Army Retail Strong The U.S. Army recruiting center in New York City looks like a standard office, with desks and PCs. Pictures of the newest recruits line an office wall, and posters of soldiers dominate the other side. At the far end is a doctor’s scale. And except for two friendly recruiters (one of whom is surprisingly tech-savvy), the center is empty. The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue is white and clean, and bustling with activity. Patrons glide from station to station, playing with the iPods, checking their email at the computers. At any given moment, a dozen employees are answering questions or demonstrating their favorite tech toys. Business is brisk.
SecureMac has issued a security advisory that it has discovered multiple variants of a new Trojan horse in the wild that affects OS X 10.4 and 10.5. The Trojan horse is being distributed via a hacker website where there are discussions to distribute the Trojan horse via iChat and LimeWire. The Trojan horse is distributed as a compiled AppleScript, called ASthtv05 (60 KB) or an application, AStht_v06 (3.1 MB). The end user must download and open the Trojan horse in order for it to infect their computer. The Trojan horse allows for remote access of the system and can transmit sensitive information, including keystrokes and passwords. Be careful out there everyone.
iPhone 3G - It's like a magical money tree. According to Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner, AT&T is paying a subsidy of $325 for each new iPhone 3G. The typical smartphone gets a subsidy of about $200. The analyst goes on to state this high rate "reflects AT&T's faith in the iPhone's ability to attract new subs and increase ARPU (average revenue per user)." If the trucks of cash headed to Apple weren't full enough, AT&T will pay $100 for each new subscription that signs up at the Apple Store. That means, for every iPhone sold at the Apple Store, AT&T will pay Apple a total of $425. The analyst doesn't state if there is a price difference for the 8GB and 16GB models. No wonder AT&T is charging $5 for 200 text messages. Via AppleInsider
How do you like them numbers, Apple? Five billion songs sold so far, and 50,000 movies every day. Apple has announced that the iTunes Store has sold more than 5 billion songs. (I wonder how many copies of "The Final Countdown" that includes, other than the one I'm currently rocking out to. Wow, currently unavailable in the U.S. store, too -- do I have a limited edition on my hands? I digress...) But we know what those 5 billion didn't include: Yes, the Beatles, who are still absent. And a few others, like Kid Rock, who recently told the BBC that he's not in the store yet because the model doesn't pay artists fairly, just Apple and the record labels. But he's a smart dude and figures he'll wind up there eventually "because I can't avoid it." (Resistance being futile and all...) Another holdout is Garth Brooks, because he wants fans to buy his full albums, not individual songs. Ropin' the Wind has no throwaway tracks, darn it, none! It'd be like listening to an opera all out of order, or while jamming a stick in your eye. Anyway, Apple also had news to share about its movie business, announcing that it's renting and selling more than 50,000 movies per day. The company didn't split out how many are rented versus sold, so it's probably more rentals. Still, 1.5 million movies per month is nothing to sneeze at. Do you rent movies through iTunes? Did you know about the special 99-cent movie rental of the week? Currently it's The Magnificent Seven (which is in iTunes here). I still wish I could rent TV shows (especially this one), but that probably won't happen anytime soon.
Come on, Steve only makes a dollar, so what's the big deal? Well, this: It's come to light that Apple's software engineers make significantly less than their counterparts at other Silicon Valley companies. New startup Glassdoor collected the salary information (seen here in handy bar-chart format), finding that Apple engineers make $89K while Microsoft and Yahoo pay $105K and Google more than $112K. So now people are wondering if the company will experience a talent exodus, be forced to raise salaries, or merely remain secure in its belief that the employees want to work at Apple because it's Apple. Blogger Oren Hurvitz then calculated what the lower salaries may have meant to Apple's bottom line in recent years, with interesting results, while CNET's Matt Asay points out that they get stock too. (Check out the back-and-forth in the comments about whether those stock options are really worth the lower salary, especially with the roller-coaster ride Apple stock has been on lately.) What do you think, would you be cool with making $19K less if it meant you were working at 1 Infinite Loop and not...wherever Yahoo's building is? Or do you think Apple should share the wealth a little more? (Or do you just wish you had a job?) Sound off in the comments -- you know you want to.
With the iPhone 3G stealing the spotlight from its iPod cousins, how does the iPod touch fit into the Apple family? Starting at $299 for the 8GB model, the iPod touch stands out as the pricey black sheep. Sure, the iPhone 3G’s price is subsidized, but try telling that to the penny-pinching masses. Where does the iPod touch go from here? AppleInsider reports that supplies of the iPod touch are diminishing and it may have something to do with a new model rumored to hit shelves in September. Giant electronics retailer, Best Buy also reported reduced quantities of 16GB models, while Apple’s online store showed a slight delay in orders. We called up a few of the busiest Apple retail stores in the Bay Area, including the one in downtown San Francisco, to find out if they had any in stock. Though bewildered by our intern’s awkward phone demeanor, all three Mac Geniuses assured us there were plenty (and were eager to hold one for us). Recently, Apple introduced the back-to-school promo to college students, offering a $299 rebate towards a new 8GB iPod touch with the purchase of a new Mac. Though this is quite the deal, and a great way to own the MP3 player-slash-mini computer without actually purchasing one, it could just be a ploy by Apple to exercise excess inventory. It appears that the iPod touch is nearing the same fate as the iPhone, with Apple depleting supply so as to make way for an army of new and improved successors. We expect a September announcement, just in time to excite eager consumers for the holiday shopping season.
EE Times speculates that the iPhone 3G could cost Apple a whopping $100 to build. Also, that extra $100 you're going to pay for the 16GB iPhone 3G, they speculate the 16GB flash drive could cost Apple just $20 more. When you're forking over your hard earned cash to AT&T or Apple on July 11, remember, you're paying a subsidized price. Apple could be charging AT&T up to double of the stated iPhone 3G price. EE Times cites volume discounts, engineering refinements and the lower price of components for the manufacturing price drop. Expect spy shots of Apple executives swimming in large pools of money around the holidays.
According to MacNN, Apple’s .Mac online service was down today for several hours in both the United States and the UK, though .Mac reports that the site is now functioning just fine. Users were reportedly unable to open email, backup utilities or web galleries. The recent news of restrictive browser requirements for iDisk users may have brought bad karma to the site--but it was probably Apple preparing to transition to the new MobileMe service, which will add push email, contacts and photo galleries between Apple and Windows computers and the iPhone/iPod touch. The new MobileMe service will launch on July 11 and, unlike its predecessor, will be compatible with the latest browsers.
The ever present specter of Flash on the iPhone has once again, reared its head. Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, stated during Adobe's Q2 earnings call that the company has Flash running on the iPhone within emulation: "We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date." If Apple allows Flash on the iPhone, this would introduce a feature many iPhone users have been clamoring for. Just don't hold your breath. Steve Jobs has been critical of Flash Mobile, suggesting that it isn't powerful enough for the iPhone. Hopefully, the two companies will iron out their differences and give customers the option to install Flash on their iPhones. Via Silicon Valley Insider
Starting at 10AM PDT, Mozilla wants the entire universe to download the official release of Firefox 3. Dubbed "Download Day," Mozilla is hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in one day. If you feel like joining the hip crowd and smashing a made up world record click here and download away. If you have better things to do, like work, you can sit on the sidelines and make snarky remarks about how [insert random browser here] is cooler.