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Apple releases iTunes 5

Apple also today announced iTunes 5, a major new version of its digital music jukebox that brings new features and a “refined look.” iTunes 5 includes a new Search Bar for searching your library and the iTunes Music Store faster; the ability to organize playlists into folders; Smart Shuffle, which lets the user change the “randomness

Shufflicious iPod shuffle pendant case announced

imageThe Shufflicious is a new pendant-style case for Apple’s iPod shuffle. Made of silicone rubber, the product is available in pink and black, and comes with an enameled metal lanyard in gloss white (with pink) or matte black (with black). The case also has molded grooves that allow you to wrap your headphone wires around the case to control the amount cable. The Shufflicious $16.95 and will begin shipping at the beginning of next week.

iTunes grabs 80% market share in UK

Apple said yesterday that its iTunes Music Store has seized 80 percent of the UK’s digital music market. The company cited figures from the Official Charts Company (OCC) and declared iTunes to be the number one UK digital music service. Apple said the UK store has over 1.7 million tracks available.

“We’re thrilled that music fans in the UK have made the iTunes Music Store their number one choice for purchasing digital music,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We feature the largest catalogue in the UK with over 1.7 million songs and strive to bring iTunes customers the hottest new and exclusive content in the world.”

Klipsch rolls out iGroove speaker system

imageKlipsch today introduced the iGroove, a new all-in-one iPod speaker system. The iGroove features dual 2.5-inch fiber-composite woofers in a ported enclosure, dual 1-inch MicroTractrix Horn-loaded tweeters and a built-in iPod dock.

“The iGroove is designed to deliver superior dynamic range, detail and clarity, allowing users to hear the subtleties in their favorite music that were once hidden beneath the surface,” says Klipsch.
 
The two-way system comes with a wireless remote and accepts and charges all iPods with Dock Connector ports. It also works with other audio devices using an included J-Cup adaptor. The Klipsch iGroove will be available later this month for a retail price of $279.99.

DLO intros FM radio & headphone amp for iPod mini

imageDigital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the DLO mini fm, a new iPod mini accessory that combines an FM radio and headphone amplifier.

The compact attachment is self-powered and allows users to quickly switch from their iPod mini’s music to FM radio with the push of a button. iPod mini owners can manually tune or automatically search up or down for available FM stations. The mini fm also amplifies the iPod mini by boosting the volume capacity by over 25 percent, according to the company.

The mini fm, which fits onto the top of the iPod mini, is designed to match the shape and style of all iPod minis, but is currently only available in silver. It’s scheduled to begin shipping early next month for $39.99.

See iLounge’s first look special for more details and photos of the DLO mini fm.

Survey suggests interest in ‘iPhone’

Research firm Piper Jaffray recently conducted a 200-person survey that shows unsurprising interest in an Apple “iPhone.” The firm said in an in-depth report provided to iLounge that the hypothetical product would be capable of serving as both an iPod and a cell phone, and be manufactured and branded by Apple (different than Motorola’s upcoming line of iTunes-compatible mobile phones). On average, the respondents said they would pay $255 for such a device.

“We believe a normalized interest level of 18% is enough for Apple to be considering such a product,” said Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster, noting that the phone market is 13x larger than the MP3 player market. “We believe Apple has a powerful brand that can be applied to markets not yet addressed. If Apple executives are tuned into the strength of the Apple brand, we expect the company’s target markets to expand in the years ahead to capitalize on its namesake.”

Mix: Popkomm, iPod tattoo, Next verse, iPod ants, Price war

Eddie Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications, will deliver a keynote speech at Popkomm, a leading European music and entertainment industry event that takes place September 14-16 in Berlin, Germany.

iLounger James McHugh has gotten what could be the first iPod-inspired tattoo.

In an article entitled “What’s the Next Verse in Apple’s Song?”, BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows says: “As Jobs remains on his current course, Apple could face a rebellion among partners and consumers who want more alternatives and more flexibility out of digital music’s current king of the hill.”

A New Zealand man found a colony of Singapore ants inside the packaging of a new iPod he had purchased at a Fiji airport. “About 50 live Singapore ants—highly destructive ants that can eat through plastic and wiring—were crawling around the iPod.”

Reuters reports that the “cut-throat pricing battle in the portable music segment has been decisively won by Apple” and that Asian MP3 player makers are “targeting higher-margin devices with sleek designs to wow fashion-savvy users as they struggle to survive.”

Sony in talks with Apple to offer songs on Japan iTMS

Sony said yesterday that it is in talks with Apple to offer its music on the Japanese iTunes Music Store. “We are negotiating with Apple over the download business and hope to expand our customer base to iPod users,” said Yasuhi Ide, a spokesman for Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).

As previously reported, the iTunes Music Store launched in Japan last month without some local record labels, including Sony. “We simply want iPod users to listen to our music,” Ide said, adding that the deal could bring more than 25,000 songs by the company’s Japanese artists to iPod users.

No keynote at Apple Expo Paris

Contrary to earlier reports, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will not be delivering a keynote presentation at Apple Expo in Paris this month. The show’s organizers updated the Apple Expo website today with a brief message saying that there would be no keynote at the event. Apple confirmed the news, but said Jobs and other Apple executives would be at the event to host a Q&A session for media.

“While this year’s Apple Expo will not feature a formal keynote presentation, members of Apple’s executive team will be hosting a Q&A session for members of the media on the opening day and will be at Apple Expo throughout the week,” an Apple spokesperson told iLounge.

As previously reported, Apple Expo takes place September 20th through the 24th. There has been much speculation that Apple would unveil new products at the event. With no keynote, it is unlikely that the company will make any introductions at Apple Expo this year, and puts even more significance on Wednesday’s special event in San Francisco.

Forums: iTunes Phone forum, Podcast guide, In Car iPod

In the iLounge Discussion Forums this week: with the announcement by Apple and Motorola of upcoming ‘events,’ make sure you keep up with the forum discussion on the iTunes phones.

Still wondering what to make of this whole ‘podcasting’ thing? Understanding the Podcasting Revolution & Bookmarking might clear things up for you….

With the publication of the comprehensive iLounge Fall 2005 FM Transmitter Shootout, some other options for FM transmitters may be found in the In Car Solutions forum. If, after reading the “Shootout,” you still feel that you want another option, see what methods other iLoungers have employed integrating their iPods into their cars.

Poll results: How much would you pay (max) for a video-equipped iPod this year?

The most recent Lounge Poll, “What’s the highest price you would pay for a video-equipped iPod this year?”, is now closed.

With nearly 5,000 votes cast, the single most popular response was $399, with 36% of respondants choosing this price. Roughly a quarter of those surveyed were willing to pay $499 or more, while 37% said they would pay $299 or less ($199). The numbers were surprising in that they suggested that a majority of respondants were willing to pay some premium for video functionality on an iPod.

Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “Will you buy an iTunes-compatible phone?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge.

New Podcast: iLounge Week in Review 8, enhanced

imageNow available is the eighth iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.

This week, we’re debuting a visually enhanced podcast format, complete with pictures and direct-to-iLounge links for all of the stories and reviews we’ve covered. News topics for the podcast are Apple’s special event to be held next week, reports on Motorola’s iTunes phone, battles between Apple and record lables over iTunes pricing, allegations by Creative of an iPod patent violation, and a request for support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We also cover reviews of Griffin’s new iTrip with LCD Screen, our FM transmitter shootout, new speakers from Sonic Impact and Ignitek, and more.

Past podcasts, including last week’s edition with audio samples from the voice recorders iTalk (2) and iFM, are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: Enhanced Version (includes photos and URL links)
Direct download: MP3 Version
Subscribe to our Podcast feed
Subscribe to our iTunes Podcast feed
Listen to Past Podcasts

Giant magazine seeks iPod early adopters

A writer from Giant magazine wants to hear from iLoungers who purchased a first-generation iPod the day it was released (November 10, 2001).

“I would love to see a dated receipt to reproduce in the mag, also interested in original packaging, or even a shot of your well-loved original iPod if still in use,” he says. “But mainly I want to hear about why you bought it in the first place, what it’s meant to you, and, of course, what you’re listening to these days.”

Email Giant with contact info at [email protected]

Mix: iTunes charts, Inventec, T-Mobile, Napster

Apple’s new iTunes Worldwide Charts let you quickly see the top selling songs and albums from the 20 different iTunes Music Stores across the globe.

Taiwanese iPod part supplier Inventec Appliances Corp. reported its revenue more than doubled in the first half of this year to NT$47.9 billion (US$1.47 billion).

T-Mobile may offer an iTunes-compatible phone from Motorola. The company hinted at such plans in a slide during a German press conference yesterday.

BusinessWeek looks at Napster’s brand in the uphill battle against Apple. “The online music service has iTunes in its sights, but the latter may have developed a huge lead that’s tough to overcome.”

Griffin intros next generation iTrip FM transmitter

imageGriffin Technology today announced the availability of its redesigned iTrip FM transmitter (iLounge Rating: A/A-).

The new iTrip gains a backlit LCD screen and tuning knob to more easily select a broadcast frequency. The device also features selectable LX or DX broadcasting modes for optimal clarity, the ability to set the iTrip to either US or International tuning modes, and an auto volume control.

Griffin’s new iTrip, which works with third and fourth-generation iPods, retails for $49.99 but is available for an introductory price of $39.99.

Hurricane Katrina relief

imageAs relief efforts begin in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, we urge you to please make a donation to the American Red Cross. By providing financial support, you’ll be helping the hundreds of thousands of victims of the tragic disaster. In addition to the Red Cross website, you can donate through Amazon.com and the iTunes Music Store. Our hearts go out to all of those affected.

Creative considers legal action over patent violation

Apple may soon come under legal pressure from Creative Technology now that the Singapore-based company has been awarded a patent that it says the iPod infringes upon. Creative has already openly accused Apple of violating the patent, which covers the way users navigate music selections on a portable device, and the company told The New York Times that it is considering every option available to defend the patent, including possible legal action.

Craig McHugh, president of Creative’s United States operations, said yesterday that Apple was the only company identified so far that was in violation of the patent, though Creative was investigating others. “We are looking at all our alternatives right now,” McHugh said. “We have always been very vigorous in our defense of our patent portfolio.”

Mix: NPR, MP3 phones, SoundDock, Creative worm, Video iPod

NPR has posted a beta version of its new podcast directory. It is currently offering 130 podcasts in numerous categories and topics.

Brad Hale, director of product marketing for MP3 chip maker SigmaTel, says music phones will only whet the public’s appetite for full-featured digital music players. “When there are MP3 capabilities in a phone, it’s going to expose the technology to someone that’s a non-MP3 user and it’s going to cause more and more people to want to adopt stand-alone MP3 players. At the end of the day the phone is not an optimal solution from an audio quality standpoint, from a battery life standpoint, from a user interface standpoint, from a storage capacity standpoint.”

Greenhouse, a Japanese electronics maker, has created an amplifier and speaker dock for the iPod shuffle looks “suspiciously like a Bose SoundDock.”

Creative has confirmed that 3,700 of the company’s Zen Neeon MP3 players that shipped from a company factory in late July contain a Windows worm (W32.Wullik.B).

TheStreet.com’s Cody Willard says a video iPod is still a ways off. “While there are millions of video files being traded on piracy networks and sent via email, and hundreds of millions of videos available for download on the Internet, the mainstream user isn’t exactly downloading those files, burning DVDs from those video files and watching them on a TV set. That day is coming, and Apple is certainly going to make a move into that market when the time is right. But that’s not next week. And probably not anytime in the next quarter, or two or three.”

Madonna, others to star in Motorola iTunes phone ads

Motorola has gotten Madonna, Iggy Pop and several other music acts to star in commercials for its upcoming iTunes-enabled mobile phone, according to reports.

“Motorola has signed an artist from every generation to appear in the ads, including Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, Lil’ Jon, The White Stripes, Sleater-Kinney, Sum 41, Mya, Pussycat Dolls and Billie Joe from Green Day,” reports Brand Republic. “Look-a-likes of Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Biggie Smalls are also featured.”

“Madonna, who was recently in the press after falling from her horse during her 47th birthday celebrations, filmed her piece for the ad at Shepperton Studios yesterday. A Motorola spokesman refused to comment on the ads but confirmed that Madonna and Iggy Pop were to star.”

HP CEO explains why company stopped selling iPod

In an interview with BusinessWeek, Hewlett-Packard’s new CEO Mark Hurd explains why his company decided to stop selling rebranded versions of Apple’s iPod.

“There are a lot of bets we can make, but we want to make those bets in markets that are exciting, have growth, are worth dominating—make that ‘leading,’ the lawyers don’t like ‘dominating’—and in which, by the way, we can lead,” Hurd said. “So think about putting our logo on the iPod. Is the market worth leading? Maybe it is. But can we lead it, with no or very little technology differentiation? Doubtful. You have to go into places where you can lead.”

HP said it would stop reselling Apple’s line of iPods in late July, saying only that “the iPod doesn’t fit in with our digital entertainment strategy.”

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