Following meetings last week with digital music companies such as Apple and RealNetworks, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said he is “more convinced than ever that Apple has a substantial lead and advantage” over competitors.
In a research report obtained by iLounge, Wu said that the tightly integrated combination of the iPod, iTunes and iTunes Music Store shows no sign of giving up ground to competing companies and formats. “This is despite competitive efforts over the past 2-3 years and continued efforts to erode its dominance,” he said.
“Progress is being made by the Windows Media camp, but coordination and integration are proving difficult because of the many vendors involved including systems, semiconductor, software, content, and service providers, with their various agendas and diverse geographies,” Wu said.
Wu also said that Apple could introduce more than just new iPods at the Apple Expo this September. “We believe Apple could use the upcoming keynote by Steve Jobs at the Apple Expo 2005 event in Paris to make a significant announcement beyond just new iPods,” Wu said. “We believe this could be new markets including music subscriptions and video and the ever-elusive Motorola iTunes cell phone.”
Green Day’s official online store is now offering an iPod case emblazoned with the graphics from its latest album, American Idiot, which has spawned such hits as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Holiday (Faded Ending).” The screen-printed leather case features a flip-top, PDA-style front cover and belt loop. It works with fourth-generation iPods and has an opening for the headphone jack and Dock Connector port. The Green Day American Idiot case is priced at $35.
Party-Pod Pro 5.0 is the latest version of the software that “gives your iPod a database of partygoer necessities.
Macally has announced the availability its Icesuit for the iPod shuffle. The $19.99 silicone sleeve “protects your iPod shuffle against everyday hazards and scratches” and is available in three different colors—green, pink and clear. The Icesuit provides access to all controls and comes with an elastic adjustable armband.
The iPod Linux group has ported a “mostly playable” version of DOOM to the iPod.
NASA’s official website reports: “One day before landing, STS-114 Mission Specialist Steve Robinson transmitted the first podcast from space.”
Apple is one step closer to launching an iTunes Music Store in New Zealand after acquiring the iTunes.co.nz domain name from an individual.
Apple today announced that more than one million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the Japanese iTunes Music Store since it launched four days ago.
“iTunes has become Japan’s number one online music store in just four days,
A few readers are using iPods to fall asleep. While going to sleep while wearing earphones should be avoided, what other ways do you use the iPod to help you drift off?
In a related topic, there’s a discussion on Music To Sleep To. Have you compiled a definitive playlist to ‘rock’ you to sleep?
The subject of “Jack Sharing” (or Podjacking) was mentioned recently in a popular U.K. Mac magazine, a topic originally raised by a Lounger in the forums nearly 2½ years ago. Have you had any experience of a stranger asking to plug into your iPod? Or do you think it’s just an urban myth?
iSkin has provided iLounge with an exclusive preview of its upcoming line of iSkin Vibe iPod protectors. The company said it has partnered with the talented designers from Toki Doki to create the colorful sleeves, which feature Toki Doki’s unique anime-style characters in a variety of designs.
Similar to Griffin’s Chameleon cases, the iSkin Vibes are made from a special material similar to PU. Vibes will be released for the iPod mini and iPod shuffle in September. Pricing is expected to be $19.99 for the mini (belt clip and lanyard included) and $14.99 for the shuffle.
Click the link below to view large photos of several of the new cases.
The Japan Times reports that Japanese music on Sony labels is not available on the new Japanese iTunes Music Store. “We are in talks with Apple, but we have not reached an agreement at this time,” a Sony spokeswoman said.
Digital Music News reports on iTunes song pricing: “Labels have been pushing Apple to increase its current fixed a-la-carte pricing structure in the US, Canada and Europe. And a two-tiered pricing model in Japan will add fuel to that effort, with Apple unexpectedly breaking its uniform pricing approach.”
In an article entitled “Podcast: David vs. Goliath,” BusinessWeek’s Heather Green looks at how media giants are beating out indie/amateur podcasters in the iTunes directory.
The Spoilers Podcast is a new podcast for movie fans that offers alternate commentary tracks for DVDs—you push play on the podcast and play on the DVD at the same time to hear the podcaster’s comments and trivia.
Real Networks unsuccessfully disputes Apple’s claim to be the first digital music store to offer the Rolling Stones’ complete back catalog.
It’s here - the fourth iLounge Week in Review podcast. As explained in the new edition’s introduction - yes, we know - iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz has yet again filled in for the panel, offering commentary on the top news headlines and iLounge features of the week.
This week’s topics: The launch of iTunes Music Store Japan, the addition of three new auto makers to the Apple partnership for iPod-to-auto integration, continued analyst speculation over next-generation iPods, HP’s decision to end sales of the iPod, and new iPod accessories released or reviewed this week.
UK iPod accessory maker PodGear has announced the HouseParty, a portable speaker system for the entire iPod range—iPod, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The HouseParty comes with separate adaptor cradles so that any iPod with a bottom port can be connected to the system.
“The PodGear HouseParty turns your iPod into a mini stereo system, pumping out 2x6W of crisp stereo sound,” says PodGear. “Beautifully designed and compact, HouseParty is equally at home in the living room, kitchen, bedroom or by your computer. HouseParty offers a total solution for any recent iPod. As well as great sound, it will charge your iPod™, iPod mini or iPod Shuffle, and even enables synchronization with your computer over USB.”
The PodGear HouseParty sells for £49.99 and will be available next month.
Incase has designed a limited edition iPod case for the grand opening of Tokyo’s second Apple Store, which opens its doors on Saturday in the city’s Shibuya district.
“The case is a tribute to the well-known bronze statue in Tokyo that honors the dog Hachiko, who was the faithful pet of Dr. Eisaburo Ueno (a professor at Tokyo University),” explains the company. “After years of commuting to the university from the railroad station where Hachiko would wait for him, Dr. Ueno died from a stroke while at work in May 1925. For the next 9 years, the dog would loyally return to the station and wait for the return of his owner.”
Incase said a select number of people will receive one of the Shibuya cases for free case on Saturday and then it will be sold for $39.99 at the Shibuya Apple Store location only.
Thought Out has announced the FlexPed, a new flexible mounting device that lets you mount your iPod “virtually anywhere including cars, boats, and walls etc.”
The company said that the FlexPed uses the same PedHead mechanism that it uses on its Ped2 iPod stand. The adjustable device lets you mount your iPod with or without cases or skins.
Thought Out said FlexPed will be available in September for under $50.
Amazon.com is apparently preparing an online music store, according to a job listing for a “content acquisition manager” for the company’s “forthcoming digital music service.”
USA Today’s Michelle Kessle has written a piece on podcasters running into music licensing problems over fears of piracy from record companies.
Chicago’s WKQX (Q101) has announced “My Shuffle” weekends—the radio station’s “answer to an all-request weekend in the iPod Age.” Listeners will be able to create playlists online from the Q101 music library and submit their selections.
A version of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights has been posted online for download in iPod note format.
Earth VideoWorks has announced the release of iCandy, a new product for color screen iPods that offers more than 40 slideshows with over 1200 unique pictures of sunsets, wildflowers, forests, beaches, contemporary art, and more. iCandy also comes with 500 kaleidoscope images.
“Earth VideoWorks has been publishing fine art and nature DVDs for over three years, and has an extensive digital photo library of over 25,000 images,” says the company. “These same images are now available in slideshows for iPod Photo owners!”
The iCandy package sells for $14.95 and works with both Macs and PCs.
Copy-protected albums from Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and others continue to sell well despite complaints about their incompatibility with iPods.
“Aiming to curb piracy, labels like Sony BMG, which released both records, are rolling out copy-protected albums in the United States, which let users make three exact duplicates of a CD, and store files on a PC in Microsoft Corp.‘s Windows Media format,” reports Reuters. “But the copy-protection bars users from importing music onto iPods since Apple’s Fairplay software is incompatible with Windows.”
The news agency notes that about a third of the 252 customer reviews of the new Foo Fighter CD this week on Amazon complained about the protection. “This CD has a copy protection scheme that makes it totally useless to 30 million iPod owners,” wrote one reviewer. “How could a band be so stupid as to alienate such a huge percentage of their fans?”
Record executives are continuing talks with Apple to make the CDs compatible with iPods, and point out that they have released versions of the albums on Apple’s iTunes Music Store for iPod owners. “That appeased some iPod users, but others are still angry because they like to physically own a disc before importing it to iPods,” said Reuters.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that both Apple and the record companies would benefit if they reach an agreement on the copy protection. “Apple’s the leader in digital music. It doesn’t make sense to release too many copy-protected CDs if they’re incompatible with iPods. But Apple could also be at risk if these CDs keep selling well,” he said.
Speck Products has announced its new SkinTight Armband for the iPod Shuffle. The $24.95 armband features an adjustable velcro strap and a shatter-proof ABS plastic cradle that works with an included rubberized skin. It also has earphone cable clips to keep excess cord out of your way.
“The SkinTight Armband and included SkinTight Rubberized Skin provide you with the freedom to run, bike, walk, or work-out with your Shuffle iPod,” says Speck. “Slip your iPod into the SkinTight Skin and snap it into the armband for a secure, comfy and hands-free way to enjoy your iPod and favorite music.”
Tracy Futhey, CIO and VP for Information Technology at Duke University, discusses Duke’s iPod project: “Over the past year, the iPod project has made clear to many of our faculty and in many of our courses, the value of digital audio in a whole host of domains,” she said. “And those who have started to use the iPods have said, in a large number of cases, that this has been an important enough experiment that they absolutely need and want to continue it.”
Yahoo has launched a new search engine that lets users search through millions of songs offered by popular music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
Forbes reports: “Last quarter Napster lost $19.9 million—that is,the company lost nearly a dollar for every dollar it took in. Nor is Napster’s loss an aberration: From April 2003 through the end of March 2005, the company lost $97.8 million selling digital music.”
PlayLyrix is a Mac OS X application that “searches the user’s iTunes collection and automatically creates a new playlist of all the songs whose lyrics contain specified words or phrases.”
“PlayLyrix can be used to create playlists of songs with lyrics that reinforce a wide range of moods or themes,” explains the developer. “As an example, for a birthday party one might wish to make a playlist of all one’s songs that have the word ‘birthday’ in the lyrics.
PlayLyrix costs $5 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4.5 or later.
A higher capacity iPod shuffle and color screen iPod mini are both likely to be introduced this year, though a video iPod isn’t expected before the end of 2005, according to one Wall Street analyst. In a research note obtained by iLounge, Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster offered an overview of potential new Apple products, including his speculation on the future iPod line.
Munster said he expects a higher capacity iPod shuffle to debut before the end of 2005, noting that Apple Expo in Paris at the end of September will likely be the venue for its introduction. “Comments from iPod supplier PortalPlayer seem to indicate that there will be some form of new flash-based device in the market toward the end of the Sep-05 quarter,” Munster said. “We believe this is likely a high capacity shuffle or another new flash-based iPod.”
Munster said a much anticipated color screen iPod mini is likely to be introduced this year and could also debut at Apple Expo in Paris. “We believe that this is a natural extension of the existing 4GB/6GB mini and given Apple’s move to color on the 20GB iPod, we would not be surprised to see the company add a color screen to the mini,” he said. “In our view, a color screen iPod mini would be a home-run product for Apple in the upcoming holiday season.”
Finally, Munster said that a video iPod is unlikely anytime soon. “While speculation regarding the launch of a video iPod within the next 2-3 quarters is growing, we do not expect a video iPod within the next 12 months,” Munster said. “Based on comments from the company regarding the portable media center market and the current lack of significant consumer interest for feature film downloading, we believe Apple will wait at least 12 months—until the market is ready for such a product.”