Odeo, the new online podcasting service co-founded by Blogger creator Evan Williams, has opened its doors to the public. While “still very much in beta,” the site enables users to easily find and subscribe to the popular web-based audio programs and then sync them to their computer and iPod.
The podcasts can be downloaded to your hard drive with a free Windows or Mac OS X program called Odeo Syncr, which lets you listen to the shows in any audio player application (including iTunes) or on any portable device. Odeo also smartly provides the option to sync your podcasts to iTunes via a special RSS feed. Once in iTunes, you can then move the shows onto an iPod.
Odeo will eventually be more than just a place to find and listen to podcasts. The start-up plans to shortly introduce features that will enable anyone with a web browser and microphone to create their own podcasts online. The site will offer the Odeo Studio to record and publish audio, and Phone Posting, which will let you leave a voicemail to record a podcast. Odeo will also provide feed creation and hosting services.
The initial lack of the podcast creation features could be seen as a result of last month’s release of iTunes 4.9. It would appear that Odeo wanted to get its site open as soon as possible after the somewhat surprising release of the new version of iTunes and its podcasting support—even if it meant not having all of its promised features completely ready for launch.
iLounge spoke with Odeo’s Williams shortly after the release of iTunes 4.9. His reaction echoed that of other prominent members of the podcast world. “At the highest level, I think this is good for podcasting,” Williams said. “I think Apple will introduce a lot more people to podcasting a lot faster than would have happened otherwise.”
Williams said there are some similarities between his service and iTunes. “There is some overlap with Odeo as it stands today, but there’s so much to do in this space that I’m not concerned at all that there won’t be enough places for us to add value,” Williams told iLounge. “If it means we don’t need a client app for the millions of folks who use iTunes, then that might be a better user experience and a lower barrier to getting started,” Williams said. “It will also mean that many more people will want to create podcasts, which we will help with as well.”
Toyota announced today that its iPod-compatible Pioneer audio system upgrade is now available for its 2006 Scion xA and xB models, making Scion “the first brand to offer iPod connectivity and control across its entire lineup.”
The Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo with iPod control provides track, artist and album information from the iPod into a one-line scrolling display on the head unit’s screen. The iPod is connected by “simply plugging the iPod into a port via a connector cable.” The iPod upgrade costs $260, which includes installation.
In May, Toyota announced that its 2006 Scion tC sports coupe was available with the iPod-ready audio system upgrade. The new xA and xB will begin arriving at Scion dealers next week.
Apple has quietly lowered the price of its iPod Battery Replacement Program from $99 to $59. Originally launched in 2003, the service offers replacement and installation of a new battery if your iPod is experiencing poor battery life and is more than a year old and not covered by an AppleCare Protection Plan.
In June, Apple agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over battery problems in older iPod models. Under the terms of the settlement, owners of first-, second-, and third-generation iPods can choose either an Apple Store credit of $50, or a $25 check. In addition, the iPod’s one-year warranty is automatically extended for an additional year for third-generation iPod owners and Apple will replace the battery for free if it fails within the two-year period.
Forbes says that Apple might be looking to become a phone company as a “mobile virtual network operator” or MVNO. “The solution could be for Apple to launch its own cellular network, doing an end run around carriers and providing the company with revenue from both selling phone handsets and from the resale of cellular service.”
Japanese PC case maker Scythe has “come up with a design to cash in on iPod mania among Windows users: an all-white unit that mimics the player’s click wheel with its control and LED layout,” reports The Register. [via Gizmodo]
The Oregonian has a profile of Eric Prentice, chief executive officer of Dr. Bott, a large Macintosh and iPod accessory distributor. “Today, he heads a company with 35 employees in an 18,000-square-foot office in Wilsonville. Annual sales top $20 million. The key to his success [is] the wildly popular iPod.”
To coincide with its 10th anniversary, CNET has posted its list of the top 10 trends in downloading over the last decade. iTunes came in at No. 6, with icq, Winamp, Napster, Firefox and Winzip rounding out the top 5.
PodGear announced today that it’s now shipping the PocketParty Shuffle portable speaker system for the iPod shuffle.
“PocketParty Shuffle turns an iPod shuffle into the world’s tiniest ghetto blaster,” says the UK-based company. “Designed exclusively for the iPod shuffle, and taking design cues from the world’s most iconic flash MP3 player, the PocketParty can even be worn around the neck like the iPod itself.”
The iPod shuffle plugs into the top of the PocketParty via the headphone port. The £24.99 device has two speakers and a status light on one side. It offers 1 watt of stereo output and up to 10 hours of battery life from a single AA battery.
Otter Products today announced the OtterBox for iPod shuffle. The rugged new hard case features a clear exterior with a rubber cradle lining, and a rubber button that lets you use the shuffle’s control pad through the case.
The OtterBox for iPod shuffle is “waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof, and drop-proof” and “keeps your iPod shuffle safe at the beach, pool, river, lake, gym or just walking in the rain,” according to the company. It’s priced at $29.95 and comes with a removable neck lanyard.
With over 5,000 votes cast, last week’s Lounge Poll has now closed. The question was: “How small is your smallest iPod?”, and the results were very interesting - especially when compared against the previous poll, “How large is your biggest iPod?”
In our prior poll, we saw that nearly 75% of responding readers had an iPod of 20GB or higher, with very few (3%) relying on the iPod shuffle as their biggest iPod. Today’s poll suggests that the iPod shuffle has done substantially better as a backup, second iPod, with 16% of respondants indicating ownership of 512MB or 1GB models, and that the 4GB iPod is also popular for this reason. For more details, click on Read More, below.
Our new Lounge Poll, “How much space is left on your primary iPod?” has now opened. You can find it in the left column under Ask iLounge.
iLounge is proud to announce our second iPod guide of 2005 — the iPod 101: Back to School Guide. In a twist on previous iLounge Buyers’ Guides, the new publication will include two major parts: a free iPod and iTunes guidebook for readers, plus a preview and review section focused on the top “Back to School” accessories for Fall. As with past Guides, two exciting reader contests with major prizes will be announced shortly. The new issue will be released on August 15, 2005.
Our last Guide, released at the end of March, has been directly downloaded more than 350,000 times from iLounge and affiliated sites, with numerous indirect downloads thereafter. iLounge remains committed to providing its Guides free of charge to its readers, and will again make the new Guide available in open PDF format for easy reading, downloading, and file-sharing.
Following the horrific bomb blasts in London today, Apple has closed its flagship store in the city. “For the security of our customers and employees, the Apple Store, Regent Street, will be closed for the rest of the day,” reads a brief statement on Apple’s website. “Our hearts go out to all those affected by this morning’s events in central London.
The Pixel Girl Shop has added three new iPod products to its lineup of unique gear.
Podschtickers (shown right) are removable stickers that go on the back of full-size iPods (first through fourth generation models). They’re available in four designs—“Awesome Asterix,” “Deluxe Dots,” “Daisy” and “DJ Turtable.” They’re priced at $5.99.
The new Carryboo animal cozies are three one-of-kind hand-made iPod cases that will fit any full-size iPod. The three creatures include “Blue Birdie,” “Crazy Kitty,” and “Lil Mousie.” They sell for $28 each.
The Denim iPod Mini Wallet Organizer is a tri-fold wallet that was made specifically to hold an iPod mini. It has two slots for credit cards and a larger opening for bills. It features denim construction with a yellow polka dot lining and sells for $35.
PhatNoise announced today that the iPod adapter available for 2005 Volvo models is based on its AutoPort product. The company said it has also partnered with the car maker to offer its 20GB PhatBox Digital Media Player as a $898 dealer-installed option for those without iPods.
As previously reported, the $150 iPod adapter is available for the Volvo S60, S80 and V70/XC70 models and connects by plugging the iPod into a Dock Connector cable located in the car’s armrest compartment. The adapter allows users to listen and control their music through their Volvo sound system and steering wheel controls. It will also charge the iPod when connected.
According to new research by the Diffusion Group, the number of podcast users in the U.S. will increase nearly 15 fold over the next five years, reaching 60 million by 2010.
The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg says that “Apple has made receiving podcasts as simple as downloading music. The bad news is that neither Apple nor anyone else has made it nearly as simple to create a podcast and get it online as it is to create and post a text and photo blog. Until that happens, podcasting won’t be truly mainstream.”
Apple has posted a support document that says Smart Playlists on Click Wheel iPods may stop updating dynamically after applying iPod Updater 2005-06-26.
Following reader reports that Altec Lansing pulled its inMotion iM7 speaker systems from Apple retail stores, a company representative confirmed to iLounge that a problem with the product’s iPod door has been fixed and new units have replaced affected iM7s.
“We had discovered a few isolated issues with the inMotion iM7 door staying closed,” Altec Lansing Sr. Marketing Manager Pamela Roccabruna said. “We immediately responded and corrected the problem. The new inMotion iM7 inventory shipped from our facilities last week and should be arriving in the Apple stores very soon.”
Roccabruna said that Altec Lansing is accepting refunds/returns directly and that if a customer experiences any issues with their inMotion iM7, they are encouraged to contact Altec Lansing’s customer service at 1-800-258-3288. “Our customer service technicians will work with them to reach a solution as quickly as possible,” she said.
Tunewear today announced its Poptune collection of removable wrappers for the iPod shuffle. Each Poptune protects the shuffle from dirt and scratching, and comes with two USB cap covers, one for the lanyard cap and one for the regular USB cap. The company said they won’t leave behind sticky residue when removed. The Poptune series comes in a $19.95 pack of 12 patterns—“Aloha”, “Dragon”, “Wood”, “Snake”, “Karakusa”, “Sakura”, “Fire”, “Stone”, “Orange”, “Green”, “Sparkle Silver” and “Sparkle Gold”.
In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums, one reader asks: how many songs do you have? In hours? Days? Weeks? - over 38% of those voting have 2600 or more…
A bug has been noted in the latest iPod Updater 2005-06-26: readers are finding that their Smart Playlists are no longer updating on the iPod. Join the discussion on this topic…
With the upsurge in podcasting and the latest iTunes 4.9 support for podcasts, one reader’s experiences so far have yet to convince him of the appeal of this latest broadcasting phenomenon... What do you think?
And finally, as previously reported in the iLounge news, a natural look iPod has been produced in an amazing mod by a reader who removed the complete front of his fourth generation iPod and produced a wood replacement, complete with a working wooden clickwheel. Read his detailed description of the mod and view the whole process in the Hacks and Mods Forum.
In a phone call to the father of the 15-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed over his iPod last week in Brooklyn, Apple CEO Steve Jobs conveyed his sympathies and told the man not to hesitate to ask if there was anything Jobs could do for him.
“I didn’t know who he was,” Errol Rose, father of the slain Christopher Rose, told The New York Times. “He called me on my cellphone, at 4 maybe. Or maybe it was 5.”
“He told me that he understood my pain,” Rose said. “He told me if there is anything—anything—he could do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit. Some people talk to you like they’re something remote,” Rose said. “He was so familiar. After every word, he paused, as if each word he said came from his heart.”
“We live in a world which is changing rapidly,” Rose said. “We have the technology that can give us the iPod and everything else, but it’s not all these things. We have to work on the minds and the hearts. We’re failing these kids. We’re not loving them like we’re supposed to.”
Denon Electronics has introduced two new home entertainment systems that offer direct connectivity and control of the iPod.
The compact 2.1-channel systems—the S-301 ($1,599) and S-101 ($999)—feature integrated DVD/receiver units, a range of audio and video connections, dual satellite speakers, high-performance subwoofers, and wireless remotes. They both sport a “gentle round-form design” with metallic silver finishes and will be available in August.
Most importantly for iPod owners, both systems feature a plug-and-play “Connect iPod” cable located on the front panel that provides 3G and 4G iPod users connectivity with an iPod navigational menu that’s displayed on their home theater screen.
“The onscreen display mimics the iPod’s own menu display, offering easy and familiar control capabilities,” says Denon. “Once connected, all basic iPod features, including volume control, menu navigation, play, stop and skip, can be accessed via the Denon remote control. Users can even recharge their iPods while connected.”
In addition, both the S-301 and S-101 systems offer support for the iPod photo (now iPod with color display), enabling users to show and control their photos with music on their main home theater display.
Denon has yet to update its site with details of these new models, however, a teaser site showing the S-101 was recently posted.
Speck Products today added a new version of its iGuy posable “friend” for Apple’s iPod mini. The white rubberized toy/case features bendable arms and legs, docking capability and a screen protector. iGuy mini is priced at $34.95 and fits both 4GB and 6GB iPod minis.
“Since our explosive iGuy release in May, mini iPod owners have been anticipating the release of iGuy mini,” said Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck. “The iGuy mini is even more portable than his big brother. The smaller size makes it much lighter and easier to carry around.”
First Albany analyst Joel Wagonfeld has raised his earnings and sales forecasts for Apple and increased his iPod sales forecast to 5 million units from 4.25 million.
PC World reports that Apple’s decision last week to cut the price of the 1GB iPod shuffle may prompt other companies to do the same.
EarphoneSolutions.com will begin shipping the Shure E4 earphones (black) on July 8th and the Shure E4c (white) is in stock now.
According to a recent IDC survey, Americans are “experimenting with new audio technologies, from online music services to terrestrial and satellite digital radio and multichannel audio formats, but they still rely on CDs and FM radio as primary sources of music.”
Tunewear today announced the Tuneclip, a new headphone cable management accessory for the iPod and other portable audio players.
“With Tuneclip, all you have to do is wind your earphone cable around the reel-shaped body and snap it into the stopper,” says Tunewear. “Using the clip on the back it is easy to fasten it to a shirt pocket, belt loop or almost anywhere else. Because you can wind the cable to the length that you like, you no longerhave to worry about getting tangled up in excess cable.”
Tuneclip comes with a removable ball-bearing style chain so that you can attach it to a bag or key ring. It’s available now for $9.95.