Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that PortalPlayer’s upbeat second quarter guidance is a positive sign for sales of hard drive-based iPods. He also notes a new trend that he calls iPod mini up-selling.
PortalPlayer, which supplies the chips that power the iPod, iPod mini and iPod photo, yesterday reported first quarter earnings of $7.8 million, or 33 cents a share, on revenue of $44.5 million. The company forecast second quarter earnings of 21-27 cents a share on $41.6 million to $47.6 million versus street estimates of 17 cents on $37.3 million in revenue.
“We believe that PortalPlayer’s Q2 guidance is positive for Apple’s HD based iPods and may be consistent with a trend that we have been picking up on in the channel related to iPod shuffle to 4GB iPod mini up-selling,” Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “Specifically, we have been hearing from Apple retail stores and independent Apple VARs that customers are consistently being up-sold to 4GB iPod minis ($200) when intending to buy the 1GB iPod shuffle ($149), given the minimal ($50) difference in price.”
Munster said that more than 85 percent of PortalPlayer’s first quarter revenue was from sales to Apple.
Griffin Technology said today that is now shipping TuneJuice, its $19.99 battery backup device for the iPod and iPod mini. TuneJuice uses a single 9-volt battery to provide up to 8 hours of additional power for any iPod with a Dock Connector port. (It will provide 4 hours if your iPod is completely drained).
“TuneJuice is perfect for extending the play time of your iPod for those times when you just gotta have more than your iPod battery can give,” says Griffin. “It’s the perfect carry-on for airplanes, road trips, camping and ski trips. Anytime you need some serious play time and don’t have access to charge your ‘Pod, TuneJuice is a lifesaver.”
Infinity Broadcasting has announced that it will convert its KYCY-AM radio station in San Francisco to a podcast-only format on May 16.
Because of Apple’s lack of Hebrew support in iPods, Israeli developer Edo Mendelson has created a free application that enables the use of the language on the device.
A proposed tax on MP3 players in the Netherlands “could devastate sales of hard disk players, and set up international waves over copyright legislation,” reports The Register.
New York City police told the city transportation board yesterday that 50 iPods have been stolen on subways so far this year, compared to none during the same period a year ago.
NewerTechnology today announced the release of the RoadTrip!+ (iLounge rating: B+), a new version of its iPod FM transmitter. Like the original RoadTrip!, the new model broadcasts music from your iPod to your car’s stereo at 87.9 FM. Unlike the original, however, it also charges your iPod simultaneously.
The device is compatible with 3G/4G iPods and iPod minis, and plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet. The RoadTrip!+ combination FM transmitter and iPod charger is available now from Other World Computing for $27.95.
iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will appear on popular Internet radio broadcast Your Mac Life on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 to take listener questions at 8:15PM Central Time, 6:15PM Pacific Time. A live stream of the broadcast will be available at this link, and listeners will be able to submit questions in the Your Mac Life chat rooms, which open at the beginning of the show.
Want to queue up for a question? Send it to [email protected] or join the YML chat. Two Your Mac Life chat rooms are available. Go to the World Without Borders site (http://www.wwbchat.com/login/index.shtml) or use the dedicated IRC Server at irc.netmug.org, channel #yourmaclife.
Update: A transcript is now available here.
“On Nyko’s iTop, the standard play, fast-forward, rewind and volume control functions are tactile. Jeweled buttons allow users to control their digital music player without exposing the screen or removing the unit from their pocket or handbag. Each button is assigned a unique texture so that users can recognize the controls by touch. It is a great option for controlling the iPod while working out or on the go.”
Designed for all full size iPods, the iTop Button Relocator is priced at $29.99.
eNotes.com has released over 500 of the most commonly tested SAT vocabulary words in iPod Notes format for studying on the go.
Nokia today introduced the N91 music phone, which boasts a 4GB hard drive, an industry standard 3.5mm headphone jack, USB 2.0, and support for MP3, M4A, AAC, and WMA.
Several iTunes users have found a backdoor route into the Australian iTunes Music Store that lets them buy tracks, which cost AUD$1.69 — slightly cheaper than Russell Crowe’s $1.80 statement.
Wal-Mart is now offering customized music CDs to online customers for $4.62 (three songs) plus 88 cents for each additional song.
In addition to expanding its Rhapsody subscription service today, RealNetworks also quietly restored iPod support for songs purchased from its online music store with an update to its Harmony technology. A RealNetworks executive confirmed the move to CNET News.com. “Harmony now supports all shipping iPods, including iPod photo,” said RealNetworks Chief Strategy Officer Richard Wolpert.
RealNetworks released Harmony without Apple’s blessing last year making the company’s online store the first to offer copy-protected digital music (other than the iTunes Music Store) that could play on the iPod. Apple said at the time it was “stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod,” and updated the iPod firmware a few months later to break compatibility.
It should be noted that songs downloaded from RealNetworks’ new subscription services do not work with the iPod and are only compatible with a small number of Windows-based MP3 players.
The iPod is featured prominently in a radio broadcast by BBC Radio 2’s Steve Lamacq, who explores the boom in digital music and its impact on the music industry.
“In this one hour authored documentary, Steve Lamacq investigates how we have arrived at this point and what impact the ‘digital technology revolution’ will have on the future of the music industry as we know it: we talk to the record labels, retailers, consumers, artists and the kids who get music in a different sort of way to how we used to.”
The role of the iPod is among topics discussed, and comments are included from Apple’s Greg Joswiak, Vice President of Hardware Marketing, and Eddie Cue, VP of Applications. To hear the program on BBC Radio 2 Replay service, visit Listen Again. The broadcast is available until Saturday, April 30, 2005.
In response to reader requests, iLounge is proud to announce two new ways you can simplify your search for iPod accessories. Today, we have launched “Ratings Only,” a way you can compare letter grades across all of the approximately 350 products reviewed by iLounge, and a collection of improved accessory categories that make it easier to find and sort accessories by type.
Click on “Ratings Only” at the top any of our Reviews pages to view this new page with grades of all reviewed products, listed in alphabetical order. A drop down menu at the top of the page will let you narrow down the grade listings to the following new review categories.
Adapters and Cables
Car Power Chargers, Kits and Adapters
Cases - iPod 1G & 2G
Cases - iPod 3G
Cases - iPod 4G/HP/U2/photo
Cases - iPod mini
Cases - iPod shuffle
Clips - iPod shuffle
Clips and Cord Managers - General
Headphones & In-Canal Earphones
iPod Hardware Expanders - General
Microphones and Microphone Adapters
Stands (Docks and Cradles)
Stickers, Guards and Film
If you’re looking for a way to view our reviews in “best grades first” order, download the most recent issue of our free iLounge Buyers’ Guide 2005 and check out the Report Card on pages 90-92.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the availability of the Flip Clip (iLounge rating: B+) for the iPod shuffle. The snap-on clip “secures the shuffle to a person’s belt, shirt, bag — anywhere they choose — with a spring loaded clasping system that points the shuffle controls and headphones right-side up.”
The Flip Clip attaches to the iPod shuffle by locking into the shuffle’s USB cap, while the frame protects the back of the device from scratches. The $19.99 clip also provides access to the slider switch on the back of the iPod shuffle as well as the controls on the front.
U2 frontman Bono may be friends with Microsoft’s Bill Gates (and even stays at his house when his band comes to Seattle), but their friendship isn’t enough to make Gates buy a special edition U2 iPod. “Absolutely not,” Gates said.
Dave Matthews Band is now offering its first track ever on the iTunes Music Store. The song is “American Baby,” the first single from the band’s upcoming album Stand Up.
RealNetworks has announced new versions of its Rhapsody subscription music service, including one that will offer users 25 free songs each month. For $9.99 a month, users can download an unlimited number of songs, and they can now transfer those to select portable audio players for another $5 a month.
Apple is ranked No. 1 on this year’s Wired 40 list, Wired magazine’s annual ranking of the tech companies leading in technology, innovation, and strategic vision.
In an article for ComputerWorld, John Webster, senior analyst and founder of the Data Mobility Group, tells how his dentist is using an iPod to store patient records.
UK-based PodGear today introduced the AudioBuddy, a fully retractable audio link cable for the iPod. The £14.99 Dock Connector to 3.5mm mini-jack cable extends to over 70 cm (about 28 inches) and retracts at the push of a button, giving iPod users “portability without having to worry about tangled cables.” Audiobuddy also ships with a mini-jack to stereo (RCA) adapter. The cable is available immediately.
As reported on Sunday, Apple is expected to launch new stores in these five countries this Thursday — the second anniversary of the iTunes Music Store.
Belkin today announced its new Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub, which features a top-loading port that allows you to dock your iPod shuffle for syncing/charging. In addition to the top port, the Mac and PC compatible device sports three ports on the back for connecting other various USB devices. All four ports are compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 gear.
The hub is “smartly packaged in a white, compact shell that complements the shuffle and the Mac mini,” and can connect up to two devices without a power adapter. The Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub will begin shipping on June 3 for a retail price of $29.95.
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ezGear today announced the ezPower Shuffle wall charger for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The ezPower Shuffle connects to a standard U.S. electric outlet, and lets you plug in your iPod shuffle for charging. The product retails for $22.98.
Griffin Technology is now shipping the AirClickUSB Remote for Mac and PC computers. The $39.99 device uses RF technology that allows you to control your computer from up to 60 ft. away from anywhere in your home or office.
The AirClickUSB enables you to wirelessly control several popular applications, including: iTunes, PowerPoint, and QuickTime. Griffin said future software updates will add support for additional applications.
The small remote control — which features play/pause, next track, previous track, volume up and volume down buttons — is identical to the AirClick for iPod remote and can be used to control either your iPod or your PC if you already own the iPod AirClick.
Moshi has introduced two new iPod pouches made of a unique fabric called Terahedron. The iPouch (full-size iPods) and miniPouch (iPod mini) sell for $14.99 and come with a metal ring drawstring and an outer pouch for earphone storage.
“Moshi is designed with Terahedron cloth. This special cloth is made up of small porous interlocking fibers that give it the combination of unique properties you find in Moshi pouches. Terahedron not only has a comfortable cotton-like look and feel, but is extremely durable, anti-static, and splash resistant. Moshi pouches are designed to effortlessly wipe away grease, particles, and fingerprints from your portable electronics while providing a safe environment to store them.”
The company told iLounge that the two pouches are available now in Asia, and will be sold in the US on eBay under Reliable Trading by the end of April. Moshi said it’s also in discussions with retailers such as Costco.
Synaptics, which supplies touchpad components used in Apple’s iPod, said last week that its fourth quarter earnings are expected to be less than Wall Street estimates because of “softness in its music player business.”
In a research note obtained by iLounge on Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said iPod demand remains strong and gave his thoughts on the cautious guidance from Synaptics.
“On Friday, Synaptics provided guidance slightly below Street estimates for the June quarter based on expectations for softness in its portable music player business. From a headline perspective, Synaptics comments are negative, but it is important to keep in mind: 1) we do not believe there have been any significant changes to Apple’s dominant market share, and 2) while not a positive, it is reasonable to assume that due to seasonality, June quarter iPod unit shipments would fall from December and March quarter levels.”
Munster said he expects Apple to ship approximately 3.5 million iPods (excluding iPod shuffles) in the June quarter.
PodBrix has announced its latest iPod-themed novelty mini figure — Mister Brix. The $16.99 figure, which attaches to the Apple earbuds cord, will go on sale today at 9:00 p.m. ET.
“Mister Brix is designed to be attached to the earbud cord of your iPod music player. His hands are fixed and he uses two vinyl grips to keep himself firmly attached at all times,” explains the creator. “Mister Brix never gets tired and he will not damage your earbud cord. He can be used with any model of iPod. Mister Brix is made from injection molded white plastic. He is not painted.”