In his latest article for The Independent, Charles Arthur asks whether Apple would be smart to open up the iPod to developers in order to secure the device’s long-term dominance. “The hardware add-on market is fiercely energetic, with more than 300 accessories. But that’s only half the story. Lots of independent programmers would love to write their own games and applications for the iPod. Imagine spreadsheet and document readers or mapping systems. The only limit is imagination and there’s little shortage of that around the iPod. Those programs would make the machine even more useful to its buyers and an even bigger source of revenue for companies, which would thus have a vested interest in the iPod’s continued existence. In technology parlance, the iPod would become a ‘platform’—just like Windows, Linux and OS X on personal computers.”
New additions to Apple’s iTunes Music Store this week include: an “intimate and intense” solo acoustic version of “Lithium” by Kurt Cobain, which will be part of the forthcoming Nirvana box set, With The Lights Out; a new mash-up EP that combines the talents of Jay-Z with Linkin Park; soundtracks from The Incredibles and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie; and greatest hits albums from Britney Spears and the Bee Gees.
Keyspan today introduced the Keyspan Express Remote, a USB infrared remote control that includes support for Apple’s AirPort Express. The remote’s receiver plugs into the AirPort Express USB port, or into the USB port on a Mac or PC, enabling users to wirelessly control iTunes or other media applications. The 17-button remote transmits signals up to 40 feet and includes key maps for iTunes, MusicMatch, Windows Media Player, WinAMP, QuickTime, PowerPoint and more. The Keyspan Express Remote retails for $59 and will begin shipping later this month.
Mac community site Spymac is now offering a limited edition aluminum iPod stand. “Designed and crafted in Germany, this iPod stand proudly displays all models of the world’s most renowned digital music player. Slanted design allows for easy removal and showcasing. Constructed from beautiful high quality aluminum and featuring rubber feet to prevent sliding and furniture damage. The Spymac Smoking Man logo is embedded in the front.” The Spymac iPod stand is priced at $49.99.
Incase has announced its Travel Kit for Apple’s 3G and 4G iPod and iPod mini. The nylon carrying case comes with the dual input Incase iPod charger (a $49 value) and features customized pockets and storage space for your iPod, cables and adapters. It also has a penholder and room for business cards, credit cards, plane tickets, passport and more. “For long and short excursions, or just the daily journey, this is your complete iPod or iPod mini carrying solution,” says Incase. The iPod Travel Kit will be available later this month for $69.
Online retail giant Amazon.com has quietly launched a new store dedicated to Apple’s iPod and iPod-related accessories. “Introducing the new Apple iPod Store at Amazon.com, your one-stop shopping destination for everything iPod,” reads a promotion on the retailer’s site. “You’ll find iPods, iPod minis, and the accessories to trick them out.” Unlike Apple’s new iPod Store, Amazon’s store appears to be a work in progress as it currently lacks many accessories.
Engadget has posted a step-by-step article on how to play a “movie” on an iPod Photo. The process involves exporting the frames and audio of a video, importing them to the iPod and playing them manually by “Click-Wheeling” through the thousands of images while the sound is playing.
iSkin today announced the availability of colored screen protectors called “Shades” for use with the company’s eXo2, eVo and eVo2 iPod cases. “These funky screen protectors are made of a polymer that provides protection without leaving wet marks, graphic distortion or compromises in clarity when placed over the screen of the iPod,” notes iSkin. The new iSkin Shades are available as a $14.99 five-pack containing the following colors: Cosmos (purple), Sonic (deep blue), Blush (pink), Kiwi (green) and Tangerine (orange).
Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich has raised his iPod sales estimates for Apple’s December quarter from 3 million units to 3.5 million units based on stronger international sales and increased supply of drives. “December could be particularly strong as the new iPod Photo is getting glowing reviews, and the competition still lags in ease of use,” Milunovich said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “Hitachi’s HDD division (HGST) should increase its 1-inch production by 50 percent in October. HGST is Apple’s main supplier for the iPod Mini. Toshiba, the major suppler for the white iPod, saw its 1.8-inch drive production almost double in September. Also, scrollwheel supplier Synaptics has a bullish outlook.”
Micromat, makers of the TechTool Pro disk repair utility for Macintosh, has announced a new utility for iPod. PodLock allows users to hide important files by creating an “invisible” partition on their iPod. According to Christian Pickman, Product Manager of Micromat, “It’s like having a secret drive for your data files that only you can see by entering your personal password. If you use your iPod as an external drive to transport data, you’ll want this protection in the event that you should ever lose your iPod.” The utility can also unfragment file data on the iPod, improving file retrieval and music access speed; backup and restore data on the primary iPod volume; and display important and interesting technical information about the iPod, like where a specific iPod was manufactured. PodLock is priced at $65.
Booq has announced a new version of its PodPaq nappa case for the 20/40GB 4G iPod and iPod Photo. The $49.95 case, which will begin shpping on November 10, is made from super-soft Nappa leather and features a removable flap with cutouts for headphones and charging cable, an internal neoprene accessory pouch and external leather pocket, and a belt clip wrapped in leather.
A Rolling Stone article reveals that rock band U2 accepted no money for Apple’s iPod+iTunes ad that features its new single “Vertigo.” The band will, however, get royalties on the special edition U2 iPod. U2 manager Paul McGuinness said, “The commercial was an attractive idea because iTunes was already selling our music, and the amount Apple will spend for airtime is out of reach for the record business.” In the article, U2 lead singer Bono called the iPod “the most interesting art object since the electric guitar in terms of music.”
CNET News.com reports that more and more luxury hotels are adding iPods to their guest rooms.
Markus Giesler, an assistant professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Ontario, has launched the iPod Experience, a research homepage dedicated to “the study of iPod consumers and their iPod related stories and consumption experiences.”
Since launching BiblePlayer last month, the free version of the software has been downloaded roughly 7,000 times. BiblePlayer allows users to read the Bible on an iPod using the device’s Notes function.
Total Impact Industrial has announced the Slappa HardBody case for 3G iPods. Available for pre-order now, the case features an xEVA molded HardBody shell, NeoGrip pod sling player stabilizer, etched alloy clasp, heavy duty steel belt clip, top and bottom port access, and a Flexi-pane clear front window that covers the screen and scroll wheel. The Slappa HardBody iPod case is priced at US$29.99.
Vaja has released the i-Volution iVod and Classic leather cases for the 40GB and 60GB iPod Photo. iVod is made from genuine Argentine leather, forming a semi-rigid shell with a built-in screen protector. Starting at $70, the iVod comes in a multitude of solid colors and custom two-tone combinations. The traditional Classic case features flip-lid design with a snap-closure, and is also made from genuine Argentine leather and can be custom-built starting at $54.90.
GoogleGet is a small program designed to download the latest news and weather information from Google News (or a local variation) and WeatherRoom.com. This version fixes a problem that prevented GoogleGet from connecting to Google News as well as adding weather info support, iPod auto-detection and many other new features.
Catherine’s Pita Shop announced a slew of new handcrafted iPod cozies today. Made of denim and lined with soft fabric, the cozies come in a variety of original designs. Some have “back pockets” to store your earbuds, while others sport a clear front to allow you to see your iPod. The cozies, which range in pricing from $20 to $25, are “heavier on the fashion than function, but oh the fashion,” notes the company.
Anapod Explorer 8.6.3 from Red Chair Software is the latest version of the iPod utility for Windows. This update provides basic compatibility with the new features of the iPod Photo, and will properly preserve album art associations transferred by iTunes.
Hot on the heels of its iSee-40 case, Contour Design today announced the iSee-Mini, a new hard case for Apple’s iPod mini. The two-piece, ultra-clear case offers: all around protection; easy access to all controls; a top opening for access to connectors, headphone jack, hold switch and third party products such as FM transmitters and voice recorders; and the ability to use the Apple belt clip or the Apple arm band with the front section. The Contour iSee-Mini is priced at $19.99.
Pyrim Technologies is now shipping the iTrac iPod travel case for Apple’s iPod Photo (40GB and 60GB versions). The zippered case features foam storage compartments for iPod, dock, power adapter and miscellaneous accessories. The iTrack sells for $59.99. In addition, Pyrim has also added white to its line of iTrac insert color options.