Now available is the seventeeth iLounge podcast, co-hosted by our Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. This week’s podcast discusses MacExpo 2005 in London, which is going on right now, as well as the iBelieve crucifix accessory for iPod shuffle, the opening of iTMS Australia, Bob’s evolving feelings on the 5G iPod, and more.
Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.
Consumer Reports claims that the screen on the new fifth-generation iPod is just as prone to scratching as the iPod nano. “Our tests of the new 30GB model did turn up some drawbacks. Among them is a durability problem that arose with some of the Nanos: a scratch-prone screen. In an informal test, we found the screen on the new iPod softer than the one on previous high-capacity iPods; we could easily scratch it with fingernails.”
Commenting on the new iPod and ABC-iTunes deal, BusinessWeek’s Stephen Wildstrom says that Apple stays ahead of the competition because of its focus on consumers. “Apple’s products and services are designed with the single overarching concern of delivering a great consumer experience… Apple has again done consumers a service by playing the trailblazer, persuading a top-tier studio to provide good content despite its fears of piracy and disruption to its distribution model.”
Forbes has created a Steve Jobs/Darth Vader mask that you can download and print out. “Steve Jobs was the chosen one who promised to make things right in the computing world. But as time passed, his hunger for power took over, leading him to sue hapless bloggers and embrace dark arts, like digital-rights management.”
Sumajin has announced the Loop nano, a new silicone iPod nano case. The company said the $14 case is “made of a clearer grade of silicone rubber which makes our casing design more appealing than commonly used silicone rubber.” The Loop nano, which is available in 10 colors, has grooves on the back for better grip and comes with a lanyard and a clear screen protector film.
Autobytel’s CarTV has converted several of its automotive videos to play on the new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod. The downloadable video content includes “expert third-party new vehicle reviews, step-by-step car maintenance tips, and a weekly automotive news program covering late-breaking industry announcements, trends and issues.” CarTV will also provide daily coverage of next week’s SEMA show in iPod video format. The company said new videos will be added each week.
Pacific Rim Marketing has added a new version of its iDiddy Opticover for the iPod nano. Made from aerospace polyurethane, self-applied covering will “protect your nano from scratches with a tough barrier so durable that it is offered for use on the front of Ferraris and Porches to protect the paint from rocks and road rash.” The clear film covers the front and back of the nano and sells for $14.95.
Tunewear has announced the Tunewallet 5G, a new wallet-style case for the new fifth-generation iPod. The leather case, which will be available next month for $39.95, has three card slots and a small pocket inside the flip-cover to fit credit cards, business cards, cash and more. The Tunewallet 5G comes in three color combinations—black leather with red stitching, black leather with white stitching, and white leather with white stitching. The case will also include the Tunefilm 5G, the new clear protective film that covers the front and back of the iPod.
Contour Design has introduced a new version of its iSee hard case for Apple’s iPod nano. The clear polycarbonate case features all-around protection for the nano, wrap-around cord management, a detachable belt clip, and provides access to all controls and ports. “The iSee nano brings the beauty and simplicity of Contour’s iSee case line to the iPod nano—a crystal clear, low profile, secure snap-on case that accents and complements the iPod nano’s style,” says the company. Contour’s iSee nano is priced at $19.95 and will be available the first week of November.
Tunewear has announced the Tunefilm 5G, a clear protective covering for Apple’s fifth-generation iPod. The film comes in three pieces to cover the iPod’s front, back and click wheel. The Tunefilm is being sold separately for $9.95, and will be included free with the company’s Prie Ambassador 5G and Icewear 5G cases. It will be available starting next month.
BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl says that lawyers will be the only real beneficiaries in the class action lawsuit over scratched iPod nanos.
Sony-BMG is hopeful it will soon come to an agreement with Apple to join the Australian iTunes Music Store. “There’s a couple of points left to finalize, the negotiations are going really well and we hope that they will be all settled soon and we’ll be on track too,” said Emmanuel Candi of Sony-BMG Entertainment Australia.
“Osman Ratib, professor and chief of nuclear medicine at the University Hospital of Geneva, has co-created a computer software program called Osirix,
iSkin has announced the availability of its iSkin Duo for the iPod nano. First shown earlier this month, the case features a dual layer shock-resistant silicone skin that “guards against bumps, scratches, dirt, and other unwanted elements, ensuring your tunes keep playing no matter where you go.”
The form-fitting protective case comes with a clear screen protector, port covers for both the dock and earphone ports, a transparent click wheel protector, and a RevoClip 2 belt clip. iSkin’s iPod Duo is available in a variety of two-tone color combinations and is priced at $29.99.
Hutchings Software has announced Bosco’s Pod Pouch, a new lanyard case for Apple’s fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. “Inspired by the female kangaroo,” Bosco’s Pod Pouch has a pouch to hold the iPod and an earbud pouch to hold earbuds when not in use. The case features embroidered surfaces, lets users control their iPod without removing it from the pouch, and comes with a set of red earbuds from Jasper Unlimited. Bosco’s Pod Pouch will be available next month in black twill, black velveteen, or black polyester suede. Pricing starts at $29.95.
Makers of MP3 players are facing a shortage of 1GB flash memory chips, and at least one blames Apple and Samsung for the less than ample supply that the rest of the industry is fighting for.
“One of the key challenges we face in our MP3 business is an industry-wide shortage of 1GB flash memory,” said Creative president Craig McHugh. “Industry demand for high-capacity flash memory currently outstrips supply and this will impact availability of our 1GB flash MP3 players for the holiday quarter. The shortage of flash memory, according to industry analyst speculation, is primarily a result of a special deal that Apple has secured from a key supplier for the holiday season.”
It has been reported that Samsung is selling the majority of its flash memory supply to Apple at below market cost for use in the iPod nano and iPod shuffle.
Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo said the deal is putting pressure on many smaller companies. “The MP3 market is now consolidating, but there is a shortage [of flash memory] because of the special deal we talked about,” said Sim. “The low-end [manufacturers] went out of business in the last few months because it’s very hard to face this pressure. If Creative is losing money then it’s very difficult for other companies to really fight in this battle.”
Sim said he doesn’t expect the deal to last long. “I don’t think the vendor [Samsung] is benefiting on it, so it’s really a one-sided deal,” he said. “I don’t think anybody else out there can get [similar terms]. That’s not the way the industry practices.”
Sonnet Technologies has announced a new line of high-capacity replacement batteries for first- through fourth-generation iPods and iPod minis. The new batteries offer 75% greater capacity than the original Apple batteries, according to the company. Sonnet supplies all the required tools and installation instruction videos (in English, French, German, and Japanese) on a CD-ROM. Prices range from $29.95 to $39.95.
The BrixPod Classic is a limited edition iPod shuffle case made of Legos. Resembling a full-size iPod, the unique case is assembled by hand from 59 Lego parts.
“The BrixPod Classic can be displayed alone but is intended for use with the iPod shuffle. By inserting the shuffle into the top of the BrixPod you get the effect of a fully functional music player constructed from Lego. The shuffle is held securely and protected inside the BrixPod. By pushing on the screen area of the BrixPod the shuffle can be paused/played. An eject slider on the back of the BrixPod allows you to remove the shuffle easily.”
300 BrixPods will be available. The first 150 units will go on sale tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. ET for $49.99 each. The second group of 150 units will be available in approximately three weeks. [via TUAW]
Following a series of complaints from consumers regarding the company’s policy on iPod nano returns, Apple appears to not be taking any chances with the new fifth-generation (video) iPod when it comes to customer satisfaction. According to a report published by AppleInsider, the company recently told Apple authorized service providers to replace new iPods that exhibit “any type of hardware failure,” including “those that would normally be classified as abuse.” For a short period of time, Apple will be “evaluating all forms of hardware failure on the recently announced fifth-generation iPod,” the company reportedly said, and will take back any fifth-generation iPod reported to have a problem. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two iLounge editors and a number of readers have reported data synchronization problems with their new iPod units, which appear to be hardware related. Problem units fail to fully transfer music libraries from a host computer, halting 500-2000 songs into the process. When replaced with new units, no synchronization problems were evident.
Wired’s Frank Rose has written a feature article providing an inside look at the development of Motorola’s ROKR phone. “Consumers want an iPod phone that will play any song, anytime, anywhere. Just four little problems: the cell carriers, the record labels, the handset makers, and Apple itself. The inside story of why the ROKR went wrong. (And what it will take to make a truly rocking music phone.)”
Eric Benderoff of the Chicago Tribune loves the new iPod: “Apple’s mighty line of iPod digital music players has taken another remarkable evolution, this time introducing brilliant color to display music videos, TV shows and even junior’s first steps. Available this week, the new video iPod is a surprising delight to watch—and, of course, listen to. At 2 inches wide, the screen is slightly wider than on previous iPods and it sparkles in color. Videos have the clarity one would expect from a much larger screen.”
Larry Buhl of Wired News reports: “There’s a widespread notion that pornographers eagerly jump on new technology long before it goes mainstream, but with Apple’s new video-playing iPod, the adult industry is largely staying away. With a couple of exceptions, porno producers are in no hurry to provide stag movies for the iPod, thanks to fears of a public outcry and a government crackdown.”
An ABC executive said this week that the company plans to increase the number of television shows available for viewing on wireless and mobile devices early next year. “We expect our mobile video subscriber business to reach 14 million in 2009, up from about 200,000 today.” Albert Chang, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney ABC Television Group said.
Pacific Rim Marketing has announced the iDiddy Opticover for the new fifth-generation iPod. Made from aerospace polyurethane, the covering will “protect your iPod from scratches with a tough barrier so durable that its offered in the aftermarket for use on the front of Ferraris and Porches and other high end cars to protect the paint from rocks and road rash.” The Opticover, which requires application with an included squeegee, covers both the front and back of your iPod. It is priced at $14.99.
iPREPpress and SparkNotes have released 11 study guides for classic American and British literature that can be downloaded and read on your iPod. The iPod study guides offer the same content as the best-selling SparkNotes study guides including “context, plot overview, summary and analysis, theme, motives, key facts and quizzes, and audio hyperlinks to context, audio plot overview and audio analysis of major characters.”
Available study guides for the iPod include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, and A Tale of Two Cities. The SparkNotes guides, which sell for $4.95 each, work with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos.
“From an exclusive digital-only Jackie Chan charity track to albums from a broad and diverse selection of music from the latest Chinese Hip-Hop, Rap, Rock, Traditional and Cultural Music, The Orchard debuts this unparalleled selection of Chinese hits on the iTunes Music Store. To promote this peerless collection, The Orchard enlisted Chinese legend Jackie Chan to compile his top dozen all-time favorite tracks, which range from Mandarin Pop to Alternative & Punk to Instrumental Chinese Classical to Canto Pop. In addition, much of The Orchard’s Chinese music catalog will be included this week in an iTunes feature highlighting music of the world.”
The New York Times looks at the controversy over Apple’s new Eminem iPod commercial, which has raised eyebrows for its similarities with a Lugz shoe commercial from 2002. “We’re very upset,” Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and principal at Lugz, told the Times. “The look and feel are awfully similar. We’re going to take all the steps we need to protect our rights.”
Macsimum News points out that Steve Berman, the lead attorney in the iPod nano class-action lawsuit, has done some “intensive work” for Apple rival Microsoft. The website of Berman’s law firm states: “More recently, Microsoft recognized Mr. Berman’s experience and expertise when the company retained him to be part of the core national team representing the company in antitrust class actions arising from Judge Jackson’s Findings of Fact in the Department of Justice antitrust case against the company.” [via MDN]
U.S. News & World Report has named Apple CEO Steve Jobs one of America’s Best Leaders. “For the past 29 years, ever since he built the first Apple computer in a garage, Jobs has been a commercial innovator, cultural inspiration, and entrepreneurial icon. He’s an iconoclast who has enhanced our society’s digital self-image.”