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Mix: iPod video, Hollywood, Motorola V3X, Jobs successor

Newsweek’s Steven Levy writes about the iPod’s new video support. “Will people be similarly impressed by viewing such fare on the 2.5-inch iPod screen? A couple of weeks ago, Jobs tested it himself with an episode of Lost. The verdict? ‘It’s not bad,’ he says. With more than 20 million iPods sold, and a new business selling TV shows, he’s not desperate, and certainly not lost.”

The New York Times’ Richard Siklos says: “The video iPod is not about to revolutionize Hollywood in the way the iPod revolutionized music. Why? Two reasons. One is that studios are not rushing to make their most popular movies and shows available for the video iPod. Perhaps even more important, mobile gadgets with access to everything that is already on television are on the way.”

Engadget reports that Vodafone has the Motorola V3X listed as being available next month with iTunes. The phone also has a two megapixel camera, memory card slot, and Bluetooth.

In a BusinessWeek articled entitled “Atop the Apple Tree, Almost,” Arik Hesseldahl and Peter Burrow discuss the possibility of life after Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “If Jobs ever steps down, Tim Cook’s elevation to COO confirms him as the top candidate to fill his shoes. Actually, make that to try to fill them.”

Shure adds black E Series earphones for iPod nano

Shure today announced black versions of its E Series sound-isolating earphones designed to complement the black iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod. In addition to the current white models, the Shure E2c, E3c and E4c will be available in black. They will begin shipping in November.

“Featuring Shure’s unique Dynamic MicroDriver technology and priced at $99, the E2c is a consumer’s first introduction to premium audio and an ideal choice for upgrading bundled earphones. The lightest, most compact model in its class, the E3c retails for $179 and features WideBand MicroDriver technology to deliver extended frequencies and precision highs. The E4c, $299, incorporates Shure’s Tuned Port Technology and High Definition drivers, delivering luxurious, detailed audio and extended bass response.”

We are awaiting pictures of the new black models from Shure.

Apple drops Samsung investment plan

Talks between Samsung and Apple on a possible joint investment to produce NAND flash memory chips have been dropped. “We had had some talks with Apple earlier this year but it did not work out due to differences over terms,” a Samsung spokesman told Reuters on Monday, adding they had dropped the joint investment talks “at a very early stage.” Apple is reportedly in talks currently with another company for joint flash chip output.

The Korea Economic Daily reported over the weekend that Apple had pulled out of the joint $3.8 billion investment plan due to “deepening anti-Samsung sentiment among some South Korean politicians and civic groups.” The Korean Fair Trade Commission Chairman recently stated that Samsung could be investigated for reports of the company selling flash memory to Apple at below-market prices. Last week, Samsung was found guilty in the U.S. of price-fixing.

ABC shows on iTunes causing waves in TV business

Apple may have “helped open a Pandora’s box for the media business” by making television shows available for download on iTunes. The Wall Street Journal reports [paid sub. req.] that Apple and its first TV partner, Walt Disney/ABC, have “taken a potentially significant step in the dismantling of a decades-old system for distributing TV programming to viewers, a move that could have profound long-term consequences for broadcasters, cable systems and satellite companies if more users download shows instead of watching them the old-fashioned way.”

Apple’s deal with Disney is “already causing waves in the TV business,” with Leon Long, the president of the association representing ABC’s affiliate stations, expressing his concern to ABC executives. “It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new—and competitive—network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation” with its affiliates, Long said in a letter to the president of the ABC network. Meanwhile, the unions that represent TV show writers, producers, directors and actors issued a joint statement last week saying, “We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.”

Apple’s design process highlighted in Time cover story

imageThe October 24th edition of Time magazine features a cover story on Apple and how the company is different from others when it comes to designing new products. While Apple CEO Steve Jobs is featured on the cover holding the new fifth-generation iPod, most of the article is devoted to analyzing the design process at Apple. The cover story contains some choice quotes from a number of Apple executives, including Jobs, Jonathan Ive and Tony Fadell. A paid subscription is required to read the full article.

Time’s Lev Grossman says that there are two things going on inside Apple—collaboration and control. When it comes to a new product, it’s a joint effort—the company does not pass a product down the line, from team to team. “There aren’t discrete, sequential development stages,” explains Grossman. “Instead, it’s simultaneous and organic. Products get worked on in parallel by all departments at once—design, hardware, software—in endless rounds of interdisciplinary design reviews.”

Jobs compares Apple’s design process to other companies. “You know how you see a show car,” Jobs says, “and it’s really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, What happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands! They grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory! What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea. Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, ‘Nah, we can’t do that. That’s impossible.’ And so it gets a lot worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go, ‘We can’t build that!’ And it gets a lot worse.”

Time’s Grossman describes the “control” of Jobs: “Sure, Jobs is perfectly pleasant to be around. And he pays attention to what you’re saying, but if he disagrees with it… he’ll come storming back and hammer at you until you change your mind or at least shut up… In other words, Jobs is into control. In itself, that is of no real importance, except that in a lot of ways, Apple is an expression of Jobs’ personal ethos.”

Finally, Jobs talks of the new iPod’s potential. “There is no market today for portable video,” he says. “We’re going to sell millions of these to people who want to play their music, and video is going to come along for the ride. Anyone who wants to put out video content will put it out for this. And we’ll find out what happens.”

Forums: More new forums, New iPod, RIP iT5, Linux Forum?

In this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums: a new set of forums have been launched for the new iPod 5G (video). We have opened a General Discussion forum, which is already seeing a lot of activity, a forum for Problems & Solutions, which we hope will see little activity, and we’re sure the Cases forum for the new iPod will see plenty of posts.

Members share their views of the “new iPod,” “video iPod,” or “5G iPod” in “The Official “New iPod” Discussion Thread”. Love it and want one? Or are you ambivalent about the newest Apple iPod? Share your views.

With the release of iTunes 6 during the “One More Thing” event, iTunes 5 is relegated to the history books as the shortest-lived version of iTunes. Join other members mourning its passing and reminiscing its brief time installed on their computers…

We have had a request from a member to establish a forum to cater for Linux iPod users within the iLounge community. At present there seems to be little in the way of a large enough response from the Linux iPod users to warrant a dedicated forum. Are you a Linux iPodder and would a Linux forum be of use? If so, please comment in the thread.

Mix: PSP vs. video iPod, Network TV, iPod porn

PSPworld has an editorial comparing the Sony PSP with the new fifth-generation iPod. “The PSP is a wonderful game machine, and it is a joy to own,” the site says, “but if Sony doesn’t pull together and start taking advantage of the PSP’s multimedia capabilities, they are going to lose sales of PSPs to the video iPod. It’s just that simple.”

Mark Cuban, who became a billionaire in the content delivery business during the dot-com boom, says this week’s announcement by Apple and ABC has “enabled a new revenue stream which if it grows, could definitely be the revenue stream that saves primetime network TV.”

Adam Curry, president of PodShow Inc. and one of the pioneers of podcasting, said the new fifth-generation iPod is going to open up doors to portable pornography. “Porn is just going to be huge,” he told listeners to his Daily Source Code podcast this week. “The porn guys are just going, ‘holy moly,’”—in gratitude for the new market that’s opened up to them.

Griffin debuts black iFM with dock connector

imageGriffin Technology today announced a new version of its iFM with a dock connector and a new black exterior. The tiny device integrates an FM radio tuner and remote control functionality. It is compatible with fourth and fifth generation iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. The new iFM functions as a remote (controls play, pause, fast forward, rewind, next song, previous song, volume), and features a digital FM radio with a band-switch function to switch between US, European and Japanese FM bands. It also offers 6 station presets per band. The new iFM is priced at $49.99 and will begin shipping in mid-November.

iPod chief stepping down, to be succeeded by ‘Father of iPod’

Apple today announced that Jon Rubinstein, the company’s senior vice president of its iPod Division, will retire on March 31, 2006 and will be succeeded by Tony Fadell, Apple’s vice president of iPod engineering. Apple said in a statement that Fadell, known to insiders as the “Father of the iPod,” will report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and take over all aspects of iPod development.

“I’ve worked with Jon for over 15 years, and we’re going to miss him. Jon has done an excellent job as a member of Apple’s senior management team, as well as building our world-class iPod engineering team and running our hardware engineering team prior to that,” said Jobs. “Tony has been doing a superb job running a large part of the iPod engineering team, and we’re expecting a very smooth transition.”

Fadell, an engineer who previously worked at General Magic, Philips Electronics and RealNetworks, is credited for the birth of the iPod. Fadell reportedly approached Apple with the idea of a portable digital music player coupled with a paid download service in 2001. Apple provided Fadell with a 30-person team and a tight deadline to create the first iPod.

Apple also announced today that it has named Tim Cook its chief operating officer. Cook, who has been Apple’s executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations since 2002, will continue to report to Jobs.

Vaja unveils new iPod nano cases

Vaja has introduced its first cases for Apple’s iPod nano. Like all cases from the company, they’re made from Argentine high-ended leather and can be customized with numerous color options and added features. Vaja offers further personalization with your embossed name or logo.

imageThe Vaja AP171 case ($34) features a screen protector and access to the headphone port, hold switch and dock connector. The case is available with an optional metal hook, Ultra Clip, or Rivet Clip system, and can also be ordered with a click wheel protector.

imageVaja’s AP161 case ($40) sports a flip-down front cover with a screen protector and access to the headphone port and hold switch when closed, and access to the dock connector when open. The AP161 is available with the Ultra Clip or Rivet Clip system and can also be customized.

Mix: Steve Jobs, iReruns, Motorola podcast, MP3 player sales

In an interview with The New York Times earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs acknowledged the about-face he made on his view of portable video. “Jobs said he was entering the video market as an experiment, but one that he felt he could not lose because the players will sell well on their music-playing features alone.”

Time magazine’s James Poniewozik has an interesting idea for the TV shows on iTunes. “Why not let people pay $1.99—or more—to watch a show the day before it airs? Sure, some folks might pony up for a glorified rerun. But how many Lost fanatics would gladly pay every week—essentially subscribing to a network show—for the chance to find out whether Michelle Rodriguez is evil, or why Daniel Dae-Kim is suddenly speaking English? A day late, a Survivor elimination is old news; a day early, it’s insider information.”

Motorola will release a podcast for its iTunes-enabled ROKR mobile phone next week that will feature legally-licensed music from big name music acts. The company describes the inclusion of such music as: “Marking another step towards full legitimacy of a format frequently branded ‘the new pirate radio.’”

Research firm IDC says global sales of digital music players are expected to increase to nearly 1 billion units a year in 2009. IDC forecasts sales of compressed audio players (everything from MP3 players to DVD devices) will reach 945.5 million units worth $145.4 billion in 2009, up from 224.9 units worth $46.7 billion in 2004. The portable flash player category is expected to grow to 124 million units in 2009 from 26.4 million in 2004.

DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano announced

imageDigital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced the DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano. The cushioned neoprene case features a clear screen protector, a built-in swivel clip and a slender armband “that’s perfect for jogging or the gym.” The DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano sells for $29.99 and is available immediately.

“The DLO Action Jacket for the iPod nano preserves the glass finish of the iPod nano’s screen and top surface by offering owners a soft, padded neoprene case with a built-in screen protector. It fully protects the nano from dirt, sweat and dings. The sturdy belt clip offers the option of wearing the nano on their hip or belt, bag, shirt, pocket, almost anywhere.”

STM debuts iPod nano Holster

imageSTM has introduced its new iPod nano Holster. The canvas case is soft lined and padded, features a snap-button closure, and comes with a detachable key ring and wrist strap. The Holster comes in charcoal or red in 2-packs and will be available in November. Pricing was not announced.

“You want to protect your iPod nano in a simple slip case with easy access, but it needs to be more functional than just a case. It would be great to be able to attach it to a keyring, pretty cool if it came with a wrist strap and even better if there was some way to manage the headphones. STM’s holster embraces the nano, protecting it from bumps and scratches, and has two interchangeable carry options so you can rest your holster on its key ring attachment or instantly arm yourself with the wrist strap.”

The Pros and Cons of iPod Video: iLounge Podcast 15

imageIs the first video iPod any good? A big mistake? iLounge editors Jeremy Horwitz (in Irvine, California) and Bob Levens (in Cambridge, U.K.) started out with markedly different opinions on iPod video features before Apple Computer’s announcement of the fifth-generation iPod yesterday, but now they’ve changed their minds. Listen to the fifteenth iLounge Week in Review podcast to hear these two editors express their views on the new iPod, and learn all about its new features and omissions. Yesterday’s special breaking news podcast from San Jose, California is also still available for download.

Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: iLounge Week in Review 15 - MP3 Version
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Listen to Past Podcasts

Poll results: Which feature should Apple add to iPods?

The most recent Lounge Poll, “Which feature do you most want Apple to add to iPods?”, is now closed.

With over 5,700 votes cast. the two most popular requested features were a replaceable battery (26%) and FM radio tuning (24%), with video playback rounding out the top three at 21%. Bluetooth wireless support was nearby at 17%, while features such as more games (5%), sports features (pedometer etc, 2%), and “something else” (6%) trailed considerably.

Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What do you think of the iPod with video?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

Mix: AAPL, Bonus feature, Video podcasts, ‘Lost’ experience

Shares of Apple surged 9.1 percent, or $4.49, to $53.74 Thursday following two days of losses. “Several analysts said investors prematurely sold the stock following a fourth-quarter earnings report in which Apple’s revenue fell $6 million shy of Wall Street’s consensus estimates. However, positive reaction to Apple’s new video iPod and content-licensing TV show deal with the Walt Disney Co. sent investors back into buying mode.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Fortune that video is just a bonus on the new iPod instead of its main feature. “This is the best iPod for music ever, and customers basically get the video for free,” Jobs said. “And because the iPod is the most popular portable audio player on the planet, the new iPods automatically become the world’s most popular portable video players, too.”

Reuters reports that “Podcasting is on the verge of setting off a video revolution and users of Apple Computer Inc.‘s new video iPod can expect a deluge of outspoken commentary, religious sermons and pornography.”

Dawn Chmielewski of the Mercury News writes: “The experience of watching an early episode of ‘Lost’ displayed on a 2 1/2-inch screen was surprisingly compelling, with sharp images and stereo sound. I found myself drawn into the scene showing the aftermath of the plane crash that defines the show. But there’s a major caveat here: Steve Jobs needs the support of a lot more studios than Disney.”

Griffin unveils SmartDeck with dock connector

imageGriffin Technology has announced a new model of its SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter, which allows users to control their iPod using the built in controls of a cassette player. Unlike the original SmartDeck, which requires both a headphone and remote jack and only worked with 3G and 4G iPods, the new version connects to an iPod via the dock connector, making it compatible with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. The SmartDeck with dock connector will begin shipping later this month for $29.99.

“SmartDeck is more than just a cassette adapter for iPod; it achieves truly seamless integration between iPod and cassette deck,” says Griffin. “Users can utilize the cassette deck’s forward and rewind buttons to advance to the next or prior songs in the iPod playlist. In addition, pause and stop buttons do what pause and stop buttons are expected to do. When the user hits the cassette deck’s Eject button or switches from Cassette to Radio, Griffin’s SmartPlay technology automatically pauses the iPod.”

Belkin announces TuneCast Auto, TuneFM

imageBelkin today announced the TuneCast Auto, a new version of its device that lets you listen, power and charge your iPod in your car. The TuneCast Auto has an integrated FM transmitter (88.1MHz–107.9MHz) and carges your iPod through your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. It connects via the dock connector port, and features two programmable memory slots, a blue backlit LCD, a velcro tie and surface-mount clip. The TuneCast Auto is priced at $59.99 and will begin shipping in late November.

imageBelkin also today officially announced its TuneFM, which was first shown on iLounge in August. The $39.99 FM transmitter plugs into the headphone and remote jacks on the top of third- or fourth-generation iPods, and features a large LED display that shows the current FM frequency. It has channel up/down buttons and two programmable preset buttons for favorite frequencies. The company said it will also ship November.

Speck now shipping iPod nano cases

imageSpeck Products has begun shipping seven of its new cases for the iPod nano. The cases now available are the SkinTight singles and 3 packs, SkinTight Deluxe 2-packs, ToughSkins in clear and black, and the FunSkin Cloud. Speck says that the remainder of their new iPod nano products, which are priced between $19.95 and $34.95, will be shipping “well before the estimated October 30th date.”

Tunewear offers portable tripod speaker system

imageTunewear has announced the Boomtune Mini, a portable tripod speaker system for iPods and other MP3 players. The $39.95 speakers offer 1W x 2 output and provide up to 10 hours of playback with one AAA battery.

“With a style like you have never seen before, the tripod design can be used with almost any MP3 player from the small iPod shuffle to the iPod 4G/photo. It is also suitable for more than just table top use. In fact, you can use it anywhere. Whether you are staying in a hotel, camping, at a barbecue, or just enjoying the outdoors, Boomtune Mini, will ensure that you can enjoy your favorite tunes no matter where you are.”

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