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Zune launch has little effect on iPod dominance

Despite a great deal of press coverage and a much-publicized launch last week, the Microsoft Zune has had no initial impact on iPod sales, according to analysts. “Initial findings suggest that the introduction of the Zune has had little effect on the iPod’s dominance of the U.S. MP3 player market,” said Steve Lidberg, an analyst at Pacific Crest. “On, Apple iPod held three of the top-four-selling electronics devices, while the black Zune ranked 18th. On CircuitCity. com, Apple controls nine of the top 14 MP3 player spots, with the black Zune ranking 15th. While Zune may take some incremental share from second tier players such as SanDisk and Creative Labs, we believe Apple will maintain its approximately 75% share of the U.S. market.”

JukeDock iPod dock announced

Pressure Drop has announced the JukeDock, a new iPod A/V docking solution that resembles a vintage jukebox. The JukeDock, which connects your iPod to your home entertainment system, is available in white or black for $100. In addition to audio and video connectivity, the JukeDock can sync your iPod with a Mac or PC, works with your existing home stereo remote control, and features built-in lights that can be set to one of four modes—“Rainbow,” “EQ,” “Cycle,” and “Steady.” The JukeDock works with 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod nano.

iPod glow leads to lost mushroom picker

The iPod nano’s best-of-class battery life definitely paid off for a lost mushroom picker in Oregon last week. Twenty-five year old Pini Nou was spotted in heavy underbrush and rescued after search teams saw the glow of his iPod Friday. “The underbrush was so thick, it took the searchers a full 22 minutes to reach Nou, who, lacking a flashlight, had been trying to use the faint glow of his iPod nano display as a light source,” reports the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “It took several more hours to get him safely out of the woods, and searchers didn’t get back home until around 6 a.m.”

Tunewear debuts two new iPod nano cases

Tunewear today announced two new leather cases for the iPod nano—the PRIE uni and the PRIE SilverBall. The PRIE uni is a black case with colored stitching along the front and back. It features a flip-cover that closes with a magnetic flap and a removable metal hook for attaching it to a belt loop or bag. The case, which also comes with a clear protective film for the screen and click wheel, is available in green, blue, and purple stitching. The PRIE SilverBall is identical in features to the PRIE uni, but features an accent of three silver circles located on the front of the case instead of stitching. Both cases work with 1G and 2G iPod nanos and will be available next month for $40 each.

Study: iPods overwhelmingly used for audio, not video

Despite the fifth-generation iPod’s much-touted video capabilities, which were added in October 2005, the device is still mainly used for audio, according to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research. The study found that less than 1% of content played by iPod users on either iTunes or the device itself were videos. Among 5G (video) iPod users, only 2.2% of content played was video. The study also found that 15.8% of iPod users have played a video on either iPod or iTunes. Nielsen monitored a panel of 400 iPod users in the U.S. from October 1-27 for the study.

“Owners of Apple’s ubiquitous portable media device spend far more time on it listening to music or audio podcasts than they do using it to watch TV or movies,” Andrew Wallenstein of The Hollywood Reporter writes. “That was among the findings in an unprecedented preliminary study conducted by the audience-measurement service in October—about one year after a video window was introduced to iPod and its corresponding Internet platform, iTunes. The iPod research conducted by Nielsen is the first publicly available independently published data on consumption habits for the device.”

Sharper Image offers iPulse Bear

Gearing up for the holiday shopping season, Sharper Image is offering an iPod-compatible stuffed bear with built-in speaker. The iPulse Bear “hugs your music player in a pouch in his belly,” while a hidden cable connects to the headphone jack of any iPod or other MP3 player. The $40 bear also has glowing eyes and LED lights that pulse to the music’s rhythm, frequency and volume. The iPulse Bear, available in white or brown, runs on four C batteries or an optional AC adapter ($10).

Wedding called off over $8K one-month iTunes tab

In response to a call for readers’ most embarrassing DVD purchases, Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross received a note from one woman who claims that she called off her wedding because her fiancé bought more than 8,000 songs from the iTunes Store... in one month.

“I used to wonder how my husband-to-be had more than 700 music CDs and more than 300 movie DVDs and hundreds and hundreds of record albums until I discovered that he had $43,000 in credit-card debt,” Susan P. writes. “In looking at his last bill (for one month) he had charged more than 8,000 iTunes at 99 cents each and had charges at places that sell music and movies, too. This guy made $45,000 a year. Called off the wedding.”

[via TUAW]

Paramount sues to stop loading of DVDs onto iPods

Paramount Pictures has sued Load ‘N Go, a small business that loads DVDs onto video-enabled iPods on behalf of customers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports: “According to the suit, Load ‘N Go sells both DVDs and iPods and loads the former onto the latter for customers who purchase both. The company then sends the iPod and the original DVDs to the customer. So the customer has purchased every DVD, and Load ‘N Go just saves them the trouble of ripping the DVD. The movie studios’ suit claims that this is illegal, because ripping a DVD (i.e., decrypting it and making a copy) is illegal under the DMCA. The suit also claims that this constitutes copyright infringement.”

PodsPlus intros aluminum case for 2G iPod nano

PodsPlus has announced its new Aluminum N2 case for the second-generation iPod nano. Made of aircraft grade anodized aluminum, the N2 case features a clear plastic screen protector and a colored, play-through silicone click wheel cover. It also has neoprene lining, a removable neck strap, and access to all ports. The $30 case is available in black with black, red, blue, green or pink click wheel covers, or silver with black click wheel cover.

Jonathan Ive awarded Honorary Doctorate

UK-based iLounge Forums member “Doc Evils” has shared his experience in attending an award ceremony presenting Apple’s Jonathan Ive with an Honorary Doctorate of the University of the Arts London. The award is in “recognition of the outstanding contribution that an individual has made to his or her chosen field of endeavor.” Ive is the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple and is behind the company’s most lauded designs, such as the iMac and iPod.

“Doc Evils” was amongst an audience of students selected from various design courses and members of the press. After the presentation of his doctorate, the editor of British GQ magazine and former student of the college, Dylan Jones, chaired a question and answer session with Ive which lasted over two hours. During the cocktail party which followed the presentation and questions,“Doc Evils” was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Ive, which was without doubt the highlight of the event for him.

Update: In related news, Ive collected his CBE from Her Majesty the Queen in London today. The award was announced in December 2005. In a statement at the time, Apple said: “We are as proud as could be that Jonny is receiving such a prestigious commendation.”

Apple shares hit all-time high

Apple shares hit an all-time high today, helped by an upbeat analyst note about holiday iPod sales. Shares of Apple rose $1.56 to $85.61 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, reaching an all-time closing high. The stock was boosted by a report from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster that said Apple could sell as many as 14 to 15 million iPods this quarter. “While it is way too early to make a call on December quarter iPod results, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (October) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 14-15 million,” Munster said in the report.

Reversible camo sleeve for 5G iPods offered

Wrappers has announced a reversible camouflage sleeve for fifth-generation iPods. The 100% stretch jersey cotton sleeve features a camouflage pattern in two colorways—woodland or desert camo. The sleeve is machine washable, cushioned with a 2 oz polyester interior lining, and fits all 5G iPod models. It sells for $15.

SeepuStar DV230 wearable video headset debuts

22Moo has announced the SeepuStar DV230, a new wearable video headset designed to work with video devices such as iPods, portable DVD players and game consoles. The headset allows you to watch videos on a virtual 35-inch screen and features an adjustable viewing angle and built-in earphones. “The SeepuStar DV230 allows the user to enjoy high quality digital, flicker free videos that is bright and breathtakingly clear,” says 22Moo. “The two enhanced definition displays gives the user a theatre experience that is personal and portable.” The SeepuStar DV230 is priced at $250.

Analyst expects iPod sales of 14-15 million units this quarter

iPod unit data from NPD for the month of October points to iPod sales of 14-15 million units for the current holiday quarter, according Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “While it is way too early to make a call on December quarter iPod results, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (October) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 14-15 million,” Munster said in a research note today. “When the second month of data is released, our analysis will likely lead to a slightly different iPod unit figure than what our analysis suggests based on the first month of data. Our current estimate is 14.7 million iPods in the quarter.” The analyst also said that the new second-generation iPod shuffle could have an impact on iPod numbers. “It is likely that the impact of the iPod shuffle, which shipped on 11/3, will have a material impact on the November and December NPD data and our current expectations for the quarter could prove to be low,” Munster said.

PGA Grand Slam of Golf to be offered on iTunes Store

Turner Sports and have announced that content from the 2006 PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be available on the iTunes Store. The two-day tournament begins on November 21, and beginning November 22, iTunes users will be able to purchase 25-30 minute highlight packages, “complete with defining moments and post-round interviews of each day’s action” for $1.99 each. Beginning today, iTunes customers can download a free instructional video starring PGA of America Director of Instruction Rick Martino, 2005 Teacher of the Year Peter Krause and PGA Professional Michael Breed.

Airlines caught off guard by Apple announcement

Two of the airlines included in Apple’s in-flight iPod connectivity announcement yesterday claim that they have not yet agreed to add such features to their planes. Apple said yesterday that beginning in mid-2007, six airlines—Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United—will offer passengers iPod seat connections for charging and video playback. However, Air France and KLM say they aren’t officially onboard.

“It’s way too early to confirm any such details,” said an Air France spokeswoman, referring to the connectivity and a mid-2007 availability date. “It’s very premature what Apple are saying,” said a KLM spokesman, noting that there have only been “informal contacts” between Apple and the airline. “We have no idea if this is technically feasible, if it’s financially viable, or if customers want it,” he said. “At this moment, we have absolutely no intention of introducing it on board.”

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr responded to the airlines with a statement. “Clearly we have had a miscommunication with AirFrance and KLM, but we are excited about announcing iPod integration with in-flight entertainment systems on Continental, Delta, Emirates and United today,” Neumayr said.

Surprise add-ons coming from iHome, Oakley, XtremeMac, Body Glove, Sonic Impact

A collection of new, previously unannounced iPod accessories has emerged on the web, with several surprises from major manufacturers. All of the products listed below are either now or soon to arrive at the Apple Store; availability at other retailers is currently unclear.

imageAs the maker of the excellent MicroMemo recorder for fifth-generation iPods and second-generation nanos (iLounge rating: A-), XtremeMac is releasing MemoMic ($30), a lapel microphone attachment for use with MicroMemo. MemoMic attaches to MicroMemo’s mic- or line-in port and enables personal voice recording without the need to hand-hold your iPod.

Previously responsible for eyewear and computer bags, Oakley is listed as selling the iPod case for iPod with video ($35), which will most likely feature the company’s distinctive formed plastic designs.

Body Glove, maker of some earlier and distinctive iPod cases, will be selling three types of iPod designs: Cargo, Glove, and Radical, at prices of $25 for second-generation iPod nanos and $30 for fifth-generation iPods. Radical uses black non-slip rubberized material, while Cargo is an armband/carabiner holder with suede-like neoprene for 5G iPods only, and Glove’s specifications are currently unknown.

iHome has debuted the iH6 ($100), a dual-alarm clock speaker system that brings most of the best features of its more expensive iH7 (iLounge rating: A-) to a less expensive package. Virtually identical to iH7 cosmetically, iH6 omits the larger model’s third bedside speaker, but preserves its second alarm, improved screen dimmer, equalization, first-generation iPod shuffle dock, and other features. It is in Apple Stores now.

Sonic Impact has released i-P22 Roxy Version ($100), a version of its lowest-end portable speaker system with a new exterior shell customized with graphics from leading surfwear company Roxy. Like iH6, i-P22 Roxy Version is in stores now.

Zune coverage: Today Show’s old iPods, CNN’s new shuffle

Microsoft’s marketing machine has gotten its new Zune media player in front of many eyes this week—from newspaper, web and magazine articles to TV commercials, special events, and coverage on news shows. Two somewhat contrasting Zune segments appeared this week on NBC’s “Today Show” and CNN’s “American Morning.”

The “Today Show” segment, featuring a pre-recorded report by NBC’s Peter Alexander, was impartial in facts, but twice showed the Zune sitting beside an older, fourth-generation iPod with monochrome screen instead of the latest video-capable fifth-generation iPod. Later in the segment, stock footage of an older iPod mini is also used. After Alexander’s report, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Al Roker discuss the Zune, with Lauer saying, “We’re iPod guys.” Roker says the Zune’s wireless features are “Not enough for me” and that the Zune online store is “a little more unwieldy than the iTunes Store.” Lauer ends the segment with a statement about the relationship between NBC and Microsoft. “We should mention that Microsoft and NBC are joint partners in the website.”

On CNN’s “American Morning,” hosts Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien (no relation) talk with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. Sorkin gives an overview of the Zune’s features while holding a Zune and showing it on camera. After the wireless features are downplayed and music compatibility problems are disclosed, the segment takes a turn when Soledad O’Brien pulls out her new second-generation iPod shuffle. “Now that’s the thing that’s a lot sexier than [the Zune],” Sorkin says. “Microsoft in the end will come out with something—I don’t know if it will be that pretty— but something.” Miles O’Brien asks, “Why don’t they get some decent design people to make things look better? It’s clunky.” Sorkin concludes with “No Comment.”

Watch both segments below.

NBC News video podcasts coming to iTunes

NBC News has announced that it will offer “NBC Nightly News” and “Meet the Press” as free video podcasts on the iTunes Store. NBC has been streaming its video on and offering both shows as audio podcasts, but this will be the first time that the shows will be available for video download. “NBC Nightly News” will be available every weeknight at 10 p.m. ET and “Meet the Press” will be available via video podcast at 1 p.m. ET, both after their West Coast airings. It will be the first full evening newscast available in a video podcast, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Report: Hon Hai to manufacture Apple iPhone

iPod manufacturer Hon Hai Precision has secured contracts from Apple to build 12 million music-playing mobile phones, according to a Commercial Times report. Quoting industry sources, the publication says Apple will launch the long-rumored “iPhone” in the first half of next year. Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision, which operates electronics factories under the Foxconn name, has been at the center of sweatshop claims because of reported poor working and living conditions at an iPod factory in China.

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