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Star Wars: Clone Wars coming to iTunes Music Store

Lucasfilm today announced that Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-winning animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars will soon be available from the iTunes Music Store. Beginning today, the 20 chapters of Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1 will be available on iTunes, with Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2 following next month. Each episode will be available for $1.99 with the full season of Volume 1 for $10.99. “The original animated series produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd. and renowned director Genndy Tartakovsky follows the exploits of heroic Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and a legion of Jedi Knights as they fight against the forces of the Dark Side.”

NBC News programs now available from iTunes

NBC has announced that it is now offering a collection of news and documentary programming for purchase from the iTunes Music Store. Programming from NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC will be priced at $1.99 per download. The offerings include select NBC News and CNBC specials, “NBC News Time Capsule,” “Tom Brokaw Reports,” “Meet The Presidents with Tim Russert,” “Dateline: Crime & Punishment,” and MSNBC’s “Caught On Tape” and “Lockup.”

Mix: D&AD awards, iPod videos, Taiwan, iHikes

Apple won two more D&AD awards at last night’s Global Awards ceremony. Both the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano were recognized in the Product Design category.

The MacTV Videocast has announced “The iPod Collection,” which will aim to collect every iPod commercial and iPod related video and offer them to users in an iPod-ready format.

Apple files patent for tempo-adjusting iPod

Following this week’s announcement of the Apple/Nike partnership, a new Apple patent application has been made public for a “Music synchronization arrangement” that could control the tempo of music on your iPod depending on the type of exercise being performed. “The invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of the user during an activity such as exercise,” the application reads. “By way of example, the speed of the music can be controlled to match the pace of the activity (synching the speed of the music to the activity of the user) or alternatively it can be controlled to drive the pace of the activity (increasing or decreasing the speed of the music to encourage a greater or lower pace). One aspect of the invention relates to adjusting the tempo (or some other attribute) of the music being outputted from the computing device.”

Pearson buys PowerSchool from Apple, plans iPod content

Pearson today announced that it has acquired PowerSchool, Apple’s student information systems (SIS) division, and will develop educational content for teachers and students compatible with the iPod. From the company’s announcement: “Pearson will also develop new services for educators and students, including research-based educational content compatible with iPod, the world’s most popular digital music player. Teachers will have access to podcasts on professional development to help with lesson preparation and provide innovative ways to reach students struggling with specific content. Students will be able to load their iPods with study guides that are aligned with Pearson texts and listen to review notes to prepare for exams.”

BusinessWeek looks at Nike/Apple partnership, Sport Kit

BusinessWeek has an article with several interesting details on the Apple and Nike partnership, as well as the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. The article says that Apple had approached Nike about being its MP3 player supplier, but that Nike executives had an idea for something bigger. Nike and Apple designers first met 18 months ago to create a smart shoe product, but were met with some challenges—the sneaker sensor was initially too big for Nike engineers and too small for Apple. Another challenge was battery life (close to 1,000 hours, which is said to outlast the shoes) and wireless technology. “Wireless takes power,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. “The last thing you wanted was a wire going down your leg. It looks deceptively simple and that’s how it should be. It took a while to get it right. But there is a lot of technology there.” Jobs said he also wanted to keep the price point low for the Sport Kit. “This thing is over 90% accurate right out of the box, which is huge. Something like this would normally cost a lot more money. We priced it so everyone can afford it because we want everyone to try it and experience how cool it is.”

Griffin intros TuneBuds for iPod nano

Griffin Technology has announced the TuneBuds combination earbuds and lanyard for the iPod nano. Based on Griffin’s EarThump earphones, the $35 TuneBuds feature a chromed dock connector insert, three sizes of interchangeable earpads and come in black or white. “TuneBuds are designed to unleash your nano’s full audio potential,” says Griffin. “TuneBuds isolate your listening experience from outside sound by fitting comfortably inside your ears, to deliver rich, crystal clear audio. Standard earbuds pale in comparison.” Each Tunebuds package also includes a free LE version of Griffin’s iFill software.

Plaintiff in iPod nano suit denies cooperation

The lead plaintiff in the iPod nano scratch class action lawsuit claims that he never wanted to be a part of the case. In a public letter, Jason Tomczak explains that he was greatly mislead and abused by the law firm of David P. Meyer & Associates Co. “At no time did David P. Meyer & Associates or Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro ever receive any attorney-client agreement form from me,” Tomczak says. “On their own time and based on their own schedules and plans, they prepared the paperwork and filed the iPod Nano Class Action suit in California using my name as Lead Plaintiff, however this was done without my knowledge or consent… Whether I am successful or I am financially crippled by David P. Meyer & Associates’ and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro’s defense firms, it is my sole intent to communicate the truth of what happened so that I can begin to find some peace of mind after the hate, harassment and embarrassment brought about by the misuse of my name in the iPod Nano suit.” Tomczak’s detailed story has much more.

Targus offers security lock for iPods

Targus has introduced the Eyelet Security Lock for iPod, a Dock Connector lock that works with Targus cable locks to secure your iPod. “It provides end-users an affordable way to secure their iPod while at work, without having to purchase an entirely new, more costly solution,” says the company. “The eyelet lock also serves as a unique and innovative security device for corporate customers that need to lock multiple iPod demo products.” The lock features a resetable 3-digit combination and is compatible with any dockable iPod (3G, 4G, 5G, nano, and mini). [via Gizmodo]

NHL game highlights come to iTunes Music Store

Several iLoungers note that Apple has quietly added highlights from the NHL Conference Finals to the iTunes Music Store. Apple is currently offering 20-minute highlight videos of the first two games in both conferences for $1.99 each. The final two teams in the East are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres, while the West battle consists of the Edmonton Oilers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Highlights from the forthcoming NHL Stanley Cup series are also expected to be offered. NHL content has been expected on the iTunes store since January.

Nike+iPod system uses proprietary 802.11, not Bluetooth

Confirming whispers heard by iLounge over the past several months, an individual familiar with the product disclosed that Apple’s first wireless iPod accessory—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit—will use a proprietary 802.11 protocol, rather than Bluetooth, for communications. Announced earlier today, the $29 Sport Kit consists of an in-shoe sensor that transmits running performance data, and an iPod receiver that helps record the data and provide audio feedback to the runner. Though not conclusive in any way as to Apple’s future plans, the company’s use of a proprietary 802.11 protocol rather than the widely-licensed Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard, combined with the surprisingly low price point and small size of the Nike+iPod Dock Connector-based Adapter, suggests that future iPod wireless accessories will use similar technology. Such a move could conceivably help Apple avoid the bandwidth limitations associated with Bluetooth standards, and reduce the number of fully “iPod-compatible” wireless accessories released by third-party developers.

Analyst: Apple still in ‘early stages’ of iPod expansion

An analyst with Credit Suisse believes future growth of the iPod looks strong. “We believe Apple is still in the early stages of its product expansion and that the company can grow its iPod units at least 20% for the foreseeable future,” analyst Robert Sempl said in a report to clients. The analyst’s prediction is based on the relatively low penetration rate for the iPod, estimated at about 10% of PC users, or an “active installed base” of about 40 million units worldwide. Sempl sees Europe as ripe for further growth. “Europe remains the biggest opportunity for Apple, in our opinion, based on its penetration rate of only 7.1% and similar demographics and buying patterns to the U.S.,” he said. “However, the company has only demonstrated a moderate inclination to compete in the region, having opened only six retail stores in the U.K. and nowhere else in the region, choosing instead to leverage reseller partners.”

Nike, Apple partner to launch Nike+iPod global products

Nike and Apple have teamed up to launch a new line of Nike+iPod products. The two companies today announced the first product developed through the partnership—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to connect to an iPod nano to store information on time, distance, calories burned and pace. The kit provides real-time audible feedback through headphones, and includes an in-shoe sensor and a small receiver that attaches to the dock connector of the iPod. The new Nike+ Air Zoom Moire is the first footwear designed to work with the kit. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit will be available “within 60 days” for a retail price of $29.

World Cup iPod Hoodies announced

UK-based Ubahn Clothing has announced a new collection of its Hoodie iPod cases for this year’s World Cup. The company is offering 32 different Hoodies (designed to resemble grey hooded sweatshirts) featuring screenprinted flags of tournament qualified countries. The Hoodie cases come in sizes to fit full-size iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. The World Cup Hoodies are priced at £12.99 (about $24).

Navio plans to ‘unlock’ iPod with DRM technology

Navio, a startup based in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California, has developed new software that will let content providers offer copy-protected music and videos that will play on iPods. “Navio has built a system that stores the rights associated with a piece of music, a game or a movie in the file itself,” reports Business 2.0. “When you buy a song or video from a Navio-powered website, information about your purchase is stored in a ‘digital locker’ that tracks your rights. The key difference from iTunes: Navio doesn’t care where you get the content. And that opens up any number of websites to the possibility of selling digital content. For music labels and movie studios, Navio provides an opportunity to reach consumers through a huge number of outlets, and experiment with selling and bundling content in a way that isn’t restricted by the rules of a particular service or online store.”

SanDisk launches ‘iDon’t’ anti-iPod campaign

SanDisk, the No. 2 seller of digital music players in the U.S., has drastically stepped up its efforts to take on the iPod with a new Guerrilla marketing campaign. The company’s “iDon’t” campaign, launched over the weekend, consists mainly of an anti-iPod website, but also includes paid foot soldiers at university campuses. The “iDon’t” website’s main purpose is to promote SanDisk’s Sansa e200 music player by communicating to consumers that owning an iPod is unoriginal and that iPod users are followers.

Analyst: Q3 iPod sales could be slightly below estimates

Acknowledging that it may be too early to make an accurate call on June quarter numbers, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that Apple’s third quarter iPod unit sales could be slightly below estimates. Munster says that NPD shipment data for April suggests iPod units of around 8.0 million for the quarter. “The Street is currently looking for 8.6 million iPods in the June quarter, ahead of our estimate of 8.25 million and the iPod units of 8.0 million suggested by the first month of NPD,” Munster writes in a research note to clients. “Recent chatter in various articles and web postings about trends with component suppliers have suggested that iPod units were slower than expected in April, so we do not think investors will be surprised by this early datapoint. As a result of ‘Grads and Dads’ buying we believe May and June iPod sales will likely be better than what was seen in April.”

Griffin bundles cassette adapter with TuneFlex

Griffin Technology has announced that its TuneFlex car dock/charger for the iPod nano now comes bundled with a cassette tape adapter. “The TuneFlex package now provides a complete solution for charging, mounting and playing iPod nano in an automobile,” says Griffin. “Simply plug the cassette adapter into TuneFlex’s 1/8” stereo line-out jack, and slip the cassette into the auto’s tape deck.” The TuneFlex features a flexible steel neck, pass-through dock connector, and plugs into any standard 12 Volt accessory outlet to power and charge the iPod. The TuneFlex bundle sells for $50.

Mix: Steve Jobs, Macy’s, Walkman phone, CNET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made an appearance at the grand opening of Apple’s new Fifth Avenue flagship store on Friday. He was also interviewed on NBC Nightly News and CNBC.

Federated Department Stores Inc., the parent company of Macy’s, has announced that it is installing large vending machines that will dispense iPods at 180 Macy’s stores across the U.S.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals iPod playlist

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible U.S. presidential candidate in 2008, has revealed what tunes reside on her iPod. She said her mix includes the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, the Eagles, and the Rolling Stones, in addition to classical music and other genres. “I’ve got everything—a total smorgasbord,” Clinton said. She received her iPod as a birthday gift from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

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