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NHL game highlights come to iTunes Music Store

Several iLoungers note that Apple has quietly added highlights from the NHL Conference Finals to the iTunes Music Store. Apple is currently offering 20-minute highlight videos of the first two games in both conferences for $1.99 each. The final two teams in the East are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres, while the West battle consists of the Edmonton Oilers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Highlights from the forthcoming NHL Stanley Cup series are also expected to be offered. NHL content has been expected on the iTunes store since January.

Nike+iPod system uses proprietary 802.11, not Bluetooth

Confirming whispers heard by iLounge over the past several months, an individual familiar with the product disclosed that Apple’s first wireless iPod accessory—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit—will use a proprietary 802.11 protocol, rather than Bluetooth, for communications. Announced earlier today, the $29 Sport Kit consists of an in-shoe sensor that transmits running performance data, and an iPod receiver that helps record the data and provide audio feedback to the runner. Though not conclusive in any way as to Apple’s future plans, the company’s use of a proprietary 802.11 protocol rather than the widely-licensed Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard, combined with the surprisingly low price point and small size of the Nike+iPod Dock Connector-based Adapter, suggests that future iPod wireless accessories will use similar technology. Such a move could conceivably help Apple avoid the bandwidth limitations associated with Bluetooth standards, and reduce the number of fully “iPod-compatible” wireless accessories released by third-party developers.

Analyst: Apple still in ‘early stages’ of iPod expansion

An analyst with Credit Suisse believes future growth of the iPod looks strong. “We believe Apple is still in the early stages of its product expansion and that the company can grow its iPod units at least 20% for the foreseeable future,” analyst Robert Sempl said in a report to clients. The analyst’s prediction is based on the relatively low penetration rate for the iPod, estimated at about 10% of PC users, or an “active installed base” of about 40 million units worldwide. Sempl sees Europe as ripe for further growth. “Europe remains the biggest opportunity for Apple, in our opinion, based on its penetration rate of only 7.1% and similar demographics and buying patterns to the U.S.,” he said. “However, the company has only demonstrated a moderate inclination to compete in the region, having opened only six retail stores in the U.K. and nowhere else in the region, choosing instead to leverage reseller partners.”

Nike, Apple partner to launch Nike+iPod global products

Nike and Apple have teamed up to launch a new line of Nike+iPod products. The two companies today announced the first product developed through the partnership—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to connect to an iPod nano to store information on time, distance, calories burned and pace. The kit provides real-time audible feedback through headphones, and includes an in-shoe sensor and a small receiver that attaches to the dock connector of the iPod. The new Nike+ Air Zoom Moire is the first footwear designed to work with the kit. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit will be available “within 60 days” for a retail price of $29.

World Cup iPod Hoodies announced

UK-based Ubahn Clothing has announced a new collection of its Hoodie iPod cases for this year’s World Cup. The company is offering 32 different Hoodies (designed to resemble grey hooded sweatshirts) featuring screenprinted flags of tournament qualified countries. The Hoodie cases come in sizes to fit full-size iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. The World Cup Hoodies are priced at £12.99 (about $24).

Navio plans to ‘unlock’ iPod with DRM technology

Navio, a startup based in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California, has developed new software that will let content providers offer copy-protected music and videos that will play on iPods. “Navio has built a system that stores the rights associated with a piece of music, a game or a movie in the file itself,” reports Business 2.0. “When you buy a song or video from a Navio-powered website, information about your purchase is stored in a ‘digital locker’ that tracks your rights. The key difference from iTunes: Navio doesn’t care where you get the content. And that opens up any number of websites to the possibility of selling digital content. For music labels and movie studios, Navio provides an opportunity to reach consumers through a huge number of outlets, and experiment with selling and bundling content in a way that isn’t restricted by the rules of a particular service or online store.”

SanDisk launches ‘iDon’t’ anti-iPod campaign

SanDisk, the No. 2 seller of digital music players in the U.S., has drastically stepped up its efforts to take on the iPod with a new Guerrilla marketing campaign. The company’s “iDon’t” campaign, launched over the weekend, consists mainly of an anti-iPod website, but also includes paid foot soldiers at university campuses. The “iDon’t” website’s main purpose is to promote SanDisk’s Sansa e200 music player by communicating to consumers that owning an iPod is unoriginal and that iPod users are followers.

Analyst: Q3 iPod sales could be slightly below estimates

Acknowledging that it may be too early to make an accurate call on June quarter numbers, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that Apple’s third quarter iPod unit sales could be slightly below estimates. Munster says that NPD shipment data for April suggests iPod units of around 8.0 million for the quarter. “The Street is currently looking for 8.6 million iPods in the June quarter, ahead of our estimate of 8.25 million and the iPod units of 8.0 million suggested by the first month of NPD,” Munster writes in a research note to clients. “Recent chatter in various articles and web postings about trends with component suppliers have suggested that iPod units were slower than expected in April, so we do not think investors will be surprised by this early datapoint. As a result of ‘Grads and Dads’ buying we believe May and June iPod sales will likely be better than what was seen in April.”

Griffin bundles cassette adapter with TuneFlex

Griffin Technology has announced that its TuneFlex car dock/charger for the iPod nano now comes bundled with a cassette tape adapter. “The TuneFlex package now provides a complete solution for charging, mounting and playing iPod nano in an automobile,” says Griffin. “Simply plug the cassette adapter into TuneFlex’s 1/8” stereo line-out jack, and slip the cassette into the auto’s tape deck.” The TuneFlex features a flexible steel neck, pass-through dock connector, and plugs into any standard 12 Volt accessory outlet to power and charge the iPod. The TuneFlex bundle sells for $50.

Mix: Steve Jobs, Macy’s, Walkman phone, CNET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made an appearance at the grand opening of Apple’s new Fifth Avenue flagship store on Friday. He was also interviewed on NBC Nightly News and CNBC.

Federated Department Stores Inc., the parent company of Macy’s, has announced that it is installing large vending machines that will dispense iPods at 180 Macy’s stores across the U.S.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals iPod playlist

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible U.S. presidential candidate in 2008, has revealed what tunes reside on her iPod. She said her mix includes the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, the Eagles, and the Rolling Stones, in addition to classical music and other genres. “I’ve got everything—a total smorgasbord,” Clinton said. She received her iPod as a birthday gift from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Incase launches New York Landmark cases

To celebrate the grand opening of Apple’s Fifth Avenue retail store, Incase has announced a new collection of iPod and laptop cases that will be available exclusively at the New York location. Incase’s “New York Landmark Collection” features an embossed design with New York City landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge. The folio-style iPod cases come in black or white for the fifth-generation iPod ($40) and iPod nano ($35). Incase has built commemorative cases for other large Apple Stores in the past. These include the “St. George’s Cross,” “Maple Leaf” and “Hachiko” cases for the London, Toronto, and Shibuya openings, respectively.

iLounge counts down to major community milestones

iLounge is pleased to announce the imminent sign-up of our 100,000th forum member and the posting of the 4,000th photo in our iPods Around the World photo gallery. In celebration of the milestones, iLounge will be giving away a custom-colorized fifth-generation iPod to the 100,000th validated forum member (if you already have an account, please don’t sign up again - tell a friend!), and a custom-colorized iPod nano to the member who posts the 4,000th validated photo in the iPods Around the World gallery. Winners will be announced on the iLounge site.

ShuffleArt vinyl skins for 5G iPods released

ShuffleArt has announced a new line of decorative vinyl skins for fifth-generation iPods. The skins are available in five designs—Hullabaloo, Atmosphere, Virtual Tour, Defender, and Kingdom—and sell for $11 each. Films are provided for the front and back of the iPod. ShuffleArt says that all of its skins are repositionable, removable and reusable for a “fast, easy and accurate installation and goo-free removal.”

Mix: iPod prices, ABC shows, Apple stores, iPod ban

In an article on the pricing of consumer goods across the globe, BusinessWeek lists the various retail prices of a 4GB iPod nano in different countries.

The select ABC television shows available online have been viewed about 3 million times since the network launched the free service two weeks ago.

Apple files suit against Creative Technology

Following Creative Technology’s announcement on Monday that it is suing Apple for patent infringement, Bloomberg News is reporting that the iPod maker also filed suit against Creative the same day. Apple claims that Creative infringes on four digital music player patents it owns. The suit was filed in a Wisconsin District Court. As reported earlier this week, Creative is suing Apple, alleging that the iPod’s interface is infringing on the company’s “Zen Patent.” It is has also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking an order to block imports of the iPod from China.

Hip-Hop stations partner with Apple

Power 106 (KPWR-FM, Los Angeles) and Hot 97 (WQHT-FM, New York) have become the first radio stations in the U.S. to integrate the iTunes Music Store into their websites. “Now, when listeners hear new music on our stations, a countdown, or mix they won’t have to work hard to find it, they just visit our station websites,” said Hot 97 Program Director John Dimick. The stations’ sites feature a custom section that uses Macromedia Flash to let visitors browse playlists and artists, but purchases are still completed through the iTunes application.

Mix: Indie suit, Ofcom, Steve Award, Gadget Locker

A group of independent music publishers have filed a class action lawsuit against several digital music services—including Apple’s iTunes—for failing to secure licenses to sell downloads.

Ofcom, the regulating body for the UK communications industries, said it is working with other regulators to draft an EU-wide standard on the use of iPod FM transmitters.

Fifth Avenue Apple Store to open tomorrow

Apple will open its extravagant new retail store on New York City’s Fifth Avenue tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. The new Apple Store features a distinctive 32-foot glass cube entrance, as well as a spiral glass staircase and cylindrical elevator that lead to the underground store. The Fifth Avenue location will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Apple said the new store will offer more than 100 Macs and nearly 200 iPods for customers to try, along with the world’s largest assortment of accessories. The store will also have the largest staff of any Apple Store (nearly 300), as well as a combined 45-foot Genius Bar, iPod Bar and The Studio where customers can get face-to-face support. Early reports and photos of the store have already been posted.

Waterproof Splash Pack DriPod announced

Allsop has introduced the Splash Pack DriPod, a clear waterproof case for iPods and other portable devices. The bag-like case features play-through access, an adjustable lanyard, a resealable triple-zip closure, an external heat-sealed headphone jack, and is fully submersible up to nearly 10 feet. The Splash Pack DriPod is available in two sizes—small for the iPod nano, and large for the fifth-generation iPod. Both sell for $20.

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