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‘Course casting’ lets students listen to lectures on iPods

Several universities across the U.S. have begun distributing lectures in digital form so students can download and listen to them on their iPods. Critics complain that the “course casting” of lectures cuts down on vital interaction with professors, and also lets students get by with cutting more classes.

“Could ivy-covered lecture halls become as obsolete as the typewriter? This fall, a dozen colleges across the country have introduced a controversial new teaching tool called course casting, aimed at supplementing—and in some cases replacing—large, impersonal lectures,” writes Newsweek’s Peg Tyre. “Although it has been around for less than a year, course casting has become as popular as a keg party on homecoming weekend. Students at Purdue University have downloaded 40,000 lectures since the start of the semester—not bad for a school with an enrollment of 38,000. Drexel, Stanford, Duke and American University have begun course-casting programs, too.”

Samsung faces probe into Apple flash deal

As anticipated last month, the South Korean government is investigating Samsung for allegedly selling NAND flash memory chips to Apple at below-market prices. “We are investigating whether Samsung has been unfairly supplying flash memory chips to Apple at cheaper prices than applied to domestic music player makers,” a spokesman at the South Korean Fair Trade Commission said.

Small South Korean digital music players makers have complained that the special pricing given to Apple is allowing the company to build iPods at price points that they cannot compete with.

Analysts doubted the investigation would have serious repercussions for Samsung. “I don’t think the FTC could impose any restrictions on Samsung as it’s a common business practice for companies to offer lower prices to big-volume customers such as Apple,” said Jay Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

Vaja intros AP181 case for 5G iPods

imageVaja has introduced the AP181 case for the fifth-generation iPod. Made of high-quality Argentine leather, the new case features a screen protector, access to all controls and ports, and is available in numerous colors. The AP181 can also be ordered with an optional click wheel protector, name or logo personalization, and clip system. Vaja’s AP181 case sells for $50 and is available for both the 30GB and 60GB iPod.

Mix: Knick Knack, Oprah’s things, Sony BMG, Tivo FAQ

A new $1.99 Pixar short, entitled “Knick Knack,” has been added to the iTunes Music Store.

Apple’s fifth-generation iPod made Oprah’s annual Favorite Things list.

Sony BMG has been hit with lawsuits by both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Texas attorney general over its use of hidden copy-protection software on its music CDs.

CNET has posted answers to a number of common questions regarding TiVo’s announcement of iPod support with the company’s TiVoToGo service.

iPod shortages expected this holiday season

If you plan on buying an iPod for someone as a gift this year, you may have quite a search ahead of you. BusinessWeek reports that numerous retailers are already warning that they won’t be able to keep up with demand for the hot devices.

“With the holiday shopping season at hand, two truths are swiftly emerging about Apple’s iPod,” says BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows. “First, the product is going to be a gigantic hit. Second, there are going to be shortages. The only question is how big the shortfall will be. Some retailers say they’re getting far fewer iPods than they requested—in two cases, fewer than half of their weekly orders. Also, retailing giant Circuit City expects demand to outstrip supply through the end of the year.”

Crutchfield, which currently has $4 million of all iPod models on order, said that Apple typically ships less than 30% of what the online retailer requests each week. “If you want to get an iPod for someone this Christmas, I’d advise you to get it now—if you can find one,” says Scott Anderson, merchandising manager for online retailer Crutchfield.

SkipJam announces iPod support for iMedia Center

imageSkipJam has announced support for iPod docking directly into its SkipJam iMedia Center. Using FireWire or USB 2.0 users can plug their iPods into an iMedia Center or an iMedia enabled PC and access music, photos, and videos from throughout their home. The SkipJam iMedia support for the iPod also allows SkipJam users to record audio or video content directly onto the iPod, creating a plug’n'go recording solution. The SkipJam iMedia Center to iPod interface software is scheduled for release in January, and will be available to existing SkipJam iMedia Center users as an upgrade free of charge.

Boynq releases iCube speaker and dock system for iPod

imageBoynq has introduced its iCube speaker and dock system for the iPod. The integrated dock is compatible with all dock connecting iPods, and includes four inserts to adapt the fit of the dock to the iPod being used, along with a cover for the top dock connector when the dock is not in use. The system also includes features such as treble and bass controls and a rear dock connector port for charging, as well as audio-in and -out ports. The Boynq iCube speaker and dock system is available now and sells for $69.99.

Pod Peel unveils Banano, Oranginal Peels

imagePod Peel from Montreal has announced its Pod Peel cases for iPod. The Banano Peel is the smaller of the two, fitting snugly on the iPod nano, while the Oranginal Peel fits all full-size iPods. All peels are made of 4-way stretch Lycra and feature a small back pocket for headphones and small items. Both sizes are available now in several different limited edition designs and sell for $19.99.

Waterfield Designs offers 5G iPod Case

imageWaterfield designs is now offering its 5G iPod Case. Made with a three-layer construction, the 5G makes use of an Indium nylon outer, a plastic middle layer, and an inside with neoprene and a silky liner. The 5G iPod Case also features access to the dock connector and headphone jack, a soft grip material on the back, and an elastic band to hold earbuds. The case is available in five colors and is available now for $29.00.

Fluffpod debuts Fluffpod nano

imageFluffpod has added the Fluffpod nano for iPod nano to its lineup of cases. The Fluffpod nano is a slim case for the iPod nano made of satin with a poofy fur top. Also available for the case is a strong silver hook that allows the Fluffpod nano to be connected to a belt, purse, etc. The Fluffpod nano is available immediately in both white and pink and sells for $10.00.

ezGear intros ezTrip FM TransCharger

imageezGear has announced the ezTrip FM TransCharger, a combination iPod FM transmitter and car charger. The ezTrip FM TransCharger features an LCD display, access to all FM frequencies between 97.7 to 107.9, and a coiled dock connector cable. The product works with all dockable iPods, including 3G/4G/5G iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. The ezTrip FM TransCharger is priced at $50.


Poll results: Have you purchased videos from iTMS?

The most recent Lounge Poll, “Have you purchased video content from the iTunes Music Store?”, is now closed.

Over 7,000 votes were cast in the poll, which was split between 5 “yes” answers and 3 “no” answers. Collectively, “no” won by a wide margin, with 72% of readers saying that they had not purchased any iTMS videos. More than half of those who had not purchased videos (37% total) said that they did not think they would purchase any. The remaining 35% were open to the possibility of paying for video downloads in the future.

Of the 28% of total “yes” votes, the most popular response (12%) had purchased only one of the three categories of video currently available - music videos, TV shows, or movie shorts - but not the other two. Only 6% of readers said that they’d purchased all three categories of content.

Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What was the most important iPod & iTunes event of 2005?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

iTunes ranked as 7th largest U.S. music retailer

Apple’s iTunes Music Store was the seventh-largest music retailer in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2005, according to research from the NPD Group. Based on the number of songs sold, the firm said iTunes is ahead of music giants Tower Records and Borders, but still falls behind Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Amazon.com, FYE and Circuit City. iTunes moved up from 14th spot a year earlier.

Apple plans after-Thanksgiving sale

Apple will once again this year host an after-Thanksgiving sale at its online and brick-and-mortar stores. The one-day event, which Apple is calling “The feast after the feast,” will take place on Friday, November 25. “Come back to the Apple Store on the day after Thanksgiving for a special one-day-only holiday shopping event,” reads a note on Apple’s website. “You’ll find dozens of great gift ideas for everyone on your list, and you’ll get free shipping on all items.” Last year’s sale saw $20 price reductions on iPods, as well as discounts on iPod accessories, iMacs, digital cameras and more.

Tune Belt releases armband for iPod nano

imageTune Belt has announced a new version of its Open View Armband for the iPod nano. The lightweight armband holds and protects the nano during activity and features a play-through clear protective cover, openings for the hold button and headphone jack, and a cord management flap. Tune Belt said the armband strap is adjustable with one hand from 8”-18”. The Open View Armband for the iPod nano is priced at $18.

Mix: Jonathan Ive, Portable Media Expo, Respect, Xbox 360

The Telegraph has an interview with Apple design guru Jonathan Ive.

Audio from several Portable Media Expo & Podcasting Conference keynotes are now available for download.

Apple is included in the top 10 World’s Most Respected Companies list from Price Waterhouse Coopers. Apple moved to 9th from 42nd position.

Joystiq has posted an early guide on getting your iPod to work with the new Xbox 360, which will go on sale at midnight tonight.

TVMyPod offers pre-loaded video iPods

TVMyPod is a new service that allows consumers to buy fifth-generation (video) iPods pre-loaded with the DVDs of their choice.

“With nearly 100 television shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and HBO and over 100 movies, sports events and concerts to choose from, TVMyPod offers something for everyone,” says the company. “Can’t find the DVDs you want? No problem—TVMyPod will locate what you want and customize your order. Here’s how it works: Customers purchase the iPod and the DVDs of their choice; TVMyPod then converts the DVDs to iPod format and loads them onto the iPod at no extra charge. The customer receives the loaded iPod in its original packaging, along with each of the DVDs he or she purchased.”

Xitel intros HiFi-Link for iPod

imageXitel today introduced the HiFi-Link for iPod, a new docking station that connects an iPod to your home stereo or television. The HiFi-Link, which utilizes Apple’s new Universal Dock design, also comes with a wireless remote control and charges your iPod. The HiFi-Link for iPod will be available this month for $100.
 
“Built from the ground up for exceptional sound quality, HiFi-Link for iPod replicates the high-end outputs found on audiophile-grade equipment,” says Xitel. “By processing the cleanest possible signal from iPod’s base connector, HiFi-Link for iPod provides exceptionally pure and dynamic audio for a true high-fidelity experience. Attention to detail is apparent in the quality of gold-plated line-level RCA outputs with matching studio-grade audio cable. Through the inclusion of SRS TruBass, Xitel’s HiFi-Link for iPod also significantly enhances the lower frequencies of all music. Using advanced psychoacoustics, HiFi-Link for iPod adds back the warmth and depth that audio compression takes away.”

Speck ships SkinTight cases for 5G iPods

Speck Products today announced the availability of its new SkinTight rubberized cases for Apple’s fifth-generation iPods. The SkinTight cases come in 3-packs in two sizes (for 30 and 60GB iPods). Each $30 pack contains a clear, black and blue case, and three rubber-backed screen protectors. The cases also feature access to the hold switch and Speck’s “docking flap” to charge/sync your iPod without removing it from the case.

Apple signs flash supply agreements; ships 30 millionth iPod [updated]

Further solidifying the iPod’s future, Apple today announced that it has reached long-term agreements with Hynix, Intel, Micron, Samsung and Toshiba to secure a large supply of NAND flash memory through 2010. Apple said it will prepay a total of $1.25 billion for flash memory components during the next three months. “We want to be able to produce as many of our wildly popular iPods as the market demands,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Apple also subtly announced that it has now shipped over 30 million iPods.

Update: In a separate announcement, Intel and Micron Technology said that they will be launching a joint venture to produce NAND flash memory, with Apple prepaying $500 million to secure its place in line for the chips.

“Intel will own 49 percent of the new company, IM Flash Technologies, with the remaining controlling stake held by Micron,” reports CNET News.com. “Intel and Micron will each initially contribute $1.2 billion to building plants in Idaho, Utah and Virginia, with plans to add another $1.4 billion each over the next three years. The joint venture is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.”

Another related story notes that Samsung plans to invest about $615 million to build a new production facility to meet rising demand for its NAND flash and DRAM chips. The new plant will be based in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, and is expected to open in the first half of 2006.

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