Monday, March 3, 2008

Apple plans to make it easier to add programs to iPhones

Apple will be announcing some new programs for the iPhone this week. Microsoft has announced an unprecedented price cut. And the XM and Sirius satellite radio outfits still can't announce their hoped-for merger. Get the latest in today's Digital Feed blog.

Here's my video report, a full text version follows:

Listen up, you iPhone users. There will be big news this week for you as Apple holds a big conference Thursday that will finally open up the hugely popular touch-screen phone to third-party developers. That's the day Apple gives those independent programmers what's called an SDK -- for Software Development Kit, which reveals key parts of the special secret computer code that Apple uses to run the iPhone.

Ever since the iPhone went on sale last June, it's been a closely controlled platform that couldn't take third-party programs and applications. There have been a couple of new additions and features but, compared to the huge amount of programs available for other mobile phones, the Apple has been pretty lean.

With the SDK, a lot of folks are speculating that the first thing that will improve is e-mail compatibility with business and corporate mail, making the iPhone more of a rival for BlackBerry than it now is. But for sure, there will be more games, more things like GPS navigation, stand-alone applications for, say, counting calories, reading books and the same kind of programs you can get on other phones.

It's expected that once a developer comes up with a new program for iPhone, users will get it from Apple's iTunes store, just like they do with music, ringtones, TV shows and movies.

Microsoft announces price cut

Here's something you don't see every day from Microsoft: a price cut. Really. On Vista, the latest and much-criticized version of the Windows operating system. Microsoft announced just before the weekend that its home and ultimate versions have dropped from $159 and $299, respectively, to $129 and $219. Analysts say this is unprecedented for Microsoft.

Even though Vista has sold 100 million copies, that's more a reflection of the copies preloaded on new PCs sold worldwide. Think of that as a sort of guaranteed market. Retail wise, Vista hasn't done nearly as well as the previous version, Windows XP, which many critics say is a much better product. Vista retail sales for the first six months were down 60% from what XP sold in its first half-year.

The price cut isn't helping Vista's reputation, so it will be interesting to see what it does to sales.

XM-Sirius merger deal dragging

Finally today, that $4.6-billion deal that would merge XM and Sirius satellite radio is dragging on longer than expected. The FCC hasn't green-lighted the merger, and because of growing critics and red tape, the two companies have extended a deadline in which ether party could have terminated it as of March 1.

Neither party is doing that great, by the way. Both continue to lose money, with Sirius shares off by about 20 percent and XM shares down about 16 percent.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I use a 3rd party app from that lets me listen to & cache radio on my iphone. It's free & I didn't have to jailbreak my phone.