“Apple and Universal Music are expanding their range to online music consumers by selling Chinese-language pop music for the first time in North America and Europe,” reports the Financial Times.
“More than 1,000 tracks by top Chinese artists on the books of Universal, the world’s biggest record company, including Jacky Cheung, Kelly Chen, Hacken Lee and Alan Tam, will be available from Apple’s iTunes stores in 15 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.
Universal says it is the first time this range of Chinese music will be legally available online outside its region of origin.”
The second Pepsi-iTunes commercial—which will air alongside the ad released earlier this week at the Super Bowl on Sunday—has been leaked onto the Web. It features the song “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani featuring Eve, who both make a brief appearance at the end of the ad. The track comes from the Gwen Stefani album Love, Angel, Music, Baby. The new commercial can be viewed here. The first Pepsi-iTunes spot, called “Bottle Songs,” can be seen here.
MP3.com founder Michael Robertson will launch a new online music store next week that will offer tracks in unprotected MP3 format. MP3Tunes.com will have no major record labels—only 200,000 licensed from small labels and independent artists.
Nitrozac and Snaggy of Geek Culture poke a little fun at the iPod shuffle shortage in their latest Joy of Tech comic entitled “iPod scuffle.”
Apple’s “Made for iPod” program is “a good way to ensure good quality products,” according to 39 percent of Macworld UK readers who took part in an online survey. Nearl 25 percent are less optimistic, suggesting that it is “a way to control the iPod industry.”
Gizmodo points to a handful of strange scenes with life-size iPod shuffles hanging out in a home. “I don’t know what prompted these photoshops of a giant iPod shuffle in everyday situations, but they aren’t half bad, and just surreal enough to be pleasant.”
PodBuddy, a divison of DVForge, today announced The Clips, a new mounting accessory set for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The set includes a belt clip, a gripper clip, and a push pin clip which snap securely onto the USB plug end of the shuffle. All three clips are made of durable white ABS plastic, stainless steel and galvanized steel to match the appearance of the iPod shuffle. The Clips will start shipping next month for $19.99 (all three clips are packaged together).
Everquest Design has announced the release of a new iPod case made out of a unique material. The International Space Station Soyuz TMA-3 Series iPod case is built with a piece of space shuttle landing parachute. The $25 case features a black Cordura nylon exterior, soft black cotton-nylon lining, Velcro top closure, and attaches to any shoulder strap or belt.
“It’s all about having a cool and unique bag with a story—a ‘piece of adventure’ made with famous materials,” the company said. “All our products are made with high quality material and are authenticated with a certificate from actual participants in the ‘adventure’ (Russian cosmonaut, Mt Everest sherpa, etc.).”
iLounge has confirmed that Apple’s iPod shuffle Dock is now available in very limited quantities in select Apple retail stores across the U.S. According to Apple, the iPod shuffle Dock serves as “an elegant and convenient home base for syncing and charging” the low-cost music player. It’s also a much-needed accessory for those without an accessible USB port (see iLounge’s report on issues encountered by eMac and iMac G3 users). Click on Read More for our exclusive photos.
Alongside the iPod shuffle at Macworld Expo last month, Apple introduced several optional accessories, including the Dock, an armband, a sport case, a USB power adapter, and a 12-hour battery pack that holds two AAA batteries. At the time, Apple said they would be available “over the next few weeks” for $29 each.
The online Apple Store is currently quoting that all of the accessories will ship in 5-7 weeks - except for the USB power adapter, which is available immediately via the online store.
Scosche Industries, a leader in mobile electronics aftermarket accessories, announced today that it is developing a Bluetooth interface for iPods. Unlike other wired adaptors, this interface will connect directly to the headphone connector of the iPod and will transmit to a Bluetooth receiver connected to the aux input of a head unit. The company said the new product is designed for third and fourth generation iPods and iPod minis, and will work with both OEM and aftermarket head units. The Bluetooth interface will be available in “spring/summer of this year” at specialty retailers. Pricing was not announced.
One clever person has built a modern day stereoscope with two iPod photos, an antique stereoscope, and a digital camera.
A Japanese website is offering several decorative templates that can be printed out on labels to stick on an iPod shuffle. The site also appears to let you upload your own designs.
Apple-X has posted an interview with the songwriter and guitarist for the Caesars, the band behind the tune on Apple’s iPod shuffle TV ad.
An iPod shuffle owner in Japan has created a case for the tiny Apple music player out of a Frisk-brand mints package.
Axxess has introduced two direct-connect iPod auto adapters that allow playback over either a GM or Volkswagen OEM radio. The adaptors enable the factory head units to control iPod functions, including next/previous track, playlist selection, shuffle modes, and more. Radios with text capability will display the playlist and track number, artist, track name and album name. The adapters work with all VW stereos (with a round scan button) from 1998 forward, and all GM Class 2 vehicles with changer ports. The products are priced at $189.99 each and will be available at Axxess retailers in late February.
Axxess said that iPod adapters for Ford and Chrysler vehicles are scheduled for introduction by late March, with those for Honda, Nissan and Toyota scheduled for release throughout the spring.
Napster today introduced a portable version of its digital music subscription service, backed by a $30 million print and broadcast ad campaign that takes aim at Apple’s iPod and iTunes Music Store. Napster’s promotion will include a Super Bowl ad, called “Do the Math,” that argues it would cost up to $10,000 to fill up an iPod, while it would only be $14.95 a month to load up an alternative player through the new Napster To Go service. The ad campaign also includes strategic alliances with companies that make rival players to the iPod—Creative, Dell and iRiver.
“Napster To Go provides infinitely greater value and is much more exciting than the iTunes pay-per-download model,” said Napster CEO Chris Gorog.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said he does not believe that there is a significant number of music fans willing to pay $180 a year to subscribe to a collection of tracks that they do not permanently own. “When you rent stuff, in the end you’re left with nothing,” Jobs said.
Wired’s Leander Kahney has written a article on iPods at Microsoft. “To the growing frustration and annoyance of Microsoft’s management, Apple’s iPod is wildly popular among Microsoft’s workers.”
Apple said yesterday that it will lower iPod prices in Korea. The price drop is only for Apple’s hard-disk drive iPods and excludes the iPod shuffle.
Following its dissection of the iPod shuffle, AppleMatters has posted an article looking at the device’s file structure.
Pepsi today announced details of the four commercials it will be running during this Sunday’s Super Bowl. As previously reported, the company will air an ad for this year’s Pepsi-iTunes promotion, which kicked off on Monday. Pepsi said the iTunes ad is called “Bottle Songs” and features “a number of popular tracks from a series of music genres” and “illustrates how winning a free song from the Pepsi iTunes promotion is as easy as opening a bottle of Pepsi.” It will be shown in 30 and 45-second spots.
As part of the Pepsi-iTunes music giveaway, Pepsi is giving away 200 million free songs from the iTunes Music Store. Those who redeem a free song download will also be automatically entered in a sweepstakes to win one of 1,700 iPod minis.
iPresent It 1.1 from ZappTek is the latest version of the software that allows you to convert PowerPoint, PDF and Keynote presentations into slideshows that are synced with your iPod photo. This updates adds Keynote 2 compatibility, build support when using Keynote 2, support for high resolution presentations, and tracking of presentations to indicate which presentations need to be updated.
Enrique Quintero Design has released PodGourmet 2.0, the latest version of the iPod-based gourmet food recipe database of 260 recipes. The company has also posted PodGourmet Vegan Edition 2.0, an update to its vegan recipe database of 277 recipes. Both updates add an index in each category with links to each recipe in that category. PodGourmet and the vegan version sell for $7.50 each.
Qortico has announced the addition of two new solid wood iPod stands to its product line. The Essential iPod Stand is available in two sizes and four different hardwood species (Hard Maple, Lace Wood, Oak, and Zebra Wood). It works with all iPod models, and pricing ranges from $19.95 to $46.95. The Droplet iPod Stand is available in two sizes—the small is designed for the 3G (10/15/20GB) and 4G (20GB), and the large is designed for the 3G (30/40GB), 4G (40GB) and photo (40/60GB). Both are priced at $28.95.
In a survey of the 98 Apple retail stores across the U.S., Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he was unable to find any iPod shuffle units available for purchase. Munster said that most Apple Stores have waiting lists for both the 512MB and 1GB models and that while the lists vary from store to store, the average waiting list is 120 customers long. The analyst also noted scarcity of Apple’s low-cost Mac mini.
“The majority of stores have no idea when they will receive product,” Munster wrote in a research note to clients obtained by iLounge. “Those stores that do have an indication of when they will receive product suggested that limited quantities of the Mac mini and iPod shuffle will be in stock within 2 weeks. Lastly, the stores generally expected to have ample supply by the end of February.”
Munster stated that “initial demand for the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle has exceeded what Apple had been expecting.” The analyst also pointed out that “virtually every Apple Store we spoke to suggested ordering the Mac mini and iPod shuffle online instead of adding our name to the waiting list.”
Tuesday’s USA Today features a cover story on the impact Apple’s iPod has had since the device was introduced in 2001. The article touches upon several general topics, including the iPod economy, cultural trends, iPod-using universities, iPod naysayers, podcasting and more.
“Apple may have introduced its innovative digital music player in 2001, but of the 10 million iPods sold to date, 8.2 million of the $249 to $399 gadgets were purchased in 2004. Nearly 5 million were bought over the holiday season alone. With its new $99 Shuffle, Apple expects the streets to soon sprout even more iPod people,” writes John Zich.
Click “Read more” to see a full-size version of the USA Today front page.
Newer Technology (NewerTech) and Other World Computing (OWC) today announced a new 87.9 FM version of the RoadTrip! FM transmitter for iPods. The 87.9 FM RoadTrip! is immediately available along with the original 107.7 FM model, for the new, lower price of $14.99. Both RoadTrip! models connect to a vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter and have a 3.5-millimeter stereo jack that is compatible with all four generations of iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod Shuffle. The new 87.9 version replaces the 87.7 RoadTrip!.
CNET News.com is reporting that select Wal-Mart stores have begun selling Apple’s iPod mini. Wal-Mart is selling the device in a “limited number of stores,” a representative for the discount chain said Monday.
Apple’s iPod is currently being sold at a large number of retailers, including CompUSA, Target, Best Buy, and Circuit City. Thanks to the company’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard, the HP-branded iPod is offered in chains such as Office Depot, Radio Shack, and Staples.
This year’s Pepsi-iTunes promotion officially launched today. Apple has updated its promo site with instructions on how to play and redeem codes, official rules and a FAQ.
Ina Fried of CNET News.com has written an extensive article on the “iPod economy,” which currently includes more than 400 add-ons (not counting all the various cases).
The Financial Times reports that Apple is setting out to cement its dominance of the portable music player market with the help of iPod accessory makers.