The folks behind the Crystal Mini are running an eBay auction for the first iPod nano encrusted in authentic Swarovski Crystals. The Crystal nanos will soon be sold online for $1,000 each. Bidding starts at $350. [via Engadget]
CNET News.com reports that IDG World Expo has cancelled the Boston Macworld Conference & Expo. The event struggled the past two years after returning to Boston from New York City.
Wired News has an interesting article, entitled “Meet the Apple Pack Rats,” that looks at some of “the legions of Macintosh and iPod users for whom the elegance of the user interface begins with the bold graphics and sleek texture of the box the new machine comes in.”
Wireless technology group Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) has reportedly approached Apple about installing its Bluetooth wireless chips into future generations of the iPod.
“CSR’s chips would allow Apple to manufacture iPods with wireless headsets, an increasingly popular feature of mobile devices among consumers,” reports The Independent. “Apple has sold more than 22 million iPods and although it is possible to buy separate adapters that connect an iPod to earphones wirelessly, the music players do not come with Bluetooth as a standard. CSR confirmed it had approached Apple after publishing a bullish trading update yesterday that showed sales of its chips, which enable devices to provide wireless connections using the Bluetooth technology standard, are rising faster than expected.”
RadTech has expanded its Portectorz line to include all dockable iPods and Apple’s AirPort Express. Made from high-polymer silicone, Portectorz have a custom-molded design to keep the ports of products such as iPods, PowerBooks and iBooks clean and protected from foreign objects. Portectorz are Uni-die molded and lightly frosted for a “smooth and elegant appearance that beautifully complements your digital device’s style.” The Portectorz for 3G/4G iPods and iPod minis sell for $5.95. The AirPort Express Portectorz is priced the same.
PKOH NYC has announced the Earbud Clip, a new cord management product for iPods and other MP3 players. Produced in Lexan polycarbonate, the clip comes in a set of four colors—white, black, green and pink— for $9.95.
“The product approaches the problem of tangled earbuds in a unique way; rather than using a separate reel, it simply secures the cord after the earbuds have been wrapped around the iPod,” explains the company. “This provides for a fast, convenient, and highly compact way to store your earbuds and prevent them from tangling. When not in use, the clip remains conveniently attached to the cord.”
In the latest dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: with the iPod nano screaming “Buy Me” and invoking impulse purchases, one reader shares his attempts to hide his latest iPod addition from his suspicious wife. Have you succumbed to the urge?
A reader asks the question “Are nanos available in Europe subject to the EU Volume Cap?” Initial replies suggest not, and one member even states his nano arrived with a sticker stating in French “...that prolonged use at high volumes may damage the user’s hearing.”
In a poll started by one member the votes are pretty even in “Which color for nano? What’s your choice?” Do you think that the classic white rules or that black is the new white?
With the news that Apple is to address iTunes 5 problems with an update, make sure you check out the forums for posts on this issue, in the iTunes for Windows Discussion forum and also in the Windows iPod Problems Discussion forum.
Some readers are reporting that their iPod nanos have suffered cracked displays after being carried in their pockets - have you had a similar problem?
In its latest move to take on the iPod, Dell plans to unveil three new Dell DJ music players, including a tiny, flash memory-based model with LCD screen and an FM radio receiver called the Dell DJ Ditty. The company also plans to add color screens and XM Satellite Radio to its Pocket DJ and Dell DJ models.
CitizenPod has released its free 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival clickguide, which puts the entire ACL Music Festival lineup, performance schedule, band bios and festival information on your iPod.
Napster and Yahoo! are battling it out for second place in the digital music industry. The iTunes Music Store continues to dominate with a market share of about 82%, leaving Napster, Yahoo!, Microsoft and RealNetworks to fight for the remainder of the pie.
The Economist has an interesting piece on Apple CEO Steve Jobs: “In short, Mr Jobs currently seems vivacious by anybody’s standards. There are even rumors that he might run for governor of California (as a Democrat, presumably; Al Gore is on Apple’s board). For somebody famous in large part for a spectacular defeat—to Bill Gates and Microsoft—all this must feel like a new lease of life, in every respect.”
Tunewear has announced yet another new addition to its line of iPod nano accessories. The Tunetag is a luggage-tag style case for the nano made from nappa leather. The case features a transparent vinyl sheet that covers and protects the entire front of the nano while at the same time enabling control of the Click Wheel and full view of the screen. The Tunetag’s belt strap lets you attach the case to the handle of your luggage, belt loop or elsewhere. The Tunetag will be be available next month. Pricing was not announced.
SendStation Systems today announced the earBuddy carrying case for Apple’s white iPod earbuds. The compact case is built with ballistic nylon and features an ABS frame on the inside to easily wind up the cable and store the earphones. The product has a detachable keyring and was built to withstand 200 lbs. of force. The company also said that while the earBuddy was designed specifically for the Apple earbuds, it can still hold many other brands as well. The earBuddy comes in two color schemes—a silver and black version with orange zipper and an all-black version. It’s expected to ship later this month. SendStation said that pricing has not yet been determined.
DigiTimes is reporting that the iPod nano is forcing price cuts of non-brand name MP3 players in Taiwan. Vendors have reduced their retail prices by 10-20% for 512MB models and 20-35% for 1GB models.
Sony is starting its digital music comeback tour in Japan: “Analysts say the staggered timing of the rollouts appears to reflect a strategy by Sony to use its home-court advantage in Japan, one of the world’s largest and most competitive markets, to hone its products and strategies before taking the fight to other countries.”
The NYPD is now podcasting. Newsday reports that the first podcast includes “information on street closings during the UN General Assembly meeting and interviews with a captain about identity theft, as well as with a chief sent to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”
MacVroom has posted an article on how to make your own iPod nano sleeve out of a chomois cloth.
MacFixIt reports that some iPod nanos are being received DOA: “We’ve received a few reports of users taking delivery of out-of-the box non-functioning iPod nanos. This type of problem is typical for any large-scale manufacturing roll-out, though we are keeping a close watch for any potential trends.”
ColorWare, which offers custom painted electronics and computers, plans to offer the new iPod nano in more choices than Apple’s black and white models. The company has announced that it will sell the nano in numerous professionally painted hues for $65 over retail price—the 2GB iPod nano will sell for $265 and the 4GB model will cost $315. ColorWare currently has a teaser banner up that states that the colored nano service will be “coming soon.” ColorWare currently sells the iPod mini and fourth-generation iPod in a rainbow of colors. [via DAP Review]
Apple announced today that the new iTunes-enabled Motorola ROKR mobile phone is now available from select Motorola resellers in the UK, including Carphone Warehouse. The ROKR will go on sale at midnight tonight at the Carphone Warehouse located at 272 Oxford Street in London. The first 50 customers will get 100 free downloads from iTunes. The phone stores up to 100 songs and features 3D stereo sound, a stereo headset, video capture and playback, Bluetooth, VGA camera and more. It’s available through UK mobile carrier O2 from Carphone Warehouse for free with contract or £209.99 with pay-as-you-go airtime.
Red Wine Audio has announced the iMod, a $249 upgrade that enhances the sound quality of your iPod by tapping directly into the DAC (digital-to-analog converter) chip inside the device.
“The goal of the Red Wine iMod is to significantly minimize the analog signal path that follows the output of the internal Wolfson WM8975 DAC chip,” explains the company. “Using D.H. Labs silver wire, we take the analog output (line out) directly off of the DAC chip and send it out of the iPod rear case (via a drilled 5/32” hole) to a custom made assembly that contains Black Gate Non-Polarized NX HiQ coupling capacitors soldered directly to a new 1/8” stereo line out jack.”
As a reminder for potential entrants, two iLounge contests with roughly $2700 in prizes are ending this week - one tonight. Our Search for iPod Trivia Contest gives you the chance to win one of three Klipsch iFi Speaker Systems, each worth $399. You’ll find the contest on page 72 of The Free iPod Book and Back to School Guide. This contest ends at 11:59PM tonight.
Our separate Blog The Book Contest ends on September 23, 2005, so new bloggers still have a chance to win. A total of 15 iPod shuffles or cash prizes up to $1500 will be given away. Complete contest rules are available here.
In a glowing review of the iPod nano for The New York Times, David Pogue writes: “Apple says its iPod and iTunes music store have 74 and 85 percent of their worldwide markets. But according to Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray analyst, the end is near… Well, he’s right about one thing: Apple’s market share won’t stay at 80 percent. It’s about to go up.”
BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl discusses a video iPod and online video store: “If Apple doesn’t do it, someone else will. But my money is on Apple—and Jobs. Apple is the only company that can do this right. And in fact, the movie industry needs some help in finding its way in the digital world. Apple has been this way before with music. It can do it again with video, and change the entertainment world once again.”
iPodMyBaby.com has added a “Nano Black” version of its iPod-themed onesie. “Ultra realistic black with glossy click wheel on 100% cotton American Apparel one piece. A special silk screening technique was used with high density inks to provide a slick and shiny wheel on your baby’s belly. Impossibly cute.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg reviews the Motorola ROKR: “As a music player, the Motorola ROKR is OK, as are the two other music phones we tested. But none of them approaches either the style or the functionality of the iPod, and none lives up to the full potential of what a combined cellphone and music player could be.”
Apple has acknowledged problems with the Windows version of iTunes 5 and said it will release an update next week to fix the issues.
“Apple is aware that a limited number of customers are experiencing issues with installing iTunes 5,” the company said in a statement. “We’re working to resolve this and expect to have a software update early next week.”
Problems reported on Apple’s support message board include computer crashes, deleted playlists, problems with purchased music transfers, and application conflicts, among other issues.
Mediafour has released XPlay 2.2, which adds support for the iPod nano and iTunes 5 compatibility. XPlay enables you to move music to and from your iPod with its drag-and-drop interface, copy music from your iPod to your hard drive, use a Mac-formatted iPod on both a Mac and PC, revise and reorder playlists, and more. XPlay sells for $29.95.
Images found in the resource files of iTunes 5—including “Gift video,” “Buy video,” and “Add video” buttons—hint that Apple could soon start selling standalone videos.
In his positive review of the iPod nano, Matthew Fordahl of the Associated Press writes: “But the biggest problem, which also turns out to be its biggest selling point, is size. The Nano is so small that it tends to disappear quite easily on a cluttered desk. It’s also conceivable that more than a few Nanos will be forgotten in pockets and sent through the washing machine.”
Apple has posted a support document containing Motorola ROKR connectivity troubleshooting tips for those using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, iSync 2.1 or later, or iTunes 4.9 or later.
Coldplay, Capitol Records and Apple today announced Fix You, a digital EP that will benefit Hurricane Katrina Victims. The EP, which is available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store for $2.99, includes two songs previously unreleased in the US—“Pour Me” and “The World Turned Upside Down”—in addition to two versions of “Fix You,” the band’s new single from the double Platinum album X&Y. Coldplay, BMG Publishing, Capitol Records/EMI and Apple will donate 100 percent of their share of the proceeds of sales of the EP to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund.
Contrary to analyst comments made yesterday, Piper Jaffray said Wednesday that Apple’s iPod nano is “selling well.” The research firm said that all of the 20 Apple retail stores it contacted in a survey this week expressed that demand for the nano, especially the black nano, is high. “No store that we checked with had Black 4G nanos in stock,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “One store sold out of the Black 4G nano within the first three hours of availability and then sold out of the White 4G nano on the second day of availability.”
Munster also notes that Alexa.com web traffic data shows increased interest in Apple’s products. “Apple’s ‘traffic rank’ has recently spiked to all time highs, having a ranking of 39 on Sept. 12 vs. a ranking of 64 on June 30,” he said. “We believe that the publicity surrounding Apple’s launch of the new iPod nano, and to a lesser extent, the unveiling of Motorola’s ROKR phone, has fueled the spike in interest observed in the web traffic data.”
Apple may also be learning from past mistakes with product production, according to the analyst. “While the Apple stores are currently out of the Black 4G nano, we believe that Apple has learned from the production mistakes of the iPod mini made during last year’s holiday season and will produce enough of the iPod nano to meet demand,” Munster said. “This is based on comments from Apple in which they said their manufacturing partner has dedicated a facility solely to nano production. Thus, going forward, we believe that if the lead time of the nano increases, Apple would likely be selling more nanos than their initial aggressive expectations.”
Incase Designs has announced a new collection of officially-licensed Collegiate Folio cases for the iPod. Available next month in time for the college football season, the initial line includes 10 top universities. The Folio cases feature the school’s logo on front with name on belt clip, a flip-down cover, synthetic fiber exterior and suede interior, and elastic sides in complimentary colors. They will retail for $29.95 and be available in in Apple retail and online stores as well as select college campuses. In related news, Incase said it has plans to launch a line of products for the new iPod nano.