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Goldman doubles iPod shuffle unit estimate, sees HP decline

Goldman Sachs has doubled its estimate for the number of iPod shuffles it expects Apple to sell this quarter to 1.8 million units. In a research note, the firm told clients that “with competition unlikely to come from ‘me too’ MP3 players, it will probably take something like Sony’s PlayStation portable to pose a challenge to iPod long term.”

Goldman also said that Hewlett-Packard may be the “odd man out” unless it makes “substantial changes” in its relationship with Apple. “HP’s iPod sales are likely to decline markedly over the next few quarters unless HP is able to bring out new iPod models in a more timely manner,” it said. “We estimate that HP could drop from about 7% of Apple’s total iPod shipments in the December quarter to 2% to 3% of hard drive-based iPods in the March quarter (and an even smaller amount if you include Apple’s flash-based iPod shuffle shipments).”

Volvo to showcase Scandinavian artists on iTunes

To coincide with the launch of iPod connectivity in its 2005 model line, Volvo announced today that it will showcase music from Scandinavian artists on the iTunes Music Store. The car company will present a live music event in Times Square to launch “nu: the sounds of new Scandinavia” on March 23, with music available on the iTunes Music Store to help promote developing Scandinavian artists. Volvo’s “nu” will feature a monthly 12-song compilation, and select tracks will be available for free.

The Volvo iPod Adapter will be available for S60, S80 and V70/XC70 models and will connect by plugging an iPod into a cable located in the car’s armrest compartment. The Volvo S40, V50 and XC90 feature a dashboard mounted FM transmitter. The Volvo iPod Adapter allows users to listen and control their music through their Volvo sound system and steering wheel controls.

AudioOutfitters intros iPod shuffle car charger, case

pic AudioOutfitters has announced a new car charger and silicone case for the iPod shuffle. The ezCharge Shuffle comes in white and includes a high quality coiled cable and a fuse-protected car plug. It is priced at $24.98 and will be available in late March.

The ezSkin Shuffle silicone case comes in a 2-pack for $19.98. It offers all-around protection and is available in five colors - Sky Blue, Pink, Onyx Black, and Lime Green. All of the colors come with a Frost White ezSkin.

Customize your iPod shuffle with a shuffletatu

pic The shuffletatu is a new product that “combines a durable, high-gloss Mylar covering with colorful designs to provide iPod shuffle owners with a non-permanent way to customize the look of the device, as well as protect it from scuffs and scratches.” The initial release of shuffletatus will feature 33 different designs, including 12 national flags, an assortment of solid colors and stripes, and 10 shuffletatu designs from graphic designer Andres Conde of Digital Assault. The shuffletatus range in price from $2.49 to $3.49 each. Selected three packs and five packs are also available for $6.99 and $9.99, respectively.

Tunewear offers new patterns for Prie Hook case

pic Tunewear has announced four new patterns for its Prie Hook cases for Apple’s 4G iPod and iPod photo. The cases are now available in “Silver Crocodile,” “Black Crocodile,” “Python” and “Black Enamel.” The new models will be available later this month for $54.

Made from high quality leather, the Prie Hook has a flexible clasp for hooking the case to a belt loop or bag. The case features a flip-open bottom design for access to the Dock Connector port, and a clear vinyl cover that protects both the iPod screen and Click Wheel.

iTunes phone delay due to clashing styles at Motorola, Apple

Motorola did not debut its mobile phone with support for Apple’s iTunes earlier this month because of the companies differing approach to launching new products. Motorola said it tends to show its phones weeks and sometimes months before they’re ready to ship, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs does not.

“The first thing you’re seeing here is a merger of two different industries with different ideas of launching products,” Ron Garriques, president of Motorola’s mobile phone division, said at a news conference at the CTIA wireless show in New Orleans. “Steve’s perspective is that you launch a product on Sunday and sell it on Monday.”

Garriques made it clear that the delay was not due to a disagreement with mobile phone carriers. “I’ve got lots of carriers fighting to be the first one we go with,” Garriques said.

PsiberAudio offers HiFi iTube amps for iPod

pic PsiberAudio has announced its new iTube amplifiers for iPods. The “Retro-Classic” iTube produces 15 watts of power, according to the company. The product is built with 100 percent three dimensional hand wiring, 100 percent Teflon coated silver wire in the signal path, silver solder, and full star grounding. In addition, all capacitors used in the signal path and bypass circuits are supplied by AuriCap. Pricing and availability was not announced.

Digital music player sales to surge in 2005

Sales of portable digital audio players are set to grow 57 percent in 2005 after more than doubling last year, a global survey by iSuppli found. The market research group said today that over the next five years, shipments of MP3 players will expand to 132 million units in 2009 from 36.8 million in 2004. Sales of hard drive-based digital audio players are expected increase to 56.2 million units in 2009, up from 9.8 million in 2004, and account for 43 percent of the total MP3 market.

iSuppli said that less is more when it comes to portable players. “The so-called ‘Swiss Army Knife’ approach has not succeeded in the MP3 market. Simple, elegant products that perform a few functions with easy-to-use interfaces have sold well in the marketplace, while the do-everything approach has failed.”

Etheridge/Stone track on iTunes to benefit cancer research

At last month’s Grammy Awards, Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone performed a medley of Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” and “Piece of My Heart.” The live track is now available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store, with all proceeds benefiting two premier cancer research organizations - City of Hope and Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.

“I’ll never forget those two-and-a-half minutes on stage,” says Etheridge, who recently completed a course of chemotherapy to battle breast cancer. “It was the best get well present a girl could have.” Stone added, “Singing with Melissa was a dream come true. She’s an amazing singer, songwriter and without a doubt an amazing person, definitely a woman to look up to.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs again gets salary of $1

pic Apple’s Steve Jobs again received a salary of $1 in 2004, according to an annual proxy statement filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Jobs also did not receive stock options or restricted stock from Apple last year. “For years, Jobs, who co-founded Cupertino, California-based Apple, has taken a salary of $1,” reports Reuters. “In March 2003, Jobs voluntarily canceled all of his outstanding options, excluding those granted to him in his capacity as director.” Jobs is Apple’s second-largest shareholder, with more than 10 million shares, or 1.23 percent of the company’s outstanding share count, according to Marketwatch.

Mix: iTunes.co.uk, iPod exec, Vietnam, Auto installs

 Nominet, the UK internet registry, has found that CyberBritain Holdings made an “abusive registration” with iTunes.co.uk and ruled that the domain name should be transferred to Apple.

 Jonathan Rubinstein, senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, realized $26.3 million in value from exercising 3 million stock options last year.

 Apple’s iPod lineup will make its eagerly anticipated debut in Vietnam this month, according to the Vietnam Economic Times.

 Atlanta-based TunerTricks has details and photos on custom iPod installs in a Volkswagen, Infiniti, Lexus, and other cars.

Apple takes over London subway station with shuffle ads

London’s Leicester Square subway station has been blanketed with ads for Apple’s iPod shuffle. Media Week reports that the “exclusive iPod zone” will include ads on poster sites, ticket gateways and station arches, and appears to be the first time that a company has done such a campaign at the station in seven years. Photos of the ad-covered station can be found here.

Vaja intros iVod DJ case

pic Vaja has announced a new turntable-inspired version of its iVod leather case for iPods. Made from genuine Argentine leather, the iVod DJ features a vinyl Click Wheel cover that resembles an actual record. The padded leather case is available for all sizes of the 4G iPod and iPod photo, and offers a built-in screen protector and access to the Dock Connector Port, headphone port, and hold switch. The iVod DJ is available in numerous color combinations, and starts at $80.

Mix: Napster, Playlist Club, 3.5” iPod, Wireless carriers

 Engadget has an interview with Napster CEO Chris Gorog, in which he compares the iPod to “your father’s Oldsmobile” and says Steve Jobs “must be pretty frightened of the Napster To Go.”

 London’s Playlist Club has announced its first affiliated US event - Playlist Philadelphia on March 28.

 Command-Tab has an article on how to use a regular 3.5-inch hard drive with an iPod.

 The delay of Motorola’s iTunes-compatible mobile phone is reportedly due to wireless carriers which want to be able to make money off of digital downloads (the iTunes phone gets music directly from your computer).

DLO debuts black, silver Transpods

pic Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today introduced black and silver versions of its TransPod all-in-one car solution for iPods. The TransPod allows users to transmit, charge and secure an iPod in their car with one accessory. The DLO TransPod works on any frequency and uses any standard 12V cigarette lighter outlet for power. Previously only available in white, the new black and silver TransPods now “match most car interiors perfectly and work equally well with the 20G iPod, U2 iPod, iPod photo as well as the new iPod minis.” The DLO TransPod is priced at $99.99.

Shuffle shirt lets you wear your iPod shuffle

picShuffleshirt.com has announced the Shuffle shirt, a T-shirt specifically designed for the iPod shuffle. The Shuffle shirt features a pocket on the left sleeve to snugly hold the device.

“Why be bound by an armband or leashed by a lanyard? Slip your Shuffle into your Shuffle shirt and shuffle on. With your Shuffle tucked into your Shuffle shirt, it is protected and conveniently within reach without being in the way of your everyday activities.”

The $20 shirts are available in black and yellow. Each Shuffle shirt has a slogan such as “The Playlist is Dead,” “Sorry… I can’t hear you. I’m shuffling.” and “I shuffle, therefore I am.”

Windows: iPod-TV 1.0 released

iPod-TV is a Windows application that allows you to put up to a weeks worth of television listings on your iPod. The free software automatically downloads the TV information from the web and allows you to easily upload the data onto your iPod.

Star Wars Episode III iSkin revealed

pic As previously reported, Skittles is launching an iPod giveaway as part of its promotion for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Details are minimal at this point, with only a short note on Skittles.com saying: “Come back April 2nd to play ‘Hunt for Grievous’ and enter your in-pack codes for a chance to win cool prizes including a Star Wars engraved iPod with iSkin.”

iLounge has acquired photos of the Star Wars-themed silicone protector from iSkin, which was commissioned by Skittles. The red iSkin eVo2 features a small illustration of Darth Vader’s head on the front, and a tribal “Vader” graphic on the back. The case also features an iSkin Wheel Cap with a Darth Vader logo.

Click “Read more” for large photos of the Vader iSkin.

PodGuide Generator creates audio tour guides for iPods

PodGuides.net has announced the release of PodGuide Generator, an application that allows you to easily create audio tour guides for your iPod. “Just fill in your PodGuide data (PodGuide name, track info, track pictures) and it generates a PodGuide for you. Add the mp3 files, zip it and submit it to PodGuides.net - a site for a community of people who want to make and share their own audio tours.” PodGuide Generator is available for both Mac and Windows.

Apple confronts LuxPro over iPod shuffle imitator

pic After persuading LuxPro to remove its iPod shuffle knock-off from its stand at the CeBIT trade show on Friday, Apple was met with little cooperation on Saturday as the Taiwanese company put the device back on display.

As reported last Thursday, LuxPro’s Super shuffle is nearly indistinguishable from Apple’s iPod shuffle in every way. (See iLounge’s report and photos of the Super shuffle for complete details.)

After news spread of the iPod look-alike last week, Apple lawyers spoke with LuxPro and got the company to remove the device from its CeBIT booth for one day. LuxPro brought the flash-based music player back out on Saturday for weekend visitors.

“Our lawyers are in the process of weighing legal options,” Apple spokesman George Albrecht said.

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