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Intempo offers spherical iPod speaker (Updated)

Intempo recently introduced the iDS-02, a new spherical 2.1 speaker system for iPods. The iDS-02 features a built-in iPod dock, 2 x 7.5 watt stereo speakers and 15 watt subwoofer, a remote control, USB and Firewire connectivity, and a 3.5 mm line-in port for connecting other audio devices. “The compact iDS-02 surround-sound system packs in the latest technology to deliver great volume, plenty of detail and excellent bass response,” says the company. “Its sleek design and smooth lines will look great wherever you use it.” The iDS-02 is available in white or black for $250. [via Gizmodo]

Updated: Intempo will sell the iDS-02 in the United Kingdom only; it is the same product as mStation’s Orb, previously covered on iLounge.

GEAR4 intros X-Clip Sports Armband

GEAR4 has announced the X-Clip Sports Armband, the latest addition to its X-Clip collection of iPod accessories. The X-Clip Sports Armband includes a cushioned and adjustable armband for the iPod nano, a detachable protective case, and a weatherproof “RainJacket” cover. It also comes with a cable management clip, two-piece protective film for the nano, reflective strips, belt clip and lanyard. The X-Clip Sports Armband, which is priced at $29, is compatible with a number of GEAR4’s interchangeable X-Clip accessories.

H2O Audio ships waterproof housing for 5G iPods

H2O Audio today announced that its new waterproof and impact-resistant housing for the fifth-generation iPod is now shipping. The new H2O Audio housing is submersible up to 10 ft (when paired with H2O Audio waterproof headphones - $40) and features the company’s Commander Scroll Wheel controller, Latch Tight locking system, and Seal Tight connector for standard headphones. The housing comes with a sport armband and sells for $90. “The new H2O Audio for iPod features patented engineering and design that provides absolute waterproof protection for fifth-generation iPod owners,” says the company. “The new H2O Audio housing protects the iPod’s video screen from any scratches or abrasions, so the user can always enjoy a clear video image without annoying marks or screen interference. It’s an ideal solution regardless of outdoor conditions or recreational activities.”

Analyst comments on Apple’s possible cell phone strategy

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has offered his thoughts on Apple’s long-rumored entry into the cell phone market. “While we firmly believe that Apple has been working on cell phone technology, we believe its much hyped imminent entry is overdone,” Wu wrote in a research note to clients today. “From our understanding, for Apple to enter the cell phone market in the USA, it needs approval from the FCC. We believe a filing would be required at least three months prior to an actual product launch.” Wu said, however, that Apple could protect the news from leaking by announcing its cell phone and then shipping three months later. “This could be similar to the Intel transition where actual product shipped seven months after the announcement,” he said.

Nyko announces FM Trans-Kit for iPod nano

Nyko Technologies has introduced the
FM Trans-Kit for Apple’s iPod nano. The $40 auto accessory consists of an FM transmitter, car charger and three mounting options. The Trans-Kit broadcasts to five different frequencies, features one-touch tuning, and comes with an adhesive-backed clip, horizontal/vertical air vent clip and sun visor clip. “Nyko’s latest iPod offering is perfect for music fans who groove to their favorite tunes in the car and are looking for a complete package to compliment
their iPod nano,” said the company.

National Semiconductor equips 8,500 employees with iPods

National Semiconductor said today that it is giving each of its 8,500 employees a 30GB fifth-generation iPod. The company said the iPods will be used as communication tools at National, allowing employees to download National podcasts and other communications. “We’re looking for new and more effective ways to communicate with our employees—and the iPods will help us do both,” said Brian L. Halla, National’s chairman and CEO. “Our employees were vital contributors to our most successful year in National’s 47-year history, and we wanted to equip them with the tools to help us create more value for our customers,” said Halla. “The Apple iPod exemplifies the next stage of the consumer electronics revolution as content such as downloadable music, movies and digital photos—as well as a compelling user experience—takes center stage.”

Mix: Norway, ViddyUp, Cell phones, One Man Band

Apple has until June 21 to change the terms of conditions of its iTunes Music Store in Norway. “If Apple does not make its songs playable on all music devices by June 21, it faces fines which would then be followed by court action,” according to reports.

The developer of Podner, the iPod video conversion application for Mac OS X, has changed the software’s name to ViddyUp. The app also gains SubRip (SRT) subtitle support, more informative error display and minor appearance tweaks.

ezGear intros ezVision Video iWear

ezGear has announced the ezVision Video iWear, a new wearable display for fifth-generation iPods and other video sources. The ezVision Video iWear, which simulates a 50-inch widescreen TV, features dual video screens, built-in stereo earbuds, and a rechargeable LiNH battery with up to 8 hours of battery life. “The ezVision Video iWear offers a host of features, includes everything that you need to use them and works with your iPod, DVD player, TV output, Zen Vision M and most other devices with video Out signals,” says ezGear. “The ezVision Video iWear are great for traveling on a plane in a car or even to add privacy and courtesy in your own home.” The headset is priced at $400.

Low wages, long hours for iPod factory workers

The UK’s Mail on Sunday has published a report (not yet available online) that offers a look inside the Foxconn-owned iPod factories in China. Macworld UK says the newspaper’s report reveals that an iPod plant in Longhua houses 200,000 workers, who work 15-hour days for $50 per month. The workers reportedly live in dormitories that house 100 people each, and that outside visitors are not permitted. The Mail reports that the iPod nano is made in a five-story factory that is secured by police officers. The article also says that workers at an iPod shuffle factory in Shanghai are housed outside the plant, and earn $100 per month—but that they must pay for their housing and food, “which takes up half their salaries.”

JavoEdge intros color-changing case for iPod nano

JavoEdge has announced a new color-changing case for the iPod nano. The silicone NeXskin utilizes Hyper Touch Technology (HTT) to change into three color tones in room, cold and warm temperatures. The NeXskin is priced at $12.25. “HTT is a new, never before seen on a skin case feature. Its thermochromic dye allows the NeXskin to change color depending on the ambient temperature. Whether you use your device in warm weather, indoors or cold environments, the NeXskin will change its color and mood with you.”

Kensington intros 4-in-1 iPod car charger

Kensington has announced the 4-in 1-Car Charger for iPod. The $35 accessory features a USB 2.0 port that can be used to charge iPods and other USB-powered devices such as an iPod shuffle, cell phone or PDA. The charger comes with a detachable USB 2.0 to dock connector cable with pass-through dock connector port for use with other accessories. “Driving and your iPod naturally go together,” says Kensington. “Keep the sound moving with the Kensington 4-in-1 Car Charger for iPod that powers click wheel iPods, including iPod nano, and iPod with video.” The charger will be available next month.

Mix: PortalPlayer, BPI request, Ratatouille, Flash Mobs

PortalPlayer said yesterday that it has cut 14 percent of its work force—about 45 employees. The move comes two months after the company said its chips would not be used in some of Apple’s flash-based iPods.

The BPI, the British recording industry’s trade association, says that Apple needs to open up its FairPlay DRM to allow music from the iTunes Music Store to be playable on other devices.

Incase, DC shoes debut new case for 5G iPod, nano

Incase Designs and DC Shoes have teamed up again to release a new case for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The DC|Incase Folio features a black camouflage nylon exterior, Velcro patch closure with leather nameplate, suede lining and Nappa leather interior with a camouflage embossed design. The case also offers access to all controls and an interior slot for ID or credit cards. Both the 5G case ($40) and nano case ($35) are available now in Apple retail stores and Apple’s online store.

iLuv unveils tablet-style media player for iPod

iLuv has introduced a new portable tablet-style media device that allows users to play videos stored on iPod as well as DVDs. The iLuv i1055 features a 7-inch widescreen LCD display, an integrated rear dock for fifth-generation iPods, and a disc drive that supports DVDs, VCDs, audio CDs and MP3 CDs. The $250 device, available in black or white, also has a built-in rechargeable battery, S-video output, and an on-screen interface. The i1055 comes with a remote control, carrying case, and headphones.

Sonnet announces iFreq FM transmitter

Sonnet Technologies has announced the iFreq, a new in-vehicle FM transmitter and charger for the iPod nano. The iFreq consists of a mounting cradle that’s wired to an FM transmitter unit which plugs directly into a car’s cigarette lighter outlet. The $80 product features a backlit LCD display, broadcasts from 88.1 to 107.9, and comes with an adhesive-backed magnetic disk that is attached to the dash to mount and unmount the cradle. Sonnet said the iFreq will begin shipping in third quarter of 2006.

Lawsuit: Apple sought licensing deal with Creative in 2001

Creative Technology states in its patent lawsuit against Apple that the iPod maker approached Creative in 2001—before the introduction of the iPod—about licensing the company’s technology or investing in a possible Creative digital media player spin-off company. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Creative says in its suit that Apple CEO Steve Jobs approached a Creative employee at the January 2001 Macworld trade show and praised the Nomad, Creative’s first MP3 player. The two discussed a possible meeting, and Mr. Jobs ‘indicated Apple wanted a smaller version’ of the Nomad… The next month, according to the suit, Creative executives met again with Mr. Jobs. The suit says Apple proposed that Creative either license its technology to Apple, or spin off its portable media-player business into a separate company in which Apple would invest. Creative, however, declined Apple’s proposals. In October, Apple introduced its first iPod.”

iPods more popular than beer among college students

The iPod has surpassed beer drinking as the most “in” thing among college students, according to the latest study by Student Monitor. The market researcher found that 73 percent of the 1,200 students surveyed said iPods were “in.” Drinking beer and social networking website Facebook.com tied for second most popular with 71 percent of positive votes from students. The “in” list also included text messaging, bar hopping and downloading music. Student Monitor said the only other time beer was temporarily dethroned in the 18 years of the survey was in 1997 by the Internet.

CBS shows come to iTunes; Over 30 million videos sold

CBS and Apple today announced that prime-time programming from CBS is now available on the iTunes Music Store. Shows available include the reality series “Survivor,” the popular dramas “NUMB3RS” and “NCIS,” and top-rated CSI programs: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami,” and “CSI: NY.” Earlier this year, CBS Sports offered the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on iTunes, and Showtime, which is a division of CBS, brought iTunes users “Sleeper Cell” and “Weeds.” Apple said it now offers over 100 TV shows and is the world’s most popular online video store with over 30 million videos sold.

Apple drops iPod prices in Canada

Apple Canada has quietly cut prices of the fifth-generation iPod. The 30GB model is now priced at CAD$349 (was $379), while the 60GB model now sells for $459 (was $499). The just-announced special edition U2 iPod, based on the fifth-generation design, sells for $379. The price drop is an apparent response to changes in international currency exchange rates. iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remain unchanged.

Mix: Mac sales, Norway, The Fader, CoverScout

Forbes’ Rachel Rosmarin says the iPod has done little to boost Apple’s Mac sales. “As impressive as the iPod has been for Apple, its success has yet to transfer to the company’s PC line, which remains a high-profile also-ran. In the last quarter, Apple’s U.S. market share dropped to 3.5% from 3.6% in the same period last year.”

The Consumer Council of Norway has won a preliminary ruling that could force Apple to change its iTunes terms of service (TOS) in the country. The group filed a complaint with the Consumer Ombudsman earlier this year.

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