iPad Breaks High-Score Records

According to the University of Michigan’s American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Apple has the most satisfied users in the entire industry (and has held this title for the past seven years). With help from the iPad, Apple’s score reached an all-time high of 86 percent, a full 9 points ahead of the nearest runner up. CNBC notes that the ACSI has never included iPods in the index, since they do not match the “PC/Phone” criteria.

He told me that the iPad, even at this early stage, pulled up Apple’s overall numbers – which makes it the highest-scoring product Apple has, and therefore the highest-scoring product ACSI has ever tracked.

On Monday, Apple’s stock rose to an all time high of $281.76, and it was revealed that the iPhone accounts for 39% of the industry profits – despite only selling 3% of the total number of phones sold. (Must be a great week for investors!)

[ASCI Press Release (PDF) via CNBC]

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Buyers Being Charged for Apple TV, Shipping Imminent

It looks like Apple has begun to charge user’s credit cards for the Apple TV, which means they will soon begin to ship. The Apple Store still has an ETA of “2-3 weeks”, but Jobs said during the keynote that the streaming-media-box would ship sometime in September, so this news is staying true to the promised schedule.

The Apple TV features quite a bit for such a tiny device, but there are many competing devices that may better suit your needs. Today, Roku revamped their lineup of XD video players with 1080p playback support, topping the ATV’s measly 720p output. Make sure to look at all the options before plopping down a Benjamin. (Although, if the Apple TV does get jailbroken, it could open a whole new world of possibilities…)

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Sn0wbreeze 2.0 Available Now; Brings Custom Boot Logos Along for the Ride

That’s right, you can now get your jailbreak on with iOS 4.1. That is, if you have the right device and Windows.

However, conditions do apply. iOS 4.1 jailbreak supports only the following devices:

  • iPhone 2G
  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3G[S] (old bootrom)
  • iPod Touch 1G
  • iPod Touch 2G – non M

Also available to download are forecast v1.2 and iReb for iOS 4.0/4.1

Happy downloading!


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Apple’s $.99 Rentals off to a Rocky Start

To go hand-in-hand with their updated set top box and iTunes 10, Apple recently started offering TV show rentals for just $.99, which lets users view the content for up to 48 hours. Unfortunately, the service isn’t getting quite the network adoption that Apple hoped for. Currently, only Fox and ABC have signed on, and even that partnership may not last long. Chase Carey, the president of News Corp, recently said that the 99 cent rentals were a “short-term test”, so it is possible that they will withdraw Fox shows from iTunes.

To make things worse, last week an executive from Warner Brothers stated that “Warner Bros. didn’t participate in Apple Inc.’s plan to offer TV show rentals for 99 cents because the price was too low and would have hurt sales of full seasons.”

Now, NBC, which airs some of the most popular shows on tevevision (The Office, anyone?), has told Reuters that it is “unlikely” to join Apples rental service.

Offering NBC’s shows for that price on the Apple TV service would undermine the value of their shows, he said.

“We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content. … We thought it would devalue our content,” Zucker said at a Goldman Sachs investor conference.

He pointed to the fact NBC shows are already available for $1.99 for download on Apple’s iTunes service.

The networks are primarily worried that cheap downloads will cut into the number of live-viewings and DVD sales, so unless the networks fold, Apple will have to raise the prices – or only be able to offer a few different shows. With the Boxee Box and Google TV right around the corner, Apple is going to have to do some quick negotiating (which really isn’t their strong suit) to keep iTunes rentals competitive.


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Custom Ringtone Makers Being Allowed into App Store

Just another backtrack on Apple’s part (probably due to the new App Store restrictions), although this one may affect you a little more: Apple has just started allowing ringtone creators into the App Store.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Timing is interesting, considering the custom ringtone creator that iTunes 9.x featured is gone in iTunes 10. Skeptical or not, there are plenty of editors available for download, via the App Store:

I’m sure those are just the beginning, so if none tickle your fancy, just wait. One intrepid developer out there will surely have something suitable up and running in no time. If any really stand out, feel free to shoot a review of the app right here, in our very own iTunes App Review forum!


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AT&T Estimated to Lose 37% of User-base if Exclusivity Deal Ends

A survey by Credit Suisse estimates that if AT&T loses their exclusivity deal with Apple, 23% of their users would jump ship and go with Verizon. Additionally, five percent would switch to either Sprint or T-Mobile, and nine percent are “not sure” of what they would do. Of course, these numbers are purely speculative, and the real world numbers would be affected by many more variables. (Hassle of switching networks, contracts, company plans, etc.) But, if Big Red or any other carrier does get the iPhone, there is absolutely no way that AT&T could benefit. I’m sure that behind-the-scenes AT&T is scrambling for a post-iPhone plan, but it will be a great day for the end-users (and Apple).

So, iPhone users, what would you do if you had the choice?

[Business Insider]

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Apple, Facebook Reportedly in Negotiations for at least 18 Months Regarding Ping

Apple and Facebook were discussing Facebook integration into Ping for at least 18 months, claims Silicon Alley Insider.

However, that doesn’t mean that they are any closer to reaching some common ground. As the report states:

And it looks like no deal is imminent, though the companies would still be smart to figure out some way to work together.

Before Apple launched Ping, its iTunes team was in talks with Facebook for 18 months or more, a source with knowledge of the talks tells us.

It would be smart for both companies to get something hammered out, as really the only people hurting are the consumer.

The other big piece of news here is on Facebook: Steve Jobs described the terms that Facebook was demanding as ‘onerous,’ and it would seem that that description hits the mark. According to an experienced Silicon Valley analyst, “Working with Facebook as a large company is challenging at this stage, very similar to mid-late-90s Microsoft.” That’s some pretty harsh words, as Microsoft was infamously difficult to reason with in the 90′s.

We’ll have to see how all of this plays out; Facebook seems to be very difficult to work with right now, as it has also had Twitter remove any integration with Facebook.

So, what say you? Tired of Facebook’s antics? Or did Apple finally get what was coming to them?

[Silicon Alley Insider]

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Netflix Streaming Coming to Canada

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix will be bringing the streaming portion of its video rental service to Canadian users. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is rumored be going to Toronto, Canada tomorrow for the announcement. At the moment, there is no word on whether or not physical DVD rentals will be coming to Canucks, but it is certainly a possibility.

Netflix entering the Canadian market, its first foreign expansion, has local video distribution players girding for cutthroat competition as still more Internet content-streaming behemoths like Apple TV and Boxee get set to launch north of the border.

They and other players like cable giants Rogers Communications and Quebecor Media have been bolstering their online video offerings in recent months in anticipation of Netflix’s expansion northwards, and lowering the cost of their data plans.

The Netfilx application for the iPad and iPhone is wildly popular, and hopefully Canadian users will soon be able to enjoy the service. In the US, streaming-only plans cost $4.99, so CAD prices should stay competitive.

Update: Netflix.ca is live, and the service starts at $7.99 Canadian.


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A Taste of the Apple Pie

Fortune has reported Apple’s latest quarterly profits, and the numbers are staggering. While the iPhone accounts for just under 3% of the total number of handsets sold, it brings in 39% of the industry profits. Apple sold “just” 17 million iPhones from January 2010 to June, while 590 million units were sold by competitors in the same time period. Despite the iPhone’s selling just a fraction of the total number of units, it still manages to rake in more profits than LG, Nokia, and Samsung combined. Incredible. Yesterday, Apple stock reached an all time high of $281.76. Go figure.

We are also impressed with Apple’s ability to monetize its innovative products through selling high-margin consumer products that drive strong earnings results and growth trends for Apple shareholders. A case in point is the mobile phone market, where most handset OEMs struggle to post a profit or even 10% operating margins (except RIM and recently HTC), while we estimate Apple boasts roughly 50% gross margin and 30%+ operating margin for its iPhone products.
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Save a Few Bucks with a Refurbished iPad

Just a quick reminder: Apple has recently started stocking refurbished iPads, which cost $50 less than the MSRP. (So you won’t blow through your Halo: Reach fund.) For those of you who are working for a minimum-wage allowance, this is a great way to save your pennies. All refurbished devices get a brand-new battery, outer shell, and pretty white box (complete with cables and manual), so you will never know the difference. Of course, they are also tested thoroughly and undergo quality checks to make sure they are as-good-as-new, so you won’t be buying a scratched up dud.

All models are in stock and ready to ship.

Apple Certified Refurbished Products

- Quality products/great prices
- Stringent refurbishment process prior to sale
- Covered by Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty
- AppleCare Protection Plan can be purchased
- Supplies are limited
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