A Message from Dennis Lloyd, Publisher of iPodlounge
Back in 2001, I started iPodlounge as a place for iPod owners and admirers to learn about the world’s coolest invention. The idea was simple: create a friendly, relaxed lounge where good people could hang out and meet other good people.
In our first few months, hundreds of visitors checked out the site, telling their friends and families about both the iPod and iPodlounge. They kept coming back, so it’s no surprise that iPodlounge has grown. Now we have a community of over 65,000 forum members, over 3,000,000 visitors a month to our main site, comprehensive coverage of every iPod ever released (plus every major iPod accessory), and some of the most incredible photo galleries ever assembled. This past month, we had over 20,000,000 page views, and thanks to your readership, the numbers just keep going up.
Today I have some exciting news to share: iPodlounge is expanding. For years, we’ve been known around the world by our name and our famous tagline, “All Things iPod.
Plantronics announced today that it has agreed to buy Altec Lansing, a leading maker of portable iPod speakers, for about $166 million in cash.
Microsoft employees are reportedly using the term “blogcast” instead of “podcast” because of the latter word’s association with the iPod.
The Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Radio is a 2-in-1 FM transmitter and radio that allows you to listen to radio stations on your iPod or transmit the music on your iPod through a home or car FM stereo.
The device features a blue backlit display, four station pre-set buttons, and Aerielle-enabled FM transmitter technology that “delivers cleaner, higher quality audio when compared to any other FM transmitter on the market.” It’s compatible with Dock Connector iPods (3G/4G) with the extended headphone connector. Kensington said that the accessory will available in October 2005 for $79.99.
PumpPod is a new “portable training program” for color screen iPods and other handheld devices.
Each “PumpPod Trainer” is a collection of detailed JPEG images that are synced to your iPod, allowing you to view the exercises, instructions and tips just like you would a normal photo. The workout training is available in several levels—from cardio to abs to weights. The company behind PumpPod said that most PumpPod Trainers, which start at $29, “make up a progressive 4-6 week exercise program.”
“PumpPod is like having an elite personal trainer that fits in your pocket and goes where you go,” the company says. “The bright images and simple instructions demonstrate how to do exercises properly and effectively for better results. Best part? PumpPod is a visual training aid that won’t get in the way of you, your music, or your workout. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
iPodStyles today announced that it’s now offering a denim-like iPod case made to look like a pair of distressed jeans. The Jeans Splatter FabriX case is available now for $25.
“FabriX cases are handmade specially for the iPod using the finest of high grade fabrics and inner quilt padding,” explains the store. “This Denim Splatter FabriX case is made using high grade denim like material, with a special inner lining that not only protects the iPod, but also simulates the look of an actual pair of jeans. This special Denim Splatter FabriX case also features a cool jeans pocket that doubles as a earphone holder.”
Motorola plans to debut the first iTunes-compatible mobile phone at the V Festival next month, the Sunday Telegraph reports. The music event is sponsored by Virgin Mobile, leading some to believe the carrier could be the first to offer the device.
Apple has reportedly filed a patent for a car iPod holder that’s described as an “apparatus that can secure an electronic device and be inserted into a conventional cup holder. The cup holder, for example, is inside of an automobile.”
iLounger Marie-Chantale Turgeon let us know about her terrific series of illustration/painting/collage inspired by the iPod.
In an article entitled “Inside the big switch: the iPod and the future of Apple,” Jon Stokes says that we can expect to see an Intel chip inside iPods, and that the long-rumored video iPod could be the first to use the processors. “The cold, hard reality here is that the Mac is Apple’s past and the iPod is Apple’s future,” he writes.
The Inquirer has photos of a subway train in Japan that has been completely wrapped in Apple’s colorful iPod silhouette ads.
Logitech’s Identity headphones feature “powerful audio in a small and lightweight form factor.” The behind-the-head headphones include four changeable color plates and use twin neodymium drivers. The Identity headphones will be available in September for $39.99.
The Logitech Curve headphones (iLounge rating: B-) are “designed for the active mobile music enthusiast.” The durable headphones are made from translucent polycarbonate material and will be available in August in for $29.99.
Odeo, the new online podcasting service co-founded by Blogger creator Evan Williams, has opened its doors to the public. While “still very much in beta,” the site enables users to easily find and subscribe to the popular web-based audio programs and then sync them to their computer and iPod.
The podcasts can be downloaded to your hard drive with a free Windows or Mac OS X program called Odeo Syncr, which lets you listen to the shows in any audio player application (including iTunes) or on any portable device. Odeo also smartly provides the option to sync your podcasts to iTunes via a special RSS feed. Once in iTunes, you can then move the shows onto an iPod.
Odeo will eventually be more than just a place to find and listen to podcasts. The start-up plans to shortly introduce features that will enable anyone with a web browser and microphone to create their own podcasts online. The site will offer the Odeo Studio to record and publish audio, and Phone Posting, which will let you leave a voicemail to record a podcast. Odeo will also provide feed creation and hosting services.
The initial lack of the podcast creation features could be seen as a result of last month’s release of iTunes 4.9. It would appear that Odeo wanted to get its site open as soon as possible after the somewhat surprising release of the new version of iTunes and its podcasting support—even if it meant not having all of its promised features completely ready for launch.
iLounge spoke with Odeo’s Williams shortly after the release of iTunes 4.9. His reaction echoed that of other prominent members of the podcast world. “At the highest level, I think this is good for podcasting,” Williams said. “I think Apple will introduce a lot more people to podcasting a lot faster than would have happened otherwise.”
Williams said there are some similarities between his service and iTunes. “There is some overlap with Odeo as it stands today, but there’s so much to do in this space that I’m not concerned at all that there won’t be enough places for us to add value,” Williams told iLounge. “If it means we don’t need a client app for the millions of folks who use iTunes, then that might be a better user experience and a lower barrier to getting started,” Williams said. “It will also mean that many more people will want to create podcasts, which we will help with as well.”
Toyota announced today that its iPod-compatible Pioneer audio system upgrade is now available for its 2006 Scion xA and xB models, making Scion “the first brand to offer iPod connectivity and control across its entire lineup.”
The Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo with iPod control provides track, artist and album information from the iPod into a one-line scrolling display on the head unit’s screen. The iPod is connected by “simply plugging the iPod into a port via a connector cable.” The iPod upgrade costs $260, which includes installation.
In May, Toyota announced that its 2006 Scion tC sports coupe was available with the iPod-ready audio system upgrade. The new xA and xB will begin arriving at Scion dealers next week.
Apple has quietly lowered the price of its iPod Battery Replacement Program from $99 to $59. Originally launched in 2003, the service offers replacement and installation of a new battery if your iPod is experiencing poor battery life and is more than a year old and not covered by an AppleCare Protection Plan.
In June, Apple agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over battery problems in older iPod models. Under the terms of the settlement, owners of first-, second-, and third-generation iPods can choose either an Apple Store credit of $50, or a $25 check. In addition, the iPod’s one-year warranty is automatically extended for an additional year for third-generation iPod owners and Apple will replace the battery for free if it fails within the two-year period.
Forbes says that Apple might be looking to become a phone company as a “mobile virtual network operator” or MVNO. “The solution could be for Apple to launch its own cellular network, doing an end run around carriers and providing the company with revenue from both selling phone handsets and from the resale of cellular service.”
Japanese PC case maker Scythe has “come up with a design to cash in on iPod mania among Windows users: an all-white unit that mimics the player’s click wheel with its control and LED layout,” reports The Register. [via Gizmodo]
The Oregonian has a profile of Eric Prentice, chief executive officer of Dr. Bott, a large Macintosh and iPod accessory distributor. “Today, he heads a company with 35 employees in an 18,000-square-foot office in Wilsonville. Annual sales top $20 million. The key to his success [is] the wildly popular iPod.”
To coincide with its 10th anniversary, CNET has posted its list of the top 10 trends in downloading over the last decade. iTunes came in at No. 6, with icq, Winamp, Napster, Firefox and Winzip rounding out the top 5.
PodGear announced today that it’s now shipping the PocketParty Shuffle portable speaker system for the iPod shuffle.
“PocketParty Shuffle turns an iPod shuffle into the world’s tiniest ghetto blaster,” says the UK-based company. “Designed exclusively for the iPod shuffle, and taking design cues from the world’s most iconic flash MP3 player, the PocketParty can even be worn around the neck like the iPod itself.”
The iPod shuffle plugs into the top of the PocketParty via the headphone port. The £24.99 device has two speakers and a status light on one side. It offers 1 watt of stereo output and up to 10 hours of battery life from a single AA battery.
Otter Products today announced the OtterBox for iPod shuffle. The rugged new hard case features a clear exterior with a rubber cradle lining, and a rubber button that lets you use the shuffle’s control pad through the case.
The OtterBox for iPod shuffle is “waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof, and drop-proof” and “keeps your iPod shuffle safe at the beach, pool, river, lake, gym or just walking in the rain,” according to the company. It’s priced at $29.95 and comes with a removable neck lanyard.
With over 5,000 votes cast, last week’s Lounge Poll has now closed. The question was: “How small is your smallest iPod?”, and the results were very interesting - especially when compared against the previous poll, “How large is your biggest iPod?”
In our prior poll, we saw that nearly 75% of responding readers had an iPod of 20GB or higher, with very few (3%) relying on the iPod shuffle as their biggest iPod. Today’s poll suggests that the iPod shuffle has done substantially better as a backup, second iPod, with 16% of respondants indicating ownership of 512MB or 1GB models, and that the 4GB iPod is also popular for this reason. For more details, click on Read More, below.
Our new Lounge Poll, “How much space is left on your primary iPod?” has now opened. You can find it in the left column under Ask iLounge.
iLounge is proud to announce our second iPod guide of 2005 — the iPod 101: Back to School Guide. In a twist on previous iLounge Buyers’ Guides, the new publication will include two major parts: a free iPod and iTunes guidebook for readers, plus a preview and review section focused on the top “Back to School” accessories for Fall. As with past Guides, two exciting reader contests with major prizes will be announced shortly. The new issue will be released on August 15, 2005.
Our last Guide, released at the end of March, has been directly downloaded more than 350,000 times from iLounge and affiliated sites, with numerous indirect downloads thereafter. iLounge remains committed to providing its Guides free of charge to its readers, and will again make the new Guide available in open PDF format for easy reading, downloading, and file-sharing.
Following the horrific bomb blasts in London today, Apple has closed its flagship store in the city. “For the security of our customers and employees, the Apple Store, Regent Street, will be closed for the rest of the day,” reads a brief statement on Apple’s website. “Our hearts go out to all those affected by this morning’s events in central London.
The Pixel Girl Shop has added three new iPod products to its lineup of unique gear.
Podschtickers (shown right) are removable stickers that go on the back of full-size iPods (first through fourth generation models). They’re available in four designs—“Awesome Asterix,” “Deluxe Dots,” “Daisy” and “DJ Turtable.” They’re priced at $5.99.
The new Carryboo animal cozies are three one-of-kind hand-made iPod cases that will fit any full-size iPod. The three creatures include “Blue Birdie,” “Crazy Kitty,” and “Lil Mousie.” They sell for $28 each.
The Denim iPod Mini Wallet Organizer is a tri-fold wallet that was made specifically to hold an iPod mini. It has two slots for credit cards and a larger opening for bills. It features denim construction with a yellow polka dot lining and sells for $35.
PhatNoise announced today that the iPod adapter available for 2005 Volvo models is based on its AutoPort product. The company said it has also partnered with the car maker to offer its 20GB PhatBox Digital Media Player as a $898 dealer-installed option for those without iPods.
As previously reported, the $150 iPod adapter is available for the Volvo S60, S80 and V70/XC70 models and connects by plugging the iPod into a Dock Connector cable located in the car’s armrest compartment. The adapter allows users to listen and control their music through their Volvo sound system and steering wheel controls. It will also charge the iPod when connected.
According to new research by the Diffusion Group, the number of podcast users in the U.S. will increase nearly 15 fold over the next five years, reaching 60 million by 2010.
The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg says that “Apple has made receiving podcasts as simple as downloading music. The bad news is that neither Apple nor anyone else has made it nearly as simple to create a podcast and get it online as it is to create and post a text and photo blog. Until that happens, podcasting won’t be truly mainstream.”
Apple has posted a support document that says Smart Playlists on Click Wheel iPods may stop updating dynamically after applying iPod Updater 2005-06-26.
Following reader reports that Altec Lansing pulled its inMotion iM7 speaker systems from Apple retail stores, a company representative confirmed to iLounge that a problem with the product’s iPod door has been fixed and new units have replaced affected iM7s.
“We had discovered a few isolated issues with the inMotion iM7 door staying closed,” Altec Lansing Sr. Marketing Manager Pamela Roccabruna said. “We immediately responded and corrected the problem. The new inMotion iM7 inventory shipped from our facilities last week and should be arriving in the Apple stores very soon.”
Roccabruna said that Altec Lansing is accepting refunds/returns directly and that if a customer experiences any issues with their inMotion iM7, they are encouraged to contact Altec Lansing’s customer service at 1-800-258-3288. “Our customer service technicians will work with them to reach a solution as quickly as possible,” she said.