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Mix: Microsoft, Etheridge, Orchestra, Market share

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.

Boostaroo Revolution now shipping

imageUpBeat 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 unwraps new iPod nano case

imageWaterfield 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 releases iVod Crystal

imageVaja 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 intros Pocket Skin for iPod nano

imagePivot 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 announces “One More Thing” event for Oct. 12

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.

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iLounge announces Holiday 2005 Buyers’ Guide, New Contests

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!

PodSpider podcast search engine unveiled

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.

invisibleSHIELD for iPod nano shipping

The Think Different Store is now shipping its new clear protective body wrap for the iPod nano, the invisibleSHIELD. The film, which was originally developed to protect helicopter blades, is cut to provide access to the nano’s hold switch, headphone jack, and dock connector port while offering full-body coverage. A version of the invisibleSHEILD with the clickwheel cut-out is also available directly from the invisibleSHIELD website. The invisibleSHIELD for iPod nano is available now and sells for $19.99.

Podtee offers iPod-themed t-shirts

imagePodtee is now offering a selection of iPod-inspired t-shirts, including two limited edition prints. Made of 100% cotton, each design is offered on men’s standard, ringer, and women’s styles of shirts. Designed for the upcoming holiday, the “Boo” and “Bats!” prints are being offered in limited edition runs. Pricing for podtees starts at $18.99.

Mix: Nano case template, Billboard, Royalty dispute, 200GB nano

Sneakmove has posted a template for nano owners wishing to make DIY cases. [via TUAW]

The iPod nano is leading the way in the change from hard drive-based to flash-based MP3 players, according to Billboard. “We don’t look at it from a standpoint of hard drive and flash,” says Stan Ng, director of iPod product marketing. “We try to look at the whole lineup to bring a lot of new customers in.”

Apple is siding with a record label group in an ongoing dispute over iTunes royalties, reports Macworld UK.

An iPod nano owner has comically shown a way to connect a 200GB ATA hard drive to the nano.

Speck adds iKitty to family

imageSpeck Products has introduced its latest iPod toy, the iKitty. Shaped like a cat, the iKitty offers functionality as both a stand and a case for the iPod and iPod mini. Features of the iKitty include access to the iPod’s top ports, a tail that functions as a headphone cord organizer, as well as a screen protector and a dockable design. The iKitty is available now; both the full-size and mini models of iKitty sell for $34.95.

Forbes: iPod sales could top 10 million in Q4

According to analysts with UBS, sales of iPods could top 10 million in the fourth quarter, Forbes reports. Worldwide checks found the potential to exceed 10 million units based on “ambitious plans for the nano” and “recent reports that a handheld device capable of video playback may be in the works.”

“‘In short, our meetings were very positive for Apple into year-end and next, in terms of potential new iPods and possible build plans,’ said the firm. ‘We continue to believe that Apple could do more in terms of multimedia offerings into the year-end.’”

A.B. Sutton releases nano Book, nano Slip cases

Leather goods manufacturer A.B. Sutton has introduced two new leather cases for the iPod nano, the nano Book and the nano Slip. Both cases are handmade-to-order in varieties of more than 40 leather colors and 70 silk fabrics. Both also offer access to all the nano’s controls and ports, are individually numbered, and are available starting today.

imagenano Book
The nano Book case for iPod nano features a full-flap design with a leather buckle to cover the nano’s face when closed. A piece of protective plastic covers the nano’s screen when open, and the silk lining is designed to prevent scratches. A backstrap holder for headphones is also available. Pricing for the nano Book starts at $70.

imagenano Slip
The nano Slip for iPod nano has a sleeve-like design, with decorative options available for the back of the case. A piece of protective plastic covers the screen, while the silk lining option is only available in thin silk fabrics. A backstrap holder for headphones is an available option as well. Pricing for the nano Slip starts at $50.

Mix: Digital gains, Dallas Morning News, nano vs. washer, new iPods?

While global music sales declined 1.9 percent the first half of the year, market share for commercial music downloads rose to 6 percent of total sales, Reuters reports.

Jim Rossman reports for the Dallas Morning News, “The nano pushes the cool factor to a new level. If you touch it, you’ll have to have it,” in his review of the device.

iLounge reader Jon Gales reports that his iPod nano survived a spin in his washing machine.

Sources are predicting new, higher-capacity fifth-generation iPods are on their way this month, possibly with video, reports AppleInsider.

“Hollaback Girl” first song with one million commercial downloads

For the first time since the advent of commercial digital music downloads, a recording has passed the 1,000,000 mark in download sales. The song, former Billboard #1 “Hollaback Girl” from Gwen Stefani’s debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., had sales of approximately 995,000 downloads as of Friday, September 30. The recording has averaged 15,000 downloads per week since it’s release on November 25, 2004.

Stefani commented, “It’s always an honor to be recognized for your music, and this is really the coolest. It’s exciting to see people embrace the song and really make it part of their lives. Whether it’s cds, computers, or cellphones…it really is bananas.”

Another track from the album, “Rich Girl,” was featured in commercials for Apple and Pepsi’s free iTunes download promotion earlier in the year. “Hollaback Girl” is available for sale from iTunes, as well as Napster, Rhapsody, Sony Connect and other online music retailers.

Tunewear intros Tunewallet for iPod nano

Tunewear has launched a new leather iPod nano case, the Tunewallet nano and announced availablility and pricing for the Tunetag. The Tunetag and Tunewallet nano are available in three colors—black with red stitching, black with white stitching, and white with white stitching. Both cases will begin shipping October 11.

imageTunetag
The Tunetag is a luggage-tag style case made of leather. It features a clear vinyl sheet to protect the screen and click wheel, and a belt strap for connecting the case to bags, purses, or belt loops. The Tunetag sells for $29.95.

imageTunewallet nano
The Tunewallet nano is a wallet-style leather case. It features a bi-fold design with a screen cover and a slot on the inside of the flip cover for credit cards, small amounts of cash, and more. The Tunewallet nano sells for $39.95.

JAVOedge announces JAVOScreen for iPod nano

JAVOedge has released the JAVOScreen Screen Protector for iPod nano. The JAVOScreen has been specifically designed to cover the entire front of the nano. It is made of an anti-reflective, scratch-proof material that can also be washed and re-positioned. JAVOScreen for iPod nano is available now; pricing is set at $5.95.

Agent 18 debuts Shield 4 iPod nano

imageAgent 18 has introduced the Shield 4 iPod nano, a clear Polycarbonate cover for the iPod nano. The snap on/off design allows access to the nano’s hold switch, headphone port, and dock connector without the need to remove it from the case. The shell also provides protection for the screen, and access to the click wheel. The Agent 18 Shield 4 iPod nano sells for $19.99 and will ship on October 12.

Microsoft demos Xbox 360-to-iPod connection, notes limits

image During its first demonstration of “final” Xbox 360 hardware in London, Microsoft showed off its upcoming game console’s ability to interface with an iPod, and explained the link between the two devices. According to German site Heise Online, Xbox 360 can connect to an iPod with a standard Apple cable using any one of three total USB ports, then use the iPod’s MP3- or WAV-format music as a soundtrack for games.

Though an iPod mini was used in the demonstration, other digital music players, USB storage sticks, digital cameras, external hard drives and Sony PSPs can also be connected in the same way. The Xbox 360 can apparently use both music and digital photographs from these devices to create on-screen slideshows, complete with audio accompaniment. However, says Heise, the console cannot store data it has transferred through the USB connections, nor can it play back movies stored on any external device.

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