Cingular has slashed the price of Motorola’s iTunes-enabled ROKR phone by $100. The phone, which was introduced two months ago, now sells for $149.99 with a two year contract. The price cut is apparently due to poor sales and the cold reception from consumers. Motorola sold about 83,000 ROKR phones per week in the first weeks after the official unveiling. In comparison, the company’s top-selling RAZR sells 500,000 units per week on average.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today released its PodFolio Leather Case for iPod nano. The flip-style case is made of cushioned leather, and features a clear front window to protect the nano’s face, screen, and click wheel, complete access to controls and ports, and a leather-covered sewn-in belt clip. The PodFolio Leather Case for iPod nano is available now and sells for $29.99.
Steve Jobs, CEO of both Apple and Pixar, said yesterday that 125,000 copies of Pixar short films were sold on the iTunes Music Store in under a month.
National Public Radio has announced three new podcasts that will be distributed under an “alt.NPR” label. They will feature “news and interviews about gambling, classic rock music, and creative work from young radio producers.”
“iPod finger” and “Blackberry thumb” have apparently joined the list of repetitive strain injuries.
SplittingImage is a small Applescript application for Mac users that lets you “zoom” into pictures on a color screen iPod by splitting the high resolution image into several smaller tiles.
Soldius has released its Soldius1 Universal Solar Charger for iPods. Relying on solar power to charge the iPod, the device features Maximum Solar Power Tracking, a unique combination of patented and patent-pending solar technology developed by Soldius scientists. Plug it into the iPod, put it in direct sunlight and solar energy flows into the iPod. The Soldius1 will also charge more than 250 mobile phones, and is available from the company’s website for $89.99 - $109.99.
Noreve has announced its Tradition leather case for Apple’s fifth-generation iPod. Available for both the 30GB and 60GB iPod, the case features a flip-top design with snap closure, a removable belt clip, two business cards slots, and is available in four colors—black, white, pink and light blue. It provides access to the screen, click wheel, hold switch, headphone jack and dock connector port. The Noreve Tradition leather case for the 5G iPod is priced at €39 and will be available later this month.
SKProducts today announced the availability of its CarClip for the iPod nano. Like the iPod mini CarClip released last week, the auto accessory hangs from your car’s rear view mirror and holds your iPod for easy access. The CarClip for the iPod nano sells for $20.
“The CarClip conveniently hangs from your rear view mirror to allow easy access to your iPod nano. Each CarClip comes with 10 rubber Fishband motion buffers (5 colors, 2 sizes each). These specially designed rubber bands go through the CarClip and attach to the center button of your rear view mirror. In addition, each CarClip comes with a Universal Auto Attachment and two 3M CommandStrips for placing your CarClip in other locations in your vehicle.”
Members of the the Sylvius project have released an iPod edition of their human neuroanatomy glossary, which is currently in use at Duke University. SylviusVG, iPod Edition is a “visual glossary of the human brain and spinal cord, combining audio (MP3 files), visual (album art) and text (notes) content into a pedagogically-sound learning tool for the iPod, containing over neuroanatomical 400 structures and terms.” SylviusVG, iPod Edition is available for any color screen iPod at an introductory price of $10.
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.