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Mix: Jack Johnson, Odeo, Walkman phone, Creative

The iTunes Music Store is offering a free digital booklet and exclusive track when you download Jack Johnson’s new album, “In Between Dreams.”

Odeo’s Evan Williams says his new company is not just about making a buck off podcasting. “Our focus is on humanizing a very promising technology. Making it easier for those already doing it (listening or creating),” he says.

Sony Ericsson’s new W800i Walkman phone sports MP3 playback, a 2 megapixel camera, 32MB of internal memory, 512MB Memory Stick Duo card, Bluetooth, and more.

In response to Apple’s announcement of a 6GB iPod mini and a cheaper 4GB iPod mini, Creative today lowered pricing on its Zen Micro line. The company’s players now start at $180.

Gel Shield for iPod shuffle announced

pic Pacific Rim Technologies today announced Gel Shield, a new silicone case for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The Gel Shield case will be available in a choice of five colors—lime, charcoal, pink, blue and white—and come with a cap protector. Pacific Rim’s Gel Shield for iPod shuffle will begin shipping on Tuesday, March 8, and will be available in a choice of 3-packs for $24.99 or as a single for $10.99.

Burning Love opens US online store

pic Burning Love, a German company that makes hand-made iPod covers, today announced the launch of its US online store. The company offers a stylish lineup of iPod cases in a number of colors and fabrics, including wool, felt, corduroy, and fake-fur. “The products are aimed at iPod users who are looking for something different for their gear than the usual silicone or black leather cases available,” Burning Love said. Prices range from $13 to $16.50, and are available for 20/40GB fourth-generation iPods and iPod minis.

Mac: Airfoil streams audio from any app to AirPort Express

Rogue Amoeba Software has announced the immediate availability of Airfoil (originally announced as Slipstream), its new Mac software that enables users to send audio from any application (instead of just iTunes) directly to an AirPort Express base station. “Everyone who owns one of Apple’s popular AirPort Express devices will be thrilled to be able to send audio from applications like RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, and Safari right to their remote speakers,” says the developer. “In just seconds, Airfoil can send audio from almost any application on OS X directly to the AirPort Express.” Airfoil is available at an introductory price of $20.

Mix: Grateful Dead, Duke, Negativland, Podcasting

The iTunes Music Store is now featuring 30 live “Dick’s Picks” Grateful Dead albums “representing the best concerts digitally remastered from the original 2-track source tapes.”

Steve Veres of The Chornicle looks at the past, present and future of the iPod project at Duke University in an extensive article.

Francis Hwang says he will offer his unauthorized special edition Negativland vs. U2 iPod on his website after he was blocked from selling it on eBay due to Apple complaints.

In an article entitled “Podcasting faces growing pains,” Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe looks at the struggles podcasting faces.

ShuffleClip for iPod shuffle announced

picThe ShuffleClip is a new accessory for your iPod shuffle that allows you to clip the device virtually anywhere. “Formed from a single piece of transparent PETG polymer, the ShuffleClip compliments the design of your iPod while keeping it safe and secure,” says the company behind the add-on. “PETG is an extremely strong, yet flexible material that in many ways behaves more like aluminum than plastic. And unlike products made from other materials, the ShuffleClip will never scratch your iPod.” The ShuffleClip sells for $14.95.

Wall Street Journal seeks unique iPod user (updated)

The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Carlton writes with the following request:

“I am finishing up a story on how folks are using more computer gadgets these days while on vacation. I’d like to include iPod users in this story, and in particular am looking for someone who has used an iPod while on vacation for something unusual - like listening to a book on tape, or learning to speak French, rather than for just listening to music. If anyone has a story to share, please email me at: [link deleted]. My deadline is the next couple of days, and I’d ask that you include name/age/occupation/hometown, and details such as when and where you took the vacation. I’d be sure to email you copy of story once it is published. Thanks again.”

iLounge just might have someone reading who fits the description. If it’s you, please use the link above to e-mail Jim.

Update: Jim received so many responses in the first five minutes of the news story’s posting that he’s overwhelmed. Thanks to all who responded!

AudioOutfitters intros ezGear clearCase

pic AudioOutfitters has announced the ezGear clearCase for iPods and iPod minis. Made of ultra-clear acrylic, the $19.98 case has openings on the top and bottom for access to all ports, an opening for the Click Wheel, and comes with a detachable clearClip and lanyard. The top of the clearCase flips open for installation and removal of your iPod. The AudioOutfitters clearCase comes in three sizes to fit the 20GB and 40GB fourth-generation iPods, and iPod mini.

Windows: iPod Access 2.2 released

iPod Access 2.2 from Findley Designs is the latest version of the Windows utility that enables you to copy songs from your iPod back to your computer. Version 2.2 brings the ability to limit iPod Search with the “Assign Drive Letter” utility, and the ability to delete the Preference file for troubleshooting. iPod Access for Windows is available for $14.99.

XtremeMac iPod shuffle gear revealed

pic Following our report last week on XtremeMac’s extensive new collection of iPod shuffle accessories, the company has now added the products to its online store, showing for the first time what the products will look like. The new accessories are now available for pre-order and are expected to ship next month. They include: AirPlay FM Transmitter for iPod shuffle ($49.95); Car Charger for iPod shuffle ($24.95); Bumperz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/5-pack); SportWrap for iPod shuffle ($29.95); Shieldz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/3-pack); Wrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack); TuffWrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack); SuperHook for iPod shuffle ($19.95); SuperClip for iPod shuffle ($14.95); Audio Splitter for iPod shuffle ($12.95); and Audio Kit for iPod shuffle ($49.95).

WaterField intros Gear Pouch for iPod mini

pic WaterField Designs has announced a Gear Pouch specifically created for the iPod mini and its accessories. Like the rest of the WaterField Gear Pouch line, the Gear Pouch for the iPod mini is made of durable Ballistic nylon with a neoprene base and self-locking zippers. On one side of the product are two padded compartments for storing the iPod mini and its power charger or armband; on the other side are two slots for keeping earbuds and cables. The iPod mini Gear Pouch is priced at $29 and comes in black with Blue, Celeste, Checkers, Lead, or Taxi Indium trim.

Mix: Camera Connector, Music labels, iTunes sharing, ezGear

picAt an Apple press event in Japan to introduce the new iPod models, a presentation slide revealed what the new iPod Camera Connector will look like.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is reportedly angry with some music labels that want to raise wholesale prices for digital music downloads.

Gregory Ng of Apple Matters discusses the sharing feature in iTunes and how it has changed how people listen to music at work.

Audio Outfitters has announced that its iPodez line of products will now be known as the ezGear (pronounced easy Gear) line.

Windows: MarkAble 0.2.2 Beta released

MarkAble 0.2.2 Beta ($15) from iPodSoft allows you to convert longer MP3 or AAC files into bookmarkable m4b files. “MarkAble merges selected files, instructs iTunes to perform an AAC conversion on the merged file(s), renames the files from the AAC conversion m4a to m4b to make bookmarkable, writes the converted file into your iTunes Music folder, and adds the converted files to the iTunes Library, now in a bookmarkable format.”

Mix: Odeo, Forrester, FireWire, Star Wars

Odeo, a start-up co-founded by Blogger creator Evan Williams, plans to introduce a “Web-based system that is aimed at making a business of podcasting.”

Forrester Research analysts Ted Schadler and Josh Bernoff say the iPod photo “can’t really offer a great photo experience with its small screen, recycled music interface, lack of a camera and poor photo-management features.”

Nearly 4,000 iPod users who are “dismayed” that Apple has dropped FireWire cables from iPod packaging have signed a petition asking the company to rethink their decision.

As part of a Star Wars Episode III promotion, Skittles is sponsoring a “Hunt for Grievous” online game where they’re giving away 100 Star Wars-themed iPods.

Incase shows off upcoming iPod cases

picIncase has provided iLounge with an exclusive first look at three upcoming lines of leather iPod cases that sport very stylish designs. These include: the Dinopod, Argyle, and Crest cases.

“These products are focused in a different direction than the line we currently have in Apple Stores,” Incase’s Scotty Crowe told iLounge. “We’re developing a more fashion-forward collection and creating a lifestyle based around the user of the iPod. That said, we’re limiting the availability of most of the products to select retailers in select markets in order to maintain the integrity of this new collection.”

The Dinopod cases are built with high-quality leather and come in yellow, green, red, and blue with embossed silhouettes of four common dinosaurs and their names—Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops. The cases hold full-size iPods and offer wrap-around protection and feature a leather-wrapped belt clip.

Made of the same high-grade leather, the fashionable Argyle cases come in green with blue pattern, gray with red pattern, and brown with pink pattern. They also offer all-around protection, leather clad belt clip, and accommodate full-size iPods. The argyle design is made up of a combination of embossed colors and actual stitching.

The Crest line will consist of a white zippered clutch-like wallet and two smaller wallets—one green leather and one black striped denim. All three have embossed crest designs. The white Crest case holds full-size iPods and features a clear screen protector, a pouch for earbuds or other small accessories, and slots for credit cards. The smaller wallets have a flexible silicone strap, hold full-size iPods, and feature a clear screen covering, earphone holder, and a clear pocket to hold various thin items.

Incase said readers can contact them for futher information at [email protected].

Click “Read more” for large photos of all the new Incase products.

Onkyo announces remote interactive dock for iPod

Onkyo announced today that it has developed a remote interactive dock that will link an iPod with the company’s receivers and audio-video systems. “The RI dock provides compatibility between specified iPod models and many of the Onkyo products (as many as five million worldwide) produced over the past 10 years,” the company explains. “Users of both the iPod and Onkyo products will benefit from even greater flexibility with—and enjoyment of—digital media, as well as superior audio performance.” The dock features Onkyo’s remote Interactive functionality and can be used as a mini-stand to recharge the iPod. The dock is scheduled for release in mid-2005. Pricing was not announced.

Synaptics touchpad technology used in latest iPods

Synaptics has confirmed that its touchpad technology is used in the latest iPod photo and iPod mini models, putting to rest speculation that Apple would develop its own iPod touchpad interface using Cypress Semiconductor chips. “Yesterday Apple announced several new iPods and we are confirming that our interface solutions are being used in those products,” Synaptics said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week. “As has been the case since our initial product introductions in fiscal 1996, we compete for designs on a product by product basis and have no assurances from any of our OEM customers that they will utilize our interface solutions in any of their future products.” Rumors first started to swirl when it was revealed earlier this month that Apple partnered with Cypress for the innovative touchpad on the latest PowerBook revision.

Apple expected to sell 1.2 million iPod shuffles this quarter

Noting that demand for the iPod shuffle “is significantly stronger than we anticipated,” Banc of America today raised sales estimates for the low-cost music player. The firm raised the unit sales estimate for the iPod shuffle to 1.2 million units for the current quarter ending in March from 700,000, although “our sense is actual results could be higher.” 2005 estimates have been raised from 4.4 million to 5 million units. Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich said earlier this week that he expects Apple to ship 1 million iPod shuffles.

XtremeMac to unveil extensive list of iPod shuffle accessories

XtremeMac tomorrow will announce 13 new iPod shuffle accessory lines—a total of 24 new products. All of the XtremeMac iPod shuffle accessories are now available for pre-order and are expected to ship next month.

The accessories include (photos not yet available):

AirPlay FM Transmitter for iPod shuffle ($49.95) is the first FM Transmitter for the device, and allows users to play audio wirelessly from their shuffle through any FM radio.

Car Charger for iPod shuffle ($24.95) provides users the ability to charge their shuffle while in their car.

Bumperz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/5-pack) provide protection with a silicone band of stylish color for the device with 15 vibrant colors.

SportWrap for iPod shuffle ($29.95) is a moisture resistant, sports armband for active shuffle users in four sporty colors.

Shieldz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/3-pack) provide protection with a splash of stylish color in nine new shades of transparent plastic.

Wrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack) are thin silicone sleeves that provide form-fitted protection from minor scratches and dents with nine new colors.

TuffWrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack) are thickened silicone sleeves that provide protection against scratches and bumps with nine new colors.

SuperHook for iPod shuffle ($19.95) features an aluminum carabiner and lets you hook your shuffle to “almost anything including backpack straps, belt loops, keychains, purse straps and more.”

SuperClip for iPod shuffle ($14.95) is a white plastic clip that lets you attach the device to almost any strap or belt.

Audio Splitter for iPod shuffle ($12.95) allows two people to share music from one shuffle simultaneously.

Audio Kit for iPod shuffle ($49.95) connects your iPod shuffle to your car stereo, home stereo system, cassette deck, computer speakers and more.

Apple changes iPod photo packaging, de-emphasizes “photo”

picIn releasing newly affordable iPod photo hardware, Apple Computer has changed the product’s packaging to a thinner and highly attractive black and metal foiled design. Metal foil is used for the box’s front text, while an all-black matte background highlights the metallic luster.

The new packaging, which you can see more fully with the Read More button below, dramatically de-emphasizes the word “photo” on its front, reducing it to a tiny badge underneath the letters “PC.” This contrasts markedly with Apple’s new iPod mini packaging, which continues to grant the word “mini” equal prominence with the iPod name.

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