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‘Arty’ offers one of a kind iPod covers

imageWrappers has launched a new service called “Arty” that lets you put your favorite image on the front of an iPod cover. You simply email the picture you want reproduced to the company, it converts it to a stitch pattern and then emails you an artist’s impression with price (from £32). You have seven days to approve it.

“iPods are personal and I liked the idea of a cover being closer to a tattoo; something I could think about for a while before deciding what I wanted and that I wasn’t going to swap, in the same way that I wouldn’t swap my iPod,” says Wrappers owner Freddie Procter.

Apple taking risks with ‘Porncasts’ ?

Following an iLounge editorial on the same topic last month, The Wall Street Journal’s Vauhini Vara has written an article [paid sub. req.] on the adult-oriented podcasts that can found in Apple’s iTunes directory. The podcasts, which some call “porncasts,” are packed with “raunchy sex banter, erotic storytelling sessions and reviews of pornographic websites,” Vara notes. Some industry experts say Apple is taking a big risk in accepting such content from amateurs. “Apple needs to be careful to protect its brand here,” says Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research. “The editorial function is just getting more and more important.”

“As podcasting reaches a more mainstream audience, the more risque audio shows—and Apple’s role in distributing them—could come under greater scrutiny,” reports Vara. “Apple declined to say whether any of its users have complained about the adult podcasts, which can be downloaded by anyone regardless of age. The company said it could potentially pull programs that it deems too explicit, but declined to say whether it has done so yet.”

Podcasters who submit their shows to iTunes are asked to mark their podcasts “explicit” during the submission process if they discuss adult material. However, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company has no official guidelines for adult content and does not review every podcast submission. “She said Apple tries to review as many submissions as it can for ‘really obvious’ adult content,” Vara reports. “Listeners can click on a button marked ‘Report a Concern’ if they feel that a podcast isn’t marked as explicit and should be. ‘If for some reason we miss it, customers usually catch it,’ Ms. Kerris said.”

iPop suction-cup stand for iPod shuffle introduced

imageProduct and interactive design firm Designs by People and artist Charlie Becker have created the iPop, a silicone iPod shuffle stand that has a suction-cup bottom to let you affix it to a variety of surfaces.

“Try the bathroom tiles during your bubble bath, the treadmill screen at the gym, and take advantage of your window seat on the plane,” says Core77. “The iPop is made of silicone rubber, retails for approximately twelve dollars and is a must have for the Apple i-obsessed masses.”

iLounge is awaiting availability information.

Gucci struts out new case for iPod, iPod mini

imageItalian fashion house Gucci has introduced a new designer iPod case as part of its new Guccissima leather collection for Fall.

The case is made of “chocolate” brown leather embossed with the Gucci pattern, and features silver hardware and an adjustable fabric strap.

Pricier than Gucci’s first iPod case (which sold for $195), the new case is priced at $235 for full-size iPods and $215 for the mini version. [via Uncrate]

Mix: iPod domination, White PSP, Gameboy emulator, What’s next

Piper Jaffray says last week’s Apple results “provided evidence of the continued domination of the MP3 player market by the iPod” and that it is “gaining further traction through the beginning of the September quarter.”

Sony today announced a white PSP and a new software update that will add a web browser, wireless photo sharing, and support for AAC audio and MPEG4 AVC video.

A member of the iPod Linux community is working on a Nintendo Gameboy emulator for the iPod. (screenshot, photo, video)

At a panel discussion in London yesterday called “I Came, I Saw, IPod—What’s Next?,” several digital music experts discussed iPod competitors and were asked to identify a possible iPod successor.

Griffin unveils Chameleon Cases for iPod mini

Griffin Technology has announced its new line of Chameleon cases for the iPod mini. Made of a “sturdy dense polyvinyl material” that is “much tougher than regular silicone cases,” the Chameleon cases offer all-around protection, play-through Click Wheel protection, and come in 16 unique designs—from wood to watermelon. They’re priced at $14.99 each and come with a belt clip and 21-inch lanyard.

“Chameleon cases for iPod are unlike anything that has been seen before for iPod,” says Griffin. “Through a new breakthrough process, full color artwork is integrated into the polyvinyl Chameleon case, with stunning results. There is no comparison between Chameleon Cases and the thin sticker products currently available.”

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iLounge EIC Horwitz on Your Mac Life radio tonight

iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will appear on tonight’s Your Mac Life radio program to discuss video iPods and other subjects of interest to iLounge readers. Jackie Martling, formerly of Howard Stern Show fame, will also be a guest. The broadcast begins at 5:30PM Pacific Standard Time, 8:30PM Eastern, and runs until 8PM Pacific, 11PM Eastern.

Fossil offers iPod, iPod mini cases

imageFossil is now selling leather cases for Apple’s iPod and iPod mini.

The vaguely named “Big MP3 Case” fits fourth-generation iPods and comes in an orangish-brown hue with camouflage fabric lining and in a teal leather mock croc pattern. Both styles sell for $15.

Fossil’s “Mini MP3 Case,” also priced at $15, is made specifically for iPod minis. It’s available in black leather with striped red fabric lining.

iPodResQ offers iPod service to APO, FPO, PO Box addresses

iPodResQ has expanded its iPod repair services to allow customers with APO, FPO, and PO Box addresses to utilize its worldwide service at a discounted rate of $24. The service includes a custom “iBox” sent to the customer’s APO, FPO, or PO box to pickup the iPod for delivery back to the iPodResQ service center. iPodResQ will receive the iPod, contact the customer with a repair quote within 24-hours, perform the repair and return it to their APO, FPO, or PO Box.

“This new service was specifically designed to accommodate our servicemen and women stationed overseas that experience iPod troubles while abroad,” says iPodResQ. “We have received such an overwhelming request from all branches of the US Military and it was our pleasure to develop the same unprecedented service for those serving our country. We are providing them with our full-line of iPod repairs and high-capacity battery replacements by partnering with the United States Post Office to ensure the customer’s iPods are transported safely and quickly.

iDuo combines iPod dock and memory card reader

imageAtech Flash Technology has introduced the iDuo, an all-in-one USB 2.0 iPod dock and flash memory card reader. In addition to letting you easily sync/charge your iPod, the device features three card slots that allow you to transfer content from 10 different types of flash media to your computer.

The $59.95 product works with both Macs and PCs and offers support for Compact Flash Type I and II, Microdrive, MultiMedia, xD-Picture Card, Smart Media, Memory Stick, MagicGate Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, and Secure Digital. It also features an adjustable spacer to accommodate all iPods and iPod minis, a line-out to listen to music from speakers, and S-Video out to view photos on your TV from a color screen iPod.

Atech Flash Technology has also announced the KB-Reader, a multimedia keyboard that features a docking port for various Atech attachments such as its iPod Docking Adapter that also lets you charge/sync your iPod. The docking keyboard features 14 internet/media hot keys and sells for $49.95.

Mix: Motorola, Nissan, iPod addict, iTunes.exe

Motorola will hold a media event on Monday, July 25, where the company says CEO Ed Zander will unveil “what’s wow and what’s now.” The long-awaited iTunes-compatible phone could be released at the event.

Nissan is now offering a car navigation system with a built-in iPod adapter in Japan that “gives drivers in-car control of their iPods through its 7-inch touch screen display.” The 315,000 yen option also offers Nissan’s Carwings telematics service and CD/MD/DVD playback.

“[The iPod] is probably the coolest thing in the world right now. A boy’s toy that’s also a girl’s toy. A toy I’ve become utterly obsessed with,” says GQ editor Dylan Jones in The Daily Mirror. “My whole life is here, 40GB of memory, 30 years of memories. Every song I’ve ever cared about is in here somewhere, waiting in its chosen spot, hugging the wall until it’s chosen to dance. Not only has the iPod changed the way I listen to music, it has changed my life, too

iPodStyles offers Crystal iPod Hard Case

imageiPodStyles has announced its Crystal iPod Hard Case for 20GB fourth-generation iPods. The case is a clear, hard plastic case “specially designed to protect the iPod and yet showcase the beauty of the device in all its glory,” says the store. “The case is totally clear and adds a touch of class to any 20GB iPod or iPod U2 and protects the device and the screen from knocks and other bumps that normal daily life entails.” The Crystal case sells for $19.99 and has openings for the Click Wheel, Dock Connector port, and headphone jack.

Radio Disney songs now on iTunes Music Store

Radio Disney, “America’s leading music destination for kids, tweens and families,” announced on Tuesday that songs from its playlist are now featured on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Listeners of Radio Disney will be able to “easily find the music they hear on Radio Disney on the iTunes Music Store, including special features and exclusives,” the company said.

“The iTunes Music Store makes it easy for families to find and purchase the music they hear on Radio Disney,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Applications. “Fans can now buy their favorite Radio Disney songs, as well as DJ picks, special remixes and other exclusive content from the world’s number one online music store.”

Mix: iPod mindshare, Sonos update, iTunes 4.9, Podcast feeds

According to a study by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, more than 32 million Americans are planning to purchase an iPod within the next 12 months. The firm says iPod mindshare continues to outshine other devices like Sony’s Walkman Phone.

Sonos has released a software update that includes a “Sonos Desktop Controller” for the Mac, support for iTunes 4.9, and support for Windows Media Audio Internet radio stations.

PC Magazine gave iTunes 4.9 four out of five stars in a review posted this week. “Discovering and enjoying podcasts is now as simple as shopping for music,” the magazine says. “If you’re already using iTunes to manage your music, you can go online immediately and browse for interesting shows. If you’re using a different music organizer, this might tempt you to switch.

Target debuts branded iPod case

imageTarget has introduced a new iPod case as part of the branded products in its Red Hot Shop. The Cosmic Flowers iPod case is made from white patent-PVC and features black and white “swirling psychedelic flowers” with a red Target bullseye logo. It fits fourth-generation iPods, and offers a clear screen protector, a red patent-PVC wristlet strap, and a clasp to clip the case onto a belt loop or bag. Target said the new iPod case would ship later this month for $14.

“Play it safe, if you must,” says Target. “Put your iPod in a case that’s the equivalent of slacks. Jingle your change. You’re responsible. You’re established. But your bumpin’ tracks and rebellion bass really deserve more attitude than that. Something unique, expressive. And that’s exactly where this beauty enters into it.”

OWC launches iPod battery replacement program

Other World Computing is now offering an iPod battery replacement service for U.S. customers. Purchasers of a NewerTech NuPower iPod battery replacement can choose to have OWC install it for an additional $39. Batteries are available for all iPod models and sell for $24.95 to $39.95.

Customers will receive a box with a return overnight shipping label and protective cushion for shipping their iPod to OWC. Once OWC receives the iPod, technicians will perform the battery replacement (as well as clean and test the iPod) within 24 business hours.

Mix: 2006 iPods, Video iPod, Disney, Japanese automakers

Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf expects Apple to ship 26.5 million iPods in 2005—and 43 million units in 2006, a 73% increase over 2005.

Following The Wall Street Journal’s report on Monday, CNET News.com has posted an in-depth analysis of Apple’s expected move towards video.

Meanwhile, Business 2.0 editor Paul Sloan says: “Steve Jobs has spoken with Disney President and soon-to-be CEO Bob Iger about ways to license various Disney content for a video iPod, according to an internal Disney email I have obtained. That could include anything from clips from ESPN and ABC News to short cartoons.” [via PaidContent.org]

iPodStyle notes that Apple is reportedly working closely with Japanese automakers on an iPod car adapter.

Vaja releases new studded cases for iPod

imageToday Vaja announced the release of studded leather cases featuring a removable strap, screen protector, access to all iPod functions, headphone access and available in a multitude of colors in Vitelino or Aniline leathers. The AP96 ($75) case fits iPod 60GB and iPod photo 40/60GB and the AP21 ($75) case fits iPod 20GB and iPod photo 30GB. Customers may also customize their case by having their name ($10) or logo ($30) embossed on the leather.

Kate Spade rolls out iPod shuffle case

imageFashion designer Kate Spade has introduced her first iPod shuffle case. The Fulham case features a flap-snap closure and an adjustable wrist strap with spade charm. It sells for $45 and is available in coral, chocolate, black and lemon.

“Inspired by London’s Fulham road, which played an important role in the fashion and design revolutions of the 1960s, the Fulham group is color and shine, playful and lightweight,” says the designer’s website.

Microsoft’s Gates vows against ‘Son of iPod’

After being left in the dust by Apple’s iPod and iTunes, Microsoft is working harder than ever to become the “gatekeeper for the home video business of the future,” according to an LA Times article published today.

The software giant has taken rather large steps recently to persuade Hollywood that it is the right company to lead the next wave of digital media. Microsoft has already made pacts with Time Warner, Walt Disney Co. and News Corp., the Times reports.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says he vows not to play the victim in “Son of iPod.” After being humbled by Apple’s success with digital music, “we’re really having to work more closely with partners in the hardware industry and content industry, to really think through the whole end-to-end experience and make it better,” Gates said. “That’s where we’ve done our mea culpa. We are fixing that.”

The Times reports, however, that content creators “may stand pat, place their bets with multiple technology partners or choose someone other than Gates.” The paper says that “few in Hollywood would be shocked to see Apple founder Steve Jobs pull another rabbit out of his hat, unveiling a perfectly thought-out system for moving paid video to computers and portable devices.”

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