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Apple acknowledges iPod nano screen problems

Following public reports of iPod nano screen flaws, Apple has responded to the complaints and concerns, confirming that the breakage is due to a very small batch of the devices that use defective screens.

“This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units,” Apple said in a statement, referring to the reports of seemingly unprovoked nano screen breakage. “Our figures show this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total iPod nano units that we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.” The company said affected customers should contact Apple to arrange for a free replacement unit.

Apple also addressed complaints that the nano screen gets scratched too easily, noting that it uses the same surface as that found on 4G iPods. “A few vocal customers say the nano is susceptible to scratches. We do not believe this is a real issue,” the company said in the statement. “We make the screens using the same material as we use in the 4G iPod. We suggest concerned customers use one of the iPod nano cases that are coming to market to protect the music player.”

Apple Canada begins claims process for iPod levy refunds

Apple Canada has launched a refund claims process for iPod owners who were charged a levy that was applied to the purchase price of the device. Canadian customers who bought an iPod or an iPod mini from December 13, 2003 through December 21, 2004 are eligible to receive a refund on the “iPod tax.” According to Apple, “an iPod with up to 10GB was levied CA$15 and an iPod with over 10GB was levied $25.”

As previously reported, the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this year upheld a Federal Court of Canada decision to do away with the levy on digital music players. The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) had collected the tax built into the price of the devices since December 2003 on behalf of musicians and record companies, according to the Canadian Press.

To request a refund, you must have proof of purchase and download, print out and complete a form available on Apple’s website. The company said “qualifying purchasers should receive their refunds in four to six weeks from the date your claim form is processed.” All refund requests must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2005.

Mix: EarphoneSolutions.com, 10 million nanos, ROKR commercial

EarphoneSolutions.com is offering iLoungers 20% off plus free shipping on any order of $99 or more until Sunday, October 2, 2005. You must use coupon code ilounge20off during check out to receive this special iLounge deal.

Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner believes that Apple will sell 10 million iPod nanos before the end of the year. “Supply chain checks suggest that Apple should be able be to produce 10 million iPod nanos before the end of the calendar year, and given the strong initial customer reception to the product, we think these units will sell through,” said Gardner.

MacTV has posted a downloadable version of the new Motorola ROKR commercial featuring Madonna and other current and past musicians. The ad features Madonna’s new single, “Hung Up,” and takes place in a phone booth.

Apple offers iPod shuffle custom engraving

imageThe online Apple Store has begun offering free personalized engraving on the iPod shuffle. Unlike the full-size iPod and iPod nano, the laser-engraved text is printed on the side of the shuffle and has a one line, 40 character limit. “Engraving is simple,” explains Apple. “First, choose the iPod, iPod nano or iPod shuffle you want. When you put iPod into your Apple Store shopping cart, you’ll be asked whether you want a personalized engraving. Just enter your text and see what it looks like. Since it’s free, why not do it?”

iPodulator lets you create iPod-compatible reading

iPodulator is a new web service that lets you convert a web page or RSS feed into the proper text format that can be transfered viewed on your iPod. The service works with 3G and 4G iPods and iPod minis.

“Enter a URL above (starting with http://) and hit ‘iPodinate.’ Some sites may not work, like Digg.com. It will take a moment to process. The URL can be a web page or an RSS feed. This will give you a plain text formatted version of the site you enter, perfect for reading on your iPod. Note: the page will look badly formatted on your computer. Don’t worry, it will look great on your iPod. To save it to your iPod: After hitting ‘iPodinate,’ use the ‘Save As’ command in your web browser to save this file to the ‘Notes’ folder of your iPod or save it to someplace on your computer for later copying to the ‘Notes’ folder. That’s it!”

Blog the Book Contest Winners Announced

The three winners of iLounge’s Blog the Book Contest have been announced, and they are:

1st Place: Mugglenet.com (Winner, 10 iPod shuffles or $1000). To further thank Mugglenet, we will also donate one Harry Potter Audiobook Card for the site to do with as it wishes. Congrats!

2nd Place: Junk-Feud.com (Winner, 3 iPod shuffles or $300)
3rd Place: iPodmania.it (Random Winner/25 entries or more, 2 iPod shuffles or $200)

Congratulations to all of the winners and thanks to everyone who entered for your support and participation!

Motorola: ‘Screw nano’ comment just a joke

Motorola public relations has put out a statement in regards to a widely-cited report by the IDG News Service that portrayed Motorola CEO Ed Zander as having animosity for Apple’s iPod nano. The company claims that the “Screw the nano” remark was taken out of context and that Zander was simply joking in response to a question that asked why the Motorola ROKR phone only held a maximum of 100 songs.

“Motorola has a great partnership with Apple. Unfortunately Ed Zander’s comments, made at a conference in California on Friday, were taken out of context,” Motorola said in the statement. “During the Q&A session one questioner repeatedly and insistently asked what Zander thought of the Nano. Jokingly, Zander said he wasn’t there to talk about the Nano—but to talk about the next big thing happening in the industry—the fusion of the phone and music. ROKR with iTunes was a good beginning, he said, and there’s more to come.”

Ped2 stand to get iPod nano compatibility

imageThought Out has announced an upgrade for its Ped2 iPod stand that will allow it to be used with the new iPod nano. The “Nano Adapter Kit,” which will be available in two weeks for $4.99, adds new hardware to the Ped2 that will enable the stand to accommodate devices down to 1.25” wide such as the nano (with or without a case). The company has also revealed an unnamed pedestal project for the nano that will be a complete unit that uses the Apple dock connector. It will be available in approximately 4 weeks for $11.99.

Mix: Jobs, nano sales, INDEX awards, Subway maps, Price cuts

Forbes has ranked Apple CEO Steve Jobs the 67th richest person in America with a net worth of $3.3 billion.

Analysts at UBS Investment Research believe that iPod nano sales will account for just under 50% of total iPods sold in fiscal 2006 and more than 50% of total iPods sold in fiscal 2007.

Apple’s iTunes and iPod won an award in the “Play” category at this year’s INDEX: Awards. The large design event takes place once every four years.

Wired reports that transit officials in New York and San Francisco have launched a “copyright crackdown” on iPodSubwayMaps.com, which offers free downloadable subway maps for color screen Pods.

Audiology has slashed the price of its iTransit protective iPod mini case with neck strap and built-in earphones from $29.99 to $7.50. Tekkeon has cut the price of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock from $89.95 to $59.95.

zCover offers silicone protective cases for iPod nano

imagezCover has announced the availability of its first silicone cases for the iPod nano. Available in 9 colors, the shock-absorbing cases protect your iPod nano from scratches and dirt, and provide access to the dock connector port and headphone jack.

Each zCover “iSA micro

Motorola CEO: ‘Screw the nano’

Motorola CEO Ed Zander appears to be more than a little upset that Apple’s iPod nano has stolen the spotlight from his company’s iTunes-enabled ROKR phone. Despite having a partnership with Apple to offer iTunes on his company’s mobile phones, Zander had some very harsh words for the nano in a recent interview. “Screw the nano. What the hell does the nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs?” he reportedly said. Zander said consumers are going to want devices that do more than just play music.

iPod nano screen complaints abound

Apple’s iPod nano may be receiving rave reviews, but a slew of nano owners are complaining about the device’s screen getting scratched too easily. Apple’s support forum contains several hundred postings discussing the flaw, with some claiming that their nano’s screen is unreadable because of the scratches. The majority of nano owners made it clear that the device was not treated badly and said pockets, fingernails and soft cloths all caused extreme scuffing.

“I don’t really care if the case on my Nano gets scratched but my screen has scratched up so badly that all the images are starting to become distorted,” one nano owner wrote. “I have only carried it in my small pocket in my shorts and nothing is in there to scratch it. I still can’t figure how the screen looks like it has been rubbed with sandpaper when the entire time it has been safe in my pocket (with absolutely no items).”

Meanwhile, one dissatisfied nano owner has set up FlawedMusicPlayer.com (formerly iPodNanoFlaw.com) to chronicle what he calls an “Apple design flaw” with the nano screen. The person said the screen on his nano unexpectedly cracked after carrying it in his pocket for a short time. He said the player was not subjected to any abuse.

“The iPod Nano is not really to be used. It is way too fragile,” he writes on the site. “Apple markets it in a pocket. Hell, Steve Jobs himself pulls it out of his when he announces it. My Nano broke on day 4. The screen that is. It shattered. It was in my pocket as I was walking and I sat down. No, I didn’t sit on it, it was just in my pocket just as all iPod’s before it have done, and my cell phone, which also has a screen on the outside, does. This is what they were meant to do. That’s why they make them pocket size.”

In what can be considered more than just a coincidence, several iLoungers report that iPodResQ has raised the price of its iPod nano LCD screen replacement service from $99 to $145. “We are experiencing a temporary price increase on the nano LCD repair due to LCD availability and overwhelming demand,” the company states on its website.

iLounge Around the World: Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan

image Reporting from the streets of once famous electronics district Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan, iLounge reader Christian N. has sent a collection of pictures showing the local state of the iPod there, outside of Apple’s official retail stores. You can view the full-sized shots at Read More, below.

The pictures show an iPod time warp, with prominent posters of earlier-generation iPods, as well as display cases filled with new, used and discontinued iPods. Part of this is due to Akihabara’s thriving trade in hard-to-find older electronics; another part is the result of overstock. First-generation iPod minis are shown selling used for 14800 yen ($132), second-generation versions for 15450 yen ($138) to 18550 ($165) yen, third-generation iPods for around 21500 yen ($192), and fourth-generations for between 24800 ($221) to 30800 yen ($275). Japanese companies such as Power Support and Tunewear are shown with significant shelf space in stickers and guards for various iPods, while U.S.-based companies such as Speck, Griffin, and Belkin have major display space, as well. The story is obviously different in Apple’s own stores, which are stocked only with newer iPods and Apple-selected merchandise.

How is the iPod doing in your city? Earlier this week, we posted an iPod report from the streets of Paris, France, and would love to share your impressions and pictures with our readers. If you’re outside the U.S., e-mail jeremy (at) ilounge.com to submit your photos and brief reports. Thanks to Christian for his update!

New Podcast: The Paris Expo iLounge Week in Review 11

imageNow available is the eleventh iLounge podcast, and the first Week in Review to come from an Apple Expo, co-hosted by iLounge’s Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. Live from Paris, France, this week’s podcast discusses the new Altec Lansing inMotion iM5 speakers, iM616 and iM716 headphones, Belkin’s Tunedok and Griffin’s Smartdeck. Products from Harman Kardon, Macally and Monitor Audio are also featured, as well as Power Support’s latest art cases.

Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: MP3 Version
Subscribe to our Podcast feed
Subscribe to our iTunes Podcast feed
Listen to Past Podcasts

Belkin intros new leather cases for iPod nano

Belkin today announced three new leather cases for the iPod nano. The cases, which will be available next month, are all priced at $24.99 and come in black, white, pink and light blue. “Designed to reinforce the nano’s minimalist industrial design approach, Belkin’s cases fully manage various aspects of user functionality while still maintaining a sleek-yet-simple aesthetic design,” according to the company.
 
imageCarabineer Case for iPod nano
The Caribineer Case features a form-fitting design that “keeps your nano form slim while still giving you complete and easy accessibility to all ports” and a carabineer clip and locking clip.

imageFlip Case for iPod nano
Belkin’s Flip Case offers a flip-down front, built-in cable management and features a multi-mount clip and hook for a variety of ways to secure your nano. It also provides accessibility to all ports and controls.

imageFolio Case for iPod nano
The Folio Case opens up like a book or organizer wallet and features a wrist strap and access to all ports controls. Like the other cases, it also features a form-fitting design.

Researcher estimates iPod nano profit margin at 50%

Market research firm iSuppli has disassembled a 2GB iPod nano and estimates the $199 device’s components to cost Apple $90.18 to build and $8 to assemble, leaving a profit margin of about 50% before marketing and distribution costs.

“That’s consistent with the margins on earlier iPod versions and serves as a reminder of what a profit machine the iPod family of products has become for Apple since it was introduced in 2001,” notes BusinessWeek.

iSuppli also confirmed who makes the parts Apple used in the device. As expected, the firm said the nano’s audio-chip is made by PortalPlayer, its flash memory by Samsung, and that Apple dropped the touch-sensitive technology from Synaptics in favor of an Apple-designed click wheel that contains a 55-cent chip from Cypress.

Noreve unveils leather case for iPod nano

imageNoreve has announced its Tradition leather case for the iPod nano. The case features a flip-top design with snap closure, a removable belt clip, and is available in four colors—black, white, pink and light blue. It provides access to the screen, click wheel, hold switch, headphone jack and dock connector port. The Noreve Tradition leather case for the iPod nano is priced at €33 and will be available later this month.

Mix: Jobs interview, iTunes pricing, Portable video, TEN Technology

The Guardian has posted an article based on an exclusive interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Referring to upcoming products, Jobs says that “a lot of new things in the pipeline.”

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman has spoken out on iTunes song pricing: “There’s no content in the world that has doesn’t have some price flexibility. Not all songs are created equal. Not all albums are created equal,” he said. “That’s not to say we want to raise prices across the board or that we don’t believe in a 99-cent price point for most music. But there are some songs for which consumers would be willing to pay more. And some we’d be willing to sell for less.”

BusinessWeek has an article on Apple rivals who are busy readying portable video solutions. “For the market to really take off, though, portable-player makers probably will need to go further in creating easy-to-use one-stop shops that offer a wide array of video. And who better to do that than Apple, which already has brought music, short videos, and podcasts to its iTunes Music Store?”

TEN Technology, makers of the naviPro eX and naviPod remote, said it is ready for Apple’s iPod nano. “We had already been planning remotes that would work with the 30 pin dock so they would be compatible with all dock connector-equipped iPods, including the nano,” John Lin, CEO of TEN Technology. “So by looking ahead, we not only have compatible products available now, but we will be rolling out entirely new nano products very soon.

Griffin ships iFM; iPod nano version coming in November

imageGriffin Technology announced today that its iFM is now shipping. The small aluminum device integrates an FM radio tuner, voice and radio recorder, and remote control functions. The iFM functions as a remote for 3G/4G iPods and iPod minis and features a digital FM radio with a band-switch function to switch between US, European and Japanese FM bands. It also lets you record radio content and, using a built-in omnidirectional microphone, voice memos. Radio and voice recordings (3G/4G models supported) are automatically saved to the iPod. The iFM sells for $49.99. Griffin said that a version of the iFM that is compatible with Apple’s new iPod nano will be available in November.

Forums: nano Case Concepts, iPod uses, Pamper nano, Deleting Podcasts

In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums: iLounge member mcdj continues to impress fellow iLoungers with his conceptual art for iPod nano cases. So far he has presented The nanoPipes, The nanotes, The Nanoroll, The nanoPipe - Drivers Edition and The nanoHatch. Keep your eyes peeled for his next idea.

Found a non-obvious use for your iPod? Some suggestions are shared here by readers - “Non-Obvious Things You Can Do With Your IPod”. Do you have anything to add to the list?

One thing which everyone seems to be reporting is the susceptibility of the iPod nano to scratching - this is not a new problem as search of our “old forums” produced what may have been the very first reports of iPods scratching - back in November, 2001. This current thread shows how members are constantly searching for ways to remove the marks of everyday wear and tear.

And finally this week: do you have an iPod full of Podcasts and wonder how to delete them? This tip from a member may answer your question.

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