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Das Blau debuts Versa2 5G iPod case/stand

Das Blau has introduced the Versa2 leather case/stand for fifth-generation iPods. The hand-made Versa2 features a belt loop that turns into a desktop stand, a built-in screen protector, and fits both 30GB and 60GB models. The $60 case is available in several color combinations, including: “Carrottini” (orange leather with green corduroy lining), “Hot Rod” (black leather with red corduroy lining), “Mocha Sky” (dark brown leather with gray lining), “Sherlock” (brown leather with beige pattern lining), and “Testtube” (black leather with striped lining).

Apple investigating stock option grant irregularities

Apple said today that an internal probe had discovered irregularities related to the issuance of stock option grants between 1997 and 2001. The company confirmed that one of the grants in question was to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, but said it was subsequently cancelled and resulted in no financial gain. Apple said it has notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and that a special external committee will perform an investigation. “Apple is a quality company, and we are proactively and transparently disclosing what we have discovered to the SEC,” said Jobs. “We are focused on resolving these issues as quickly as possible.”

Apple updates iPod, iTunes with Nike support

Apple today released iPod and iTunes software updates to add support for the Nike + iPod Sport Kit and related services. According to release notes, iPod Updater 2006-06-28 brings Nike support for the iPod nano, as well as a volume limit feature for the iPod shuffle, and various bug fixes. Apple said the iPod update includes iPod Software 1.1.2 for 5G iPods, iPod Software 1.2 for nanos, and iPod Software 1.1.4 for shuffles, but that it contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2006-03-23 for all other models. The just-released update of iTunes, version 6.0.5, allows users to sync Nike + iPod workout data to nikeplus.com and track their progress.

iTunes video sales top 35 million; Over 150 TV shows offered

Apple said today that it has now sold more than 35 million TV shows and videos from the iTunes Music Store. The company also said that iTunes now offers over 150 TV shows from all of the major broadcasters. “iTunes is the world’s most popular online video store with over 35 million videos sold, and we continue to expand the catalog of great television content now with over 150 network and cable programs available,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes.

Mix: iTunes movies, Napster, Virgin, Boring podcasts

Technology Review says full-length iTunes movie downloads would not be efficient because of their large file size and current broadband speeds. “This is one of the reasons why there’s no activity taking place” in movie downloads, says Frank Casanova, director of QuickTime Product Marketing at Apple. With a 1.5GB movie file, “you could request a movie from Netflix [which delivers DVDs by mail] before this download gets to you.”

Napster has released two new Napster-branded portable music players. The company is offering a 256MB flash player for free with a Napster To Go year-long subscription, and a 1GB player that is $50 with the Napster To Go subscription. [via Gizmodo]

MTV adds more programming to iTunes Music Store

MTV Networks today announced that new television programming from Spike TV, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Logo, MTV and The N is now available on the iTunes Music Store. Adding to the MTV Networks content already on iTunes, the new programming includes full seasons of: Spike TV’s “Blade: The Series,” “TNA: iMPACT,” and “Disorderly Conduct”; TV Land’s “Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg”; Nick at Nite’s “Fatherhood” and “Hi-Jinks”; Logo’s “Noah’s Arc,” “U.S. of ANT,” and “Wisecrack”; MTV’s “Viva La Bam” and The N’s “Beyond the Break”.

Alpine intros KCE-415i adapter for video iPods

Alpine has introduced a new in-vehicle interface adapter that connects a fifth-generation iPod to an Alpine video monitor, enabling users to play and watch videos stored on the device. The Alpine KCE-415i adapter can control an iPod through an Alpine head unit or remote control, and also charges a connected iPod automatically. The adapter is compatible with the following Alpine monitors: TME-M860, TME-M770S, IVA-D100R/RB, IVA-D310R/RB, IVA-W200Ri, PKG-2000P, and PKG-1000P. Pricing was not immediately available. It’s also not clear when the KCE-415i adapter will be available in the U.S. [via Engadget]

Speck debuts MobileTune FM transmitter/charger

Speck Products today announced its new MobileTune FM transmitter and charger for iPods. The shift-knob inspired device features a leather and chrome design, an “easy-turn tuner” dial, and works with 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod nano, and iPod mini. “Clad in soft, genuine leather with a polished chrome dial, the MobileTune is the model of sophistication in a category rampant with dull plastic devices,” says Speck. “The MobileTune’s distinctive look is only rivaled by its superior performance. It comes with a built-in antenna that provides a strong, clear signal for superior audio performance. The built-in charging technology rapidly charges your iPod.” The MobileTune sells for $60.

XtremeMac offers Superman iPod case

Look, up in the sky… To coincide with the opening of Superman Returns this week, XtremeMac is offering a new iPod case featuring the man of steel’s classic S-shield logo. Part of XtremeMac’s Iconz line, the case covers the entire face of the fifth-generation iPod with play-through coverage for the Click Wheel, built-in screen protection, and access to all controls and ports. The Superman case sells for $30 and is available for both the 30GB and 60GB models.

NBC sells over 6 million videos through iTunes

NBC said today that it has sold more than 6 million television shows through the iTunes Music Store since the network’s videos were added in December. John Miller, chief marketing officer for the NBC Universal Television Group, said the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica,” USA Network’s “Monk,” and sketches from “Saturday Night Live” have been among the most popular videos on iTunes, while classics such as “Alfred Hitchcock Present” have not done as well. NBC also announced today that it is partnering with the YouTube video-sharing site to promote its Fall television lineup.

Analyst: New iPods likely delayed

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu believes that Apple’s next generation iPod models will face delays. “Previously, we believed that the new iPod nanos and widescreen vPod could be slated for release in calendar Q3 and Q4 of this year respectively. However, we now believe that both could be delayed by a quarter or two,” Wu wrote in a research report obtained by iLounge. The analyst believes the delay of the new iPod nano lies in a SOC (system-on-chip) chip change, while new video iPod development is being hindered by battery life issues. Click below to read Wu’s analysis of the iPod delays.

Mix: iSlang, Shuffle woes, PodShop, Spider-Man 3

Leander Kahney of Wired News has rounded up several iPod-related slang terms such as iPizzle, iPodyssey, Podestrian, iPodolatry, iPlode, and Pod snob.

PC World notes the ongoing problems iPod shuffle owners have been having since last year. “A single topic on Apple’s iPod Shuffle support forum has garnered more than 36,000 visits since late October, according to statistics posted on the forum index page. Dubbed ‘Green and Orange flashing lights,’ the thread stretches on for more than 550 posts.”

Reminder: iPods Around the World milestone contest

This is a reminder to note that the posting of the 4,000th photo in our iPods Around the World photo gallery is nearing and that the associated milestone giveaway winner will also be announced soon. As previously stated, the iLounger who posts the 4,000th validated photo in the iPods Around the World gallery will win a custom-colorized iPod nano.

Coca-Cola teaming up with Apple for UK iTunes promo

Coca-Cola is reportedly in talks with Apple to offer Coke-sponsored content on the iTunes Music Store in the UK. As part of a promotion for its new Coke Zero brand, the company also plans to offer iTunes discounts to consumers. “The deal follows the closure of download site Mycokemusic last week,” notes DigitalBulletin. “The site, which launched in 2004, featured more than 250,000 songs, but music files downloaded from it were not compatible with Apple’s iPod. Music has been one of the key battlegrounds between Coca-Cola and arch-rival Pepsi, and insiders believe the iTunes tie-up could help Coca-Cola maintain its edge in the competitive UK soft-drinks market.” Apple previously launched two massive promotions with Pepsi in the U.S.

Avanquest releases iGadget software for iPods

Avanquest Software has announced the release of iGadget, new software which the company calls the “ultimate tool and companion for your iPod.” The $30 software allows users to move iPod music files and playlists to and from any PC, as well as download Outlook e-mails, contacts and appointments, RSS news feeds, Podcasts, driving directions, weather forecasts, horoscopes, movie showtimes and more to an iPod for on-the-go viewing. iGadget works with Windows 98/2000/XP and requires Outlook 2002/Office XP or later for Outlook integration. The company said the software is compatible with all iPod models in the marketplace.

iLockr iPod security cases announced

i2 Electronics has introduced its iLockr line of anti-theft iPod security devices. The iLockr is a slide-in case made from aircraft-grade aluminum that allows users to lock their iPod to nearly any object. The Lockr features a combination lock that can be personalized, and comes in black, white, camo, pink, and green. The iLockr is available in sizes to fit the iPod nano, iPod mini, 30GB fifth-generation iPod, and 20GB fourth-generation iPod. Each sells for $40.

New Incase Folios celebrate Sapporo Apple Store opening

Continuing its series of limited edition Apple Store opening cases, Incase has announced its Sapporo Folios for iPod 5G ($40) and nano ($35), which are available for sale exclusively at Apple’s newly opened Sapporo, Japan location, on the northern island of Hokkaido. The black and red Sapporo Folios feature artwork of a bear eating a fish, which the company says is “reflective of Hokkaido and the indigenous Ainu people,” and follow in the tradition of Incase’s earlier St. George‚Äôs Cross (London), Maple Leaf (Toronto), Hachiko (Shibuya, Japan), and NYC Landmark (New York City) limited edition designs.

Foxconn admits breaking Chinese labor laws

Foxconn, Apple’s iPod manufacturing partner, has admitted that it has broken some Chinese labor laws. After initially denying that its factories force long hours, low pay and poor working conditions, the company said today that its employees work about 80 extra hours each month. According to labor laws in the country, employees are not to work more than 36 extra hours each month. However, Foxconn spokesperson Li Zong said the company has paid the workers according to the minimum salary requirements of the local government. Li also said that Apple has sent a special team to investigate the claims, but has found no problem with Foxconn.

Mix: Walkman, Wimbledon, Secrecy, WWDC

Sony president Ryoji Chubachi said today that Sony’s Walkman digital music players continue to struggle against the iPod despite the introduction of new models over the past year. “We miscalculated with the Walkman,” Chubachi said, without elaborating.

Expodition has released the free Wimbledon Pod SnapShot, a downloadable iPod guide with information about the championships and the players. “It lists all players and wildcards, and contains detailed player profiles and statistics as well as seeding information. In addition, the Pod SnapShot includes profiles of legendary players and details classic Wimbledon championships.”

Clerks II director commentary track to be offered on iTMS

Director Kevin Smith has recorded a commentary track for the upcoming Clerks II movie, which he says will be available as a free download from the iTunes Music Store. Smith said the commentary download will allow fans of the movie to take their iPods to the theater and hear the directors thoughts in sync with the scenes in the movie. Clerks II is the sequel to Smith’s 1994 movie Clerks, a low-budget, black and white cult comedy with characters such as Dante, Randal, and Jay and Silent Bob. It received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, and will hit theaters on July 21st.

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