Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
Model: iPod Software
This new collection of six different software titles from Avanquest Publishing includes some of the most popular potential tools we could imagine, ranging in price from $30 to $50. Other than the company's iPocketBible and PodPresenter, all of the programs are for Windows PC users only, and attempt to simplify various iPod content creation and management tasks for novice and intermediate users. The programs are sold in boxed or downloadable formats through the company's web site.
DVD2iPod (PC only, $30) promises 1 step DVD (MPEG-2) and video (AVI) conversion to the iPod (MPEG-4), with “highest picture and sound quality” and “seamless integration with iTunes.” Updated: During installation, DVD2iPod discloses that it cannot read or convert copy-protected DVDs (read: anything sold in stores) to iPod format. You’ll need an additional program - not provided by Avanquest and of varied legality depending on your country - to do that.
iPocketBible (PC/Mac, $40) includes a professionally narrated New Living Translation audio edition of the Bible, plus Notes-formatted text to read along.
WebPodStudio (PC only, $50) lets you create audio and video podcasts, create RSS feeds that are iTunes-compatible, and auto-announce new podcasts to blog news services - there’s even a built-in teleprompted for your audio. It’s similar in concept to Apple’s latest Podcast Studio-enabled version of GarageBand for Macs, but with a few twists.
PodMediaCreator (PC only, $30) helps you create iPod-compatible movie files, photo slideshows, and remixed MP3 audio files, with automatic conversion of video (MPEG4/AVI/DIVX/WMV), audio (MP3/WMA/WAV), and photo (JPEG/GIF/PNG) content into iPod-readable formats.
PodPresenter (PC/Mac, $30) allows you to easily transform PowerPoint presentations into iPod slideshows, preserving the presentations in PowerPoint- or PodPresenter-editable format so you can make changes (with any computer, even one lacking PowerPoint) on the road. Editing features, graphics, and templates are included in the package.
Memeo iExtend (PC only, $30) lets you back up files onto your iPod, turn RSS feeds, e-mail, appointments, contacts and tasks into iPod-readable text, and upload iPod photos to Shutterfly for online sharing.
Like a number of other lanyard-style headphones we've seen for the iPod shuffle and iPod nano, this pair of Philips Neckstrap Headphones - model SHE7600, an Asian import model available from Warehouse123.com - uses a fabric necklace and user-adjustable headphone and neck length cords to minimize cable clutter and dangling. A strap is included to attach the headphones to a case, not included, and "turbo bass" performance is promised.
Company: Sumo Cases
Model: World Cup 5G
Compatible: iPod 5G (with video)
Based on the company's previously released Horizontal Playthru case design, Sumo's new World Cup cases are special, limited editions with soccer ball pattern-stitched leather exteriors. Eight different countries are represented with the cases, specifically Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, USA, England, and Mexico; their national colors appear in the cases' leather bodies. A classic black and white version will also be available. Each has a soccerball logo rather than the Sumo logo found on standard Horizontal Playthru models.
Model: Stand for iPod nano
Compatible: iPod nano
Available in white and black versions, Marware's Stand for iPod nano is a streamlined take on Apple's official iPod nano Dock. With a swoosh-like shape that mounts your nano on an angle at its front, the Stand has USB and line-out ports on its back, plus a "headphone port" (actually, a second line-out port) on its right side. Rubber pads on the bottom keep the Stand stable, and an included, color-matched USB cable provides charging and synchronization features when connected to a computer.
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