MacMinute reports: “The iTunes Volume Discount Program allows companies and educational institutions to purchase iTunes Music Store download codes in bulk, which can then be distributed and redeemed for free music. There is a minimum purchase requirement of 25,000 song downloads for commercial entities and 10,000 volume song downloads for educational institutions. ... The company revealed that it is able to offer discounts of as much as 20 percent off the standard 99 cent pricing for certain bulk purchase levels.”
So much for Apple’s “10 cents a song” profit margin on iTunes songs. MacMinute also notes that Apple is offering new iTunes encoding and marketing tools to music companies.
In what appears to be the most aggressive discounting to date on the fourth-generation iPod hardware, Buy.com is now offering the new 40GB Apple iPod from HP for only $341.99 with free shipping. The lower-end 20GB model is available for a similarly impressive $251.99. Apply the 10% coupon code from the link below to see the discounted prices.
Beware: Though it works for now, Buy.com’s coupon may be retracted or disqualified, but it’s probably worth the risk.
Not content to allow the “Apple iPod from HP” to be dismissed as just an iPod clone from a second company, Hewlett-Packard has disclosed in an interview with iLounge both the company’s new iPod-related product offerings and the actual differences between the Apple and HP versions of the iPod. “There are a lot of similarities between the two products,” explained HP’s Perry Ralph, Product Manager for the Apple iPod from HP, “we wanted to extend [the iPod] and integrate it more into the PC space and the digital entertainment space.”
To that end, HP has demonstrated a new portable, LCD-equipped 4"x6” photo printer, the HP PhotoSmart 375 ($199), which can connect with the iPod via USB for direct digital printing. The printer can run off of battery power and also includes Bluetooth wireless functionality for direct print connections to cellular phones and other devices. HP has also introduced HPTunes, software compatible with Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center operating system “which lets iTunes music be played on the Media Center’s extended interface,” which Mr. Ralph explains was previously not possible.
Tech-savvy users will likely believe that HP’s changes to the iPod hardware are only skin deep. Mr. Ralph said that although the HP logo will now appear in addition to Apple’s on the back of HP-distributed iPod hardware, “other than that, the physical components are all the same.” From cables to Docks to earbuds, the Apple iPod from HP will use all of Apple’s parts, not HP’s.
But the differences, including new packaging, manuals, and a poster, are intended to make the iPod even easier for first-time digital music users to enjoy. “The user guide is very Windows-centric,” said Mr. Ralph, “so we can talk to the Windows-based consumer.” Noting that HP’s research suggested that new iPod users needed more help ripping CDs and transferring music to the iPod, Mr. Ralph said that a “setup poster we have is the first thing you see when you open up the box; in a single page you let the consumer see how to connect it up [and easily use the iPod].” And unlike Apple, HP will recommend use of the included USB 2.0 cable for music transfers, given the smaller penetration of the FireWire standard in the Windows PC market. Software in the HP box will be identical to Apple’s PC installers for the iPod.
Starting with the September 30th issue of Rolling Stone magazine, HP will also give away HP Tattoos - iPod covering stickers featuring photographic and artistic content from various recording artists. Each magazine will include one Tattoo from a total of five or six variations, and blank Tattoos will be available in 10-packs ($14.99) from HP, Circuit City, and CompUSA. Free art will be provided for the blank Tattoos by MTV and BMG at www.hp.com/music. Individual blanks will not be available. HP claims that the Tattoos will last for between three and four weeks and will leave no residue on an iPod.
On a final note, HP explained the following regarding its use of two product names in publicity materials today, the abbreviated “iPod+hp” name is intended to appear in headlines, while the actual product name is “Apple iPod from HP.”
Afraid of losing your iPod and never seeing it again? A new service might be the answer to insure your iPod’s safe return. LostiPods.com is offering iPod registration ($5 fee), stickers (coming soon) and a reward system to help you get your iPod back.
Alternately referred to as the “iPod+hp” and the “Apple iPod from HP,” Hewlett-Packard’s rebranded version of the fourth-generation iPod will initially be available in 20GB ($299.99) and 40GB ($399.99) capacities. Pre-orders for the device are currently being taken at the HPShopping web site, and will receive free shipping as a “special offer.” A September 15, 2004 estimated ship date is listed at the site, though other HP pages list online availability beginning today “at various retailers” with in-store availability starting on September 12. HP is also selling a small collection of third-party iPod accessories from Belkin, Griffin, Altec Lansing and XtremeMac, all available now.
Other than the fact that each new unit’s chrome back carries both Apple and HP logos, the white and chrome iPod+hp initially appears identical to Apple’s version of the iPod, contradicting initial claims from HP that their model would come in a special “HP Blue” color. Unlike the iPod, however, the iPod+hp is listed as Windows compatible only, with a PC installation disk. HP will provide service for the device through HP Total Care, notably for one year with full telephone support during that year, surpassing Apple’s newly unimpressive single free telephone call policy. The company will also provide a customized instruction booklet and a new quick start poster to add to the iPod’s legendary ease-of-use.
HP is also offering one of nine different “HP Tattoos,” or iPod-covering musical artist stickers, to those who purchase the iPod+hp from CompUSA, Circuit City, or HPShopping.com. These stickers currently include designs for Ashlee Simpson, The Cure, Gwen Stefani, Keane, Lloyd Banks, Sting, The Who, The Hives, and Vanessa Carlton. The company has also announced plans to offer “HP Printable Tattoos” to allow users to make their own iPod stickers using HP printers and “the latest album art from the newest releases” - provided via HP’s Tattoo Gallery.
Beginning with sponsorship of the MTV Video Music Awards, HP will also launch a separate advertising campaign for the iPod+hp, including commercials on MTV channels across the world and a global digital photo contest with a trip to Rome, Italy as the prize. MTV and HP’s newly-announced strategic marketing partnership for promotion of the iPod+hp will include advertisements in territories from the United States to Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Update: MacMinute has posted copies of HP’s new iPod print ads .
“Such are the perils of using Shuffle, a genre-defying option that has transformed the way people listen to their music in a digital age. The problem is, now that people are rigging up their iPods to stereos at home and in their cars, they may have to think twice about what they have casually added to their music library.
Shuffle commands have been around since the dawn of the CD player. But the sheer quantity of music on an MP3 player like the iPod - and in its desktop application, iTunes - has enabled the function to take on an entirely new sense of scale and scope. It also heightens the risk that a long-forgotten favorite song will pop up, for better or for worse, in mixed company.”
AudioOutfitters announces that it is now offering pre-orders for the new iSkin eVo2 for the 4th Generation iPods. The list price of the new iSkin eVo2 is $29.99. AudioOutfitters will be offering them for $28.99, and no payment is necessary until the order is shipped. In addition, with every order for a new iSkin, you will be eligible to purchase an earPod for a discounted price.
Digital Age Products has released several new iPod accessories. The iSoundz CarCast FM Transmitter ($24.95) is an FM Transmitter that uses power from your auto’s cigarette lighter. It does not charge the iPod. The Soundz Sound Wallet ($39.95) is a small notebook sized case with built-in, self-powered, stereo speakers and a place for your iPod. The iSoundz Portable Desktop Mini Speakers ($39.95) is a desktop stand for iPod with flip-out speakers on each side. A power adapter and stereo cables are included.
ThinkSecret.com recently reported that Apple has changed its 90 day complimentary phone support for 4G iPods and minis (sold after July 24) to one incident within the first 90 days. The following appears on Apple’s iPod FAQ page:
Question 29: How long is iPod complimentary telephone support?
Answer: Newer iPods come with a single incident of complimentary telephone support within the first 90 days. This change in the complimentary support offering applies to:
iPod (Click Wheel)
any iPod minis sold on or after July 24
Previous models of iPod (such as the Dock Connector and Touchwheel models), as well as iPod minis sold before July 24, still come with 90 days of complimentary support (covering unlimited incidents).
“Apple is looking for two iPod hardware engineers both with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi experience, opening the possibility that the portable music player may be upgraded with wireless connectivity.
... At the very least, Apple is keen on increased integration between Wi-Fi and iTunes, and there’s a big hole in its product line here: the remote control system. Whether it has in mind something a simple as an 802.11-enabled iPod, a more complex tablet-style computer, or both, remains to be seen.”
A critical excerpt from Apple’s job posting (emphasis ours) notes that:
“* Experience in the following areas is important: system integration, digital logic, SDRAM, Flash, ASIC’s, processor selection, ATAPI, various communication protocols (ie: GSM, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11, Firewire, and USB), display types and video and analog integration.
* Broad experience: both digital and analog.”
“The iPod mini, a digital music player by Apple Computer Inc of the United States, has proved extremely popular since hitting the Japanese market a month ago.
People interested in owning the credit card-size gadget are waiting an average of four to six weeks for it to be delivered to them.”
The iStore.com is offering iLounge readers free standard shipping on the recently released iSkin eVo2 for 4G iPods. “Simply use coupon code 200410304 at www.theistore.com before August 29th and you will get free standard shipping on your entire order when you pre-order the iSkin eVo2 case for the new 4th generation Click Wheel iPods. Order whatever other iPod accessories you want. If the items are in stock, they will be shipped immediately, you will not have to wait for the iSkin eVo2 to be available to take advantage of free shipping on the other items.”
A reader notes that a website has posted detailed instructions on how to boost the signal of a Griffin iTrip with the following introduction: “The following is a proof of concept abstract on the iTrip amplifier using the schematic available from thewolfweb. Its purpose is to increase the signal produced by the Griffin iTrip. Use of the finished device is prohibited (in the US and Canada) as it violates Part 15 of FCC laws.” Perform this at your own risk. iLounge is not liable for any damages or injuries.
Piel Frama has released a new leather case for the 40GB 4G iPod featuring a front cover with magnet closure, removable swivel belt clip, two credit card pockets and one money pocket. The case comes in black, tan, black/tan, red, and costs 50 Euros (approx. $61) with availability in early September.
Altec Lansing has released an update to its inMotion speakers for iPod named the inMotion iM3 Portable Audio System. The iM3 features: travel alarm clock when used with iPod; built-in docking station for charging and syncing; four custom-designed neodymium 28 mm micro drivers; MaxxBass(R) technology; wireless remote and built-in controls; 24 hours of continuous playback with four AA batteries; auto shut-down; and secondary input jack to connect other audio devices, including laptops, older iPods, and other MP3 players (cable included). The iM3 is available now at Apple Stores and Apple Store online for $179.00 and direct from Altec Lansing for $179.95.
PodGourmet is an iPod based gourmet food recipe database with 260 select recipes.
iSkin is now taking pre-orders on its newly redesigned iSkin eVo2 case for 4G iPods. The iSkin eVo2 comes with a clear acrylic screen protector, RevoClip belt clip and features access to all functions. The eVo2 can also accomodate the Griffin iTrip or Belkin voice recorders on top. iSkin is accepting pre-orders for $29.99 with shipping expected August 31.