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Mix: IDEA Awards, Apple shares, iMuffs, iPodStyles sale

Apple’s iPod shuffle was among the 148 winners in this year’s prestigious Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). It won a gold award in the consumer products category.

Apple’s stock will likely take a hit if upcoming music cell phones prove to be competitors, Barron’s newspaper said. “While some analysts believe Apple might sell 45 million iPods next year, that pales next to the 750 million or more handsets that might be sold.”

Wi-Gear is now taking pre-orders ($179.99) for its iMuffs Bluetooth headphones for iPods and mobile phones. Free ground shipping is included.

iPodStyles has kicked off a summer clearance sale, with discounts ranging from 40% to 60%. All silicone cases, sync/charge accessories, and ShuffleArts are on sale.

Report: Cingular to offer iTunes phone

Cingular is considering whether to sell Motorola’s long-awaited iTunes mobile phone, according to a Reuters report on Friday. “Motorola and Apple have been talking to Cingular about it using the iTunes phone,” a source told the news agency.

In further confirmation, RBC Capital analyst Mark Sue said in a research note this week that Apple and Cingular, the No. 1 U.S. carrier, were finalizing details on revenue sharing.

Cingular and Apple representatives declined comment, while a Motorola spokeswoman said the company is on schedule to ship the first iTunes phone in the third quarter. [via Mobile Tracker]

Audible to begin RSS delivery and podcast service

Today, Audible announced plans to distribute the New York Times Audio Digest, Wall Street Journal and other periodic audio content via RSS. Audible customers can schedule automatic delivery of their periodic programming to their computers and to any one of more than 135 AudibleReady handheld devices, including the iPod.

Audible has also launched an information page outlining its strategy behind profitable podcasting. “Starting June 24th, you can put Audible’s management experience, platforms and tools to work for you and your podcasting strategy. Audible now offers content producers the infrastructure for circulation control, paid subscriptions and advertising management needed to effortlessly produce and manage podcasting - and turn that audio content into predictable, incremental revenue.”
[via I-Newswire.com]

iPodderX developer talks iTunes 4.9, podcasting

iLounge recently spoke with iPodderX developer August Trometer on what impact the forthcoming iTunes 4.9 update will have on podcasting. As previously reported, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced iTunes 4.9 at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, and then later provided further details at this month’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC).

Trometer told iLounge that he was by no means surprised at the announcement. “It was inevitable that Apple would take an interest in podcasting,” he said. “After all, the more uses Apple can find for the iPod, the better for them. So when iTunes 4.9 was announced, I wasn’t too surprised.”

Trometer said that in the long run, it’s great news for both podcasting and for applications like iPodderX. “In much the same way that Safari RSS is introducing a whole new audience to syndicated newsfeeds, I think iTunes 4.9 will do the same for podcasting. But, also like Safari RSS, people will soon tire of the basic feature set and want more capabilities than iTunes offers. These folks will look elsewhere and to other applications for their podcast needs.”

After seeing Jobs give a demo of iTunes 4.9 at WWDC, Trometer said Apple, like always, has come up with a great looking and easy to use solution to a technology many have yet to embrace. “I have to admit, iTunes 4.9 looks slick,” he told iLounge. “I have a feeling that people will get tired of the way it lists their podcasts—disclosure triangles for each feed will get tiresome—but overall it looks like a great introduction to the world of podcasting.”

Poll results: How do you use your iPod?

The results of our first Lounge Poll are in. With responses from over 2,800 Loungers, the question “What do you use your iPod for?” has now been answered.

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More than 50% of responding readers said that they use the iPod only for music, but a robust 40% also use it to store data and/or photographs, too. Thanks for your responses, and be sure to check out our current Lounge Poll on the left column, right underneath Ask iLounge: “How large is your biggest iPod?”

 

58% of retailers recommend iPod; Sales to ‘reaccelerate’

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on Friday that Apple “will likely not show significant upside for the iPod in the June quarter” with sales of 5.5 million units, but that the iPod business will “reaccelerate” in the seasonally strong September and December quarters.

Munster’s positive expectations are based on results from a recent survey of MP3 player sales reps at 100 U.S. retail stores (non-Apple), which on average 58% of recommended the purchase of an iPod over a competing device.

Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge that 63% of sales reps recommend an iPod model in the 5GB or larger category, in most cases recommending the 6GB iPod mini or 20GB iPod. In the 5GB or less category, 52% of sales reps recommend an iPod (4GB iPod mini or iPod shuffle).

The analyst said that 32% of salespeople who recommend the iPod do so because of the device’s ease of use. Munster said that 21% see the “massive eco-system” of iPod accessories as the top reason to own an iPod.

Meanwhile, the top reason given by 25% of sales reps for recommending something other than an iPod was its lack of an FM receiver. Approximately 14% said its close integration with iTunes is too limiting, and an another 14% said there are some players that have a better design or are smaller than the iPod.

DLO drops iBoom pricing

imageDigital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced that its iBoom has been lowered to $129.99 (from $149.99). The portable four-speaker sound system offers 20-watts of power and features an integrated iPod cradle, a digital FM radio, and backlit display. The iBoom runs on 6 D batteries or AC power and also has a built-in handle and auxiliary input jack.

Mix: iPod books, iPed discount, iPod deals, Clear Channel

Both Leander Kahney of Wired News and Dylan Jones of Britain’s GQ magazine will be releasing books on the iPod phenomenon this year.

In celebration of the 4th of July, Thought Out will honor all active military personnel with 25% off its line of iPed iPod stands.

Kelli Grant of SmartMoney.com has written an article on how to get the best deal when buying an iPod.

Clear Channel Radio announced today that it will make radio programming available through Podcasts at 11 new radio stations.

Mobifly debuts Clip & Walk case for iPod mini

imageMobifly has announced the Clip & Walk case for Apple’s iPod mini. The case can be worn around your waist or across the chest with an included belt (white leather) or shoulder strap (white polyester). The Clip & Walk is currently available from European online Apple Stores (£34.90 at the UK store). U.S. availability is unknown at this time.

“Equipped with a case, a belt and a shoulder strap, the Mobifly kit is designed especially for women and possesses a unique rotation feature enabling the users to access all the iPod mini functions in one flip,” says Mobifly. Moreover, the Mobifly case enhances the look of the iPod mini by displaying its screen, its design and its colour.”

Coldplay solar-powered charger for iPod offered

imageColdplay’s UK online store has added a branded version of the Better Energy Systems Solio solar-powered charger for the iPod (iLounge Rating: B+). The limited edition Solio features cryptic artwork from the band’s new album X&Y . The store said that only 200 are available for purchase worldwide at £79.99. The compact Solio, which weighs 5.8 ounces, features a unique fan blade design that allows it to “achieve maximum solar area when in use, and to fold compactly to the size of an average mobile phone when stored.”

European iTunes Music Stores top 50 million songs

Apple today announced that more than 50 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from its European iTunes Music Stores in their first year of operation. Apple launched iTunes stores in the UK, France and Germany in June 2004, and now have them in 17 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

“We’re thrilled to have sold and delivered over 50 million songs in our first year

Forums: Copy protected CDs, iPod mini in-car, headphone stash, iPod scars

This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums: now that Sony BMG and EMI are offering iPod incompatible audio CDs, we check into a long-running discussion on copy protected CDs in the Music Forums.

In the In-Car Solutions Forum one reader’s solution for a neat installation of an iPod mini in a Ford Explorer Sport has been resurrected from the depths.

The ability of iPod users to collect boxes full of ‘phones is raised in this thread asking for readers to list their “headphone stashes.” Are your shelves groaning under the weight of Shures, Sennheisers, Sonys, et al.?

How do you treat your iPod? Do you protect it at all costs or believe it should wear its scars proudly? Find out how others look after their iPods… or not, as the case may be!

HotRomz debuts new iPod shuffle sleeves

imageHotRomz has expanded its line of unique hand-made iPod sleeves with the introduction of new iPod shuffle versions.

Available in a variety of colors and tactile textures, these original shuffle covers range from “plain to furry to wild” and sell for $14.95 each. The new iPod shuffle sleeves include “Tribble” (available in 7 colors), “Shuffle Muffle” (available in 15 colors), “Birds of a Feather” (available in 8 colors), and “Neon Shuffle” (available in 12 bright colors). They feature an opening at the top for the lanyard and an opening at the bottom for the earphones jack.

Bidding open for custom ‘Style & Sound’ iPod cases

imageSeveral one-of-a-kind iPod cases are now up for auction as part of the Style & Sound fundraising initiative for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC). The cases were created by well-known fashion designers and contain a 40GB iPod courtesy of Apple and a personal playlist created by each designer’s celebrity partner.

Designers include Marc Ecko, BCBG Max Azria, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Sean Combs, and Luca Orlandi. Some of the celebrities involved are Renee Zellweger, Katie Holmes, Brittany Murphy, Mischa Barton, Hype Williams, Brooke Shields, Cyndi Lauper, and Jessica Alba.

imageThe cases are fashioned from various materials, such as leather, bejeweled, snakeskin, metal, and nylon.

There’s even a Do-It-Yourself knitting kit and an “old school” boom box that features a custom “pop-n-play” iPod slot. It’s a modified LASONiC TRC-931 that features a working AM/FM tuner and cassette deck.

Windows: Anapod Explorer 8.8 released

Anapod Explorer 8.8 from Red Chair Software is the latest version of the iPod management application with Windows Explorer integration, file backup, web streaming, and more. This update adds Album Art support for iPod photo users. MP3, M4A, and iTunes Music Store files with embedded art will now have their art displayed on the iPod when transferred using Anapod.

Logitech to debut wireless headphones for iPod

imageLogitech on Wednesday will introduce a new set of Bluetooth wireless headphones for the iPod. The “Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod” package includes a wireless behind-the-head headset and a small receiver that plugs into the top of any Dock Connector iPod (3G, 4G, photo and mini).

The $149.99 headphones, which weigh 3.2 ounces, feature integrated controls (volume, track forward, track backward, play and pause) and work up to 30 feet away from your iPod.

imageLogitech said that the headphones and the adapter are paired at the factory for a quicker out-of-the-box use. They’re both also powered by rechargeable batteries, which provide up to eight hours of playback time.

The Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod will be available in July throughout the U.S. and Europe. You can read iLounge’s review here.

iPods accounted for 30% of all MP3 players sold in 2004

The 8.4 million iPods Apple shipped in 2004 accounted for nearly one third of all digital audio players last year, a recent report by research firm In-Stat found. Various models of the iPod made up 30.2% of the combined worldwide hard drive and flash-based music player market in 2004. 
The firm said revenue for MP3 players reached approximately $4.5 billion, “a remarkable increase of almost 200% over 2003.”

In the same report, In-Stat also said that “the exploding market” for portable audio players is expected to reach over 104 million units by 2009, up from 27.8 million units in 2004. “Drivers for this booming market include falling prices, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, smaller hard disk drives, and increasing Flash memory capacities,” the firm said.

Mix: Legal downloads, Creativity contest, Family Guy

About 35% of music fans now download tracks legally from online stores such as iTunes, and the percentage will soon pass the 40% who have pirated music, according to a new survey by Entertainment Media Research.

The third Mike Industries iPod-A-Month Creativity Competition seeks entries (text, video, audio, a web site, or a GIF/JPEG image) that display “the most creative alternative use of an iPod.” The winner will receive an iPod shuffle. iLounge is also providing a pair of Etymotic ER-6i earbuds and an Apple sport case to the winner.

Stewie Griffin from the animated Fox series “The Family Guy” was featured in his own Apple inspired silhouette commercial this week.

Apple hit with lawsuit over iTunes interface

Contois Music Technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the user interface of iTunes, according to an AppleInsider report. Contois alleges that Apple violated a patent it holds, and seeks damages and the ability to stop Apple from distributing iTunes as the application looks and behaves now.

“The suit, filed on June 13th in Vermont District Court, alleges that Apple’s iTunes software design infringes on Contois’ six-year old design patent (US Patent No. 5,864,868) entitled ‘Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices.’ Contois is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Apple from further distributing its iTunes software in its current form. The company also asked the Court for an unspecified amount of monetary damages resulting from Apple’s ‘copying and willful infringement’ of its design patent as well as reimbursement of legal fees associated with the lawsuit.”

Targus announces new line of iPod gear

imageLaptop accessory maker Targus today announced an iPod accessory line featuing new cases, a wireless remote and a sound enhancing amplifier.

The Slide Case ($29.95) is a black leather case that consists of two parts—the iPod fits into the top piece, which slides into a second leather piece with a belt clip, allowing you to face your iPod in or out (to conceal it or for easy access to controls). It’s available in three sizes for the iPod mini and all versions of 3G, 4G and photo models.

The Flip Case ($29.95) is also a black leather case for the iPod mini and full-size Click Wheel iPods. It features a front that flips down for quick access to iPod controls and connectors. The Flip Case also includes a belt clip and an iPod screen protector.

Targus’ RemoteTunes ($49.99) wireless remote uses RF technology to allow iPod users “freedom to control their music at home, in the office or while on the go.” It offers a range of 150 feet and does not require line of sight to work. The remote also features a “power save” mode—when it doesn’t receive a signal for 20 minutes, it powers off (once the remote buttons are pressed it automatically powers back up). The package contains a remote, receiver, belt clip, stereo cable and tabletop stand. It is based upon ABT’s iJet (iLounge rating: A-).

The SoundUP ($39.99) high definition sound enhancer and amplifier “utilizes Phantom Technologies’ patented circuit and restores information lost when audio files are compressed—revealing instruments and voices that are trapped during compression and previously not heard.” Available in two sizes for the iPod and iPod mini, the device is also a headphone splitter and includes a remote pass-through allowing RemoteTunes or Apples’ wired remote to be used with it.

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