Portelligent said Tuesday it has confirmed that Apple’s iPod shuffle is built around SigmaTel’s D-Major STMP3550 [.pdf] MP3 audio processing chip. The D-Major series chips, including the STMP3550, are designed for low power consumption and extended battery life in portable digital audio players based on flash memory. The STMP3550 supports: digital signal processing (DSP) on audio at 75MHz; Hi-Speed USB; an LED/LCD; AA, AAA, and lithium-ion batteries; Playlists; and both NAND flash memory and other storage media such as SmartMedia, Secure Digital, and CompactFlash.
The iPod shuffle is Apple’s first portable player to employ flash memory for music storage. Other iPod models have used hard-disk drives and audio chips from Wolfson Micro in conjunction with Portal Player processors.
Speaking with iLounge today about Klipsch’s upcoming iFi dockable speaker system for the iPod ($399), a company spokesman explained that iFi offers “much more” than the company’s existing GMX 2.1-series speakers, which we’ve already tested and liked, and with 89 decibel output “is more powerful than any other dedicated iPod system [ever] made.”
As noted in our previous story on iFi, the system includes two of the company’s RSX-3 series Reference Satellite speakers and a large woofer for strong bass response. Klipsch also notes that the system’s remote control “works through walls”, and that “up to a total of 6 remotes can be programmed to work with a single system.” The system is silver in color and features a “light bar” iPod dock, which can be customized for use with different iPods.
Klipsch adds that the iFi’s components are “unique in all of the world of multimedia because they are not used in multimedia, they are used in the most advanced high-end gear,” and include a “titanium tweeter diaphragm, anodized aluminum woofer, genuine compression driver, real crossover networks, aluminum fascia and pedestal/mounting foot, [and] ported bass reflex design.” The system will be available in March.
Due to strong consumer demand for its new iPod shuffle, Apple’s online store now has a wait of two to four weeks for the device that was just introduced last week. “The backlog of orders comes not quite a year after the introduction of the iPod mini sparked a six-week wait when ordered online. There is a two- to three-week wait for the $99 iPod shuffle, which holds about 120 songs, while customers face a wait of three to four weeks for the $149 model, which has double the capacity, according to the Apple Web site.”
The Apple industrial design team has been nominated in the sixth annual Wired Rave awards for its work on the iPod shuffle and iMac G5. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is nominated in the Business Leader category.
Elizabeth Hitchcock of iPodJewelry.com has unveiled her first creation for the iPod shuffle. The design uses freshwater pearl and wire. Pricing is not yet available.
Following similar comments by Creative’s CEO, the chief executive of iRiver says he is surprised by features of the iPod shuffle and that it’s “not a competitor to an iRiver product because we have more features and focus on the premium area.”
“My father received an iBoom for Christmas and at first, everything seemed great. Initially, he plugged it into the wall and tried it out. Soon after, he put in the batteries and did some work outside. When he returned inside, he put the iBoom on his computer desk and just plugged it into the wall and listened to it while working on his computer (rather than draining the batteries). The following morning, he noticed the back of the unit was very hot and there was fluid around the iBoom. It turned out to be battery acid. It seems that if you plug in the iBoom, approximately 12.75 volts DC go to the 6 D cell batteries. This can be extremely bad possibly resulting in a fire.”
The Mac site has also received a reader report detailing other issues with DLO’s boombox accessory for the iPod.
“From the first day I received the iBoom I found it to have two problems: 1) The volume control is faulty—it will not lower the volume in a gradual way but simply switches the volume totally off at the low end of the scale rather than allowing for a lower volume setting. 2) There is an unacceptable amount of hiss coming from the iBoom speakers. This is regardless of which input or the volume control setting—both the tuner or the iPod input show the same problem at any volume control setting.”
DLO has not responded to inquiries from iLounge regarding the original issue, and has not provided hardware for testing and review.
The National Football League and Audible today announced an agreement to make recordings of this year’s remaining playoff games available for portable audio players, including Apple’s iPod. Football fans will be able to purchase the recordings at Apple’s iTunes Music Store starting next week. The first recordings for sale under the agreement will be this Sunday’s NFL conference championships, according to the two companies. Replays of the Super Bowl will also be available under the deal.
Stan Ng, Apple’s director of worldwide iPod marketing, is the latest Apple executive to dismiss a video-capable iPod. “There is no legal way today of taking a DVD and making it viewable on a portable device. There are issues with video, and no infrastructure for acquiring that content,” Ng said. “For a player with a 3.5-inch screen, you have to wonder if it would be worthwhile. You can’t watch video while you’re jogging or mountain biking. Fundamentally, at a corporate level, we’ve been clear about our involvement in music and photos—we’ll see what happens with video over time.”
ProClip today announced new automotive mounts for the 40 and 60GB iPod photo models to securely hold the devices in cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. ProClip mounts are clip-on brackets that attach to a vehicle’s dashboard or console, and can be self-installed “in seconds,” according to the company. Once the bracket is in place, a custom designed holder is attached to hold the iPod. Pricing starts at $24.95.
Apple will kick off another promotion with Pepsi later this month to give away 200 million free songs from the iTunes Music Store and nearly 2,000 iPod minis. Apple revealed details of the new promotion earlier this evening on its Web site, but later removed the page. As readers may recall, Apple and Pepsi launched a huge promotion at last year’s Super Bowl to give away 100 million downloads. The two companies also recently launched a similar promotion in Canada.
Starting at midnight on January 31, consumers will be able to look for codes under the caps of specially-marked 20-oz. and 1-liter bottles of Pepsi products for alphanumeric codes and a “Free song” message, which provides one free song download from the iTunes Music Store. After redeeming your free song code, you will automatically be credited with one entry in the iPod mini sweepstakes, which will give away one iPod mini every hour (24 a day) from February 2 to April 11, with one final drawing on May 2. Apple said it will be giving away approximately 1,700 iPod minis—all of which will be silver with an engraved Pepsi logo on the back.
Free iTunes downloads must be redeemed by May 23, while the iPod mini sweepstakes period ends on April 30. Apple said the odds of winning a free song are 1 in 3 and that code entry limits are 10 per day or 200 total. The company said the odds of winning the daily iPod mini drawing depends on the total number of eligible entries received that hour/day. According to the official rules, all non-winning entries will be eligible for the next day’s drawing and all subsequent drawings.
Game pieces will be printed underneath caps of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Wild Cherry, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Code Red and Sierra Mist and under the rim of specially-marked 32 oz. and 44 oz. fountain cups available at participating locations. It should be noted that last year’s promotion did not include Mountain Dew products, which many complained about.
Like last year, Apple and Pepsi are expected to air a new commercial for the promotion during the Super Bowl on February 6. An official announcement from the two companies regarding this year’s promotion should be dropped tomorrow.
Click “Read more” for a screenshot of the promotion page that appeared on Apple’s site. Thanks to iLounger Carlos Pero for the news tip.
Update: Apple has now reposted the promotion page and official rules on its Web site.
Completing our collection of photo galleries from last week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, iLounge has posted our fourth and final expo photo gallery, featuring another 155 pictures direct from the show floor. In total, our five photo galleries - all linked here and from the top of the iLounge news section - deliver the most complete visual guide to the show’s major product debuts and announcements available anywhere online.
Subband Technologies has teamed up with 4Front Technologies to release of OSS 3D for the Mac OS X version of iTunes. OSS 3D “utilizes state of the art DSP technology allowing for the addition of Bass/Spatialization, 3D Surround, and various other real-time enhancements of the sound played in iTunes.” OSS 3D also provides additional functionality such as speaker resonance correction, a virtual subwoofer, brainwave inductance, high frequency restoration, center channel control, and more. Also included is a studio quality 10-band equalizer with built-in peak limiter to replace the one built into iTunes.
AppleMatters has posted several iPod shuffle dissection photos. The innards slide out by pulling on the USB plug after removing the switch on the device’s backside. (It is not clear whether one has to pop off the round controls on the shuffle’s face.
In an interview with Silicon.com, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins says Apple isn’t “in the same league” as Dell and that the iPod is a “fad” and a “one-product wonder.”
Scott Knaster has noted a new feature in iTunes 4.7.1 for the iPod shuffle. The “shadow mode” option keeps your shuffle in the Source list even after you’ve ejected it so you edit its contents at any time for easy updating later.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has posted great article on Apple’s new Mac mini and iPod shuffle. The Mac pundit offers several insightful thoughts.
Speaking with iLounge at last week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple representatives noted that the company has posted new tutorials for the iPod, iPod mini, and iPod shuffle on its web site. In addition to being visually attractive, the tutorials have become increasingly useful and easy to understand.
Apple is looking for its new iPod shuffle to help boost its share of the digital audio player market in Japan to 80 percent from around 50 percent now. Apple Japan vice president Yoshiaki Sakito said Apple has already received more pre-orders for the tiny device in Japan than those placed for the iPod mini. Sakito also said that a Japanese version of Apple’s iTunes Music Store is expected to launch before the end of the year.
Apple has posted its support page for the new iPod shuffle. The page offers a number of answers to general questions, tutorials and troubleshooting help.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of hardware marketing, said Apple considered including a screen and an interface for navigating the iPod shuffle, but was unable to create a system that it was happy with.
You can use coupon code TCTVTGC2SAVE at Target.com to get 10 percent off iPod and iPod accessories. The offer is valid through January 31.
One iPod owner has posted a humorous tutorial on how to turn any iPod into an iPod shuffle in three easy steps with a Post-It note as the main ingredient.
Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo has offered some harsh words for Apple’s new iPod shuffle. “Actually, to me it’s a big let-down: we’re expecting a good fight but they’re coming out with something that’s five generations older,” Wong Hoo said. “It’s our first generation MuVo One product feature, without display, just have a (shuffle feature). We had that—that’s a four-year-old product.”
“So I think the whole industry will just laugh at it, because the flash people—it’s worse than the cheapest Chinese player,” he added. “Even the cheap, cheap Chinese brand today has display and has FM. They don’t have this kind of thing, and they expect to come out with a fight; I think it’s a non-starter to begin with.”
Though you may have seen them already as links at the top of our News section, iLounge has posted Macworld Expo San Francisco photo galleries 2 and 3, featuring an incredible array of new iPod accessories and related show happenings.
Capping off a string of announcements at this week’s Macworld Conference & Expo, Griffin Technology today announced the Lapel Mic, a multipurpose lapel microphone that offers stereo audio input for recording audio such as interviews and lectures. Griffin said that an iPod equipped with its iTalk voice recorder instantly becomes a mobile recording unit. “The Lapel Mic is a great new accessory for iPod owners everywhere, including reporters, broadcasters, presenters, and even students,” said Paul Griffin, president of Griffin. The Lapel Mic features a standard 3.5mm stereo mini-jack and a swivel clip for comfort and flexibility. It is available immediately for $14.99.
Speck Products today announced the first third-party plastic case for Apple’s new iPod Shuffle. Designed with shock-absorbing, tear-resistant plastic, the SkinTight for iPod Shuffle case “adds protection without adding bulk,” according to the company. The rubberized skin features a two-piece design that allows for easy synching and charging of the iPod shuffle. The SkinTight for iPod shuffle is scheduled to begin shipping in mid-February. Singles in multiple colors will be priced at $19.95 and 3-packs will be priced at $29.95.
iLounge has selected the following six new products as its 2005 Macworld Expo San Francisco Best of Show winners. All of the products were tested first-hand by iLounge staff members on the show floor of the large Mac event.
Best New iPod Case - Solio Urban Recycled Rubber Case
This rugged case is made from recycled tire inner tubes and exterior rubber. They’re all handmade and each one has its on individual style and texture.
Best New iPod mini Case - Miyavix Cloth and Leather Kimono Case
This affordable case is fashioned out of beautiful Japanese fabric with great Kimono patterns. It sports leather accents and may redefine iPod case fashion.
Best New iPod Expander - BTI 3-in-1 FM Radio Receiver/Transmitter/Remote
BTI’s first-to-market iPod FM radio receiver, transmitter, and remote control cable looks to be an impressive accessory. It connects through the iPod’s headphone jack and will offer real-time tuning of five preset radio stations, and more.
Best New iPod In-Car Accessory - Griffin Technology SmartDeck
This innovative cassette adapter lets you control your iPod using the built-in controls of any cassette player. By pressing fast-forward or rewind on your cassette player, your iPod will advance to the next or previous songs. The pause and stop buttons will also do the same on your iPod.
Best New iPod Wireless Accessory - TEN Technology NaviPlay
We selected this Bluetooth wireless audio system primarily for its enhanced portability and the company’s planned bundling of HP Bluetooth headphones.
Most Likely to Succeed - Apple iPod shuffle
While readers should expect an in-depth review shortly, we can say that Apple’s smallest and most affordable player is going to sell exceedingly well. Unsurprisingly, the company has another huge hit on its hands.
As always, iLounge notes that its Best of Show awards are made on initial appeal, practicality, and specifications rather than final build quality, which will need to be formally compared against competitors in iLounge reviews.