Amazon reports that the among the top selling electronics products this holiday season were the Apple 20GB iPod and the Apple 4GB Silver Mini iPod. Consumer electronics sales surpassed book sales on Amazon Thanksgiving weekend and was Amazon’s largest sales category for the first time.
Bloomberg reports that Clarion Co will begin selling a car audio and video system in Japan next year that’s compatible with Apple’s iPod portable music player. “People have asked why the iPod can’t be used in car systems, and from that perspective there is plenty of interest,” Tatsuhiko Izumi, president of Tokyo-based Clarion, said in a television interview.
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In what appears to be another product designed specifically for the special edition U2 iPod, Harman Multimedia has unveiled a black version of its JBL Creature II speaker system. “Featuring cutting-edge sci-fi design and superior sound performance, JBL Creature II is a unique plug and play solution. JBL Creature II offers consumers cool design and exceptional sound, proving that excellence does not have to come in an expensive package.” The three piece speaker system offers touch volume control, a straightforward interconnect technology, and subwoofer. JBL Creature II, which supports all iPods and all computers with a headphone port, is available for $99.95.
Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry of the Wall Street Journal said a significant number of people wrote in to let them know that the iPod, Windows security concerns or a combination of the two had made them switch to a Mac or plan to do so.
Forbes tech writer Arik Hesseldahl said that a video iPod tops his 2005 wish list. “The experience shouldn’t be about watching video on a tiny handheld screen. What I do want is to output video from the iPod to a TV. An 80-gigabyte hard drive would make it practical.”
The iPod’s success isn’t just music to the ears of Apple—companies such as PortalPlayer, Audible.com, and Synaptics are also reaping the benefits.
Tweeter is offering 15 percent off iPod accessories through January 2, 2005. You must use coupon code TWTRGIFT during checkout to receive the discount.
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has increased his iPod collection—to 70. “I have some white ones but lots of metallic pinks, blues. I have had every single CD I have downloaded. I enjoy gadgets.”
Apple has applied for a patent on technology that would allow an iPod to detect when it is falling and then stop reading or writing to the hard drive, increasing the chance that its insides would survive the drop. “The portable-computing device protects its disk drive by monitoring for such accelerations and operating to avoid usage of the disk drive during periods of acceleration,” Apple said in the patent application, which was published Dec. 16. “Through such protection, the likelihood of damage to the disk drive or loss of data stored on the disk drive is able to be substantially reduced.”
Vaja has introduced another new Rasta version of its iVod case for all sizes of the iPod photo and 4G iPod. The $110 case is made from genuine Argentine leather, and features a built-in screen protector and access to the Click Wheel, dock port, headphone port, and hold switch. The iVod case is also available in a slew of other color combinations for $70.
PDAtrends has released its SkinArt Winter ‘04 Collection for the fourth-generation iPod and iPod mini. The special silicone cases come in a variety of styles and feature an open top to accommodate accessories, allows full access to the iPod’s controls and ports, and has a bottom opening for syncing/charging without taking the iPod out of the case.
Rogue Amoeba Software today announced Slipstream, a new application that allows audio from any application to be heard through remote speakers attached to Apple’s AirPort Express. “Since its release, tens of thousands of people have purchased Apple’s new AirPort Express and enjoyed the AirTunes feature, allowing audio from iTunes to be played to remote speakers. With Slipstream, audio from any application can be sent to the AirPort Express—users longing to send audio from applications like RealPlayer and Windows Media Player need look no further than Slipstream.” Slipstream will be available early next year for an introductory price of US$20.
Apple Canada and Canadian retailers such as Future Shop and Best Buy will reduce the price of all iPods in response to the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision throwing out the levy on music players with embedded memory. The price will be reduced by the amount of the previously imposed levy, which equates to CDN$25 for 20GB and 40GB iPods, and $15 for iPod minis.
Credit Suisse First Boston has raised its target price for Apple stock to $70 from $40 and said it is expecting the company to sell nearly 5 million iPods this quarter. “We believe Apple will ship 4.8 million iPods in the December quarter and will once again exit the quarter with a substantial backlog, mostly in international locales,” the firm said. “This iPod number will fall short of some overly aggressive expectations mainly due to a shortage of hard drives, a problem that has plagued the company for over a year, but one we believe will finally be remedied in the calendar first quarter.”
Speck Products today announced the SkinTight iPod Skin for the 40GB and 60GB iPod photo. The rubberized Skin features a hard plastic screen protector and a flex-away flap, allowing it to work with the iPod dock. The SkinTight iPod Skin for iPod photo comes in three colors (clear, blue, and pink) and can be purchased individually for $24.95 or as a 3-pack for $34.95. Speck said that only 300 frosted clear singles are initially available and will begin shipping on Dec. 27. The remaining colors and 3-packs will start shipping on Jan. 10.
Digimi Publishing today released “iPod + iTunes Quick Tips,” a new $5 eBook packed with “easy, concise and all-around cool tips meant to make your experience with Apple’s digital music duo more fun and more efficient.” The 59-page eBook has 100 tips (95 screenshots) and was written by Larry Angell (MacMinute Editor-in-Chief and iLounge News Editor) and Charles Starrett. The eBook was “written from a Mac-centric point of view, but Windows users should find more than enough tips to make purchasing worthwhile,” according to Digimi. iPod + iTunes Quick Tips shows you how to: receive Podcasts; save music videos and movie trailers from the iTMS; get the most out of your iPod’s battery; make normal AAC files bookmarkable and speed adjustable; be a better DJ with Party Shuffle; use the Firefox web browser to control iTunes; master Playlists and Smart Playlists; copy music from your iPod to your Mac; recover your lost iPod’s serial number; and much more.
Shuga Buds are white Apple-like earphones that are encrusted with Swarovski crystals. “Shuga Buds are stereo quality personal earphones ‘studded’ with genuine Swarovski crystals for use with personal audio players such as the iPod.” The earphones are available in five colors to match Apple’s iPod mini: blue, pink, iridescent, sage green and yellow/gold. The Shuga Buds, which ship with a wind-up storage case and gift box, are priced at $42.50 plus shipping and handling.
JAVOedge has anounced a new clear case for the 20GB fourth-generation iPod. The $23.95 case features a 360-degree rotating removable clear belt clip, a secure locking mechanism, and cutouts for easy access to the Click Wheel, Dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch.
7-Eleven stores in Singapore have begun selling Apple’s iPod—as well as Gameboy and N-Gage games.
The Globe and Mail reports that getting your hands on an iPod mini before Christmas in Canada is virtually impossible.
iPodBaskets.com sells gift baskets made up of iPod accessories. Prices start at $49.
Executives at Synaptics, the maker of the iPod’s scroll wheel, sold a combined $10.64 million in company stock last month as its shares rose to a 52-week high thanks to the iPod’s popularity.
Dension today announced that its ice>Link: Plus vehicle kit for iPod is now available for the Mercedes Benz fiber optic “D2B
Anapod Reinitializer 1.0 is a free Windows utility for reformatting and reinitializing your iPod. Its function is equivalent to the Restore button in the Apple iPod Updater utility. Anapod Reinitializer runs on all versions of Windows, enabling Windows 98/ME users (who cannot use Apple’s software because it only runs on 2000/XP) to format their iPods.
Apple is suing unnamed individuals who leaked details about an unannounced product by posting detailed information on the Web. Apple’s complaint, which was filed with the Santa Clara County California Superior Court on Dec. 13, alleges that “an unidentified individual, acting alone or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and disseminated through Web sites confidential information about an unreleased Apple product.” Apple said it did not know the “true names or capacities, whether individual, associate, corporate or otherwise,” of the defendants, but that it would amend the complaint once they have been discovered.
Noting that the iPod is proving to be as synonymous with music players as Band-Aid with bandages or Kleenex for tissues, Peter Howe reports that the 20GB iPod is by far the most popular model this holiday season.
Rio, Creative, Virgin, iRiver and Archos are among those pushing their design teams to challenge Apple’s “800-pound white gorilla” on both function and fashion.
BusinessWeek’s Thane Peterson says that Podcasting is one of 2004’s major cultural trends. He says it will “democratize radio by making it possible for just about anyone to broadcast audio content—much as blogging did for written commentary.”
Apple’s iPod, iPod mini and a “new iPod” that holds “a billion songs” appeared this week on the Late Show with David Letterman. (Click on the Big Show Highlight in the DaveTV box.)