Tony Fadell on the iPod, Kickstarter, Nest, Steve Jobs and more
Tony Fadell has a very interesting background, and he’s very knowledgeable about the process of creating great hardware and gadgets. In this excellent interview with Kevin Rose, Fadell discusses a wide variety of topics that would be helpful and interesting to entrpreneurs or anyone who loves gadgets.
He explains the value of Nest and where the company is going in the future. He gives some background on his role in the creation of the iPod and his work with Steve Jobs. And he also addresses some of the challenges of trying to create a hardware company using Kickstarter. Listen to his discussion of the power of saying no and the need for simplicity in products.
Check it out, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
Apple Owners Rejoice! Free Apps Are on the Way
Since spearheading the Android App Market and launching the Kindle Fire, Amazon has seemingly been on a mission to promote themselves as the kinder, gentler Apple alternative. While stopping shy of ever viciously calling out their rival, the message is clear that they believe themselves to be more of a service “of the people” than their counterpart. One of the ways they have done this is by offering a Free App of the Day service that allows its users to snag a free download of an app selected by Amazon. Ranging from games to useful services, it’s a must have feature that, until now, has provided Android owners with another feature to rub in the face of the iMasses.
I say “until now” because it looks like the empire has caught on to the rebel plans.
Yes, its happy days again Apple owners. Apple is now offering its own free app service, only this one will be a free app of the week and not of the day. The good news is that the first app of this service is the brilliant and addictive “Cut The Rope: Experiments“ game, which went from “should be essential” to “no conceivable reason not to download” courtesy of the new promotion. Not content to just borrow from one rival, though, Apple has also introduced an “Editor’s Choice” feature (seemingly a replacement for their staff picks and game of the week features) that highlights the newest and best apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The initial showcases are Facebook Camera, “Extreme Skater,” “Air Mail” and Sketchbook Ink.
Of course, all jokes about theft are actually jokes. Developers have been running their own free app promotions since the start of the market, and independent sites have been offering the same, as well as highlighting the best new apps for the same period of time. In truth it is refreshing to see Apple offer these services on their own, and considering that the Apple app market is richer and fuller than that of its rivals, even an app a week instead of one a day is an astoundingly good deal that should produce something of must have quality each outing.
Although it should be noted that the “App of the Week” feature hasn’t officially been confirmed as a permanent addition. However since they’ve launched a new Twitter tag for it, not to mention those large banners for the service on their site, things look good. It’s going to be interesting to see if Apple looks at the success of this initial offering to judge if it will continue in the future. It’ll be interesting because we can’t know if Apple will look at giving away lots of free merchandise as a positive marketing ploy, or the root of all known evil.
Posted in: Apple, News
Tags: amazon, App, App Market, App of the Week, Apple, best new apps, Cut The Rope, Cut The Rope Experiments, droid, Editor's Choice, Free App, ipad, iPhone, ipod, itunes, Kindle Fire, twitter
New iPod Touch is slimmer, boasts FaceTime
I was actually a little surprised to see all of the information about the iPod Touch at this week’s Apple music event. The most popular handheld in the world? The sheer number of downloads? It was impressive, to say the least, and now the device is coming in line with the amazing feats it has already accomplished.
Apple gave the iPod Touch the same treatment as the iPhone 4 – it’s slimmer, has a front-facing camera for FaceTime, a rear camera, it got the Retina Display upgrade and the whole thing is powered by the A4 chip. I have to give it to Apple, it’s a hell of a device for $250.
It is a little surprising that Apple decided to stick with the same basic body shape. It’s not a big deal, an odd deviation from previous trends. The only other bummer is that the sensor in the rear camera isn’t the full-on goodness of the iPhone 4. It can only shot pictures at the 960 x 720 resolution it takes video in. Still, it’s better than nothing.
Posted in: Apple, Mobile, News
Tags: best ipod, facetime, ipod, ipod touch, ipod touch line, ipod touch update, ipod touch upgrade, new ipod, new ipod touch
Apple Keynote reveals new iPod Touch, Nano, Shuffle, and AppleTV
Apple’s media event today brought a lot of big news, the biggest of which was probably the update to AppleTV. The new iPod Nano looks pretty cool, though, and I’m glad to see the return of physical buttons to the iPod Shuffle. If I were on a more reliable connection, I’d dig up one of those stupid VoiceOver ads, just so you could laugh at it with me.
Instead I’m leaving you with this cute little picture, courtesy of Engadget, of the new iPod family. I’ll have more thoughts and impressions on the full lineup of Apple changes tomorrow (yay home internet connection).
New iPod Nano will be more ‘nano’ than ever
Do you remember your reaction when you saw the first iPod Nano commercial? Those two hands fought over something that seemed, at the time, ‘impossibly small.’ By today’s standards, that first Nano would look commonplace – some people might even mistake it for a new iPhone. All signs point to a Nano announcement at this week’s Apple event, and from all the leaked pictures and accessories, we know it’s going to be small.
This picture, which comes from Apple Insider, shows an old Nano up against a render of the new, touchscreen version. There have been some concerns raised about controls – that screen is awfully small to comfortably navigate your music library. Apple could be headed toward an inline control system, similar to that of the iPod Shuffle. Personally, I hate the idea. I want to be able to use my own headphones without worrying about a stupid control dongle.
From the looks of things, I’d say Apple also scrapped the crappy little camera it added to the most recent generation of the Nano. Thank god. That thing was the laughing stock of Flip SD owners everywhere, to say nothing of all the portable HD handcam owners of the world.
New iPod Touch face has a spot for FaceTime
MacRumors has pictures of what could very well be the screen and bezel from the new iPod Touch. The most notable feature you can see is the little pinhole near the top that looks to be the spot for a FaceTime camera.
None of this is really exciting, considering we already knew that FaceTime would be moving to non-iPhone devices some time this year and that it would start relying on email addresses instead of phone numbers to connect users. From what we know so far, it looks like the fourth-generation Touch could be on track for a september release.
Apple Announces Current App Store Stats
Today, Apple saw fit to hit us with the cold hard numbers about the App Store, and they are big. Big like 2 billion downloads. Big like 85,000 apps. Big like a half billion downloads in the last quarter alone. That’s insane growth, and the App Store is now available to some 50 million customers across 77 countries, meaning that growth isn’t likely to slow down.
AppleInsider did a breakdown on the numbers, which includes some staggering statistics on daily download rates. The App Store has averaged 4.1 million downloads every day in its first year. Since April, that number is up to 6.3 million daily downloads. The staggering growth is something Apple obviously hopes to continue, and likely will as more and more carriers adopt the iPhone and more apps become available to iPod Touch users.
Posted in: Apple, Apps, iPhone, News
Tags: 000 apps, 2 billion app downloads, 85, app store, app store app count, app store downloads, best iPhone apps, iphone app store downlaods, iphone market share, ipod, ipod touch
Apple’s iPod Lineup Change Roundup
As expected, Apple made some changes to its iPod lineup today. With a few improvements, a few additions, and a few unexpected omissions, the new models may or may not be all you’ve been waiting for. This post is a short list of the changes made to each model. I’ll have detailed posts for each model change over the next day or two.
It’s the smallest of the bunch and got very few changes. You can now get a 2GB model for $59 and a 4GB model for $79. Apple is still committed to that ridiculous VoiceOver feature, so you’ll be seeing more headphone manufacturers with VO support built in. Oh, you can also get the shuffle in five different colors. Nothing else to say, so you won’t get a breakdown post for this one.
This old boy got the smallest (or biggest) update of all. The Classic is now up to 160GB of storage for $249. Boring.
This is where things start to get interesting. Steve Jobs said today that the Nano has sold more than 200 million units, making it the most popular music player the world over. This is where most of the event was focused – new features for the Nano. As you’ve probably heard, Apple added a camera. It added a video camera. Only a video camera. More on that later.
The unit also got a microphone to go with video recording, which means it’s got voice recording capability as well. There’s also a pedometer inside and Apple even added FM radio capability. Really, this is the MP3 player that just about everyone else on the market has been making for years, plus some video, plus that special Apple touch. You can now get the Nano in nine different colors. Read the full update…
You feel that? That’s the feeling of disappointment. The iPod Touch didn’t get a camera. Period. No camera. Instead, this model got a price reduction on the low-end and a processor boost on the in the upper two-thirds. The 8GB model is down to $199 while the 32GB and 64GB versions, both of which have the faster processor from the iPhone 3GS, will cost $299 and $399 respectively.
The real update for the iPod Touch is iPhone OS 3.1, adding peer-to-peer gaming functionality, Genius Mixes, and Genius Recommendations for apps. In fact, Apple’s whole presentation surrounding the Touch today pitched the model as a “great pocket computer.” Unfortunately that computer didn’t get the camera update we were all expecting, forcing the average consumer to choose between the functionality of apps versus a video camera.
Posted in: Apple, Audio, Mobile, Video
Tags: apple rock and roll, ipod, ipod fm radio, ipod nano, ipod nano camera, ipod pedometer, ipod shuffle, ipod touch, ipod touch camera, ipod updates
Apple TV Could Get An Update
There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the Apple media event next week. We’re almost guaranteed to see an iPod update, and though people would love to see a tablet announcement, it doesn’t look likely. There is one product, though, that the world (including Apple) has all but forgotten: Apple TV.
The box hasn’t seen an update since release, really, and analysts think it’s a good candidate for a refresh at the music event. Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, points out that the delivery time for the 40GB Apple TV has gone from 24 hours to 1-2 weeks, which you’ll notice puts it past the media event. That could definitely mean the announcement of a new model. As far as I know, Apple TV doesn’t sell well enough to merit that kind of shortage, particularly during the beginning of September.
Unless Apple does something truly incredible with Apple TV, it will definitely get overshadowed by the addition of cameras to the Nano/Touch lines of iPods. In any case, we’re only waiting another 5 days to find out.
Posted in: Apple, News, Video
Tags: apple product refresh, apple rock and roll, apple september, apple tv, apple tv update, apple tv upgrade, ipod, ipod camera, ipod touch 3g, ipod update, new apple products, new ipod touch
Apple Hosting “Rock And Roll” Media Event September 9th
Today, Apple sent out invitations to their September media event (if you’re reading this, Apple, you forgot the one with my name on it and that complimentary airfare/hotel stay). This year’s invitation looks like just about every other iPod advert. The invite reads, “It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.” Those aren’t exactly inspiring words for a tablet announcement, but there are plenty of other things Apple could show off this year.
Among those would be the rumored-to-death cameras for the iPod Touch and Nano models, the release of which would set the stage for an iTunes 9 announcement. There’s also the “Cocktail” feature that’s supposedly designed to save the album (can you save what’s dead?). All of those things would be interesting announcements, though I can’t say I’d be excited about the extra bloat coming to iTunes. It’s bad enough as is.
Posted in: Apple, Audio, Music, News
Tags: ipod, ipod camera, ipod nano update, ipod touch 3g, ipod touch update, itunes, itunes 9, nano camera