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PyP-Bomb iPod/guitar amp available

imageThink Geek is now offering a unique portable iPod speaker system and guitar amp made from actual PVC pipe. Priced at $150, the PyP-Bomb offers 18 watts of power and features an internal liquid acid battery that gives you “days of play time.”

“Made from durable PVC pipe this tiny little powerhouse dominates with sound,” says the store. “Simply jack in your iPod or your guitar and crank the volume. The PyP-Bomb gets seriously loud with 18 watts of power blasting from its single enclosed speaker. Sound output is optimized for the iPod (or other external music source) when using the 3.5mm phono input jack. Plug your guitar into the standard 1/4” input jack and the one-of-a-kind electric/acoustic switch enables you to actively control the frequency response of the amplifier and cater it to the requirements of the instrument you are using.”

Mix: AAPL, Yahoo Maps, 1GB shuffle, Satellite

The iPod helped Apple shares gain 128.5 percent in 2005. The company accounted for a rise of 3.7 points in the S&P 500 index—more than any other stock.

iPod-iWay is a new service that lets you easily transfer driving directions from Yahoo Maps onto your color screen iPod.

Troy Wolverton of TheStreet.com is the latest to speculate that Apple will soon replace the 1GB iPod shuffle.

A small UK company last week launched the first Galileo satellite made of low-cost components from consumer gadgets, including the iPod.

Hammacher Schlemmer offers $4K iPod speaker system

imageHammacher Schlemmer is now selling a $4,000 tube-based iPod speaker system. Scheduled to ship on January 20th, the system produces a “luxurious warmth and clarity prized by audiophiles and previously difficult to reproduce outside of custom-built amplifiers of a handful of live musicians.”

“Developed and built by German audio technicians, the system consists of an aluminum-encased amplifier housing four powerful Class-A tubes which glow gently as they generate warm, low-octave sound that is virtually distortion-free, considered by audiophiles to be the most pleasing to the human ear,” says the store. “The tube amplifier smoothes over distortions found in modern digital recordings while helping to compensate and minimize the quality loss inherent in compressed audio such as MP3s. The matching double-cone, full-range speakers—designed solely for use with this system—faithfully generate warm, realistic tones using a single, highly synchronized chassis per speaker (reducing ill-timed and out of phase audio).”

iPod FM transmitters could soon be legal in UK

The January issue of MacFormat magazine has an interesting article on the future of FM transmitters in the UK. The publication notes that representatives from Ofcom—the regulating body for the UK communications industries—were on hand at October’s MacExpo in London to clamp down on exhibitors illegally selling FM transmitters for the iPod. However, Ofcom was also at the show to negotiate a way to offer the accessories legally.

From the issue:

The current problem is that British, and indeed European, law prevents people from broadcasting on commercial FM frequencies. It’s also illegal to sell the transmitters, as they can’t receive the required certification. Commercial radio is less tightly monitored in countries such as America, which is why products like Griffin’s iTrip are so popular over there.

Over the past year, though, Ofcom has been working with the likes of Griffin and Belkin to find a way around this problem. At the Expo, Griffin and its UK reseller, AM Micro, were presented with a draft spec for a legal alternative. This solution involves a transmitter that operates over a very small distance. AM Micro’s Stephen Hawkins explained: “The maximum power of the device has to be small. That way the range is limited so it cannot interfere with your next door neighbour.”

The proposal is still awaiting official approval, but Hawkins is confident that it will go through early next year, as it already has government support. “The government has realised that its missing out on a lot of taxes from these products,” he said. “Also, its receiving a load of complaints from people who want to buy them.”

EyeBud wearable display for video iPod revealed

imageeMagin, which makes video display products for military and industrial uses, has unveiled the EyeBud headset, a new wearable display for video iPods.

The EyeBud, which displays video in front of one eye, can provide the feeling of watching video on a 105-inch display from 12 feet away, according to the company. “Suddenly you’ve got this big-screen, movie-screen, home-theater experience, wherever you are,” said Gary Jones, eMagin’s president and CEO. The EyeBud uses a separate control module, about the size of an iPod, which includes a rechargeable battery pack.

The EyeBud is scheduled to be available later this year for as much as $600. It will be on display at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. iLounge plans to have coverage of iPod-related products from the event.

Happy New Year from iLounge!

As iLounge’s editors close out 2005, we look back fondly at a year that was as amazing for the Lounge as it was for the iPod. We were blessed by a massive surge in readership, which saw our traffic double from roughly 2 million loungers per month to around 4 million, while our Forums grew from under 40,000 registered members to over 83,000. Repeated server upgrades, the last one just a few weeks ago, have been necessary to handle all of the new traffic. On top of all the new people, there have been too many new iPod and major accessory launches to count, and hundreds of new news stories, tutorials, reviews, and photographs as a result. It has been an incredibly busy but exciting year.

Now, with our holiday vacations coming to an end (Jeremy has returned from shopping in Asia, while Dennis is soon to finish his tropical lounging in Hawaii), 2006 is here, and it’s going to start off with two bangs. iLounge will provide live coverage from the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show starting this week, where a huge array of new iPod accessories will be launched, and then the team will be in San Francisco for the annual Macworld show the following week. We expect Macworld to be big on Mac-related announcements and iPod accessories, but not on new iPod hardware. (For more on that subject, we’ll soon have a new Backstage entry to share some of what we’ve heard.)

Thank you to all of our readers for your continued support and participation in the growth of iLounge. Even if we can’t respond individually to the thousands of messages that appear here and in our e-mail boxes every day, we appreciate every bit of your involvement, and strongly anticipate that 2006 will be an even bigger Year of the iPod - a major step forward for the entire iPod community, with some huge surprises in store for iLounge, too. Happy New Year, and stay tuned for what’s next!

Queen honors iPod designer

Apple design guru Jonathan Ive, best known for his work on the iPod and iMac, was named on Friday in the Queen’s Honours List for his achievements in industrial design.

“London-born Jonathan Ive, 38, Apple’s senior vice president of design, on Friday was awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth,” reports Reuters. “The rank of CBE is the third most senior rank among the five British classes of chivalry. It was created in 1917 by King George V to honor noncombatants at the height of World War I. Only the first two orders qualify for knighthood.”

Pacific Rim intros Pod Jams for iPod nano

imagePacific Rim Marketing has announced its wearable iDiddy Pod Jams for Apple’s iPod nano. The Pod Jams consist of either a clear see-through PVC case or a diamond-etched “Bling” case along with the company’s iLanyard, a fabric lanyard and earbud combination. Both Pod Jams come with your choice black or white iLanyards and are priced at $30 each. They will be available the first week of January. “Both of these Pod Jams products provide great protection against the abuse that your iPod will experience with normal daily use,” says Pacific Rim. “The earbuds pound out the base as well delivering the highs and everything in between. Rhodium-plated rings hold the earbuds in place against the iLanyard when not in use preventing the tangling of the earbud wires.”

Mix: Exec picks, Amazon list, iPod spam, Jobs posters

Not surprisingly, the iPod is the most popular gadget among 50 top executives surveyed by Forbes. [via TUAW]

The 2GB iPod nano, the 20GB color screen iPod, and the 512MB iPod shuffle were all included in Amazon.com’s Best Of 2005 List, which includes the “best selling, most positively reviewed, most wished for, and favorite gift products as determined by Amazon.com customers in 2005.”

Free iPods, Donald Trump and cheap Rolex watches were among AOL’s third annual Top 10 Spam List.

The latest Mike Industries iPod creativity contest has collected a number of humorous movie posters featuring Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Griffin ships iTrip for iPod nano

imageGriffin Technology today announced that its new iTrip FM transmitter for the iPod nano is now shipping. The new iTrip uses the nano’s LCD display for on-screen tuning, and features a new ‚Äúsled

Mix: Sony BMG, iPodResQ, Mini tee, Ice fishing

As part of its settlement to the rootkit class-action lawsuit, Sony BMG will apparently offer free album downloads from the iTunes Music Store.

iPodResQ has announced that it has lowered the price of its iPod nano screen repair service by $30.

Beastee is offering a $16 T-shirt featuring the discontinued iPod mini pleading for a second chance. It’s available in the same green, pink and blue of the minis.

There’s no end in sight for unique podcast topics. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has developed a 30-minute podcast on ice fishing.

Music store offers iPods for CD trade-ins

Millennium Music, an independent music store in Charleston, South Carolina, allows customers to trade in their old CDs for an iPod. You can drop off your CDs at one of two locations or ship your collection to the store. The CDs credits will be judged on physical quality and quality of title. In addition, if a customer doesn’t have enough CDs, the difference can be made up with cash.

Millennium’s CD to iPod converstion table:
45 CDs = 512MB iPod shuffle
65 CDs = 1GB iPod shuffle
85 CDs = 2GB iPod nano
110 CDs = 4GB iPod nano
130 CDs = 30GB video iPod
175 CDs = 60GB video iPod

iPod tops brand survey

Apple’s iPod ranks as the top brand in the eyes of Americans, according to a national study conducted by Landor Associates, a leading branding and design consultancy, and research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. The 2005 ImagePower Newsmaker Brands Survey examines Americans’ attitude toward the top brands.

“Four Internet brands (Google, eBay, Amazon.com and Yahoo!) are among the top 10 winning brands in 2005, while the iPod brand earned the No. 1 overall spot. The release of the shuffle, nano and video iPods in 2005 combined with effective branding efforts helped iPod continue its domination of the MP3 market,” the firms said. “Other technology brands in the top 20 include DVR, Xbox 360 and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.”

iMeat: New iPod replaced with meat [updated]

imageA Mililani, Hawaii woman claims that she purchased a video iPod for her 14-year-old son as a Christmas gift, but when he opened it the device had been replaced by some kind of mystery meat. “He went from joy, really happy joyful,” Rachel Cambra said, “then to discover this, just angry and hurt.”

Cambra said the iPod’s packaging was sealed (as was the meat) and that it didn’t appear to have been tampered with when she brought it home from the Honolulu Wal-Mart where she works. Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the package was sealed and has contacted Apple about the matter. He said Cambra will be given a new iPod for her son when the next shipment arrives.

Update: An iLounger has provided us with two photos taken from a local newscast on the story.

Mix: iPod Express, AFI, 2006 predictions, Price drops

BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows says that the iPod Express EasyPay system used in Apple retail stores this holiday season will continue to be used at some locations.

The American Film Institute (AFI) has recognized the video iPod and other portable video players as a noteworthy event of 2005.

Marketwatch’s Bambi Francisco predicts that “Apple will release an updated video iPod in the first quarter of 2006 and will sign up CBS and News Corp in content deals similar to those it has already struck with NBC Universal and Walt Disney.”

The price of the shufflicious pendant case for the iPod shuffle has been dropped to $9.95, while Nikkipod.com has put all of its iPod cases on sale for $12.

Geneva iPod speaker systems debut

imageGeneva Labs has introduced two new high-end iPod speaker systems. The Geneva Sound Systems are all-in-one units crafted in piano-lacquered wood cabinets. They’re available in two sizes, the Model L and Model XL, and in three colors—red, white and black.

Both models feature Apple’s universal iPod dock (compatible with all dockable iPods), a built-in slot-loading CD player, an FM radio with digital tuner, and a remote control. The speaker systems also feature LED displays, audio input for using other devices, and “EmbracingSound” professional sound technology. An optional floor stand ($75) in aluminum is available for both models. The Model L sells for $600, while the XL is priced at $1075. Availability was not announced.

iDiddy Santa Fe Black Diamond case announced

imagePacific Rim Marketing has announced the iDiddy Santa Fe Black Diamond case for the video iPod and iPod nano. The leather case features a snap-over lid, a carabineer clip, short silver plated chain, and comes with the iDiddy Opticover protective film. Priced at $45, the Santa Fe Black Diamond case is available now. “A true fashion accessory, the Santa Fe Black Diamond has been elegantly designed with our fashion conscious iPod nano and iPod with video clients in mind,” says the company. “The cases are meticulously assembled using the finest leathers. Each Santa Fe Black Diamond case is individually crafted and sewn with attention to detail using luxurious soft and supple Calfskin, the elite of the leathers used in fine fashion leather accessory products.”

Music store traffic rises 50% on Christmas

The iTunes Music Store and other digital music sites saw a spike in traffic on Christmas Day as hundreds of thousands of consumers looked to download tracks for their new iPods that they received as gifts. According to numbers from online researcher Hitwise, visits to music download sites saw a 50 percent increase between December 24 and 25. Hitwise also found that visits to music sites were 15 percent higher than last Christmas. “Apple’s iTunes Music Store increased its dominance of the download market, receiving twice as many visits as its next closest rival, Sony’s Connect internet site,” reports the Financial Times. “This compares with Christmas Day last year, when iTunes was only 10 percent ahead of its then closest competitor, Napster.”

Rain Design announces iWoofer for iPods

imageRain Design has announced a new iPod speaker system for iPods. The iWoofer features an iPod dock with charging and synchronization, 2.1 Subwoofer speaker system with digital amplifier and bass control, FM radio with auto scan tuning, preset station and last station memory, telescopic antenna, blue halo lamp, AC or battery powered (4 AA), USB and audio in. The iWoofer comes in two models; iWoofer and iWoofer nano. The standard iWoofer fits all docking iPods including the iPod video, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The iWoofer and iWoofer nano cost $129 and pre-orders are being taken with an expected ship date in the 2nd or 3rd week of January.

iLounge recently held the “What is it?” Contest sponsored by Rain Design to guess the new product and three winners have been announced.

Mix: Podcasts, Best of 2005, iPod Express, Xbox 360

Macworld UK reports that Apple may begin offering fee-based podcasts through iTunes early next year.

The iTunes Music Store’s Best of 2005 section is now up, featuring the year’s best sellers and staff favorites.

Apple retail news site ifoAppleStore has posted an in-depth look at the holiday iPod Express checkout area.

Engadget has posted the second part in its article on how to make an iPod dock for your Xbox 360.

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