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Those analysts. Always talkin'. And now an analyst for Prudential Equity Group is predicting that the next generation of iPods will ditch HDD storage, instead using all solid-state NAND flash memory. The analyst, Jesse Tortora, says that 32GB drives would be cost feasible. That seems like a paltry amount for storing movies and TV shows, but Tortora reasons that the improved battery life would trump the need for larger amounts of storage. (We're...skeptical.) Less hyped—and even missing altogether from many news reports—are the other features Tortora predicted for the next line of iPods: a touchscreen like the iPhone's, Wi-Fi connectivity to send content to an Apple TV, and built-in GPS functionality. According to the analyst's report, these new iPods could be out by the end of the year.
The waves set off by Steve Jobs's "Thoughts on Music" are still reverberating around the world. The response from the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman seems to miss the point entirely, agreeing that Apple should "kick the lock in technology from the iTMS iPod combintation." The problem with that position is that iPod owners aren't actually locked into buying music from the iTunes Store at all; they can rip songs from CDs, and DRM-free music can even be purchased online (cough, cough, eMusic). The RIAA agrees with Norway, calling on Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology. BusinessWeek makes suggestions for ditching DRM, but recognizes that the decision to do that really belongs to the record companies. And a former EMI executive calls Jobs's desire for a move to DRM-free music "disingenuous," pointing out that Jobs wouldn't be so eager to sell Apple software, or Disney or Pixar movies, without restrictions. With overall music sales down (even while online music sales thrive), it's in both sides' interest to come to some type of agreement.
Are you sick of all the recent bickering between fans of Microsoft and Apple, and even between the companies themselves? Well, the blogosphere sure isn't. One blog suggests that Apple should be copying Vista features for Leopard. Another complains that Microsoft's decision not to license the $199 Home Basic version of Vista for virtualization, meaning that users have to buy the $299 Enterprise version if they want to run it on a virtual machine (such as on a Mac through Parallels), amounts to a $100 "Vista tax" on Mac users. A third blogger calls that "Vista tax" notion absurd, asking why Microsoft should allow virtualization of its OS when Apple only licenses Mac OS X for "one Apple-labeled computer at a time." Shots are firing back and forth across the Internet, and we doubt it'll stop anytime soon. Perhaps throwing fuel on the fire, on Saturday Apple plans to launch a campaign "mocking" Vista inside Apple Stores.
Finally, some cool stuff. DasBoot is a free utility that lets you use an iPod or flash drive as a bootable diagnostic disk for your Mac. Here are directions for upgrading the CPU in a Mac mini. And could the iPhone be released June 15? It is, after all, the day King John signed the Magna Carta.