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Win a new iPod in our Buyers Guide Countdown Contest

To count down to the November 1 launch of our third annual Buyers’ Guide, we have launched a new photo contest with brand new iPods as prizes. The Buyers’ Guide Countdown Contest offers you the chance to win an 80GB iPod, an 8GB iPod nano, or a 4GB iPod nano if your colorful photo of an iPod is picked as a winner. See all the details and the full rules here!

ViewSonic launches first iPod-ready LCD displays

ViewSonic has announced its first two ViewDock LCD displays—the 19-inch VX1945wm ($330) and 22-inch VX2245wm ($450). As previously reported, the “Made for iPod” displays incorporate an iPod docking station and allow users to dock an iPod to watch videos or listen to music without cables or a separate device. The displays also feature four USB 2.0 ports, an 8-in-1 card reader, a microphone, stereo speakers and a subwoofer. They offer DVI connectivity, 5ms response times, 700:1 contrast ratio, and a 16:10 aspect ratio with the VX2245wm featuring a 1680x1050 resolution and a 1440x900 resolution on the VX1945wm.

See iLounge’s First Look at the ViewSonic displays for hands-on photos and further details.

Spawntek debuts machined aluminum iPod cases

Spawntek has announced the iTector, a new machined aluminum case for iPods. The iTector case—available for the fifth-generation iPod and first-generation iPod nano—features a “patented slide and lock system” and comes in silver, black, blue and pink. The 5G model sells for $50, while the nano version sells for $40. Available options include car mounts, UTV mounts, off-road vehicle mounts and boat mounts, according to Spawntek.

iShok case for 5G iPods announced

SBS Innovations has introduced the iShok case for fifth-generation iPods. The new iShok 5G Video Case “combines a unique combination of Impact Grade Polycarbonate Plastic and Soft Thermoplastic Overmolded Rubber to protect your iPod from accidental impacts, scratches and dents while cushioning the device to safeguard the sensitive electronics inside.” The case is water and dust resistant and features play-through controls, a snap closure, and stainless steel hardware. The iShok 5G Video case sells for $23 and fits the 30GB, 60GB and 80GB models.

Analyst: Expect more studios on iTunes, but not before holidays

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster believes more movie studios will have content on the iTunes Store in the next six months, but not likely before the holidays. Following meetings last week with four of the six major film studios, Munster said a couple of the studios indicated that they expect to have movies on iTunes within six months, but that it may require tweaks to Apple’s pricing. “We would not expect additional studios to sign on with iTunes before the holidays, however, as most studios recognize that this change could disrupt their holiday business at retailers,” the analyst said. Munster believes there are three key reasons why other studios are taking their time in partnering with Apple: Fear of retaliation from big box retailers, copy protection issues, and a desire to have a flexible pricing model.

PBS shows now available on iTunes Store

PBS today announced that it is now offering select programming on Apple’s iTunes Store, enabling users to purchase and download documentary specials and episodes from popular PBS primetime and children’s programming. The primetime programming includes Antiques Roadshow, Nova, Now, and Scientific American Frontiers. PBS Kids shows include Arthur, Cyberchase, and Fetch. Episodes are priced from $1.99 each.

Belkin intros SportCommand armband remote for iPod

Belkin today officially introduced the SportCommand, a new a wireless fabric iPod remote that straps to your arm. First shown to iLounge in August, the SportCommand is designed for outdoor enthusiasts and lets you wirelessly control your music while your iPod stays protected. The weather-resistant and hand-washable armband remote features neoprene and velcro construction, has a 50 ft. range and provides controls for play/pause, next/previous track, and volume up/down. Belkin said the SportCommand will ship in November for $80.

GEAR4 intros BluEye iPod/mobile phone accessory

GEAR4 has announced the BluEye, a new iPod accessory that combines a Bluetooth hands-free mobile connection, FM radio and remote control. “Enjoy your tunes, make and take calls, or listen to the radio all via this incredible Bluetooth remote control headphone system,” says GEAR4. “The BluEye provides a seamless connection between your mobile phone and iPod. View phone numbers on your iPod display, the BluEye will pause your tunes, alert you to an incoming calls and then resume your music once your calls is finished.” The BluEye ($95), which appears to be similar to the BluPod shown last month, is available in black or white. It works with “most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones” and is compatible with 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano.
[via Gizmodo]

Target warns studios over movie download pricing

Target has sent a letter to movie studios expressing concern that Apple and other companies will get a better deal from the studios for digital movies than the retailer gets on wholesale DVDs. The sharply worded letter from Target President Gregg Steinhafel said the retailer didn’t object to competition but wanted “a level playing field,” and also said that if Target didn’t receive fair pricing from the studios it would reconsider its investment in the DVD business. Target accounts for about 15% of DVD sales in the U.S. The letter follows similar complaints to studios from Wal-Mart and comes just weeks after Apple added full-length movies from Disney to the iTunes Store for as little as $12.99 each.

MP3.com founder: Zune will be ‘biggest flop of 2007’

MP3.com founder Michael Robertson believes the Zune media player will be a large failure for Microsoft. “At first glance the features seem compelling but my prediction is it will be the biggest flop of 2007 with less than 50,000 units sold worldwide,” he says. Robertson cites Zune’s disappointing wireless features and the device’s incompatibilities with “Plays For Sure” purchased songs. “Microsoft will likely spend nearly $100 million in marketing the Zune. The press will give them tens of millions of dollars in free marketing,” Robertson continues. “In spite of this publicity the Zune will be an expensive failure for Microsoft because consumers aren’t stupid. As the saying goes: Zune me once, shame on you. Zune me twice, shame on me.”

Apple’s iTunes ad helps Dylan top charts again

Bob Dylan’s new album “Modern Times” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts thanks in part to Apple’s iTunes TV commercial featuring the legendary singer. Advertising Age reports: “The iTunes spot wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill celebrity-endorsement deal in which a big brand signs a big check to tap into the equity of a big star. This one flipped the formula, with the all-powerful Apple brand giving Mr. Dylan access to younger demographics and helping propel his sales to places they hadn’t been since the Ford administration. ‘The iTunes tie-in definitely did more for Bob than it did for [Apple], making him seem younger, cooler and more progressive,’ said M.T. Carney, partner at Naked Communications in New York.”

Newly added: Pause, rewind and skip headlines

By reader request (and fulfilling our original design desires), our top-of-page headlines now have pause, rewind, and skip buttons, allowing you to stop their automatic rotation, go back to a story that caught your attention, or cut forward to something new. Though this isn’t a huge change to our main page, we wanted to let you know about it just in case you missed the “Show Previous Story,” “Show Next Story,” and “Pause Stories” buttons up there; give them a try, and we hope you like them.

ColorWare offers new 5G iPod, 2G nano in custom colors

ColorWare is offering Apple’s latest iPods—the enhanced fifth-generation iPod and second-generation iPod nano—in a rainbow of custom painted colors. The company says the 5G iPods are available in 24 standard colors, and the new nano can be ordered in one of 28 standard colors. Customers can also pick from “thousands of color combinations.” ColorWare is selling the custom painted iPods for $75 over their retail prices. The 30GB iPod sells for $325 and the 80GB model for $425, while the 2GB nano sells for $225, the 4GB model for $275 and the 8GB nano for $325. ColorWare also offers a service that lets you send in your iPod to have it colored in the hue of your choice for $64 to $84.

iSkin debuts SiLo case for 1G iPod nanos

Following a brief look earlier this week, iSkin today announced the release of its SiLo case for the first-generation iPod nano. The SiLo ($50) offers a dual-layer design with a two-tone leather exterior and an inner silicone layer. The case features integrated Click Wheel protection, a rear belt loop, a removable mini vanity mirror, and a removable hand strap. The SiLo can be customized with different color iSkin slims. iSkin said an updated version of the SiLo for second-generation nanos will be available soon.

XtremeMac’s Tango speaker system shipping next month

XtremeMac today announced that its Tango iPod audio system will begin shipping on November 1st. First announced in January at Macworld Expo, the Tango features two mid-range speakers, two tweeters and an independent subwoofer. The $200 system also offers a universal iPod dock, a wireless remote, a line-in port, as well as an S-video jack and an A/V line out port for playing video content from the iPod on a television or other device. Customers who pre-order Tango will also receive a free MicroShield iPod case (5G iPod or nano) which will ship with the speaker system.

Mix: Best Buy, Nano warning, Netcasts, My Sharona

Best Buy will launch a new digital music service with SanDisk and RealNetworks in the latest effort to take on Apple’s iPod and iTunes. “Best Buy, the top U.S. consumer electronics retail chain, said it would use Real’s Rhapsody subscription service. The service is designed to work hand-in-hand with the new line of SanDisk Sansa e200R Rhapsody digital music players.”

The Register has noticed a small warning about iPod nano discoloration. According to the fine print on the second-generation iPod nano’s packaging, “Like a fine pair of jeans, iPod nano colors may vary and change over time.” Apple had similar warnings when the iPod mini was introduced.

Starbucks’ Hear Music now on iTunes Store

Starbucks today announced that its Hear Music catalog is now available on Apple’s iTunes Store. According to the coffee giant, Hear Music produces a wide range of albums featuring new and classic artists including the Artist’s Choice series, Opus Collections, Debut Series releases by emerging artists, as well as new works from major artists. “The Starbucks Entertainment area within iTunes will feature a wide variety of playlists including unique music hand-picked by the same Starbucks Hear Music content team responsible for selecting the music played in Starbucks stores around the world,” the company said in its announcement. “Playlists and content will be updated frequently and will also include digital versions of many of Hear Music’s popular CD series and co-releases.”

Noreve announces 2G iPod nano cases

Noreve has announced its first two leather cases for the second-generation iPod nano. The Nano 2G Tradition leather case ($42) features a front flap cover, magnetic closure, padded interior, removable belt clip, and access to all controls and ports. It is available in nine colors. Noreve is also offering the Nano 2G Tradition B leather case ($45), which is similar to the version A case, but without a front cover and with the addition of a metal hook.

iPod FM transmitters to be legal before Christmas in UK

iPod FM transmitters are set to become legal in the UK before Christmas, according to Ofcom, the regulating body for the UK communications industries. “After years of campaigning, Ofcom has taken its most significant step yet to legalize the use and sale of FM transmitters for iPods in the UK,” reports Macworld UK. “The regulator today published draft regulations that will make use of these devices—which stream music from an iPod at a very low range using the FM frequency—legal in the UK. Ofcom explains that it proposes to permit the use of these FM transmitters on a ‘license-exempt basis’. Final changes will come into effect in December 2006.”

Apple details stock grant irregularities, consequences

Following an independent investigation into the company’s past stock option granting practices, Apple Computer today confirmed that grants made on 15 dates appeared to have been improperly pre-dated, skirting proper accounting principles and potentially violating Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. During periods of stock value appreciation, pre-dated grants enable recipients to collect compensation greater than what they were actually entitled to receive. According to the company, the grants in question were made between 1997 and January 2002, with no findings of misconduct by any member of Apple’s current management team. In “a few instances,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs was said to have been aware of the dates, but was neither aware of the accounting implications of the pre-dating nor the recipient of any benefits from the grants.

In a statement, Jobs apologized for the problems, calling them “completely out of character for Apple,” and promised “to ensure that this never happens again.” The company simultaneously announced that former Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson has resigned from the company’s Board of Directors, and noted that it was providing “all details” regarding the actions of “two former officers” to the SEC regarding their actions in connection with the grant problems.

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