While there have been iPod cakes before, iLounger Tony Hartt sent us photos of by far the best we’ve seen. “I recently turned the big 4-O and because of my love for everything apple my wife made me and iPod birthday cake,” Hartt said.
The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday refused to hear any further arguments over a levy on iPods and other MP3 players, ending a dispute over the so-called iPod tax.
The New York Times’ David Pogue says that Apple “mainstreamed” podcasting thanks to a tried and true formula: “Find an exciting new technology whose complexity and cost keep it out of the average person’s life. Streamline it, mainstream it, strip away the geeky options. Take the credit.”
Better Energy Systems said today that Apple UK is now selling its Solio solar-powered iPod charger at the UK online Apple Store and high street retail stores.
ezGear has announced the ezEars SX50 earphones for the iPod and other audio devices. The company says the earphones are the “first comfortable in-ear earphones for the iPod under $25.”
“Love your iPod but not the pain in your ears? We can relate,” says ezGear. “That’s why we created the ezEars SX50. iPod earphones with comfort. ezEars SX50s use in-ear technology with soft rubber earpieces to provide a great fit and extra comfort. The sound drivers of the in-ear earbuds provide good clean sound for a great listening experience.”
American Technology Research analyst Albert Lin says that the first iTunes-compatible Motorola phone will debut next month at the “V Festival” concert in the UK sponsored by Virgin Mobile. Lin says that Virgin Mobile UK will be one of the first carriers to offer the phone. The festival takes place August 20-21. The Sunday Telegraph reported this same news earlier this month.
“Observers note that rolling out a music phone at a concert featuring more than 57 bands would harmonize with Apple’s marketing style,” reports The Street. “The scuttled introductions earlier this year raised speculation that the phone companies couldn’t agree on how to slice the music download business. But Motorola’s Zander explained that Apple wanted to schedule the introduction when the music phone was available for sale.”
Griffin Technology announced today that it is now shipping its TuneCaps, “three new options for keeping your iPod shuffle conveniently close at hand.” The TuneCaps package includes a wrist strap iPod shuffle cap, a belt clip cap, and a keyring attachment. The TuneCaps set is priced at $14.99.
“Slip on TuneCaps’ Wrist Strap cap for fingertip convenience,” says Griffin. “Replace the shuffle’s cap with TuneCaps’ handy pocket clip and secure it to your pocket (or belt or necktie or whatever). Slip on TuneCaps’ keyring attachment and take your tunes with you while you drive.
Marware has introduced a new version of its TrailVue ballistic nylon case for all fourth-generation iPods. Originally released for the iPod mini, the flip-lid style case features a velcro closure, access to the earphone jack and Click Wheel, a plastic screen protector, and Mareware’s Multidapt interchangeable clip system.
The TrailVue retails for $34.95 and is available in the following color combinations: black with gray strip, black with red stripe, blue with gray stripe and gray with light blue stripe.
Gap has teamed up with Apple to offer free song downloads to those who try on the clothing retailer’s new blue jeans. As part of a promotion for new denim fits for men and women, Gap stores next month will host “Find Your Favorite Fit” events, in which people who try on a pair of Gap jeans will be given a code for one free download from the iTunes Music Store.
Print ads and TV spots for the new jeans, the iTunes promo and the “Find Your Favorite” events will begin early next month. “Alanis Morissette and a cast of musicians including Joss Stone, John Legend, Jason Mraz and others appear in Gap’s newest campaign,” reports BrandWeek. “The campaign reprises an ongoing Gap theme, the relationship between jeans and music. For fall, the focus will be on ‘favorites,’ how your favorite jeans and favorite songs make the perfect fit.” [via TUAW]
Speck Products has announced the mini Portfolio Skin, a new version of its wallet-style silicone case for the iPod mini. The case opens like a book and is closed with four interchangeable straps.
Like the Portfolio Skin for full-size iPods, the mini version provides all-around protection (when closed) and access to the Dock Connector port, headphone jack and hold switch. The Portfolio is available for $34.95 in two color combinations—Pink (includes white, black, green and dark pink straps) and Clear (includes blue, black, green and orange straps).
Russound has posted iPod-friendly tech tips and application guides for installing compatible multiroom audio-video systems.
Digital music research firm The Leading Question said that people who illegally share MP3s online spent four and a half times more on paid-for legal music downloads than average computer users.
SigmaTel, maker of the iPod shuffle chipset, has purchased the “software, patents and engineering resources” associated with the Rio Audio line of digital music players.
Harley-Davidson’s 2006 lineup adds an auxiliary jack for iPods and other MP3 players, and optional XM Satellite, Bluetooth and GPS modules.
Outdoor accessory maker Chums has introduced a new line of iPod carrying cases. The e:personal line consists of nine different cases for the full-size iPod or iPod mini in a variety of materials and colors that “blend versatility with funky patterns and stylish flair.” Each case features a lanyard, carabiner clip, and swivel hook.
The cases include: i Frame ($25), i Frame Mini ($25), Flip ($30) Flip Mini ($30), Groupie ($30), Diddie ($35), Funky Betty ($35), Lotus ($35), and Sherpa ($45). “Whether its Zen-like yoga, backcountry trekking, or weekend warrior fun, Chums iPod carrying cases are designed to suit any lifestyle and personality, be it serious, sporty, or sassy.”
iPod chip maker PortalPlayer said it expects to see “significant demand” in the second half of the year for “exciting new models” from its partners, hinting that Apple does indeed have at least one new iPod coming this Fall. Analysts believe that since more than 90% of PortalPlayer’s sales come from Apple, the company is forecasting upcoming demand for a new iPod.
“We have completed the design win activity for our customers’ exciting new models intended to ship in the second half of 2005,” PortalPlayer CEO Gary Johnson said. “In addition, we worked with the supply chain to prepare our operations for significant demand in the second half of the year.” Johnson went on to say that his company is “excited about the upcoming back-to-school and holiday season and believe we are very well positioned for significant growth in the second half of the year.”
Johnson also said that PortalPlayer will soon benefit from its flash-based designs and wireless technologies. The company believes that “market demand for high-capacity flash players (1GB or greater) has accelerated.” Johnson also noted that PortaPlayer “accelerated its investment in innovative wireless technologies that we believe will help fuel our growth in 2006 and beyond.”
BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows says that the video iPod may not be designed for watching full-length movies and Apple could use the opportunity to “introduce a subscription service, in which customers would pay a fixed monthly fee to watch as many videos as they want.”
Napster and XM Satellite Radio have announced that they will launch an online service and XM-compatible digital music players that let users bookmark songs on XM for future purchases online.
A Star Wars fan is auctioning off a 20GB fourth-generation iPod that has been modified with a red screen, painted Darth Vader theme, and a protective clearcoat.
Apple has invited select media to a special music event in Tokyo that is expected to bring a Japanese version of the iTunes Music Store. The event will be held on Thursday, August 4, at 10:00 a.m. at the Tokyo International Forum.
The long-awaited Japanese iTunes Music Store has been rumored for months. While reports stretch back more than a year, the Nihon Keizai business daily reported in June that major Japanese record labels had signed agreements to provide songs for the service—news that was corroborated by AFX News Limited earlier this month.
Cambridge SoundWorks has introduced the PlayDock MP3, a new portable speaker system for iPods and other MP3 players. The $199.99 system features an integrated dock that works with select devices, including the iPod, iPod mini, Creative Zen Micro, and the Dell DJ and Pocket DJ.
The PlayDock MP3 has a rechargeable battery that offers up to 10 hours of cord-free playback, a 15-watt powered subwoofer with 4-inch driver, and a three-driver amplified speaker design that “delivers rich, full-bodied sound normally associated with larger stereo systems.”
The most recent Lounge Poll, “How much space is left on your primary iPod?”, is now closed.
With nearly 6,000 votes cast, a slim (51%) majority of responding iLounge readers indicated that they still had around half or more of their top iPod’s total capacity left over. Only 8%, however, said that their iPods were 90% empty. The remaining 49% indicated that they had around a quarter or less free space, with 27% saying that they have only enough room for one more album, some files, or no room at all.
Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll on an easier topic, “How Old Are You?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge.
CD Baby’s Derek Sivers has told his clients that “Apple iTunes USA just raised their wholesale payout to 70 cents per download.” He also says Japan and Australia will soon get stores.
Wired News has an article on Malinche Entertainment, a new company that’s offering interactive fiction (text-based games) for the iPod.
CNET News.com reports: “Led by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Wireless, the big phone carriers are edging toward releasing their own iTunes-like music services, aimed at persuading people to download or listen to music files over new broadband wireless networks.”
Digital Media Thoughts is giving away 30 Vaja iPod mini cases valued at $1800.
“Thought Out has agreed the best interest of the long-term success of the now named Ped product line is recognition away from the coincident relationship of iPed to the iPod,” the company said in a statement. “This new recognition of Ped branding will show the true value of our products. Our products work with many other devices on the market as the designs are intended to achieve greatest result with iPods but not limited to them only. Essentially, current and forward implementations of our products should be understood they are not only for iPods.”
MobileTracker’s Jon Gales reports exclusively to iLounge from Motorola’s MOTONOW media event in Chicago, Illinois:
A black and gray, candybar-style phone some have suggested would be a ROKR iTunes-compatible phone is now on stage, with what looks like a gray scroll wheel by the keypad. The scroll wheel appears to be full-sized (roughly as large as the iPod mini’s), while the keypad resembles one used on Motorola’s SLVR series of phones. Gales reports that this phone is a 3G phone.
Update: In the first five minutes of the event, Motorola’s Ed Zander read a statement from Apple stating that the iTunes phones will not be unveiled today, but instead will be unveiled at a separate music event within the next 66 days, and shipped this quarter. “We’re not going to launch the iTunes phone today,” the statement read. “Steve Jobs is not going to jump out of a cake.”
Update 2: Engadget has an early photograph of the non-iTunes ROKR.
Update 3: The full text of the Apple/Motorola statement is now available at Read More below.
The number of creature cases for the iPod continues to grow with the release of new Cozy Cuties from Frosty Cream Clothing and Crocheted Cuties from the Pixel Girl Shop.
The Cozy Cuties—Horatio (shown), Babs and Chauncy—are made from non-pill fleece and felt and are lined with soft white cotton fabric. They have a velcro top closure and keep your iPod “cozy and scratch free.” They’re priced at $17 each.
Pixel Girl’s Crocheted Cuties—Racoon, Froggie and Bunny—are animal-themed sleeves crocheted from yarn. “Cute to the billionth power,” the accessories are priced at $20 each and fit both iPods and iPod minis.
Legal music downloads in the U.S. and much of Europe more than tripled in the first half of 2005—180 million tracks were downloaded, up from 57 million in the first half of 2004.
“The iPod is doomed,” writes Fast Company’s Joun Sviokla. “Not this month, not this year, and maybe not the next. But soon enough, Apple will lose its hold on the marketplace for both digital-audio players and digital songs. It’s inevitable… Why? Because [rivals] have created an economic ecosystem that powers innovation. Apple hasn’t.”
MAKE Magazine has posted an iPod notes version of the schedule for all three days of DEFCON as well the complete speaker list. The annual hacker conference takes place July 29 - 31 in Las Vegas.
It’s here - the second iLounge Week in Review podcast. We were all set to unveil the new and much-improved Week in Review format today, but we weren’t satisfied with the audio quality of the three-person audio chat we recorded. So this week, iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz fills in for the (soon to be regular) three-person panel, with commentary on the top news headlines of the week.