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Toshiba develops 100GB 1.8-inch iPod drive

A new hard-disk drive announced by Toshiba paves the way for higher capacity iPods. The new 100GB, 1.8-inch drive is identical in size to the 80GB drive currently used in the fifth-generation iPod, but with 25% more storage capacity. “Toshiba plans to start mass producing the drives in January next year,” reports the IDG News Service. “The company doesn’t sell them direct to end-users but to other companies for integration into their products. In the past device makers have typically incorporated higher capacity drives quickly into their products.”

ShuffleBud USB adapter for 2G iPod shuffle announced

Incipio has announced the ShuffleBud, a tiny USB to 3.5mm adapter that allows you to connect a second-generation iPod shuffle to any USB port without having to use the new iPod Shuffle Dock. “The iPod ShuffleBud ($6) is the perfect travel companion, taking up virtually no space in a bag or pocket,” says Incipio. “No need to haul around the Dock and cables that came with your iPod Shuffle, just pack the ShuffleBud and a user all set.”

DLO offers HomeDock Pro

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) has introduced the HomeDock Pro, a new version of its iPod home docking solution. Targeted at custom home entertainment installers, the HomeDock Pro allows users to view and navigate an iPod’s music and videos directly on a TV screen. (DLO’s HomeDock Deluxe only allows users to navigate music menus and not video menus.) “The DLO HomeDock Pro is the world’s first iPod dock that lets you view and select your iPod’s music on your TV screen, and integrate your entire music library and TV shows, Movies and photos into a custom home installation,” says the company. The HomeDock Pro comes with an 18-button remote control and works with 4G and 5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. Pricing was not available.

XtremeMac debuts MicroMemo for 2G iPod nano

XtremeMac has introduced a new version of its MicroMemo audio recorder for the second-generation iPod nano. Like the original version for fifth-generation iPods, the new MicroMemo offers one-touch recording via on-screen controls, and features a flexible, detachable microphone and a built-in speaker for instant playback. Available in black or silver anodized aluminum, the new MicroMemo is priced at $60 and will begin shipping later this month. XtremeMac also announced a new lapel microphone called the MemoMic that works with both versions of the MicroMemo. The MemoMic, available in black, sells for $30 and is now shipping.

Digg founder claims 4GB/8GB iPhone coming in January

Kevin Rose, founder of the popular social news site, claims that Apple’s long-rumored iPhone will be released in January in 4GB and 8GB capacities. During the latest episode of the Diggnation video podcast (clip below; strong language used), Rose said the iPhone is extremely small and will have a slide-out keyboard and two-battery design—one for playing music and one for phone calls. Rose also claims the phone will work with all wireless carriers—both GSM and CDMA. Rose prices the iPhone models at $249 and $449. Rose accurately predicted the iPod nano and Intel-based MacBooks days before their release.

ABT iJet, Keyspan TuneView LCD remotes ship

imageTwo new iPod-specific LCD remotes—the iJet Two-Way from ABT and the TuneView from Keyspan—have recently begun shipping to stores. Both remotes allow users to remotely navigate and control music from an iPod directly on the remote using RF transmission technology.

The ABT iJet Two-Way ($130; iLounge Rating: C+) consists of a walkie talkie-shaped remote with two-line LCD display and bottom-mounting iPod receiver with pass-through dock connector and headphone ports.image

Keyspan’s TuneView Remote ($179; shown left) features a color LCD screen and a universal, charging iPod dock for connecting an iPod to a stereo, powered speakers or TV. The TuneView Dock can also be used to sync an iPod with iTunes running on a PC or Mac.

Fastmac expands iPod LCD repair service

Fastmac has expanded its “Just Say No To Crack” iPod repair service to include same-day LCD display replacements for fourth-generation iPods. Already available for fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos, the repair service offers replacement of scratched or cracked iPod screens, either as a do-it-yourself kit with tools and instructional videos, or via a $39.95 same-day mail order installation service provided by Fastmac directly.  5G iPod screens cost $49.95, iPod nano screens cost $39.95, and 4G iPod screens cost $29.99.

JAVOedge offers cases for new iPod nano, iPod shuffle

JAVOedge has introduced a new case for the second-generation iPod nano and two new cases for the second-generation iPod shuffle.

imageThe AlloyVision Crystal Metal Case ($26; shown) for the 2G nano features clear plastic and metal construction. Available in silver, red, green and black, the case comes with a screen and click wheel protector.

The JAVOClearCase ($8 for 7-pack) is a crystal clear case designed to protect the 2G shuffle. It comes in seven colors—magenta, blue, red, orange, clear, bronze, and green. 

The JAVOShield Case ($16 for 3-pack) is an anodized aluminum metal case for the 2G shuffle. It comes in metallic silver, black, chrome, metallic blue, metallic pink, metallic green and metallic red.

Apple patent filing reveals ‘zirconia’ device

Apple has filed yet another patent application referring to a device that appears to combine an iPod and a mobile phone. Apple’s application describes a “tube-like” device made using zirconia and alumina and that would be “cost effective, smaller, lighter, stronger and aesthetically more pleasing than current” designs. Using those materials would result in a “highly scratch-resistant surface,” according to the filing. Bloomberg News notes that zirconia could be used to create cases in a variety of colors, including white, black, navy blue, ivory, brown, dark blue, light blue, platinum and gold.

Mix:, Zune nano, Dutch levy, Shoewallet

Russia has agreed to demands from the U.S. government to shut down, the Russian online music store known for selling tracks for pennies. Russia will close the site in an attempt at improving its chance of gaining membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Apple pundit John Gruber wonders if Microsoft chose the wrong iPod to copy. After analyzing sales data, Gruber concludes that Microsoft would have been better off using the iPod nano as inspiration for its first digital media player.

Reuters reports that a Dutch industry group “postponed levying a copyright tax on digital music players and hard-disk video recorders, saying on Wednesday it would wait for the European Commission to first make a recommendation.”

The makers of the Shoewallet have begun marketing the product to runners who want to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with shoes besides the compatible Nike+ models. The $10 Shoewallet attaches to a shoe’s laces and holds an ID, cash and keys.

Oakley debuts new case for 5G iPods

Oakley has introduced a new case for fifth-generation iPods. Made of ballistic nylon, the 99037 iPod case features a flip-top design, play-through screen and Click Wheel protector, and snap closure. The case is priced at $35 and will be available soon at the online Apple Store and Apple retail locations. Oakley said a “Sheetmetal” version of the 99037 case would be available in Spring 2007.

Nike+iPod Sport Kit could be used as surveillance device

The Nike+iPod Sport Kit could be used as an illegal surveillance device, according to a report from four University of Washington researchers. Their report claims that security flaws in the new RFID-powered device “make it easy for tech-savvy stalkers, thieves and corporations” to track your movements. “With just a few hundred dollars and a little know-how, someone could even plot your running routes on a Google map without your knowledge,” reports Wired News. The researchers said that because the Nike sensor contains its own on-board power source and will reveal its unique ID to any Nike+ iPod receiver, a quick hardware hack “any high school student could do in the garage” and a tiny, $79 Linux-based computer can be used to track runners.

Marware intros Runabout wristband for 2G iPod shuffle

Marware has introduced the Sportsuit Runabout for Apple’s second-generation iPod shuffle. The wristband sport case lets you wear your shuffle like a watch, or use an included extension piece to convert it to an armband. Made with Marware’s Orca Skin neoprene and rubber material, the shuffle clips on and off the Sportsuit Runabout and offers access to the headphone port and switches. The Sportsuit Runabout sells for $15.

Griffin ships iTalk Pro recorder

Griffin Technology today announced that it is now shipping its iTalk Pro audio recorder (iLounge Rating: B). Compatible with the fifth-generation iPod and second-generation iPod nano, the iTalk Pro has built-in twin microphones that can record in mono or CD-quality (44.1 kHz) stereo. The $50 accessory also features adjustable gain settings and a stereo 3.5 mm input jack for use with external microphones.

Apple authorizes usage of ‘podcast’ term

One podcaster has received a letter from Apple’s trademark department stating that the company does not object to others using the term “podcast” and that it also does not license the term. “Apple does not object to third party usage of the generic term ‘podcast’ to accurately refer to podcasting services,” Apple said in the note. “Apple does not license the term ‘podcast.’” The letter was in response to a $1 “royalty check” Dave Gray, host of the Global Geek podcast, sent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs nearly two months ago. Gray sent the check and a letter to Jobs following threats from Apple to a site named PodcastReady, claiming trademark violations.

Pre-CES iPod product roundup

Several iPod-compatible consumer electronics products were revealed in the pre-show 2007 International CES Awards. Below are brief descriptions of the products, with large photos here. Pricing and availability was not provided for any of the products. CES 2007 will take place January 8-11 in Las Vegas.

The iHome iH85 is an iPod sound system specifically designed for bicycles. The tube-shaped system comes with a wireless control pad and is water-resistant.

The iHome iH21 wireless music system features an iPod dock that transmits music to a water-resistant speaker from over 30 feet away. A wireless remote is also included.

The Philips DCM270 Docking Entertainment System features a built-in iPod/Philips player dock, CD player and FM radio. The floor-standing system offers “superb sound quality,” according to the product description.

Alpine’s iDA-X001 iPod/Media Ready Receiver, which was “designed and developed with input from Apple,” displays artist, album, CD art and track information from an iPod. It features a USB input for iPod connectivity.

The iMedia Chair from Empower Technologies is “the world’s only complete surround sound home theater integrated into an ergonomic chair” and appears to feature an integrated iPod dock.

Altec Lansing’s M812 Wireless iPod Audio System is a minimalist-looking home speaker system that plays music streamed from your iPod. It’s not clear if the system comes with a wireless iPod attachment or dock.

OtterBox debuts water-proof case for 2G iPod nano

OtterBox today announced a new version of its “waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof and drop-proof” case for the second-generation iPod nano. Made of clear, hard plastic, the new nano OtterBox features a protective Click Wheel membrane for play-through control and works with any standard earphones or headphones. The $40 case also includes a removable neck lanyard and belt clip with cable management. “With a completely interactive Click Wheel membrane, enthusiasts can turn up the volume or scroll through favorite tunes even on a run,” says OtterBox. “An airtight seal prevents elements from entering the case and a rugged, drop-proof design cradles nanos from falls and scratches.”

Hollywood studios pressure Apple for stricter DRM limitations

Hollywood studios are pressuring Apple to strengthen its iTunes copy-protection scheme. The studios—Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros.—are reportedly in discussions with Apple about selling their movies on the iTunes Store. “After months of discussion, a sticking point has emerged over the studios’ demand that Apple limit the number of devices that can use a film downloaded from iTunes,” reports The Financial Times. “The studios want to avoid the experience of the music industry, which has yet to recover from years of illegal digital piracy. Apple must introduce a ‘new model’ for feature film content delivery, said one studio executive involved in the talks.”

Pacific Design intros Contour Sleeve for 2G iPod nano

Pacific Design has introduced the nano Contour Sleeve for Apple’s second-generation iPod nano. Currently available in black/grey and pink/white, the $20 case features side stitching details, built-in Lexan screen protection, anti-scratch felt lining, and metal carabiner clip. Pacific Design said it will be introducing the Contour Sleeve for fifth-generation iPods in January, and in Spring 2007, new colors for the nano Contour Sleeve will be available in black/red, green/white, blue/aqua, and grey/orange.

U.S. bans sale of iPods to North Korea

Responding to North Korea’s ongoing nuclear program, the Bush administration has imposed sanctions on luxury goods, making it tougher for the country’s eccentric leader to buy iPods and other pricey items he covets. “The U.S. government’s first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government,” reports the Associated Press. Other items on the list include cognac, plasma televisions, Segway electric scooters, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, yachts, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and Jet Skis.

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