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Mix: PodSafe, File-sharing, e-label, UK iPod scheme

Podcasting start-up PodShow has launched PodSafe, a network for musicians and podcasters designed to give “access to music, other content and tools to create royalty-free podcasts.”

Playlouder, an ISP launching in September, has partnered with Sony BMG to allow customers to share Sony licensed music with others on its network. “The deal signals the first time that music fans can use existing popular peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as Kazaa, eDonkey and Limewire, to share music in an unrestricted and sanctioned way,” notes BBC News.

Warner Music Group is creating a new music-distribution model, called an “e-label,” in which artists will “release music in clusters of three songs every few months [as digital downloads] rather than a CD every few years.”

Macworld UK reports that the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has shut down “free iPod” schemes in the UK: “The promoters of the scheme—which offered a variety of claimed high-tech ‘free gifts’ in return for buying low-value products—have given what the OFT calls a ‘binding agreement’ not to promote such schemes.”

Logitech debuts Wireless Music System for iPod

imageLogitech today introduced its Wireless Music System for iPod, a two-piece accessory that lets you wirelessly connect your iPod to your home stereo system and use the device as a wireless remote to control your iPod (change tracks, adjust volume, etc.).

The Logitech Wireless Music System includes a rechargeable music transmitter that plugs into the headphone port on your iPod and a music receiver that plugs into a home stereo receiver or multimedia speakers through an RCA port or a 3.5 mm jack. They can be used up to 33-feet apart.

The solution uses Logitech’s Music Anywhere wireless technology, which provides “crystal-clear digital audio quality and features adaptive frequency hopping, helping the products overcome any potential wireless interference.”

The Logitech Wireless Music System for iPod will be available beginning in October for $149.99.

SpeakerCraft’s MODE controls iPod in multiple rooms

imageSpeakerCraft today introduced MODE (“Music On Demand Experience”), a multi-zone wall mounted interface, that allows you to control your iPod in up to six rooms in your home.

MODE features a color screen with a scroll wheel and push button controls, allowing you to access and control your iPod and other multimedia equipment in multiple rooms.

The product uses SpeakerCraft’s MZC (multi-zone control) system and works with hard drive music servers, satellite radio, AM/FM radio tuners, and any other source that responds to IR commands. According to photos provided alongside the announcement, MODE comes with an iPod dock with built-in IR.

SpeakerCraft said MODE will be available this fall. Pricing was not announced.

Motorola E790 iTunes phone gets FCC approval

imageMotorola has received FCC approval for its E790 mobile phone, which is expected to be one of the first iTunes-compatible devices from the company. The user manual for the phone, which accompanied the FCC filing, confirms that a mobile version of iTunes will be included with phone.

“You can do much more with our phone than make and receive calls,” reads a portion of the manual. “iTunes is a software application you use to manage the music on your computer and transfer music to your phone. You can use iTunes to purchase and download music for your phone, listen to CDs and digital music, and create playlists of your favorite songs on your phone.”

The candy bar-style Quad-band GSM phone (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), based on the popular Motorola E398 model, will not be one of the “ROKR” phones, according to Mobile Tracker. It features a built-in VGA camera, micro SD card slot, Bluetooth, and a dedicated music control key.

FastMac ships battery upgrade for 4G iPods

Fastmac is now shipping its new TruePower battery upgrade for all fourth-generation iPods. The $29.99 upgrade replaces the iPod’s original internal battery with a larger capacity and longer lasting power cell battery that offers 20-70% more capacity than the original OEM battery and up to 7.5 times as many charge cycles, according to the company. The TruePower battery upgrade comes with a 2-year warranty and includes all necessary installation tools and instructions.

Blog the Book Contest offers 15 iPod shuffles/$1500 prizes

As part of our just-launched Blog the Book Contest, we’re giving away a total of 15 iPod shuffles - or the cash equivalent - to selected winners who link to our new iPod Book and Back to School Guide. To enter, all you have to do is add one of our contest badges to your blog and point to the Book, which is available here.

The grand prize winner with the most referrals to the Free iPod Book download page will win 10 iPod shuffles or a cash-only prize of $1000. The second place winner with the second most referrals wins 3 iPod shuffles or $300 in cash. The third place winner will be chosen at random from those with at least 25 or more unique referrals to the iPod Book download page, and will get 2 iPod shuffles or a $200 cash-only prize. Full rules can be found inside.

Mix: Kraft recipes, Made For iPod, Story Log, Yahoo Japan

Kraft Foods has released a recipe collection formatted for iPods. The free download includes “over 100 classic summer recipes featuring Kraft Kitchen’s best grilling ideas, desserts and more.”

Apple has reportedly trademarked the “Made For iPod

Paper Mate launches iPod, iTunes sweepstakes

imagePaper Mate has apparently teamed up with Apple to launch two new digital music-themed promotions. The pen and pencil maker is giving away more than 400 iPod minis and an undisclosed number of free song downloads.

Paper Mate is giving away one 4GB iPod mini a day until May 31, 2006—457 in total (the promo officially started on March 1, 2005). While packaging for Write Bros stick pens, American woodcase pencils and Sharpwriter mechanical pencils carry the promo graphics, no purchase is necessary to enter—a daily winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries received each day.

In addition to the iPod mini sweepstakes, the company is also giving away free song downloads from the iTunes Music Store. Each specially-marked package of Paper Mate FlexGrip Elite ballpoint pens or Mechanical pencils have a 9 digit code that can be redeemed for a unique 12-digit iTunes Music Store code and used to get a free song. The song codes expire on May 31, 2006.

Apple rivals plan onslaught on iPod, iTunes

Billboard’s Antony Bruno has written and an article looking at the growing threats to the iPod and iTunes that Apple faces. He says that while analysts expect Apple to have another great holiday season, the company’s reign as digital music king may last “only another 12-18 months before the playing field levels out.”

Bruno says that Sony, Samsung, MSN and others are planning their attack. “Anticipated developments include a music subscription service and subsequent advertising blitz from MSN Music, the long-anticipated relaunch of the Sony Connect store, several new MP3 devices and the introduction of mobile music services from several wireless carriers,” Bruno says.

Bruno says, however, that Apple won’t go without a fight. “It is expected to introduce a video-capable iPod in September and finally unveil its iTunes-compatible mobile phone with Motorola,” says Bruno. “It is also rumored to be working on a subscription service with the help of a former Xbox Live executive.”

Report: Samsung woos Apple with cheap flash prices

Despite announcing plans to release several new devices to compete with the iPod this year, Samsung has reportedly slashed its flash memory prices in an attempt to convince Apple to switch from hard drive-based storage to flash memory in the 4GB iPod mini. 

Market research firm iSuppi claims that Apple plans to buy as much as 40 percent of Samsung’s NAND flash output in the second half of this year. iSuppli memory analyst Nam Hyung Kim said in a research report that Samsung offered Apple extremely low prices on its NAND flash parts.

“The report said iSuppli believes that Samsung has offered to match prices from the HDD suppliers, even though current microdrive prices are about half the cost of the equivalent flash density,” the EE Times reports. “Samsung would still reap profits, even at aggressive pricing levels, Kim said, adding that ‘sewing up the marquee iPod memory business is well worth the reduction in margins’ for Samsung.”

iStore offers iLoungers special discount

The iStore has announced a special offer for iLoungers—10% off all iPod accessories from its online store. Just enter code “iLounge10%

Targus debuts SoundUP iPod audio enhancer

imageTargus has introduced the SoundUP, a new iPod add-on that enhances sound output. The company says that the device “separates and reprocesses digital music files providing a three-dimensional sound envelope” and also delivers “the rich tones and spatial orientation of live music.”

“Portable audio is great—but the technology that allows you to carry 10,000+ songs in your pocket utilizes compressed audio formats. And these compressed formats mean a loss of audio content and quality,” explains Targus. “SoundUP uses Phantom Technologies patented circuit that provides 20–25% more music envelope—revealing instruments and voices from original recordings that are trapped during compression and previously not heard.”

The SoundUP is priced at $39.99. A version is available for 3G/4G iPods and for the iPod mini.

The iPod Directory now available, searchable

First debuted as a section of The Free iPod Book, The iPod Directory is now available in fully searchable form on the iLounge web site.

The Directory was designed to help iPod owners quickly locate information on key iPod & iTunes hardware, software, accessory, and service providers. By using the Main Directory Page or its built-in search engine, you can look through the hundreds of listings to find names and contact details for any major product or service you could want.

If you are an authorized company representative and want to add or update company information, please contact info (at) with your details. Enjoy The Directory!

Belkin TuneSync integrates iPod dock, USB hub

imageBelkin tomorrow will announce the TuneSync, a new iPod accessory that combines a dock for syncing/charging your iPod and a five-port USB 2.0 hub.

Featuring a slim profile and iPod-matching white exterior, the TuneSync lets you connect up to five USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 devices such as a printer, scanner or external hard drive. It has LEDs that monitor your device activity for master power status and port activity, as well as a stereo-out jack to connect your iPod to a home stereo or powered speakers.

Belkin’s TuneSync will be available in November for $59.99.

Forums: Decade Songs, Earphones Poll, Oldest Song, iPod Lock-in

In this week’s dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: a reader asks for others to share songs that summed up the decade of their choice. Do you have any favorite songs?

Wonder what earphones other iLounge members use? In this poll thread, now up to 22 pages, you can find out.

Having discovered the oldest song in his iTunes Library, iLounge Admin MikeM asks if anyone can beat October 4th, 2002 at 12:38 as the oldest date?

The use of his iPod during a High School Lock-In is shared by one reader, who then discusses how he was allowed to DJ for his fellow students. Do you have a similar story?

New Podcast: The iLounge Week in Review 6

imageNow available is the sixth iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.

This week’s topics: iPod as Amazon dominator and promotional incentive, Nokia’s N91 phone, Toshiba’s thinner 1.8” iPod-ready drives, and White House podcasting. Additionally, we discuss CD ripping companies, selling/trading your iPod, iDiddy cases, and our Backstage article on Osu! Takatae! Ouendan! We also discuss some of the sections of The Free iPod Book. Enjoy.

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iTunes phone not being unveiled at V Festival

The first of Motorola’s iTunes-compatible mobile phones apparently won’t be introduced at the two-day V Festival in the U.K. this weekend as expected by analysts late last month.

“Industry watchers have been eagerly awaiting the birth of a phone conceived in Motorola’s labs using Apple’s iPod DNA. But iTunes fans will be disappointed to learn that contrary to industry buzz, there will be no delivery this weekend,” reports Tech blog Engadget and the U.K.‘s Inquirer newspaper said Friday that the inauguration of the so-called Rokr phone won’t be happening at Virgin Mobile’s V Festival concert Saturday and Sunday in the U.K.”

Mix: Rent vs. Own, Nightmare iPod, Music mags, iGuy adventures

In an article on music subscription services entitled “Rent vs. Own,” Walt Mossberg says that “for most people, it’s no contest: Right now iTunes and the iPod are the better choice in digital music.”

A Japanese company is offering a special edition “Nightmare Before Christmas” iPod.

The Guardian reports that music magazine publishers believe the iPod and iTunes are helping boost magazine sales. [via Macworld UK]

The Adventures of iGuy is a new site that features the “weekly conquests and adventures” of Speck’s iPod accessory character.  [via Gear Live]

Crystal Jacket for iPod shuffle announced

imageBrando has announced a new iPod shuffle case that looks very similar to Apple’s Sport Case. The Crystal Jacket for the iPod shuffle is a translucent hard case that offers all-around protection and a “play-through” rubber control pad cover. It comes with a high-quality neck lanyard and four flexible control pad covers in blue, orange, white and clear. Brando’s Crystal Jacket for the iPod shuffle is priced at $20.

Mix: Samsung, Boston, Red Cross, Incentives

Samsung will introduce six new digital audio players in the second half of 2005 and plans up to 10 more next year in a bid to catch up with market dominating Apple. [via DAP Review]

Audissey Guides today released The Boston Audissey, an iPod compatible walking tour through 27 historical sites in Boston.

The Red Cross has begun “offering incentives including raffles for free iPods, vacations, free gas cards and free meals in an attempt to increase the nation’s blood supply.” [via TUAW]

In an article entitled “The Free Toaster? Today, It’s an iPod,” David Bernestein of The New York Times looks at companies using free iPods to lure customers.

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