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.
This week in our look at the iLounge Discussion Forums: iPod nano scratching has prompted the question, “what is the best sticker film for nano?” Do you have a preference for protecting your nano until more cases appear?
We all know the tag line, “1000 songs in your pocket,” but one member asks “for those of you who have 1000+ CDs, what do you do with them all?” Do you relegate your CDs to the basement or keep them on display?
After several months of wanting to change his iPod display to match his car stereo display, one member has succeeded in ‘inverting” the display on his third gen 20GB iPod. A cool blue?
And finally, in the Final Round of the Signature of the Year 2005 contest in The Lounge area of the forums, iLounger Jeff (jwc110869) has managed to retain his title for a second year! See the signature that earned him his title, and start honing your sig for the next contest!
Speck Products has announced the release of its new GripSkin cases for iPod and iPod mini. Made of Kraton rubber, the GripSkin features ribbed grips on each side, a removable screen protector, removable swivel belt clip and has access to all iPod functions. GripSkin ($19.95) for iPod fits 20, 30, and 60GB models, and the iPod mini ($19.95) version fits 4 and 6GB models. All models are available now.
Now available is the twelfth iLounge podcast, co-hosted by iLounge’s Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. This week’s podcast focuses on the iPod nano screen and scratch story, myriad options for protecting your new nano, comments from Motorola on an Apple “smart phone,” XtremeMac’s licensing deal for new iPod accessories, and more.
Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.
Analysts report that the iPod nano, which can store more than just music files, is driving down prices of portable USB flash drives, memory cards and MP3 players.
Volkswagen is releasing a limited edition “VW iFox” in Europe that is equipped with a Blaupunkt Calgary MP3 radio, an iPod adapter and a 2GB iPod nano with a VW logo engraved on the back. [via Engadget]
Blogger Todd Dailey has posted an article on how to remove scratches from your iPod nano using a $4 can of Brasso.
USA Today’s Edward C. Baig gives the iPod nano four out of four stars and writes: “I wanted to spend meaningful time with the device before weighing in with a review. I wanted to make sure the Nano’s beauty was more than skin deep. It is. There’s a reason the Nano has rapidly emerged as Apple’s latest status symbol of choice: It’s a digital music player priced at $199 to $249 that is actually more affordable than its larger and more capacious siblings.”
Piper Jaffray analysts are predicting that Sony may challenge the iPod with the launch of a next generation PSP with an integrated hard drive to store music and videos.
Tunewear has announced the Tunetag Edge, a dog-tag style silicone case for Apple’s iPod nano. The case, which covers only the sides and back of the nano, comes with a removable ball-bearing style chain so that you can attach it to a belt loop, bag strap or elsewhere. It uses the same high density silicone as the company’s Icewear cases, and allows full access to the headphone jack, hold switch and click wheel. The Tunetag Edge will be available next month. Pricing was not announced.
According to internet search behavior data from Hitwise, U.S. searches for “ipod nano” increased 133 percent the week ending Sept. 24, versus the week of its introduction (week ending Sept. 10, 2005), and the market share of total internet visits to Apple’s website shot past peak levels during the 2004 holiday shopping season.
“The iPod has consistently been one of the most searched for items on the Internet in the past year,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of worldwide research at Hitwise. “The share of searches on the iPod nano has eclipsed any other iPod product in the past year, suggesting that the consumer love-affair with the iPod has been reinvigorated with this product introduction.”
Griffin Technology announced today that it is now shipping the SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter for iPod (iLounge Rating: B+). The $29.99 accessory allows users to control their iPod using the built in controls of their cassette player.
“SmartDeck is more than just a cassette adapter for iPod; it achieves truly seamless integration between iPod and cassette deck,” says Griffin. “Users can utilize the cassette deck’s forward and rewind buttons to advance to the next or prior songs in the iPod playlist. In addition, pause and stop buttons do what pause and stop buttons are expected to do. When the user hits the cassette deck’s Eject button or switches from Cassette to Radio, Griffin’s SmartPlay technology automatically pauses the iPod.”
Griffin said that a version of the SmartDeck compatible with the iPod nano is expected to begin shipping in November.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has announced that its TransPod all-in-one iPod car accessory is compatible with the iPod nano. The company said that an included iPod mini insert and extra fit pads can be used to create a snug fit for the nano. A TransPod Fit Kit that includes detailed instructions for fitting a nano into the TransPod is available for download from DLO’s website.
“The DLO TransPod is the home for your iPod in your car, and it performs beautifully with the new iPod nano,” the company says. “It works with all dockable iPods so the whole family has one, simple solution for enjoying their iPods in the car.”
Motorola CEO Ed Zander added to the ongoing speculation of Apple’s intent to create its own mobile phone with comments today to CNET News.com. “We know that they are going to build a smart phone—it’s only a matter of time,” he said after his presentation today at Technology Review’s Emerging Technologies Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Also, as a Motorola representative did earlier this week, Zander downplayed his comments about the iPod nano, claiming they were “taken completely out of context. We have a great relationship with Apple. I’ve known Steve Jobs for 15 years. Sure, there is some tension there. We have the Rokr, and they have the Nano. They are a competitor as well as a partner.”
No Starch Press will release Leander Kahney’s “Cult of iPod” book on November 1st. A follow-up to his “Cult of Mac” book, the title offers “a comprehensive look at how Apple’s hit iPod is changing music, culture, and listening behavior,” according to the book’s description. “The Cult of iPod includes the exclusive back story of the iPod’s development; looks at the many ways iPod’s users pay homage to their devices; and investigates the quirkier aspects of iPod culture, such as iPod-jacking (strangers plugging into each other’s iPods to discover new music) as well as the growing legions of MP3Js (regular folks who use their iPods to become DJs). 4-color throughout.”
STM has introduced a new version of its Cocoon case designed specifically for the iPod nano. The Cocoon offers two forms of protection—a silicone skin and a hard outer shell—that can be used together or separately. The silicone skin features a neck lanyard and screen protector, while the zip-up hard case, made from compressed EVA, offers a belt clip, soft inner lining, and a mesh pocket for earphones. The Cocoon for the iPod nano will be available in November for $35. “So whether you’re at the gym, doing housework or sipping cocktails by the beach, safeguard your iPod nano in an STM cocoon and silicone skin,” says STM.
Merrill Lynch has downgraded Apple’s stock to “neutral” from “buy.” Merrill analyst Richard Farmer said Apple’s iPod line would “continue its hot streak, but noted that the growth rate for the MP3 player would have to decelerate—he projects leaps of 33% in 2006 and 25% in 2007,” reports Forbes.
In an article entitled “Why Apple Won’t Up-Charge Downloads,” BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl writes about the iTunes pricing battle and the war of words going on between Warner Music and Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
The Wall Street Journal reports [paid sub. req.]: “Walt Disney is set to announce today the release of a $49 digital audio player aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds. Like most digital audio players, Disney’s Mix Sticks allows users to download music from the Internet or from CDs copied on a computer. But the device also allows users to plug-and-play music by inserting postage-stamp-size memory cards called Mix Clips, which can hold about the same amount of music as a CD.” [via PaidContent.org]
DAP Review has an article on how to build your own “Nanyard Lanyard” for the iPod Nano with the dock connector of a spare iPod USB or FireWire cable, a chain, a drill and some black spray paint.
Simpl Acoustics has provided a 15% off coupon for all iLoungers on its A1 headphone amplifier for iPod. Enter coupon code LOUNGE at checkout. Meanwhile, Proporta is offering one Advanced Wash-and-Replace iPod nano Screen Protector free to each of the first 25 people who use promo code NANOPROTECTED. After the first 25 sales, they’re offering 50% off your purchase.
Banana Republic has added two new iPod cases to its online store. The clothing retailer’s “Leather iPod Case” works with fourth-generation iPods and features Italian leather construction, a belt clip and clear screen protector. It’s available in cognac and red for $38.
Banana Republic’s “Leather Mini Music Player Case,” for Apple’s iPod mini, is also made from Italian leather and features a belt clip and protective flap with magnetic closure. The mini case is available in black, cognac and red for $32.
XtremeMac today announced that it has entered into licensing agreements with several entertainment companies—including Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Nickelodeon and Viacom, Lucasfilm Ltd., and Major League Baseball—to create iPod accessories featuring popular movie and cartoon characters as well as team artwork. The new iPod cases, covers and armbands will be available “over the next several months, coinciding with the start of the holiday shopping season,” according the company. No other details were offered.
Warner Music Group digital strategy chief Michael Nash said today that the major record labels could easily cut off the iTunes Music Store if Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn’t budge in the song pricing battle.
“What if Jobs says 39 cents or 29 cents per download—what then?” Nash asked during a panel discussion at the CTIA Telecomms Show. “The industry can say, OK we’ll cut him off—very few people people buy music from digital downloads.” The music executive said Jobs will have to find another way to help sell iPods. “[Jobs] will figure out another model,” he said.
Nash also said that the music industry has let Apple get away with too much dominance in paid digital downloads. “The industry got together and said ‘We don’t want another MTV’. Well, now we’ve got another MTV, in Apple. And we have to deal with it,” he said.
Update: The Register has now corrected its story, saying that it wrongly attributed the remarks to Nash. “These remarks were made by another panelist, Kenneth Hertz, partner at Goldring Hertz and Lichtenstein LLP, a law firm representing major recording industry artists,” the site now says.
Incase has announced three new cases for the iPod nano, including two leather cases and a neoprene sleeve. The company told iLounge that all of the cases will be in Apple retail stores by early to mid-October.
Wallet for iPod nano
The Incase nano Wallet is available in black or pink leather with gray suede lining, and features a screen protector and cord wrap-around function. The case has a single fold and opens up like a book. It will sell for $19.95.
Neoprene Sleeve for iPod nano
The Neoprene Sleeve is similar to the company’s Sports Case for the nano, but features a belt clip in place of a hand strap and armband. Available in black for $19.95, the case offers a velcro closure, screen protector and click wheel cover with play-through access.
Leather Folio for iPod nano
Incase’s new Leather Folio features a flip-down design with an over-the-top button closure, suede lining, belt clip and screen protector. The leather case will be available only in black for $24.95.
LuxPro, which blatantly copied Apple’s iPod shuffle, is apparently at it again with its “Pico” MP3 player. No specific details are currently available regarding features or availability. [via Engadget]
A tech blogger has purportedly gotten his hands on a beta version of iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0. While totally unverifiable, the blogger does provide several convincing pictures of the interface.
Following Apple’s statement yesterday regarding iPod nano screen flaws, Matthew Peterson, the nano owner who set up FlawedMusicPlayer.com, writes on the site: “I am very delighted to see Apple take this issue seriously,” he writes. “It is sad that it took a website and a lot of publicity before they finally investigated but at least future Nano users with the same problem I had will not be subjected to the same treatment that I was…”
UK accessory company Wrappers has announced new protective iPod covers made from a high tech nanofabric. The soft and slim covers are available in various designs with embroidery for 3G/4G iPods (£19.99), the iPod mini (£18.99) and iPod nano (£16.99).
“The very high density of nanofabric makes it almost impenetrable,” says the company. “On average, every square centimeter of nanofabric has around 200 additional threads compared to a high thread count, quality cotton. Nanofabrics are designed to be tough without being bulky. In tests against fabrics four times as thick, nanofabrics proved much more resistant to penetration from a sharp object. A further benefit of nanofabric is that it is very soft to the touch so there is no chance of a nanofabric scratching your iPod.”
The most recent Lounge Poll, “Which iPod nano will you buy?”, is now closed.
With over 7,300 votes cast, a majority of responding readers indicated that they preferred black nanos to white ones, with almost twice as many picking black 2GB models (7%) over white 2GB models (4%), and black 4GB models (44%) over white 4GB models (24%). Most interestingly, six times as many people indicated interest in the more expensive 4GB model as for the less expensive 2GB model, with only 11% of respondants opting for 2GB, and 68% opting for 4GB. We were also surprised to see just what fraction of readers said they would buy a nano: 79% said they’d buy one of the four models, while only 21% said they would not.
Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “Which feature do you most want Apple to add to iPods?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge.