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Belkin TuneStage Bluetooth solution to ship in July

imageBelkin announced today that its TuneStage Bluetooth wireless stereo solution for the iPod will begin shipping in late July. The $179.99 device, which iLounge first reported on in December, allows you to listen to the music on your iPod through your home stereo wirelessly. TuneStage consists of a small transmitter that connects to the iPod’s headphone port and a receiver that connectus via RCA or 3.5mm to your audio system. It works with all Dock Connector iPods and can transmit from up to 33 feet away.

“TuneStage delivers pristine, high-quality sound through a home stereo environment,” says Belkin. “Wirelessly connected through TuneStage, your iPod becomes the ultimate remote, giving you absolute control of your music. Since the unit draws power directly from the iPod, it needs no batteries or extra cables.”

Podcast support coming to iTunes [updated]

At the D: All Things Digital executive conference on Sunday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated new podcast features in the next version of iTunes (presumably 4.9). Jobs said the new version of iTunes will be released within the next 60 days.

“He was slightly dismissive of populist podcasting, describing it as ‘Wayne’s World for radio’, and celebrating the arrival of professional radio stations into the market, but nonetheless, he was very high on the podcasting phenomenon, and the excitement that millions of users have displayed about it,” reports O’Reilly. “In the Q&A, Jason Calacanis of Weblogs, Inc. asked if there was any possibility of using the iTunes music store for paid podcasting. Jobs replied that for the moment they were only considering it as free content, but that he was open to looking into it.”

Update: The Wall Street Journal has further details (paid subscription required): “That will go away in iTunes 4.9, which Mr. Jobs demonstrated for conference attendees and said would be available within the next 60 days. ITunes 4.9 will integrate free podcasts as a menu item, allowing users to listen to podcasts and subscribe to them, with new podcasts they subscribe to downloaded to their iPods when the devices are synched to an iTunes-enabled computer.”

Coldplay featured in new iTunes TV commercial

imageApple took advantage of Coldplay’s appearance on Saturday Night Live this week to air the first of what appears to be a new style of iTunes commercials.

The 30-second spot, which is a vast departure from the company’s cartoon-like silhouette ads, features Coldplay performing their new single “Speed of Sound” in order to promote the band’s new album, X&Y, on the iTunes Music Store. It is not clear whether the commercial was created from original footage or if it was taken from Coldplay’s music video for the song, which has yet to debut on the band’s website, MTV, or on iTunes. The commercial ends with “Coldplay’s new album. Plus exclusive tracks on iTunes.” followed by the Apple logo and “iTunes.com.”

Unsurprisingly, Apple is heavily promoting the much-anticipated X&Y on the iTunes Music Store. “Pre-order Coldplay’s X&Y now and enjoy two exclusive tracks when the album is available for download June 7 (you’ll receive an email confirming the album’s availability),” Apple says. “Pre-ordering the album is the only way to get the exclusive bonus tracks ‘Proof’ and ‘Things I Don’t Understand.’” It is not known if Apple’s Coldplay/iTunes commercial was a one time deal to utilize the band’s SNL appearance or if it was simply the first of several ads to come featuring other artists.

The ad has yet to be made available for viewing on Apple’s website as of this posting.

Mix: Wooden cases, Music videos, Tesco, Yahoo vs. iTunes

Peter Kinne Design is selling iPod cases built with “wood from old hot tubs and tables, and stainless steel from salvaged bikes.” [via Boing Boing]

Charles Arthur of Netimperative thinks Apple would be smart to start selling music videos (insead of giving them away with songs) since it’s an untapped market. “We know that people like watching music videos. Ask MTV,” he says.

UK-based supermarket company Tesco will soon start selling iPods and other digital products in select stores.

In an article looking at Yahoo’s new subscription music service vs. iTunes, Jupiter Research analyst David Card says the iPod is a huge factor in the battle. “There’s only one device that matters, and you can’t use it with Yahoo’s music service,” he says. [via Macworld UK]

Tunewear offers aluminum clip add-on for iPod shuffle

imageTunewear has introduced its Clipwear holder for the iPod shuffle. Made from aluminum, the Clipwear “forms an external shell for rugged use” and features a clip that lets you attach your iPod shuffle to just about anywhere. Its open-face design allows for access to the control pad and headphone port, while an opening on the back of the Clipwear lets you use the shuffle’s slider switch. The $14.95 accessory can also be used with a lanyard (not included) or a shorter strap.

PodGear intros FirePower World Tour

imagePodGear has announced the FirePower World Tour, an AC iPod charger with a number of international plug attachments. The 110V-240V charger sells for £19.99 and comes with US, UK, European and Australian lightweight plug attachments which can be easily switched.

“The launch of the FirePower World Tour means that iPod users need not worry about the frustrating problem of keeping their iPod charged when traveling abroad,” says the company. “The new PodGear iPod charger allows users to charge their dockable iPod in over 150 countries using its multi-plug attachment system.”

Forums: ‘Gapless’ playback, Free music, DIY cases, Canada

From our latest look at interesting topics in the iLounge Discussion Forums:  while the iPod doesn’t have a “gapless” playback feature, users who like mix albums should look here for a workaround which is available in iTunes.

Do you have a local band that you rate highly? In the “Filling Your iPod > Free Music” forum, members have created a thread where you can post about your local musical talent. Share their music legally and perhaps help launch the next Radiohead or Red Hot Chili Peppers…

Shuffle cases, like their bigger siblings, come in all designs and materials. Now one forum member has found that recycling food packaging to produce ‘arty’ cases is an alternative to silicone or leather. And they’re cheap!

The sense that some parts of Canada are catching onto the iPod phenomenon is discussed in the thread “Ottawa is officially an iPod city!”

PsiberAudio HiFi preamp/cradle for iPod released

imagePsiberAudio has announced the availability of its PAS2 and PAS2+ audiophile-grade preamps for the iPod. The devices feature an integrated cradle for the iPod and iPod mini, and a smaller slot for the iPod shuffle. They offer a high stability, low impedance power supply for the iPod and a Burr Brown double buffered subwoofer output. “These devices from PsiberAudio link into any existing Hi-Fi system to allow the iPod to become the center of an audiophile grade high fidelity music system,” the company says. The PAS2 sells for $185, while the PAS2+ costs $245.

Burning Love adds new summer cases

imageBurning Love has announced several additions to its line of fashion iPod cases. The new offerings include a corduroy Pod Pouch in dark blue, orange and turquoise, a green velvet case, and an imitation jaguar Pod Pouch. The new summer cases, which are all priced at $13, are available for all current iPods, including the mini and photo models.

Mix: Motorola, History, Rush, Health, Yahoo

Motorola CEO Ed Zander says carriers aren’t balking at his company’s iTunes mobile phone. “There is no resistance on anybody’s part,” Zander said. “I don’t know where these rumors got started.” He said it will be out in “a couple of more months.”

Mike Davidson has announced his second iPod shuffle contest, “Great iPods in History.” The aim of the contest is to “place a shuffle into notable historical context. You can modify famous photos, upload audio narratives, shoot video, or even design a mini-site.”

Rush Limbaugh will begin offering podcasts of his daily show on June 3 to members of “Rush 24/7” ($49.95 annually). [via PaidContent.org]

Students in Scotland will be rewarded with iPods and Xbox video game consoles for eating healthy foods under the country’s first incentive plan for school meals.

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal says Yahoo’s new music service is good, but iTunes is the way to go “if you love your iPod and want to collect music whose longevity doesn’t depend on paying a subscription fee years into the future.”

Shure now shipping E4c sound isolating earphones

imageShure has announced that its E4c sound isolating earphones have begun shipping to customers. Designed to match the iPod, the E4c earphones weigh just over an ounce and come with several tiny sleeves in various sizes for the best fit and sound isolation. They retail for $299.

“Adhering to the same quality standards that drove the success of its award-winning line, the E4c earphones further optimize the listening experience by utilizing Shure’s new High-Definition driver with Tuned-Port technology to significantly enhance bass response. The E4c’s comfortable sound isolating sleeves contour to the inner-ear, naturally sealing out more background noise than noise-canceling alternatives, and the small, portable, attractive design position them as a must-have accessory for today’s consumers.”

TEN updates naviPlay to work with Bluetooth phones

imageTEN Technology today announced that it has upgraded its naviPlay Bluetooth wireless stereo remote and iPod adaptor (iLounge Rating: A-) to connect wirelessly to Bluetooth enabled mobile phones.

“With the updated naviPlay Kit, users will never have to sacrifice entertainment for fear of missing a call,” TEN says. “When there is an incoming call, the user will hear ring tones in their headphones and can take the call with the built-in microphone in the naviPlay Handsfree Stereo Remote. When the call is ended, the music will resume playing.”

The company said that starting May 23, naviPlay units without the new hands-free feature can be updated with a free downloadable firmware update from its website. The naviPlay is compatible with all Dock Connector iPods (3G/4G, photo and mini) and retails for $199.

Hip Tunes iPod fashion belt offered

imageHip Tunes is now selling two new iPod fashion accessories that you wear around your waist. The Hip Tunes 4G iPod case ($35) comes with a wide belt and silver bangle hoops for tightening. It is available in black faux leather and features a rear pocket to store gear such as earphones, keys and money. Your iPod rests in a plastic-covered holster that offers access to the Click Wheel.

The Hip Tunes mini case for the iPod mini ($29.95; shown right) ships with the same belt and is currently available in lime green, metallic pink and metallic silver faux leather.

Booq unveils ‘Venom’ iPod cases

imageThe latest edition of Booq’s newsletter features a sneak preview of two new nappa leather iPod cases. The Venom45 ($44.95) offers protection for all 4G iPod and iPod photo models thanks to the case’s removable suede inserts that come in two thicknesses. The Venom mini ($29.95) is crafted from the same leather and is made specifically for the iPod mini.

Both cases sport openings for the Dock Connector port and Click Wheel, a suede-wrapped belt clip, and room for top-mounted accessories. “Venom45’s sleek, refined design looks sharp in any environment,” says Booq. “You will find the craftsmanship and finish of this case to be second to none.” The Venom45 and Venom mini will ship in July in black or white.

H2O Audio ships waterproof case for full-size iPods

imageH2O Audio said today that it has begun shipping its new waterproof case for 4G iPods. The SV-iP4G features a secure waterproof and submersible housing with headset, and features “a unique full-function dial and push button assembly design that gives users ready access to all of the iPod’s proprietary Click Wheel command controls even when fully submerged in water.” It’s priced at $149.95.

“The system enables sport enthusiasts to take music with them regardless of outside conditions and recreational environments,” says H20 Audio. “Surfers, wakeboarders, water skiers, and swimmers can strap on a convenient and secure armband or swim belt and take their iPod out for a day of music-accompanied activity.”

iDiddy case combines lanyard and earphones

imagePacific Rim Marketing has announced the iDiddy, which the company calls “the marriage of fashion and technology combined into the first integrated earbud, lanyard, and leather case combination for the complete Apple iPod product line.”

The iDiddy is a “wearable and tangle-free

Mix: Kottke, Canada, Xbox, D conference, Crimebuster

Well-known blogger Jason Kottke has posted an entertaining article entitled “50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod.”

Apple will open its first Canadian retail store in Toronto on Saturday, May 21 at 9:30 a.m.

During its E3 event yesterday to show off the Xbox 360, Microsoft briefly mentioned that the machine will offer integration for the iPod and other portable music players.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will speak at D:All Things Digital executive conference on May 22. Jobs introduced the AirPort Express at last year’s event.

The Washington Post has a story of how Karen Todd ended a home burglary spree while looking for her stolen iPod on eBay.

New iTatu designs released for iPod shuffle

imageTatuz International has announced six new iTatu designs for the iPod shuffle. The new designs include four new national flags for Russia, Austria, Australia and Korea, and two new stripe designs, red and purple. They’re priced at $2.49 each.

“An iTatu is a colorful, protective, non-permanent covering for your iPod shuffle digital music player. Made from durable, high gloss Mylar, they are specially designed to be easy to put on, easy to take off, and leave no adhesive residue. iTatus provide your iPod shuffle with fashionable protection from scuffs and scratches, and also allow you to customize the look of your iPod, giving it a fun and unique personality.”

Incase unveils new iPod shuffle pouches

imageIncase Designs has created its first two products for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The Incase Pouch is made of neoprene and features a silk-screened replica of the shuffle’s control pad so you know where to push to control the device. It also features Incase’s “leaf” and the company’s logo on the reverse side. The Pouch comes in a five-pack of colors—green, black, red, blue and pink are included.

The Incase Pouch Multipurpose (shown right) for the iPod shuffle is made of the same neoprene as the regular Pouch, and adds an integrated belt loop, carabiner clip, and heavy duty lanyard. It’s only available in black with a lime green silk-screened control pad and logo.

Both products are available now for $19.95. The Incase Pouches are only being sold through the online Apple Store and at Apple retail locations. More photos can be viewed be clicking below.

Mix: PortalPlayer, MTV, Domo-kun, Adam Curry

iPod chipmaker PortalPlayer said in its quarterly filing with the SEC that a second, unnamed manufacturer is now building iPods.

MTV News has posted an article looking at accessorizing iPods.

A MoblogUK member has created a Domo-Kun iPod mini case out of felt. [via Boing Boing]

Wired’s Xeni Jardin has interviewed Adam Curry, the former MTV veejay and now podcasting pioneer.

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