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TechRestore offers lifetime iPod battery replacement

TechRestore has announced a $99.99 lifetime iPod battery replacement service. The iPod Battery Freedom service for all full-sized iPod models (1G/2G, 3G, 4G, photo and mini) includes installation of a replacement high capacity iPod battery “with at least 30% more capacity than the original iPod battery” and return overnight shipping for the first battery replacement.

A quick check of the program’s terms and conditions reveals that you are eligible to get a replacement battery only once every 18-months, and that (in addition to your costs of shipping your iPod to the company) you’ll have to pay a $12.99 return shipping charge each time a future battery is replaced.

‘BadApple’ brings podcast features to iTunes

BadApple is a free plug-in for the Windows version of iTunes that enables users to download and manage podcasts directly within the application.

“After downloading and installing BadApple, you will have a ‘Podcasts’ link you can click on from iTunes,” explains the developer. “You can use this to browse through categories to find the Podcast you want. Each podcast has a description. Once you locate a podcast you are interested in, double clicking on the podcast will load it to your library. When you plug in your iPod the podcast will be loaded to that depending on your settings.”

Griffin debuts iFill Internet Radio recorder

imageAs first reported by German web site, Griffin Technology has used MacExpo in Germany to publicly debut iFill ($19.99), new software that records Internet Radio broadcasts to an iPod - a concept described by Griffin as timeshifting of Internet Radio. “iFill is the perfect way to fill your 60 GB iPod with an incredible array of of music from thousands of Internet Radio stations around the world,” explained Paul Griffin, President, Griffin Technology. “iPod users have needed a way to sample a wide variety of music and programming. iFill ‘fills’ this need and also makes it a snap to purchase the music they like.”

Under development for some time, iFill is capable of recording multiple radio stations at once, automatically splitting each broadcast into tagged MP3 or AAC format songs. As its name suggests, it will continue to record until your iPod is filled with as much new music as you desire. iFill includes an easy-to-use interface that is independent from iTunes, yet incorporates all of its key features - including one surprise.

Concerned about the potential for music piracy, Griffin has incorporated music industry-friendly safeguards. iFill will not operate without an iPod attached to your computer, and will save songs only to the iPod, not your computer. Additionally, after automatically identifying a song’s artist and title, iFill’s “Songs on iPod” list will include a direct iTunes Music Store link (“little round arrows in the list view”) so that you can easily purchase a full, clean version to replace the imperfect one recorded from radio.

Currently available as a one-week demo for Mac OSX 10.3 and 10.4 users only, iFill will be released for Macs in July. A version is also under development for Windows PCs, and is planned for release in August.

Independence Day DecoDock announced

imagePressure Drop has announced a limited edition DecoDock with red, white and blue LEDs to celebrate the 4th of July. The Independence Day DecoDock sells for $31.99 and will ship on June 24th in limited quantities.

The DecoDock (iLounge Rating: B) is a stylish dock designed in the classic Art Deco style for charging/syncing an iPod shuffle. It’s also offered in cobalt blue, obsidian black, silver, pink, green, and white.

Mix: MP3 market, Coldplay, Distractions, NYPL

The MP3 player market is set to double between 2005 and 2009, DisplaySearch analyst John Jacobs said yesterday. He expects the global MP3 player market to exceed 50 million units this year.

Coldplay’s new album, X&Y, topped the sales charts in the U.S. and also did well in digital format. Approximately 8% (about 62,000) of the nearly 740,000 copies sold in the first week were downloaded from online stores. “Most of those sales were at Apple’s market-dominating iTunes Music Store, which had been accepting orders for the album for a month,” reports the LA Times.

A British sociologist says that iPod owners “love being able to shut out the world’s distractions, hate their cellphones and would prefer not to talk to anyone.”

The New York Public Library has excluded iPod users from access to its new audio eBook collection because of its choice to use a Windows Media-based technology for the audio DRM.

Pacific Rim offers iLoungers June discounts

imagePacific Rim Technologies has kicked off a June sales promotion just for iLounge readers. The discounts will last until June 30, 2005.

You can get $5 off the company’s Cube Speakers (coupon code: IPODLOUNGE-CUBE), $10 off its Stereo Kit bundle (IPODLOUNGE-REMOTE), $2 off its aluminum hard case (IPODLOUNGE-4G), and $4 off its iShield 1 or iShield 2 (IPODLOUNGE-3G).

Queen Elizabeth gets ‘royal iPod’

imageBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II has joined the iPod generation. UK tabloid The Sun reported Friday that she is now the owner of a silver 6GB iPod mini, and that Prince Andrew, fourth in line to the throne, was behind the move.

“The Queen loves music and was impressed by how small and handy the iPod is,” a royal insider told the paper. “Obviously it is quite complicated to download songs, but I’m sure one of the courtiers will do it for her. Prince Andrew will probably also help out because he’s a real dab hand with gadgets.”

Cableyoyo controls cord clutter

imageThe Cableyoyo is a cord management product for devices such as the iPod. The product’s ultra-thin plastic case conceals up to 6-feet of coiled wire. It also comes with a small adhesive attachment that lets you mount the Cableyoyo to virtually any surface. The Cableyoyo, which is available in white, black and silver, began shipping earlier this month for $4.99.

“Our increasing dependence on digital products is creating a persistent and growing nuisance: a mounting pile of tangled cords,” says the company behind the product. “Even wireless products require electric chargers. The Cableyoyo brings order to that chaos, cleans up your desktop, stores your wires neatly, and makes travel with cables hassle-free.”

Mix: iTunes 4.9, Super Tangent, Odeo, Family, WWDC

Make magazine reports that podcast download logs are showing a new user agent for iTunes 4.9, hinting that Apple is actively testing the new version internally.

Kodawarisan has posted photos of its teardown of the Luxpro Super Tangent.

Screenshots of Odeo’s upcoming podcasting service have been posted on flickr.

Meanwhile, another flickr user has posted a rather strange photo of her “iPod Family”—a dad (1G) and mom (iPod mini) looking over their baby (iPod shuffle).

CNET has posted the complete transcript from Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which took place earlier this month in San Francisco.

Mac: Pod Genius 1.0 released

Prosoft Engineering has announced the release of Pod Genius ($59), new Mac OS X software that helps you maintain, manage, and optimize Your iPod, according to the developer.

“Pod Genius is the only comprehensive software utility geared specifically toward iPod users. Recover lost or damaged music, repair corrupted data structures, backup your iPod to an exact copy, permanently delete unwanted files, or optimize the file layout of your music. You’ve invested a lot into your iPod and music, with Pod Genius, you can be sure your iPod will faithfully perform and your investment is well-protected.”

Belkin acknowledges Power Pack defect, calls for returns [updated]

imageBelkin has confirmed to iLounge that a manufacturing defect affects a portion of its Power Pack units for the iPod shuffle. The company said that while the Power Pack is providing the appropriate voltage, a connected iPod shuffle may not charge with either the AC or DC adapters even after hours of charging.

“This defect was first reported to us and verified on June 14th as a result of a customer support call,” Brian VanHarlingen, Belkin’s Senior Technology Manager, told iLounge. “Upon identification of the potential issue, we immediately ceased all shipments of the product from our distribution centers.”

VanHarlingen said Belkin is currently looking into the cause of the defect and how the issue slipped through the cracks. “We are currently conducting detailed testing to determine the cause of the problem and the extent of the problem (what percentage of products, and which production lots, are affected). We are also determining how our usually very thorough manufacturing QA processes allowed them to be produced.”

VanHarlingen said that customers who purchased a Power Pack and are experiencing the charging issue should either return the product to where it was purchased, or contact Belkin directly at 800-2-BELKIN x2064 to arrange a return. “We will continue to offer updates as we determine the cause of this defect,” he said. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this causes for customers who have purchased the product.”

Update: As expected, VanHarlingen has provided iLounge with an update on the defect:

“We have confirmed that the affected Belkin Power Pack for iPod shuffle products properly charge the iPod shuffle as long as the iPod shuffle is turned on—in either the shuffle or play-in-order modes,” he said. “However, the iPod shuffle will not charge using the Power Pack if the iPod shuffle is turned completely off.”

“We are currently revising the design to ensure that the product will consistently charge the iPod shuffle in either circumstance. Once we have the revised product in stock, we will exchange units for customers experiencing this issue, and, as previously mentioned, we are honoring any requests for refunds.”

Speck debuts Portfolio Skin case

imageSpeck Products continues its onslaught of new iPod accessories with the Portfolio Skin, a new silicone case that opens up like a book and closes with a strap made out of the same material. The case, which offers all-around protection, is available in clear or pink and each comes with four different colored straps.

Speck says the Portfolio Skin will work with 20, 30, 40 and 60GB 4G iPod and iPod photo models. It will be available from the company’s online store early tomorrow morning for $34.95. Click below for our exclusive photos.

Apple pact with Wal-Mart ‘broader than some realize’

Morgan Stanley analyst Rebecca Runkle said today that Apple’s pact with Wal-Mart may be broader than some realize.

“While we don’t believe Apple iPod availability at Wal-Mart is completely new news, we do think the partnership is broader than people think, in transition and set to expand in the near-term,” Runkle said in a research note to clients.

Runkle said Apple and the retail giant have expanded their initial test rollout in the last few months. Confirming the report, iLounge readers in Florida, Indiana, Texas and elsewhere have noted in recent weeks that they’ve seen various iPod models at their local Wal-Mart stores. Select Wal-Mart locations are carrying the 20GB iPod, the iPod mini, and the iPod shuffle, along with HP-branded versions.

Runkle estimates that sales of iPods at Wal-Mart locations could boost sales by 100,000 units and add $20 million in revenue each quarter. “We view the growing Wal-Mart relationship as a positive—a way to expand the brand to the mainstream and additive to the bottom-line,” she said.

Apple to offer Sundance Channel podcasts

Apple and the Sundance Channel have signed a deal to make content from the cable network available exclusively as podcast downloads from the iTunes Music Store.

“The partnership with Sundance gives iTunes one of its first exclusive podcast partners and inches Apple’s iTunes operations—originally created as a music distribution hub—toward becoming a broader, radio-like media entity,” reports AdAge (free registration required).

One of the first podcasts from the Sundance Channel will be “The Al Franken Show,” which features the Air America talk show host.

BTI to release new iPod add-ons next month

imageBattery Technology, Inc. (BTI) today announced that it will ship a number of its new iPod products early next month.

Among the new gear is the Mpod 3, a new battery-powered FM transmitter for the iPod shuffle ($29.95); a 20-hour rechargeable battery for the iPod and iPod mini ($69.95); an international AC power adapter for the iPod, which includes US, UK, EU plugs ($29.95); a headphone splitter with dual volume control ($14.95); and a belt clip and neck strap set for the iPod and iPod mini ($29.95).

The company also said that its Tunestir iPod FM receiver/transmitter and remote ($69.95), which was expected to ship in April, would also be available early next month.

Ignitek announces three iPod speaker systems

imageIgnitek has announced three new iPod speaker systems that are set to be released next month.

The first, called iCarrier, is a 3-way, floor-standing speaker system with a powered woofer and variable bass control. The top docking mechanism will accommodate both the iPod and iPod mini, and the unit will ship with a remote control. Ignitek said it will retail for $249.99.

The second speaker system is the iCruiser. Like many other iPod desktop systems, it is an all-in-one unit that features an iPod cradle in the center with two flanking speakers. The iCruiser ships with a remote control and audio-in for other music players. The iCruiser will sell for $129.99.

The iDeck, the third system offered from Ignitek, is built specifically for the iPod shuffle. It is a 2-Way speaker system in a compact, portable design. The battery-powered system works with an optional car charger. The iDeck is priced at $79.99.

Former Apple exec joins DLO

iPod accessory maker Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced that F. Garey De Angelis has been appointed Vice President of Product Development. In his new role with DLO, De Angelis will be responsible for “taking new products from the idea stage into successful production.”

De Angelis previously held product, software, and corporate executive roles at Apple in the Far East and at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. He also held technical management positions at DuPont, was a partner in a start-up consulting business, and served as CEO for video communications company Motion Media Technology.

Mix: Jobs, U2 switch, iPod Soufflé, Trademarks, Errol Morris

Stanford University has posted the transcript of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ commencement speech. Jobs offers three very interesting and heartfelt stories from his life.

iLounger Francis Real has posted details on how to put a faceplate from a U2 iPod onto a 30GB iPod photo.

iPod Soufflé is a site that shows you how many iPod shuffles you could get in exchange for certain items or dollar amounts such as Donald Trump’s net worth, a year’s supply of Twinkies, or the US national debt. The site also lets visitors add their own. [via Airbag]

Apple recently applied for several new trademarks, including one for “iPod Socks.”

Well known director Errol Morris revealed in an interview that he is filming new commercials for Apple that will be set in an Ames room.

Microsoft taps Xbox exec to fight iPod

imageMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer has tapped Senior Vice President Robbie Bach to revamp the company’s digital music offerings in an effort to keep up with Apple. Bach, who is also the head of Microsoft’s Xbox unit, has been called a “rising star” in the tech industry for his work on the video game console.

“Bach is expected to be given the authority to push for a range of changes, such as setting up a team focused solely on digital music, reorganizing product groups, or acquiring companies,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. “One immediate mission for him will be to make Microsoft’s new Xbox a hub for handling digital music.”

Ballmer reportedly assigned Bach to the new music role after an executive retreat in which his team privately showed the new Xbox 360 and marketing plans. “Later, executives talked about how they might employ lessons learned from Mr. Bach’s group,” the paper notes. “The retreat included a brief analysis of rival Apple’s music strategy.”

Microsoft insiders say that Bach plans to work more closely with certain media player makers to aid them in building better devices. “It would be an extension of the PlaysForSure branding program Microsoft started last year that subjects partners’ music players and services to a battery of tests to assure they will work smoothly with music services,” the paper reports.

Mix: Apple’s Brand, South Korea, Fraudsters, Walkman

Apple is the fastest growing brand in the world, according to marketing consultants Vivaldi Partners and Forbes. Apple has increase its brand value by 38% in the last four years thanks to the popularity of the iPod.

Apple reportedly said South Korean citizens will not be eligible for compensation in its iPod battery settlement.

iPods have “become the tool of choice for some fraudsters who use them to download vast quantities of corporate information either to sell to rivals or to support their own start-up operations,” reports The Guardian.

An inventive iPod owner created a case for his device out of an old cassette Walkman. The procedure required a special “dock-pinout-to-headphone-jack hack” because of the tight fit.

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