In an effort to streamline the busy holiday shopping season and handle more iPods sales, Apple retails stores have implemented a new iPod Express area and EasyPay checkout system. Located at the existing iPod display tables, the area is staffed with employees equipped with new hand-held POS (point of sale) devices. The system, which appears to be only for the holidays, is said to speed up checkout times dramatically for those looking to quickly buy an iPod and be on their way.
Motorola and Burton Snowboards today announced the Audex jacket, which offers connectivity for iPods and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. The $600 jacket features a removable control panel located on the left-hand sleeve, allowing for “simple and easy access to your incoming and outgoing calls, and music selections.” Cell phones connect to the panel wirelessly via Bluetooth, while an iPod is hooked up via “hidden, unobtrusive wires within the jacket.” It offers playlist, artist, album and track navigation, volume up/down and play/pause/stop via a click wheel style button. Speakers and a microphone are located in the hood for taking and making calls as well as listening to music. The Audex jacket works with any 3G or newer iPod.
Griffin Technology today introduced the PowerBlock, a universal wall charger for iPods. The iPod shuffle plugs directly into the top of the PowerBlock, while all other supported iPods use an included USB dock connector cable. The PowerBlock accepts 120 or 240 Volt service for use with international plug adapters. The PowerBlock works with 4G/5G iPods, iPod mini, iPod nano and iPod shuffle. It sells for $30.
Griffin also today announced that its new bottom-mounting iTrip is now available in black. Compatible with all full-size dockable iPods (3G/4G/5G), the new iTrip features a backlit LCD screen, a side-mounted switch to select broadcast frequency (88.1-107.9MHz), and the ability to set the iTrip to either US or International tuning modes. The new iTrip is priced at $50.
If your company has developed a camera with MPEG-4 or H.264 video recording and USB transfer capabilities, iLounge would like to hear from you. As you may know, Apple has already released the iPod Camera Connector, which adds a USB port and direct-from-camera transfer capabilities to existing still cameras. With the increased popularity of the fifth-generation iPod (with video), we’re interested in hearing whether your company would work to support direct video transfers to the iPod in MPEG-4 or H.264 format. This would conceivably allow instant movie playback without iTunes synchronization. Please send an email if so.
In addition to its new eVo3 silicone cases, iSkin today also announced the availability of its limited edition iSkin Vibes iPod protector series. First shown to iLounge in August, the unique sleeves feature Japanese-inspired characters and scenes created by designers from Toki Doki. The Vibes cases, constructed of a high-quality polymer, are available in eight different patterns for the iPod mini ($20 each), and nine styles for the iPod shuffle ($15 each). The iPod mini protectors come with a belt clip and lanyard.
HBO recently added several podcasts to the iTunes Music Store, including special content from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Rome, Entourage, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
“Download an HBO Podcast to experience outstanding HBO original programming wherever you are! Sample your favorite HBO shows, get great sports commentary, and laugh along with the best stand-up comedy. Listen to interviews and behind-the-scenes features with the stars and creators of award-winning HBO series, moves and more. Plus, download great Spanish-language programming from HBO Latino.”
[via Micro Persuasion]
Marco Polo Kids is a new series of video guides to European cities for kids. The guides, available for download to video-enabled iPods, feature tours of cities such as Vienna, Paris, Florence, Rome, Siena, Lucca, and Pisa.
The iFace interchangeable iPod cases have been dropped to $20 from $24. The matching Five Elements series has been lowered to $10 from $13, and the Hot Wave series is now $15 from $20. The company said previous purchases will get a refund. In addition, iLoungers can get 10% off by using the “iloungeiscool” code at checkout.
The first iPod nano knockoff has been spotted on eBay. Nearly identical in design and size, the “i-Bob” offers video playback and 1GB of storage.
Panic Software has announced that those who purchase its Unison application before December 30th will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a 4GB iPod nano with the Panic logo engraved on the back.
iSkin today announced the availability of the iSkin eVo3, the latest version of the company’s popular silicone iPod case. Designed specifically for the new fifth-generation (video) iPod, the eVo3 “protects the iPod with video and enhances the aesthetic beauty of the device while maintaining complete functionality and control access,” according to the company. The $35 case features a new scratch resistant face and screen protector, a removable rotary belt clip (RevoClip 2), heat release pores, and a micro-textured body that provides an anti-slip gripping surface. The eVo3 comes in six colors—green, blue, red, frosted clear, black, and pink.
Creative Technology today introduced a 30GB digital media device that bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s new video iPod. The Zen Vision:M, which features a 2.5-inch color screen and video playback support, appears to lift several styling and interface details from the new video iPod. The $330 device also features support for music subscription services, an FM radio and a built-in mic for recording. The Zen Vision:M will be available in black, white, blue, green or pink this month.
Sim Wong Hoo, the outspoken CEO of Creative, took a swipe at the iPod in the company’s press release for the device. “When people see the Zen Vision:M, they tell us it’s incredibly cool,” he said. “We designed the Zen Vision:M with its mesmerizing 262,144 color screen to display four times the color of the 30GB iPod that plays video, and to provide twice the battery life for video playback. Plus, we offer people the freedom to choose their video in a variety of different formats, and to get subscription music or download tracks from a number of different sites to their player.”
While Creative appears to be taking cues from the iPod design, it seems Apple will be the one soon facing a legal threat. At the launch of the new device, the Creative CEO told the BBC that he plans to “pursue aggressively” a US patent it owns relating to music navigation on digital players. “We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation system,” he said. “This is something we will pursue aggressively. Hopefully this will be friendly, but people have to respect intellectual property.”
iWorkout 3.0 is the latest version of the exercise companion for iPods. The $17 product includes 42 different workout routines made by an ACE Certified Personal Trainer that can be viewed on an iPod. iWorkout allows you to access the text and spoken routines from the Notes feature on your iPod. Owners of color screen iPods can also view associated illustrations. New features include improved narration of workout routines, an automated installer for Mac OS X Tiger users, and larger illustrations for video capable iPods.
Apple Computer is interested in updating the list of cameras that are compatible with the Apple iPod Camera Connector to reflect as many compatible models as possible. Developers and vendors of cameras can self-certify their cameras by downloading the PDF document iPod Camera Connector Compatibility, and follow the instructions to have products added to Apple’s list of compatible cameras.
Following yesterday’s addition of several NBC shows to the iTunes Music Store, the network wasted no time in promoting the downloads on air. Last night’s episode of “The Office,” which prominently featured a fifth-generation (video) iPod as part of the show’s plot, briefly featured an animated overlay ad that read: “Your favorite episodes of The Office now available on iTunes.” The promo also clearly showed an Apple logo (see iLounge’s screen grab).
Apple has posted a promotional video showing off the NBC Universal content now on the iTunes Music Store. While the majority of the video is promoting shows currently available, it is revealed that users can soon expect to see “the best of Bravo” and “your favorite SNL sketches” on iTunes. No further details were provided. As reported earlier today, Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, said new shows will be added continuously. “You are going to see a series of announcements in the coming weeks,
XtremeMac today introduced the TuffWrap Accent, a new multi-color version of its silicone case for the iPod nano. The TuffWrap Accent is available in six color combinations—black/red, black/yellow, blue/white, white/blue, gray/orange and green/orange. The $20 case features ribbed sides, a “scuff- and slip-resistant” finish, access to all controls and ports, and screen and click wheel protectors.
“Unlike other cases that use uncontrolled color mixing or multiple layers to achieve a multi-color look, TuffWrap Accent is manufactured with two colors in distinct, contoured areas of the case,” says XtremeMac. “With this unique design, TuffWrap Accent offers both the style and protection that iPod nano owners look for.”
iSkin today announced that it has added four new iSkin Duo color combinations—Purple Haze (clear on purple), Acid Groove (green on green), Phantom Rave (black on red) and Polar Blast (white on blue).
Designed for the iPod nano, the iSkin Duo features a dual layer shock-resistant silicone skin that “guards against bumps, scratches, dirt, and other unwanted elements, ensuring your tunes keep playing no matter where you go.” The case features a clear screen protector, a wheel protector, removable rotary belt clip, and anti-slip grip surface with side “goose bumps.” The iSkin Duo sells for $30.
As reported yesterday, Apple has sold more than 3 million videos since they were added to the iTunes Music Store in October. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that figure “far exceeds our initial expectations.” Jobs also said that the new fifth-generation (video) iPod is selling well. While he wouldn’t detail sales of the latest iPod, Jobs did tell USA Today that “it’s no secret that we’re shipping a lot.” In addition, the Apple boss also commented on the proliferation of sites offering free video downloads in iPod format. “We think it’s terrific,” Jobs said of the new sites. “As long as it’s legal.”
PodShop is now offering a new version of its iDrops, the all-in-one cleaning, polishing, and scratch removing solution designed for use on the plastic surfaces of Apple’s iPod and select Macs. The new iDrops feature improvements throughout the entire product, including updated iDrops solution, bottle, dropper, and label. The iDrops sell for $15. PodShop also announced today that they will be offering free worldwide shipping through December 21st.
Yesterday’s addition of 11 TV shows from NBC Universal to the iTunes Music Store was only the beginning, according to Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Television Group. “You are going to see a series of announcements in the coming weeks,” he told Variety.
Zucker said that pressure from illegal downloading caused urgency for NBC to make their content available in digital form. NBC estimates that there are 430,000 illegal downloads of “Battlestar Galactica” each week. “It proves there is tremendous interest in it and good people have developed bad habits by illegally downloading it. Now they will have to develop good habits,” Zucker said.
Zucker also said that recent initiatives from EchoStar and TiVo are operating without the consent of the broadcast networks, and that consumers should look to iTunes and other officially supported paths. “This is clearly not the proper way to behave,” Zucker said. “We have worked in concert with Apple to benefit the consumer; where others are not working with content providers is clearly not in the best interest of the consumer.”
Case-ari recently introduced a line of form-fitting leather cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The cases, which resemble Vaja’s iVod, offer a Nappa leather exterior, impact resistant plastic shell, felt lining, and a screen protector and removable belt clip. The cases also provide access to all controls and ports. The 5G and nano cases come in a dozen different colors—red, black, yellow, orange, light blue, tan, pink, brown, blue, grey, purple, and white. The 5G Case-ari leather case sells for $30, while the nano version is priced at $25. They can be purchased here.
Editor’s Note 1-30-2006: Kesari/Case-Ari has rebranded their company and products, and is now known as Case-Mate.
Etymotic Research today announced that its 6i Isolator earphones (iLounge rating: A) are now available in black to match the black iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod. The original white versions of the $150 in-ear earphones recently received the award for Best Headphones of 2005 by iLounge.
“The mildly enhanced bass and greater output of these earphones retains the high frequency response accuracy that Etymotic is known for,” said Mead Killion, Ph.D., founder and president of Etymotic. “The 25-band accuracy score of these earphones still exceeds 80%, which is higher than any earphones not made by Etymotic.”