Apple CEO Steve Jobs today called the major music labels “greedy” for considering a hike in the price of songs on iTunes and warned that such a move would drive users back to piracy.
“If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting a little greedy,” Jobs told reporters before the opening of Apple Expo in Paris. “We’re trying to compete with piracy, we’re trying to pull people away from piracy and say, ‘You can buy these songs legally for a fair price,’” he said. “But if the price goes up a lot, they’ll go back to piracy. Then everybody loses.”
Meanwhile, Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, said the company was not planning to add radio features to the iPod because there was not enough demand for it.
XtremeMac today introduced its FS1 high definition earphones, which use proprietary drivers and technologies recently developed by Future Sonics to “produce a natural tone and rich, deep bass—even at the lowest volume levels—that surpass the performance of any other earphones on the market.” The earphones are priced at $149.95 and are expected to begin shipping in November.
“The FS1 High Definition Earphones deliver richer sound than you’ve ever heard before,” says XtremeMac. “Featuring a professional-grade audio driver designed by Future Sonics, they utilize technology developed exclusively for live music performances. The technology includes a dynamic transducer that provides smoother and more consistent low frequency response, as well as a more natural overall tone.”
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced its new Relaxed Leather iPod cases. The cases, which fit all fourth-generation iPods, come in six different designs featuring contrast stitching, brass rivets and worn leather textures. They sport a protective flip-over cover, belt clip, and an inside pocket for ID, credit cards or cash. The cases also offer access to all iPod controls and ports. The DLO Relaxed Leather iPod cases start at $34.99.
Oregon Scientific has announced the iBall, a new wireless iPod speaker system that features unique sphere styling. The $300 system consists of the iBall three-speaker array and a transmitter dock that communicates wirelessly with the iBall, as well as charges the iPod, and syncs it with a computer. The two devices work up to 100 feet away.
The iBall uses advanced 2.4 GHz Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) wireless technology to “deliver the best possible sound fidelity while managing environmental wireless interference by rapidly hopping the audio signals to the next, clearest channel.” The iBall also features a built-in RF remote control, LCD display, auxiliary stereo line-in jack, S-Video, and A/V stereo line-out.
Oregon Scientific’s iBall is compatible with 3G/4G iPods, the iPod mini and iPod shuffle (seven iPod adaptors included, shuffle adaptor sold separately).
Check out iLounge’s First Looks Special on the iBall.
iLounge’s Dennis Lloyd and Jeremy Horwitz are on the scene at this week’s Apple Expo in Paris, France. They will be bringing you exclusive hands-on reports of all the iPod and iTunes products being shown at the event. While Apple has stated that Steve Jobs will not be delivering a keynote speech, the CEO and other Apple executives will reportedly be on hand for a Q&A session with the media.
iSkin has provided iLounge with a prototype rendering of its first silicone case for Apple’s iPod nano. The company said the iSkin Duo for iPod nano will be similar to the recently announced Duo case for the iPod shuffle, which features two layers of high-grade silicone protection. The new nano case will also come with an iSkin Wheel Cap click wheel protector. iSkin said it is aiming for an October-November release for the nano Duo case and is expecting to offer it for a retail price of $29.99.
Harman Multimedia has announced several new iPod products that it will debut this week at Apple Expo in Paris. The new accessories include the JBL On Stage II, the JBL On Tour Black, the JBL Creature II speakers in red and aluminum, “The Bridge
Incase this week will announce its first accessory for the iPod nano—the Sports Case with Armband. The new case, designed for active use such as running or working out, features a neoprene sleeve for the nano, and comes with an adjustable velcro armband, neoprene hand strap, and an attachment that lets you hook it to your belt or a bag strap. It also offers complete access to all controls and has a clear screen protector. The Incase Sports Case with Armband for iPod nano will be in Apple retail stores early next month for $29.95.
Following the introduction of the iPod nano, Costco has lowered the price of the 4GB iPod mini to $149.99 (from $189.99). The 6GB mini is priced at $239.99 from Costco.
CNET has ranked the original iPod its No. 1 gadget of the past 10 years. “No other product has had the incredible, loyal devotion that the iPod inspires. It’s also one of only a handful of products to get a 9 rating from CNET. It revolutionized and popularized music players with its stylish design and is still considered the industry leader. Even if you devoutly believe other music players have better features now, you have to acknowledge that iPod is still the king.”
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod worldwide product marketing, will participate in a panel discussion during the Digital Life exhibition, which begins October 14.
“Demand for the iPod Nano has been predictably strong ever since Apple introduced the latest member of the popular iPod family on Sept. 7,” writes Benny Evangelista of the San Francisco Chronicle. “What’s unusual is the instantly emotional, fawning reaction the Nano receives almost universally, from loyal customers to skeptical technology reviewers. Experts say that kind of rare gotta-have-it reaction is the result of a calculated strategy by Apple that combines innovative design and marketing.”
Pacific Rim Technologies has cut the price of its Cube Travel Speakers by 50%. Until September 24th, the company is offering them for $19.99 using coupon code APPLEEXPO.
Matias has announced the availability of its new USB 2.0 Keyboard, which features a USB 2.0 dock for iPods and other devices. The keyboard, which was first unveiled in July, lets users sync their iPod via a convenient port on the the top of the product. The USB 2.0 Keyboard is available now for both PCs and Macs, in US, French, UK, and German layouts. It retails for $39.95, or $49.95 with a 2-button optical wheel mouse.
“Mac users have been plugging USB cables into their keyboards for years, but many newer devices require the higher speed of USB 2.0,” says Matias. “iPods, USB flash drives, and newer digital cameras can take forever to transfer files if you don’t have USB 2.0. Our new USB 2.0 Keyboard gives you transfer speeds up to 40 times faster than regular USB keyboards.”
Belkin tomorrow will announce its TuneBase for iPod shuffle. The accessory allows you to mount and charge your shuffle in your vehicle, and features a flexible neck for positioning and a 3.5mm line-out jack for use with the specially designed Belkin Cassette Adapter (included) or select FM transmitters. The TuneBase for iPod shuffle will be available in November for $39.99.
In other Belkin news, the company will announce that its existing line of iPod accessories includes many devices that are compatible with the new iPod nano, including the TuneCast II and Auto Kit for iPod, which are both available in white and black versions. Belkin said that new nano accessories will be available starting in October.
Now available is the tenth iLounge podcast, and the first “true” Week in Review, co-hosted by iLounge’s Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. Even if you’ve skipped past podcasts, you’ll want to listen to this one.
News in this week’s podcast includes Speck’s new iPod nano cases, Incase’s line of collegiate cases, iTunes 5 problems and a new feature. We also cover reviews of Apple’s iPod nano, Motorola ROKR E1 phone, Sharper Image iSphere and iPulse, Belkin TuneStage, and Design Annex iBeat. Both audio-only and enhanced versions of the podcast are available now.
Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.
RadTech next week at Apple Expo will introduce its ClearClip, a new clip solution for Apple’s iPod shuffle. Made from durable, transparent Polycarbonate, the ClearClip cradles the entire shuffle and features a clip that lets you attach the device to nearly anything. The product allows access to the mode switch on the back of the shuffle and the control pad on the front. The ClearClip is priced at $17.95.
The folks behind the Crystal Mini are running an eBay auction for the first iPod nano encrusted in authentic Swarovski Crystals. The Crystal nanos will soon be sold online for $1,000 each. Bidding starts at $350. [via Engadget]
CNET News.com reports that IDG World Expo has cancelled the Boston Macworld Conference & Expo. The event struggled the past two years after returning to Boston from New York City.
Wired News has an interesting article, entitled “Meet the Apple Pack Rats,” that looks at some of “the legions of Macintosh and iPod users for whom the elegance of the user interface begins with the bold graphics and sleek texture of the box the new machine comes in.”
Wireless technology group Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) has reportedly approached Apple about installing its Bluetooth wireless chips into future generations of the iPod.
“CSR’s chips would allow Apple to manufacture iPods with wireless headsets, an increasingly popular feature of mobile devices among consumers,” reports The Independent. “Apple has sold more than 22 million iPods and although it is possible to buy separate adapters that connect an iPod to earphones wirelessly, the music players do not come with Bluetooth as a standard. CSR confirmed it had approached Apple after publishing a bullish trading update yesterday that showed sales of its chips, which enable devices to provide wireless connections using the Bluetooth technology standard, are rising faster than expected.”
RadTech has expanded its Portectorz line to include all dockable iPods and Apple’s AirPort Express. Made from high-polymer silicone, Portectorz have a custom-molded design to keep the ports of products such as iPods, PowerBooks and iBooks clean and protected from foreign objects. Portectorz are Uni-die molded and lightly frosted for a “smooth and elegant appearance that beautifully complements your digital device’s style.” The Portectorz for 3G/4G iPods and iPod minis sell for $5.95. The AirPort Express Portectorz is priced the same.
PKOH NYC has announced the Earbud Clip, a new cord management product for iPods and other MP3 players. Produced in Lexan polycarbonate, the clip comes in a set of four colors—white, black, green and pink— for $9.95.
“The product approaches the problem of tangled earbuds in a unique way; rather than using a separate reel, it simply secures the cord after the earbuds have been wrapped around the iPod,” explains the company. “This provides for a fast, convenient, and highly compact way to store your earbuds and prevent them from tangling. When not in use, the clip remains conveniently attached to the cord.”
In the latest dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: with the iPod nano screaming “Buy Me” and invoking impulse purchases, one reader shares his attempts to hide his latest iPod addition from his suspicious wife. Have you succumbed to the urge?
A reader asks the question “Are nanos available in Europe subject to the EU Volume Cap?” Initial replies suggest not, and one member even states his nano arrived with a sticker stating in French “...that prolonged use at high volumes may damage the user’s hearing.”
In a poll started by one member the votes are pretty even in “Which color for nano? What’s your choice?” Do you think that the classic white rules or that black is the new white?
With the news that Apple is to address iTunes 5 problems with an update, make sure you check out the forums for posts on this issue, in the iTunes for Windows Discussion forum and also in the Windows iPod Problems Discussion forum.
Some readers are reporting that their iPod nanos have suffered cracked displays after being carried in their pockets - have you had a similar problem?
In its latest move to take on the iPod, Dell plans to unveil three new Dell DJ music players, including a tiny, flash memory-based model with LCD screen and an FM radio receiver called the Dell DJ Ditty. The company also plans to add color screens and XM Satellite Radio to its Pocket DJ and Dell DJ models.
CitizenPod has released its free 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival clickguide, which puts the entire ACL Music Festival lineup, performance schedule, band bios and festival information on your iPod.
Napster and Yahoo! are battling it out for second place in the digital music industry. The iTunes Music Store continues to dominate with a market share of about 82%, leaving Napster, Yahoo!, Microsoft and RealNetworks to fight for the remainder of the pie.
The Economist has an interesting piece on Apple CEO Steve Jobs: “In short, Mr Jobs currently seems vivacious by anybody’s standards. There are even rumors that he might run for governor of California (as a Democrat, presumably; Al Gore is on Apple’s board). For somebody famous in large part for a spectacular defeat—to Bill Gates and Microsoft—all this must feel like a new lease of life, in every respect.”
Tunewear has announced yet another new addition to its line of iPod nano accessories. The Tunetag is a luggage-tag style case for the nano made from nappa leather. The case features a transparent vinyl sheet that covers and protects the entire front of the nano while at the same time enabling control of the Click Wheel and full view of the screen. The Tunetag’s belt strap lets you attach the case to the handle of your luggage, belt loop or elsewhere. The Tunetag will be be available next month. Pricing was not announced.