ezGear is now shipping the ezTrip FM TransCharger, its combination iPod FM transmitter and car charger. The device features an LCD display, access to all FM frequencies between 97.7 to 107.9, and a coiled dock connector cable. The product works with all dockable iPods, including 3G/4G/5G iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. The ezTrip FM TransCharger is priced at $50.
The iStore has announced the iCandy cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The silicone cases offer an anti-dust coating, play-through click wheel protection, a lanyard, and two invisible films for the front and back of your iPod. The iCandy cases, priced at $25 each, are available in 10 colors—black, white, light pink, purple, green, yellow, orange, and glow in the dark pink, blue and light blue.
Contour Design has announced its iSee-video case for fifth-generation iPods. Made from impact-resistant polycarbonate, the crystal clear iPod case offers all-around protection and access to all controls and ports. It sports a slim and secure snap-on design and comes with a detachable horizontal belt clip. “In addition to being the ultimate in protection, the new iSee-video features unobstructed viewing in a slim-line snap-on design case,” says the company. “The iSee-video cases bring the beauty and simplicity of Contour’s iSee line to the iPod with video.” The iSee-video comes in two models—one for the 30GB iPod and one for the 60GB version. It sells for $26. We are awaiting photos of the product, as Contour’s website has yet to be updated.
The combination of price and design will keep the iPod in the lead for years to come, according to one Wall Street analyst. After comparing competing MP3 players, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said he believes that other companies simply cannot compete with Apple because they can’t match the iPod’s pricing or its “cool” factor.
“While non-iPod devices often have similar, if not broader, feature sets than the iPod, none of these devices have shown that they can compete in two key areas: 1) user interface and 2) ‘cool’ factor,” Munster wrote in a research note obtained by iLounge. “We believe that non-iPod devices must compete on price to gain adoption, but Apple has such massive relative shipment volume with the iPod that other MP3 player manufacturers are not able to replicate the economies of scale achieved by Apple. We believe this reality will allow Apple to sell iPods at the lowest prices in the market, thus retaining the iPod’s pole position for years.”
HandStands has announced the iSnug Nano Armband, a new armband/case specifically designed for the iPod nano. The $20 accessory features a black leather case and a neoprene and elastic armband with velcro closure. “The new armband was created for iPod nano owners seeking the ultimate in protection while exercising,” according to the company.
In what could be the stiffest competition yet for the iTunes Music Store, MTV Networks and Microsoft announced today that they have joined forces to develop a new digital music service called URGE. Set to launch next year, the service will be integrated into a forthcoming version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. Music pricing was not announced.
“The collaboration unites MTV Networks’ music DNA, marketing strengths and powerful MTV, VH1 and CMT brands with the technology leadership and consumer reach of Microsoft,” the companies said. “URGE will offer rich entertainment programming and innovative tools designed to guide musical discovery and connect fans to the artists and music they love. Offering more than 2 million songs from the major labels and thousands of independents, URGE will encompass all musical genres, from alt-country to zydeco. In addition to a broad catalogue of music choices, URGE will deliver a deep well of exclusive MTV Networks programming and original, hand-crafted content.”
Edmunds.com today announced that 21 of its automotive videos are now offered as free podcasts on the iTunes Music Store. Sponsored by Nissan, the video podcasts feature road test reports on vehicles such as the Lexus IS350, the Honda Civic Si, the Nissan Titan and the Porsche Boxster S. In addition, vehicle comparisons include the BMW 330i vs. the Audi A4 and the Mazda MX-5 vs. the Pontiac Solstice.
SwitchEasy has introduced its “Capsule Accessory System” for the iPod nano. The duo-toned polycarbonate case, made from ultra tough GE LEXAN plastic resin, features a color tinted screen protector, a color coordinated lanyard, and a custom printed reusable click wheel protector made from static cling plastic. The Capsule line comes in five colors—black, white/clear, red, orange, and green/yellow. Each sells for $20.
iLounger Jason Parry says that he has successfully upgraded his 4GB iPod mini to 8GB with a Seagate CF+ II Photo Hard Drive.
The Age’s Harris Collingwood has posted what he considers Apple’s “five rules of cool” that make it a successful company.
BusinessWeek says that Apple may be holding back the music industry. “Critics say Apple’s proprietary technology and its refusal to offer more ways to buy or to stray from its rigid 99 cents a song model is dampening legal sales of digital tunes.”
MacTV has posted a clip from Late Night with Conan O’Brien featuring a humorous video iPod ad parody.
German iPod site iPodFun.de has posted a World Cup soccer schedule that can be downloaded and transferred to your iPod.
Dr. Bott has announced the availability of the Pelican Products i1030 iPod case. Compatible with 3G/4G/5G iPods and iPod minis, the watertight case features a rugged polycarbonate shell, a molded rubber main compartment, and storage for a USB or Firewire cable, earphones and AC adapter. It also has a detachable light-reflecting nylon strap and an automatic pressure release valve with a one-way membrane that equalizes air pressure at high altitudes and keeps water molecules out. The i1030 is available in white or yellow and retails for $40.
XtremeMac has announced the availability of its Shieldz Collector Series cases for the iPod shuffle. Featuring officially licensed movie and cartoon characters and major league baseball team logos, the $20 cases protect your shuffle while personalizing it with your favorite character or team design. Eight designs are currently available: Batman, Darth Vader, Yoda, SpongeBob SquarePants (two designs), New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals.
“Shieldz Collector Series are clip-on shields made of strong, impact resistant plastic that feature full-color artwork from MLB teams, movies, and TV shows. The secure snap-on design protects the front and sides of the iPod shuffle while allowing easy play-through access to the music player’s controls and earbud jack. Furthermore, Shieldz provide additional protection against accidental loss by securing iPod shuffle to its neck lanyard or the XtremeMac SuperHook.”
While the iPod nano and new video iPod are receiving all of the attention this holiday season, Apple’s discontinued iPod mini is still at the top of many Christmas lists and is fetching top dollar at online stores and auctions.
“Patrick McHenry of Eerie, Pa., for example, just bought a pink 4GB Mini, which holds 1,000 songs, on eBay for $275. That’s $76 over the original $199 price tag,” reports CNET News.com’s Michelle Meyers. “But it’s also less than McHenry would have paid at Compu-America—one of the few electronics retailers with the Mini in stock. The store is selling the same model for $349. And sellers on Amazon are listing prices for the 4GB Mini at more than $400.”
eBay spokesman Dean Jutilla said that about 36,000 minis have sold on eBay in the past three months, with an average of 15 to 16 bids per auction. Jutilla also noted that the average price per mini—whether 4GB or 6GB—has gone up from $173 to $229.
ezGear has announced the ezArmor nano case for Apple’s iPod nano. Made from anodized aircraft grade aluminum, the case features a clear screen protector, access to all controls and ports, a neoprene-lined interior, and comes with a removable belt clip and a removable neck strap. The ezArmor nano comes in two models—Standard Aluminum and Onyx Black. Both are available immediately for $30 each.
Apple’s iPod appears to be the hottest holiday gift this year as widely expected. According to new research from comScore, the iPod was the most searched for product in November, beating the highly anticipated Xbox 360 and other popular items. The research firm said that consumers made more than 6.6 million iPod-related searches last month. Following the iPod was the Xbox 360 (5.0 million searches), Harry Potter items (4.8 million searches), Star Wars (2.5 million searches), Barbie-related items (2.1 million searches), and PlayStation (1.9 million searches).
“While high consumer interest was expected this holiday season for items such as the Apple iPod, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation, the intense amount of search activity observed to-date demonstrates how popular these items are with consumers,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman. “It’s also clear that search has become a mainstream way for consumers to research products, irrespective of whether their ultimate purchase will occur online or at a retail store.”
We’ve updated the iLounge Mac OS X Dashboard Widget, which provides quick access to our news and reviews, plus a panel for recent FAQs and help, and an easy full-site search feature. Version 1.5 of the widget displays a rotating gallery of photos from the iPods Around the World Photo Galleries and checks our server for the latest version for download. Stay tuned for an update for the iLounge Konfabulator Widgets.
The iHome iH5 clock radio is the latest iPod accessory to be offered in a black version to match the latest iPods. The iH5—which lets you wake up to music from your iPod, an AM/FM radio or buzzer—features a built-in iPod cradle, stereo speakers, a backlit LCD screen and line-in to connect non-docking iPods and other audio players. The $100 device also charges your iPod while docked. It works with any dockable iPod, including the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. In addition, previous owners of the white iHome can now order cradle inserts ($6) for the iPod nano or cradle cushions ($3) for the 5G iPod.
While it’s no surprise to see the iPod accessory market doing great, analysts and industry insiders have recently tried to put a dollar figure on the overall “iPod economy.”
NPD Group, a marketing-analysis firm, estimates that iPod owners will spend $500 million in 2005 on accessories, not including speakers and headphones.
Gavin Downey, a director of product management at Belkin, says that sales come in at more than $300 million annually. Downey said that sales of iPod accessories are actually growing faster, on a percentage basis, than the iPod itself. He noted that in the early days of the iPod there was a relatively low “attach rate” with the device. For every 15 to 20 iPods sold, one accessory was sold. Today, it’s at almost a one-to-one ratio.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the iPod nano are featured in this month’s BusinessWeek “Best of 2005” issue. Jobs was named among the best business leaders of the year, while the nano is listed among the best products of 2005.
In the “Best Leaders” category, the magazine says: “No one in techland had a better year—or a broader impact—than Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs. Apple continued to set tech’s fashion agenda in 2005 with products such as the iPod nano and the video iPod, as well as the Mac mini, Apple’s cheapest computer ever.”
In its list of the best products of 2005, the magazine says: “Welcome to Apple’s take on the flash memory MP3 player: There’s no question it’s an iPod, but it’s impossibly thin—and expensive. The 4-gigabyte model, the world’s first 4GB flash player, holds about 1,000 songs and costs $249; the 2GB version is only $50 cheaper. It has a big color screen for your photographs. And, man, is it thin.”
SendStation Systems has announced that it is giving away 1,000 free FireWire PocketDock adapters. The tiny PocketDock lets you connect a standard 6-pin FireWire cable to the dock connector of any iPod, enabling you to sync/charge your iPod with a FireWire cable or use older iPod accessories. The offer is available while supplies last or until December 24, 2005 and is limited to one PocketDock per person.
XtremeMac today announced its new TuffWrap silicone cases for the fifth-generation iPod. Available in two sizes to fit the 30GB and 60GB iPod, the TuffWrap cases offer ribbed sides and slip-resistant finish, access to all controls and ports, and screen and click wheel protectors. The TuffWrap is available in translucent white for $20 or in color-coordinated 3-Packs for $35. The 3-Pack is available in either red, white and black, or gray, orange and green. The cases are available now from XtremeMac’s website and will be shipping in one to two weeks.