Amazon.com has launched a new promotion that offers a free $15 iTunes Music Store gift card with the purchase of four. Customers must add five of the iTunes prepaid cards to their shopping cart and then use promotional code ITUNES544DEC. The offer expires January 2, 2005.
According to data released by America Online, the iPod, Britney Spears, Ugg boots, and Paris Hilton top this year’s Internet searches.
In a New York Times article, David Pogue takes a look at four iPod mini competitors from Dell, Rio, Creative and Virgin. Unsurprisingly, he concludes that Apple’s device is still king.
April Horace, a Janco Partners analyst, said the rumored iPod with Sirius satellite radio support is technologically unfeasible right now. “I don’t believe Sirius’ chip set is at the point where it can go into an iPod. It’s the size of a credit card, and an iPod would need a chip set the size of a thumb nail,” she said.
Citibank is offering a free iPod mini to anyone who opens an EZ Checking account, fund it with $2,500, and pay two bills online each month for 12 consecutive calendar months.
The California Tree Fruit Agreement and Apple have teamed up to offer free music downloads from the iTunes Music Store with the purchase of California peaches, plums and nectarines. The number of songs to be given away and the size of the purchase needed to qualify for the giveaway have not been set. In-store promotions are expected by early summer. “It’s a little difficult… to sell a message about health, and this is something just a little bit more fun,” said Marilyn Dolan, tree fruit spokeswoman. “We are hoping it’s something new and different enough that people will take notice.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that major retailers are seeing iPod shortages across the country. The paper says that iPod minis and 20GB iPods are out of stock at Amazon.com, Buy.com and other Web sites, while retailers such as Target, J&R Electronics, and Best Buy are all having trouble keeping up with demand. “Given how strong demand has been all year you would have thought [Apple] would have gotten every last one they could into stores,” says Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at market research firm NPD Group. “I suspect they have. It may just be they can’t build them fast enough.”
Apple said today that more than 200 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. The 200 millionth song was part of The Complete U2 and was purchased by Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, MA. “iTunes has now sold over 200 million songs, making it the world’s number one online music store by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to be making music an even more popular gift this holiday season with iTunes and iPod.”
Tune Belt has announced a new “Open View” style Armband Carrier for Apple’s iPod. The $17.95 case fits iPods (first through fourth generation models) upside down so that the LCD screen reads right side up when on your arm. It features a clear protective window cover that allows you to operate the Click Wheel; openings to access the hold button and to insert the headphone jack; a flap to securely hold excess earbud cord length; and a mini pocket for the earbuds when not in use. The armband strap is adjustable with one hand up to 20-inches.
Apple UK is now promoting the use of iPods in the classroom. The company offers several real-world classroom examples that “demonstrate how iPod and iTunes can motivate, engage and inspire pupils of all ages.”
Podfolio is the clever iPod-themed online portfolio of a French Web designer. The entire site resides in a life-size illustrated iPod and silhouette hand that work just like a real iPod.
The PowerPage has some photos of trains on the Tokyo JR Yamanote loop line which have been completely decorated with iPod advertising.
Actor/singer David Hasselhoff is auctioning off an autographed iPod pre-loaded with two of his albums. He has also recorded a special video message for the lucky winner.
Apple’s iPod photo contains updated firmware that blocks songs downloaded from the RealNetworks music store from being played on the device, according to CNET News.com. “The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players. For the last four months, RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following the company’s discovery of a way to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple’s MP3 player. Apple criticized RealNetworks’ workaround, dubbed Harmony, as the ‘tactics…of a hacker,’ and warned in July that RealNetworks-purchased songs would likely ‘cease to work with current and future iPods.’”
“iPod & iTunes Garage” is a new book by Kirk McElhearn thats aims to show users how to get the most out of the device and software. The $24.99 book “shows both Mac and Windows users the tips and tricks to transform their iPods into the most useful electronic device they own. And he demonstrates how to manipulate the iTunes digital music management program to make it the most entertaining piece of software in existence. The book covers the best features of iTunes and the iPod, including the new 4G model and the iPod mini.”
The Concertino is a combination of a tube based audio-amplifier and full range speakers designed and tuned exclusively for use with Apple’s iPod. The Concertino is compatible with all iPod models, iPod mini as well as AirPort Express. The enclosure consists of solid aluminium and hardened glass, and its multi-layered paint is applied by hand. The tuba amp features 190 watts of power and the speakers provide a full range system, with ported enclosure and 4.5 in double cone vintage-style fullrange drivers. The Concertino is available in Germany at 3.200,- Euro, including 16% sales tax. Customers outside of Germany should contact Goldster Audio for a price quote.
Toshiba today announced an 80GB version of its 1.8-inch hard drive that should eventually find its way into Apple’s iPod range. The company, which makes the drives found in current iPods, said the 80GB units would ship in the third quarter of 2005. “The Japanese manufacturer didn’t mention any customers by name of course, but having supplied Apple with micro hard drives to date, it seems likely the relationship will continue with the new, higher capacity,” reports The Register. A thinner and lighter version of the company’s 1.8” 40GB hard disk has also been introduced, and is likely to find its way into digital music players.
Altec Lansing has announced the limited edition inMotion iM3 Black, a special version of its iM3 portable audio system designed to match Apple’s U2 iPod. Like the original white inMotion iM3, the black model offers a built-in iPod docking station for charging and syncing, and has four full-range micro drivers and “MaxxBass” technology that simulates a subwoofer. The system, which provides more than 24 hours worth of playback on four AA batteries, comes with a black wireless remote control, a universal power supply, a 3.5 mm stereo cable for auxiliary input from other audio devices, and a padded carrying case. The black iM3 is available now at Apple Stores and the online Apple Store for $179.
iLounger Wesley Vasher has built an excellent dock for his second-generation iPod out of hard wood and aluminum.
Organizers of the upcoming Grammy Awards are reportedly letting voting members hear nominated songs for free through Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
CBS Marketwatch says the growth of the iPod remains the crowning achievement of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ business strategy since he returned to the company in 1997.
iPod and iTunes spokesband U2 are among five musical legends to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the foundation’s 20th annual induction ceremony next year.
iPodSync 2.22 is the latest version of the Windows tool to keep Microsoft Outlook calendar, contact, tasks and notes synchronized between a PC and iPod. This update adds a new file synchronization functionality, new RSS interface, improved progress display, and the ability to write to an iPod using unicode file format.
H2O Audio has issued a statement attempting to explain a slightly negative Associated Press review of its SV Mini waterproof case for Apple’s iPod mini. The company told iLounge that the initial round of cases sent out to reviewers was “pulled from a shipment of pre-production units” that “do not have a final housing seal.” H2O Audio said these units are “splash proof but possibly not waterproof in an active environment,” noting that the final cases are in transit and are expected in the coming weeks. iLounge has been testing the preliminary case for some time. We have delayed our review while awaiting representative final product of both the case and its included waterproof headphones.
Mike Wendland of the Detroit Free Press says the iPod mini is his gadget of year. “All of the iPods are awesome. But this little package, weighing in at 3.6 ounces, a half-inch thick and the size of a business card, is so slick and so sleek that all I can say is: Sweet.”
In his latest commentary piece, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber aims to dubunk the image and description of the rumored flash iPod that TheMacMind posted earlier this week.
Actor Colin Farrell, who is hosting Saturday Night Live this week, appeared in a Spanish-language talk show skit as U2’s Bono along with the band’s special edition iPod. The host, “Fericito,” countered Farell/Bono with an older Sanyo cassette recorder/player that “holds 15 songs and your photos too” (fold-out wallet photos were taped to the back of the large player).
The current Joy of Tech comic pokes fun at the rumored flash memory-based iPod. The comic features four “flash” iPods including a Super-hero branded iPod, a disco edition, and an iPod “flasher.”
Apple and PayPal today announced that the US iTunes Music Store now accepts PayPal for purchases of music, audiobooks and gift certificates. Starting today, PayPal users can shop at the store with a credit card, bank account or stored account balance. “We are thrilled that PayPal users can now buy their music on the world’s number one online music store,” said Todd Pearson, general manager of PayPal’s Merchant Services. “PayPal’s virtual wallet offers iTunes customers the convenience of paying in the way they prefer.” The first 500,000 customers to open a new iTunes account in the US using PayPal as their form of payment before March 31, 2005, will receive five free songs.
Booq has announced PodPaq Denim, a new version of its PodPaq case for the 4G iPod and iPod photo. The $39.95 case is made from washed denim and trimmed in soft Nappa leather. The case features a removable flap with cutouts for headphones and charging cable, an internal neoprene accessory pouch and a swivel belt clip.
Toshiba has reportedly agreed to supply Apple with flash memory chips—presumably for the much-rumored flash iPod. China Daily reports that Yasuo Morimoto, senior executive vice president at Toshiba, has confirmed his company will start selling the memory chips to Apple “early next year.” Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Milunovich expects Apple to introduce a cheaper flash memory-based iPod at Macworld Expo in January. Toshiba currently supplies Apple with the 1.8-inch hard drives that the company uses in its 4G iPods.
Apple’s iTunes Music Store has posted its Top 100 Songs and Top 100 Albums of 2004. The No. 1 song is “This Love” by Maroon 5, while the No. 1 album is U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
John C. Dvorak highlights yet another “iPod Killer