Copy-protected albums from Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and others continue to sell well despite complaints about their incompatibility with iPods.
“Aiming to curb piracy, labels like Sony BMG, which released both records, are rolling out copy-protected albums in the United States, which let users make three exact duplicates of a CD, and store files on a PC in Microsoft Corp.‘s Windows Media format,” reports Reuters. “But the copy-protection bars users from importing music onto iPods since Apple’s Fairplay software is incompatible with Windows.”
The news agency notes that about a third of the 252 customer reviews of the new Foo Fighter CD this week on Amazon complained about the protection. “This CD has a copy protection scheme that makes it totally useless to 30 million iPod owners,” wrote one reviewer. “How could a band be so stupid as to alienate such a huge percentage of their fans?”
Record executives are continuing talks with Apple to make the CDs compatible with iPods, and point out that they have released versions of the albums on Apple’s iTunes Music Store for iPod owners. “That appeased some iPod users, but others are still angry because they like to physically own a disc before importing it to iPods,” said Reuters.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that both Apple and the record companies would benefit if they reach an agreement on the copy protection. “Apple’s the leader in digital music. It doesn’t make sense to release too many copy-protected CDs if they’re incompatible with iPods. But Apple could also be at risk if these CDs keep selling well,” he said.
Speck Products has announced its new SkinTight Armband for the iPod Shuffle. The $24.95 armband features an adjustable velcro strap and a shatter-proof ABS plastic cradle that works with an included rubberized skin. It also has earphone cable clips to keep excess cord out of your way.
“The SkinTight Armband and included SkinTight Rubberized Skin provide you with the freedom to run, bike, walk, or work-out with your Shuffle iPod,” says Speck. “Slip your iPod into the SkinTight Skin and snap it into the armband for a secure, comfy and hands-free way to enjoy your iPod and favorite music.”
Tracy Futhey, CIO and VP for Information Technology at Duke University, discusses Duke’s iPod project: “Over the past year, the iPod project has made clear to many of our faculty and in many of our courses, the value of digital audio in a whole host of domains,” she said. “And those who have started to use the iPods have said, in a large number of cases, that this has been an important enough experiment that they absolutely need and want to continue it.”
Yahoo has launched a new search engine that lets users search through millions of songs offered by popular music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
Forbes reports: “Last quarter Napster lost $19.9 million—that is,the company lost nearly a dollar for every dollar it took in. Nor is Napster’s loss an aberration: From April 2003 through the end of March 2005, the company lost $97.8 million selling digital music.”
PlayLyrix is a Mac OS X application that “searches the user’s iTunes collection and automatically creates a new playlist of all the songs whose lyrics contain specified words or phrases.”
“PlayLyrix can be used to create playlists of songs with lyrics that reinforce a wide range of moods or themes,” explains the developer. “As an example, for a birthday party one might wish to make a playlist of all one’s songs that have the word ‘birthday’ in the lyrics.
PlayLyrix costs $5 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4.5 or later.
A higher capacity iPod shuffle and color screen iPod mini are both likely to be introduced this year, though a video iPod isn’t expected before the end of 2005, according to one Wall Street analyst. In a research note obtained by iLounge, Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster offered an overview of potential new Apple products, including his speculation on the future iPod line.
Munster said he expects a higher capacity iPod shuffle to debut before the end of 2005, noting that Apple Expo in Paris at the end of September will likely be the venue for its introduction. “Comments from iPod supplier PortalPlayer seem to indicate that there will be some form of new flash-based device in the market toward the end of the Sep-05 quarter,” Munster said. “We believe this is likely a high capacity shuffle or another new flash-based iPod.”
Munster said a much anticipated color screen iPod mini is likely to be introduced this year and could also debut at Apple Expo in Paris. “We believe that this is a natural extension of the existing 4GB/6GB mini and given Apple’s move to color on the 20GB iPod, we would not be surprised to see the company add a color screen to the mini,” he said. “In our view, a color screen iPod mini would be a home-run product for Apple in the upcoming holiday season.”
Finally, Munster said that a video iPod is unlikely anytime soon. “While speculation regarding the launch of a video iPod within the next 2-3 quarters is growing, we do not expect a video iPod within the next 12 months,” Munster said. “Based on comments from the company regarding the portable media center market and the current lack of significant consumer interest for feature film downloading, we believe Apple will wait at least 12 months—until the market is ready for such a product.”
Marc Ecko Enterprises and Monster Cable have officially announced “A Case For A Cause,” a new iPod case designed by Marc Ecko to promote awareness and raise funds for the FTBC (Fashion Targets Breast Cancer) initiative.
First shown in May, the light blue leather case comes in three sizes to fit full-size iPods and iPod mini. It features FTBC’s signature bull’s-eye logo (created by the organization’s founder, Ralph Lauren) and are packaged in a box with information about breast cancer awareness.
The two companies said the case is available now at Apple retail stores and online for $29.95.
Alongside the Japanese iTunes Music Store and Abkco announcements, Apple today also said that Nissan, Mazda and Daihatsu have joined other car makers in Japan to add iPod integration to their 2006 model lines. The new companies join BMW, MINI, smart and Alfa Romeo and others.
“We’re delighted to have such a wide variety of car companies in Japan offering iPod integration,
In addition to the Japanese iTunes Music Store, Apple also today announced the worldwide availability of early Abkco Records catalog titles from classic artists such as Sam Cooke and The Animals, as well as the Rolling Stones. The company said the iTunes Music Store is “the only online music service in the world to feature the complete digital music catalog of the Rolling Stones.” Apple is also accepting pre-orders for a special version of the new Rolling Stones album “A Bigger Bang
As expected, Apple today launched the iTunes Music Store in Japan, “giving music fans the same innovative features, breakthrough pricing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world.” The Japanese store offers more than one million songs priced at ¥150 and ¥200 per song.
“iTunes and iPod are leading the digital music revolution,
Onkyo has announced that its DS-A1 Remote Interactive Dock for the iPod is now available in stores and online. The company said the $99 accessory can be found at retailers such as Circuit City, Fry’s Electronics, Crutchfield, J&R Music World, 6th Avenue Electronics, PC Mall, B&H Photo and Abt.
Originally announced in February, DS-A1 dock links an iPod with the Onkyo’s receivers and audio-video systems using the company’s proprietary RI (“Remote Interactive”) connection. In addition to letting you listen to music on your iPod, it also charges an iPod and has an S-video output so color iPods can display photos on a TV using the dock.
Netwerch, “a young enterprise specializing within the broad field of design on architecture and product design which are practical for everyday life,” is selling a unique $20 synthetic felt iPod case.
The Powerschutzmini sleeve is made from thick, charcoal-colored felt with an imprinted “.ch” on the front. It has access to the headphone port and hold switch and is available with a cable winder for excess cord.
The folks behind the popular iPod My Photo service have launched iPod My Baby, a new online store that offers iPod-themed baby onesies.
The high quality 100% cotton Hanes onesies feature a screenprinted white Click Wheel and come in three colors—original white, mini pink and mini blue. They’re available in three sizes—6, 12 and 18 months—for $15.95 each.
The BBC Radio 1 breakfast show hosted by Chris Moyles is the No. 1 podcast in the UK, according to Apple’s iTunes charts.
New Zealand Apple distributor Renaissance more than doubled its profit to $1.93 million in the first half of 2005 and sees further growth as it rides the iPod boom.
Troy Wolverton of TheStreet.com says that Apple’s chain of retail stores has as much or more to do with the company’s recent successes than the iPod.
BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows has written an article on why it makes sense for Hewlett-Packard to end its iPod partnership with Apple.
Staylazy has released new versions of two of its popular iPod programs—Weather for Me and Canto Pod.
Weather for Me 2.0 is an updated version of the software that allows you to download a 7 day weather forecast to your iPod. Following legal issues with Weather.com, the program now gets its data from MyForecast.com with over 26,000 US cities and 32,000 International cities supported.
Canto Pod 2.0 is the latest version of the iPod software that lets you easily search for song lyrics and download them to your iPod. This version adds LeosLyrics.com support, the ability to view the song files on your iPod, create a list of those songs, and automatically download those lyrics.
Ultimate Ears has introduced its new Super.fi 3 Studio earphones, which feature an in-ear design, pro-style ear loops and a $99.99 price tag.
“Through unique acoustic engineering and construction techniques, Super.fi 3 Studio earpieces are able to combine the deep, feel-it-in-your-gut bass of less expensive single-diaphragm devices with the clear mids of higher-priced single-armature products, then round out the sound with crisp highs that are typically missing from standard earphones,” says Ultimate Ears.
Each pair of the Super.fi 3 earphones come with a leather case, an earphone cleaning tool, and a 10-piece fit kit for different ear shapes.
Newer Technology has announced a 2200mAh iPod battery replacement kit for first- and second-generation iPods. The company said the new 2200mAh battery offers 78 percent more runtime capacity than the original Apple iPod battery. The $34.95 kit includes installation tools and instructions.
With the introduction of the 2200mAh battery, NewerTech is discontinuing its 1800mAh and 2100mAh iPod battery replacements for the first two iPod generations. Prices on the discontinued batteries have been dropped by $10 and are available while supplies last.
Apple has expanded its trademark for the iPod from “portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, and audio files” to “portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio, image, and video files.”
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that Hewlett-Packard will likely stop bundling copies of iTunes on its desktops and laptops by the end of the year.
Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf said that while HP’s decision to stop reselling the iPod “should have little, if any, impact on iPod sales, the company missed a golden opportunity to build a material revenue stream at little expense. HP’s departure opens the door for Apple to expand the iPod’s distribution network even more rapidly than it has in the past.”
“Last year I declared war on Apple, but actually I was thinking of something bigger,’’ Creative Technology CEO Sim Wong Hoo recently said. “The war is in the living room. We are going after the living room.’’ Meanwhile, Microsoft said it isn’t looking to buy a stake in the Singapore consumer electronics company despite earlier speculation.
Tatuz International has announced new iTatu sticker designs for the iPod shuffle, as well as a new “5-5-5” promotion.
Over the course of the next five weeks, the company said it will release five new iTatu designs, one per week, from graphic designer Andres Conde of Digital Assault. In addition to the new designs, each week for the next five weeks, the company will also be giving away one free iTatu with each online order.
The first new iTatu sticker, entitled “Mask” (shown), is available immediately for $3.49.
TechRestore is now offering an overnight iPod battery upgrade service for fourth-generation (4G) iPods and all color screen iPod models.
The $69 service includes overnight pickup of the iPod, same day installation of a high-capacity iPod battery and return overnight shipping. The replacement 1000mAh battery is said to offer over 50% more charging power than the original 4G iPod battery and 38% more charging power than the original color iPod battery.
A self-service 1000mAh battery upgrade is also available for $29.
The stars of the “Dukes of Hazzard” movie—Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson—told Showbiz Tonight that they are obsessed with their iPods.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a story on iPod thefts and related crime in Pittsburgh.
The Journal and Courier has an article on Indiana’s Amy Greer, the winner of Apple’s 500 millionth song download contest.
In an article on user attachment to gadgets, Apple’s Greg Joswiak says of the iPod: “It really begs to be caressed. People use it as a mirror..It becomes a reflection of them and their unique taste in music.”