In his Q&A column, Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal discusses the problem of scratches on the iPod nano.
“If I were reviewing the nano today, I would still call it ‘the best combination of beauty and functionality of any music player I’ve tested,’ as I did in my review. But I would include a strong, prominent, warning that it scratches too easily in normal usage,” Mossberg writes. “After just under a month of daily use, my own nano is badly scratched, and looks beat up when viewed at an angle… my recommendation now is that nano owners must buy and use a case for the device.”
Nickels For Katrina is a new service that is selling blocks of pixels on its homepage to help raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Each pixel is $0.05, and each block of pixels you purchase is a link back to a site of your choosing. The goal of one million pixels sold would provide $50,000 for the relief efforts, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. We here at iLounge urge you to go and help support those in need.
Handstands is now offering iSnug Armbands for iPod and iPod mini. The iSnug Armband is made of a lightweight material and features a velcro closure and a pouch that can hold an iPod or iPod mini. The iSnug Armband is available in Black and is priced at $19.99. The company has also introduced the iSticky Pad XL, a larger version of the iSticky Pad (formerly the iGrip); it sells for $9.99.
iPodMods is now offering lifetime replacement services for 1G-4G iPod, iPod photo, iPod mini and iPod shuffle batteries. Named the Platinum Battery Program, the $100 service offers free battery replacement for the life of an iPod. Batteries can be replaced as often as once every twelve months, and a self-installation option is also available. Turn-around times for the professional battery installation option average around 3 days.
Noreve has introduced its Tradition leather case for Motorola Apple Rokr E1.
iLounge Editor-In-Chief Jeremy Horwitz was featured on last night’s Your Mac Life radio show. Topics discussed included new iPods, the iPod nano, Apple Expo Paris, and other music and Apple related issues. The show can be downloaded from Yourmaclife.com [direct link] and will soon be available from the iTunes Music Store.
iPreppress is now offering complete stats for the 2005 MLB regular season, formatted for viewing on the iPod.
Market research firm First Albany raised the target price of Apple Computer’s stock $60 from $53 based on expected success of the iPod nano.
EzGear is now shipping its ezSkin nano cases. Made of anti-dust coated silicone, the ezGear nano offers access to the nano’s headphone jack, hold switch, and dock connector port while in the case. The case also features a thin layer of protective silicone over the click wheel and comes with a removable neck strap, a removable belt clip, and a clear ezShade screen protector. The ezSkin nano case is available in Sky Blue, Princess Pink, Lime Green, Onyx Black, and Frost White, and sells for $24.98.
Tunewear has announced that it will being shipping its Prie Ambassador for iPod nano case on October 11. The leather case, priced at $49.99, features a removable belt clip, a removable carabiner-like hook, protective vinyl covers for both the screen and the click wheel, and offers access to the headphone jack and hold switch while the case is closed; access to the dock connector port is available by opening the dual-button bottom flap. The Prie Ambassador for iPod nano is available in black with red stitching, black with white stitching, and white with white stitching.
Clips 4 is now selling its C4 Shuffle Clip, a hard polycarbonate case for the iPod shuffle. It features a two-piece snap-together design, a clip on the back of the case, and is available in four colors—piano black, translucent lime, translucent pink, and clear translucent. The C4 Shuffle Clip is available now and is priced at $13.00.
Speck Products informed iLounge that it will be adding a black version of its recently announced green GrassSkin case. The unique case features tactile rubber “spikes” on the entire surface with access to all iPod nano functions. It comes with a screen protector, removable belt clip and fits 2 and 4GB iPod nano. Speck is accepting pre-orders with shipping expected 15th-30th of this month. The GrassSkin cases cost $34.95.
During a broadcast earlier in the day, BBC 6 Music news reported “Apple is set to unveil a new video iPod at the BBC Television Centre in London on October the 12th. The company is expected to reveal details of the new MP3 and video player as well as video bundles to be available from the company’s iTunes stores.” Conflicting reports about the rumored video iPod have run rampant across the web since Apple sent out the “One More Thing…” announcements yesterday. The broadcast is no longer available on the BBC site.
Like many others, two Wall Street analysts are expecting Apple to introduce the much-rumored video iPod at next week’s “One more thing” special event in San Jose, California.
“We would expect a video iPod to have a material ‘wow’ factor, but we believe that it would need to be priced reasonably (less than $400) and be accompanied by a significant library of iTunes accessible video content to not be anything more than a niche product in the near term,” Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster said in a research report obtained by iLounge. “That said, a first step into portable video would open the door for future product innovations as the company continues to branch out into more of central player in digital and mobile convergence.”
Munster said a smaller form factor high capacity (greater than 10GB) iPod could also be shown at the event, but he does not expect a new Mac computer (other than possible incremental changes to speed and memory), nor does he believe the company will introduce an Apple-branded mobile phone.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu also believes a video iPod will be unveiled next week, and is also looking for speed-bumped Macs. “After spending the past two years studying this market and negotiating with content partners, it appears Apple is ready to go to market with a 1st generation video-capable iPod,” Wu said. “Competitors Samsung, Creative Technology, iRiver, and Archos have shipped portable video devices for some time albeit without much success. We think a key area to watch is the price points Apple will set for these new devices. If Apple can charge under $400 and preferably $299, we believe it will sell well. At higher price points, we believe it may be difficult to drive high volume.”
Wu said he expects that the first set of video content available from the iTunes store will be music videos and video podcasts. “At this point, we do not anticipate full-length feature movies but would not be surprised to see some test movies in the future as the studios are still figuring out their future business model vs. today’s movie theater and then DVD approach,” he said. “We are also picking up indications that Apple could announce an optional external ‘video out’ module that attaches to an iPod video meaning one can output the video to a TV or external screen.”
EDGE Tech has begun shipping its EDGE Dock & Multi Flash Card Reader for iPod. The device allows users to access various flash memory formats while charging/syncing their iPod. Supported media include xD Cards, SD Cards, MultiMedia (MMC) Cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, SmartMedia Cards, Type I/II CompactFlash Cards, and IBM Microdrives. The device also features line-out for audio, s-video out, and USB 2.0 for the card reader—a separate dock connector port is used to connect the iPod to the computer. The EDGE Dock & Multi Flash Card Reader for iPod is available now and sells for $49.99.
Microsoft has broken off talks with record labels regarding its planned subscription-based music service, Reuters reports.
Artist and cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge has released “I Run For Life,” a single chronicling her struggle with the disease, on iTunes. In October, 80 percent of the download price of the song will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and 20 percent to Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has launched its own e-label, MSO Classics, created specifically for digital distribution of its recordings at online music services such as the iTunes Music Store. This marks the first time an American orchestra has distributed works online under its own label.
A recent survey by research firm Piper Jaffray shows that the iPod and iTunes are gaining market share.
UpBeat Audio is now shipping the Boostaroo Revolution, a pocket-sized audio amplifier and two-way splitter. The Revolution is compatible with any device with a headphone jack, including all models of iPod. It can drive high-end headphones (greater than 60 ohm impedance for best results) or mini-speakers, quadruple their volume, and image “high-definition 3-channel surround” sound. The Boostaroo Revolution is available now and sells for $79.95.
Waterfield Designs has introduced its iPod nano Case, and a revised version of its small iPod Gear Pouch. The iPod nano Case features three-layer construction—an Indium nylon outer, a protective plastic middle, and an interior layer made of neoprene. The case also features an elastic band sewn into the back for storing earbuds, and comes in five different colors. The revised small iPod Gear Pouch now features a small padded interior compartment for the nano, and can fit an iPod nano, its WaterField case, ear buds, USB power adapter and either an arm band or a power supply inside. Both the iPod nano Case and the revised small iPod Gear Pouch are available now. Pricing for the iPod nano Case is set at $22.00; the small iPod Gear Pouch sells for $29.00.
Vaja has released its latest luxury iPod case, the iVod Crystal, a Swarovski crystal-encrusted version of its iVod case for color screen iPods. Other features of the iVod Crystal include an exclusive leather strap, easy access to the click wheel, headphone jack, hold switch, and dock connector, interior padding, and a screen protector. The Vaja iVod Crystal is available in six different leather/crystal combinations, and sells for $340.
Pivot has announced its Pocket Skin for iPod nano. The Pocket Skin features a silicone sleeve-style design and cutouts for the screen, click wheel, headphone jack, hold switch, and dock connector. The cases are available in eight different colors—white, solid black, black, blue, pink, orange, yellow, and green—and are available now. Pricing for the Pivot Pocket Skin for iPod nano is set at $22.00 for a 2 pack.
Apple has announced a “One More Thing” event on October 12, 2005, at the same California Theatre venue in San Jose where the iPod photo and U2 Special Edition iPod were announced last year. The event, promoted to select media, will begin at 10:00am Pacific, and is named after the famed oratory trick of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who uses the phrase as a prelude to a bombshell announcement at the close of a keynote speech. As contrasted with the blue jeans image used to tease the announcement of the iPod nano, the One More Thing event is promoted with a red theater-like curtain. iLounge will be on hand to provide coverage of the day’s announcements, which will come one day after the company publicly discloses its financial results on October 11.
On November 1, 2005, iLounge will publish its Holiday 2005 Buyers’ Guide, and as always, we will be prominently featuring the art and photography of our incredible readers. Today we are announcing two new contests, one for artwork, one for photographs, with over $1,800 in prizes at stake.
The Ultimate iPod Accessory Design Contest gives you a chance to create a great new iPod accessory and win a prize for it. We’ll pick a total of three winners in three different categories - “creative,” “realistic/practical,” and “funny” - with the best overall winner receiving The Ultimate iPod Accessory Bundle from Belkin and Oregon Scientific.
The Black and White Photo Contest honors the release of the photo-ready, black- and white-bodied iPod nanos with a new photo contest. Two winners will each win a brand new iPod nano in the color of their choice.
For complete details, check out the new Contest pages. Winners will be shown in the new Buyers’ Guide on November 1. Good luck!
RapidSolution Software has taken the wraps off its new PodSpider Portal. The portal features access to over 20,000 podcasts and features the largest directory of podcasts available in the English language. The launch of the portal accompanies a new version of the PodSpider software for Windows, v. 1.2. The software offers synchronization between a user’s PC and MP3 player, including the iPod. The PodSpider Premium software sells for $24.95 (50% off for a limited time); a free version is also available.