If you’ve been reading iLounge recently, you’re probably familiar with Luxpro’s line of iPod shuffle knock-offs. What you may not know is that there are numerous companies copying every model of the iPod and even iPod accessories. At this week’s Computex trade show in Taipei, an iLounge reader snapped several photos and collected specs on a number of these clones.
The most brazen iPod copy seen at the show was an iPod mini look-alike from a Taiwan consumer electronics OEM supplier. Said to cost only US$50, the “i-Pocket” is roughly the same size as Apple’s iPod mini, but includes no internal storage—instead it has a memory card slot. It supports SD/MMC/MS cards for music storage, and acts as a card reader for SD/MMC/MS/MS Duo/MS Pro formats. The player also offers voice recording, an FM radio and recorder, a color OLED display (128 x 64), USB 2.0, and supports MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, WMV, ASF file formats. It is available in gold, red, blue and black.
Continue reading for a full report (with photos) on iPod shuffle and iPod accessory clones, as well as new products.
iPod owners who complained of battery problems will get $50 vouchers and extended service warranties, according to the terms of a tentative class-action lawsuit settlement. Lawyers representing consumers said that the settlement could affect as many as two million people who purchased first, second and third-generation iPods through May 2004. Eight consumers filed the suit against Apple in 2003 claiming the iPod failed to live up to claims that its battery would last the product’s lifetime and play music for up to 10 hours.
“People who fill out a claim form are entitled to receive $50 redeemable toward the purchase of any Apple products or services except iTunes downloads or iTunes gift certificates,” reports AP. “They can redeem the voucher within 18 months of final settlement approval at any bricks-and-mortar Apple Store or online. Consumers who had battery troubles can also get their battery or iPod replaced through the lawsuit. Apple currently replaces or repairs defective products that are returned within one year but the class-action settlement extends the warranty to two years, plaintiffs’ lawyers said.”
Forbes reports that the growth of stolen music continues: “Consumers purchased 25.9 million songs in March 2005, 52% more than they bought a year ago. Consumers also downloaded more than 242 million songs illegally this March, up 25% from March 2004.”
The iPod has made the cover of the New Yorker magazine for the first time. The August issue’s cover features “The Song of Spring,” by Peter de Sève, which shows a man sitting on a park bench with the famous white earbuds.
Goldman Sachs expects little sequential iPod growth this quarter. “In contrast to the past few quarters when Apple showed healthy upside to our and Wall Street iPod forecasts, our retail and supply chain checks suggest that iPod shipments are tracking in line with our 5.35 million unit estimate for the June quarter,” the firm said.
Jill Klosterman of The Daily Cardinal says that Apple’s iPod commercials “represent an ideal synthesis of the economic principle of product differentiation with the American principle of independence.”
Following iLounge’s exclusive report earlier this week, Altec Lansing has now officially announced its inMotion iM7 portable speaker system for the iPod and iPod mini. The company said that it will be available this month at Apple Stores and from its online store for $249.95.
“The iM7 is the newest and highest-performing member of Altec Lansing’s groundbreaking portable inMotion speaker family,” company says in its press release. “This sleek, cylindrical, white and silver ‘mobile home’ for your iPod packs more drivers and power into its boombox-sized chassis than any competitive product, including two 1” tweeters, two 3” mid-range drivers, a 4” side-firing subwoofer and a 4” passive radiator. These components combine with Altec Lansing’s new high-efficiency digital amplification technology and proven XdB onboard digital signal processor to deliver big bass, clearly distinguished mids and highs, and room-filling sound from every track.”
Apple announced today that European iTunes Music Stores now accept Firstgate’s Click&Buy as a payment option. The third-party service lets customers purchase music via debit card, direct debits, invoice or bank transfer. The Click&Buy option will be available for all European countries except Switzerland.
Apple today also launched its iTunes Affiliate Program in Europe, which lets European users earn 4% commission on sales generated by direct links to the iTunes Music Store from a Web site or email. Affiliates that sign up for the program before June 30th will be automatically entered to win an iPod.
“We think giving our iTunes customers the option to use the Click&Buy payment option is going to be a hit,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Applications. “And, with over 15,000 iTunes affiliates in the US, the introduction of our affiliate program to Europe will drive even more customers to the world’s best online music store, while providing affiliate Web sites a quick and easy way to generate commissions.”
As expected, Hewlett-Packard announced today that it has added the iPod mini to its line of HP-branded iPods. As with the company’s 4G and photo iPods it sells, the “Apple iPod mini from HP” appears to be identical to Apple’s except for packaging and warranty details. The HP iPod mini will come in both 4GB and 6GB versions and will go on sale June 5. It’s not clear whether it will be available in all four colors.
HP also introduced HP Printable Tattoos for the iPod mini, which allow consumers to personalize the device with artwork, designs and photography. “During the next six months, HP will roll out more than 300 new images, including album art from the hottest bands and recording artists, as well as unique artwork,” the company said. “The new Tattoo gallery features sports, nature, lifestyle and art sections in addition to many other categories.”
As announced late last week, we’ve teamed up with Mediafour, publisher of XPlay, on a new photo contest for iPod owners. The “X Marks the Spot” contest will run for four weeks and will feature four different challenges with a total of four prizes.
To enter, submit a creative photograph of yourself and your iPod at each week’s themed location. Photos will be judged on the creative depiction of iPods in the context of each week’s theme. The deadline for this week’s entry—“Public iPod
Harman Multimedia is now offering an adapter for the JBL On Stage that makes the speaker system compatible with all iPod photo models. The new iPod photo adaptor is available free of charge to owners of the On Stage from JBL’s website. The company said the JBL On Stage is now being manufactured and distributed with the iPod photo attachment included.
In addition, Harman Multimedia has reduced the price on two of its popular desktop speaker systems. The JBL Encounter 2.1 and the Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II are now available for $149.95 and $169.95, respectively. Both were previously priced at $199.95.
An iLounge reader in Taiwan recently purchased the Luxpro Super Tangent and provided us with his observations of the iPod shuffle clone as well as a photo gallery of the device and its packaging.
The iLounger said the Super Tangent is “worse than you could believe” and that “every detail is wrong.” He said the player cost about US$115 and that the buttons do not work well, battery life is “terrible,” and the recorder simply did not record. The reader also said that the LEDs do not shine through the casing properly, and that it doesn’t fit well in a USB port. “There is nothing that works even close to right,” he said.
Update: Phillip Torrone of Make magazine let us know that he had a little better luck with the Super Tangent he purchased. He has posted a review and several photos of the device, including comparison shots beside the iPod shuffle.
Tony Whitney of Canadian Driver looks at the integrated iPod interface in the 2006 Mercedes-Benz B-Class and says it came out “looking very good indeed.”
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who topped the Los Angeles Times’ executive pay survey last year, is No. 99 on the new list after his compensation dropped from $74.8 million to $1. However, Jobs still owns 10 million Apple shares worth about $406 million.
AOL and Apple are reportedly in talks to resolve problems with download tracking, which has led to payment issues between the two companies.
Capdase has introduced the Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle. The package includes a silicone case (with “EZ dust Go” treatment), an adjustable neck strap, a custom replacement USB cap, and four earphone clips (hold cable along lanyard for better cord management).
The Capdase Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle is available with a silicone case in white, blue, dark blue, green, pink, black, orange, or purple. Pricing and expected release information were not available.
iPodStyles has announced that it is now carrying two new lines of products to protect the backs and Click Wheels of iPods and iPod minis. The PowerGuard and WheelFilm protectors come in a range of colors and patterns, and are priced at either $6.99 or $7.99.
“Protect your iPod and iPod mini’s back and Click Wheel from scratches, dirt, and grime with iPodStyle’s new range of PowerGuard and WheelFilm protectors,” the store says. “PowerGuard acts as a protective layer for the back of the iPod, maintaining the mirror-like surface in its tip-top condition, while WheelFilm acts as a protective layer for the front Click Wheel of the iPod, keeping it clean.”
Altec Lansing has revealed its new inMotion iM7 portable audio speaker system for the iPod and iPod mini. While no announcement has been made by the company, an eagle-eyed member of the iLounge forums spotted an ad for the system in the latest issue of Sync magazine. A quick check of Altec Lansing’s website shows an uncompleted page for the product along with specs and pricing details, though no official photos as of this posting.
The inMotion iM7, which features a “bazooka style” design like some recent boomboxes, offers a built-in, adjustable iPod cradle, Neodymium drivers and tweeters, and a built-in subwoofer with XdB technology. The AC or battery powered device also includes a wireless remote control, S-video output for the iPod photo (allows you to play your photo slideshows on TVs while still connected to the speaker system), and an auxiliary input jack (for use with other audio devices). It will retail for $249.95. There’s no word yet on availability.
To round off this week in the iLounge Discussion Forums, if you’re a fan of Genesis, Pink Floyd or one of the many other bands in their genre, then join the latest Progressive Rock discussion in the Music Forum. We remember them only too well…
Do you have a novel use for the Notes section on your iPod, or want to figure out how to use it better? Read “What do you use your Notes section of your iPod for?” and get some ideas, or submit your own suggestions.
In the General iPod Discussions forum, one member reports that after a year, the 40gb iPod has finally been filled - is your iPod half full or half empty?...
As the next big Apple event approaches, discussion about what features the next iPod will include is going on in the Future iPod forum. It may all be speculation, but who knows - some features may actually be included. What would you like to see in a 5G iPod?
iPodStyles has announced a new line of sync and charge accessories for iPods. The new iPod-matching accessories include: the PowerStick (auxiliary power source that triples the battery life of your iPod when used with four AA batteries - $20.99); Car Charger (12V automobile lighter jack charger); Travel Charger (wall AC outlet charger - $16.99); USB Sync Cable (Dock Connector cable to charge and sync iPod - $16.99); and Retractable USB Sync Cable (retractable Dock Connector cable - $14.99).
The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that Adam Curry, a former MTV VJ and key player in the development of podcasting, recently spoke with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, offering his thoughts on future iPod features.
“The highlight of the day was, without a doubt, about an hour and a half that we had with Steve Jobs, which was really fun,” Curry said on the May 23rd edition of his popular podcast, “The Daily Source Code.” “Just a private conversation, and that was great. Of course I can’t tell you everything that we talked about, but I will say that I was able to provide a lot of input. The number one great piece of input that I was able to feed back was, hey, I want to record on my iPod. And I can guarantee you that’s going to happen some time in the near future.”
iPodderX 3.0 is the latest version of the podcast client for Mac OS X. The new version turns the application into more than just a podcast catcher and organizer—it’s now a full media aggregator with options for text-based news, images, movies, audio and more. iPodderX 3.0 also offers “SmartSpace,” a new feature that lets users adjust how much disk space they want to devote to downloads, and “NewsCaster,” which converts news articles into audio files. Other new features include: full-screen video, .Mac backup and restore, feed and entry sorting, full-text searching, podcast previews, and individual file downloads. iPodderX sells for $24.95 with a 30 day trial. What is a podcast?
Designer Marc Ecko is partnering with celebrities and fashion industry leaders to launch “Style & Sound,
iBar is new software that turns your iPod into “the ultimate bartending tool.” It includes 450 drink recipes organized by category, beverage and bar tips and tricks, drink histories and toasts. “Bring your iPod anywhere you will be mixing a drink and impress with your bartending savvy! From mastering essential mixing techniques, to stocking your own bar, to learning the history of alcohols, to mixing over a thousand classic and contemporary drinks. iBar will surely make you the talk of the party or give you the knowledge to mix drinks professionally.” iBar sells for $29.95.
DigiTimes reports that Apple plans to introduce 2GB and 4GB versions of the iPod shuffle as early as next month. The publication said that Samsung and Toshiba are “aggressively planning to ramp up their output of 8Gbit NAND flash chips, as Apple Computer plans to roll out 2GB and 4GB versions of its iPod Shuffle this June and August, respectively.” Apple currently offers 512MB and 1GB iPod shuffle models.