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Griffin intros PowerBlock Travel charging set

Griffin Technology today announced the PowerBlock Travel, a new international charger and AC adapter set. The $35 package allows users to charge an iPod and other USB devices while traveling. The PowerBlock handles all voltages from 100 to 240 AC, while the adapters “convert the U.S. blade shape for use in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan to name a few.” The PowerBlock Travel set includes an iPod dock connector cable, USB cable, and an accessory pouch for the adapters.

Hollywood to permit legal DVD burning of movie downloads

The DVD Copy Control Association, a film industry group created by Hollywood studios, plans to lift some restrictions to allow consumers to legally burn downloaded movies onto blank DVDs. “The impending technical and policy changes involve the copy group’s proprietary technology known as the Content Scramble System, or CSS,” reports the AP. “The association licenses the encryption technology to makers of DVD players and other electronics companies and applies it widely to movies on DVDs to restrict illegal copying. The association said it will soon expand licensing to movies that are digitally distributed on demand or a la carte—and not just for movies that are mass produced on DVDs. The group also is working with disc makers to produce CSS-compatible blank DVDs.” The removal of the DVD hurdles is seen as a sign that Apple and other online merchants will soon start selling full-length movies.

H2O Audio intros outdoor iPod nano housing

H2O Audio has announced a new iPod nano case as part of a new line of products for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The H2O Audio Outdoor iPod nano housing ($40) features an impact and element resistant housing, H20’s Commander Scroll Wheel assembly and locking slider system, a removable belt clip, and a sport armband. “Lighter weight and featuring a slimmer design than its waterproof sister products, the Outdoor gear is designed by sports people and provides a ‘total sport experience,’” says H20. “It allows land-based sport enthusiasts to immerse themselves in sound and action with ease and is ideally suited for activities ranging from snow based sports to aerobic workouts, climbing, bicycling and terrain-based sports.”

Griffin debuts Hi-Way bag for iPod Hi-Fi

Griffin Technology has introduced a new carrying case for Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. The Hi-Way bag features an exterior made of “durable ballistic Nylon material to deflect real-world bumps and dings, while its soft inner lining keeps your Hi-Fi safe from scuffs and scratches.” The iPod Hi-Fi can be used while in the Hi-Way, according to Griffin. “Just unzip Hi-Way’s front flap and slip your iPod into the slot on top,” says the company. “Your Hi-Fi stays safe and sound behind the inner lining mesh. The music gets out, but dirt and sand can’t get in.” The Hi-Way, which is priced at $50, also has compartments for storing iPod cables and accessories, an adjustable shoulder strap, and a rubberized base. [via Gizmodo]

iPod-ready jukebox coming this Fall

Pacific Rim Technologies has announced a vintage-style jukebox featuring a built-in universal docking cradle for iPods. Designed and manufactured by Saffire-USA, the Jukebox Station features a wood enclosure, FM radio, CD player, LED lighting system, and comes with a 17-function IR remote control. The jukebox, which stands at over 3 feet tall, offers a 6-inch subwoofer, two magnetically shielded tweeters, and two mid-range drivers. The system can also connect video iPods to a TV with its rear S-video and RCA video connections. The Jukebox Station will be available in early October for a retail price of $700.

Pacific Design intros ‘Uptown Clutch’ for iPod nano

Pacific Design has announced its Uptown Clutch, a new women’s wallet designed to carry and protect an iPod nano. The Uptown Clutch features a dual-access nano holder, a removable wrist strap, storage for four ID or credit cards, an earbud mesh pouch, and a billfold area. The $30 wallet is available in two styles—leather with cross-hatched stitching over a quilted inset, in brown and jet black, and faux leather with perforated inset, in red, light blue, and pink.

Apple launches ‘Summer of Music’ in Japan

Apple today announced the “Summer of Music” promotion in Japan, offering free music from iTunes, collectible iTunes Cards and exclusive live performances at Apple retail stores. Apple said that the Japanese iTunes Music Store will be offering free songs, music videos and collectible iTunes Cards featuring free downloads from popular artists in Japan, including Ken Ishii, Simon Le Bon, Hifana, and the world premiere of a brand new video from Beck. In addition, attendees of the Summer Sonic music festival in Japan will receive collectible iTunes Cards with free downloads on Aug. 12 in Tokyo and on Aug. 13 in Osaka. Finally, Apple’s seven retail stores in Japan are holding in-store performances by PE’Z, She Wants Revenge, Ko Kimura, K Dub Shine, Daishi Dance, Gomes the Hitman and DMBQ.

A&E Television Networks now available on iTunes

A&E Television Networks and Apple have announced that programming from A&E, The Biography Channel and The History Channel is now available for purchase on the iTunes Music Store. The new television content includes popular series such as “Criss Angel: Mindfreak,” “Driving Force” and “Inked” from A&E Network; “The Revolution” and “Modern Marvels” from The History Channel; and selections from the Emmy Award-winning “Biography” series from The Biography Channel. Like other shows on iTunes, the A&E offerings are priced at $1.99 per episode.

Levi’s iPod-compatible jeans spotted

The first photos of Levi’s iPod-ready denim jeans have made their way online. Originally announced in January, the Levi’s RedWire DLX jeans feature a built-in iPod cradle and red strap inside the side pocket, a control pad located on the jeans’ watch pocket, and a set of adjustable earbuds. The jeans are expected to be available this Fall. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Update: We’ve spoken with Levi’s and have been provided with more photos and a retail price. The Levi’s representative said the jeans will go on sale in mid-September and retail for $250. More pictures below.

Logitech Wireless DJ Music System announced

Logitech today introduced its Wireless DJ Music System, which allows users to wirelessly stream digital music from their PC to a home entertainment center or speaker system. The system consists of a rechargeable remote and a wired Music Receiver/Dock that connects to a stereo or speakers. The remote features a mechanical scroll wheel and a blue-backlit LCD. The system supports MP3, AAC, and WMA, and also comes with Logitech StreamPoint PC software to aggregate audio files, playlists, and Internet radio stations from iTunes, Windows Media Player and Musicmatch Jukebox, “creating a unified music library that can be easily viewed and accessed by the Wireless DJ remote.” The Wireless DJ Music System will be available in late September for $250. Add-on receivers for more rooms will cost $80 each.

Griffin debuts TuneFlex for full-size iPods

Griffin Technology today announced a new version of its TuneFlex for full-size iPods. Like the company’s TuneFlex for the iPod nano, the new TuneFlex, designed for fourth and fifth-generation iPods, is a dock and charger designed for use in automobiles. The TuneFlex featues a flexible steel neck, a pass-through dock connector, a built-in 1/8” stereo line-out audio jack, and a low/high audio output switch. The accessory also comes with its own cassette tape adapter. The TuneFlex for full-size iPods is priced at $50.

Bob Dylan album pre-order, digital box set offered on iTunes

Columbia Records and Apple today announced that Bob Dylan’s new album “Modern Times” will be offered through an exclusive pre-order on the iTunes Music Store. Beginning today, customers can pre-order a copy of the album for $13.99 to be downloaded on August 29 when it is released. Those that pre-order will also be offered a Ticketmaster pre-sale for concert tickets to select dates on Dylan’s upcoming fall tour. Apple has also created a Bob Dylan digital box set called “The Collection,” which includes all of Dylan’s studio albums, “The Bootleg Series” releases, and 42 rarities—nearly 800 tracks in all. The Bob Dylan digital box set will be available for $199 on August 29. “Bob Dylan is one of the most respected poets and musicians of our time, and he is a personal hero of mine,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “Being able to offer his new album and the exclusive box set of his works on iTunes is a real thrill for us.”

Marware offers universal pouch for Nike+iPod sensor

Marware has announced a new protective pouch designed to allow runners to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with shoes other than compatible Nike+ models. Made of neoprene and rubber with a velcro closure, the Sportsuit Sensor+ fits any running shoe and stores the Nike+iPod wireless sensor. “The Sportsuit Sensor+ is easily attached and removed by slipping a small rubber strap underneath your shoelaces and fastening it with a strong velcro closure,” explains the company. “Once in place, your Nike + iPod wireless sensor is protected from all the elements that serious runners encounter.” The Sportsuit Sensor+ sells for $10 and is available for pre-order now.

Neuros Recorder 2 Plus introduced

Neuros Technology today announced an upgraded version of its MPEG-4 Recorder 2, adding a multi-card slot for recording onto SD, miniSD, microSD and MMC memory cards. Like the original Recorder 2 ($150), the new Recorder 2 Plus ($160) can also record video directly onto Sony Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo cards, Compact Flash (CF) cards and MicroDrives. The Neuros Recorder 2 devices record iPod-ready video from any source (TV, satellite, DVRs, etc.) directly onto a flash memory card. They come with a remote control and provide three resolution settings and four quality settings.

Mix: TubeSock, Google, LimeWire, ColorEnvy

TubeSock is a new Mac application that allows users to download and convert videos from YouTube for playback on video-enabled iPods and the Sony PSP. The $15 software “converts YouTube’s native FLV file format into H.264, MP4, or MP3 files. It automatically determines the appropriate file format, bitrate, and naming convention for the selected target device.”

Google has denied that it plans to sell digital music. “We are not going to be selling music,” Chris Sacca, head of business development for Google, said last week at the annual NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) conference. “We’re already in the music business, because we’re the complement to the offline life,” he said. “After people hear the name ‘Gnarls Barkley’ their next move is to go and check on Google for it.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs set to kick off WWDC today

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will kick off today with a keynote presentation by company CEO Steve Jobs at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET. Jobs will give the first public preview of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple’s next major operating system upgrade. As with all Jobs keynotes, rumors are flying about what else might be announced—everything from new Intel-based “Mac Pro” desktop systems to the long-rumored iPhone. While we’ll be watching closely today for any iPod related news at the event, analysts are expecting Jobs to stick with Mac offerings. American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said the probability is “low” that new iPods will be introduced today. “There is always room for firsts,” Wu said. “But WWDC is a Mac event and has not been used in the past for major iPod announcements.”

Update: As expected, Apple introduced new Mac Pro desktop workstations and previewed Mac OS X Leopard. No iPod or iTunes related announcements were made.

Speck debuts FlipSkin case for 5G iPods

Speck Products today announced the FlipSkin case for fifth-generation iPods. The rubberized case features an adjustable viewing stand and removable screen protector. “Enjoy watching your iPod video in any environment! On the plane, train, or sitting at your desk, the FlipSkin allows you to stand your iPod with video and adjust the viewing angle to suit your current situation,” says Speck. “The ‘kickstand’ folds flat against the case when not in use—and easily flips back out when needed. Choose the angle that’s best for your viewing needs.” The FlipSkin is available now for $35.

Warner readying DVD music albums with iTunes tracks

Warner Music Group is planning to release music albums on DVD discs that will include extras such as videos, ring tones, photos and pre-ripped digital music files. The Wall Street Journal reports [paid sub. req.]: “People familiar with the situation say Warner is close to a deal with Apple that would make the digital tracks essentially identical to those the computer company sells through its iTunes Music Store—something that has proved elusive for others in the music industry, since Apple has been unwilling to license its proprietary copy-protection software to outsiders. People briefed on the talks said a likely solution would involve Apple creating the digital tracks and Warner putting them on DVDs.” Warner plans to introduce the discs with “a handful of titles” in October, with a “full-blown launch” planned for early next year.

Napster subscribers decline; Company considers sale

Napster said yeterday that it wouldn’t rule out a sale of the company after reporting that the subscriber base for its online music service had fallen 7 percent. “We do not have our heads in the sand regarding an M&A (merger and acquisition) transaction. We continue to receive a lot of interest in the company. We will always carefully weigh any valuation alternative against the opportunity and risk associated with continuing as a standalone company,” Napster CEO Chris Gorog told analysts on a conference call. Napster reported a net loss of $9.8 million for its first fiscal quarter. The company’s total paid subscriber base as of June 30 was 512,000, including 4,000 university-paid subscriptions.

NBC to offer ‘Heroes’ pilot for free on iTunes

NBC has announced that it will make the pilot episode of its new Fall series “Heroes” available for free on the iTunes Music Store beginning September 1st. The free offering is part of a cross-promotional effort that NBC is doing for the show involving Nissan, Apple, and National CineMedia. “To access the free Heroes material, moviegoers at AMC, Cinemark, and Regal theaters will receive special cards with pin numbers that let them enter a special Heroes preview section on iTunes,” reports TV.com. “The card holders will be able to download the free pilot of Heroes plus behind-the-scenes footage and previews of other NBC series.” Heroes is described as a drama that chronicles the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities.

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