i-Got-Control IRB1 dongle gives your iPhone / iPod touch universal remote functionality

 accessories, Apple, iphone, News  Comments Off on i-Got-Control IRB1 dongle gives your iPhone / iPod touch universal remote functionality
Mar 192010


No need to spot clean your spectacles, and no need to brush the cobwebs out of your dome — you really are seeing yet another IR dongle for Apple’s dear iLineup. Hot on the heels of New Potato’s FLPR, ThinkFlood’s RedEye mini and Power A’s solution comes this: an all-too-similar way to convert your iPod touch, iPhone or forthcoming iPad into a universal remote. Functionality wise, there’s really nothing here that the other guys don’t provide, though the beefed-up database of over 40,000 IR codes should make setting up your system a breeze. Users simply plug this into their dock connector, download the free application from the App Store and then dial up whatever components they have; once loaded, the IR beamer should do the rest, nixing the need to keep those 40 remotes around. It’s expected to start shipping any day now for $69.95.
[via engadget]

Opera Mini For iPhone Could Be Coming Soon

 Apple, iphone, News  Comments Off on Opera Mini For iPhone Could Be Coming Soon
Mar 132010


Norwegian web browser developer
Opera has revealed that the company’s mobile browser application for the iPhone is just “weeks” away from submission to the App Store for approval.

According to sources, the new Opera Mini iPhone app was likely to be six times faster than iPhone’s native Mobile Safari web browser.

Speaking about the development at the South By Southwest festival at Austin, Opera spokesperson Thomas Ford said, “I can’t positively say the time frame, but I can say it’s very soon”, indicating that it would realistically take a few weeks.

Opera had given a preview of their upcoming iPhone application at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. As we had noted back then, the server side processing coupled with caching of compressed binary format files made the rendered webpages nearly 90% smaller and hence provided much shorter page loading times.

However, it is unclear if Apple shall approve Opera’s application. Though Opera insists that the company is hopeful that their app shall be accepted into the App Store as they believe that they’re following Apple’s rules.

What do you think? Will Opera Mobile iPhone app make it to the App Store? Let us know what you think.

[via CNN ]

Switched On: Why it’s time for an iTunes TV subscription

 ipad, News  Comments Off on Switched On: Why it’s time for an iTunes TV subscription
Mar 052010

In the 10 billionth song that Apple sold through iTunes, Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way”, a man other than Steve Jobs famous for black attire bemoans the happenstance of his romantic misfortune. But nothing could be further from the story of iTunes, in which Apple’s meticulously crafted ownership of the end-user experience led to a dominant position in music sales. Now, on the dawn of releasing a new device that could be to television shows what the iPod was to music, Apple has an opportunity to create as commanding a lead in TV distribution — if it is willing to again capitulate to consumers’ media consumption habits.

Apple has enjoyed great success with iTunes in part because it adopted the purchase-to-own model that had been so successful with CDs and records before them. However, Apple didn’t simply mirror that model. By allowing consumers to purchase the vast majority of songs as singles, it provided better perceived value, Such an option was also a natural fit for the iPod, where playlists made it trivial to create the digital equivalent of “mix tapes.” The iPod’s capacity for thousands of songs was also no match for most albums that typically had a dozen or so songs.

When Apple moved into movies with iTunes and then Apple TV, it first stood fast to the purchase-to-own business model that had worked for music. But as it launched the second major release of the Apple TV software, it acknowledged the popularity of rentals. Again, Apple merely offered a means of consuming media familiar to what consumers had adopted at video rental stores and video on demand. And again, the move complemented Apple hardware, in this case Apple TV, which brought iTunes movies to their best consumption environment within the home.

In addition to the more than 12 million songs and 8,500 movies Apple now offers through iTunes, it has a catalog of more than 55,000 TV show episodes. And just as music has the pocketable iPod and movies have the big-screen capable Apple TV, Apple is on the verge of releasing a device that is a perfect match for them in iPad. While the company played up the slate’s content convergence capabilities at the iPad’s launch, video remains the medium at the intersection of popularity and purpose for the iPad — as Switched On discussed last April. No 3G? No Flash support? No interest in reading? No gaming skills? No problem.
Apple is about to ship a device that could redefine the TV set. Now it just needs to redefine TV service.

But to really exploit the TV-on-iPad opportunity, Apple needs to again optimize its content distribution model. By creating an unlimited option for TV show rentals, Apple could not only compensate for the current lack of Hulu on the iPad, but position for a competitive edge against Hulu’s future, which is likely to include HTML 5 and subscriptions. It has been said that Apple has an aversion toward subscriptions, but the company offers two of its own in MobileMe and AppleCare, and the success of cable and satellite providers as well as Netflix provide ample evidence for consumer’s acceptance of TV subscriptions.

Once again, Apple would be doing no more than offering the dominant consumption business model, but optimized for one of its platforms. Furthermore, the company would have incredible pricing leeway given that open access to the iTunes buffet would include many of the advantages of a DVR subscription. And if Apple really wanted to avoid subscriptions per se, it could offer pre-paid access as it has for 3G on the iPad, with a lower fee offering a limited number of TV episode rentals per month and a higher number offering unlimited rentals during the month.

One open question, of course, is whether networks would agree to such a plan given potential coercion by cable companies that account for the overwhelming majority of their income. Indeed, there would be both similarities and differences when compared with the Hulu-on-Boxee conflict. But at least Apple, unlike Hulu, isn’t owned by the studios, and so is therefore less likely to bow to their whims so readily — as NBC likely well remembers. And Apple has vast financial, legal and lobbying resources that make it a far less vulnerable competitor than Boxee.

Finally, with a TV show rental plan, Apple could certainly continue to sell TV shows a la carte as it does with songs and movies. Some might opt for this as an alternative to purchasing TV shows on DVD. And faced with this new option, that business would likely be cannibalized. But the overall effect would be to greatly expand the appeal of using iTunes for TV as something other than a hangover remedy, easing the pain for those who forgot to set their DVRs, or the forgettable bit breeder filling the hard drives of avant garde cable cord-cutters. Apple is about to ship a device that could redefine the TV set. Now it just needs to redefine TV service.

[via engadget]

Apple Wants To Stream Movies To iPhone, iPad From iTunes Cloud

 News  Comments Off on Apple Wants To Stream Movies To iPhone, iPad From iTunes Cloud
Mar 032010


Speculations over a cloud based iTunes platform has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. We had written about this for the first time after Apple announced the acquisition of struggling online music service, Lala. It now appears that Apple’s plans go much beyond just music. There are now indications that Apple wants to also stream movies and TV shows from the cloud as well.

According to reports on CNET, Apple has been talking to major movie studios in Hollywood over letting users store their movies and TV shows on Apple’s servers thereby letting them access the stored content from a plethora of devices including the iPhone and iPad. The idea, it is said, is to make the devices’ hard drive disk space irrelevant by moving all the content the user owns out into the cloud. According to observers, this will help to increase content-purchase among users who may otherwise slow their purchase down for the fear of maxing out their hard drive.

However, Apple’s plans may have run into trouble already. Sources have revealed that the movie studios may not concede to Apple’s demands that the content purchased via iTunes be made accessible only via Apple-approved devices. James McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester Research notes:

“The studios are very concerned that they’re going to get roped into somebody’s proprietary platform. They want a world where consumers have a relationship with the content, and not with the device or the service. They are in a position to force Apple to go along and make sure that content bought [via] iTunes will play on a Nokia phone. That is very un-Apple-like.”
McQuivey also notes that Apple might not wield enough influence in the movie space as they do on the music front. This is because of the presence of a Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) consortium that seeks to address the interest of all its media stakeholders and hence may not agree to Apple’s walled garden policies. Having said that, the equations could change if the iPad becomes a success in which case the movie studios might be interested to ink independent deals with Apple.

This is something we will have to wait and watch, though. What are your thoughts? Will Apple succeed in bringing movies to the cloud? Let us know your views.

[via CNET]