“Back in 1999, researchers at Compaq designed a 30 Gbyte portable music player that weighed 9.5 ounces, could fit in your pocket and had 10 hours of battery life. The Personal Jukebox - aka PJB - went on sale for more than $500, and Compaq received a handy patent for its work.
But the PJB is not all that interesting in and of itself. Plenty of companies were busy working on their own music players at the time. The demand for such devices was pretty clear, as consumers rushed to organize their music on PCs and wanted a way to carry the tunes around. [...]
The only explanation for HP’s iPod lust is that it was the easy way out - the road least invented. [...]
HP’s decision to pick up Apple product points to nothing less than a failure of the company to capitalize on its own invention. In addition, it shows HP’s unmatched readiness to ignore in-house IP at the very moment a fledgling market looks promising.”
Normally we couldn’t care less about iPod clones, but Korean company Nextway has announced the D Cube NHD-150D, a 1.5GB hard drive based audio player looking very similar to the iPod. It’s white, and has an LCD display above a scroll wheel and buttons similar to older iPods. Its features include; OGG Vorbis support, 8 line LCD, FM transmitter, FM radio and FM record, direct encoding, Mac OS support and the list goes on. We could not find a price posted on the website. Apple has been known to sue for such ‘similarities’ in product design, most notably the original iMac.
Apple has posted a new iPod TV commercial for viewing at Apple.com which features “Channel Surfing” by Feature Cast. It had been shown for the first time during Steve Job’s Keynote speech at Macworld San Francisco.
JAVOedge has released retractable stereo headphones called JAVOeBuds and features; 3.5 mm headphone jack, and retractable cable (47 inch max.). The JAVOeBuds are on sale for $18.95 (expires 2/18/04).
MacMinute reports the iPod mini is #1 on the online Apple Store’s Top Sellers list followed by iTunes Gift Certificates, iLife ‘04, Keystation 49e USB Midi Keyboard, 15-inch PowerBook, Monster iCarPlay wireless FM transmitter for iPods, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, iBook, iMac, and the dual 2GHz Power Mac G5.
Belkin has released a new Neoprene Sport case and Mobile Power cord with dock connector on its website. The Neoprene Sport case ($24.99) features; 360-degree motion with swivel clip, top-loading design with drawstring, and clear PVC cover. The new Mobile Power cord ($24.99) for your car features; replaceable safety fuse, DC input jack (works with F8V3080-APL TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter) and comes with a Belkin Lifetime Warranty.
MicrophoneSolutions.com is selling the pro version of the E5c, the E5, for only $389. Use coupon code F389E5.
In the February issue of Macworld (UK) there is a news item about the ongoing battery replacement issue.
“Apple Europe has confirmed that it will offer Europe’s iPod owners battery replacement and AppleCare packages “soon”, following its move to do so in the US last year. Online campaigners have criticised the usable life of Apple’s music player, complaining that its battery last just 18 months. This allegation is open to question, but Apple is responding to meet its users’ needs, the company’s moves suggest.
Apple’s European PR manager Alan Hely exclusively told Macworld: “The iPod Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program recently launched in the US will soon be launched in Europe. So to will AppleCare for iPod. “The move means readers who bought an iPod last Christmas can protect their music players. UK and European iPod owners will be able to use the battery replacement service “should they experience a depleted battery”.
As with any Apple Protection Plan, AppleCare for iPod will be available for iPod customers within their one-year limited warranty. This means “customers can protect their iPod by buying AppleCare for iPod at a later time when it becomes available in Europe”, Hely said. European pricing has not yet been announced. “
“According to The NPD Group, music downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) services increased 14% from October through November of 2003. That followedsix straight months of decline during the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) legal campaign against pirates, which has so far resulted in more than 300 lawsuits.
Russ Crupnick, vice president of the independent NPD Group, says there may be several reasons for the uptick in downloading. Among them: the inevitable dropoff in publicity from the RIAA’s campaign, more leisure time for students during the holidays, and the launch of several high-profile legal music downloading services.”
Dealmac: Amazon.com once again offers Apple’s iPod 10GB MP3 player for $236.54 with free shipping. It’s still the lowest total price we know to be available. Amazon.com offers the iPod 20GB and 40GB for $370.24 and $463.14, respectively, with free shipping. We couldn’t find a better total price on either of these elsewhere.
Teski, fashion apparel and case designer/manufacturer, has released a new hardcase for 3G iPods. The roadie case is made of PC ABS plastic and features; an interchangeable design for use with an armband or low profile belt clip, access to ‘Hold’ switch, headphone and docking port and provides full access to the front of iPod. The case comes in two-tone white/black on sale for $19.95, and comes in two sizes; 10/15/20GB and 30/40GB. You can purchase an additional 3-pack of front panels (orange, black and clear) for $9.95
“Kenswil [Universal Music’s eLabs president] spoke at the well-attended Music and Technology conference at the Royal Society in London yesterday. His assessment of a Q2 rollout for Apple’s music store was shared by representatives from BMG, EMI and other smaller labels represented at the show who were spoken to by Macworld.
He said: “As far as we know, the deals for Europe have been done, all the agreements are in place to introduce services here.”“
MacMinute reports: “An estimated 733,000 iPods were sold, accounting for $256 million in revenue. This doesn’t include iPod accessories, which added up to another $14 million. Plus, the iPod numbers would have been even higher, but Apple’s supply couldn’t keep up with the demand, Anderson [Apple Chief Financial Officer] said.”
While at Macworld, I was fortunate enough to witness the birth of a new iPod mini case by Marware. Soon after the Keynote speech by Steve Jobs, Ed Martin, CEO of Marware was talking to his manufacturer in Taiwan. Three days later, Ed showed me a finished prototype of the iPod mini SportSuit Sleeve, a smaller version of the iPod 3G SportSuit Sleeve. “We are working hard on the SportSuit Sleeve and it should be available when the iPod mini is out.” The case is identical in material and features as the SportSuit Sleeve for 3G iPods - a pouch-style neoprene case with vulcanized rubber side grips, access to the ‘Hold’ switch, dock and headphone ports. No pricing or color information has been determined at this time.
“Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2004 first quarter ended December 27, 2003. For the quarter, the Company posted a net profit of $63 million, or $.17 per diluted share. These results compare to a net loss of $8 million, or $.02 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter reached a four-year high of $2.006 billion, up 36 percent from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 26.7 percent, down from 27.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 44 percent of the quarter
“Speck Products announces a newly designed rubberized skin for the recently announced and much anticipated Mini iPod. Apple introduced the new smaller form factor iPod at last week’s MacWorld and has stated a mid-February ship date. The Speck Mini iPod Skin cases will be available at the same time.
The new Mini iPod Skins will provide protection for the new Mini iPod against dust, knocks, and scratches,while minimizing the bulk that most cases add. This skin-tight design is even more valuable for the new slimmed down iPod form factor. The case features a special shock-absorbing Dynaflex rubberized plastic construction, cutouts for the headphone, firewire port, and hold switch, and will be introduced in translucent colors inspired from the 5 new Mini iPod. The Mini iPod Skins will be sold in 3-Packs for $29.95 and individually for $19.95.”