A French consumer group has sued Apple and Sony, claiming their online music stores violate European anti-trust laws. The Register reports: “Like California resident Thomas Slattery, who filed a similar complaint against Apple in January, Paris-based UFC-Que Choisir claims that Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Sony’s Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies’ own music players.”
“Apple can also argue that the French government’s anti-trust watchdog has already ruled that it has a right to maintain a proprietary link between its music store and the iPod. Last November, the watchdog dismissed an attempt by Virgin’s French retail subsidiary, VirginMega, to force Apple to license the Mac maker’s FairPlay DRM technology, which would be essential to allow any third-party device to play iTMS-downloaded songs.”
Jewelry designer Richard Forbes has announced the SportRope, a replacement rubber cord for the Apple lanyard that is provided with the iPod shuffle. The $9.99 SportRope is made of 3mm rubber and attaches with a sterling bayonet clasp. The SportRope comes in 36 or 40-inch lengths and is available in Pink, Turquoise, Cobalt, Cherry Red, Lime Green, Tangerine, Clear and Black.
“The need and benefit of the SportRope is that it allows Shuffle owners to personalize their Shuffle with color and flair,” explains Forbes. “In addition, SportRope also provides resistance to the grit and grime that the original nylon lanyard will show with time. SportRope is easily cleanable, where as the original lanyard may be susceptible to becoming unglued during repeated cleanings.”
Following the similar PodBrix Lego mini figure, an unnamed artist has announced the release of PodFas, limited edition custom designed Stikfas action figures inspired by Apple’s silhouette iPod ad campaign. “Podfas are a limited edition of 250 unique handcrafted figures, fully poseable and standing approximately 3-inches tall. Each Podfa comes with 4 coloured display backgrounds and a certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by the artist.” The PodFas are available exclusively from the PodFas website for $20.
Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post says the Napster To Go service is “less like a service that allows you to pay to get new music and more like one that forces you to pay to keep your existing music.”
An eBay member is selling a Marlboro Lights iPod case. “Two or more cigarettes hold the player so you can listen and smoke when out and about,” says the creator.
The Toronto Star reports that many people this year are hoping to receive an iPod shuffle for Valentine’s Day.
Discussing Apple’s iPod shuffle, Creative Technologies’ outspoken CEO Sim Wong Hoo recently stated: “You can say it’s cool; I say it’s plain-Jane.”
Apple announced today that it is offering special pricing on all albums that include a Grammy award-winning track on the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) in the US. Starting today, all qualifying albums can be downloaded for $2 off its original cost, which brings the price of most albums down to $7.99.
The special version of “Across the Universe” performed live during the CBS Grammy telecast by leading artists including Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Velvet Revolver, and Tim McGraw is also available as a 99 cent download exclusively on the iTMS in the US and Canada, with all proceeds going to the Southeast Asia tsunami relief efforts.
Apple has released a second iTunes New Music Sampler album. The free 16-song compilation features music from Death Cab for Cutie, Simple Plan, Skindred, and more.
For the first time, Billboard magazine will begin to include songs sold by music download stores such as iTunes in its weekly calculation of the nation’s top hits.
Yahoo has renamed its “Launch” music site to “Yahoo Music” to showcase all its music products and services—streaming audio, music videos, Internet radio and music news—under a single brand.
Environmentalists are complaining about iPod battery waste because of “the sheer numbers of the devices being sold, and Apple’s reputation as a forward-thinking company.”
Apple on Friday announced that its board of directors has approved a two-for-one stock split that will increase the number of authorized common shares to 1.8 billion from 900 million. Apple said that each shareholder at the close of business on Feb. 18, 2005 will receive one additional share of stock for every share they own. Trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on Feb. 28, 2005.
Shares of Apple have nearly quadrupled in value over the last year on the success of the iPod. Last month, the company easily beat analysts’ expectations with its first quarter financial results. Apple posted a net profit of $295 million, or 70 cents a share, compared to income of $63 million, or 17 cents per share, in the prior year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected the company to earn 49 cents a share.
Apple stock closed Thursday’s session down 38 cents at $78.36. It reached a 52-week high of $81.99 on Wednesday.
TRUSTe, a nonprofit organization dedicated to internet privacy, has ended its relationship with the company operating FreeiPods.com and other websites due to violations of privacy promises to consumers.
“TRUSTe said Gratis Internet of Washington could no longer display the industry’s broadly recognized seal intended to assure consumers that a website complies with privacy-protection guidelines on any of its internet properties,” reports the Associated Press. “It was the first such revocation in at least two years under the industry’s own regulatory program… TRUSTe said Gratis violated promises involving the protection of children’s information and changed how it managed the private information of its customers without adequately notifying them.”
Incase Designs today introduced a white version of its Leather Sleelve for full-size iPods. The $29.95 case sports a Nappa leather exterior and soft suede lining, and offers complete access to all of your iPod’s controls. The Incase Sleeve also features a clear screen protector and a belt or strap attachment. It fits 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40GB iPods (both third- and fourth-generation models).
The Incase Leather Sleeve is also still available in black, blue and pink for the same price.
Ron Harris of the Associated Press says the Olympus m:robe 500i, a combination music player and digital camera, “fails on more than one level” and is “essentially a shiny brick.”
In an attempt to curb illegal downloading, New York’s Pace University is reportedly in discussions with Apple “regarding an agreement that would facilitate legal access to music” through the iTunes Music Store.
USA Today has a great article on podcasting, calling it “programming by the people, for the people” and featuring several of the top shows.
That Pepsi Girl is an unusual blog “dedicated to the super hot sexy girl in the iTunes Pepsi ads that premiered during the 2005 Super Bowl.”
Bruddy Designs today announced the ShuffleMate for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The all-in-one accessory combines the functionality of a case with clips and wire management. The plastic ShuffleMate fits both shuffle models, has a wrap-around base to reduce excess wire, and features a built-in belt clip. The accessory also comes with an industry standard “bull-dog” clip that can be attached to any side of the ShuffleMate via mounting slots. Bruddy said the ShuffleMate is currently in production and will be available in mid-March. It can be pre-ordered now for $16.95.
Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, said he recently spoke with Apple CEO Steve Jobs about adding satellite radio to the iPod, but that there is no plan for such a partnership.
“I’ve spoken to Steve Jobs,” Karmazin said Wednesday at a media conference in New York. He declined to elaborate, other than to say that the “current thinking” at Apple is that “they don’t need to put a satellite radio in their box.”
Karmazin said Sirius has been talking to many potential partners about integrating its satellite radio technology.
This year’s Grammy Awards will feature a special fund-raising musical performance of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Across The Universe” on behalf of continued tsunami relief efforts. Viewers will be able to purchase the performance from the iTunes Music Store for 99 cents.
You can get 10 percent off iPods at Target.com with coupon code TCFEBRUARYJS. The discount can also be used on iPod shuffles, which the retailer just made available for pre-order.
CNET News.com reports that Apple’s iPod was everywhere at this week’s VSLive, a Microsoft conference for Visual Studio programmers.
Tunewear today introduced the Prie PodWallet, a new compact wallet for all models of Apple’s iPod and iPod mini. A smaller version of the company’s Prie PodOrganizer announced earlier this week, the black leather Prie PodWallet has a removable cover for iPod screen protection and openings for the Dock Connector and headphone ports. Inside, it features a zippered mesh net bag, four slots for credit cards, room for approximately 20 business cards, belt loop, and an expanding pocket to hold cash, documents and more. The Prie PodWallet will be available later this month for $59.95.
iLounger “Helixipod” has built an outstanding hard shell case for his iPod shuffle. The machined aluminum case does away with the idea of using an end cap and is one of the best iPod protectors we’ve seen come from an individual—and the first third-party hard case for the iPod shuffle. He said it was made on a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machine and allows access to all ports, controls, and LEDs.
“I’ve had my iPod shuffle for a couple weeks now and I’ve been carrying it around with me in my pocket. I love it and use it more than my fourth-generation 40GB. I couldn’t find any shuffle hard cases available yet, but I wanted to protect it so I just made my own,” Helixipod writes in the iLounge forums.
“The front and back half of the case are joined together by 4 very small screws. I have no need to take it out of the case anymore,” he explains. “The headphones come in from the top, USB from the bottom, and there is also a window on the back for the on/off/shuffle slider and battery button. It is lined on the front, back, top, bottom, and sides with black velvet.”
Helixipod said his aluminum case adds 20 grams to the iPod shuffle, bringing the total weight to 42 grams—just under 1.48 ounces. The design does, however, require a female USB cord to charge/sync the device.
Click “Read more” for four large images of the case.
The Casemandu is a new $49.95 iPod case that’s waterproof, dust-proof and shock-proof. Made of strong polycarbonate, it features a precision-routed foam insert, and is available in white, black, pink, blue and green for both iPods and iPod minis. The Casemandu will ship on March 1.
“It’s the same foam used by elite military units and NASA to protect the most sensitive equipment in their inventories,” said Ed Loughran, who created the Casemandu with partner Tim Adams. “We looked around for a solution like the Casemandu case and we couldn’t find one, so we invented it,” Loughran said. “It’s the only case on the market that combines all the protection, organization and storage capacity in one nearly indestructible unit.”
Apple saw a 172 percent increase in traffic to its Web site Sunday thanks to Pepsi’s iTunes commercials that aired during the Super Bowl.
By late March or early April, Duke university will decide whether to continue the iPod pilot program with a new crop of freshmen next year, said Lynne O’Brien, director of the Duke Center for Instructional Technology, which is overseeing the experiment. “It’s going very well,” she said.
John Hartnup has posted a tutorial on how to make an iPod cradle that fits into a car cupholder out of nothing more than two soda cans.
Talking Panda Software has released a program guide to the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival designed specifically for the iPod.
Noreve has announced the availability of three new leather cases for fourth-generation iPods. The company is now shipping a stylish flip-cover case in three versions—one for the 20GB iPod, the 40GB iPod, and iPod mini. The cases all sell for €39.90 and come in white or black leather. They feature access to basic control functions and ports, a snap button closure, and a completely removable belt clip.
“In the small, colorful streets of Saint-Tropez, an innovative leather brand is born. Our mission: to protect your Hi-Tech devices,” notes Noreve. “The unique design and style of the south of France can be appreciated in its entire selection of products.”
In an interview with Fortune, Apple CEO Steve Jobs answers the question of how the iPod has changed Apple. “It feels great,” Jobs says. “We’re having fun. Most of us can’t wait to get to work in the morning. But it’s not like Apple has somehow morphed into a mass-market consumer electronics company. Our DNA hasn’t changed. It’s that mass-market consumer electronics is turning into Apple.”
Jobs also discusses how young people are migrating to iPods and matching portable speakers from larger stereos made by electronics giants.
“You or I move into a new house, and the first thing we do is call the phone company to get our land line turned on. Kids, they just move in with their cell phones. Stereos are the same: Kids aren’t getting stereos; they’re getting speakers for their iPods,” Jobs says. “That’s become the audio market. People are buying iPods and Bose speakers instead of a JVC or Sony stereo system. And those guys have never come to us and said, ‘Could we work with you on the iPod?’ Some companies are prisoners of their point of view.”
Tunewear has announced the Prie PodOrganizer, an all-in-one solution for carrying your iPod, cables, headphones, iPod peripherals, and wallet contents such as IDs, credit cards, and coins. The accessory can hold all iPod models, and features a cable winder, an access hole for iPod ports, and a mesh net bag for holding various gear. The case also features six slots for credit cards, space for 30 or more business cards, a pen holder, a belt loop, and two expanding pockets to hold cash, documents and more. The Prie PodOrganizer will be available at the end of this month. Pricing was not announced.