XtremeMac tomorrow will announce a new version of its MicroShield for the fifth-generation iPod. The clear hard case features a two-piece design that snaps onto the front and back of the iPod, offering protection for the body and screen of the device while providing access to the click wheel, dock connector and earphone jack. The $25 case comes with one front and two rear panels—one with an integrated belt clip, and one without. The MicroShield will be available in 30GB and 60GB models to accommodate both sizes of the new iPod. The case will be available in stores and online in one to two weeks, according to XtremeMac.
Tekserve, a large independent Apple Specialist in New York City, has announced the grand opening of iTopia, a store-within-a-store dedicated to iPods and iPod accessories.
“iTopia offers Tekserve customers a one-stop shop to purchase everything for their iPod,” explains the store. “It features the largest selection of iPod accessories under one roof in New York, from carrying cases to headphones to speakers to car adapters and much more. Customers can try out many of the latest products and find the best accessories for their needs by speaking with Tekserve’s knowledgeable sales staff.”
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the DLO nano Fling fashion cases for Apple’s iPod nano. Targeted at women, the cases feature a removable wristlet strap, a padded flip-up cover with a cosmetic mirror, earphone storage loop, and come in metallic pink and metallic silver. The DLO nano Flings are priced at $30 and are available from DLO’s website and Apple retail stores.
Apple’s 4GB iPod nano, which was widely seen as the best-selling iPod since its introduction, is apparently now being outsold by its lower-capacity sibling. American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu believes that Apple is benefiting from better than expected sales of 2GB iPod nanos during the holiday shopping season. The analyst said in a research note today that shoppers are appearing to be swayed by the device’s $199 price tag.
“We believe a surge in demand for 2GB iPod nanos at $199 may surprise most iPod followers,” Wu wrote in the report. “This is because in the first several weeks of iPod nano, 4GB models, particularly black colored ones, were outselling the 2GBs and white 4GB nanos by a wide margin. Since then we believe Apple’s bet on a $199 price point has paid off (like it did with the $199 4GB iPod mini) as it built more of these models (and with better margins versus the $249 4GB nanos) as it appears that holiday shoppers (particularly first-time iPod buyers) are more concerned with the price point as opposed to the storage capacity. Demand for the $249 4GB nanos remains strong but appears to be outpaced by its lower-priced, and lower capacity version.”
Apple’s flagship retail store in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district recently opened up an iPod Bar. Similar to the Genius Bars at Apple Stores, the iPod Bar offers customers iPod help and technical support at a friendly walk-up bar area. Gadget blog Gizmodo has photos of the new iPod Bar and comments: “I imagine the iPod Bar staff are basically logo-t-shirted, restart-button-combination-pushing monkeys, since most common iPod problems (frozen/won’t turn on, etc.) can be fixed in this way apart from serious hardware-related problems.”
The Think Different Store has announced the launch of its new CD ripping service. “Designed to provide iPod owners with a fast path to a complete digital music library, the service converts music on CDs into high-quality MP3 files suitable for importing into iTunes and the iPod,” according to the store. Conversions start at $55 plus shipping and require approximately 5 days to complete. The service is available online at 1-800-iPod.com, and also at the 1-800-iPod.com retail location in Selden, New York. Customers purchasing the service in person will save shipping fees.
MP3Band-It has announced the release of the Companion series cases for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod nano and iPod shuffle. Prices range range from $17 to $25 for the cases.
“The Companion is a simple black leatherette case for the iPod designed for protection and portability,” says the company. “Protect and comfortably hold your iPod on your belt, workout pant, shirt or wherever else you might clip it while on the go. Bring your iPod with you without worry of scratch or wear to your iPod. A clear cover protects the screen and control wheel on your iPod while providing full functionality.”
Now available is the twentieth iLounge podcast, co-hosted by our Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. This week’s podcast discusses iPod shortages, the launch of the Xbox 360 and some surprises on Xbox-to-iPod compatibility, iTMS video downloads, Apple’s flash supply agreements and battery settlement appeal, car integration with Harman Kardon’s Drive + Play and TEN Technology’s flexibleDock, and more.
Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.
Apple is keeping the majority of its iPod inventory for its own retail stores, leaving third-party retailers without an ample supply during the busy holiday shopping season, according to one Wall Street analyst. In a research note obtained by iLounge, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster commented today that Apple appears to not be sharing enough of its iPod supply with its retail partners, as evidenced by a survey conducted over the weekend.
“Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we spoke with 10 Apple stores and MP3 player sales reps at 11 third-party iPod retailers (Best Buy, CompUSA, and Circuit City) regarding iPod availability,” Munster writes. “As we had expected, we found that at Apple retail stores iPod availability was very high. Specifically, all but 2 of the 10 Apple retail stores in our sample indicated that they had all iPods in stock throughout the holiday weekend. On the other hand, most third-party retailers in our checks indicated that they were sold out of various, and in some cases all, iPods,” the analyst said. “We believe Apple is channeling the majority of its iPod inventory to Apple retail stores vs. third-party iPod retailers.”
iHome Audio, maker of the iH5 clock radio and speaker system (iLounge Rating: A-), has released a new portable product designed specifically for the iPod shuffle. The iHome2Go iH18 is a portable speaker system and alarm clock that features a cradle/USB port for the shuffle, but lacks the AM/FM radio of the iH5. The iH18 runs off of AC power or batteries, charges the shuffle, folds up for travel and comes with a carrying case. While not yet on iHome’s website (or officially announced by the company), iLoungers report seeing the product at Target stores for $60. Gizmodo has more photos of the iHome2Go from a reader.
French authorities are expected to reduce a copyright levy imposed on flash music players as early as next week. The decision will reduce the tax on a 4GB iPod nano from over €50 (US$59) to about €8. “Last week, the French Commission on Private Copying adopted a proposal to reduce the levy on flash memory devices, aligning it with the levy on hard disk drives,” reports IDG News. “The decision is widely expected to be published Dec. 1 in the Official Journal, where French laws and regulations must appear before they take effect.”
Vaja’s new iVod case for the fifth-generation iPod is now available for pre-order. Like previous iVods, the new model features a high-quality padded leather body, screen protector, and access to all controls and ports. The case can be ordered in a a number of colors with an optional click wheel protector, name or logo personalization, and clip system. The iVod for 5G iPods is priced at $70, but you can save 10% by pre-ordering now. It is expected to ship in December.
Macworld UK has a report on last week’s opening of the first dedicated iPod store in the UK.
Disney plans to offer video content from its upcoming release of “The Chronicles of Narnia” for video-enabled iPods.
Apple’s 5G iPod and iPod nano are among USA Today tech columnist Edward C. Baig’s list of this year’s top gear.
BenQ reportedly plans to bow out of the MP3 player market because of the iPod juggernaut.
TiVo’s recently announced plan to allow users to download and transfer recorded TV shows and movies to iPods was not well received by all TV networks and film studios. Several TV and studio execs told Daily Variety that they were even considering legal action against the company.
“TiVo appears to be acting unilaterally, disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content,” an NBC Universal spokesman said. “This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer.” [via PVR Blog]
As expected, Apple’s iPod nano was a hot item over the busy holiday shopping weekend. The nano was among the top-selling gadgets at Amazon.com, Best Buy and other large electronics retailers, completely selling out at many locations.
eBay also saw heavy demand for the device. The online auction giant reported that sales of the black 4GB nano were up 95% compared to last week, while sales of the white 4GB nano were up 88%. There was no change with the white 2GB nano, but demand for the black 2GB model was up 161%. eBay also said that sales of iPod accessories were up 29% over the weekend.
Tunewear has announced the Poptune 5G set, a new collection of its adhesive protectors for the fifth-generation iPod. Poptunes are removable and reusable, and provide protection against dirt and scratching. The “wearable wrappers” offer full access to all ports and controls, and come in a pack of 12 stylish patterns including “Liquid Pink,” “Technotic Green,” “Zebra,” “Sakura,” and “Tropical Camouflage.” The new Poptune 5G collection will be available next month for $20.
While no iPods are on sale today, Apple has discounted a number iPod accessories as part of its annual after-Thanskgiving sale.
Several speaker systems and earphones are on sale, including: JBL On Stage ($118; $30 off), JBL On Stage II with Remote ($138; $30 off), JBL Creature II Speakers ($78; $20 off), Shure E5C Earphones ($398; $100 off), Shure E4C Earphones ($238; $60 off), Shure E3C Earphones ($138; $40 off), and Shure E2C Earphones ($78; $20 off).
Apple has also temporarily cut prices on select iPod nano cases and iPod car accessories. Sales include: Incase iPod nano Neoprene Sleeve ($14; $5 off), Nike Sport Armband ($34; $5 off), Apple iPod nano Armband ($24; $5 off), Apple iPod nano Lanyard Headphones ($34; $5 off), Monster iCarPlay FM Transmitter ($58; $20 off), Griffin RoadTrip FM Transmitter and Charger ($58; $20 off) XtremeMac Car Charger ($14; $5 off), and Monster iCarPlay Cassette Adapter ($14; $5 off).
In addition, Apple has taken $100 off both its iMac and iBook, and is offering several discounted Mac accessories.
In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums: with “that time of the year” fast approaching, members have resurrected the Christmas iPod Support Group thread. Originally posted back in 2003, it seems to find its way back into favor each year. Do you need “support?”
Having trouble deciding which accessory to buy for your iPod? If you’ve read the Holiday Buyers’ Guide and reviews of accessories on the main site, but are still unsure, then put your question to the iLounge readers in one of the iLounge Accessory Discussion Forums. Hopefully we can help you decide.
Got a spare fifth generation iPod universal dock adaptor lying around, or do you just want to make your own dock? One reader set about creating a homemade dock for their 5G iPod from an old iPod carrying case box.
Need to find out how to convert video to play on your 5G iPod? If our recent Mac features weren’t enough, perhaps the “GUIDES TO: Converting Video for iPod - Mac & Windows” thread in the Discussion Forum for “Filling Your iPod - TV & Videos” will help.
We’d like to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! We have many things to be thankful for this year, but we’re especially lucky to have such wonderful readers, forum members, contributors and advertisers. We’ll return just as soon as we’ve recovered from the turkey and cranberry overdose.
We’re happy to announce that the new iLounge T-shirt is now available for order. The white shirt sports the iLounge logo with our “iLounge.com | All things iPod” slogan. It’s priced at $15 and comes in small, medium, large, extra-large and double extra-large sizes. The iLounge shirt is silkscreened on a soft, 100% cotton American Apparel tee. By purchasing the shirt and showing the world you’re an iLounger, you not only help promote the site, you also help support it. International orders are welcomed.