Billboard’s Antony Bruno has written and an article looking at the growing threats to the iPod and iTunes that Apple faces. He says that while analysts expect Apple to have another great holiday season, the company’s reign as digital music king may last “only another 12-18 months before the playing field levels out.”
Bruno says that Sony, Samsung, MSN and others are planning their attack. “Anticipated developments include a music subscription service and subsequent advertising blitz from MSN Music, the long-anticipated relaunch of the Sony Connect store, several new MP3 devices and the introduction of mobile music services from several wireless carriers,” Bruno says.
Bruno says, however, that Apple won’t go without a fight. “It is expected to introduce a video-capable iPod in September and finally unveil its iTunes-compatible mobile phone with Motorola,” says Bruno. “It is also rumored to be working on a subscription service with the help of a former Xbox Live executive.”
Despite announcing plans to release several new devices to compete with the iPod this year, Samsung has reportedly slashed its flash memory prices in an attempt to convince Apple to switch from hard drive-based storage to flash memory in the 4GB iPod mini.
Market research firm iSuppi claims that Apple plans to buy as much as 40 percent of Samsung’s NAND flash output in the second half of this year. iSuppli memory analyst Nam Hyung Kim said in a research report that Samsung offered Apple extremely low prices on its NAND flash parts.
“The report said iSuppli believes that Samsung has offered to match prices from the HDD suppliers, even though current microdrive prices are about half the cost of the equivalent flash density,” the EE Times reports. “Samsung would still reap profits, even at aggressive pricing levels, Kim said, adding that ‘sewing up the marquee iPod memory business is well worth the reduction in margins’ for Samsung.”
The iStore has announced a special offer for iLoungers—10% off all iPod accessories from its online store. Just enter code “iLounge10%
Targus has introduced the SoundUP, a new iPod add-on that enhances sound output. The company says that the device “separates and reprocesses digital music files providing a three-dimensional sound envelope” and also delivers “the rich tones and spatial orientation of live music.”
“Portable audio is great—but the technology that allows you to carry 10,000+ songs in your pocket utilizes compressed audio formats. And these compressed formats mean a loss of audio content and quality,” explains Targus. “SoundUP uses Phantom Technologies patented circuit that provides 20–25% more music envelope—revealing instruments and voices from original recordings that are trapped during compression and previously not heard.”
The SoundUP is priced at $39.99. A version is available for 3G/4G iPods and for the iPod mini.
The Directory was designed to help iPod owners quickly locate information on key iPod & iTunes hardware, software, accessory, and service providers. By using the Main Directory Page or its built-in search engine, you can look through the hundreds of listings to find names and contact details for any major product or service you could want.
If you are an authorized company representative and want to add or update company information, please contact info (at) ilounge.com with your details. Enjoy The Directory!
Belkin tomorrow will announce the TuneSync, a new iPod accessory that combines a dock for syncing/charging your iPod and a five-port USB 2.0 hub.
Featuring a slim profile and iPod-matching white exterior, the TuneSync lets you connect up to five USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 devices such as a printer, scanner or external hard drive. It has LEDs that monitor your device activity for master power status and port activity, as well as a stereo-out jack to connect your iPod to a home stereo or powered speakers.
Belkin’s TuneSync will be available in November for $59.99.
In this week’s dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: a reader asks for others to share songs that summed up the decade of their choice. Do you have any favorite songs?
Wonder what earphones other iLounge members use? In this poll thread, now up to 22 pages, you can find out.
Having discovered the oldest song in his iTunes Library, iLounge Admin MikeM asks if anyone can beat October 4th, 2002 at 12:38 as the oldest date?
The use of his iPod during a High School Lock-In is shared by one reader, who then discusses how he was allowed to DJ for his fellow students. Do you have a similar story?
Now available is the sixth iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.
This week’s topics: iPod as Amazon dominator and promotional incentive, Nokia’s N91 phone, Toshiba’s thinner 1.8” iPod-ready drives, and White House podcasting. Additionally, we discuss CD ripping companies, selling/trading your iPod, iDiddy cases, and our Backstage article on Osu! Takatae! Ouendan! We also discuss some of the sections of The Free iPod Book. Enjoy.
“Industry watchers have been eagerly awaiting the birth of a phone conceived in Motorola’s labs using Apple’s iPod DNA. But iTunes fans will be disappointed to learn that contrary to industry buzz, there will be no delivery this weekend,” reports TheStreet.com. Tech blog Engadget and the U.K.‘s Inquirer newspaper said Friday that the inauguration of the so-called Rokr phone won’t be happening at Virgin Mobile’s V Festival concert Saturday and Sunday in the U.K.”
In an article on music subscription services entitled “Rent vs. Own,” Walt Mossberg says that “for most people, it’s no contest: Right now iTunes and the iPod are the better choice in digital music.”
A Japanese company is offering a special edition “Nightmare Before Christmas” iPod.
Brando has announced a new iPod shuffle case that looks very similar to Apple’s Sport Case. The Crystal Jacket for the iPod shuffle is a translucent hard case that offers all-around protection and a “play-through” rubber control pad cover. It comes with a high-quality neck lanyard and four flexible control pad covers in blue, orange, white and clear. Brando’s Crystal Jacket for the iPod shuffle is priced at $20.
Audissey Guides today released The Boston Audissey, an iPod compatible walking tour through 27 historical sites in Boston.
The Red Cross has begun “offering incentives including raffles for free iPods, vacations, free gas cards and free meals in an attempt to increase the nation’s blood supply.” [via TUAW]
In an article entitled “The Free Toaster? Today, It’s an iPod,” David Bernestein of The New York Times looks at companies using free iPods to lure customers.
“Want iPodLinux running on your 4th generation iPod, iPod photo, or iPod mini, but hate doing all the steps manually? Well now you can get games, videos, gameboy games, Doom, text input, and much more all on your iPod!”
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that Apple’s strong showing on Amazon.com is an indication that the iPod shows no signs of slowing down. Munster notes that iPod models hold the top 10 spots on Amazon’s Top Sellers list for MP3 players.
“We believe that the iPod is continuing to gain traction in the September quarter as evidenced by the number of iPods included on the Amazon Top Seller List for portable MP3 players and All Electronics,” Munster wrote in a research note obtained by iLounge.
The analyst also points out that iPods account for 2 of the top 10 products on the overall electronics Top Sellers list, with the 20GB iPod holding the No. 1 spot.
Macworld UK reports on new comScore Media Metrix figures: “In all, 5.4 million people visited iTunes in July, up 13% from June 2005. The growth of iTunes also helped push the Retail Music category up 7% to 30.1 million visitors”
Following “beta testing” since May, Yahoo’s music subscription service will reportedly stay at the price of $5 a month when it’s formally launched this week. Yahoo is also planning a large ad campaign for the service.
Researchers at Sydney’s National Acoustic Laboratories have found that up to a quarter of users of iPods and other music devices will suffer hearing problems because they’re listening at “excessive and damaging” levels.
United Airlines in Canada has launched a giveaway that provides the opportunity to win one of three iPod minis, one 20GB iPod or the grand prize of 50,000 Saver Award miles.
“There is no commercial agreement between Nokia and Apple to integrate iTunes into the N-series devices,” said Kari Tuutti, spokesman for Nokia’s multimedia division. “But since this is based on a computer platform, anybody—including Apple if they so wish—can very easily develop this kind of application and offer it to consumers, via the Internet for example.”
The Nokia N91 features a 4GB hard drive for music storage, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a 2-megapixel camera, and supports MP3, M4A, AAC and WMA song formats.
“We are not making any exclusive arrangements with any music store, but believe that we want to give the consumer the choice of where they want to purchase their music,” Tuutti added.
Following up on its line of successful Mac mini acrylic accessories, The Plasticsmith has announced tux for iPod, a series of eight flame-polished acrylic stands built to hold full-sized and mini iPods. Described by the company as “the first elegant stand for Apple’s ubiquitous music player,” tux comes in upright and tilt versions that hold your iPod straight up or on a recline, respectively, as well as black-based and white-based color versions. Each model will have clear sides and 3M pads on the bottom for stability. Apple’s cables can be connected to mounted iPods for easy charging and synchronization while inside.
Starting on August 18, tux will be exclusively available for $35 plus $3 shipping and handling direct from The Plasticsmith’s online store. Additional photos of the six other tux variants are available there.
Thunderstone Media has released a public beta version of iPodderX for Windows. The podcasting client and newsreader offers the the same features previously only available in the popular Mac OS X version of the software.
“We’ve been working overtime to make this happen, and we’re thrilled to announce that iPodderX for Windows is now a reality,” said August Trometer, CEO of Thunderstone. “Windows users can finally get the same great features and ease of use that has made iPodderX a household word on the Macintosh platform.”
iPodderX for Windows is being offered at special beta pricing of half off the regular price. Users who buy the application during the beta test period will pay $12.47, and get a free upgrade when the final version is released.
American Eagle Outfitters is the latest clothing retailer to offer a branded iPod case. The leather AE iPod case features a flip-top design with an opening for a headphone plug, and an embroidered eagle logo.
“No scratches, no skips. Keep your iPod safe no matter where you go in a genuine leather case,” says American Eagle. “Sized for a standard iPod, the case measures 4 inches high by 2 1/2 inches wide by 3/4 inches deep.”
The AE iPod case is available in white leather or dark brown leather, and sells for $19.50.
Numark has announced that its iDJ mixing console for the iPod will be available for purchase in October. First shown in April at a German music event and then further revealed last month, the iDJ features dual iPod docking cradles, large navigation controls, lighted console, 3-band equalizer, and host of inputs and outputs.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the art of DJing to the consumer market. Since almost everyone carries an iPod in their pocket, the new iDJ makes it easy to use their iPod as professional DJ gear,” says Numark CEO Jack O’Donnell. “For college students and other iPod enthusiasts, this compact mixing system is a natural extension of the iPod platform that makes enjoying music with others that much easier.”