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iTunes coming to Motorola cell phones

Motorola, Inc. and Apple today announced they are partnering to enable millions of music lovers to transfer their favorite songs from the iTunes jukebox on their Mac or PC, including songs from the iTunes Music Store, to Motorola’s next-generation ‘always with you’ mobile handsets, via a USB or Bluetooth wireless connection. Apple will create a new iTunes mobile music player, which Motorola will make the standard music application on all their mass-market music phones, expected to be available in the first half of next year.

Exclusive: iPod 4G Audio Problems?

  • July 26, 2004
  • iPod

picIn extended testing of Apple’s new fourth-generation iPods, iLounge has discovered and reported to Apple an apparent manufacturing defect affecting the headphone jacks of certain new iPod hardware. The defect manifests as audible static and noise interference in the earphones that is most prominent whenever a new iPod’s hard disk is accessed. Similar interference was not detectable through line out (Dock Connector) output.

Users of affected iPods will be able to hear a hard disk-like whirring sound in their earphones, coupled with several seconds of light static at the start of a song that has just been loaded. This should not be confused with the quiet hard disk loading sounds that an iPod makes, which sounds are not audible through earphones, or with normal static-like compression artifacts in your audio.

To test your iPod while eliminating the possibility that static from your music or headphones may be responsible, use iTunes to encode several three- to five-minute compact disc tracks using Apple’s Lossless Audio encoder, transfer them to your iPod, then connect the earbuds packaged with your new iPod. Find the directory or create a playlist with only the Lossless tracks, and skip back and forth between them. Hold your iPod at a distance or cover it up so that you can’t hear its normal internal hard disk sounds. If your iPod has a problem, at the start of each loaded song, you should hear a loading pause, then a whirring sound and light static in your ears at a normal volume level. If it does not have a problem, the song should load and play without audio interference.

iLounge has confirmed that this interference does not affect all new iPod hardware. Of the three units we purchased for evaluation, both of the 40GB iPods exhibit the same problem, but the 20GB iPod does not. Unfortunately, some new iPod users have reported that the problem exists in their new 20GB iPods, as well. The units we know to be affected were manufactured in China, shipped from Shanghai, and ordered directly from Apple.

An Apple representative is currently looking into the report, and the company has had no further comment. Please report your findings using the Comments link below.

Mac: youPod 1.0 released

youPod lets you take your real AddressBook and iCalendars with you, as well as your bookmarks for Safari, Firefox or Explorer. you can even take your Keychain, so you don’t have to remember all of those passwords and logins.

RealNetworks plans to sell iPod compatible songs

  • July 26, 2004
  • iPod

“Tomorrow, without Apple’s authorization, RealNetworks will start to give away software that will allow people to buy and download songs from its online music store and then play them on Apple’s popular iPod portable devices in addition to those that use the Windows Media Player format and RealNetwork’s Helix format. [...]

So RealNetworks created technology that can create files to be read by iPods. Mr. Glaser [CEO, RealNetworks] declined to say how it did this. But Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, said that RealNetworks used a technique known as reverse engineering - observing how Apple’s software behaved as it encoded songs to be loaded onto iPods.”

iPod mini sales hot in Japan

“Thousands of people lined up outside electronics stores in Japan on Saturday as Apple Computer launched sales of its iPod Mini digital music player.

About 1,500 people were lined up outside Apple’s store in Tokyo’s Ginza district before the store opened at 10 a.m. Tens of thousands of the devices have already reportedly been reserved by customers.”

Griffin posts how-to video for iTrip

Griffin Technology has posted a QuickTime video tutorial on how to use the iTrip/iTrip mini with iPod or iPod mini. “The iTrip, while very flexible and powerful, is certainly not as initially easy at other simple toggle switch Transmitters with only four selectable stations. So in an effort to really help our customers get up to speed with the iTrip as fast as possible we filmed this tutorial movie in house. Just like our experiences at the trade shows, once we ‘demonstrate’ the use of the iTrip and switching stations, customers ‘get it’ and live happily ever after. And that’s good for everybody.”

Apple upset over Fuse silhouette ads

“Apple Computer is outraged over new advertisements by upstart music channel Fuse that resemble ads for the iPod, Apple’s popular digital music player, The Post has learned.

Apple lawyers have been calling Fuse and threatening to sue unless the ads — which went up in outdoor locations in New York City on Monday — are taken down.

Not only do the ads resemble Apple’s iPod ads, but they also are quite risque: one depicts a man masturbating, while another shows a woman pole dancing.”

Griffin releases new FireWire cables

Griffin Technology recently announced three new additions to their Clear Choice line of cables – 6’ FireWire 400 connection cable, a 6’ FireWire Extension Cable and the problem solving Ground Loop Isolator cable. The new Griffin 6’ FireWire Connection cable connects any FireWire based devices to a computer or each other. The FireWire Extension Cable is especially handy as it can extend the reach of any existing FireWire connection. For example the Griffin FireWire Extension cable is the perfect way to extend the reach of an iPod owner’s desktop iPod Dock. Often, two pieces of audio equipment connected together but plugged into separate outlets will create a low, audible hum called a ground loop. The Ground Loop Isolator cable works by lifting the power that is circling between the devices and allows only the audio to pass through. The Ground Loop Isolator Cable retails for $19.99, the FireWire 400 Connection Cable retails for $14.99, and the FireWire 400 Extension Cable retails for $14.99.

iLounge’s first 4G iPod review arrives today

  • July 22, 2004
  • iPod

To commemorate Apple’s launch of the fourth-generation iPod, and to thank all of our readers for their patience, iLounge will be posting its first review of the new 20GB and 40GB models later today, Friday, July 23, 2004.

Like our prior first review of the iPod mini, titled the Newbie Review, iLounge’s first fourth-generation review, conclusions, and product rating will be geared towards first-time iPod buyers. A subsequent review geared towards more experienced users (the Power Users’ Review) will follow shortly thereafter.

These reviews will also mark the launch of iLounge’s new product rating system, which will replace our prior Excited / Happy / It’s OK / Sad icons with a more versatile letter grading system, featuring A, B, C, D and F with plus and minus marks. We have been planning for this change for some time, and you will soon see its benefits in an easier-to-use report card for all currently released iPods and accessories. We’ll look forward to your thoughts and comments.

iPod 4G testing underway, more photos

  • July 21, 2004
  • iPod

iLounge couldn’t wait until Friday to receive its 40GB iPod, so we went to our local Apple Store and picked up a new 4G 20GB iPod for review. It’s being put through its paces as we speak. And yes, though the numbers show only a .12” difference, the new 40GB version feels surprisingly thicker (3G size, even) than the new 20GB. Retail Apple Stores have received “lots of them” in both sizes, and they’re already going quickly. Check back here for updates.

Apple PR: Indie labels join iTMS Europe

“Apple today announced that it has signed licensing agreements with three of the largest European independent music labels, Beggars Group, Sanctuary Records Group and V2, adding tens of thousands of additional independent tracks from leading artists to the iTunes Music Store in the UK, France and Germany. With three of the most influential independent record labels on board, iTunes Music Store customers in Europe now have access to an impressive catalog of independent artists including Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method, Interpol, The Libertines, Morrissey, the Pixies, Prodigy, Stereophonics, Paul Weller and The White Stripes.”

More history of the 1G iPod, courtesy Wired

  • July 21, 2004
  • iPod

Wired’s Leander Kahney has shed additional light on the making of Apple’s first iPod in an interview with Ben Knauss, formerly of PortalPlayer, co-developer of the iPod hardware. Highlights include

  • Tony Fadell approached Apple with the business idea of a music player coupled with a music download service. Several companies turned Fadell down, but Apple said yes, and gave him a 30-person team.
  • When Apple signed on, PortalPlayer dropped work for as many as 12 customers, including IBM, which had planned “a small, black MP3 player” with a “unique circular screen and wireless Bluetooth headphones” plus miniature IBM hard drives.
  • Knauss claims 280 PortalPlayer employees worked for 8 months on the iPod design to incorporate Apple-requested features, many from Steve Jobs himself, including AAC, an equalizer, Audible audio book support, faster menus, louder output (“Jobs is partly deaf”) and better audio quality.
  • Apple used a collection of confusing prototypes “to make sure it wasn’t predictable what the end design was.”
  • The iPod project almost died when initial battery life proved out at 3 hours, even when powered down. But when the problem was fixed, Apple bought a majority stake in PortalPlayer.

pPod guides iPod to restrooms

Today NYKRIS launched pPod - the world’s first iPod based interactive audio service. pPod combines text, spoken word audio, and music to deliver a guide to London’s public loos (restrooms) – truly a convenience for iPod users on the move! Entertaining audio reviews and even accompanying sound tracks such as Handel’s ‘Water Music’ and ‘Cosmic Winds’ will help users to locate their nearest (and loveliest!) loos. “We’re currently exploring other iPod based services that could be developed, including an interactive audio guide to gigs and clubs – something that we think could be particularly attractive to iPod fans,” states Philip Read, Managing Director of NYKRIS.

iPod Xtras announces specials on accessories

Online retailer iPod Xtras has announced several special deals on iPod and iPod mini accessories such as the Griffin iTalk, iTrip mini and the STM Cocoon case for iPod. Enter coupon code “xtra4me” during checkout to receive additional savings on your order. 

Reader report: 4G iPod and photos

  • July 20, 2004
  • iPod

picReader Mike S. reports he has taken possession of a new 4G iPod 20GB from a Mayfair Apple Store in Wauwatosa, WI. “Well people, I just stopped by my local Apple store and they had 9 of these babies ready for a home. No 40GB yet, nor did they have the new Click Wheel iPod docks. Also, seems like Apple hasn’t updated their retail software though, because they couldn’t register my iPod when I bought it, so now I can just register it when I need service on the baby.” Mike also goes on to report a few things he’s noticed about the new 4G iPod.

  • Now you can turn it off completely by holding the Play/Pause button.
  • Click Wheel is not backlit, but the screen has a white backlight.
  • Clicker sounds slightly different from my iPod 3G.
  • Click wheel is slightly stiffer than the iPod mini’s.
  • No dock port covers are included.
  • Seems my iPod was partially charged when I bought it. Only took me 1 hour and now it says it’s fully charged.
  • The games menu can now be added to the main menu, YAY! (I think this is new to 4G).
  • On-The-Go playlist can now be saved, when saved, a new playlist is created (NewPlaylist1, NewPlaylist2, etc.) and the songs are moved there, the OTG playlist is then cleared. Saving playlists actually took abut 5-10 seconds, which seemed a bit long for only 2 songs.
  • Songs can be deleted from the On-The-Go playlist by holding the middle button for about 3 seconds, same as adding a song.

Apple making good on 40GB remote and case orders

  • July 20, 2004
  • iPod

If you ordered one of Apple’s new 40 gigabyte iPods yesterday morning, this news is for you. As reported yesterday on iLounge and further detailed in Backstage, Apple unexpectedly changed its web site mid day to drop two accessories (the iPod wired Remote and 40GB carrying case) from its official list of 40GB iPod pack-ins. The change was first reported by iLounge administrators at 12:52PM Eastern Standard Time (9:52AM Pacific).

Apple Store’s customer service is working to make things right for those who placed online orders early in the morning with the understanding that those accessories would be packed in: a polite telephone call mentioning the web site change and requesting the two missing parts can restore them to your order. However, it appears that not all customer service representatives have seen the e-mail notifying them of the web site problems. Two iLounge editors called to confirm these reports this morning; one had the problem addressed quickly after mentioning the web site change, and the other had to go through two supervisor calls before the problem was fixed.

iLounge has previously praised Apple for its outstanding online store customer service, and hopes that all affected purchasers will have trouble-free experiences in getting all the items that they ordered. If you’re an affected 40GB iPod purchaser and have contacted Apple, please post your experiences in the comments thread below.

Apple: 4G iPods shipping online, perhaps at retail

  • July 20, 2004
  • iPod

Following up on our Backstage report from yesterday, Apple is now shipping fourth-generation iPod orders placed online through the Apple Store. Shipments are coming from Shanghai, China, and at least some orders appear to have missed the cutoff time for delivery tomorrow.

After canvassing roughly a dozen bricks-and-mortar Apple retail stores in major cities around the country, all but one report that retail locations have not yet received the new iPods for sale. East Coast stores tended to indicate that they are expected in the next 24-48 hours, while Midwestern and West Coast stores have been less committal, stating that they will be available by week’s end.

A representative at one Apple retail store in Westchester, NY indicated that he believed that the store had received and sold out of its initial shipment, however, the representative said that he had not been at the store when it happened. Please feel free to use the comments thread of this news story to report your experiences in ordering, locating, and/or receiving the new iPod.

Incase designs iPod cases for John Mayer

picIncase has informed us that they recently designed iPod and iPod mini cases for musician John Mayer. The first known musician inspired iPod cases are for sale on location throughout John Mayer’s Summer Tour. The $25 leather sleeve case comes in two-tone colors with John Mayer’s embossed signature and silhouette of himself on the front. A drawstring bag and metal guitar pick with John Mayer’s embossed signature and silhouette is included.

New AUX-POD auto integration kit released

Pacific Accessory Corporation has released the AUX-POD auto integration kit for iPod 3G and iPod mini. The AUX-POD allows you to “change tracks on your iPod from the factory radio or steering wheel (vehicles with audio controls on steering wheel). The AUX-POD automatically turns off the iPod when the radio is out of AUX-mode or when vehicle/radio is turned off. The iPod also charges the iPod when connected to the AUX-POD. The AUX-POD consists of an AUX-BOX Universal Auxiliary Audio Input interface and an Apple iPod interface connector. To use the AUX-BOX with your vehicle, you will need to order a specific vehicle harness also. Use the application guide to see if there is a harness available for your vehicle.” Retail price for the AUX-BOX is $200. Check the website for a dealer near you.

Speck Products announces Mini FlipStand

picSpeck Products has announced the Mini FlipStand for iPod mini featuring clear ABS plastic, access to all functions and includes a belt clip. The FlipStand doubles as a desktop stand when the click wheel cover is flipped back to its open position. The mini FlipStand is priced at $29.95 and is available for immediate purchase.

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