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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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!
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
TiVo on Monday is expected to announce plans to enable users of its digital video recorders to transfer television shows onto Apple’s fifth-generation (video) iPods, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Portable, with the company’s TiVoToGo service.
TiVo admitted that the process of encoding and transferring video content to the new iPod won’t be speedy. While the new software automates the synchronizing of a TiVo and iPod, users are expected to set the devices to do the transferring overnight.
“Getting TiVo to work with an iPod isn’t as simple as downloading music and videos to Apple’s device from iTunes,” reports The Wall Street Journal [paid sub. req.]. “First, a user’s TiVo records a show onto the machine’s hard drive. Then, the program is transferred over a home network to a PC, where it is translated into a video format compatible with the iPod. Next, the video must be transferred to the iPod from the PC. The whole process of getting an hour-long show onto an iPod could take more than two hours from the time a TiVo device finishes recording it.”
The TiVoToGo service, introduced in January, has allowed users to transfer recorded shows to Windows PCs and portable devices based on Microsoft’s Portable Media Center platform. With the added support for the MPEG-4 video format, the company is also adding new copy-protection measures at the same time.
Tivo said the shows recorded with the new TiVoToGo software will have digital watermarks to prevent piracy. The recorded programs will have the watermark embedded in the video file, allowing TiVo to trace and identify the origin of the recorded show.
Tivo will reportedly begin testing the new TiVoToGo software with iPod support “within the next couple of weeks,” according to the Journal, and will make the service available to all of its users in the first quarter of next year for a one-time fee, likely to be between $15 to $30.
In an obvious spoof of the frequency of new iPod announcements and the device’s increasingly smaller form factor, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was portrayed on yesterday’s Saturday Night Live introducing three new iPod models.
During the Weekend Update segment of the show, a cast member playing Jobs told Weekend Update anchors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler that the iPod nano and video iPod are now “both obsolete” and pulled the tiny iPod micro from his pocket, noting that it held 50,000 songs. Jobs said, however, that it would be obsolete by Thanksgiving and then introduced the even smaller iPod pequeño, which holds 1 million songs, but said it too would be obsolete by this Christmas. Jobs then proceeded to debut the iPod invisa (just the actor’s two fingers pressed together) and said it held 8 million songs and “every photograph ever taken.”
A video of the sketch can be viewed here.
The settlement to the iPod battery class-action lawsuit, which was approved by a judge in August, has been appealed. Apple reportedly said that it did not file the appeal, but declined further comment. The appeal will delay the benefits owed to eligible iPod owners.
“On October 24, 2005, a notice of appeal was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, against the approved iPod Settlement,” reads a note on the settlement’s official website. “As a result, Settlement benefits will not be provided unless and until the appeal is resolved. This could take an extended period of time (up to a year or more). Until that time, Apple’s normal policies are in effect. Please check this website periodically for updates regarding the status of the appeal.”
Under the settlement, consumers who bought first- or second-generation iPods before May 31, 2004 are entitled to either $25 cash or a $50 credit at the Apple Store. Owners of third-generation iPods are entitled to a free replacement battery if their battery fails or a $50 credit. iPod owners who already paid to have their battery replaced can get up to half of that cost back from Apple.
For the first time ever, iPods and other digital music players made the National Retail Federation’s annual list of the top toys for the holiday season.
Warner Bros. Pictures has released the first teaser trailer for “Superman Returns” in iPod video format.
Business 2.0 reports: “Navio is signing up companies like Sony BMG and Fox Music to its rights-based media distribution technology that will let them bypass Apple and and distribute through thousands of Web affiliate sites instead.”
It was announced today that Apple chief operating officer Timothy Cook will serve on the board of directors of Nike.