NBC and CBS yesterday announced separate plans to make select prime-time shows available on-demand for 99 cents an episode. NBC shows will be available on DirecTV, while CBS shows will be available through Comcast cable.
Fruitcast is a new service that inserts ads into podcasts. “We download a podcast’s MP3 audio files, add the advertisements on the fly, and then send them to the podcast’s subscribers,” explains the Fruitcast team. “Each time a podcast episode is downloaded, the advertiser is charged a certain amount, and a significant portion of that amount is credited to the podcaster.”
The creator of the Shufflicious iPod shuffle case has written an interesting article about his experience in bringing such an iPod case from idea to market.
The iPod’s click wheel interface has been named Best Consumer Product at the UK Usability Professionals’ Association (UK UPA) Awards 2005. The awards highlight “stuff that takes you along the curve… stuff that’s designed to be learnable and doesn’t keep ‘reminding you how elegant and smart it is’ by getting in the way.”
Motorola on Tuesday announced the RAZR V3i, an updated version of its popular RAZR V3 mobile phone that will include iTunes and other new features. The new quad-band handset will be only the second phone with iTunes.
The RAZR V3i also features a 1.23 megapixel digital camera, microSD (TransFlash) card slot, Bluetooth, dual color screens, and an updated design with a new spun metal look. The phone will use a mini-USB stereo headset. There’s no information provided regarding music storage capacity and whether the new RAZR will be crippled with a 100-song cap like the ROKR.
The only phone currently available with iTunes is Motorola’s ROKR, which received widespread criticism for its poor design and performance. Including iTunes on the RAZR V3i will give the Apple-Motorola partnership and its mobile music initiative a much-need shot in the arm, industry experts say.
“Putting iTunes in the flagship phone shows that Motorola is committed to the partnership despite an early rough start,” Jon Gales, editor of mobile phone news site MobileTracker, told iLounge. “Many critics (including myself) chided the ROKR for decidedly plain design and aging specs. Those don’t apply with iTunes on the RAZR V3i.”
The RAZR V3i is expected to be available before the end of the year. A carrier was not announced, but is widely expected to be Cingular due to its success with the original RAZR and its ties to the promotion of the ROKR phone with iTunes. Pricing has yet to be determined and will most likely depend on the carrier.
Tivoli has announced that it is now shipping its iSongBook portable music system for all docking iPods. As noted in iLounge’s in-depth review, the iSongBook utilizes the new Universal Docking Station from Apple, made to fit all iPod models, including the 5G and nano.
The $330 portable system features a flip-down dock that charges the iPod while it plays, a remote control, user-positionable stereo speakers, AM/FM tuner (with 5 AM and 5 FM favorite station preset buttons), and digital clock. It’s also got a blue backlit LCD display, alarm and sleep timer functions, and an auxiliary input and stereo headphone output. The iSongBook can run off of batteries or AC power.
RadioShack today announced that it has become an authorized Apple reseller and now offers all iPod models in its more than 5,000 stores across the U.S. The consumer electronics retailer, which had previously sold HP-branded iPods, will also continue to offer a large range of iPod accessories.
“iPod owners already know RadioShack as the place to go for add-on accessories to enhance their overall experience and enjoyment of these great digital devices while at home, work or on the run,” said Jim Hamilton, RadioShack’s senior vice president, chief merchandising officer. “Now, this new robust assortment allows us to be a complete turn-key destination for iPod players and accessories alike.”
Following a similar lawsuit last month, iPod nano owners in the United Kingdom and Mexico have filed a class-action suit against Apple over the nano’s susceptibility to scratches. The consumers of the international suit are being represented by the same two law firms as the U.S. case. The new suit was filed last Friday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
“Apple’s iPod nano has sold in record numbers around the world, just as it did in the US,” said Steve Berman, lead attorney on both cases. “It seems that wherever the nano is sold, problems with the defective design soon follow.” According to Berman, “The far-reaching response also reveals that this is not just a small problem or a bad batch of Nano’s, but a defect in the overall design that should have been rectified prior to the release.”
Belkin this week will announce its new line of cases for the fifth-generation iPod. “Designed to reinforce Apple’s latest iPod that displays video, Belkin’s cases specifically address various aspects of user functionality while still maintaining a sleek-yet-simple aesthetic design,” says the company. The new cases will be available in early December, and will be on display at the Portable Media Expo in Ontario, California, later this week.
The leather Kickstand Case (iLounge Rating: B-) can be folded back to create a stand for watching videos on the 5G iPod without holding it. The case comes with a detachable carabiner clip, plastic screen cover and click wheel protector. It’s available in black or white for $30.
Belkin’s Classic Case “safeguards your iPod with a durable, protective, plastic screen cover and a sturdy, double-stitched case design in fine-grain leather construction.” The $20 case provides access to the screen and click wheel and features a belt clip with earbud cable management.
This black case is constructed of high-grade PVC and encloses the front and back of the iPod with a durable, double-stitched design. It has a rotating belt clip and detachable lanyard. The Holster case is also priced at $20.
Belkin’s Flip Case (iLounge Rating: B) “completely protects your iPod with a sturdy design that fully envelops your iPod” and has a clear plastic screen and click wheel cover. It sports a built-in belt clip that can also be used with an adhesive knob to secure the iPod on the dashboard of a car. The $30 case is available in black and in white.
Podtropolis is the first BitTorrent tracker created specifically for iPod-formatted content, including movies, TV shows and music videos.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that about 30 percent of current iPod purchasers are repeat buyers who are either replacing their existing iPod or adding a new member to their iPod family.
Pods Plus is offering iLoungers 10% off their purchases by using the coupon code “ilounge10”. The offer expires 12/31/2005 and can be used with the current promotion for free shipping on all orders over $25.
“We believe sales of new iPods are picking up steam into calendar year-end, with new video iPod sales stronger than we expected,” says Benjamin Reitzes of UBS Investment Research. “Also, we believe that the story has more legs as the ‘iPod hand-off’ to the Mac story continues to takes shape.”
Boomwave Products has announced its new line of Podstars iPod nano cases. The “devilishly good-looking” silicone skins are available in four devil-inspired designs in two colors (black or red) and come with a neck strap and screen protector. They’ll be available later this month. Pricing was not announced.
“iPod skins geared towards heightening the cool factor of the players while personifying the characteristics, attitude, quirks and eccentricities of individual iPod users as well. Being ardent iPod users ourselves, Boomwave Product are able to maintain a delicate balance between stunning aesthetics and pragmatic functionality, ensuring that all their products are as stylish as they are user-friendly.”
Tunewear has announced the Tunecup, an adjustable cup holder cradle for the iPod. The Tunecup features an adjustable balljoint design that can rotate horizontally 360 degrees and angle back and forth. It has an audio out port, an s-video jack, and can be used as an iPod dock in-doors. The Tunecup is available immediately for $40.
“Tunecup is the ultimate iPod car accessory for your iPod 5G, iPod 4G, iPod 3G or iPod mini,” says Tunewear. “It comes complete with audio out to connect your iPod directly to your car stereo, or you can use a cassette adapter (not included) to listen to your iPod through an in-car cassette tape deck. Tunecup also includes an s-video port (female) for a crystal clear connection to an in-car AV system. This makes it perfect for watching videos on the new iPod 5G or viewing photos on any of the other color iPods.”
TechRestore announced today that it is now offering a new overnight iPod battery upgrade service for all full-size iPods. The $49 service includes overnight pickup of your iPod, the replacement of the original battery with a TechRestore high capacity battery with up to 20-hours of playback time, and return overnight shipping.
“With our new lower pricing and higher capacity batteries, iPod owners can now get the fastest full-service battery upgrade at the best price on the planet,” said Shannon Jean, Founder and President of TechRestore. “The new services are part of our quest to bring better pricing, better service and longer warranties to iPod owners worldwide.”
Apple has released the first official movie trailer formatted for the fifth-generation iPod. Several iLoungers note that Apple is now offering the theatrical trailer for Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” in iPod video format alongside small, medium, full-screen, and high definition versions. The free video weighs in at 12.2 MB. “King Kong” hits theaters on December 14th.
This weeks look into the iLounge Discussion Forums: A reader has noted a possible ‘bug’ in the ability to fast forward back to a point in an iPod video - if you have noticed a similar issue, please join the discussion.
Have you wondered if the drawer full of iPod accessories you bought for your previous iPod will work with the new 5G? The answers are simple, and covered in our review, but if you want to hear more details, perhaps the “DEFINITIVE: iPod 5G Accessory Compatibility Thread” will ease you through the changes.
We recently asked iLoungers to indicate if they wanted a Linux iPod forum to be established. While the response this time round has definately been up on the last one we still want to hear from you if you haven’t already added your opinion. Please respond ASAP.
We know what you look like and now we want to know where you live - iLounge has created a Friend Mapper or Frappr, so join, post a shout-out and upload a photo or graphic of your choice for a chance to win an iPod accessory grab bag… iPod cases and goodies for your iPod model.
Now available is the eighteenth iLounge podcast, co-hosted by our Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. This week’s podcast discusses many of the brand new features, Sneak Peeks and reviews found in the new Holiday Buyers’ Guide 2005-2006, which can be downloaded separately and paged through during the podcast, or you can download our new Enhanced Podcast with embedded images from the new Buyers’ Guide, for thumbnail-sized viewing on color 4G, 5G, and nano-sized iPods.
Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.
Lugz Footwear said late Friday that it has sent a cease and desist letter to both Apple and its adverstising agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, over the similarities between a Lugz TV commercial from 2002 and Apple’s new iPod + iTunes spot featuring rapper Eminem.
As previously reported, Apple’s new ad is strikingly similar to the three year old Lugz commercial, with both featuring an urban background in red, orange and yellow hues with a hip-hop soundtrack and black silhouette dancers.
“If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there’s a problem here,” Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and a principal of Lugz parent company JSSI, said in a statement. “The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights.”
Several new iPod products made their debut in our just-released Holiday Buyers’ Guide. You’ll find exclusive previews of iPod nano and 5G accessories from companies like Belkin, Griffin, Macally, Vaja, and more. Below, we’ve rounded up the highlights for easy consumption. Be sure to download the free guide to check out all of the gear, as well as exclusive reviews and feature articles.
Vaja iVod for iPod nano (1)
The $50 case features a high-quality padded leather body, screen protector, and optional click wheel protector. As with all Vaja cases, it will be available in numerous colors.
Belkin TuneBase FM nano + 5G (2)
Two new models of the company’s 3-in-1 car mount, charger and FM transmitter. The devices offer four FM presets and tuning buttons. They’re scheduled to be released in January for $80 each.
Belkin TuneFM nano + 5G
Two new bottom-mounting versions of Belkin’s FM transmitter. They will use an iPod’s screen for tuning and feature a mini USB port, and four preset buttons. They’ll sell for $50 each next year.
Macally mTune-n (3)
A new version of the company’s over-the-ear headphones that have a slot for your iPod nano in the left earcup, allowing you to listen to your nano without wires.
Macally FMCup (4)
The $60 product fits inside a car’s cup holder to become and iPod cradle, charger and FM transmitter. It’s also got a backlit LCD screen and buttons for tuning.
AKG Acoustics k701 headphones
These $400 premium headphones offer “silky smooth, detailed sound…warm, but lets highs pop and creates a vivid stage,” said iLounge EIC Jeremy Horwitz in his A-rating review of the headphones.
Griffin Technology iTrip Auto (5)
A combination iPod charger and FM transmitter for in-car use. The iTrip Auto connects to an iPod’s dock connector port and allows for easy tuning via a wired remote-like device. It will be available in December.
Griffin Technology TuneBuds
Similar to Apple’s Lanyard Headphones for the iPod nano, Griffin’s $30 TuneBuds combine a metal nano holder, white fabric lanyard and a set of white and gray earbuds.
Core Cases Aluminum Case for nano
New aluminum cases for the iPod nano with screen protectors and seven color options. They’ll sell for $20.
Power Support Silicone Jacket for iPod nano
Priced at $25, the case is made from surgical-grade Japanese silicone rubber and comes in translucent and black. It comes with a detachable belt clip and a clear protector and click wheel film.
Electronic Arts has launched EA Recordings, a new digital music distribution label that will bring the company’s catalog of wholly-owned musical compositions and remixes to services such as iTunes.
Broadband video site Heavy.com has announced that Burger King is sponsoring a collection of short videos formatted specifically for the new 5G iPod.
Sony has admitted that it included a stealth rootkit on some CDs and has issued an update to remove the hidden software. “The nearly undetectable monitoring utility, part of the company’s digital-rights management (DRM) technology, was aimed at preventing consumers from producing illegal copies of CDs. The software installed itself automatically in Windows systems whenever a CD was inserted.”
To celebrate the opening of the newest 99 Cents Only Store on November 10 in Orangevale, California, the store will be selling 9 iPod nanos and 99 scooters for only 99 cents.
The smartCharge ($29.95) is a car charger for the iPod shuffle. It features an adjustable cradle, a built-in audio-jack for a cassette adapter, and charges full-size iPods with a USB dock connector cable.
The earBuddy ($14.95) is a tiny case for Apple’s iPod earbuds. Made of ballistic nylon, the case has a detachable keyring and is available in silver-gray with orange trim or all-black.
SendStation also today announced its 100,000 song iTunes promotion. The company said both of the new products will come with a code that can be redeemed for one free song download from the iTunes Music Store. Every 20th (or 25th) code “hits the jackpot” and wins 10 free songs instead of only one.
Lithium House is now selling a new line of iCel portable power packs for iPods that offer up to 200 hours of extra playback time. The company has also released power sources for the JBL On Stage and Altec Lansing InMotion that enable you to use the speaker systems on the go.
The iPod models include: iCel 201 ($100) - 50 hours of runtime, iCel 202 ($150) - 96 hours of runtime, and iCel 205 ($200) 200 hours or runtime. The 201 and 202 models are palm-sized and have 1-2 hour recharge times, while the 202 is larger and carries a 1-4 hour recharge time. It appears that the iCel power packs require a FireWire cable.
The iCel portable power source for the On Stage comes in three models: iCel 401 ($100) - 10 hours of runtime, iCel 402 ($150) - 20 hours of runtime, and iCel 405 ($250) - 50 hours of runtime. The iCel for the InMotion speaker system is also available in three options: iCel 201 ($100) - 18 hours of runtime, iCel 202 ($150) - 36 hours of runtime, and iCel 205 ($250) - 100 hours of runtime.
ZoomAndGo.com, a website featuring traveler videos and in-depth hotel reviews, has announced that it is now offering its entire library of video clips for fifth-generation iPods.
“Current clips range from on-camera hotel reviews and insider advice about tourist attractions to tips from travelers on-camera about the best hotel beds and finding bargains overseas,” explains the company. “Zoom And Go will have video for most major destinations and hotels by the end of this year. Users can download Zoom And Go videos onto their iPods by clicking on the Download to iPod link beside each clip.”
CBS Digital President Larry Kramer said this week that he has had talks with Apple about selling CBS television shows on the iTunes Music Store. Kramer said a deal with Apple is a strong possibility as long as the “economic proposal is fair enough.” Currently, the only network the offers shows through iTunes is ABC.
CBS recently announced that it will offer downloads of three episodes of prime-time sci-fi series “Threshold” online via CBS.com. The network also recently released a large number of podcasts through the iTunes Music Store, including “60 Minutes” and “Guiding Light” podcasts.