Following months of pressure from environmental activists, Apple today announced a free iPod recycling program with an added incentive. The company said that beginning today, “customers can bring iPods they no longer want to any of Apple’s 100 retail stores in the US for free environmentally friendly disposal, and those who drop off an iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo will receive a 10 percent discount on the purchase of a new iPod that day.” Apple said that iPods received for recycling in the US are “processed domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas.”
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has been pressuring Apple since late last year to do more with its environmental practices, claiming that the company doesn’t do enough to ensure that its products are disposed of properly. The group focused largely on the iPod and its hard-to-replace battery. Protests were staged outside Apple’s headquarters in January and during this year’s Macworld Expo a few days later. The group also picketed at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting in April.
The Toxics Coalition described the iPod as “a time-bomb for our health and environment because of the toxic metals that will either go into incinerators or landfills.” Apple has acknowledged the device does contain “a small amount of lead,” which the company says it is working to phase out. “To call the iPod an environmental time bomb is just inexcusable,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at the shareholders meeting.
The Royal Academy of Engineering will award its coveted silver President’s Medal to Apple design guru Jonathan Ive for “his outstanding achievements in engineering design and in particular in the design of the iPod, which represents the very best of human interface engineering.”
Shares of Apple dropped nearly 5% early Friday after saying Thursday that it had settled an iPod class-action lawsuit that could cost the company as much as $100 million.
In an article looking at CD-quality downloads, BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows reports: “If the digital music revolution is to reach its full potential—an all-digital future, perhaps, in which CDs racks are no longer needed—analysts say the industry will have to hit a far better-sounding note.”
Developers of the Mozilla Foundation’s Thunderbird have added podcasting features to the open-source e-mail client.
iPodStyles said it has teamed up with Sumajin to offer the Shuffle Loop, a new silicone case for the iPod shuffle. According to the companies, the Shuffle Loop was designed to protect the device with thicker silicone materials at the corners. The case is available in six colors—black, blue, clear, green, orange and pink—and can be purchased with a matching Smartwrap ($4.99) and earphone sponges ($1.30) to “complete the look.” The Shuffle Loop is priced at $8.
This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums, as we move into the summer with its mix of good and bad weather, forum readers have asked the question: what are your 5 favorite sunny weather bands and what are your 5 favorite depressing rainy weather bands?
If you’re planning for a summer in the sun, you might want a beach friendly case to keep the sand and water at bay. See what others suggest for keeping your iPod safe in the harsh environment of the beach. And don’t forget to check iLounge’s official Case Reviews, too.
What better way to spend your time in the sun than enjoying the company of… a book? Here are some Audible book recommendations from other ‘loungers if you’re looking for a change from music…
Has the unthinkable happened and your iPod’s been damaged? As Apple’s warranty does not cover accidental damage, you can find help in the Service, Warranty, and Repair Q&A Forum.
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced the immediate availability of a new glow in the dark version of its Gel Shield silicone case for the iPod shuffle. The glow in the dark Gel Shield is available for $9.99.
Also available from Pacific Rim are the original Gel Shield cases, which come in five colors—Lime, Charcoal, Juicy Pink, Sky Blue and White. They sell for $7.99 or in a 3-pack for $14.99.
UK-based Disruptive Technology Channels, owner of the PodGear brand, today announced a new brand of Artwizz iPod accessories. The first offering from the company is a new set of earphones called HangPods that feature an integrated neck strap allowing iPod owners to hang their iPod around their neck for hands-free usage while simplfying cord tangles at the same time.
The Artwizz HangPods are available in black or white for £14.99. They can also be purchased with the iSee mini (clear plastic iPod mini case with lanyard eyelet) for £29.99, or with the iSleeve (silicone iPod case with lanyard eyelet) for £19.99.
If you’ve been reading iLounge recently, you’re probably familiar with Luxpro’s line of iPod shuffle knock-offs. What you may not know is that there are numerous companies copying every model of the iPod and even iPod accessories. At this week’s Computex trade show in Taipei, an iLounge reader snapped several photos and collected specs on a number of these clones.
The most brazen iPod copy seen at the show was an iPod mini look-alike from a Taiwan consumer electronics OEM supplier. Said to cost only US$50, the “i-Pocket” is roughly the same size as Apple’s iPod mini, but includes no internal storage—instead it has a memory card slot. It supports SD/MMC/MS cards for music storage, and acts as a card reader for SD/MMC/MS/MS Duo/MS Pro formats. The player also offers voice recording, an FM radio and recorder, a color OLED display (128 x 64), USB 2.0, and supports MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, WMV, ASF file formats. It is available in gold, red, blue and black.
Continue reading for a full report (with photos) on iPod shuffle and iPod accessory clones, as well as new products.
iPod owners who complained of battery problems will get $50 vouchers and extended service warranties, according to the terms of a tentative class-action lawsuit settlement. Lawyers representing consumers said that the settlement could affect as many as two million people who purchased first, second and third-generation iPods through May 2004. Eight consumers filed the suit against Apple in 2003 claiming the iPod failed to live up to claims that its battery would last the product’s lifetime and play music for up to 10 hours.
“People who fill out a claim form are entitled to receive $50 redeemable toward the purchase of any Apple products or services except iTunes downloads or iTunes gift certificates,” reports AP. “They can redeem the voucher within 18 months of final settlement approval at any bricks-and-mortar Apple Store or online. Consumers who had battery troubles can also get their battery or iPod replaced through the lawsuit. Apple currently replaces or repairs defective products that are returned within one year but the class-action settlement extends the warranty to two years, plaintiffs’ lawyers said.”
Forbes reports that the growth of stolen music continues: “Consumers purchased 25.9 million songs in March 2005, 52% more than they bought a year ago. Consumers also downloaded more than 242 million songs illegally this March, up 25% from March 2004.”
The iPod has made the cover of the New Yorker magazine for the first time. The August issue’s cover features “The Song of Spring,” by Peter de Sève, which shows a man sitting on a park bench with the famous white earbuds.
Goldman Sachs expects little sequential iPod growth this quarter. “In contrast to the past few quarters when Apple showed healthy upside to our and Wall Street iPod forecasts, our retail and supply chain checks suggest that iPod shipments are tracking in line with our 5.35 million unit estimate for the June quarter,” the firm said.
Jill Klosterman of The Daily Cardinal says that Apple’s iPod commercials “represent an ideal synthesis of the economic principle of product differentiation with the American principle of independence.”
Following iLounge’s exclusive report earlier this week, Altec Lansing has now officially announced its inMotion iM7 portable speaker system for the iPod and iPod mini. The company said that it will be available this month at Apple Stores and from its online store for $249.95.
“The iM7 is the newest and highest-performing member of Altec Lansing’s groundbreaking portable inMotion speaker family,” company says in its press release. “This sleek, cylindrical, white and silver ‘mobile home’ for your iPod packs more drivers and power into its boombox-sized chassis than any competitive product, including two 1” tweeters, two 3” mid-range drivers, a 4” side-firing subwoofer and a 4” passive radiator. These components combine with Altec Lansing’s new high-efficiency digital amplification technology and proven XdB onboard digital signal processor to deliver big bass, clearly distinguished mids and highs, and room-filling sound from every track.”
Apple announced today that European iTunes Music Stores now accept Firstgate’s Click&Buy as a payment option. The third-party service lets customers purchase music via debit card, direct debits, invoice or bank transfer. The Click&Buy option will be available for all European countries except Switzerland.
Apple today also launched its iTunes Affiliate Program in Europe, which lets European users earn 4% commission on sales generated by direct links to the iTunes Music Store from a Web site or email. Affiliates that sign up for the program before June 30th will be automatically entered to win an iPod.
“We think giving our iTunes customers the option to use the Click&Buy payment option is going to be a hit,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Applications. “And, with over 15,000 iTunes affiliates in the US, the introduction of our affiliate program to Europe will drive even more customers to the world’s best online music store, while providing affiliate Web sites a quick and easy way to generate commissions.”
As expected, Hewlett-Packard announced today that it has added the iPod mini to its line of HP-branded iPods. As with the company’s 4G and photo iPods it sells, the “Apple iPod mini from HP” appears to be identical to Apple’s except for packaging and warranty details. The HP iPod mini will come in both 4GB and 6GB versions and will go on sale June 5. It’s not clear whether it will be available in all four colors.
HP also introduced HP Printable Tattoos for the iPod mini, which allow consumers to personalize the device with artwork, designs and photography. “During the next six months, HP will roll out more than 300 new images, including album art from the hottest bands and recording artists, as well as unique artwork,” the company said. “The new Tattoo gallery features sports, nature, lifestyle and art sections in addition to many other categories.”
As announced late last week, we’ve teamed up with Mediafour, publisher of XPlay, on a new photo contest for iPod owners. The “X Marks the Spot” contest will run for four weeks and will feature four different challenges with a total of four prizes.
To enter, submit a creative photograph of yourself and your iPod at each week’s themed location. Photos will be judged on the creative depiction of iPods in the context of each week’s theme. The deadline for this week’s entry—“Public iPod
Harman Multimedia is now offering an adapter for the JBL On Stage that makes the speaker system compatible with all iPod photo models. The new iPod photo adaptor is available free of charge to owners of the On Stage from JBL’s website. The company said the JBL On Stage is now being manufactured and distributed with the iPod photo attachment included.
In addition, Harman Multimedia has reduced the price on two of its popular desktop speaker systems. The JBL Encounter 2.1 and the Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II are now available for $149.95 and $169.95, respectively. Both were previously priced at $199.95.
An iLounge reader in Taiwan recently purchased the Luxpro Super Tangent and provided us with his observations of the iPod shuffle clone as well as a photo gallery of the device and its packaging.
The iLounger said the Super Tangent is “worse than you could believe” and that “every detail is wrong.” He said the player cost about US$115 and that the buttons do not work well, battery life is “terrible,” and the recorder simply did not record. The reader also said that the LEDs do not shine through the casing properly, and that it doesn’t fit well in a USB port. “There is nothing that works even close to right,” he said.
Update: Phillip Torrone of Make magazine let us know that he had a little better luck with the Super Tangent he purchased. He has posted a review and several photos of the device, including comparison shots beside the iPod shuffle.
Tony Whitney of Canadian Driver looks at the integrated iPod interface in the 2006 Mercedes-Benz B-Class and says it came out “looking very good indeed.”
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who topped the Los Angeles Times’ executive pay survey last year, is No. 99 on the new list after his compensation dropped from $74.8 million to $1. However, Jobs still owns 10 million Apple shares worth about $406 million.
AOL and Apple are reportedly in talks to resolve problems with download tracking, which has led to payment issues between the two companies.
Capdase has introduced the Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle. The package includes a silicone case (with “EZ dust Go” treatment), an adjustable neck strap, a custom replacement USB cap, and four earphone clips (hold cable along lanyard for better cord management).
The Capdase Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle is available with a silicone case in white, blue, dark blue, green, pink, black, orange, or purple. Pricing and expected release information were not available.
iPodStyles has announced that it is now carrying two new lines of products to protect the backs and Click Wheels of iPods and iPod minis. The PowerGuard and WheelFilm protectors come in a range of colors and patterns, and are priced at either $6.99 or $7.99.
“Protect your iPod and iPod mini’s back and Click Wheel from scratches, dirt, and grime with iPodStyle’s new range of PowerGuard and WheelFilm protectors,” the store says. “PowerGuard acts as a protective layer for the back of the iPod, maintaining the mirror-like surface in its tip-top condition, while WheelFilm acts as a protective layer for the front Click Wheel of the iPod, keeping it clean.”
Altec Lansing has revealed its new inMotion iM7 portable audio speaker system for the iPod and iPod mini. While no announcement has been made by the company, an eagle-eyed member of the iLounge forums spotted an ad for the system in the latest issue of Sync magazine. A quick check of Altec Lansing’s website shows an uncompleted page for the product along with specs and pricing details, though no official photos as of this posting.
The inMotion iM7, which features a “bazooka style” design like some recent boomboxes, offers a built-in, adjustable iPod cradle, Neodymium drivers and tweeters, and a built-in subwoofer with XdB technology. The AC or battery powered device also includes a wireless remote control, S-video output for the iPod photo (allows you to play your photo slideshows on TVs while still connected to the speaker system), and an auxiliary input jack (for use with other audio devices). It will retail for $249.95. There’s no word yet on availability.
To round off this week in the iLounge Discussion Forums, if you’re a fan of Genesis, Pink Floyd or one of the many other bands in their genre, then join the latest Progressive Rock discussion in the Music Forum. We remember them only too well…
Do you have a novel use for the Notes section on your iPod, or want to figure out how to use it better? Read “What do you use your Notes section of your iPod for?” and get some ideas, or submit your own suggestions.
In the General iPod Discussions forum, one member reports that after a year, the 40gb iPod has finally been filled - is your iPod half full or half empty?...
As the next big Apple event approaches, discussion about what features the next iPod will include is going on in the Future iPod forum. It may all be speculation, but who knows - some features may actually be included. What would you like to see in a 5G iPod?