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NPD Group logoApple must be positively giddy at hearing the news that the iTunes Store is now the #2 retailer of music, second only to Wally World. The company claims that it sold 20 million tunes on Christmas Day alone. Based on an NPD Group survey, the top four also included Best Buy and Target. The study also concluded that about 29 million consumers, ages 36 to 50, acquired music legally. They were those that had recently purchased (or received) MP3 players. That was an increase of 5 mill over the year before. That’s a lot of assuaged guilt.

Read More | NPD Group

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FMJ EarphonesAnother company catering to the iPhone crowd is Skullcandy with their FMJ Earphones. They feature a coiled metal cable at a length of 1.1 meters and an in-line mic. The 11mm buds have a frequency range of 16Hz to 20KHz and an impedance of 500mW. Although they are after Apple devotees, the 3.5mm gold plated plug will work with Blackberry Curves and other handhelds and phones. In a choice of black, chrome, or silver, expect availability around the first two weeks of March with a price of $79.95.

Read More | Skullcandy

iPhone SDK

Amidst all the excitement about the new announcements yesterday (Penryn Macbooks and MacBook Pros, plus iPhone 1.1.4 firmware), many were left wondering just where the heck the promised had gone. After all, we’d been promised by Steve Jobs himself that it would appear in late February. As it turns out, Apple will be holding another of their Town Hall-type events on March 6, which will specifically deal with both the iPhone SDK as well as “some exciting new enterprise features.” On the invitation itself, you see a Software Update sign, an SDK sign, and an Enterprise sign. Yeah, fairly vague, we know. Still, it is a promising sign. Now we just wait for March 6.


iPhone 1.1.4 firmware

Looks like we have new firmware as well this morning! In addition to refreshing their MacBook and MacBook Pro lines to Penryn processors, has also released the new iPhone 1.1.4 firmware. Go ahead and check for a new update after connecting your iPhone to iTunes. Of course, if you are

jailbroken or

unlocked, you may want to wait for a bit while everything gets figured out. Apple is saying this release is all about bug fixes - but we are hoping there is also some iPhone SDK magic in there somewhere.

EDIT: Okay, if you are jailbroken, go ahead and update. ZiPhone still works, and will jailbreak the just-released 1.1.4 firmware update…although the developer recommends waiting until he can fully test. Your call.


MacBook Pro pentryn

Ever since Penryn chips started making their way into mobile computers, we all knew it was just a matter of time before bumped their mobiles to the latest chips from as well. This morning, in their Tuesday update, they did just that. Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro are now rocking the Penryn Core 2 Duo chipset. If you are eyeing the MacBook Pro, those have the added bonus of a 6 MB L2 cache if you choose a 2.5 or 2.6 GHz chip, and Multi-Touch trackpads are now standard . That’s hot.

For the MacBook, pricing starts at $1099 for the base model, which includes a Combo drive instead of a SuperDrive, a 2.1 GHz chip, a 120GB hard drive, and 1 GB of RAM. For $200 more, you get a 2.4 GHz chip, an additional gig of RAM, a SuperDrive, and a 160 GB drive. If you need more hard drive space than that, you can get the Black MacBook, which hooks you up with 250 GB of storage.

Over on the MacBook Pro side of things, $1,999 gets you a 2.4 GHz chip, 2 GB of RAM, a 200 GB hard drive, double-layer SuperDrive, and a 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. If you move up to the $2,499 model, you are bumped up to a 2.5 GHz chip (with 6 MB L2 cache!), a 250 GB hard drive, and a 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. For $2,799, you get all the same specs, but you are bumped up to a 17-inch screen, if that’s your thing.

All in all, we’d say this is a worthy upgrade if your mobile computer is looking a bit long in the tooth.

Read More | Apple Press Release

iPod shuffleApple has lowered the price of its 1GB iPod shuffle. The musical mini-player has been reduced to $49.00 to make way for its soon to be released 2GB brother. At a size of about half a cubic inch in volume and a weight of about half an oz., the shuffle will come in silver, blue, green, purple, and a (Product) Red Special Edition, and will carry a price of $69.99. We like the idea that as more products are released, Apple has the sense to lower the old shuffle’s price, rather than charge more for the new one. Maybe they will do the same with their next iPhone.

Read More | Apple

iTunes 7.6.1

With 7.6, we got movie rentals, among other things. We also got nice, tight integration between iTunes and Take 2. Today, Apple released a small point upgrade in iTunes 7.6.1, which focuses on “several” bug fixes as well as an improving compatibility between iTunes and Apple TV 2.0 software. Here is the full scoop from Apple themselves:

Rent and download your favorite movies with iTunes on your computer or directly to your living room on Apple TV. Enjoy rented movies in sizes up to 720p HD with surround sound on your Apple TV and sizes up to DVD-quality on your computer. Transfer your rented movies from iTunes to your iPod or iPhone and enjoy them on the go.

Also, purchase and download your favorite TV shows, music, and more directly on your Apple TV. Effortlessly transfer purchases made on Apple TV back to your computer with iTunes.

iTunes 7.6.1 includes several bug fixes and improves compatibility with Apple TV software version 2.0.

Anything that eliminates bugs sounds good to us. Fire up Software Update to pull in the new version.


Tiffany iPod CaseWhat better way to keep your 5th or 6th generation iPod safe and support all things green than with a 45 iPod Case. The Limited Editions are created by taking old 7-inch vinyls and recycling them into covers that will let your buds know just who is on your playlist. Although Pink Floyd, Janet Jackson, Billy Idol, and Donny Osmond have already been sold, don’t fret, for Tiffany is still available. The company also creates cases for 1st and 2nd generation iPod nanos out of cassette shells. Available for £45.00 (~$88.00) with a free TEC1 Modem Extension cable, get someone else to buy one and you get a $5.00 rebate.

Read More | 45

nano AdiowrapzWe didn’t want you to think we had forgotten you on this illustrious holiday for lovers, so we came up with one more gift idea for Valentines Day. iFrogz has a new iPod 2G nano case that comes with speakers. The Audiowrapz Case is made of silicone with passive speaker technology so you don’t need batteries. Choose your wrap from 8 colors for $24.99 and add your choice of screen for $6.00, or get both for $27.99.

(Happy Heart Day, Gear Livers!)

Read More | ifrogz

MacBook Air SSD review

First things first - the took no one by surprise. We all knew, based on the reports churning out of the rumor mill, that had a subnotebook up their sleeve, and all signs were pointing at MacWorld 2008 for it’s introduction to the world. Heck, even the name of the product got out there before Steve got a chance to announce it at the event. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that leaked before MacWorld 2008, as we got our hands on the iPhone 1.1.3 firmware weeks before it was officially announced.

What we didn’t know was how the Air would look. When Steve pulled the computer out of manila envelope, everyone was wowed. The MacBook Air is thin. T-H-I-N. At it’s smallest point, the Air is just 0.16 inches thin. That is thinner than both the and iPod touch. The larger side is just 0.76 inches. Again, tiny. See for yourself in our MacBook Air unboxing gallery.

As for the rest of the specs, the Air is the same brushed aluminum color that you will find on the MacBook Pro line, and is available in 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo speeds. Both models come with 2GB of non-upgradable RAM, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit display, and Bluetooth 2.1. As far as ports go, you will only find one micro-DVI, one USB, and one audio out jack. That’s it. As for storage, this is where the major choice comes in. You can choose between an 80 GB 4200 RPM ATA hard drive, or a 64 GB SSD (solid-state flash drive). We got our hands on the version of the MacBook Air.

We give you our thoughts on the SSD-based MacBook Air in our full review.

Click to continue reading MacBook Air SSD review


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