Apple’s iPod U2 Special Edition ($349.00) is now available for purchase in bricks-and-mortar Apple Stores, and iLounge has exclusive first pictures of the newest iPod’s packaging and pack-ins. Our full gallery will go up shortly, but for now, click on Read More for a collection of eleven shots to tide you over.
Shipments of the U2 iPod to fulfill Apple Store online pre-orders commenced several days ago, with anticipated delivery dates over the next several days. As noted in our earlier news stories and the iLounge Buyers’ Guide 2004, each U2 iPod includes a $50 coupon towards the purchase of The Complete U2, a digital box set of U2 music from iTunes, and a fold-out poster including photographs of the band. Other than its packaging, black casing, red Click Wheel and band-engraved back, the U2 iPod is the same as a 20GB fourth-generation iPod, and includes standard white accessories.
View the U2 iPod gallery
In an apparent attempt to unify its iPod product names, Apple has tweaked the name of its iPod Photo to iPod photo (lower case “p”). The product’s name now matches that of the iPod mini. Apple’s Web site appears to have been quietly made over to reflect the name change. According to readers, Apple resellers and members of the Apple Consultants Network received confirmation of the change from the company earlier today.
The NBA has informed Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter that he is no longer allowed to use his iPod during pregame warm-ups. “The 27-year-old shooting guard had been listening to music on his trendy iPod on the basketball court during pregame warm-ups, chilling privately with his tunes while practicing jump shots with his teammates. Yesterday, the NBA said Carter’s quest for inner peace through his headphones did not conform to the league guidelines on proper attire on the court. The league has asked him to put the music player away. Carter was shocked when told the news yesterday afternoon after practice. ‘It’s going to hurt [my routine] big time,’ Carter said. ‘I like to listen to music when I’m working out, doing all that. That was my chance to really kind of relax yet focus in. I focus in when I have music on.’”
Griffin Technology said today that it is now shipping the iTrip-Black FM transmitter for the new iPod U2 Special Edition. Like the original white iTrip, the new iTrip-Black retains its most popular features such as unlimited station frequencies and battery-free iPod mating design. The new model with its jet-black exterior and red LED light perfectly matches the new U2 iPod. The iTrip-Black is priced $35.
Acme Made has introduced two new stylish iPod and iPod mini cases. The iPod Wallet features an Italian box leather exterior and “Cashmere” finish microsuede lining. It sports a magnetic tab closure, cable access, an internal headphones strap, and card pocket. Available in pink, lime and blue, the Acme Made iPod Wallet for iPod costs $59.95, while the iPod mini version sells for $49.95. Also announced was the iPod Traveler, a protective travel case specifically designed for the iPod and iPod mini. The leather case comes in red or black and features a suede lining, a polished YKK zipper (with protective flap lining), internal headphones pocket, and rear headphone port (mini version only). The Acme Made Traveler is priced at $59.99 for iPod and $49.99 for iPod mini.
Japanese company Bird Electron is offering limited edition iPod speakers that are handmade from actual gourds.
PortalPlayer, which makes components for Apple’s iPod, plans to go public this week, selling 6.25 million shares at $11 to $13 a share.
Wired’s Leander Kahney found the fIRSt evEr prOTotyPe dDArwIng Of tHe IPOd.
The EPodium is yet another new iPod stand made from crystal-clear acrylic. The stand comes in two versions—a plain version for $15.95 and a customizable version for $18.95 which you can personalize with a laser-engraved name or symbol. The EPodium, which will fit all iPod models (mini, 20GB, 40GB, and the new iPod photo 40GB, and 60GB), also has a slot on the bottom for the dock connector cord.
Burberry is now offering two new iPod cases in its signature plaid designs. “This nifty, leather-lined case shields your portable jukebox from the perils of pocket and purse. As an added bonus, the iconic exterior, available in traditional Nova or cheery Candy plaid, complements the cover of Le Tigre’s latest album.” The Burberry London iPod case sells for $195 and is available at Burberry stores in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and King of Prussia, PA.
While Apple CEO Steve Jobs calls the iPod the “Walkman of the 21st century,” Microsoft and its allies are hoping to make it the Betamax of the 21st century, according to a report in the New York Times. “The iPod dominates its market in a way that no Apple product has done in a generation, raising the possibility that the company is becoming more than just a purveyor of computers with high design and low market share. If Apple continues to ride the wave of consumer electronics products, it may become the Sony of the 21st century. For that to happen, however, Jobs must do what he failed to do last time: prevail over his old nemesis, Bill Gates, who sees entertainment as Microsoft’s next great frontier. Microsoft is working hard to make sure that the iPod is less like the Walkman and more like the Betamax, Sony’s videocassette format that was defeated in the marketplace by VHS.”
Tune Belt today announced a new style armband carrier with an open view for Apple’s iPod mini. The $16.95 product fits the iPod mini right side up or upside down so that you can read the device’s screen when viewed on the arm. The Tune Belt iPod mini Armband Carrier, which is adjustable up to 20-inches, also features a clear protective mylar window with access to the Click Wheel; access to the headphone jack and hold button; a flap to hold down excess cord length; and a mini pocket for the earbuds when not in use.
Panic has officially retired its Audion MP3 application and made it a free download. The company has posted an amazing story by co-founder Cabel Sasser on the history of Audion, including very interesting details on the early days of MP3, a failed AOL deal, meeting Apple CEO Steve Jobs and how Audion almost became iTunes.
The French Competition Council has dismissed a case brought by Virgin’s French arm against Apple for alleged abuse of market dominance.
The Think Different Store now has the new iSkin eVo 2 in stock for fourth-generation iPods.
Geek Culture’s Joy of Tech comic reveals the Dirty Secrets of iPod Socks.
Anapod Explorer 8.6.4 from Red Chair Software is the latest version of the iPod utility for Windows. This update adds the ability to install Griffin iTrip Stations onto your iPod via Anapod Explorer. Improvements have also been made to streaming playback performance, Xtreamer security, and MP3 tag handling.
EarphoneSolutions has issued a new $30 coupon code (IPODLOUNGEFREE30) to be used on any purchase of $99 or more. This is an exclusive offer for iLounge readers and can be used to save on all highend earphones for the iPod. EarphoneSolutions is an authorized Etymotic and Shure dealer. The coupon cannot be combined with any other offer.
Griffin Technology has announced the XPress Digital Audio Cable, a 9-foot cable for connecting an Airport Express to the digital input on a home stereo. The $19.99 digital optical cable has Toslink based connectors on both ends and comes with two Toslink-to-mini digital cable adaptors. The digital mini connectors are the same connectors that provide digital audio output on the Airport Express, as well as the new iMac G5 machines.
MultiPivot has introduced a new line of cases for the iPod market. iMod Cases are available in several styles and levels of protection. They all feature built-in MultiPivot usability enhancements such as Flip & View Belt Mode and adjustable desk and dash stand functions. The iMod Zip ($34.95) is a completely clear, soft case with access to all ports except for the dock port. The iMod Shield ($49.95) features high impact plastic and shock absorbing rubber, and access to all ports and controls. The iMod Armor ($74.95) is a hard case with aluminum exterior and protective foam interior. It offers access to headphones, remote and dock port while closed.
Australian disability equipment specialists Technical Solutions have developed a remote control which enables a person with no hand function to control Apple’s iPod. “The SwitchPod plugs into the remote control socket, and using a single switch suited to the individual, all remote control functions are available. For a person with high level quadriplegia, a switch mounted on the wheelchair headrest may be suitable.” Pricing and availability was not available at post time.
PodStyle is a new anodized aluminum display/frame for third- and fourth-generation iPods (20GB, 40GB or 60GB). Available in red, blue, silver or black, the $29 stand features access to all ports and buttons, allowing you to charge and use your iPod while mounted in PodStyle. “The beautiful styling and classic design of the PodStyle complements any desktop, counter, or existing stereo setup. Choose from four stylish colors to complement your existing rooms décor. Made of strong aluminum with a secure pocket lined with padding to avoid scratches—PodStyle positions the iPod at a perfect height and angle for optimal screen visibility.”
PodShop today announced iDrops, an all-in-one product for cleaning, polishing, protecting, and removing scratches from all models of Apple’s iPod. The $14.95 product can also be used with the iBook, eMac, and iMac G3 and G5. iDrops come in a 1.7-ounce bottle of “liquid health” featuring a medicine dropper top, allowing easy, mess-free use for repairing and restoring the acrylic portion of your blemished, scuffed, or scratched Apple product. In related news, PodShop has also lowered the shipping cost of PodHolder, the company’s $9.95 clear acrylic stand/display product, to $1.95.
BusinessWeek’s Alex Salkever is expecting Apple to unveil a flash memory-based iPod that will hit shelves “sometime next year.” Salkever says the flash iPods would sell for significantly less than the current hard drive-based iPods, allowing Apple to reach new consumers who balk at the higher prices. “iPod, which clocked 3.2 million units sold in the last quarter, is logging an annual sales rate of roughly 13 million units. That leaves Apple plenty of room to maneuver if it wants to assault the flash player market… If Apple could sell just 5 million flash IPods in the next year at prices between $120 and $199, that would likely generate revenues of between $600 million and $1 billion. It would certainly push Apple closer to its goal of rejoining the $10 billion revenue club in the next two years. Add it all up, and the flash iPod hardly looks like a flash in the pan.”