UPDATE 9:10am PT - The poll is back open, check it out if you missed out yesterday.
All the adulation bestowed on Apple these days tends to bypass the product that set the stage for its amazing run this decade.
Without the iPod , Apple would be a very different company. The stunning growth of the iPod transformed Apple, the music business, and the consumer electronics industry, and also showed that what people wanted in a handheld computer was a simple user interface built into a stylish package.
Coming off Apple's latest earnings call , however, all the focus is on the Mac and the iPhone. And deservedly so: Apple's Mac business hasn't been this healthy since Ronald Reagan was president and the iPhone has the mobile phone industry scrambling . But what about the iPod?
iPod growth has slowed almost to a halt. Unit shipments of iPods were up just 1 percent compared to last year, while revenue growth was up just 8 percent. The first quarter of the year is not exactly prime iPod buying season, but the days of runaway iPod growth seem over as the market becomes saturated.News.com survey Click here to take CNET News.com's iPod survey
That doesn't necessarily mean that Apple's in trouble, as no one has managed to mount a credible threat to its dominance of the market and the company has a plan to evolve with products like the iPod Touch and the iPhone . Still, it seems there's always going to be some market for a relatively inexpensive standalone MP3 player; my boss, a dedicated runner, just can't imagine chugging up Howard Street with an $499 iPhone strapped to his arm.
What will that device look like? I'd like to examine the future of Apple's iPod business in a story next week, and would like to solicit opinions and feedback about what people would want in a future iPod, whether or not they are considering other options, or if they have something completely different in mind for their portable music needs. Feel free to expand on these ideas in the TalkBack section below or send me an e-mail.
But also please also take the time to answer this survey so we can have a little data on what you guys currently think of the iPod before assembling a follow-up story. We'll close the polls at noon Pacific Time on Friday, so get your responses in before then.
The hard drive-based device will be the first in a new line to be called Life Drive. The $499 handheld is expected to be announced in mid-May and include Wi-Fi connectivity. The device will play back music but will not come with RealNetworks' player . Instead, it will use Pocket Tunes and will synch with Real's Rhapsody music service, according to our source.
Enthusiast sites such as PalmInfocenter and PalmAddict have been publishing speculation on the Life Drive along with renderings of what it may look like.
PalmOne is also expected to announce on Wednesday its second Tungsten E device, the Tungsten E2, according to our source. Details first popped up late last year on the Federal Communications Commission site, but were quickly removed. At $249, the E2 is expected to be very similar to the Tungsten E, but it will come with Bluetooth and non-volatile memory , which ensures that stored data will not be erased when battery power runs out.
In Sunday's 60 Minutes , the CBS TV news magazine examines the lucrative but shadowy business of mining e-waste--junked computers, televisions, and other old electronic products--for valuable components, including gold. However, often illegal and hazardous activity creates toxic pollution, which in turn leads to brain damage, kidney disease, cancers, and mutations. In the segment, correspondent Scott Pelley examines the ethics of the recycling industry.
loadUniversalPlayer; In the first clip, Pelley takes a tour of Denver electronic waste recycling company GRX, a member of " E-Stewards ." The stringent program is run by the Basel Action Network , a watchdog group that certifies ethical recyclers that do not ship their toxic materials overseas.
loadUniversalPlayer; In the second clip, the 60 Minutes crew chronicles piles of electronics blanketing the Chinese countryside waiting to be recycled. E-waste workers in Guiyu, China, where Pelley's team videotaped, put up with the dangerous conditions for the $8 a day the job pays.
loadUniversalPlayer; In the third clip, scientists discuss e-waste, the fastest-growing component of the municipal waste stream worldwide, and the impact it has on those whose lives depend on it. The toxic pollution from black market recycling leads to brain damage, kidney disease, cancers, and mutations.
loadUniversalPlayer; In the fourth clip, Pelley and his crew are attacked and threatened with violence by area gangsters overseeing the e-waste operations who tried to take the CBS team's cameras. The smugglers were trying to protect the lucrative business of mining e-wasted. However, Pelley's crew managed to escape and bring back footage of the hazardous activities.Topics: Environment , Waste and Recycling Tags: 60 Minutes , e-waste , recycling Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10092317-54.html
You think your personal information is priceless. But everything has a price, even your stolen bank account information.
McAfee Avert Labs has discovered a price list that criminals use to buy and sell credit card numbers, bank account log-ins, and other consumer data that have been filched from unsuspecting Web surfers.
"Last Friday morning in France, my investigations lead me to visit a site proposing top-quality data for a higher price than usual," writes Francois Paget of McAfee . "But when we look at this data we understand that as everywhere, you have to pay for quality."
For example, a Washington Mutual Bank account in the U.S. with an available balance of $14,400 is priced at 600 euros , while a Citibank UK account with an available balance of 10,044 pounds is priced at 850 euros .
There's even a guarantee that if the buyer is unable to log into the account within 24 hours, maybe because the owner of the data canceled the account, the buyer can get a replacement stolen account to use.
Criminals can even buy skimmers, fake face-plates for ATM machines that steal credit card data when the card is swiped , and so-called "dump tracks" used to create fake credit cards, the McAfee blog entry says.
This follows on news earlier this week from Web security company Finjan of the discovery of a server containing stolen consumer and business data. Finjan said it found a server controlled by hackers that had more than 1.4 gigabytes of data--more than 5,000 log files--stolen from infected PCs. The stolen data included consumer and business e-mails, as well as health care patient data and bank customer data from individuals, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, and other companies around the world.Screenshot of price list for stolen credit card numbers and available balance amounts discovered on the Web by McAfee Avert Labs.
Once again, Nintendo released a quarterly earnings report that not only solidifies the company as a major player going into the next generation, but shows that it's certainly onto something with both the Wii and the DS. But according to that same report, not everything is perfect with the company's handheld system.
According to Nintendo, it's only forecasting 9 percent growth going forward as sales of the DS continue to slide and expectations of higher sales continue to dwindle. Nintendo contends that DS sales could fall to 28 million units from 30.3 million units sold.Mario is coming in a big way to the DS.
And while some market analysts are disappointed with the news of the DS slowing and the company itself not growing as fast as they would like, they fail to fully understand the nature of the beast they're trying to gauge.
If analysts were worried about the Wii, I would probably agree. But why would anyone be worried about Nintendo's plans for the DS? Will it sell fewer units this year? Maybe. But if nothing else, I think that we'll soon find that Nintendo has something up its sleeve that will jump-start sales and send those same, misguided analysts into a frenzy.
Although no one knows what the next iteration of the DS will look like, people from all over the globe are speculating. Some say it'll have larger screens and others say the touch technology will improve and allow developers to create even more innovative titles. And while both are probably right, why can't we think out of the box a little bit?
If nothing else, Nintendo has surprised even the most critical of columnists and done things that some thought were never worthwhile. Realizing that, I think we should look beyond our current frame of reference and come up with some ideas that are feasible, but may or may not be a part of the next iteration.
The release I may be going out on a limb here, but expect the next Nintendo DS to hit store shelves just after the company makes its E3 announcement in July. Chances are, the company will tell us that the DS has been performing extremely well, but it's time for a refresh and it'll push Miyamoto and friends out onstage to build up the hype.
The usual So I guess we should start out with what we already believe will happen. At E3, Nintendo will pull out a slightly smaller DS from a blazer pocket and hold it in the air for all the drooling press to see. From there, the company will outline many of the improvements we have expected--larger screens, better battery life, a smaller footprint, and a slew of new colors.
And then the fun begins.
Pie in the sky? Next up, our speakers will unveil all of the great new features that will be included in the next iteration of the DS, which will be available the week after E3. First off, the company will tell us about the more powerful graphics capabilities. To better compete with Sony and the rest, Nintendo will tell us that it has decided to double the graphics capabilities of the new DS. According to the company, Mario, Zelda, and Princess Peach will have never looked so good on a handheld.
Can you say iPhone? Next, the fine folks at Nintendo will unveil a new multitouch technology that lets you abandon the use of a stylus and use your fingers to control the action onscreen. According to the company, the new multitouch technology will let you enjoy the DS like never before and your digits will thank you for it. I agree.
Multimedia Finally, Nintendo will take away the PSP's last bastion of hope and allow you to upload media to the device like never before. With a slightly modified menu system, the DS will allow you to add music, movies, television shows, and anything else you're looking for much more easily than ever before. On top of that, it might also let you make phone calls via Skype with a headset, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
So there it is--my guess for what Nintendo could have up its sleeve with the DS. Does it sound too good to be true? Probably. But as Nintendo has shown, it has some tricks up its sleeve and it's more than willing to show off what it can do. And with slumping DS sales, now is a great time for it to create an even more compelling product that brings more DS owners to the table.
Updated at 2:30 p.m. PDT with comments from Iomega Chief Executive Jonathan Huberman.
And now for something completely different.
Software and storage company EMC announced Tuesday that it will purchase Iomega for $213 million, or $3.85 per share. EMC expects the deal to close sometime during the second quarter of this year.
EMC has traditionally played in enterprise-level storage and software arenas . Iomega is best-known for hard drives and storage for consumers and small-business customers. EMC hinted that this is just its first move into consumer hardware business.
"Iomega will play a key role in EMC's strategy to expand our information storage and management capabilities deeper into the high-growth consumer and small business markets," EMC Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Joe Tucci said in a statement.
Iomega says the acquisition by the larger EMC will enable the company to grow in a way that it currently cannot. "Our markets are adjacent, but not overlapping," Iomega Chief Executive Jonathan Huberman said in an interview with CNET News.com Tuesday. "We have strong brand and channel presence in business and consumer , but what we do lack is scale."
Iomega earned $336 million in sales in 2007, while EMC did more than $13 billion in sales worldwide last year.
Once the acquisition is complete, Huberman will lead the newly minted consumer/small-business products division in EMC's storage platforms group. The division will be built completely around Iomega people and brands. Huberman said no decisions have been made on possible staff cuts at Iomega. "But the expectation is that this is about growth," he said. "The vast majority will be coming into the new organization."
Huberman said a major opportunity for his company at EMC is to take advantage not only of its scale and channel partnerships, but its intellectual property, particularly in the area of networked storage products.
EMC has been on an acquisition tear during the last few years, most recently snapping up Pi , a cloud-computing start-up.
With its toe already in the video market, Apple Computer may be getting ready to wade in deeper. The company has been offering a handful of music videos on its iTunes Music Store for some months now, but the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that more widespread sales of such videos could be around the corner.
Such videos could appear by September and sell for $1.99 apiece, the Journal article said.
While music videos is a start, the bigger question is whether the Mac maker will dive headlong into feature films. Though the possibility has been bandied about for some time, plenty of hurdles remain on that front . Some have speculated, though, that Apple's move to Intel could help convince some Hollywood skeptics .During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina .