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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.

Speck debuts iKitty for iPod nano

imageSpeck Products today introduced the iKitty for the iPod nano, a new version of its rubberized cat case. The iKitty stands on four legs, with the nano’s click wheel and screen on the toy’s belly. It has a bendable tail, screen protector, and access to the dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch. The iKitty for iPod nano sells for $35 and will begin shipping later this week.

Sixth iPod nano lawsuit filed; Apple seeks to consolidate

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over the iPod nano’s proneness to scratching. Plaintiffs have now filed a total of six similar iPod nano lawsuits in California, New York and New Jersey.

“Apple marketed the nano—because it’s small and streamlined—to be used in outdoor activities and athletic activities,” said the woman’s lawyer, Philip Bohrer. “But these devices are not designed to withstand even routine use. There’s a flaw in the design that needs to be changed.”

In a memorandum seeking to consolidate all six federal class-action lawsuits and transfer them to the Northern District of California, Apple lawyer Penelope Preovolos said the company “denies that the iPod nano scratches excessively absent user abuse. The iPod nano is an extraordinarily popular and successful product and is free of defects.”

Software: PodFlicks, iPod.iTunes, iVideoToGo, Podner, Pod2Go

PodFlicks 1.0.1 will convert a video into an iPod-compatible format and copy it directly to your iPod where it will reside in the Video:Movies folder.

iPod.iTunes 3.0 is an update to the software that synchronizes songs, videos, playlist, ratings, played dates and play counts in both directions between iPods and iTunes.

iVideoToGo is a new appliation that enables users to convert DVDs and video files into iPod-compatible format.

Podner 1.2.1 from Splasm Software is the latest version of the drag-and-drop Mac software for creating iPod-compatible videos.

Pod2Go 1.6 is an update to the Mac software that lets you put a variety of content on your iPod, such as news feeds, weather reports, movie showtimes, driving directions, lyrics and more.

iPods push Amazon.com to best holiday season ever

With iPods dominating its electronics section, Amazon.com said that this year’s holiday shopping season was its best ever. The online retailer said the black 4GB iPod nano, the black 30GB video iPod and the 512MB iPod shuffle were the top three best-selling electronics products. Amazon also said more than 108 million items were ordered for the holiday season, noting that its busiest day was December 12th, when 3.6 million items, or 41 items per second, were ordered.

Mix: Video albums, Greatest gadgets, Samsung-Sony, Hillary Clinton

Apple’s iTunes Music Store is now offering “video albums” from both Green Day ($15/15 videos) and Jack Johnson ($10/22 videos).

The iPod landed at No. 2 behind the original Sony Walkman on PC World’s list of the top 50 greatest gadgets of the past 50 years.

Samsung said on Monday it may sell NAND flash memory chips to Sony for use in its MP3 players. The deal is said to be similar to the arrangement Samsung made with Apple earlier this year.

An album comprised of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s best speeches of 2005 has been made available for download on the iTunes Music Store.

iPod battery settlement finalized

The settlement to the iPod battery class-action lawsuit—which was approved by a judge in August and then appealed in November—has finally been made official.

“On December 20, 2005, the appeal filed by individual objectors to the Settlement was dismissed and the Settlement is now Final,” a note on the settlement’s official website says. “This means Apple and the Settlement Administrator can move forward with claims administration and claims fulfillment.”

The website notes that claim submission deadlines have not changed. Affected third-generation iPod owners must send in their claim form within two years of the original product purchase date. The deadline for submitting first- and second-generation iPod claims expired on September 30, 2005.

Record companies investigated over digital music pricing

The four major record companies are being investigated by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer over whether they have violated antitrust laws in the pricing of songs sold by digital music services such as the iTunes Music Store.

“Spitzer’s office recently began serving subpoenas on the major record companies—the Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal; Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture of Sony and Bertelsmann; the EMI Group; and the Warner Music Group, according to people involved,” reports The New York Times. “Some major record companies have been pushing to introduce flexible pricing, charging more for hit songs and less for oldies, for example. But some executives say that a more complex price structure would turn off buyers and hurt industry efforts to woo music listeners away from free, unauthorized file-swapping networks.”

Welcome, new iPod owners!

If Santa brought you an iPod this year, then you’re at the right place. Whether you got a video iPod, an iPod nano, iPod shuffle, or even a previous generation iPod or iPod mini, iLounge will help you get the most out your new favorite gadget. If you’re looking to accessorize your iPod, check out our extensive list of iPod accessory reviews or the latest iPod accessory news. You can find answers to common iPod questions in our Ask iLounge and iPod 101 & 201 sections. If you want to ask a specific question or just chat with other iPod owners, hop on over to the iLounge Forums. And be sure to download our free Holiday Buyers’ Guide, which is loaded with tons of cool iPod gear and info.

Apple offers free Battlestar Galactica, SNL videos on iTunes

Apple has posted two free video downloads on the iTunes Music Store—“Sci Fi Inside: Battlestar Galactica” (21:03) and “Saturday Night Live: Lazy Sunday” (2:31).

“As it prepares for a new season, take a behind-the-scenes look at the life on board the Battlestar Galactica. Watch exclusive interviews with the people at the heart of one of television’s most acclaimed shows,” says Apple. “Get up to speed with the crew’s adventures so far in this free episode, and get a sneak peek at some of the upcoming action in the new season, premiering Jan. 6, 2006.”

In the Saturday Night Live clip, “Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rap about their ‘Lazy Sunday’ which includes going to see the move ‘CHRONIC..(WHAT?)..CLES’ OF NARNIA and buying cupcakes.”

VP Cheney’s iPod takes precedence on flight

On a return flight from a four-day trip to the Middle East, U.S. vice president Dick Cheney used one of the only working power outlets on Air Force Two to charge his beloved iPod, frustrating reporters who were trying to file stories.

“Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets—particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England,” reports the Associated Press. “But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedent above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president’s press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in.”

CoolGorilla releases music trivia game for iPods

A new start-up named CoolGorilla has launched a trivia game for the iPod. The Rock and Pop quiz game contains twenty megabytes of audible trivia questions about the Gorrilaz, U2, Metallica, Beyonce, The Beatles, The Whites Stripes, The Killers, Madonna and many, many more. The game is compatible with 3rd, 4th and 5th generation iPods, iPod mini and nano. The game is free to download with CoolGorilla Movies and CoolGorilla Rap, R&B and Hip Hop trivia games coming soon. Instructions on how to install the game on Windows or Mac are available at the website’s FAQs.

ABT unveils new wireless iPod gear

ABT (Advanced Bridging Technologies) has provided iLounge with exclusive details of four new iPod accessories, including the iJet remote with dock connector, iJet remote/FM transmitter for iPod nano, iJet two-way transmitter and receiver, and the PowerJet auto charger with 9-pin accessory port. The company also announced the iJet USB Control, a wireless RF remote for PCs and Macs.

image

iJet with dock connector (1)
ABT’s RF remote now supports all iPods with dock connectors, from 3G and up. The new iJet offers up to 150 ft range and features a pass-through connector allowing users to charge or sync their iPod without removing the iJet.

iJet for iPod nano (2)
The slim, sled-like device combines an RF remote with an optional FM transmitter. It features a clear flip-up front cover and pass-through dock connector port. The RF remote works up to 100 feet away, while the optional FM transmitter works on four frequencies—88.1, 88.3, 88.5 and 88.7.

iJet Two-Way (3)
The iJet two-way transmitter and receiver allows any iPod user to wirelessly view song selections, artists and playlists from a remote LCD screen. The iJet Two-Way works with all dockable iPods, including the 5G iPod and iPod nano. It has a range of 150 ft and also sports a pass-through dock connector port.

PowerJet (4)
ABT’s PowerJet auto charger features a 9-pin accessory port for using older, top-docking accessories with the latest iPods. The PowerJet works with all dockable iPods, offers a swivel design, and provides safe charging of an iPod through any +12V cigarette lighter outlet.

iJet USB Control
ABT also introduced the iJet USB Control, a wireless RF remote for PCs and Macs. The receiver plugs into any USB port on a computer, and the 5-button remote enables users to control applications such as iTunes, Windows Media Player and PowerPoint up to 150 ft away.

All of the new accessories are available in either black or white. Pricing and availability were not announced.

Mix: Japan share, Macworld Expo, UDI spec, iTunes flaw

As of November, the iPod had approximately 60 percent share of Japan’s digital music player market, according to Tokyo-based WebBCN Ranking. Sony has fallen to just under 10 percent of the market.

Amanda Cantrell of CNN/Money has written a round up of what Apple watchers are expecting to be introduced at next month’s Macworld Expo.

Several electronics companies, including Apple and Intel, are working on a new standard for connecting computers to high-definition TVs and other consumer-electronics products. The new specification is known as the unified display interface, or UDI.

An independent security researcher has provided further details on a security flaw in Apple’s iTunes and QuickTime software that could put systems running Windows and Mac OS X at risk of attack.

Macally mPouch for iPod nano now available

imageMacally has announced the availability of its mPouch for the iPod nano. The leather case features a clear screen protector, micro suede inner lining, snap-button top closure, and a belt loop. The Macally mPouch is available in pink or black for $20.

Poll results: 2005’s most important iPod/iTunes event

The most recent Lounge Poll, “What was the most important iPod & iTunes event of 2005?”, is now closed.

Over 6,400 votes were cast in the poll, which covered 7 key events and included a “something else” category. By far, iLounge readers chose the October release of iPod (with video) and the addition of paid video content to iTunes. A 51% majority picked this option over all others, which was 27% higher than the number two option, the September release of iPod nano (24%).

Complete results are available at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What iPod accessory are you most hoping to receive for the holidays?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

iPod interfaces expected in 73 million cars by 2011

Telematics Research Group (TRG) said today it predicts that by 2011, 28 million cars in the U.S. and 73 million cars worldwide will offer built-in iPod integration. The research firm said that automotive auxiliary inputs will expand to about 60 million cars in the U.S. and 150 million globally by 2011. TRG expects Bluetooth audio interfaces will be installed in 8.5 million cars in the U.S. and 25 million worldwide by 2011. According to TRG data, 39 models from major auto companies currently sell vehicles in the U.S. market with iPod adapters or auxiliary-input jacks.

DLO ships over 20 new cases for iPod, nano

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters said today that it is now shipping over 20 new styles of its Relaxed Leather Cases for iPod and iPod nano and its Fling Fashion Cases for iPod nano. All of the cases are priced from $30 to $35. Select styles are available exclusively at Target and Apple Stores nationwide.

imageThe Relaxed Leather cases come in 10 different styles, featuring suede and distressed leather with touches like contrast stitching and brass rivets. They also offer a flip-up cover, belt clip, and an inside pocket to store ID, credit card or cash.

imageDesigned for fashion-conscious nano owners, the Fling Fashion Cases come in 11 new designs, ranging in style from “Faux Crocodile

HandStands offers updated iSnug armband for 5G iPod

imageHandStands today announced that it is offering an updated version of its iSnug Armband for use with the new fifth-generation iPod. Designed for iPod users with an active lifestyle, the new armband features a lightweight material, a velcro closure, and pouch that also works with 3G and 4G iPods. A smaller pouch is included for the iPod mini. The iSnug Armband is available immediately in black for $20.

Analyst: Apple to move away from Mac, build on iPod

Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey believes that Apple will move away from its core Mac lineup and instead focus on new consumer products. The company would be successful in doing so because of its mega-popular iPod brand, according to the analyst.

“2006 will undoubtedly mark another major year in Apple’s transformation, but its new markets bring together tougher competition,” Bailey wrote in a recent research note. “If early indications from suppliers prove correct, Apple is likely to move further from its Mac core in 2006, leveraging its brand and building on the consumer success of iPod.”

Bailey expects Apple to sell 11.6 million iPods during the holiday quarter, up from his previous estimate of 10 million.

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