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Speck debuts SkinTight iPod Skins for iPod photo

Speck Products today announced the SkinTight iPod Skin for the 40GB and 60GB iPod photo. The rubberized Skin features a hard plastic screen protector and a flex-away flap, allowing it to work with the iPod dock. The SkinTight iPod Skin for iPod photo comes in three colors (clear, blue, and pink) and can be purchased individually for $24.95 or as a 3-pack for $34.95. Speck said that only 300 frosted clear singles are initially available and will begin shipping on Dec. 27. The remaining colors and 3-packs will start shipping on Jan. 10.

‘iPod + iTunes Quick Tips’ eBook released

pic Digimi Publishing today released “iPod + iTunes Quick Tips,” a new $5 eBook packed with “easy, concise and all-around cool tips meant to make your experience with Apple’s digital music duo more fun and more efficient.” The 59-page eBook has 100 tips (95 screenshots) and was written by Larry Angell (MacMinute Editor-in-Chief and iLounge News Editor) and Charles Starrett. The eBook was “written from a Mac-centric point of view, but Windows users should find more than enough tips to make purchasing worthwhile,” according to Digimi. iPod + iTunes Quick Tips shows you how to: receive Podcasts; save music videos and movie trailers from the iTMS; get the most out of your iPod’s battery; make normal AAC files bookmarkable and speed adjustable; be a better DJ with Party Shuffle; use the Firefox web browser to control iTunes; master Playlists and Smart Playlists; copy music from your iPod to your Mac; recover your lost iPod’s serial number; and much more.

Shuga Buds crystal decorated earphones debut

pic Shuga Buds are white Apple-like earphones that are encrusted with Swarovski crystals. “Shuga Buds are stereo quality personal earphones ‘studded’ with genuine Swarovski crystals for use with personal audio players such as the iPod.” The earphones are available in five colors to match Apple’s iPod mini: blue, pink, iridescent, sage green and yellow/gold. The Shuga Buds, which ship with a wind-up storage case and gift box, are priced at $42.50 plus shipping and handling.

JAVOedge offers 4G iPod hard case

JAVOedge has anounced a new clear case for the 20GB fourth-generation iPod. The $23.95 case features a 360-degree rotating removable clear belt clip, a secure locking mechanism, and cutouts for easy access to the Click Wheel, Dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch.

Mix: 7-Eleven, Canada, iPodBaskets, Synaptics

7-Eleven stores in Singapore have begun selling Apple’s iPod—as well as Gameboy and N-Gage games.

The Globe and Mail reports that getting your hands on an iPod mini before Christmas in Canada is virtually impossible.

iPodBaskets.com sells gift baskets made up of iPod accessories. Prices start at $49.

Executives at Synaptics, the maker of the iPod’s scroll wheel, sold a combined $10.64 million in company stock last month as its shares rose to a 52-week high thanks to the iPod’s popularity.

Dension adds iPod kit for Mercedes fiber optic systems

Dension today announced that its ice>Link: Plus vehicle kit for iPod is now available for the Mercedes Benz fiber optic “D2B

Windows: Anapod Reinitializer 1.0

Anapod Reinitializer 1.0 is a free Windows utility for reformatting and reinitializing your iPod. Its function is equivalent to the Restore button in the Apple iPod Updater utility. Anapod Reinitializer runs on all versions of Windows, enabling Windows 98/ME users (who cannot use Apple’s software because it only runs on 2000/XP) to format their iPods.

Apple sues over unannounced product leak

Apple is suing unnamed individuals who leaked details about an unannounced product by posting detailed information on the Web. Apple’s complaint, which was filed with the Santa Clara County California Superior Court on Dec. 13, alleges that “an unidentified individual, acting alone or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and disseminated through Web sites confidential information about an unreleased Apple product.” Apple said it did not know the “true names or capacities, whether individual, associate, corporate or otherwise,” of the defendants, but that it would amend the complaint once they have been discovered.

Mix: 20GB iPod, 800 lbs. gorilla, Podcasting, contests, Late Show

Noting that the iPod is proving to be as synonymous with music players as Band-Aid with bandages or Kleenex for tissues, Peter Howe reports that the 20GB iPod is by far the most popular model this holiday season.
 
Rio, Creative, Virgin, iRiver and Archos are among those pushing their design teams to challenge Apple’s “800-pound white gorilla” on both function and fashion.

BusinessWeek’s Thane Peterson says that Podcasting is one of 2004’s major cultural trends. He says it will “democratize radio by making it possible for just about anyone to broadcast audio content—much as blogging did for written commentary.”

iPodContests.com is a new Web site that tracks contests from companies that offer iPods as prizes. For a more comprehensive listing of iPod giveaways check out Les Posen’s iPod Giveaway Site.

Apple’s iPod, iPod mini and a “new iPod” that holds “a billion songs” appeared this week on the Late Show with David Letterman. (Click on the Big Show Highlight in the DaveTV box.)

PDAtrends announces iPod SkinArt case

pic PDAtrends has announced its iPod SkinArt case for Apple’s fourth-generation iPod and iPod mini. The silicone case features an open top to accommodate accessories, allows full access to the iPod’s ports and controls, and has a bottom opening for syncing/charging. It is available in black, white, green, blue and pink for $12.95. iLounge readers can get a 10 percent discount with coupon code: ilounge2004.

Exclusive: Belkin’s TuneStage Bluetooth stereo solution

Discussing the future of its iPod accessory line with iLounge today, third-party developer Belkin Corporation has disclosed details of its newest iPod accessory, provisionally titled “TuneStage,” a Bluetooth Class 2 stereo solution for the iPod.

TuneStage will consist of two components - a receiver and a transmitter - which will connect any iPod via wireless Bluetooth link to any stereo system. The receiver will connect to a stereo via 3.5-inch minijack or RCA left and right ports, and Belkin is currently considering whether to additionally include an optical TOSLink output on the final product. TuneStage’s transmitter will attach to the top of the iPod, enabling it to wirelessly broadcast audio to the receiver and act like a “remote control” for the playback of iPod audio, explained Belkin product manager Randall Stowasser.

Numerous design factors can impact the audio quality of Bluetooth signals, but Belkin is “extremely pleased” with the sound quality of the TuneStage, according to Stowasser. It will output digital stereo sound taken from the iPod’s headphone jack, which while not line-out quality is likely to satisfy the needs of most iPod users. iLounge will have photography of TuneStage closer to the product’s first public showings at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show and the San Francisco Macworld Expo next month.

Apple, Motorola on track to debut mobile phone

Apple and Motorola could soon unveil the mobile phone they have been developing to play music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. “We’ve said we have something coming on this in the first half of 2005 and we’re definitely on schedule for that. Hopefully you’ll be able to see more about it soon,” Eddy Cue, vice president of applications at Apple, told Forbes. “What we’ve talked about is a something that is valuable for the mass market,” Cue said. “It has to be a phone in the middle-tier of the market, not a $500-tier phone. It has to be very seamless to use. And we’re very happy with the results.”

Incase intros Leather Folio for U2 iPod

pic Incase has introduced a new case custom designed for the iPod U2 Special Edition. The Leather Folio Special Edition matches the iPod’s styling with a black leather design and red suede interior. The new case features wraparound protection, access to all controls and ports, a clear window for showing off the laser-engraved band signatures, and a belt or strap attachment. The Incase Leather Folio Special Edition will be available at the online Apple Store and all Apple retail stores beginning in mid-January for $39.95.

CSS podGuide puts web standards on your iPod

Westciv, developers of the leading cross platform CSS Editor, Style Master, have released a special iPod edition of their popular CSS Guide. “Featuring a handy overview of CSS concepts, and in-depth information for every selector, property and @rule of CSS 2.1, the CSS podGuide is a must have for any web developer with an iPod.” The Style Master CSS podGuide is a free download.

New high-capacity battery for 1G, 2G iPods announced

Newer Technology and Other World Computing today introduced a new high-capacity 1800mAh iPod replacement Lithium-Polymer battery for all first- and second-generation iPod models. The 1800mAh NuPower battery, which replaces the 1600mAh battery for the same $29.95 price, offers 46 percent more capacity than Apple’s original iPod battery. The ultra high-capacity 2100mAh NuPower offering 70 percent more capacity for the same models remains available for $39.95. The iPod batteries include two non-scratching installation tools and a detailed instruction manual.

iPodRestore offers 24-hour iPod repair service

TechRestore has launched a new repair and upgrade program for iPods. The new program, iPodRestore, provides 24-hour turnaround on service from locations worldwide. “The Full-Restore program ($29) starts with a phone call to 1-877-For-iPod or a visit to TechRestore.com. Once a repair is scheduled, a RestoreBox is sent via overnight courier to the customers home, office or school where their iPod is picked up and brought back overnight to TechRestore. Within 24-hours of receipt, the customer is contacted with a complete diagnosis and a repair price for their approval. The repair is completed the same day and the iPod is sent back to the customer’s location via overnight courier.”

Get $75 worth of iTunes downloads for $60

Amazon.com has launched a new promotion that offers a free $15 iTunes Music Store gift card with the purchase of four. Customers must add five of the iTunes prepaid cards to their shopping cart and then use promotional code ITUNES544DEC. The offer expires January 2, 2005.

Mix: Searches, iPod mini competitors, Sirius, Citibank

According to data released by America Online, the iPod, Britney Spears, Ugg boots, and Paris Hilton top this year’s Internet searches.

In a New York Times article, David Pogue takes a look at four iPod mini competitors from Dell, Rio, Creative and Virgin. Unsurprisingly, he concludes that Apple’s device is still king.

April Horace, a Janco Partners analyst, said the rumored iPod with Sirius satellite radio support is technologically unfeasible right now. “I don’t believe Sirius’ chip set is at the point where it can go into an iPod. It’s the size of a credit card, and an iPod would need a chip set the size of a thumb nail,” she said.

Citibank is offering a free iPod mini to anyone who opens an EZ Checking account, fund it with $2,500, and pay two bills online each month for 12 consecutive calendar months.

Buy fruit, get free iTunes downloads

The California Tree Fruit Agreement and Apple have teamed up to offer free music downloads from the iTunes Music Store with the purchase of California peaches, plums and nectarines. The number of songs to be given away and the size of the purchase needed to qualify for the giveaway have not been set. In-store promotions are expected by early summer. “It’s a little difficult… to sell a message about health, and this is something just a little bit more fun,” said Marilyn Dolan, tree fruit spokeswoman. “We are hoping it’s something new and different enough that people will take notice.”

Retailers deal with holiday iPod shortage

The Wall Street Journal reports that major retailers are seeing iPod shortages across the country. The paper says that iPod minis and 20GB iPods are out of stock at Amazon.com, Buy.com and other Web sites, while retailers such as Target, J&R Electronics, and Best Buy are all having trouble keeping up with demand. “Given how strong demand has been all year you would have thought [Apple] would have gotten every last one they could into stores,” says Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at market research firm NPD Group. “I suspect they have. It may just be they can’t build them fast enough.”

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