Coinciding with the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple has released iPod Updater 2006-01-10 and iTunes 6.0.2, both classified as “point releases” of its key software packages for iPods, Macs, and PCs. Though the company originally had not published details on many of the new features of these programs, iLounge’s editors found several hidden treasures in each of them, most of which have now been confirmed on Apple’s web site.
iPod Updater 2006-01-10 upgrades the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano to software versions 1.1, adding support for on-screen FM radio tuning, the display of accessory-specific color on-screen logo graphics on the Do Not Disconnect screen, and bug fixes. Bug fixes have also been implemented for both versions of the fourth-generation iPod (black-and-white/color), and iPod mini.
Originally described by Apple only as including “stability and performance improvements over iTunes 6.0.1,” iTunes 6.0.2 adds several major new features to the music management software. Most notably, iTunes now handles automatic H.264-format video conversion for the iPod without requiring the purchase of Apple’s QuickTime Pro software. Right-clicking on any video track now brings up a “Convert Selection for iPod” option. iTunes also allows users to stream audio wirelessly to multiple AirPort Express receivers at once, a feature previously found in standalone audio distribution systems such as Sonos’ ZonePlayers.
In less positive additions, Apple has created a mini iTunes Music Store (the “MiniStore”) which displays by default whenever you look at your Library or Playlists. The MiniStore analyzes the music you are listening to and suggests similar options for purchase, a feature that is already being described as unwelcome “spyware and adware” by several writers. You can turn off the MiniStore by selecting Edit > Hide MiniStore.
Gizmac accessories has announced its Titan case for iPod nano. The case is made from anodized aircraft aluminum, and features a clear screen protector, thin film click wheel protector, a rubberized dock connector plug, access to the headphone jack, and a customized hold switch extension. Available in 10 different colors, the Titan includes a carabiner clip, arm band, belt clip and lanyard. Pricing and availability information was not available.
Tunewear has unveiled four new lines of iPod cases—three for iPod nano and one for iPod shuffle. All four lines are available now.
The Prie Jewel nano and Prie Jewel nano fur feature access to the headphone port, snaps on either end for removal for the top or bottom, a vinyl window protecting the screen and click wheel, and steel rings in each corner to allow for flexibility in placing the chain and any accessory charms. The Prie Jewel nano sells for $29.95, and the Prie Jewel nano fur for $34.95.
The Prie Robo for iPod nano features headphone access, a bottom removal snap, vinyl windows protecting the screen and click wheel, an attached loop, and clips on the ends of the Robo’s springy “arms” for attaching the case to surfaces not compatible with the loop. The Prie Robo for iPod nano sells for $34.95.
Tunetag Studs for iPod nano is a chrome silver studded case for nano. It features full access to the headphone and dock connector ports, a vinyl window protecting the front face of the nano, 22 chrome studs on the sides, and a 20cm chain for hanging from a belt, purse, or wrist. Tunetag Studs for iPod nano sells for $34.95.
The Charm Shuffle series of cases for iPod shuffle come in four different themes: Butterfly, Honey Bee, Flower Power, and Ladybug. All of the cases offer access to the shuffle’s front controls and rear slider switch along with the headphone port. Each case in the Charm Shuffle series sells for $19.95.
Griffin Technology has announced the SmartShare headphone/audio splitter. The $20 accessory, which lets you share the music from your iPod with another person, features an integrated slim volume control slider for each of the output jacks. Griffin’s SmartShare comes in either white or black and is available immediately.
Apple has released iPod Updater 2006-01-10, which includes iPod Software 1.1 for the 5G iPod, iPod Software 1.1 for the iPod nano, iPod Software 1.2.1 for iPods with color displays, iPod Software 1.4.1 for iPod minis, and iPod Software 3.1.1 for click wheel iPods. The new update brings support for the new iPod Radio Remote for the 5G iPod and nano, and bug fixes for the above mentioned iPod models.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) rose $4.81, or more than 6%, to $80.86 on Tuesday following the introduction of several new Mac products and iPod accessories at Macworld Expo.
Referring to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ remark that Apple sold 32 million iPods in 2005, technology analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies said: “I think they can sell another 32 million iPods this year. I don’t see the iPod phenomenon slowing down one bit.”
O’Reilly Media has announced the launch of its O’Reilly Podcast programming with “Distributing the Future” and “Make Audio and Video” Podcast shows, FOO Casts (Friends of O’Reilly Podcasting), “In Our Ears” highlights, “Pick of the Week” and more.
Apple has sued Liquid Air Tab—the company behind Spodradio, a service that allows users to download podcasts to their Nokia mobiles—over the word “spod.”
Levi’s has announced a new pair of iPod-ready denim jeans. The RedWire DLX jeans, expected to be available in fall 2006, feature a small built-in iPod cradle “invisibly” housed within a side pocket and a special joystick remote control located in the jeans’ watch pocket.
“Designed for both men and women, the jeans seamlessly integrate iPod plug and play technology giving music enthusiasts the most innovative and fashionable way to enjoy music on the go,” says Levi’s. “The new Levi’s RedWire DLX jeans have been developed to be practical and leading-edge in their aesthetic. A crisp white leather patch and joystick, bluffed back pockets with hidden stitching, and clean minimalist buttons and rivets allude to the iPod’s famously pure design.”
Pricing and photos are not available at this time.
Apple has now posted the QuickTime video stream of Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo keynote address. During the speech, Jobs introduced the new iPod Radio Remote and other iPod accessories, as well as Intel-based Macs and updates to its iLife and iWork suites.
Apple has quietly released iTunes 6.0.2 and QuickTime 7.0.4. According the brief release notes accompanying the updates, iTunes 6.0.2 includes “stability and performance improvements over iTunes 6.0.1,” while QuickTime 7.0.4 delivers “numerous bug fixes, support for iLife ‘06, and H.264 performance improvements.”
In addition to new Intel-based Macs, Apple today introduced the iPod Radio Remote, a tiny new device that combines a wired remote control with FM radio capabilities for the iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod.
The remote uses the iPod’s screen to display station and song information for stations that support the Radio Data System (RDS). It will comes with a pair of Apple earbuds with a shorter cable and will begin shipping immediately for $49.
Apple says the iPod Radio Remote is “a convenient way for music lovers to skip tracks and adjust the volume of their iPod even when it’s in a pocket or backpack, and listen to FM radio stations while displaying station and song information on their iPod screen.”
The $99 connection kit includes an iPod Universal Dock, an Apple Remote, an iPod AV Cable, an iPod Dock Connector to USB 2.0 Cable and an iPod USB Power Adapter and is available now. The new iPod nano In-Ear Lanyard Headphones combine the original iPod nano Lanyard and the Apple In-Ear earphones. They’re also available immediately for $49.
In a rare move ahead of next week’s expected earnings report, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the company’s holiday financial numbers during his speech at Macworld Expo. Jobs reported that Apple had its highest revenues ever—$5.7 billion. “One for the records,” said Jobs. In addition, the Apple boss noted that Apple retail stores had their first $1 billion revenue quarter.
During his keynote speech at Macworld Expo this morning, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that more than 14 million iPods were sold during the holiday quarter, or more than 100 every minute. Jobs also said that over 850 million songs have now been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store, and that iTunes holds an 83% share of the digital music market. In addition, Jobs said that 8 million videos have been sold since they were added to iTunes in October.
Apple today also introduced iLife ‘06, the latest update to its suite of digital lifestyle applications. Several of the included applications offer enhancements for iPod users. iMovie ‘06, along with its improved effects, titles, and animated themes, also includes a one press export to video iPod function for the fifth-generation iPod.
GarageBand, the suite’s audio editing tool, now features robust solutions for creating podcasts. Voices can easily be recorded, and radio-style sound effects and music jingles are included with the application, as well as support for adding chapter artwork and URL links. Talk show Podcasts can now be done by interviewing one or more guests simultaneously in iChat AV and recording directly into GarageBand 3. Finally, podcasts can be posted on .Mac and submitted to iTunes using the new iWeb application.
iLife ‘06 is available now and sells for $79.
Keyspan has announced two new iPod accessories, the A/V Dock for iPod and the A/V Remote for iPod. The two accessories are meant to work together, as the Dock features Apple’s Universal Dock design, has S-Video and line out, and comes with a USB AC power adapter. The optional A/V Remote features an IR connection and a 16 function design. Both the A/V Dock and A/V Remote will be available in both black and white models in February; the A/V Dock will sell for $49.00, while the remote will cost $29.00.
Memeo has announced Memeo iExtend, an iPod-specific version of its backup solution AutoBackup. It allows iPod users to access content such as e-mail, contacts, calendars, PowerPoint presentations, and RSS feeds on the go, and also allows Windows users to configure folders with their iPod so they have access to their most up-to-date files and content. Memeo iExtend for iPod is available now and sells for $29.00.
DLO has introduced its new HomeDock Deluxe, the first iPod docking system to allow users to navigate their songs, artists and playlists on their TV screens. The new ‘Dock comes complete with an AC adapter that also charges the iPod while docked, a six-foot AV cable for connecting HomeDock to a TV, and an 18-button IR remote. HomeDock Deluxe displays song info and time at the top of the screen, while allowing access to more navigation at the bottom. It also displays videos and slideshows from capable iPods, and can display a built-in screensaver to prevent burn-in should the screen sit idle for too long. The DLO HomeDock Deluxe will be available in March, is compatible will all dock connector iPods, and will sell for $149.99.
Griffin Technology today announced the TuneFlex, a car dock and charger for the iPod nano. The TuneFlex features a flexible steel neck and rotating cradle, and plugs into your car’s 12-volt accessory outlet to power and charge your iPod. It also sports a 1/8” stereo line-out jack for cassette adapters or audio cables, a blue power status light, a low-high audio output switch, and a pass-through dock connector for use with accessories like Griffin’s iTrip FM transmitter. The TuneFlex is available now for $40.
XtremeMac today announced the MicroMemo, a new voice recorder for the fifth-generation iPod. The $80 device utilizes the new iPod’s high-fidelity audio input capabilities to record 16-bit audio via an included, removable microphone or any compatible microphone with a 3.5 mm plug. The MicroMemo features a flexible neck, a built-in speaker for instant playback, and a one-touch recording feature. It connects via the dock connector port and is powered by the iPod’s internal battery. The MicroMemo is scheduled to begin shipping in late spring 2006.
Following the free “Lazy Sunday” spoof music video from Saturday Night Live, Apple has added a bevy of new SNL skits and collections to the iTunes Music Store. Comedy fans can currently choose from a number of skits from the 1975 and 1994 seasons, as well as TV commercial parodies, and several “Best Of” collections featuring John Belushi, Chris Farley, Dan Akroyd, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock, Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, Gilda Radner, and Christopher Walken. The individual skits are priced at $1.99, as are the hour+ collections.
Harman Multimedia has introduced the JBL On Time ($300), a new speaker system and clock radio for iPods.
The On Time, which features a very unique speaker enclosure, includes a radio, clock and dual alarm, universal iPod cradle, and large backlit LCD with automatic dimming. The system’s upward-firing tweeter and horizontal low and midrange transducers provide a 360-degree sound field with a “full, rich frequency response from the lowest bass to the highest highs.”
The On Time also offers a menu-driven user interface, blue dome light, an automatic time-set feature, backup battery, and the ability to charge and sync your iPod. It works with most docking iPods with the Apple iPod Universal Dock adapter. The JBL On Time will be available in white and black versions. Pricing and availability was not announced.
“JBL On Time revolutionizes the way you use your iPod,” says Harman. “A compact, high-performance time machine and sound center, JBL On Time lets you wake up to music stored on your iPod, instead of to annoying buzzers or fuzzy radio reception. Just connect your iPod, MP3 player or other music source to JBL On Time and experience clean, powerful and dynamic sound.”
In related news, Harman said it has decided to update its On Stage II iPod speaker system, and will sell it under the same name as a modified version with support for Apple’s Universal Dock Adapters. Pricing and other features will not change.