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Crutchfield launches Digital Drive-thru service

Crutchfield has announced the launch of the Digital Drive-thru, an online tool that helps users find the accessories and instructions required to connect an iPod to any car stereo system. “Customers simply identify their specific model of digital music player, the year, make and model of their vehicle, add in any other customized equipment currently in use, and the tool immediately identifies the exact equipment necessary to complete the best installation—optimized for sound quality, aesthetics and overall functionality—along with a graphical depiction of the installation process.”

Win free v-moda earphones in iLounge chat contest

To kick off a series of live iLounge chats in our recently opened live chat room, fashion headphone maker v-moda will be holding a live trivia contest and giving away 20 pairs of Remix M-Class earphones (iLounge rating: A-) to iLoungers. Ten questions will be asked, and two people per question will win headphones for correct answers - one pair maximum per person. Winners will be announced on the spot. Answers to the questions can be found either on v-moda’s website or in news coverage of the company and its products. The live chat will be held on April 3 at 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET.

Mix: Music sales, NAND flash, Goombah, EarBuddy

Global music revenue fell 3% to $21 billion in 2005, while digital music sales nearly tripled to $1.1 billion from $400 million the year before, split evenly between online services and mobile phone downloads, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said today.

Apple has agreed to buy at least 20% of Hynix Semiconductor’s NAND flash memory until 2010, according to documents from the South Korean chipmaker. Apple also said it would increase orders by at least 180% a year until the end of the decade.

iBikeMount for iPod nano now shipping

The iBikeMount, which allows you to easily mount an iPod nano to the handlebars of bicycles, exercise machines and strollers, is now shipping and available for order. It attaches to a variety of handlebar sizes (22 mm–26 mm) and requires no tools to install. The iBikeMount is priced at $30. “The new mount eliminates the inconvenience of digging the iPod out of a pocket, removing it from an armband, or bringing a dangling lanyard up to the face in order to make selection or setting changes. iBikeMount keeps the nano safely in plain sight and within easy reach.”

HandStands offers iGadget Grips for iPods

HandStands has announced the availability of its iGadget Grips, “small grippy pads” that attach to iPods or other devices to hold them securely to a car dashboard. Based on HandStands’ patented Sticky Technology, the iGadget Grips are washable, reusable, use no adhesives, and leave no residue. The package comes with nine different cutouts to fit all iPod sizes. The iGadget Grips are priced at $6.

Mix: Scrubs, Death Cab,, TomKat

The addition of Scrubs to the iTunes Music Store meant that NBC and ABC had to team up for an online first. Reuters reports: “While TV series for network broadcast are routinely produced by and licensed from studios of competing media companies, the ‘Scrubs’ deal marks the first such partnership for a prime-time program offered via the Internet for commercial download.”

The iTunes Music Store is now selling a video album version of Death Cab for Cutie’s latest album. “Each video has been created by a different director, each with his or her own unique vision of a song from Plans,” reads a description. “The outcome is an innovative and exciting combination of visual art and music, and it’s only available on iTunes.”

Xitel HiFi-Link for iPod nano announced

Xitel has introduced the HiFi-Link for iPod nano, a new docking station that connects the nano to home stereo equipment while also providing charging and remote control capabilities. The black device comes with a shielded audio cable with gold-plated connectors, adjustable SRS TruBass technology, and a remote that works up to 50 feet away. The HiFi-Link will be available starting mid-April 2006 for $70. See iLounge’s HiFi-Link First Look for hands-on pictures and further details.

Apple: iTunes doesn’t violate trademark agreement

In the second day of the Apple Corps vs. Apple Computer case, lawyers for Apple Computer said iTunes does not violate a trademark agreement the companies signed in 1991 and that it has rights to distribute digital music. Apple Computer lawyer Anthony Grabiner said the “distribution of digital entertainment content” was allowed under the agreement, adding that “even a moron in a hurry” could tell the difference between iTunes and a record label like Apple Corps.

Attorneys: iPod maximum volume update not good enough

Following Apple’s announcement today of an iPod update to limit volume levels, attorneys involved in a class-action lawsuit over iPod hearing loss have released a statement, saying that they “lauded Apple’s decision to provide a way to limit the volume of the popular iPod devices, but said the company’s actions fall far short.”

Griffin debuts iTalkPro stereo microphone for 5G iPods

Griffin Technology has provided iLounge with exclusive photos and details on iTalkPro, the company’s brand new high-quality recording accessory for fifth-generation iPods. Substantially redesigned from the company’s earlier, popular iTalks for 3G and 4G iPods, the glossy black iTalkPro now boasts twin internal microphones for recording in CD-quality stereo, taking advantage of the 5G iPod’s superior stereo and monaural sampling modes, and a bold red recording light around its one-touch recording button. It also features a unique on-screen gain adjustment menu and a bottom-mounted port for an external microphone of your choice. Predictably, the new iTalk connects to the 5G iPod’s bottom Dock Connector, and is not compatible with earlier iPods. A release date and pricing have yet to be announced.

Apple vs. Apple trial begins

The Beatles’ Apple Corps and Apple Computer faced off in court on Wednesday in the first day of their trademark battle over the Apple logo and the iTunes Music Store. “Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use Apple (trade)marks to do it,” Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening presentation. Vos said the use of the Apple logo on the iTunes Music Store is a violation of a previous agreement.

Mix: NFL, South Park, Steve Ballmer, Google

The NFL said it is renegotiating its online licensing deal which expires in May. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are reportedly going after the new deal. “It’s wide open. We haven’t made any decisions yet,” said an NFL spokesman.

Apple and Comedy Central have added the new 10th season of South Park to the iTunes Music Store. A Season Pass is offered for $11.99.

Pacific Rim offers wired remote for all docking iPods

Pacific Rim Technologies has announced the release of its new wired iPod remote. First shown at Macworld Expo in January, the wired remote is compatible with all docking iPods—3G, 4G, 5G, iPod mini and iPod nano. It features a belt clip and controls for play/pause, change track, volume, and hold. The remote is available at a special introductory price of $20.

NBC’s Scrubs added to iTunes Music Store

As expected, NBC’s Scrubs has been added to the iTunes Music Store. Currently only the fifth season of the hit comedy is available, with no Season Pass offered. “Scrubs heads into its fifth season with four Emmy nominations including one for Outstanding Comedy Series. Winner of the prestigious Humanitas Prize and nominated for a Producer’s Guild Award in 2004, two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award in its debut season. Scrubs focuses on the strange experiences of fresh-faced medical resident John ‘J.D.’ Dorian (Zach Braff) as he embarks on his healing career in a surreal hospital—where humor and tragedy can merge paths at any time.”

Apple releases iPod update with maximum volume limit

In response to recent concerns of potential hearing loss, Apple has announced an iPod software update that provides the ability to set a personal maximum volume limit on the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The version 1.1.1 update also gives parents the ability to set a volume limit on their child’s iPod and lock it with a combination code. Update: An iLounge tutorial on the new feature is now available online.

iHome reveals iH52, iH7 iPod speaker systems

Following the introduction of three new iPod speakers systems earlier this month, iHome Audio has provided iLounge with exclusive photos and information on two more systems—the iH52 and iH7—which will be released this year. While product details are slim at this time, iHome said that the iH52, a 2.1 bookshelf system with subwoofer, will be available in July for $199. The company said the iH7, the successor to the best-selling iH5 speaker system/clock radio, will add several enhancements including an extra “bedside” speaker and iPod shuffle dock. The iH7 will go on sale in Fall 2006 for $149. iHome said that these images are “not necessarily reflective of the products’ final design.”

Announcement: Join iLounge editors and Evan Stein of iHome for an informal live chat on April 6th at 3:00 p.m. PT. We will also be giving away several iHome products during the chat.

Apple offers Lost, Desperate Housewives Season Passes

Apple has added Season Pass options for both of ABC’s top shows — “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives.” iTunes Music Store customers now have the option of buying a $34.99 Season Pass for either of the shows, which includes all past episodes from the current season as well as future episodes that will download automatically. The Season Pass price will provide a discount of around $15 compared to buying the episodes individually for $1.99. Apple has previously sold older seasons of shows for a discount if purchased all at once. For example, the entire first season of “Lost” consists of 25 episodes and can be purchased for $34.99. The Season Pass feature debuted with the addition of NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament games to the iTunes store.

Geneva iPod speaker systems now shipping

Geneva Labs has announced that it is now shipping its first two Geneva Sound System models. Available in red, white or black, the Geneva Model L (100 watts) and Model XL (600 watts) feature a dedicated iPod dock, built-in CD player, FM radio, and audio inputs. In an update to the models announced late last year, the systems now come with color-coordinated remotes. The Geneva Model L sells for $600 and the Model XL is priced at $1075. Optional stands for both models are priced at $100.

Mix: Avie Tevanian, New shows, Cardboard case, Jobs taxes

Avadis “Avie” Tevanian, Apple’s Chief Technology Officer, is leaving the the company to “pursue other interests,” Apple confirmed yesterday.

Comedy Central’s “The Showbiz Show with David Spade” and the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” have been added to the iTunes Music Store.

Numark to debut iDJ2 iPod mixer with pitch control

Numark this week will introduce the iDJ2, a new version of the company’s professional iPod mixing console. Unlike the original iDJ, the new iDJ2 features only one iPod dock, but can play two songs simultaneously from a single iPod. The mixer provides real-time scratch, pitch control, looping, and full cueing of music from the docked iPod.

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