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Mix: Circuit City, Class action suit, Top gadgets

  • February 18, 2005

Apple’s 512MB and 1GB iPod shuffles are now in stock at Circuit City’s online store. Availability in brick-and-mortar stores will vary.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Apple Thursday on behalf of consumers and resellers of the company’s products. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco, seeks to include in the consumer class any person in the U.S. who purchased Apple products or repair services since Jan. 1, 1995.

The original iPod placed 12th on Mobile PC’s “Top 100 Gadgets of All Time” list. Diamond Multimedia’s Rio 300, the first known MP3 player, placed 8th.

EarphoneSolutions: 10% off orders for iLoungers

  • February 17, 2005
  • Deals,

EarphoneSolutions has issued a new coupon code (ilounge10percentoff) that will give you 10 percent off any item, including earphones and iPod accessories. This is an exclusive offer for iLounge readers. The store said that this discount cannot be combined with free shipping, any other coupon code, or any special prices such as those quoted/matched via e-mail or phone.

iPod accessory makers take action on product issues

In order to keep our readers aware of a number of recently “fixed” or removed-from-market iPod products, iLounge has compiled this list of accessories that have recently been fixed or removed from the market entirely. We commend the companies listed below for responding to the issues that have been identified with their accessories.

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) recently informed iLounge that the battery leak issue identified in its iBoom boombox has now been fixed in shipping models. iBoom boxes marked as iPod photo compatible include the battery fix.

Incase has released a new version of its Incase Charger that addresses audio problems that uncovered in our review of the product. As noted in our updated review, we found the audio output of the new version to be “dramatically improved from its predecessor, and overall more than satisfactory.”

Gadget Accessories has confirmed to iLounge that its 3-in-1 Charger exhibits iPod-damaging potential and has been withdrawn from the market temporarily. “We are working with Apple directly at this time for our connectors to be Apple authorized connectors,” the company said. “In the meantime in light of the comments posted on your site we have removed the 3-in-1 Charger for now from our site until we get the OK from Apple.”

Macally has responded to iLounge reader concerns about issues with the first run of the company’s PodWave accessory. Macally said it has fixed the problems and created a more powerful, cleaner version, which is discussed as Version 2 in iLounge’s updated review.

JBL has confirmed that “a very few customers (currently fewer than 1%)” have experienced a volume control problem with the JBL On Stage. The company states on its website: “We are offering to replace your JBL On Stage at no cost to you except for the shipping cost to our warehouse (we will pay return shipping), should you have a JBL On Stage with a defective chip.”

XtremeMac said it has remedied sound quality issues found in certain of the initial production run of its AirPlay FM transmitter. The company acknowledged that a small number of the accessories had defects. In the comments of our review, XtremeMac CEO Gary Bart explained the problem in detail and said his company “will gladly replace any unit that is found to be defective, at our expense.”

Bam! Emeril LaGasse to offer iPod software

  • February 17, 2005
  • iPod,

The official website of well-known chef Emeril LaGasse now has a “Pod Stuff” section highlighting three new iPod software titles that will soon be available as free downloads.

mFinder 1.0 - “Now can you have Emeril’s restaurant information in the palm of your hand. You’ll find addresses, phone numbers, hours, management, attire and parking for all of the restaurants in five different cities!”

podMeals 1.0 - “Now can you have EMERILS.COM weekly menus in the palm of your hand. Jamming to tunes in the grocery and can’t think of what to make for dinner - check your Apple iPod for podMeals!”

ReciPods 1.0 - “10,000 songs in your pocket? Big deal! How about 1,000 Emeril recipes in your pocket? Go home, put on some tunes and create a little love and magic in the kitchen!”

There’s no word on when they will be released.

BTI offers exclusive pricing on 70-hour iPod Battery

  • February 17, 2005
  • Deals,

pic Battery Technology Incorporated (BTI) is offering iLoungers an exclusive discount on the company’s 70-hour iPod Battery, which was named iLounge’s 2004 Accessory of the Year. Readers can order the battery for $50—half off the current suggested retail price. Designed for the third-generation iPod and iPod mini, BTI’s iPod Battery is rated to provide up to 40 hours of music playtime. In iLounge testing, however, the add-on powered our iPod for 73 hours.

Call 1-800-982-8284 and mention offer IPODB1 or iLounge to receive this special price.

Mix: ROKR, iPod muggings, 3G mobile ad, iPod map

  • February 17, 2005

After much confusion in the press, Motorola has said that the yet-to-be-unveiled “ROKR” will be its first phone to be fully compatible with Apple’s iTunes.

The New York Post reports that local students have “become victims of a rash of vicious iPod muggings and a spike in larcenies at schools.” One Brooklyn transit officer said his district has seen “a near doubling of student iPod robberies on the subways in recent months.”

UK mobile operator 3 is running its first ever 3G mobile video ad campaign, for the iPod. A 14-second silhouette iPod ad appears before and after the Pete Tong show on the 3 music channel.

On his blog, Khoi Vinh says, “I printed out a map that covered my route from my apartment in the East Village to my office on 27th Street, and as I walked, I made a little dot every time I spotted someone wearing those telltale headphones. In total, I counted thirty-two iPods.”

Apple, Napster in spat over music security

Apple CEO Steve Jobs contacted top record industry executives Tuesday, alerting them to a security flaw in the Napster To Go service, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Thought you should know if you haven’t heard about this,” Jobs reportedly wrote in an e-mail that directed recipients to a website detailing how to convert Napster’s copy-protected downloads into unprotected files.

Napster CEO Chris Gorog countered with his own e-mail to the labels later Tuesday, saying that such copying schemes were neither new nor a Napster exclusive problem. He said such programs are time-consuming because they “essentially work like a tape recorder,” converting files as they play. Gorog said it is “trivial” to download a free utility to circumvent Apple’s digital rights management to unlock “a large collection of iTunes music in seconds.”

Bill Gates: ‘I’m not an iPod user’

  • February 16, 2005
  • iPod,

Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday that while the iPod has been “a great success,” he doesn’t use the Apple music player and doubts claims made earlier this month that the majority of his employees are iPod owners.

In an interview with ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, Gates said: “I’m not an iPod user. I use the Creative Zen which is a fantastic product. That’s another space where, even what we have today, whether it’s iPod or the other things are only the start of what we’re gonna have in a few years. People are gonna want choices. These things are going to be smaller or better, cheaper.”

When asked about a recent Wired News article that reported about 80 percent of Microsoft employees who own a digital music player own an iPod, Gates said: “Well, I doubt that’s the case. Certainly, the iPod’s a great success.”

Gates went on to say that Apple “did a great job” with the iPod, but “what Apple’s done there is typically what they do.” He said: “It’s only their one music store, only their device. What we’re doing is providing choices.”

OtterBox waterproof iPod mini case announced

pic Otter Products has expanded its line of iPod cases with the addition of a new version of its OtterBox for the iPod mini. The fully waterproof case “allows digital music enthusiasts access to controls through a durable, yet compact design providing versatility for active lifestyles,” according to the company. “The new case incorporates many improvements that our original OtterBox for iPod users asked for.” The case features a clear protective screen, is useable with any style headphones, and incorporates cable management on the belt clip. The OtterBox for iPod mini retails for $49.95.

Squid cozy for iPod washes up

pic Mule Design has introduced a rather unique case for the iPod and iPod mini. The Cephal-iPod is a felt cozy in the form of a squid. The ten-armed iPod accessory is available at a special introductory price of $20.

“Your iPod’s glaring whiteness is relaying signals back to the humans. Protect yourself from harmful rays in style with this hand-crafted hip cozy made of (possibly) organic felt.”

Motorola E1060 not the iTunes phone

As first reported by MobileTracker, Motorola’s E1060 mobile phone is not the long-awaited iTunes phone as widely thought. Motorola said Wednesday that the E1060, shown earlier this week at the 3GSM conference in France, was only used to demonstrate iTunes and is not the iTunes phone despite a widely cited Reuters report that said the opposite.

“The E1060 was used to demonstrate the iTunes client; however, it is not our iTunes product,” Motorola said in a statement acquired by iLounge. “As you would expect, for competitive reasons, we are holding information (including specs and design) very closely until the appropriate time and venue for a product launch.”

MobileTracker said the iTunes phone could be officially introduced at CTIA Wireless 2005, which takes place next month in New Orleans, LA.

Mac: iPodBackup 1.4 released

iPodBackup 1.4 is the latest version of the Mac OS X utility that backs up your home folder to your iPod using the open source backup utility called rsync. Version 1.4 brings drag-and-drop editing of exceptions, Swedish localization, and support for second, third, etc. system language preferences, and a number of bug fixes.

iPed iPod stand matches iMac G5, Cinema Displays

pic Thought Out has announced the iPed, a new iPod stand that takes design cues from Apple’s iMac G5 and the company’s line of Cinema Displays. The all-metal stand has a hard powder coat finish and comes in either white or gray. It features sole footing and an anti-pull through grommet design for your iPod’s FireWire or USB cable. The iPed, available for $27.99, works with all third- and fourth-generation iPods.

Mix: Sony Ericsson, Apple celebs, British teens, Merrill Lynch

  • February 15, 2005

Sony Ericsson said it will unveil a mobile phone next month that will carry the Walkman name. The handset will reportedly be able to play music both MP3 and AAC music file formats.

Melanie Griffith “threw a tantrum” at a Los Angeles-area Apple Store when she was unable to buy a pink iPod mini early last year, according to a Wired News article with stories of other celebrity encounters.

A survey of more than 300 British teenagers showed that while two-thirds could give the exact price of an iPod, three-quarters had no idea how much a pint of milk costs.

Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich speculates that Apple and Sony could soon form a partnership to produce a number of products together.

Survey: Digital music players take over America

  • February 15, 2005
  • iPod,

A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more than 22 million U.S. adults—11% of the population—have digital music players such as Apple’s iPod. “It’s safe to say that there are several million more MP3 players owned in the teen world, but we did not survey teens in this poll,” explained Pew’s Lee Rainie.

According to the survey, men (14%) are more likely to have MP3 players than women (9%). Nearly one in five (19%) under the age of 30 have the devices, while 14% of those ages 30-39 have them and 14% of those ages 40-48.

The study also found that portable music players are more common with those with a higher income, internet users, and broadband customers. A quarter (24%) of those earning more than $75,000 a year have them. And those who use the internet are four times (15%) as likely as non-internet users (4%) to be MP3 player owners. Finally, the Pew survey reported that some 23% of those with broadband at home have the devices, compared to 9% of those who have dial-up.

The nationwide phone survey was taken between January 13 and February 9 and involved 2,200 people.

Apple has sold more than 10 million iPods since its introduction in 2001.

Peachpit releases Scott Kelby’s ‘The iPod Book’

  • February 15, 2005
  • Other,

Peachpit Press has announced the release of “The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store” by best-selling author Scott Kelby. “You’ll learn how to do only the most important, most requested, and just plain cool things you’re going to want to do with your iPod so you can start having fun with it today,” Peachpit says. “Each page covers just one topic, complete with full color photos making it easy to find just what you’re looking for fast. Plus, it shows you how to get the most from the iTunes Music Store, how to integrate your iPod into your car, which iPod accessories are hot, and there’s even entire chapters on using Apple iPod photo and the new iPod shuffle.”

Windows: Memeo for iPod released

Data backup software maker Tanagra has announced an iPod version of its flagship product, Memeo. The software expands the capabilities of an iPod beyond managing music files to include access to e-mail, calendars and other personal files, while at the same time backing up your work.

“iPod users can use Memeo to catch up on their latest e-mails, review notes, check schedules, look up contacts and have their latest files and digital photos with them wherever they go,” says Tanagra. “Once the users have selected what files they want Memeo to keep track of, it will automatically update anything on the iPod along with new music selections each time the device is plugged in.”

Memeo for iPod, which requires Windows 2000 or Windows XP, is available as a free download for a limited time.

Motorola debuts iTunes-compatible E1060 mobile phone

pic At the 3GSM trade event in France today, Motorola unveiled a slew of new mobile phones, including the first music handset to support Apple’s iTunes. The Motoroal E1060 features a 1.3 megapixel camera for still photos or video, a VGA camera for 2-way video conferencing, Bluetooth wireless technology, and audio and video streaming with playback support for MPEG4 (AAC), WMV/WMA and MP3 files. The phone will ship with 32MB of internal memory and is expandable up to 512MB with removable memory.

Motorola said iTunes will become the default music player on Motorola handsets, but that it won’t be an exclusive deal. “We’re committed to have iTunes as the default music client, but we’ll also continue to support other music players such as RealPlayer (from RealNetworks),” said Amer Husaini, vice president for Motorola’s mobile devices group in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

The Motorola E1060 is expected to be available in the fourth-quarter of 2005. Pricing was not announced.

Apple sued by French consumer group over DRM

  • February 14, 2005
  • Apple,

A French consumer group has sued Apple and Sony, claiming their online music stores violate European anti-trust laws. The Register reports: “Like California resident Thomas Slattery, who filed a similar complaint against Apple in January, Paris-based UFC-Que Choisir claims that Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Sony’s Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies’ own music players.”

“Apple can also argue that the French government’s anti-trust watchdog has already ruled that it has a right to maintain a proprietary link between its music store and the iPod. Last November, the watchdog dismissed an attempt by Virgin’s French retail subsidiary, VirginMega, to force Apple to license the Mac maker’s FairPlay DRM technology, which would be essential to allow any third-party device to play iTMS-downloaded songs.”

SportRope for iPod shuffle introduced [updated]

pic Jewelry designer Richard Forbes has announced the SportRope, a replacement rubber cord for the Apple lanyard that is provided with the iPod shuffle. The $9.99 SportRope is made of 3mm rubber and attaches with a sterling bayonet clasp. The SportRope comes in 36 or 40-inch lengths and is available in Pink, Turquoise, Cobalt, Cherry Red, Lime Green, Tangerine, Clear and Black.

“The need and benefit of the SportRope is that it allows Shuffle owners to personalize their Shuffle with color and flair,” explains Forbes. “In addition, SportRope also provides resistance to the grit and grime that the original nylon lanyard will show with time. SportRope is easily cleanable, where as the original lanyard may be susceptible to becoming unglued during repeated cleanings.”

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