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iHome debuts new portable iPod speakers

iHome has introduced two new portable iPod speaker systems—the iH31 and iH19. The iH31 ($130) is a boom box style unit that features a built-in iPod dock, FM radio, Aux/MP3 line-in jack, and remote control. It runs on batteries, AC outlet or car adaptor, and comes in silver or white. The iH19 ($80; shown right) is a water-resistant speaker case for iPods and other MP3 players. The zippered case features two stereo speakers, space for storing an iPod, and offers the ability to listen through headphones or the speakers. The iH19B also offers remote control capability, charges an iPod with an included adapter, and comes with brackets to attach the case to a bike, stroller or other equipment.

iPod+iTunes notes from Apple’s Q3 conference call

During Apple’s third quarter conference call with analysts today, company executives discussed a number of iPod and iTunes related topics. Below are highlights from the call. See our previous story for Apple’s third quarter earnings and iPod shipment numbers.

- The iPod accounts for over 75% of the U.S. market for MP3 players.

- The iPod is the top-selling MP3 player in Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Spain, Italy and Japan, according to the latest data from NPD, GFK and BCN.

- The iTunes Music Store now accounts for 85% of the digital music market, based on data from Nielsen SoundScan.

- The iTunes Music Store now offers over 3 million songs, 9,000 music videos and over 150 TV shows.

- Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said the company is “investing heavily in iPod and iTunes engineering and is very enthusiastic about products in the pipeline.”

- Apple now has nearly 40,000 distribution points for the iPod worldwide.

- Apple is getting more aggressive with iPod marketing efforts outside the U.S.

- When asked about mobile phones, Oppenheimer said, “We don’t think that the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time, that is likely to change, and we are not sitting around doing nothing.”

- Apple’s “other music products” had revenue of $457 million, up 90% year over year, because of “continued strong sales from the iTunes Music Store and very solid performance for iPod accessories.”

Apple ships 8.1 million iPods in Q3; Jobs ‘excited’ about future iPod products

Along with its quarterly financial results, Apple today announced that it shipped over 8.1 million iPods during the third quarter. Specifically, Apple said it shipped 8,111,000 iPods during the quarter, a 32 percent growth in iPods over last year’s results. Apple’s net profit for the quarter was $472 million, or 54 cents per share, on $4.37 billion in revenue. These results compare to revenue of $3.52 billion and a net profit of $320 million, or 37 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Following the financial results, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement that he is very excited about upcoming iPod releases. “The iPod continued to earn a US market share of over 75 percent and we are extremely excited about future iPod products in our pipeline,” Jobs said.

Update: In an SEC filing, Apple said all iPod models accounted for more than $1.4 billion in revenue during the quarter, an increase of 36 percent compared to last year. Apple’s “Other Music Products” category—which includes the iTunes Music Store, iPod related services and accessories—accounted for $457 million of the quarter’s revenue, a 90 percent increase year-over-year.

H2O Audio ships waterproof housing for iPod shuffle

H2O Audio today announced that it has begun shipping its new waterproof housing for the iPod shuffle. The waterproof and impact resistant case offers full control of the shuffle and is submersible up to 10ft. The housing features a SealTight connector and comes with a sport armband. “The new H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle housing provides unique full-function control that gives users ready access to all of the shuffle’s proprietary command functions even when fully submerged in water,” notes the company. The H2O Audio shuffle housing is priced at $40.

iPods to benefit from new Samsung chip

iPods and other gadgets could soon utilize a new 8GB NAND flash memory chip that is now in production at Samsung chip factories. The company said it shrank the chips by about 25 percent from previous designs, while it increased the amount of file storage. “Users should see an increase in the amount of data storage capacity in small devices within the next six months thanks to the chip,” reports IT World. “Samsung said an 8GB NAND flash device can store 2000 MP3 files or 225 minutes of DVD-quality video.” The 8GB chip could also mean that 16GB devices are possible before the end of the year. Apple has been rumored to be introducing 6GB and 8GB iPod nanos in the next few months.

Apple offers free accessories with refurbished iPods

Apple is currently offering a selection of refurbished iPods that come with a free bonus accessory as an added incentive. Apple is selling white and black 2GB iPod nanos for $169 along with the Apple Lanyard Headphones for free. The company is also offering refurbished 512MB iPod shuffles for $49 with either a free Apple iPod shuffle Armband or Apple iPod shuffle External Battery Pack. In addition, Apple is selling 20GB fourth-generation iPods (color screen - $199, monochrome screen - $169) with a free Apple iPod Dock. Apple said that while the iPods are reconditioned, the accessories are brand new.

Report: Nvidia to supply chip in next-generation video iPod

Nvidia has beat out Broadcom to supply the multimedia chip inside the next-generation video iPod, according to a Wall Street analyst. “Based on our analysis, we believe Nvidia is designed into the next-generation vPod socket at the expense of Broadcom,” said American Technology Research analyst Satya Chillara. “We believe the Nvidia chip adds 3D graphics functionality in addition to all of the existing features (such as H.264) that Broadcom supported with the existing vPod.” Apple’s current fifth-generation (video) iPod uses an audio chip from PortalPlayer and a multimedia chip from Broadcom. Apple’s “true” video iPod is rumored to be delayed until the first half of 2007.

New iPod nano, movie rentals rumored; analyst skeptical

Apple will use its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month to announce the second-generation iPod nano and full-length iTunes movie rentals, according to report by Think Secret. The website claims that the new nanos will feature increased capacity (6GB and 8GB) and come in multiple colors. Think Secret says Apple has relented to the Hollywood studios and will offer a subscription-based movie download service. Apple has reportedly already made agreements with Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros.

Following the Apple news site’s reports, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said he doesn’t expect such announcements to come at WWDC. “While we would like to see Apple refresh its nano sooner than later, our analysis continues to indicate a late Sept. to Oct. launch and ramp as more likely,” Wu said in a research note. “There is a first time for everything, but keep in mind WWDC is a Mac event and has not been used in the past for major iPod announcements. We anticipate a separate event to announce new iPod related products.”

iPod software dissection reveals possible new features

References found in the code of the latest iPod firmware update hint at several future features, including phone and messaging options. According to an AppleInsider report, the dissected software has hidden files named “t_feature_app_PHONE_APP” and “t_feature_app_MESSENGER_APP,” as well as variables such as “kPhoneSignalStrength,” “clPhoneCallHistoryModel,” and “prPhoneSettingsMenu.” The code also reportedly has references to an iPod-based search application, an iPod keyboard, and two new games—“Simon” and “Stacker.” AppleInsider says the code also hints at customizable iPod interface themes and other appearance preferences.

Pacific Rim updates Cube Travel Speakers

Pacific Rim Technologies has announced a new version of its Cube Travel Speakers. The new portable speakers now come in black (previously only available in white), have independent volume control, and ship with with an iPod nano docking adapter. The Cube Travel Speakers are regularly priced at $25, but will be on sale for $20 until August 1st, 2006.

CAVS Multimedia debuts multimedia/karaoke device for iPods

CAVS Multimedia has introduced the IPS-11G Karaoke Station, a new device that allows you to access and play back music, photo, video, and karaoke files stored on an iPod or USB storage device. The IPS-11G, which features a built-in iPod dock and USB connectivity, supports MPEG, MPG, AVI, DAT, VOB, MP3, JPEG, MPG, GIF, and MCG-MP3 karaoke format. The multimedia files are played through your home audio-video system and can be controlled with the included remote. “This does not mean that your iPod must be capable of playing the audio video or karaoke files,” explains CAVS. “Simply store the files in your iPod. The IPS-11G will then access your iPod and play the files… and will turn your iPod or into a home theater system to enjoy music, photos, movies, and also karaoke sing along.” [via Gizmodo]

Apple iPod exec discusses iPod car integration

Bob Borchers, senior director of iPod worldwide product marketing, recently spoke with CNET UK’s Crave about iPod integration in automobiles. Borchers reportedly said Apple wants consumers to move from third-party iPod auto accessories to iPod-enabled automobiles with more advanced factory integration. Crave reports: “Borchers explained how Apple wants to steer consumers away from the inelegant mess of cassette adaptors and wires, which is currently the most popular way to rig an iPod into your car stereo. Apple itself has no interest in producing a car stereo, says Borchers, but is working with third parties to improve iPod integration in new cars… Borchers sees add-ons as passé. What Apple really wants you to buy is a car that’s designed from the ground up to interface with the iPod.”

iLounge releases The Free iPod Book 2.2 for immediate download

imageThe Editors of iLounge are proud to announce the immediate availability of The Free iPod Book 2.2 for download. This edition is an expanded, improved follow-up to The Free iPod Book 2.0, which was recommended by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg as the “free manual on getting the most from your iPod.” With four all-new sections and updates to many of the book’s previously-released sections, the 200-plus-page Free iPod Book 2.2 is a must-see for current and prospective iPod owners. Did we mention that it’s free?

New sections include:

Nike + iPod Sport Kit (section S)
Troubleshooting Your iPod (section T)
U2 iPod + iPod Pack-Ins (section U)
and Backstage at iLounge (section V).

For additional details and download links, click below. Previous editions of our PDF-format publications are still available from the iLounge Library. Enjoy!

SwitchEasy intros KuroDock, Stickies for iPod nano

SwitchEasy has announced two new products for the iPod nano—the KuroDock and Capsule Stickies Touchwheel Protection. The KuroDock is a limited edition charging/docking solution specifically designed for black nanos. It features a white LED light bar with red activity light indicator. The Capsule Stickies are a series of Click Wheel protectors designed by YolkDesign. They’re made from an anti-static adhesive film that leaves no marks on the nano. The KuroDock sells for $30, while the Capsule Stickies cost $4 for a set of 3. Hands-on details and photos of both products can be found in our First Looks section.

Apple to report Q3 earnings this week

Apple will reports its fiscal third-quarter financial results on Wednesday after the markets close. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are expecting earnings, on average, of 44 cents a share and revenue of $4.4 billion. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he expects Apple to top Wall Street expectations on strong MacBook sales, but believes iPod unit sales could be “slightly below” forecasts.

Altec Lansing debuts inMotion iM500 for iPod nano

Altec Lansing today introduced the inMotion iM500 portable audio system for Apple’s iPod nano. The “lightweight and impossibly thin” speaker system features a built-in iPod dock, a fold-up design, and broad-faced speaker cones with MaxxBass technology. The iM500 is AC or battery operated (six AAA batteries provide more than seven hours of battery life) and also sports an auxiliary jack for using the speakers with other devices. The compact speaker system weighs 12 ounces and folds to a close at 8.5” wide, 0.7” deep and 5” high. The iM500 will sell for $130.

Mix: Nike+iPod hack, MediaGuardian 100, Amazon, iPod tour

The first runner has documented his steps in getting the Nike+iPod Sport Kit to work with a pair of non-Nike shoes using only a Velcro strip. Also, the first photos of the internal components of the Sport Kit have been posted online.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has taken the No. 2 spot in this year’s MediaGuardian 100 list. “Jobs is shaking up the established order in the media industry, with the annual MediaGuardian 100 power list today showing him leapfrogging News Corp mogul Rupert Murdoch into second place.” BBC director general Mark Thompson took the top spot.

Apple posts Nike+iPod support area

Apple has updated its support website with a new section covering the new Nike+iPod Sport Kit and related services. The new Nike+iPod support area offers several support documents, technical specifications and FAQs, including information on wireless capabilities, battery performance, and calibration. The new section also provides troubleshooting tips, a discussion forum, and a helpful video tutorial.

Report: ‘True’ video iPod not coming until 2007

Apple’s “true” video iPod isn’t likely to hit shelves until next year, according a report by Apple news site Think Secret. Based on information attributed to confidential sources, the site claims that the long-rumored iPod, which reportedly features a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive display and a virtual track wheel, has been met with “unforeseen technical obstacles” and will be delayed. “It is unlikely now that the new iPod will arrive in time for the holiday season, as recent information points to a release at Macworld Expo/San Francisco in January 2007,” Think Secret reports. “In the interim, sources say Apple is planning a smaller upgrade to the current 5G iPod, one that will likely encompass larger capacities and little more.” The site also claims that Apple insiders have ruled out that the new iPod will feature wireless capabilities, a talking interface, or an organic light-emitting diode display (OLED). As with analysts’ speculation on unreleased Apple products, readers are cautioned to take “insider” information with a grain of salt. 

iPod FM transmitters to be legalized in UK

iPod FM transmitters such as Griffin Technology’s iTrip are set to become legal in the UK this Fall. Ofcom, the regulating body for the UK communications industries, has outlined plans to legalize the devices in response to “growing consumer demand.” As previously reported, current British law prohibits the use of FM transmitters because the devices could potentially interfere with commercial FM frequencies. Ofcom has been working with third-party iPod accessory makers and other regulators to make the devices legal.

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