News | iLounge

News

Browse News by Category:

Cringely: Apple to license iPod clones, move to iTMS

In an interesting article for PBS, tech pundit Robert X. Cringely says the iTunes Music Store is Apple’s future — not the iPod. He says Apple will license out the iPod technology at the right time to become a software-only company when it comes to digital music.

“Ultimately, what Apple wants to do is make its money through iTunes, where the profit margins are better in the long term and the system is easily scalable,” Cringely says. “It was necessary to create the iPod platform to make this happen. But downward price pressures will eventually hurt iPod profit margins and affect Apple’s stock price, so the trick is to know when to switch the business from being a mix of hardware and software to one that is software-only. That switch, which I believe to be inevitable, will happen shortly after Apple begins to license iPod clones.”

“As Apple’s profit drops on each iPod it makes, eventually the per-CPU figure will approach what Apple might receive from licensees,” he says. “At that moment it makes more sense for Apple to license clones than it does to make more iPods. Licensing clones at the right time would lead to huge clone sales, effectively killing any significant iTunes competitor. And in the long run, iTunes is where the money is.”

Cringely also notes that (previously mentioned) unused icons in the version of iTunes included with Mac OS X v10.4 hint that new audio format support and a video iPod are just around the corner. “And 10.4 gives us a peek at another evolution of iTunes, which is the inevitable expansion of the system to carry additional audio file formats,” he says. “Looking at the unused iTunes icons that shipped with your new version of 10.4, you’ll notice icons for currently-not-supported ogg vorbis and Windows Media Audio (wma), as well as several others including a variety of video formats, too.”

New ‘skater’ iPod commercial airs

imageApple debuted a new iPod and iTunes television commercial during tonight’s Saturday Night Live on NBC. It featured the new single “Feel Good Inc” by the Gorillaz. Like the previous ads, the spot features silhouetted iPod-toting dancers in front of colorful backgrounds — only this time they’re all on roller skates. This is the first new iPod commercial since January’s iPod shuffle ad, and the first for full-size iPods since October’s ad featuring U2. Apple has yet to post the new commercial. Update: The ad is now available on Apple’s website.

LuxPro adds tiny screen to iPod shuffle clone

imageAfter slightly tweaking and renaming its original iPod shuffle clone, LuxPro has now added two new versions of its “Super Tangent

Bruce Willis an iPod and iTunes fanatic

To say that Hollywood actor Bruce Willis loves his iPod would be an understatement. On his official website, he says that “iTunes has re-energized the singles market, iPod has revolutionized how you can enjoy music and I for one am a convert.”

“The Internet has turned me on to amazing music that I might otherwise have never heard of,” he says. “As a Mac enthusiast I have taken the iTunes playlist concept to a new level. My friends will turn me on to a new (or old) musical influence and before you know it I’ve purchased the whole catalog and downloaded it to one my trusty little iPods, played it in all of my classic cars through the cassette players (what a re-invention of the cassette/car radio) although now they offer special attachments for the USB cable. Whether on the set or in the car an iPod is always near.”

Griffin unveils TuneCaps for iPod shuffle

imageGriffin Technology today announced TuneCaps, three new carrying options for the iPod shuffle. The TuneCaps package — which is priced at $14.99 and scheduled to begin shipping later this month — includes a wrist strap iPod shuffle cap, a belt clip cap, and a keyring attachment.

“Slip on TuneCaps’ Wrist Strap cap for fingertip convenience. Replace the shuffle’s cap with TuneCaps’ handy pocket clip and secure it to your pocket (or belt or necktie or whatever). Slip on TuneCaps’ keyring attachment and take your tunes with you while you drive.”

Mix: LifeDrive, Jesus’ iPod, Rhapsody, Automator

PalmOne’s unannounced new LifeDrive has showed up on Amazon.com. The “multimedia-centric handheld” has a built-in 4GB Microdrive, 320 x 480 color LCD, WiFi, and Bluetooth. “Combined with organizer features, the music-playing handheld could compete with Apple’s $199 4GB iPod mini,” says CNET News.com.

Mark Morford of the San Francisco Gate has written a follow-up to his “What’s on Jesus’ iPod?” article with reader suggestions of Ministry, Moby, Metallica and many more. See what iLoungers think would be on his iPod in our forums.

PC World’s Edward N. Albro says RealNetworks’ new music service doesn’t work as advertised. “Despite trying with two IRiver H10 MP3 players, two Rhapsody accounts, and two PCs, and getting suggestions from Real engineers, I was never able to transfer any Rhapsody track I hadn’t bought outright onto a portable player,” he says. “For me, at any rate, Rhapsody To Go just didn’t work.”

Engadget has posted a how-to on using Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger’s new Automator application to load your iPod with audio generated from text-based websites.

Blog contest’s final hours: you still have a shot!

iLounge readers with blogs still have the opportunity to enter the iLounge Buyers’ Guide 2005 Bloggers’ Contest, with three great prizes. One grand prize winner will score a pair of Shure E5c earphones ($499 value), while two second place winners will get their own pairs of Etymotic ER-6i earphones ($149 value, each). Don’t miss your chance - check out the official rules from this link right now!

New OtterBox waterproof case for 4G iPods unveiled

imageOtter Products has introduced a redesigned waterproof case for 4G iPods and iPod photos. The OtterBox protective case features a waterproof membrane that lets you control your iPod through the case while keeping your iPod “safe at the beach, pool, river, lake, gym or just walking in the rain.” It also offers a hard screen cover, external headphone jack, and a belt clip with integrated earphone cable management.

The OtterBox is available in two sizes — one for the 20GB iPod and one for 30/40/60GB iPods. They’re both priced at $49.95.

DLO Action Jacket for iPod shuffle now available

imageDigital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced that it’s now shipping the DLO Action Jacket for iPod shuffle (iLounge Rating: A-). The compact neoprene case features a built-in belt clip with 180-degree rotation and a workout armband that “fits any arm size — from toothpick to python.” It also offers a clear viny protector that completely covers the iPod shuffle controls. The DLO Action Jacket for iPod shuffle is available online now for $24.99.

PodGear ships Shuffle Station

imageUK-based PodGear today announced the immediate availability of the Shuffle Station, its new portable speaker system and charging dock for the iPod shuffle. Announced in March, the Shuffle Station can be powered by four AAA batteries or from an included AC adapter. It offers line-in and line-out ports, and folds flat for traveling.

“With a MSRP of just £34.99, the Shuffle Station has every feature a shuffle owner might need while away from their computer and is only £15 more expensive than the Apple AC USB charger, making it an extremely attractive package,” notes PodGear.

MP3Band-It armband for iPod shuffle announced

imageThe MP3Band-It is a lightweight armband for active use with Apple’s iPod shuffle. “The adjustable armband is made of comfortable elastic and velcro to fit most arm sizes, providing hands-free flexibility while you move and exercise,” says the company behind the product.

The MP3Band-It is available in a 1.5-inch wide size for $18.99, and a 1-inch wide size for the same price. Both are available in black or white.

Mix: SF Mayor, Edible iPods, Pacific Rim, Oasis

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s iPod has music by Andrea Bocelli, Sade, Jerry Garcia, Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette, AC/DC, Prince, and John Mayer, among many others.

The winner of Mike Davidson’s edible iPod shuffle contest has been announced. It was made from a banana and spaghetti. He has posted a slideshow of all entrants, including Spam, sushi, and Altoids.

Pacific Rim Technologies has announced a sale on its 4gShield Case for 4G iPods ($19.99; regularly $34.99) and on the Gel Shield for the iPod Shuffle ($14.99 in packs of 3; regularly $24.99).

The German iTunes Music Store inadvertently sold the upcoming new album from Oasis on Tuesday. The album, Don’t Believe The Truth, will be released on May 30.

Record company delays Australian iTMS launch

An agreement with one major record company is reportedly holding up the launch of the Australian iTunes Music Store, which was expected to debut last week alongside four new European stores.

“A source said yesterday Apple had planned to launch an Australian version of its popular online music store last Thursday, as widely touted, but the launch was thwarted by one unnamed major record company that refused to sign an agreement in time,” reports The Courier-Mail.

“The hurdle reportedly forced Apple to cancel radio advertisements ordered for the date, and it is expected to delay iTunes’s launch by days, or possibly weeks, as song and album prices and payments are negotiated with the holdout label,” the paper added.

Mac: Spodlight 1.0 released

Kainjow, developer of the popular Pod2Go software, has announced the release of Spodlight 1.0, a new utility for Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger” that allows you to use Apple’s new Spotlight feature to search for music on your iPod. Spotlight does not search through invisible files and folders by default, but Spodlight forces it to index every file on your iPod. “Simply run the app, index your iPod, and then you can use Spotlight normally to find music on your iPod,” explains the developer.

iPod photo interference issue traced, explained

imageThird-party iPod developer Engineered Audio, maker of the RemoteRemote 2 RF remote control system, has provided to iLounge an excellent explanation of the radio frequency (RF) interference issue affecting certain iPod photo hardware. The company’s findings follow up on iLounge’s exclusive March 31, 2005 report, “Yes, the new iPod photo -is- different,” in which we detailed an interference issue that prevents current RF-based remote controls from fully working with “first-generation” (pre-February 2005) 40/60GB iPod photos. As a result of the interference, the RF remotes work at only one-sixth to one-twelveth of their performance ranges with all other iPods.

“The current crop of RF remote controls for the iPod operate at or near 433.92 Mhz,” explains Engineered Audio. “The reasons for this frequency choice are not particularly relevant, except to say that this particular frequency is usable (or certifiable) in the US and in Europe. Further, most of the receivers for these remote control systems are simple super-heterodyne or super-regenerative. And without very careful filtering at the antenna, both types may suffer a degradation in performance when there is a nearby noise source.

“In this case the iPod photo is generating an undesirable RF noise source at 432.00 Mhz (see plot 1). Some might consider the difference between the two frequencies to be enough to not cause interference, however, this is simply not the case. Most of these simple receivers have a fairly wide bandwidth with relatively high gain, and so are easily swamped by an interferer that is within a few megahertz of desired signal. What’s inside the iPod that is generating this signal we can only guess at (perhaps an harmonic of the primary clock for the processor…) At any rate, it would appear that Apple has since modified the iPod photo to either reduce or eliminate this particular signal.” A spectrum analysis photo (“Plot 1”) and additional details are available by clicking on Read More below. We thank Engineered Audio for explaining the interference, and all iPod RF remote manufacturers for being forthright with consumers about the incompatibility.

Slappa ShockShell iPod mini case debuts

imageTotal Impact Industrial has announced the Slappa ShockShell case for the iPod mini. The $34.99 case features a rubberized PVC outer body with aluminum core and EVA interior, access to all ports and controls, and a removable belt clip. It also features “Core3 Protection,” which provides “three layers of shock-absorbing defense without sacrificing style.”

The Slappa ShockShell iPod mini case is available in six different designs, each offered in a variety of colors. It will ship in June, but can be pre-ordered now for 15 percent off.

iSkin offers mini Shades for iPod mini

imageiSkin today announced a new version of its “Shades” colored screen protectors for the company’s iSkin mini silicone iPod mini case. The iSkin mini Shades are available in a bundled five-pack of various colors for $14.99.

“The Shades add an extra layer of coolness to the already cool iSkin,” says the company. “You can mix and match them with different iSkin minis to create the ultimate customized look.”

iPod shuffle takes 58% of flash market

Apple’s iPod shuffle has now captured 58 percent of the flash memory-based audio player market, according to NPD data cited by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer in a meeting with Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich. The number is up from 43 percent share in February.

In a research note to clients obtained by iLounge, Milunovich said Apple isn’t concerned about mobile phones gaining more music capabilities. “Management argued that iPod will remain the best way to manage and listen to music with MP3 capability in handsets more complementary than a replacement,” he said. “The negatives of music on a handset include a worse user interface and limited battery life. Mr. Oppenheimer said he ‘doesn’t foresee problems working with carriers,’ implying that negotiating shared economics wouldn’t be a deal killer.”

Interestingly, Milunovich also said he expects wireless and video features in iPods for the holidays. “Our guess is that iPod will run short video clips, such as Britney Spears gyrating while ‘Toxic’ plays,” he said.

ezGear intros carShare outlet splitter

imageezGear has announced the carShare car power socket splitter. The device allows you to simultaneously use an iPod car charger with a cigarette lighter or another charger for a gadget such as a cell phone. The carShare is priced at $14.99.

“The carShare is a simple product that solves a basic problem,” ezGear says. “Many iPod users also have cell phones. With the carShare, you can now charge your iPod and your cell phone at the same time.”

Mix: EyePod, NIN, Bizkit, Crocheting, SE iPods

The wife of one iPod shuffle owner came up with a creative and cute way to more easily grip the slider on the back of the device.

New at iTunes today: Nine Inch Nail’s With Teeth, Limp Bizkit’s The Unquestionable Truth, and Ryan Adams’ Cold Roses.

Louisville’s Courier-Journal shows iPod owners how to crochet their own iPod sock for less than $5.

Bob Gendron of the Chicago Tribune says the special edition U2 iPod “likely marks the beginning of future collaborations” between other bands and Apple.

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

Email:

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2015 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy