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Tunewear debuts Poptune wrappers for iPod shuffle

Tunewear today announced its Poptune collection of removable wrappers for the iPod shuffle. Each Poptune protects the shuffle from dirt and scratching, and comes with two USB cap covers, one for the lanyard cap and one for the regular USB cap. The company said they won’t leave behind sticky residue when removed. The Poptune series comes in a $19.95 pack of 12 patterns—“Aloha”, “Dragon”, “Wood”, “Snake”, “Karakusa”, “Sakura”, “Fire”, “Stone”, “Orange”, “Green”, “Sparkle Silver” and “Sparkle Gold”.

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Forums: Total Songs, Smart Playlist bug, Anti-Podcast, Woody iPod

In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums, one reader asks: how many songs do you have? In hours? Days? Weeks? - over 38% of those voting have 2600 or more…

A bug has been noted in the latest iPod Updater 2005-06-26: readers are finding that their Smart Playlists are no longer updating on the iPod. Join the discussion on this topic…

With the upsurge in podcasting and the latest iTunes 4.9 support for podcasts, one reader’s experiences so far have yet to convince him of the appeal of this latest broadcasting phenomenon... What do you think?

And finally, as previously reported in the iLounge news, a natural look iPod has been produced in an amazing mod by a reader who removed the complete front of his fourth generation iPod and produced a wood replacement, complete with a working wooden clickwheel. Read his detailed description of the mod and view the whole process in the Hacks and Mods Forum.

Apple’s Steve Jobs calls family of teen killed for iPod

In a phone call to the father of the 15-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed over his iPod last week in Brooklyn, Apple CEO Steve Jobs conveyed his sympathies and told the man not to hesitate to ask if there was anything Jobs could do for him.

“I didn’t know who he was,” Errol Rose, father of the slain Christopher Rose, told The New York Times. “He called me on my cellphone, at 4 maybe. Or maybe it was 5.”

“He told me that he understood my pain,” Rose said. “He told me if there is anything—anything—he could do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit. Some people talk to you like they’re something remote,” Rose said. “He was so familiar. After every word, he paused, as if each word he said came from his heart.”

“We live in a world which is changing rapidly,” Rose said. “We have the technology that can give us the iPod and everything else, but it’s not all these things. We have to work on the minds and the hearts. We’re failing these kids. We’re not loving them like we’re supposed to.”

Denon intros home entertainment systems with iPod connectivity [updated]

imageDenon Electronics has introduced two new home entertainment systems that offer direct connectivity and control of the iPod.

The compact 2.1-channel systems—the S-301 ($1,599) and S-101 ($999)—feature integrated DVD/receiver units, a range of audio and video connections, dual satellite speakers, high-performance subwoofers, and wireless remotes. They both sport a “gentle round-form design” with metallic silver finishes and will be available in August.

Most importantly for iPod owners, both systems feature a plug-and-play “Connect iPod” cable located on the front panel that provides 3G and 4G iPod users connectivity with an iPod navigational menu that’s displayed on their home theater screen.

“The onscreen display mimics the iPod’s own menu display, offering easy and familiar control capabilities,” says Denon. “Once connected, all basic iPod features, including volume control, menu navigation, play, stop and skip, can be accessed via the Denon remote control. Users can even recharge their iPods while connected.”

In addition, both the S-301 and S-101 systems offer support for the iPod photo (now iPod with color display), enabling users to show and control their photos with music on their main home theater display.

Denon has yet to update its site with details of these new models, however, a teaser site showing the S-101 was recently posted.

iGuy for iPod mini joins the family

imageSpeck Products today added a new version of its iGuy posable “friend” for Apple’s iPod mini. The white rubberized toy/case features bendable arms and legs, docking capability and a screen protector. iGuy mini is priced at $34.95 and fits both 4GB and 6GB iPod minis.

“Since our explosive iGuy release in May, mini iPod owners have been anticipating the release of iGuy mini,” said Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck. “The iGuy mini is even more portable than his big brother. The smaller size makes it much lighter and easier to carry around.”

Mix: iPod estimates, Device discounts, Shure E4c, IDC survey

First Albany analyst Joel Wagonfeld has raised his earnings and sales forecasts for Apple and increased his iPod sales forecast to 5 million units from 4.25 million.

PC World reports that Apple’s decision last week to cut the price of the 1GB iPod shuffle may prompt other companies to do the same.

EarphoneSolutions.com will begin shipping the Shure E4 earphones (black) on July 8th and the Shure E4c (white) is in stock now.

According to a recent IDC survey, Americans are “experimenting with new audio technologies, from online music services to terrestrial and satellite digital radio and multichannel audio formats, but they still rely on CDs and FM radio as primary sources of music.”

Tunewear intros Tuneclip cable winder

imageTunewear today announced the Tuneclip, a new headphone cable management accessory for the iPod and other portable audio players.

“With Tuneclip, all you have to do is wind your earphone cable around the reel-shaped body and snap it into the stopper,” says Tunewear. “Using the clip on the back it is easy to fasten it to a shirt pocket, belt loop or almost anywhere else. Because you can wind the cable to the length that you like, you no longerhave to worry about getting tangled up in excess cable.”

Tuneclip comes with a removable ball-bearing style chain so that you can attach it to a bag or key ring. It’s available now for $9.95.

Apple kicks off countdown to half a billion songs

Apple today announced its countdown to half a billion songs sold on the iTunes Music Store.

To celebrate, the company is giving away an iPod mini and an a 50-song iTunes gift card to the iTunes customer who purchases the winning song at each 100,000 interval. The person who downloads the 500 millionth song will win 10 iPods of their choice, an iTunes gift card for 10,000 songs and an all-expenses paid trip for four to see Coldplay on their world tour.

Apple has posted a live song counter online to help users “participate in the race to purchase and download the 500 millionth song.”

“As we prepare to cross this major milestone of half a billion songs, we want to thank our customers, the artists and the music labels who have helped make iTunes a global success,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications. “iTunes continues to be the world’s number one online music store featuring the world’s best digital music including special performances such as the Live 8 concerts.”

Mix: Wood iPod, iPod flea, Big media, RSS backlash

Joshua Driggs has constructed a terrific replacement iPod faceplate out of African Padauk wood. He has posted several photos of the “wooden iPod” and explained the building process.

Scott Kelby and his KW Media staff have created a hilarious Apple parody video for a super tiny iPod called the “iPod flea.”

The New York Times has an article on the mainstream media adopting podcasting. “The ruling media elite are quickly adopting the methodology and technology of the insurgency, attempting to co-opt something that was meant to tip them over. This time, the revolution will be televised, broadcast and published.”

With Apple’s leap into podcasting, “leaders in the RSS community, including the standard’s own creator, are taking Apple to task for developing an ill-advised DTD without seeking input and guidance from the community.”

Icons, dialog show iTunes 4.9 ready for ‘iPod Phone’

imageIn further confirmation that iTunes 4.9 is ready for the long-awaited Motorola iTunes-compatible phones, which Engadget suggests will begin with the TransFlash-card capable Motorola E790, iLounge forum member “celebi23” has discovered several mobile phone icons and dialog strings in the application.

Following on the heels of an earlier discovery of an icon that resembles the popular Motorola RAZR phone, and reports that some current Motorola phones can already communicate with iTunes, Celebi23 uncovered a generic mobile phone icon that will appear in the source column of iTunes.

As previously reported, hidden files in iTunes 4.9 are riddled with references to an “iPod Phone.” Celibi23 verifies this information and provides details of preferences for such a phone, including options very similar to those of the iPod shuffle, crediting most of the dialog discoveries to Macshrine.com.

Users will apparently be able to use AutoFill with an iTunes-compatible phone, convert songs to a lower bit rate before loading them, display album artwork on the phone, and choose how many songs versus data to store. Additionally, iTunes will seemingly enable users to name their phones, transfer podcasts to them, and update their contacts. A reference to “iPodmobile” remains obscure.

Mix: Refurb shuffles, Teen murder, iPodResQ, Motorola E790

The online Apple Store is offering factory refurbished 512MB iPod shuffles for $79 and 1GB iPod shuffles for $99. The store also has deals on the discontinued 20GB iPod (black and white display) and the 30GB color display iPod.

A 15-year-old Brooklyn boy was fatally stabbed Saturday by two other teenagers in an iPod mugging, police said. “Rose and three friends were accosted by a group of young men Saturday evening in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn,” reports AP. “Members of the group demanded Rose’s iPod and stabbed him twice in the chest when he resisted. The group fled, taking Rose’s iPod and a backpack.”

iPodResQ has announced new discounts for its iPod repair programs. You can get $10 off the iPodResQ 24 Hour Nationwide iPod Repair Program with code “MEXICO”, and $10 off the iPodResQ 4G iPod Flat-Rate LCD Same-Day Replacement Service with code “MALL”.

Engadget has new photos of a Motorola E790 running iTunes. “It might just be an engineering or a production sample, and we can’t guarantee whether this will actually be the first iTunes phone or not,” the gadget site says.

Live 8 charitable music events now underway across world

Every three seconds, a child dies in Africa from starvation or disease: 30,000 die every day. The continued presence of AIDS and armed conflicts, combined with a tremendous debt burden and widespread illiteracy, have kept the people of the African continent from achieving their deserved equality on the world stage.

Twenty years have passed since the worldwide charitable music event known as Live Aid took place. Today, the world’s wealth is more concentrated than ever before, and those without resources still need help - this time, your signature, not your money.

This weekend, millions of people have gathered at music events around the world to convince world G8 leaders that the era of misery in Africa should end. Cancelling the debts of impoverished African nations - wiping the slate clean - will enable these countries to use their money to help their own people, rather than paying interest on debts they will never clear. Your signature on the petition below could help convince the G8 to erase African debts, and aid these countries on the road to self-dependence.

Philadelphia, Paris, Johannesburg, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, London, Cornwall, and Barrie, Canada are all taking part in today’s events. Top artists including Coldplay, Razorlight, The Killers, The Dave Matthews Band and iconmany, many more are participating to raise awareness for this effort.

Update: The song, icon“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which opened the Live 8 event in London performed by Sir Paul McCartney and accompanied by U2 is now available to download from the iTunes Music Store. Also available is the live rendition of the Beatles track icon“The Long and Winding Road” also performed by McCartney. Both tracks cost $.99 and all proceeds go to Live 8.

[News]  [Sign the petition]  [Learn more
[Join the iLounge Live 8 Forums Discussion]

New iPort In-Wall (IW) series announced, dated

image Following the successful launch of iPort (iLounge rating: B+) last year, the recently-formed iPort division of Dana Innovations has announced iPort In-Wall (IW), a new series of five iPort docking stations for the iPod. According to the company, the new iPort models “feature a universal docking system (patent pending) with a self-adjusting base plate that automatically conforms to any size iPod,” and represent “a dramatic leap forward in install-ability and future upgradeability.”

As contrasted with the original $600 iPort, the new models vary in suggested retail price from $200 to $1100. The IW-1 ($200) charges an iPod and outputs unbalanced audio and video, with an included wall plate for audio only; a video wall plate is optional. IW-1 is the only new iPort without an upgradeable motherboard.

The IW-2 ($350) adds an integrated IR receiver, and is compatible with optional feature cards for balanced audio ($275), balanced video ($325), and RS232 communications ($225). iPort’s RS232 card enables the docked iPod to provide metadata such as artist, track, and playlist information for viewing on separate video displays. The remaining three models are bundles of the IW-2 with various feature cards: IW-3 ($600) bundles the IW-2 with the balanced audio card, while IW-4 ($800) bundles the IW-3 with RS232, and IW-5 includes the IW-4 and the balanced video module.

All of the new IW series products except for the IW-5 and separate feature cards are now shipping; the remaining products will be available later this month.

Mophie debuts Song Sling for iPod shuffle

imageMophie has announced the Song Sling, a new iPod shuffle case and lanyard combo with integrated retractable earbuds. The Song Sling is priced at $39.99 and will be initially available in three colors—gray, blue and pink. It’s expected to ship beginning next month.

“Song Sling takes the basic lanyard concept to the next level,” says Mophie. “Its patent-pending design features concealed audio connections and retractable earbuds for ‘pull and play’ functionality. Song Sling raises the bar when it comes to style and convenience on the portable music scene.”

Mix: Indie Podcasts, Woz, GarageBand, Lance Armstrong

Frank Barnako of MarketWatch notes that Podcasts produced by bloggers and independent web publishers are holding their own with those from commercial or public broadcasters. “By my count Friday morning, 47 of the [100] most subscribed or downloaded podcasts were produced by independents.”

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has “six iPods including the iPod Photo, the shuffle and the iPod minis,” he recently said in Digital Life magazine. “My favorite is the U2 iPod. Each iPod contains a different type of music.” [via Macworld UK]

Apple has put together a tutorial on how to use its GarageBand music software to create your own Podcast.

Throughout this year’s Tour de France, SIRIUS will offer behind-the-scenes reports from Lance Armstrong and will offer daily reports via a free Podcast. [via MDN]

Apple ‘clear winner’ in music download web traffic

Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster has used web traffic information from Alexa to estimate the market share of download stores in his “traffic report card.”

Not surprisingly, Apple.com received an “A” rating. “In our minds, Apple.com earned an A as a result of having the largest 3 month percentage change in web traffic rank, which was up 11% and a reach increase of 11%,” Munster said. “Clearly, not all visitors to Apple.com use iTunes, but we do believe Apple traffic is indicative of interest in Apple’s iPod and iTunes.”

Munster also gave Napster an “A,” noting that Napster.com is the only other audio download website with an increase in rank (7%) and had a 21% increase in reach. “Napster’s marketing appears to be having a positive impact on traffic,” the analyst said.

Others included in the survey were Audible.com (Grade: B) and Real.com (Grade: C), both of which experienced drops in average traffic for the 3 months ending 6/30 over the three month average ending 3/30.

“We believe that Apple.com is the clear winner in our second grade report on the audio download industry,” Munster concluded. “Apple has the highest web traffic rank (64) of the four and also has seen the most increase in web traffic rank and reach over the past 3 months.”

Sonic Impact offers i-Fusion portable speakers

imageSonic Impact has announced the release of the i-Fusion, a portable iPod speaker system mounted inside a zip-up hard carrying case. The product features a built-in iPod cradle and a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts approximately 15 hours. The device has aluminum cone speakers with neodymium drivers and “Maxxbass psycho-acoustic technology” with a ported cabinet to improve bass. The i-Fusion works with all iPods with Dock Connectors, measures 9 x 7 x 2.5 inches and weighs under 2.25 lbs. It will be available in August for $149.

HP now selling iPod shuffle

Hewlett-Packard announced on Friday that it has added the iPod shuffle to its lineup of HP-branded iPods. The “iPod shuffle from HP” is identical to Apple’s version and comes in both the 512MB ($99.99) and 1GB ($129.99) sizes. The HP iPod shuffle is available now online at hpshopping.com and will soon be at major retailers, including Radio Shack, Sears and Wal-Mart. HP now sells all current iPods except for the special edition U2 iPod.

Apple executive: Updated iPods still ‘4th generation’

Clarifying ambiguities over the actual “generation” or version number of the updated iPods released this Tuesday, a senior executive with Apple Computer confirmed to iLounge this evening that the new color-screened devices are still considered by the company to be “4th generation” (4G) iPods.

While the executive did not provide further naming details, Apple has been calling the new models “iPod with color display” in various support documents and software release notes. The company has publicly referred to the last two major iPod revisions, the iPod With Dock Connector (with a touch wheel and four touch-sensitive buttons) and the Click Wheel iPod, as “third-generation” and “fourth-generation” models, respectively. With Tuesday’s iPods still considered part of the fourth-generation family, one can now safely assume that Apple is saving the “fifth-generation” moniker for an all-new iPod yet to be revealed, perhaps conveniently at the same time as version 5.0 of iTunes.

Thanks to Apple for providing this clarification to iLounge and our readers. We’ve modestly updated our new iPod and U2 iPod reviews, accordingly, to reflect the “color 4G” name.

Griffin ships iVault aluminum iPod shuffle case

imageGriffin Technology is now shipping its iVault aluminum case for the iPod shuffle. The machined aluminum case, which came about through a collaboration with iLounger Greg Gutierrez (“helixipod”), completely encloses the iPod shuffle while allowing access to the control pad, earphone jack, LED light and slider switch. The iVault sells for $19.99 and comes in five anodized colors—silver, blue, red, green and purple—and ships with a USB cable to sync/charge your iPod shuffle without removing it from the case.

Read iLounge’s review of the iVault.

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