Now available is the eighth iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.
This week, we’re debuting a visually enhanced podcast format, complete with pictures and direct-to-iLounge links for all of the stories and reviews we’ve covered. News topics for the podcast are Apple’s special event to be held next week, reports on Motorola’s iTunes phone, battles between Apple and record lables over iTunes pricing, allegations by Creative of an iPod patent violation, and a request for support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We also cover reviews of Griffin’s new iTrip with LCD Screen, our FM transmitter shootout, new speakers from Sonic Impact and Ignitek, and more.
Past podcasts, including last week’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.
A writer from Giant magazine wants to hear from iLoungers who purchased a first-generation iPod the day it was released (November 10, 2001).
“I would love to see a dated receipt to reproduce in the mag, also interested in original packaging, or even a shot of your well-loved original iPod if still in use,” he says. “But mainly I want to hear about why you bought it in the first place, what it’s meant to you, and, of course, what you’re listening to these days.”
Email Giant with contact info at [email protected]
Apple’s new iTunes Worldwide Charts let you quickly see the top selling songs and albums from the 20 different iTunes Music Stores across the globe.
Taiwanese iPod part supplier Inventec Appliances Corp. reported its revenue more than doubled in the first half of this year to NT$47.9 billion (US$1.47 billion).
T-Mobile may offer an iTunes-compatible phone from Motorola. The company hinted at such plans in a slide during a German press conference yesterday.
BusinessWeek looks at Napster’s brand in the uphill battle against Apple. “The online music service has iTunes in its sights, but the latter may have developed a huge lead that’s tough to overcome.”
The new iTrip gains a backlit LCD screen and tuning knob to more easily select a broadcast frequency. The device also features selectable LX or DX broadcasting modes for optimal clarity, the ability to set the iTrip to either US or International tuning modes, and an auto volume control.
Griffin’s new iTrip, which works with third and fourth-generation iPods, retails for $49.99 but is available for an introductory price of $39.99.
As relief efforts begin in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, we urge you to please make a donation to the American Red Cross. By providing financial support, you’ll be helping the hundreds of thousands of victims of the tragic disaster. In addition to the Red Cross website, you can donate through Amazon.com and the iTunes Music Store. Our hearts go out to all of those affected.
Apple may soon come under legal pressure from Creative Technology now that the Singapore-based company has been awarded a patent that it says the iPod infringes upon. Creative has already openly accused Apple of violating the patent, which covers the way users navigate music selections on a portable device, and the company told The New York Times that it is considering every option available to defend the patent, including possible legal action.
Craig McHugh, president of Creative’s United States operations, said yesterday that Apple was the only company identified so far that was in violation of the patent, though Creative was investigating others. “We are looking at all our alternatives right now,” McHugh said. “We have always been very vigorous in our defense of our patent portfolio.”
NPR has posted a beta version of its new podcast directory. It is currently offering 130 podcasts in numerous categories and topics.
Brad Hale, director of product marketing for MP3 chip maker SigmaTel, says music phones will only whet the public’s appetite for full-featured digital music players. “When there are MP3 capabilities in a phone, it’s going to expose the technology to someone that’s a non-MP3 user and it’s going to cause more and more people to want to adopt stand-alone MP3 players. At the end of the day the phone is not an optimal solution from an audio quality standpoint, from a battery life standpoint, from a user interface standpoint, from a storage capacity standpoint.”
Greenhouse, a Japanese electronics maker, has created an amplifier and speaker dock for the iPod shuffle looks “suspiciously like a Bose SoundDock.”
Creative has confirmed that 3,700 of the company’s Zen Neeon MP3 players that shipped from a company factory in late July contain a Windows worm (W32.Wullik.B).
TheStreet.com’s Cody Willard says a video iPod is still a ways off. “While there are millions of video files being traded on piracy networks and sent via email, and hundreds of millions of videos available for download on the Internet, the mainstream user isn’t exactly downloading those files, burning DVDs from those video files and watching them on a TV set. That day is coming, and Apple is certainly going to make a move into that market when the time is right. But that’s not next week. And probably not anytime in the next quarter, or two or three.”
Motorola has gotten Madonna, Iggy Pop and several other music acts to star in commercials for its upcoming iTunes-enabled mobile phone, according to reports.
“Motorola has signed an artist from every generation to appear in the ads, including Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, Lil’ Jon, The White Stripes, Sleater-Kinney, Sum 41, Mya, Pussycat Dolls and Billie Joe from Green Day,” reports Brand Republic. “Look-a-likes of Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Biggie Smalls are also featured.”
“Madonna, who was recently in the press after falling from her horse during her 47th birthday celebrations, filmed her piece for the ad at Shepperton Studios yesterday. A Motorola spokesman refused to comment on the ads but confirmed that Madonna and Iggy Pop were to star.”
In an interview with BusinessWeek, Hewlett-Packard’s new CEO Mark Hurd explains why his company decided to stop selling rebranded versions of Apple’s iPod.
“There are a lot of bets we can make, but we want to make those bets in markets that are exciting, have growth, are worth dominating—make that ‘leading,’ the lawyers don’t like ‘dominating’—and in which, by the way, we can lead,” Hurd said. “So think about putting our logo on the iPod. Is the market worth leading? Maybe it is. But can we lead it, with no or very little technology differentiation? Doubtful. You have to go into places where you can lead.”
HP said it would stop reselling Apple’s line of iPods in late July, saying only that “the iPod doesn’t fit in with our digital entertainment strategy.”
Apple and Motorola have reportedly teamed with mobile operator O2 to offer the iTunes-compatible phones in the UK. The London Times reports that the first phone will be available in Britain “in the next few weeks” from O2.
“Apple is expected to unveil the new technology in the United States in partnership with Cingular Wireless next week. A British launch is expected shortly after, with the new devices available in time for the Christmas shopping season,” the paper reports. “It is understood that confirmation of the partnership could come as soon as today. O2 will have a period of exclusivity on the latest version of the new iPod.
Interestingly, The London Times reports that the phones will allow customers to “buy music while on the move, enhancing the power of the iconic device.”
Just hours after Apple’s special event in San Francisco next Wednesday, Motorola will host its own invitation-only event in New York City to show off the first of its iTunes-enabled mobile phones.
While few details are currently known, an invitation posted by Gizmodo reads: “The ‘Device formerly known as the cell phone’ is ready for its next act. Please join us for an evening of fun, music and evolution. September 7th. 7PM. NYC. More details upon RSVP.”
As previously reported, Apple sent out invitations to select media on Monday for an event where it is expected to unveil at least one significant new product.
Update: Motorola told iLounge that “this is going to be a very exciting event and is a celebration of excellent music with live performances from Common and other special guests.”
Artwizz has announced a new version of its HangPhones for the iPod shuffle. The earphones feature an integrated lanyard that attaches to an iPod shuffle with two end caps, allowing users to hang their shuffle around their neck.
“HangPhones for iPod shuffle is the perfect product to wear and listen to your shuffle without any messy cables hanging around,” says Artwizz. “With HangPhones for shuffle you can wear your shuffle around your neck, and eliminate any long, hanging cables—and at the same time enjoy the high-quality stereo earphones which are integrated into the neck strap.”
The in-ear earphones sell for €20.90 and feature a 15mm driver unit, frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz and a sensitivity of 100db at 1KHz.
ObjectsFusion today announced that it has changed the name of its iPodStyles store following trademark issues with Apple. The online iPod accesssory store has been relaunched as iStyles.
“We at ObjectsFusion are very disappointed that we have to give up the iPodStyles branding, but we fully respect Apple’s decision,” the company said in a statement. “This episode resulted in the acquisition of iStyles, a name that is not only consistent with the original iPodStyles theme, but also one that is more in line with the company’s direction and focus on iPod fashion accessories, a new wave of which will be launched very soon.”
Forbes is reporting that at least one of the upcoming Motorola iTunes phones is “likely to underwhelm analysts and Apple fans” because of a 25-song storage cap.
“A person who has seen a version of the phone says it was designed to accommodate just 25 songs, which would be ‘sideloaded’ from a user’s computer using iTunes,” the report says. “The phone was equipped with a 128MB Sandisk TransFlash memory card—just one-quarter the capacity of Apple’s smallest iPod, the 512MB shuffle.”
“While it should be possible to swap out the memory card on the new iTunes phone for one with more capacity, the person who has seen the handset says the phone’s software appears to artificially cap song storage at 25 songs, regardless of how much memory the phone has,” Forbes reports.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters is now shipping its DLO Mini Fling fashion cases for the iPod mini. The $34.99 cases are available in 12 styles—from metallic pink to faux crocodile blue—and feature a removable wristlet with charm, an elastic loop for earphones or lipstick storage, and a flip-up cosmetic mirror.
“The Mini Flings embrace today’s fashion trends and styles and are DLO’s first cases designed specifically for the ‘fashion conscious’ iPod mini owner,” says DLO. “The Mini Fling’s material and color choices perfectly match the iPod mini colors.”
Want easy access to our news stories, latest reviews, and FAQs at any time? Mac OS X Tiger users can now download the iLounge Dashboard Widget, a free tool that provides immediate desktop access to all of our latest updates. Three sets of pages can be accessed independently by clicking on links in the upper right corner, and individual updates scrolled through using the window below. Search buttons permit easy access to all of iLounge’s online content, and Discussion Forums. Thanks to Solspace.com for developing this handy new way to enjoy iLounge. The next project is Konfabulator widgets for Mac and PC.
Download: iLounge Dashboard Widget
Apple CEO Steve Jobs ranks No. 26 on Fast Company’s list of the “Greatest Business Leaders of the 20th Century.”
Japan’s publishing rights and collection group JASRAC is reportedly lobbying for a tax on digital music players, including iPods.
The NY Post reports: “Microsoft is on the prowl for a store in Times Square. The move would be the software giant’s first big stab at retail and may be an attempt to play catch-up with archrival Apple, which has hit a home run with its own branded stores, including its New York City flagship in SoHo.”
The Beijing Macintosh User Group has posted a report about the buses carrying Apple’s iPod ads in Beijing, China.
In what can only be seen as a potential problem for Apple, Creative Technology said today that it has been awarded U.S. Patent 6,928,433 — which it is referring to as the “Zen Patent” — for portable media player navigation. “The Zen Patent was awarded to Creative for its invention of the user interface for portable media players, including many of the Creative Zen and NOMAD Jukebox MP3 players, and found in some competing players, such as the Apple iPod and iPod mini,” the company said in its announcement of the patent win.
“Creative’s invention for the user interface for portable media players enables selection of at least one track in a portable media player as a user sequentially navigates through a hierarchy using three or more successive screens on the display of the player,” the company explains. “One example would be the sequence of screens that could display artists, then albums, and then tracks. When the user selects an artist, the player displays a list of albums for that artist. Selection of one of the listed albums then displays a list of tracks on the album.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has reached an agreement with Cingular to offer the first iTunes-compatible Motorola mobile phone. In addition, the paper said that Apple is on the verge of releasing new flash memory-based iPod minis.
The announcements could “come as soon as next week,” meaning they’ll likely be shown at Apple’s special event scheduled for September 7 in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has filed a similar report citing a telecommunications industry analyst that also claims Apple and Motorola will unveil the first iTunes phone next week. Ovum analyst Roger Entner said he had been told by an industry executive that the new phone would be marketed by Cingular Wireless.
Griffin Technology has introduced the TuneBox speaker system for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The $39.99 accessory stands your shuffle between its two speakers, and connects to the device with a 3.5mm stereo jack input (compatible with other MP3 players and devices). It comes with an AC power adapter, charges your shuffle’s battery while it’s playing, and offers total power output of 2+2 watts.
“TuneBox’s micro drivers and efficient amplified speakers generate a powerful, dynamic sound, with unexpected clarity and great highs and lows,” says Griffin. “TuneBox keeps the shuffle’s clickwheel controls up front within easy reach. With a space investment of less than 4 square inches, TuneBox delivers impressive sound and functionality.”