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Klipsch announces iJam boom box

imageIn addition to its new iGroove speaker system, Klipsch has introduced the iJam boom box for all iPods with dock connectors. The portable system features an iPod cradle, FM tuner, dual 4.5-inch woofers with coaxial mounted tweeters, and a passive radiator located on the rear that delivers “hard-hitting bass response.”

“Perfect for the beach, the garage or a backyard barbeque, this high-end portable digital music system will allow iPod and other MP3 users to easily share their tunes with anyone anywhere,” says Klipsch.

The battery-operated iJam also comes with an A/C adapter. It will be available in “multiple finish options that reflect the season’s hottest colors.” Pricing and availability was not announced.

Forums: New Forums, nano views, pico?, iTie

In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums: with the release of the iPod nano, new forums have been created to cater for the latest member of the iPod family. We have added a iPod nano General Discussion Forum as well as a forum for Problems & Solutions. There’s also a sub-forum for the surely imminent range of iPod nano Cases.

Like the iPod nano? Dislike it? Disappointed or overjoyed? Share your nano views with other iLoungers in the “The Official New iPod nano Thread ..... What do you think?!” thread.

And just as the iPod nano hits the shelves, one member posts what he believes is the next in the iPod line - drumroll please - the iPod pico!

And one member has posted what must the ultimate iPod accessory for the school or office - a hole new dimension in ties - The iTie…...

New Podcast: iLounge Week in Review 9, enhanced

imageNow available is the ninth (and abbreviated) iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.

This week’s podcast rapidly covers the obvious big topics of the week: Apple’s introduction of iPod nano and iTunes 5, and Motorola’s introduction of the ROKR E1 phone. We also discuss Harman Kardon’s new Drive + Play, which is featured in a brand new First Looks article today. Enhanced (with pictures and links) and regular (audio only) versions of the podcast are available.

Past podcasts, including week 7’s edition with audio samples from the voice recorders iTalk (2) and iFM, are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: Enhanced Version (includes photos and URL links)
Direct download: MP3 Version
Subscribe to our Podcast feed
Subscribe to our iTunes Podcast feed
Listen to Past Podcasts

Mix: Samsung, Zen Nano, Walkman, Xbox 360, Sept. sales

Korean MP3 player makers are “miffed” by the release of Apple’s new iPod nano, which they say is using cheap Samsung flash memory chips through an exclusive deal. A Reincom spokesman said, “We can hardly declare a price war with Apple. We’ll counter Apple’s challenge by releasing new concept products.

Pioneer rolls out iPod-ready A/V receivers

imagePioneer Electronics has announced two new A/V receivers—the VSX-74TXVi and VSX-72TXV—which feature iPod connectivity and navigation.

“Connect iPod directly to the receiver to enjoy music through a home theater sound system,” says Pioneer. “This transforms a primarily personal music player into something that can be enjoyed throughout the home. Instead of using the Click Wheel on the iPod, the remote control on the receiver is used to navigate through playlists, songs, artists and genres. The information can be viewed from a scrolling 14-character display on the receiver or from a full display on the TV.”

Pioneer’s new receivers can connect up to 18 products in total, and offer an auto room-tuning option and HDMI connectivity with digital video conversion, among other features. The VSX-74TXVi and VSX-72TXV are available now for $1,500 and $1,200, respectively.

Mac: Pod2Go 1.5 released

Kainjow has released Pod2Go 1.5, a new version of its Mac OS X software that lets you put a variety of content on your iPod, such as news feeds, weather reports, movie showtimes, driving directions, lyrics and more. Version 1.5 brings the ability to view local gas prices on the iPod, along with importing music from the iPod back to the computer, a new Directions tool and much more. Kainjow has also announced a iPod nano Giveaway to celebrate Pod2Go’s 3 year anniversary. Pod2Go is priced at $12.

Tunewear announces Poptunes for iPod nano

imageTunewear has announced new versions of its Poptune adhesive protectors for the new iPod nano. Poptunes are removable and reusable, and provide protection against dirt and scratching. The wrappers ofer full access to all ports and controls, and come in a pack of 12 stylish patterns including tropical “Aloha,” fierce “Dragon,” pretty “Sakura” and more. Poptunes for the iPod nano will be available in October. Pricing was not announced.

ezGear intros ezSkin cases for iPod nano

imageezGear has announced its first case for the new iPod nano. The ezSkin nano case is made of high quality silicone and has openings on the top and bottom for access to the hold switch, dock connector port and headphone jack. It will be available in five colors—blue, pink, green, black and white—and comes with a neck strap, an integrated removable belt clip, and a clear ezShade screen protector. The ezSkin nano case will be available later this month for $24.98.

iPod nano & Motorola iTunes phone photos

Check out the new unpack photos of the iPod nano and Motorola ROKR iTunes phone in our iPod Photo Galleries.

Kensington announces new iPod accessories

imageKensington today announced the addition of five new products to its line of iPod accessories. The new gear includes a set of speakers, an FM transmitter and a combo FM radio and transmitter for dock connector iPods, and a travel plug adapter and clip set for the iPod shuffle.

The SX 2000 Speakers ($159.99) feature “breakthrough flat-panel SurfaceSound speaker technology from NXT and deliver superior bass, more balanced sound, and a wider sweet spot versus traditional cone speakers.” The speakers will come with the iPod Universal Dock.

Kensington’s Micro FM transmitter ($49.99) lets you play the music on your iPod through any FM receiver. It’s built with Aerielle wireless technology, which is said to offer “superior audio and noise filtration so your music sounds great.”

The Digital FM Radio and FM Transmitter ($79.99) is a 2-in-1 FM transmitter and radio for any dockable iPod. It lets you listen to your favorite radio station with your iPod or transmit your music through your home or car stereo. The device features a backlit digital display, four pre-sets and also uses Aerielle technology.

The Kensington Travel Plug Adapter with USB Charger ($39.99) is a “complete travel plug adapter in a convenient size” for the iPod shuffle. It allows you to plug into outlets in up to 150 different countries, and has two modules that allow you to either charge your iPod or plug in any AC powered product.

Transporters ($19.99) come with two attachments—a belt-clip and spring-loaded carabineer clip—for easy carrying of your iPod shuffle. The case’s proprietary locking caps “protect the USB connector and keep your shuffle safe and secure no matter where you put it.”

Kensington told iLounge that the iPod accessories wouldn’t be available until later this year. The company’s website has yet to be updated with the new products and we are awaiting photos from Kensington.

Mix: ROKR, nano teardown, Synaptics, iPod cemetery

Motorola’s Carson Schmidt said the ROKR is “the first phone in a series of phones that we will be launching over the next year. You can expect an announcement on a quarterly basis for new phones in the range. A 3G model would be the obvious progression.”

A Japanese tech news site has already dismantled one of Apple’s new iPod nanos. See the destruction here if your stomach can handle it.

Synaptics, which supplies scroll-touch technology for full-size iPods, wasn’t tapped for the new iPod nano. “We believe its uses an alternative solution,” Synaptics Chief Financial Officer Russ Knittel said.

Merrill Lynch said it was disappointed with the new ROKR phone. “We do not expect that the ROKR will contribute meaningfully in the near term,” the firm said, adding that it is a “poor compromise” and has “an outdated look and feel.”

Engadget has posted a roundup entitled “The iPod family cemetery” of all of the discontinued iPod models over the years.

Australian iTMS coming next month; Two labels unsigned

Forbes reports that Apple plans to launch an Australian iTunes Music Store early next month, but that the company is still trying to reach an agreement with two of the four major record labels to offer their music in the country.

“Apple is working to expand iTunes and plans to open up an Australian version of its iTunes online music store Oct. 3, according to people familiar with the negotiations,” Forbes reports. “But how much music the store will have for sale is an open question. Of the world’s four major music labels, only two—EMI Group and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group—have agreements to sell their music on the site so far. Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music, a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann, have yet to sign on with Apple, which has been rumored since last spring to have plans to launch the site.”

The same two companies are also the holdouts at Apple’s recently opened iTunes Music Store in Japan.

iPod Updater 2005-09-06 released

Apple has posted iPod Updater 2005-09-06 for download on its website. The update includes new iPod Software 1.0 for Apple’s iPod nano, but does not bring any new features to current iPods. According to the release notes, iPod Updater 2005-09-06 “contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-06-26 for all other iPod models.” As reported yesterday, the iPod nano’s software includes a world clock with multiple time zones, stopwatch, and a screen lock feature.

Mix: 30GB iPod, Sony players, ROKR, Replacement cycle

Apple has mistakenly listed a 30GB iPod (instead of 20GB) alongside its 60GB model on its online store. When viewing full-sized iPods, a new graphic is displayed for the 30GB iPod with a $299 price.

In an attempt to steal a bit of Apple’s thunder this week, Sony has introduced sleek new Walkman music players. Sony announced 6GB and 20GB models that feature an organic EL display that blends seamlessly into the player.

David Pogue of the New York Times writes about the new Motorola iTunes Phone. “If you’re looking for an iPod phone, the Rokr isn’t it; it stands no chance of living up to the hyperventilating hype of the last few weeks. But as an iTunes phone—the only one on earth that lets you carry subsets of your Apple store-bought music on errands and other short missions—the Rokr is great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun.”

The new iPod nano “is a dramatically different iPod,” Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster said after yesterday’s special event. “It’s not only going to bring new people into the market, but it will start a replacement cycle among iPod owners. Everyone is going to want one.”

Tunewear announces Icewear case for iPod nano

imageTunewear today announced its first case for Apple’s new iPod nano. The Icewear nano is made of the same high-density silicone found in diving masks for both scratch protection and a clear view of the nano’s original color. It allows access to all ports and controls (headphone jack, dock connector, hold switch and click wheel) and has shock-absorbing ribs on the sides to protect the nano during falls and to increase grip. The Icewear nano will be available next month for $19.95.

Apple’s Jobs: iPod nano a ‘bold gamble’

imageIn an interview with the New York Times following Apple’s special event on Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the new iPod nano a “bold gamble.” Jobs said that because the new device replaces the iPod mini, which accounts for more than half of all iPods sold, Apple risked losing a large portion of its revenue had the nano been delayed.

Jobs also discussed the shift away from using small hard disk drives to flash memory, and said that the nano’s custom chips and tiny circuit board had also been potential stumbling blocks. “Entire factories were created to make this device,” Jobs said. “Overnight we have become the largest consumer of flash memory in the world.”

Finally, Jobs said he was very happy details about the nano did not make their way onto the web before the device was introduced. “It would have broken my heart,” he said.

Mix: Event video, nano review, Flash prices, nano sales

Apple has now posted a video-on-demand stream of Apple’s special event that was held today in San Francisco. The MPEG-4 video requires QuickTime software.

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg has offered up the first review of the iPod nano. “I have been testing a nano for the past few days, and I am smitten,” says Mossberg. “It’s not only beautiful and incredibly thin, but I found it exceeds Apple’s performance claims. In fact, the nano has the best combination of beauty and functionality of any music player I’ve tested—including the iconic original white iPod. And it sounds great. I plan to buy one for myself this weekend.”

Apple’s use of flash memory in the new iPod nano likely increased its component costs. “Right now, 1GB of flash memory in the volume market costs about $45, according to both Semico and iSuppli. Thus, the 2GB iPod Nano, which sells for $199, contains around $90 worth of flash, while the $249 4GB version has about $180 worth of flash, said Semico’s Jim Handy.”

Tim Bajarin, president of market research firm Creative Strategies, said Apple could possibly sell 12 million iPod nanos in the upcoming holiday quarter alone. “The iPod nano is the most important product for Apple,” he said. “This is where the volume is going to be. This is going to be the hottest tech toy this Christmas.”

Harry Potter iPod, digital audiobooks available

imageApple today announced that the entire Harry Potter audiobook series is now available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store. To celebrate the addition, Apple has created a collector’s edition 20GB iPod that comes engraved wtih the Hogwarts Crest, a symbol of the school of magic that Harry Potter attends. The collector’s edition iPod is priced at $299.

Customers can either download individual audiobooks (priced between $32.95-$49.95) or the complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set ($249) which includes a full color digital booklet as well as previously unreleased readings from author J.K. Rowling. The audiobook sample performed at the show featured rich, British male narration of the Harry Potter stories.

Apple teams up with three more car companies, four new makes

Apple said today that it has teamed up with more car makers to provide iPod integration with their car stereos. The company said it has formed partnerships with Acura, Audi, Honda and Volkswagen to include iPod connectivity for their 2006 model lines. Apple noted that there are now 15 car companies around the offering iPod integration and that more than 5 million cars - 30% of the total US market - will ship with iPod support in the US in 2006.   

Audi will add iPod integration in its A3, A4 and TT models in November, and Volkswagen will offer iPod connectivity “for the majority of their 2006 US lineup.” Certain Volkswagen cars dating back as far as 1999 model year will be capable of using the $249 iPod integration kit, which includes installation for that price. Apple said Acura and Honda will also feature iPod integration in “the majority of their lineup beginning later this year” and that the Honda and Acura Music Link will be the first to include text-to-speech capabilities or VoiceID, which is used to search for playlists, artist and album names or genre information. 

Apple representatives at the San Francisco special event told iLounge that there will be substantial variation between the kits offered by companies, noting that automotive companies are now tapping a wide variety of after-market car accessory designers (including Dension and others) to provide their in-car options. Dension, for example, has provided the Volkswagen integration system.

Our impressions of the systems we saw were mixed. Many used the simple “pick from five playlists” selection concept originally introduced in BMW’s iPod interface, but each added a new feature or two. Volkswagen’s car enabled you to shuffle songs with one of the car’s buttons. Honda’s system, by comparison, uses a text-to-speech interface to read letters and words from your collection for easier iPod navigation, but uses a confusing array of buttons and a one-line text display taken from a CD changer interface to display information.

Fairly describing the current system as a “stopgap” measure intended to offer as much iPod integration as is technically possible immediately, a Honda representative noted the inherent difficulties of adapting cars designed before the growth of the iPod phenomenon for use with devices with unique controls and the ability to output ID3 tag information. Honda and Apple representatives said that because of standard industry planning and timing issues, more sophisticated and intuitive iPod integration kits would begin to appear in cars released for model years 2008 and 2009.

More than 1,000 iPod accessories now available

Among the other announcements today, Apple said that there are now more than 1,000 accessories made specifically for iPods. The company also announced that there are over 700 products bearing the “Made for iPod” logo on the market or in development.

“The iPod economy is thriving with over 1,000 accessories now available,

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