Apple Consumer Electronics Features iTunes Microsoft Portable Entertainment Rumors

Twas the Night Before Macworld


Twas the night before Macworld when all through the town
No MacBook was mooing nor turning brown

At Moscone, nerds were queuing with care
in hopes that Saint Steve would soon be there.

Apple iPod Marketing Portable Entertainment

How to beat the iPod

The Zen Vision W launched in the US today and I took a look at the specs on Creative’s website. Looks like a pretty cool product, but they’ve got some work in the marketing department. Maybe they figure this thing will market itself.

Apple has probably the best marketing team in the consumer electronics and computer world right now. Creative should consider taking a page out of their book to win in the marketplace. Below are a few examples how they might combat Apple’s marketing team.

#1. Make your product pages clear and concise.

A little bird sent me this page today:


When you click “Learn More” find out more, you are taken to this page:


Um, ok, whatever.

#2. Sell the benefit, not the specs.

Ok, so it looks like the Zen will hold 15,000 songs. Cool.


Except, maybe there was a misprint because one of them costs more than the other one and it has 60GBs instead of 30GBs of space.

zen capacity2.jpg

Nope, they meant to put that there. Congrats, my mom just bought the cheaper one!

So, if you can’t accomplish the other 2, at least:

#3. Try not confuse users.

Creative seems to have sent their “B” marketing team on this product. How the hell are you expecting to beat the iPod if you can’t figure out how to sell your device. For a device named the Zen, the site and the product seem awfully difficult to use.

This post is a little mean spirited, but I want the Zen to be better. Competition is the thing that drives product development and gets us better products. Maybe the Zune will bring their “A” team to the table.

Downloads Portable Entertainment Video

Amazon Unbox Video launched?

Methinks someone pushed the wrong button at Amazon.


Here are some pix, click for bigger images.




More in my Flickr stream.

It looks like the video will work on some portable players, will contain DRM, Mac users need not apply, and you will be able to rent as well as buy.

Check it out

Downloads Geek Fun Links Microsoft PDAs Portable Entertainment

Monday Links

Microsoft Photosynth demo
Wow… I never say wow about Microsoft products (unless it’s wow, that’s lame or wow, have you heard of usability?). But this is a very cool 3d photo visualization tool. [via Addicted to Digital Media]

Jeff’s Quick Guide to TV on the Net
Get your fix here. Comprehensive guide to repurposed television shows on the net. [via PVRBlog]

Newton takes down Samsung UMPC
No love lost for the Newton, but a brand new piece of tech taken down by the old school handheld… gotta love it. [via Engadget]

Apple Downloads Home Entertainment Portable Entertainment

Monday links

Mergers, wikis and movies, oh my!

AMD buys ATI
Are any TLA companies starting with “A” safe from this insanity?

SocialText goes open source and JotSpot goes 2.0
Two wikis enter, one wiki leaves. Will the open source wonder take down its more usable, more expensive foe?

Amazon to offer movie downloads
Jobs better get their service out soon before everyone else does.

Downloads Links Portable Entertainment

Thursday Links

CinemaNow gets more funding
$20mm should help… I thought bandwidth was free?

GUBA inks deal with Sony
These guys are on a roll.

Efax: How not to treat your customers
I had a free account cancelled for overuse. Apparently, their customer service isn’t so great, either. [via Daring Fireball]

Looking back at Hotwired
Hotwired rejoins Wired so what better time than now to look back it’s interesting history. [via Daring Fireball]

Apple iPod Portable Entertainment

Creative Zen review critique

zen.jpgHere’s a an email a friend I’ll call ‘iPodFan’ sent me today regarding the Creative Zen. You might remember, I played with the Zen:M back at CES and wished it didn’t suck.

My review of this review… and I’m completely unbiased!! ;)

Creative ZEN Vision:M Media Player

This is the same cost as the 30GB iPod with Video Playback. The ZEN Vision sells at Amazon for $299. The iPod 30GB is $289.99 at Amazon. ;)

My iPod’s hard drive kicked the bucket a mere week after its warranty ran out. Talk about rotten fruit. To get my life back in tune — and to spite Apple — I picked up this Creative media player.

Just like a cell phone, but with a delicate moving part, iPods have a useful lifetime… they won’t last forever. I’m sure Apple feels the spite, enjoy your Creative media player. Good luck getting it serviced if it develops problems.

In fact, upon further research, there are some interesting warranty features:

Creative’s Warranty Apple’s Warranty
warranty is not transferrable transferrable warranty
warranty is only good in the country of purchase worldwide warranty
labor costs are covered only for the first 3 months labor costs are covered for the first 12 months
refurb models are only covered by a 30 day warranty refurb models are covered by the same 1 year warranty
buyer pays repair shipping pays shipping in the first 6 months

Surprisingly, this stylish 30-Gbyte handheld held its own against my old iPod. It matches the video iPod’s MP3 and MPEG playback, makes up for lack of AAC support with DivX and Windows Media compatibility, and dazzles with its 2.5-inch LCD.

Same size screen, wonder how nice the Creative screen looks… I’ve never
seen one that was working on display.

(Editor’s Note – I’ve seen the screen, it was pretty nice.)

The menus and one of its buttons are customizable, and it has FM radio and a mike for recording messages. Plus, it mounted on my PC as a hard drive, so I could add files by just dragging and dropping — no more iTunes nightmares.

Windows Explorer for organizing your media… that sounds like loads of fun. FM radio: more fun. I am interested in the included Mike, is he cute? Does he take dictation? It’d be cool if they included a mic. (Sorry, pet peeve, Wired copy editors suck… I’ve seen so many typos lately.) My only iTunes nightmares are having to upgrade every ten minutes. ;)

My only complaint is that the vertical touchpad is a little too sensitive. And without iTunes Store compatibility, I have to get most of my video via BitTorrent. But that’s a small price to pay to escape Steve Jobs’ stranglehold on my music collection. — Erin Biba

Have fun getting sued. How does iTunes create a stranglehold? iTunes creates full quality Fraunhofer MP3 encodings at up to 320kbps, or VBR AAC, or even Apple Lossless (okay, that one is proprietary).


Thanks for the email, iPodfan! I love it when you’ve woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Keep ’em coming!


Google iPod Playstation Portable Entertainment

Google Video – now for iPods and PSPs

googlevideodl.jpgNeed a little content for your iPod? Google has made its videos (not the ‘for pay’ videos, mind you) available for download reformatted for the PSP and iPod. Thank God, I can finally watch “Road Trip Prank,” “Shtanga,” “Indian Exotic Dance in Office 2” wherever I want!

Check it out
(Via The Unofficial Google Weblog)

iTunes Portable Entertainment Rumors

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Video to go

si.jpgJonesing for your Swimsuit Edition in you pocket? Tomorrow morning, Apple is there to help you view SI‘s bathing beauties while on that commuter flight to Des Moines. $16 gets you all the videos for your iPod so you can look less creepy in coach oogling scantily clad young girls in your spare time.


(Via TUAW)

Portable Entertainment Wireless

Engadget Mobile launches


I thought when I launched this blog that I would have coverage of all things gadget, but I realized over time that there are certain product areas that I could care less about. Mobile phones actually tracks pretty high on that list. This isn’t to say I’ll never cover mobiles on the site, but they must be leaps, not steps above the rest.

It seems like mobile phone carriers launch a new middle of the road phone every other week and keeping up in the market is pretty difficult. That said, I do like to point my faithful reader(s) in the right direction. Engadget Mobile launched this morning and promises to cover the mobile phone world like nobody’s business.

Check it out.

Home Entertainment Portable Entertainment Rumors Sony

AIBO, Qualia Roadkill


Sony, in a cost cutting effort, has cut the AIBO and Qualia lines from production, according to Akihabara News. I think quite a few geeks will be sad to see the AIBO line die, but few will lament the passing of Sony’s Qualia line.

Qualia, FYI, is Sony’s ultra high end line of consumer electronics. This line includes a $27,000 projector, $12,000 rear projections television, $3300 headphones, and my personal favorite the $3300 2 megapixel digital camera.

The problems withe Qualia brand were not just with prices, but it was incredibly questionable if there was a market for such devices. Sony wasn’t successful in making Qualia truly aspirational products. I mean, if the incredibly rich don’t want them, why would John Q. Public?

Oh well, no one is crying over Qualia, but AIBO lovers, you might consider the Robosapien or some other more-human robot companion.


Apple Downloads iTunes Portable Entertainment

Beavis vs. Cartman on iTMS


The announcements keep coming from our friends over at iTunes. Here’s a short list of everything added to iTMS:

  • MTV – Beavis and Butthead, Jackass, Punk’d, Gauntlet 2, and more
  • Nickelodeon – Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Zoey 101
  • Comedy Central – South Park, Drawn Together, Best of Standup

Looks like Apple must have signed a deal with Viacom. Should we expect VH1, Spike, and BET to follow? And what about Comedy Central’s “news” shows, The Daily Show and Colbert Report? Looks like the encoding monkeys in Cupertino have their work cut out for them.

Apple Downloads iTunes Portable Entertainment

Oh, and one more thing…


Man, no sooner did this deal get done and an Disney’s newest large stockholder is already making some improvements on his investment. Wanna download some Disney shorts for your iPod? 10 new Disney shorts popped on iTMS this afternoon (maybe I should rename this blog iTMSWatch, I spend waaaay too much time there).

Gotta hand it to Stevie for having all his mice… err, ducks in a row.


Apple Downloads iTunes Portable Entertainment

Ebert and Roeper, Munsters join iTunes


Not the most exciting new additions to iTMS, but Apple is furthering their offerings this morning with “Ebert and Roeper” and “The Munsters”. What is interesting here is pricing. While the episodes remain at the oh-so-simple $1.99, the first season of “The Munsters” (38 episodes) will cost you a whopping $54.99 yet the last 20 episodes of E&R is priced at $9.99. So, Apple is placing a premium on less timely or “evergreen” content than on content that will most likely be viewed only once. Makes sense, but I wonder how Ebert and Roeper feel about it? Two thumbs up?

Ebert and Roeper

The Munsters

Apple Macworld Portable Entertainment

Macworld Announcements

intelcoreduochip20060109.pngMacBookPro – same form factor as current, but 4-5x faster. No word on battery life, but this seems to be part of the focus, so we’ll see. Gosh, I wonder what they’ll call the new iBook?

iMac iNtel – didn’t expect this one at all. Not totally sure it makes sense, but it smells like the Apple of old (quadra – centris – powermac) replacing a product a couple of months after they’ve introduced one. Oy, glad I didn’t buy the iMac last fall.

iLife ’06 – this one was an easy one to call. Apple is the company that benefits the most from podcasting at this point and people were shoehorning their apps to do what they wanted for awhile, now they do it out of the box. New iApp – iWeb for website, podcast, vodcast

radio tuner/remote for iPod – cool implementation of a relatively unnecessary feature. Does anyone still listen to terrestrial radio anymore?

More details later. I’m off to go hands on.

CES Portable Entertainment

Creative Zen – Don’t buy me


I had a long chat with one of the Creative folks and tried really, really hard to like the Creative Zen Vision:M. I mean, how hard could it be to create a usable device that plays music and video. I mean, the iPod is nice and all, but this is easy, right?

WRONG. This device is not intuitive to use, it is heavy and it is thick, all things the iPod is not. When I was done with the Vision:M, they brought me the older model, the Vision to check out. The device was turned off and it took a full minute to boot into a workable state. Call me impatient, but it felt like an eternity compared to the iPod.

Please Creative, make a good media player. Competition is good for the industry.