video screen that read, ”The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Without further delay, here’s how the Apple CEO looked.




Here’s how Jobs looked at previous company events.


Jobs at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California June 9, 2008


Jobs at the Macworld Convention and Expo in San Francisco, California January 15, 2008

What’s Apple got in store for 9/9?

apple.jpgCircle the date in your calendar. September 9. That’s when Apple Inc is planning an event in San Francisco — an event that most believe will showcase the latest new gadget from Steve Jobs & Co.

Apple isn’t saying much, other than sending out an invitation to reporters with the headline “Let’s Rock.” But Apple’s reluctance to spill the beans hasn’t kept others from chattering. Indeed, when it comes to Apple, commentators can’t resist speculating about two subjects: Steve Jobs’ health and new products.

Forbes’ Brian Caulfield even combined the two into a recent column, entitled “Five Things Steve Jobs Must Do Before He Dies.” He lists 1). A tablet computer. 2). A television 3). A remote control 4). A Digital Book 5). Another personal computer.