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Music store offers iPods for CD trade-ins

Millennium Music, an independent music store in Charleston, South Carolina, allows customers to trade in their old CDs for an iPod. You can drop off your CDs at one of two locations or ship your collection to the store. The CDs credits will be judged on physical quality and quality of title. In addition, if a customer doesn’t have enough CDs, the difference can be made up with cash.

Millennium’s CD to iPod converstion table:
45 CDs = 512MB iPod shuffle
65 CDs = 1GB iPod shuffle
85 CDs = 2GB iPod nano
110 CDs = 4GB iPod nano
130 CDs = 30GB video iPod
175 CDs = 60GB video iPod

iPod tops brand survey

Apple’s iPod ranks as the top brand in the eyes of Americans, according to a national study conducted by Landor Associates, a leading branding and design consultancy, and research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. The 2005 ImagePower Newsmaker Brands Survey examines Americans’ attitude toward the top brands.

“Four Internet brands (Google, eBay, Amazon.com and Yahoo!) are among the top 10 winning brands in 2005, while the iPod brand earned the No. 1 overall spot. The release of the shuffle, nano and video iPods in 2005 combined with effective branding efforts helped iPod continue its domination of the MP3 market,” the firms said. “Other technology brands in the top 20 include DVR, Xbox 360 and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.”

iMeat: New iPod replaced with meat [updated]

imageA Mililani, Hawaii woman claims that she purchased a video iPod for her 14-year-old son as a Christmas gift, but when he opened it the device had been replaced by some kind of mystery meat. “He went from joy, really happy joyful,” Rachel Cambra said, “then to discover this, just angry and hurt.”

Cambra said the iPod’s packaging was sealed (as was the meat) and that it didn’t appear to have been tampered with when she brought it home from the Honolulu Wal-Mart where she works. Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the package was sealed and has contacted Apple about the matter. He said Cambra will be given a new iPod for her son when the next shipment arrives.

Update: An iLounger has provided us with two photos taken from a local newscast on the story.

Mix: iPod Express, AFI, 2006 predictions, Price drops

BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows says that the iPod Express EasyPay system used in Apple retail stores this holiday season will continue to be used at some locations.

The American Film Institute (AFI) has recognized the video iPod and other portable video players as a noteworthy event of 2005.

Marketwatch’s Bambi Francisco predicts that “Apple will release an updated video iPod in the first quarter of 2006 and will sign up CBS and News Corp in content deals similar to those it has already struck with NBC Universal and Walt Disney.”

The price of the shufflicious pendant case for the iPod shuffle has been dropped to $9.95, while Nikkipod.com has put all of its iPod cases on sale for $12.

Geneva iPod speaker systems debut

imageGeneva Labs has introduced two new high-end iPod speaker systems. The Geneva Sound Systems are all-in-one units crafted in piano-lacquered wood cabinets. They’re available in two sizes, the Model L and Model XL, and in three colors—red, white and black.

Both models feature Apple’s universal iPod dock (compatible with all dockable iPods), a built-in slot-loading CD player, an FM radio with digital tuner, and a remote control. The speaker systems also feature LED displays, audio input for using other devices, and “EmbracingSound” professional sound technology. An optional floor stand ($75) in aluminum is available for both models. The Model L sells for $600, while the XL is priced at $1075. Availability was not announced.

iDiddy Santa Fe Black Diamond case announced

imagePacific Rim Marketing has announced the iDiddy Santa Fe Black Diamond case for the video iPod and iPod nano. The leather case features a snap-over lid, a carabineer clip, short silver plated chain, and comes with the iDiddy Opticover protective film. Priced at $45, the Santa Fe Black Diamond case is available now. “A true fashion accessory, the Santa Fe Black Diamond has been elegantly designed with our fashion conscious iPod nano and iPod with video clients in mind,” says the company. “The cases are meticulously assembled using the finest leathers. Each Santa Fe Black Diamond case is individually crafted and sewn with attention to detail using luxurious soft and supple Calfskin, the elite of the leathers used in fine fashion leather accessory products.”

Music store traffic rises 50% on Christmas

The iTunes Music Store and other digital music sites saw a spike in traffic on Christmas Day as hundreds of thousands of consumers looked to download tracks for their new iPods that they received as gifts. According to numbers from online researcher Hitwise, visits to music download sites saw a 50 percent increase between December 24 and 25. Hitwise also found that visits to music sites were 15 percent higher than last Christmas. “Apple’s iTunes Music Store increased its dominance of the download market, receiving twice as many visits as its next closest rival, Sony’s Connect internet site,” reports the Financial Times. “This compares with Christmas Day last year, when iTunes was only 10 percent ahead of its then closest competitor, Napster.”

Rain Design announces iWoofer for iPods

imageRain Design has announced a new iPod speaker system for iPods. The iWoofer features an iPod dock with charging and synchronization, 2.1 Subwoofer speaker system with digital amplifier and bass control, FM radio with auto scan tuning, preset station and last station memory, telescopic antenna, blue halo lamp, AC or battery powered (4 AA), USB and audio in. The iWoofer comes in two models; iWoofer and iWoofer nano. The standard iWoofer fits all docking iPods including the iPod video, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The iWoofer and iWoofer nano cost $129 and pre-orders are being taken with an expected ship date in the 2nd or 3rd week of January.

iLounge recently held the “What is it?” Contest sponsored by Rain Design to guess the new product and three winners have been announced.

Mix: Podcasts, Best of 2005, iPod Express, Xbox 360

Macworld UK reports that Apple may begin offering fee-based podcasts through iTunes early next year.

The iTunes Music Store’s Best of 2005 section is now up, featuring the year’s best sellers and staff favorites.

Apple retail news site ifoAppleStore has posted an in-depth look at the holiday iPod Express checkout area.

Engadget has posted the second part in its article on how to make an iPod dock for your Xbox 360.

Speck debuts iKitty for iPod nano

imageSpeck Products today introduced the iKitty for the iPod nano, a new version of its rubberized cat case. The iKitty stands on four legs, with the nano’s click wheel and screen on the toy’s belly. It has a bendable tail, screen protector, and access to the dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch. The iKitty for iPod nano sells for $35 and will begin shipping later this week.

Sixth iPod nano lawsuit filed; Apple seeks to consolidate

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over the iPod nano’s proneness to scratching. Plaintiffs have now filed a total of six similar iPod nano lawsuits in California, New York and New Jersey.

“Apple marketed the nano—because it’s small and streamlined—to be used in outdoor activities and athletic activities,” said the woman’s lawyer, Philip Bohrer. “But these devices are not designed to withstand even routine use. There’s a flaw in the design that needs to be changed.”

In a memorandum seeking to consolidate all six federal class-action lawsuits and transfer them to the Northern District of California, Apple lawyer Penelope Preovolos said the company “denies that the iPod nano scratches excessively absent user abuse. The iPod nano is an extraordinarily popular and successful product and is free of defects.”

Software: PodFlicks, iPod.iTunes, iVideoToGo, Podner, Pod2Go

PodFlicks 1.0.1 will convert a video into an iPod-compatible format and copy it directly to your iPod where it will reside in the Video:Movies folder.

iPod.iTunes 3.0 is an update to the software that synchronizes songs, videos, playlist, ratings, played dates and play counts in both directions between iPods and iTunes.

iVideoToGo is a new appliation that enables users to convert DVDs and video files into iPod-compatible format.

Podner 1.2.1 from Splasm Software is the latest version of the drag-and-drop Mac software for creating iPod-compatible videos.

Pod2Go 1.6 is an update to the Mac software that lets you put a variety of content on your iPod, such as news feeds, weather reports, movie showtimes, driving directions, lyrics and more.

iPods push Amazon.com to best holiday season ever

With iPods dominating its electronics section, Amazon.com said that this year’s holiday shopping season was its best ever. The online retailer said the black 4GB iPod nano, the black 30GB video iPod and the 512MB iPod shuffle were the top three best-selling electronics products. Amazon also said more than 108 million items were ordered for the holiday season, noting that its busiest day was December 12th, when 3.6 million items, or 41 items per second, were ordered.

Mix: Video albums, Greatest gadgets, Samsung-Sony, Hillary Clinton

Apple’s iTunes Music Store is now offering “video albums” from both Green Day ($15/15 videos) and Jack Johnson ($10/22 videos).

The iPod landed at No. 2 behind the original Sony Walkman on PC World’s list of the top 50 greatest gadgets of the past 50 years.

Samsung said on Monday it may sell NAND flash memory chips to Sony for use in its MP3 players. The deal is said to be similar to the arrangement Samsung made with Apple earlier this year.

An album comprised of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s best speeches of 2005 has been made available for download on the iTunes Music Store.

iPod battery settlement finalized

The settlement to the iPod battery class-action lawsuit—which was approved by a judge in August and then appealed in November—has finally been made official.

“On December 20, 2005, the appeal filed by individual objectors to the Settlement was dismissed and the Settlement is now Final,” a note on the settlement’s official website says. “This means Apple and the Settlement Administrator can move forward with claims administration and claims fulfillment.”

The website notes that claim submission deadlines have not changed. Affected third-generation iPod owners must send in their claim form within two years of the original product purchase date. The deadline for submitting first- and second-generation iPod claims expired on September 30, 2005.

Record companies investigated over digital music pricing

The four major record companies are being investigated by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer over whether they have violated antitrust laws in the pricing of songs sold by digital music services such as the iTunes Music Store.

“Spitzer’s office recently began serving subpoenas on the major record companies—the Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal; Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture of Sony and Bertelsmann; the EMI Group; and the Warner Music Group, according to people involved,” reports The New York Times. “Some major record companies have been pushing to introduce flexible pricing, charging more for hit songs and less for oldies, for example. But some executives say that a more complex price structure would turn off buyers and hurt industry efforts to woo music listeners away from free, unauthorized file-swapping networks.”

Welcome, new iPod owners!

If Santa brought you an iPod this year, then you’re at the right place. Whether you got a video iPod, an iPod nano, iPod shuffle, or even a previous generation iPod or iPod mini, iLounge will help you get the most out your new favorite gadget. If you’re looking to accessorize your iPod, check out our extensive list of iPod accessory reviews or the latest iPod accessory news. You can find answers to common iPod questions in our Ask iLounge and iPod 101 & 201 sections. If you want to ask a specific question or just chat with other iPod owners, hop on over to the iLounge Forums. And be sure to download our free Holiday Buyers’ Guide, which is loaded with tons of cool iPod gear and info.

Apple offers free Battlestar Galactica, SNL videos on iTunes

Apple has posted two free video downloads on the iTunes Music Store—“Sci Fi Inside: Battlestar Galactica” (21:03) and “Saturday Night Live: Lazy Sunday” (2:31).

“As it prepares for a new season, take a behind-the-scenes look at the life on board the Battlestar Galactica. Watch exclusive interviews with the people at the heart of one of television’s most acclaimed shows,” says Apple. “Get up to speed with the crew’s adventures so far in this free episode, and get a sneak peek at some of the upcoming action in the new season, premiering Jan. 6, 2006.”

In the Saturday Night Live clip, “Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rap about their ‘Lazy Sunday’ which includes going to see the move ‘CHRONIC..(WHAT?)..CLES’ OF NARNIA and buying cupcakes.”

VP Cheney’s iPod takes precedence on flight

On a return flight from a four-day trip to the Middle East, U.S. vice president Dick Cheney used one of the only working power outlets on Air Force Two to charge his beloved iPod, frustrating reporters who were trying to file stories.

“Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets—particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England,” reports the Associated Press. “But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedent above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president’s press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in.”

CoolGorilla releases music trivia game for iPods

A new start-up named CoolGorilla has launched a trivia game for the iPod. The Rock and Pop quiz game contains twenty megabytes of audible trivia questions about the Gorrilaz, U2, Metallica, Beyonce, The Beatles, The Whites Stripes, The Killers, Madonna and many, many more. The game is compatible with 3rd, 4th and 5th generation iPods, iPod mini and nano. The game is free to download with CoolGorilla Movies and CoolGorilla Rap, R&B and Hip Hop trivia games coming soon. Instructions on how to install the game on Windows or Mac are available at the website’s FAQs.

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