Third-party iPod developer Engineered Audio, maker of the RemoteRemote 2 RF remote control system, has provided to iLounge an excellent explanation of the radio frequency (RF) interference issue affecting certain iPod photo hardware. The company’s findings follow up on iLounge’s exclusive March 31, 2005 report, “Yes, the new iPod photo -is- different,” in which we detailed an interference issue that prevents current RF-based remote controls from fully working with “first-generation” (pre-February 2005) 40/60GB iPod photos. As a result of the interference, the RF remotes work at only one-sixth to one-twelveth of their performance ranges with all other iPods.
“The current crop of RF remote controls for the iPod operate at or near 433.92 Mhz,” explains Engineered Audio. “The reasons for this frequency choice are not particularly relevant, except to say that this particular frequency is usable (or certifiable) in the US and in Europe. Further, most of the receivers for these remote control systems are simple super-heterodyne or super-regenerative. And without very careful filtering at the antenna, both types may suffer a degradation in performance when there is a nearby noise source.
“In this case the iPod photo is generating an undesirable RF noise source at 432.00 Mhz (see plot 1). Some might consider the difference between the two frequencies to be enough to not cause interference, however, this is simply not the case. Most of these simple receivers have a fairly wide bandwidth with relatively high gain, and so are easily swamped by an interferer that is within a few megahertz of desired signal. What’s inside the iPod that is generating this signal we can only guess at (perhaps an harmonic of the primary clock for the processor…) At any rate, it would appear that Apple has since modified the iPod photo to either reduce or eliminate this particular signal.” A spectrum analysis photo (“Plot 1”) and additional details are available by clicking on Read More below. We thank Engineered Audio for explaining the interference, and all iPod RF remote manufacturers for being forthright with consumers about the incompatibility.
Total Impact Industrial has announced the Slappa ShockShell case for the iPod mini. The $34.99 case features a rubberized PVC outer body with aluminum core and EVA interior, access to all ports and controls, and a removable belt clip. It also features “Core3 Protection,” which provides “three layers of shock-absorbing defense without sacrificing style.”
The Slappa ShockShell iPod mini case is available in six different designs, each offered in a variety of colors. It will ship in June, but can be pre-ordered now for 15 percent off.
iSkin today announced a new version of its “Shades” colored screen protectors for the company’s iSkin mini silicone iPod mini case. The iSkin mini Shades are available in a bundled five-pack of various colors for $14.99.
“The Shades add an extra layer of coolness to the already cool iSkin,” says the company. “You can mix and match them with different iSkin minis to create the ultimate customized look.”
Apple’s iPod shuffle has now captured 58 percent of the flash memory-based audio player market, according to NPD data cited by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer in a meeting with Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich. The number is up from 43 percent share in February.
In a research note to clients obtained by iLounge, Milunovich said Apple isn’t concerned about mobile phones gaining more music capabilities. “Management argued that iPod will remain the best way to manage and listen to music with MP3 capability in handsets more complementary than a replacement,” he said. “The negatives of music on a handset include a worse user interface and limited battery life. Mr. Oppenheimer said he ‘doesn’t foresee problems working with carriers,’ implying that negotiating shared economics wouldn’t be a deal killer.”
Interestingly, Milunovich also said he expects wireless and video features in iPods for the holidays. “Our guess is that iPod will run short video clips, such as Britney Spears gyrating while ‘Toxic’ plays,” he said.
ezGear has announced the carShare car power socket splitter. The device allows you to simultaneously use an iPod car charger with a cigarette lighter or another charger for a gadget such as a cell phone. The carShare is priced at $14.99.
“The carShare is a simple product that solves a basic problem,” ezGear says. “Many iPod users also have cell phones. With the carShare, you can now charge your iPod and your cell phone at the same time.”
The wife of one iPod shuffle owner came up with a creative and cute way to more easily grip the slider on the back of the device.
Louisville’s Courier-Journal shows iPod owners how to crochet their own iPod sock for less than $5.
Bob Gendron of the Chicago Tribune says the special edition U2 iPod “likely marks the beginning of future collaborations” between other bands and Apple.
The online Apple Store is now offering 30 free iTunes Music Store downloads with the purchase of the company’s $129 AirPort Express. The device will ship with a coupon that you can redeem on the store.
The Mac and Windows PC compatible AirPort Express allows you to wirelessly play music from your iTunes library to any home stereo. It also lets you easily create an 802.11g wireless network, extend an existing network, or share a USB printer with several computers.
HotRomz.com has introduced a 100% organic natural hemp iPod case. It’s available for the 3G/4G iPod ($34.95) and iPod mini ($29.95) in eight naturally-dyed colors.
“Industrial hemp fiber is making a huge comeback and can now be found legally in the United States in clothing, bags, fabric, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and many more products. The world’s first all natural hemp iPod cases are environmentally friendly and colorized with only natural dyes and are found through HotRomz. The green-conscious iPod owner can now encase their iPod without worrying about the impact their case might have on the world’s pollution and environment and still enjoy a really cool case.”
Also offered is a hemp blend case (natural hemp blended with wool) for the iPod ($24.95) and iPod mini ($19.95) that comes in six colors.
EarphoneSolutions has kicked off a sale that offers up to 40% off all Shure earphones until May 20, 2005. Models offered include: Shure E2c, Shure E3c, Shure E3, Shure E4, Shure E4c and Shure E5c. Free shipping is included.
Matias has announced a sale on its 3G iPod Armor. The protective metal iPod case for the third generation iPod is now priced at $19.95. Free shipping is offered.
Following last month’s news that Hewlett-Packard has added the iPod photo to its lineup, Engadget reports that the company will soon start selling branded versions of the iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The gadget site says to expect both models on June 12.
While Froogle searches show HP product numbers of PW753AA (iPod mini), PX765AA (iPod shuffle 512MB) and PX766AA (iPod shuffle 1GB), the company would not confirm that it will offer the iPod models when contacted. “HP has not made any such announcements, and we do not comment on plans for future (or potential) products,” an HP representative told iLounge.
Party-Pod Pro 2.0 is the latest version of the software that “gives your iPod a database of partygoer necessities.” According to the developer, Party-Pod Pro is the most comprehensive party companion for your iPod. It includes 650 drink recipes, 55 drinking games, a Bar & Club database for every major U.S. city, and 100 pick-up lines for men and women. Version 2.0 adds photos (iPod photo required) to the top rated and most popular drinks, and information for 10 additional cities.
Apple has quietly introduced the iPod shuffle Lanyard and Caps, a $19 package that consists of a replacement iPod shuffle lanyard cap and three replacement standard USB caps. The set is Apple’s sixth iPod shuffle accessory and the first to sell for under $29.
“You knew it would happen; we did, too,” says Apple on its online store. “Why not purchase a set of Lanyard and Caps to replace yours that have gone missing?”
Ever wonder what’s on Jesus’ iPod? “Protest anthems, Zeppelin, gospel, classical and, of course, Nine Inch Nails,” says SF Gate columnist Mark Morford.
Sirius Satellite Radio is launching a show that will feature a daily selection of podcasts hosted by Adam Curry, the former MTV personality who helped create the popular audio programs.
Apple’s inability to meet iPod demand is once again frustrating its New Zealand resellers.
Disneyland Resort said that beginning Tuesday, it will podcast the three days of festivities leading to the May 5th launch of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.
iLounger Ashley Burrows let us know that he recently finished his iPod inspired “iTable.” He said it was a project for his A-level Design Technology course and that it took months to complete. Burrows was kind enough to share the process of building it along with a handful of photos, including his initial illustrated design.
“Basically, I started with a square frame built out of pine (this made the sides) and then glued a piece of MDF on the top,” Burrows said. “This gave me a five-sided cube kinda thing. To curve the edges I used a hand plane (yeah, it did take about 30 hours to do the curves) and a shaped block covered in sandpaper.”
iPodResQ has launched a new flat-rate iPod LCD replacement service. The repair service includes a custom “iBox” that’s sent to the customer’s location in the continental U.S. via overnight courier to pickup the iPod for overnight delivery back to the iPodResQ service center. The company will receive the unit, install an LCD the same day, and return the iPod back to the customer overnight. iPodResQ said the LCDs are installed by Apple Certified Technicians. Pricing is as follows: 4G iPod - $145, iPod photo - $219, iPod mini - $129, 3G iPod - $129, 1G/2G iPod - $114.
has released an update to iTunes Library Manager, a $5 AppleScript application that makes backup copies of the iTunes Library and iTunes Preferences, allowing users to “easily save multiple iTunes Library and Preferences configurations that can be retrieved and loaded at any time.” iTunes Library Manager 4.1 adds compatibility for Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger.
Emerils.com, the website of famous chef Emeril LaGasse, has now made ReciPods and ReciPods Too available for download. The free recipe collections can be transferred to and read on your iPod.
“We tried to cram 1000 recipes into one iPod app, then discovered that we had 20+ related recipes (sauces, etc) that crashed the app,” says an Emeril representative. “So we divided the app into two equal halves. ReciPods has 510+ recipes and ReciPods Too has 510+ recipes.”
As noted in February, Emerils.com also offers two other free iPod software titles: mFinder (information about Emeril’s 9 restaurants) and PodMeals (weekly menu provided on Emerils.com that comes from the cooking section).
iPod.iTunes 2.8 from CrispSofties is the latest update to the iPod utility that synchronizes songs and playlists from any iPod to any Mac, including track info like Rating, Last Played and Play Count. Version 2.8 adds compatibility for Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, which will be released today at 6:00 p.m.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that PortalPlayer’s upbeat second quarter guidance is a positive sign for sales of hard drive-based iPods. He also notes a new trend that he calls iPod mini up-selling.
PortalPlayer, which supplies the chips that power the iPod, iPod mini and iPod photo, yesterday reported first quarter earnings of $7.8 million, or 33 cents a share, on revenue of $44.5 million. The company forecast second quarter earnings of 21-27 cents a share on $41.6 million to $47.6 million versus street estimates of 17 cents on $37.3 million in revenue.
“We believe that PortalPlayer’s Q2 guidance is positive for Apple’s HD based iPods and may be consistent with a trend that we have been picking up on in the channel related to iPod shuffle to 4GB iPod mini up-selling,” Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “Specifically, we have been hearing from Apple retail stores and independent Apple VARs that customers are consistently being up-sold to 4GB iPod minis ($200) when intending to buy the 1GB iPod shuffle ($149), given the minimal ($50) difference in price.”
Munster said that more than 85 percent of PortalPlayer’s first quarter revenue was from sales to Apple.
Griffin Technology said today that is now shipping TuneJuice, its $19.99 battery backup device for the iPod and iPod mini. TuneJuice uses a single 9-volt battery to provide up to 8 hours of additional power for any iPod with a Dock Connector port. (It will provide 4 hours if your iPod is completely drained).
“TuneJuice is perfect for extending the play time of your iPod for those times when you just gotta have more than your iPod battery can give,” says Griffin. “It’s the perfect carry-on for airplanes, road trips, camping and ski trips. Anytime you need some serious play time and don’t have access to charge your ‘Pod, TuneJuice is a lifesaver.”