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ezGear intros belt clip for iPod Shuffle

imageezGear has announced the ezClip Shuffle, an add-on belt clip for the iPod shuffle. It snaps onto the USB end of the device, replacing the Apple USB cap. “The ezClip Shuffle is a sturdy belt clip that replaces the Apple iPod shuffle USB cap so that you can wear your iPod shuffle on your belt, in your pocket, or on a sleeve,” says ezGear. “The ezClip shuffle is simple and easy to use and provides the flexibility iPod Shuffle users desire.” It’s priced at $12.49.

iLoungers save 20% on iPed stands

imageThought Out is offering iLounge readers 20% off its lineup of iPed stands for the iPod and iPod shuffle.

Included in the special pricing are the iPed (iLounge rating: B-) for $20, the adjustable iPed 2 (iLounge rating: A-) for $31.99, and the iPed shuffle (iLounge rating: B+) for $14.99.

The deal is for iLounge readers only and is valid for a limited time. You must use “reader” as the username and “ipod” as the password to access the sale pricing.

Scion tC gets iPod-compatible Pioneer stereo option

imageToyota said today that its 2006 Scion tC sports coupe, which begin arriving at Scion dealerships next week, will be available with an audio system upgrade from Pioneer that features iPod integration. The upgrade costs $260, which includes installation.

“Bringing iPod’s legendary experience to the car, a Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit with iPod control is now available as an all-new accessory upgrade for the 2006 Scion tC,” the company said in a statement. “The tC is the first car in its class to integrate track, artist and album information from the iPod into a one-line display on the head unit’s screen. Connectivity is achieved by simply plugging the iPod into a port via a connector cable, providing outstanding sound quality through the car’s stereo system and constant power to the iPod. Music is controlled through the head unit and steering wheel buttons.”

UK magazine seeks iPod stories

A journalist from UK-based magazine Time Out London is looking for iPod fans to tell their “iPod stories.” He writes: “Especially interested in individuals who feel the iPod has altered their lifestyle, if they use it to avoid awkward and stressful situations or interaction. Or maybe they’re found a whole bunch of new friends via iPod. Attached [download here] are the questions that iPod users can answer if they find themselves stuck for ideas but they’re free to ignore this in favor of their own stories. Replies should be sent to: cptc_78@hotmail.com

Mix: Your Mac Life, ABC, NBC, Winamp, Motorola

  • May 25, 2005

iLounge News Editor Larry Angell will be a guest on tonight’s broadcast of Your Mac Life.

Both ABC News and NBC News announced plans Tuesday to offer podcasts. They will offer a combination of original and recycled content.

Wired has posted an article on a plug-in that enables iPod owners to manage their music with Winamp.

Motorola CEO Ed Zander said this week that the iTunes phone will feature an integrated speaker for listening without headphones, and alluded that it may contain a tiny hard drive.

iMuffs wireless Bluetooth headphones offered

imageThe iMuffs from Wi-Gear combine a Bluetooth headset and adapter that enable users to listen to their iPod wirelessly from up to 30’ away. The behind-the-neck headphones feature controls for play/pause, volume, and next/previous track. The iMuffs also offer mobile phone integration. “When your Bluetooth phone rings, the iMuffs automatically pause your iPod and ring in the headphones, and let you talk through the integrated microphone,” says Wi-Gear.

The iMuffs work with any Dock Connector iPod (3G/4G, photo and mini). iLounge is awaiting pricing and availability information from the company. [via Engadget]

XtremeMac, Future Sonics partner on line of earphones

XtremeMac and Future Sonics have announced that they have teamed up to develop and market a new lineup of earphones and earphone products.

“These products will combine XtremeMac’s brand awareness and distribution in the digital multimedia and consumer electronics markets with Future Sonics’ strength in the professional audio, sound reinforcement and musical instrument markets,” the companies said in a statement. “The first product to be released will feature newly developed technologies for high-quality audio in a new earphone form developed jointly by Future Sonics and XtremeMac. These products will feature co-branding of both companies by using the ‘Powered by Future Sonics’ badge under the XtremeMac brand.”

Sonnet debuts PodFreq mini

imageSonnet Technologies has announced the PodFreq mini, an all-in-one device for the iPod mini that offers an integrated dock, case and FM transmitter. The PodFreq mini lets users charge/sync their iPod or listen to their music with any nearby FM radio (88.1 through 107.9 MHz supported).

It features FireWire and mini-USB 2.0 ports, and a clear plastic top half that protects the display, but leaves the Click Wheel accessible. The PodFreq mini includes a car charger, car cradle, USB 2.0 cable and soft carrying pouch. Like the original PodFreq, the new device also features a telescoping antenna and digital display. The Sonnet PodFreq mini will be available in July 2005 for $99.95.

RipDigital offers iPods loaded with purchasers’ music

CD-to-MP3 conversion service RipDigital today announced that it is now selling iPods pre-loaded with customers’ CD collections.

“By combining the leading digital music player and leading CD conversion service, RipDigital has created the easiest and fastest way to make the jump to digital music,” the company says. “Since RipDigital originated the CD conversion service in 2002, the company has saved thousands of people countless hours converting CD collections. Now, RipDigital is offering an irresistible customer experience for anyone that wants join the world of digital music but would rather have someone else handle the legwork. New iPods are delivered to RipDigital customers loaded with all their music and ready for listening.”

RipDigital’s conversion service costs approximately $1 per CD. iPods will be “priced in line with Tekserve’s in-store pricing” (a 20GB iPod with 200 CDs preloaded sells for $499).

Jobs biography details birth of iPod, iTunes

The Sydney Morning Herald has published an interesting excerpt from “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business” that details the birth of the iPod, iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. The excerpt touches on the choice of a music device over a PDA, battery issues with the iPod, and more. Apple recently pulled all tech books from the publisher of “iCon,” John Wiley & Sons, because Jobs was reportedly unhappy with the biography. It will go on sale June 1, 2005.

“Jobs stayed close to the project all the way, his brilliance as a marketer and his flawless taste in design shining through in his rigorous-as-ever demands for the highest standards. PortalPlayer’s Ben Knauss recalls, ‘Steve would be horribly offended if he couldn’t get to the song he wanted in less than three pushes of a button.’ Because of the impossibly short schedule, there wasn’t any time for custom-designed computer chips.”

“Unlike in the past Apple’s design chain now relied on off-the-shelf components elegantly integrated. Critical pieces such as the digital-to-analog converters were selected from a manufacturer’s catalogue. Even the hard drive was standard Toshiba hardware. How many companies could tackle a project in a new category, create a ground-breaking widget that looked great and worked better than anyone else’s and do it all in under a year? It only happened because of Steve Jobs cracking the whip.”

Vaja unveils leather iPod shuffle case

imageVaja has introduced its new AP11 flip-top iPod shuffle case. Made from the Argentine leather, the case features “play-through” access to the control pad, and has an opening for the headphone port and slider switch. As with Vaja’s other iPod cases, the AP11 case is available in a rainbow of colors via the company’s customization options. The Vaja AP11 leather iPod shuffle case is priced at $34.90.

Monster iCruze now available

imageMonster has announced that its iCruze direct-connect iPod car audio solution is now shipping and is available from multiple nationwide retailers such as Best Buy, Comp USA, Good Guys, Ultimate Electronics, and Tweeter.

Monster iCruze enables the connection of an iPod directly to a factory-installed or Alpine M-Bus car stereo through the CD changer port. It can access different playlists and songs through existing controls and also charges the iPod while driving. The main iCruze unit costs $249.95 and the optional display sells for $99.95. “Additional interface connecting cables that match specific car models may also be required, which range in price from $30 to $160 depending on the complexity of the OEM stereo,” notes Monster.

DVForge kills PodBuddy, blames DLO [updated]

imageDVForge has decided to halt production of its PodBuddy FM auto connection cradle due to a patent conflict with another major iPod accessory maker.

“We are not going to be able to launch and sell our PodBuddy product, because of a disagreement with Netalog, Inc. D/B/A/ DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters) over a patent that they hold for their TransPod iPod car holder/transmitter,” DVForge’s Jack Campbell says in a note on his company’s site. “We have been informed by DLO that they consider our PodBuddy to be an infringement of their company’s U.S. patent #6,591,085, and, that they will file suit against us, if we launch the PodBuddy.”

“We disagree with DLO’s claim, and, we believe that our PodBuddy is so utterly different from their company’s TransPod product that there can be no question of infringement,” Campbell continues. “But, we are not able to fund the sort of protracted legal battle that would be required to prove our point in court. So, we are forced to kill the PodBuddy.”

Update: DLO has provided iLounge with the following statement regarding DVForge’s claims: “Our DLO TransPod is a very popular product that people use and enjoy every day. In fact, the newly released black TransPod is one of our fastest selling products ever. This all-in-one car solution contains one of the best sounding and most convenient iPod Transmitters in the world and eliminates the need for any additional wires or chargers.”

“Available in Best Buy, CompUSA, Circuit City, Target and most other iPod accessory outlets, the DLO TransPod is a very relevant product and worthy of defending its Intellectual Property as recognized by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. We have and will continue to defend our awarded patent to the fullest extent of the law. The DLO TransPod and its future iterations will continue to be extraordinarily important to DLO and iPod owners everywhere.”

Merrill Lynch offers possibilities for iTunes video

With the recent addition of video support in iTunes, Apple is in good shape to partner with record companies to sell music videos or to offer a subscription video service, according to one Wall Street analyst.

“The music industry doesn’t have an outlet to sell music videos and likely would cooperate with Apple,” Milunovich said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “In addition, Netflix said that given Apple’s recent hiring and lease of space, the company has designs on subscription video of some kind. And Apple has expressed interest in high definition video.”

Like many others, the analyst said the videos could hint at a video iPod. “Selling videos may be a precursor to a video iPod,” Milunovich said. “The new features within iTunes allow users to download full versions of Quicktime music videos. We previously speculated that iPod video capability for short clips could be available by Christmas.”

Mix: Pepsi codes, GarageBand, Sports stars, Commencement

  • May 23, 2005

imageFree song codes from the Pepsi-iTunes promotion must be redeemed by 11:59:59 p.m. PT today.

Online music community GarageBand.com has announced GarageBand Podcast Studio, “the world’s first Web-based tool to record, mix and publish a podcast.”

CBC Sports asked several sports stars such as Brett Hull, Chris Bosh, and Jennie Finch about their iPods—how long they’ve had one, how often and when do they use it, and their top five songs.

Merritt Island Christian School (Florida) graduates received free iPods. At their commencement, Rev. Byron Cutrer defined “iPod” as an acronym for “individuality,” “passion,” helping “others” and a lifetime of “doing.”

U2’s Bono: Apple ‘more creative than a lot of rock bands’

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting interview with U2 frontman Bono about the band’s ties with Apple.

When asked if associating a song with a product such as the iPod is a good idea, Bono said: “Our being on TV, I don’t have a problem with that—we should be on TV. But OK, associating our music with a product. You’ve got to deal with the devil. Let’s have a look. The devil here is a bunch of creative minds, more creative than a lot of people in rock bands. The lead singer is Steve Jobs. These men have helped design the most beautiful object art in music culture since the electric guitar. That’s the iPod. The job of art is to chase ugliness away. Everywhere we look we see ugly cars, ugly buildings… ugly objects in the work place. Everywhere. And these people are making beautiful objects.”

Bono said being in the Apple commercial helped get their new single heard by new music fans. “We looked at the iPod commercial as a rock video. We chose the director. We thought, how are we going to get our single off in the days when rock music is niche? When it’s unlikely to get a three-minute punk-rock song on top of the radio? So we piggybacked this phenomenon to get ourselves to a new, younger audience, and we succeeded. And it’s exciting. I’m proud of the commercial, I’m proud of the association… But we have to start thinking about new ways of getting our songs across, of communicating in this new world, with so many channels, with rock music becoming a niche.” [via Cult of Mac]

Jobs discusses phones and Yahoo, ribs Gates

In addition to showing off podcasting support in a beta version of iTunes 4.9 at the D: All Things Digital conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed the cell phone industry’s move towards digital music, Yahoo’s new subscription service, and even ribbed Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. The Wall Street Journal has the complete story (paid subscription required).

Jobs said downloading music from mobile phone carriers would be “a lousy buying experience” and likely to be two or three times as expensive as iTunes, adding that “it’s hard to see their customers as that stupid.”

The Apple chief also said that Yahoo’s $60-per-year music subscription plan was “substantially” below the company’s costs and would soon be raised. Jobs said Apple employees have a betting pool on when Yahoo will raise the $5-a-month rate. He said he put his money on five months from now.

And finally, Jobs took advantage of Gates being in the crowd (he spoke today). During his talk at the conference, Jobs asked everyone in attendance how many had iPods. After a number of hands went into the air, Jobs asked “Bill, do you have your hand up?”

DelaPod handbags feature integrated iPod pocket

  • May 23, 2005

imageDelarew Designs has introduced its DelaPod line of handbags for female iPod owners. The bags feature two headphone jacks and an integrated, transparent plastic window that holds an iPod and lets users control the device without taking it out.

“DelaPod bags remove the ‘struggle and juggle’ that female iPod users experience,? says Delarew Designs. “Now women don’t have to take their iPods out of their pockets or handbags to change their settings. DelaPod bags free women from juggling with cell phones, purses and iPods. Best of all, the bags are as stylish as they are convenient.?

The DelaPod bags ($49-$109) are available in several sizes and shapes in a variety of fabrics, materials and colors. [via Purseuing / Engadget]

Mix: Motion remote, iPod Cafe, Discrimination suit, iPod SD

  • May 23, 2005

Peter Tyser, an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, informed us that he has built an iPod remote control that responds to a users motion rather than touch.

Circuit City’s online store has added the iPod Cafe, a new section that features all of the retailer’s iPod accessories. [via Macsimum News]

A former Apple employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company alleging that she was wrongfully terminated after complaining that her white counterparts were being paid more than she was.

iLounger Sukumar writes: “I have posted a concept hack called iPod SD conceptualizing how Apple could attack the smartphone market. Thought you and your readers may find it interesting.”

Forums: Families & iPods, In School, IceLink, iPod ‘switchers’

Some topics in this week’s look at the iLounge Discussion Forums include the iPod being embraced by all ages in a thread about parents, grandparents and iPods. Have you introduced your older family members to the iPod phenomenon?

Over in the iPods on Campus forum, readers are sharing their positive and negative experiences with iPods as educational tools. Come and add your experiences. Is the iPod being used in your school to help with your studies, or just something to fill in the time between classes?

The iPod-in-car installation skills of one forum member is highlighted in the thread “2003 Honda Accord with IceLink v. 1.1 installed!”. This installation took just over three hours with a little help from friends, showing that with a little time and knowledge a professional standard can be achieved at little extra cost.

If you’ve recently given in and joined the iPod club, you might enjoy reading how other forum members learned to love the iconic MP3 player and what triggered their purchases.

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