U.S. shipments of portable MP3 players will grow 35 percent to 18.2 million units in 2005, according to a new report from JupiterResearch. “MP3 players will reach critical mass this year, fueling demand for digital music services and stores,” the firm said. Jupiter forecasts that digital audio devices will maintain an annual growth rate of over 10 percent through 2010, reaching an installed base of 56.1 million, up from 16.2 million in 2004.
“Apple shows no signs of losing momentum,” said Michael Gartenberg, VP and Research Director at JupiterResearch. “The iPod is a consumer phenomenon. Apple dominates this sector and will dominate portable MP3 player growth over the medium term,” added Gartenberg. The firm raised its near-term forecast “mostly due to the iPod’s success,” but projects that shipments of flash-based players will surpass those of hard-drive models in 2007.
Apple plans to launch a version of its iTunes Music Store in Japan by the end of the year, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, which cites Apple Japan’s representative director Yoshiaki Sakito.
“Apple previously held back from starting such operations due to problems such as the strict management of copyright ownership by Japanese record companies. But the rapid growth in the digital music market in Japan as well as a more open approach by record companies has made the move toward offering online music services possible.”
Larry Angell, iLounge’s News Editor, will be on tonight’s Your Mac Life radio show. The broadcast begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Apple is due to report its fiscal second-quarter results later today. Analysts expect the company to earn 24 cents a share on $3.25 billion in revenue.
A Florida teenager “fiddling with his iPod music player while skating during rush hour was killed when he crashed into a westbound SUV,” according to the Sun Sentinel.
The wife of Gizmodo reader Danny Sohayda has baked a tasty iPod shuffle cake.
Synergy 1.8 from Wincet Software is an update to the popular iTunes add-on that puts buttons to control the application in your Mac OS X menu bar. Synergy also features system-wide hot keys, automatic cover art downloads, and a semi-transparent “floater” that lets you know what’s playing. Version 1.8 includes a number of bug fixes, updates and features to get Synergy ready for the upcoming release of Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, according to the developer.
CNN/Money has named the iPod one of the “five inventions to change your life.”
Duke University’s decision to continue its iPod program is “a poor one — this year has clearly shown the limited academic use of the expensive devices, the selective distribution of iPods will create undesired incentives for students to enroll in certain classes… the program is nothing more than a marketing scheme.”
Mac OS X version 10.4 Tiger, the next version of Apple’s powerful operating system, will go on sale Friday, April 29, beginning at 6:00 p.m. during special events at Apple retail stores.
Mike Davidson is giving away an iPod shuffle to the person who creates the best iPod shuffle out of nothing but food.
As expected, Hewlett-Packard has expanded its line of HP-branded iPods to include Apple’s new 30GB and 60GB iPod photo models. HP’s versions are identical to the Apple iPod photos save for packaging and HP’s Total Care customer support service, which includes one year of phone support and a one-year warranty.
The two new HP iPod models will not refer to their photo capabilities in their names, and will each only be called the “Apple iPod from HP.” An HP representative told iLounge the reasoning behind this decision: “We did not call this the iPod photo because we wished to avoid confusion between these products and our other photo offerings such as digital cameras. So, while our packaging and other marketing materials will make the photo viewing and sharing capabilities of the product clear, we chose not to include the word photo in the product name.”
The new HP iPods will soon be available for the same pricing as Apple ($349 for the 30GB model and $449 for the 60GB model) on HP’s online store and at a number of major retailers, including Circuit City, Radio Shack, Sears and Wal-Mart. HP confirmed that it will continue to offer the 20GB iPod with monochrome display for $299. Unsurprisingly, the 40GB HP iPod, which was based on the now discontinued Apple version, is no longer offered.
AudioOutfitters has announced the ezLink extension cord for iPod shuffle owners. The white cable connects to a standard USB 2.0 computer port and can be “routed to a more convenient spot, so you can plug your iPod shuffle into your computer quickly and easily,” according to the company. The ezLink shuffle is 4.5 feet in length and includes an ezclasp clip to secure it to your desktop, computer monitor, or other surface. It’s priced at $14.
SiK has announced the ram din, a portable line-out and FireWire adapter for all Dock Connector iPod models. Access to an iPod’s line-out audio is provided via a gold-plated right-angle stereo mini plug, while the FireWire port allows you to charge/sync your iPod.
“The ram din is the perfect solution for connecting your iPod to an external headphone amplifier or other device with line input,” says SiK. The ram din, which is now shipping, is available in black or white for $21.95.
Today’s Wall Street Journal features an article [paid sub. req.] on the challenges Apple is facing from the $100 billion mobile phone industry. Apple’s digital music lead “may not last much longer,” the article says, because cell phone makers and wireless carriers are “piling into mobile music, with an array of new services and phones that could radically change a game that until now has been defined largely by Apple.”
“Despite Apple’s domination of the digital music sector the market remains in its infancy. The balance of power could tip suddenly and dramatically, especially if Apple doesn’t race to get its music technology into cell phones — an effort that’s had some hiccups. Last year, manufacturers sold an estimated seven million MP3 players in the U.S., a figure dwarfed by the roughly 80 million cell phones sold in the country.”
The article also cites a recent survey by Jupiter Research which showed that 76% of those asked said they carry a mobile phone regularly, while only 7% said the same about a music player.
Some analysts, however, believe consumers will still want devices designed for a specific purpose, and not an all-in-one gadget that does several things, but none of them great. “It’s hard to view the music phone as a direct threat to music players, any more than camera phones have put cameras out of business,” says Michael Gartenberg, director of research at Jupiter Research.
Yamaha has created a special version of its EC-02 electric scooter that features built-in stereo speakers on the sides and a docking area for a fourth-generation iPod just in front of the seat. The iPod-equipped EC-02 also features an amplifier, an extra battery, and an Apple wired remote that’s molded into a compartment on the right handlebar.
According to iLounger Kazutoshi Otani, this version of the EC-02 is just a concept and is not for sale to the public.
O’Reilly has announced the release of “iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, Third Edition” by New York Times tech columnist J.D. Biersdorfer. The $24.95 book is an updated version of the popular title that aims to help readers get the most out of their iPods.
“This book is one-stop shopping for iPod reference and information,” promises Biersdorfer. “It takes you on a joyride through the iPod subculture. And it guides you through all the cool musical and nonmusical things you can do with your iPod, from looking up phone numbers to checking the weather report. You’ll also find heaping helpings of the Three T’s: tips, tricks, and troubleshooting.”
Paag has introduced a new line of stylish sleeves for Dock Connector iPods (3G, 4G, photo and mini).
Paag’s offerings include: Paag Signature Quilted ($21.95 - espresso sheen with orange stitches); Chewbacca Puff ($29.95 - a furry beige sleeve); Liquid Shadow ($29.95 - black plastic); Incognito ($21.95 - gray camouflage plush); Tao Butterfly ($29.95 - pink butterflies on black silk); and Zen Citrus ($29.95 - bamboo leaves on light green silk.
Each sleeve features an earbud pocket and quilted satin lining.
Apple has added a new tutorial on the Switch section of its website to show Windows users how to use their iPod to transfer files to their new Mac.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was named to this year’s Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people.
A recent Apple job posting reveals that the company is looking for a Graphics Software Engineer to “develop graphics and imaging frameworks for future iPod user interfaces.”
More consumers prefer a la carte pay-per-download services like Apple’s iTunes over unlimited subscription services such as Napster, according to a new study by research firm Ipsos-Insight.
Martin Fiedler has created a small utility called iPod shuffle Database Builder that allows users to drag-and-drop MP3s onto the player without having to use iTunes.
In an unusually detailed look at the music collection of a sitting President, The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller reports that the “First iPod” has become the “indispensible new exercise toy” of George W. Bush, and is “loaded with country and popular rock tunes”, “heavy on traditional country singers like George Jones, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney.” Received from his daughters as a birthday gift in July 2004, the iPod contains only 250 songs, and is used “chiefly during bike workouts to help him pump up his heartbeat, which he monitors with a wrist strap.”
Most interestingly, The Times reports that Bush “does not take the time to download the music himself;” rather, he has had his personal aide buy songs from the iTunes Music Store, and “also has an eclectic mix of songs downloaded into his iPod from Mark McKinnon, a biking buddy and his chief media strategist during the 2004 campaign.”
Update as of Saturday, April 9 at 2:09PM PST: We are aware that a significant number of our readers are experiencing formatting issues with the new homepage on different browsers, and we’re working hard to fix them. There will be a number of additional tweaks to the main page over the next 24-48 hours to further improve layout and readability, so stay tuned.
A picture of the homepage as it generally should display on your monitor can now be viewed by clicking on Read More below. If it is not displaying in this way, your browser is likely set to display fonts at an unusual size, and most layout issues can be temporarily fixed by adjusting downwards to “normal” font settings.
And yes, the navigation bar will soon be fully functional. Instead of drop-down menus, the gray bar will change contextually by section (news, articles, free music, etc) to let you jump to the preferred sub-section below.
Welcome to the new iLounge. Even though we’re still tweaking the many pages of the site, the first stage of our long-awaited redesign is finally live and ready for you to kick the tires. Our aim with the new look is to streamline every aspect of the site, making it faster and easier for you to find and read the content you want. Be sure to email us what you think of the sparkly fresh site, and inform us of any major issues caused by the redesign. If you’d rather not send an email, you can comment on this news story and we’ll be sure to read everything you say.
Also, keep in mind that this is only the first phase of the redesign — more sections will be getting a makeover in the coming weeks. You can look forward to the revamped iLounge forums, tips & tricks, gear guide, and hacks & mods sections. In addition, we’ll soon be launching the new myPod online helper, which will offer one-click access to the information and accessories that are related to your specific iPod model.
Anapod Explorer 8.7.3 from Red Chair Software is the latest version of the iPod management application with Windows Explorer integration, file backup, web streaming, and more. This update adds a manual iPod identification feature, improved ID3 tag reading, and improved connect and disconnect times.
An interesting video of a Japanese news report on the making of the iPod’s stainless steel back has been posted online.
Duke University has posted several examples of how some classes are using iPods.
Silicon.com says consumers and not legislators should decide the winner of the DRM battle.
CopyPod 6 from WindSolutions is the latest version of the Windows application that allows you to backup, copy, and transfer music from your iPod to your PC. “Ideal to make a secure backup of your iPod, move your library to your new computers or restore after a hard drive crash,” says the developer. Version 6 includes new fields such as Date Added, Last Played, Play Count and Date Modified, Audible file support, enhanced interface, and a redesigned Help Section. CopyPod sells for $19.90.
During a hearing Wednesday to discuss enforcement of digital music compatibility standards, a House panel said it does not want to force interoperability on the industry, but may have to consider actions in the future.
Lawmakers met in part because of “concerns that had been mounting about Apple’s overwhelming hold on the digital music market after the company altered its iPod and iTunes technology to prevent the playing of files downloaded from competitor RealNetworks’ Harmony system,” according to Elana Schor of the Medill News Service.
“Government intervention can probably prohibit innovation,” said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “Consumers will choose interoperability over closed platforms” like the iPod.
Digital music subcommittee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was reportedly vocal in his skepticism of Apple’s closely guarded system, and was not happy that the company turned down an invitation to appear before his panel. “Generally speaking, companies with 75 percent market share of any business… need to step up to the plate when it comes to testifying on policy issues that impact their industry,” he said. “Failure to do so is a mistake.”