iPodStyles has announced its new line of fabriX iPod cases. The hand-made cases are available in a variety of solid colors and patterns in several different materials, including corduroy, spandex, cotton, and nylon. The iPodStyles FabriX cases start at $15.
“In addition to the style and fashion statements that they make, fabriX cases are designed to fit the iPod snugly, protecting it from scratches and minor bumps. These cases will not stretch and can be washed if they ever get dirty.”
In our first look into the iLounge Discussion Forums we highlighted the “Show Us What You Look Like” thread; today in a similar vein we have members sharing glimpses of their iPod and iTunes computer setups. If you want to add your photos, make sure you tidy up first! And consider sending shots to our iPods Around the World or other Photo Galleries, too.
If you are you starting to wonder how your iTunes Music Store spending compares to other members, join the thread and cast your vote in the Forum Polls section.
Apple’s stock earbuds aren’t cutting the mustard for some of our forum members. You’ll find plenty of iLoungers’ reader recommendations in our Ear/Headphones Forum, complete with useful tips to help improve your listening experience. And don’t forget to check out iLounge’s official Reviews of Headphones & In-Canal Earphones.
Has your iPod shuffle decided that it doesn’t want to play all of its the songs? Some of our members are sharing their experiences of life with a shuffle that’s not so random.
Just one week after its last new iPod and iTunes commercial, Apple has aired yet another featuring silhouetted dancers. The new ad features the song “Technologic” by Daft Punk and is entitled “Pop-Lock” because of the style of dance moves used in it. Like last week’s “Rollerskating” ad, the commercial was shown during Saturday Night Live on NBC. Also of note, actor and Apple fan Will Ferrell wore an iPod shuffle in one skit.
iLounger Ata Oz provided us with a screenshot from the 350th episode of The Simpsons titled “Future-Drama.” In the episode, which aired last month, an iPod was used as the only DJ at Bart and Lisa’s Prom, 8 years into their future.
Apple has recently begun sending out targeted emails to iTunes customers, suggesting music based on previous purchases.
Roxio’s Toast 6.1 update for Mac OS X v10.4 blocks using the software to burn iTunes downloads. “Following discussions with Apple, this version will no longer allow customers to create audio CDs, audio DVDs, or export audio to their hard drive using purchased iTunes music store content,” the company said.
Former MTV personality Adam Curry’s Podcast show debuts tonight on Sirius. It is said to be “a cavalcade of podcasts collected into one four-hour broadcast.”
Wired has posted an excerpt from the upcoming Steve Jobs biography “iCon,” which caused Apple to pull all titles by the book’s publisher, John Wiley & Sons, from its Apple Stores.
Apple recently posted three new support documents for the latest version of iTunes. The first two show users of the application how to add and watch compatible videos. The third is for Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger users and shows them how to sync their contacts and calendars with iTunes.
The documents include: “iTunes 4.8: Adding videos to your library,” “iTunes 4.8: Watching videos,” and “Mac OS X 10.4: Use iTunes 4.8 or later for iPod syncing.”
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced its new Stereo Bundle Kit, which includes a wireless remote and a cradle for connecting an iPod to your home stereo sound system. The RF remote offers usage up to 150 ft. away and be used through walls. The iCradle features USB 2.0 and FireWire ports for syncing/charging in addition to the audio jack.
The Stereo Bundle Kit is compatible with the iPod mini, 3G iPod (10/15/20GB), 4G iPod (20/30/40GB) and iPod photo (30GB). It is available for an introductory price of $59.99—will cost $69.99 after June 1, 2005.
A Melbourne, Australia teenager caused a “small explosion” when trying to fix his iPod with a screwdriver this week after his mother accidently ran the device through the washing machine.
“The boy was treated by paramedics at his Bayswater home for breathing difficulties after ingesting fumes emitted by the device as he pulled it apart in his suburban bedroom about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday,” The Age reports.
Country Fire Authority spokesman Peter Philp said the iPod had been taken away for testing by CFA investigators, but noted that it was “more of a pop” than an explosion and that it was “more smoke than fire but it did leave a burn mark on the [bed] cover.”
What’s new in the iLounge Discussion Forums? If Tiger’s roar has slowed your computer down closer to a kitten’s meow, read “The Creeping Tiger Syndrome” for a possible solution. Planning a road trip? This ‘five star rated’ thread covers permanently installing an iPod in your car.
Have you found that buying an iPod has encouraged you to accumulate more music? Read how joining the iPod club has affected the buying habits of other Loungers. If you’ve ever wondered what the Number 1 song was on the day of your birth, this thread shares the well known (as well as the less well known) with other members. And last but not least, with audiobooks now appearing as weekly mp3 podcasts (“Podiobooks”), a directory of MP3 podcasts has been started by Loungers to help you find something which might catch your interest.
Contradicting dismissive statements towards the iPod recently made by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in a separate interview, the company’s Xbox division corporate vice-president J. Allard told 1up.com that the company actually hopes to model its new game console Xbox 360 on Apple’s iPod success, and follows the thinking of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. As explained in the section of 1up’s story titled “Is the Xbox 360 Powerful Enough?”:
“Our initial thinking was there can only be one [Xbox 360 SKU], but you know, that just limits options,” says Allard. “I don’t wanna think that way. If Steve Jobs thought that way, iPod sales would have [plateaued] because there’s a finite market for people that want 20GB white things that play music at a price point that’s above $200. And that’s all he could do with iPod.” Elsewhere in the article, Allard explains that after “lots of color studies,” the company chose a white and metal design based partially on “consumer preference and value. They associate a lot of value with the lighter colors. Most people actually came back and said, ‘This reminds me of iPod.’”
The article further notes that Microsoft designed the Xbox 360 with a 20GB removable hard drive that will permit users to carry their game data (and ripped game soundtracks, amongst other things) wherever they go, with changes to the hard drive a distinct possibility. “Who knows?” the article quotes Allard as saying. “We talk to retailers, we start taking orders, Japan says, ‘What we really wanna do is have a 60-gig hard drive and a wired controller,’ something like that. The system’s so flexible that until we start stuffing them in boxes, nothing’s for sure.”
Griffin Technology said today that its AirBase Stand for Apple’s AirPort Express Base Station is now shipping to customers. The $24.99 product raises the AirPort Express to increase effective range and efficiency. It also positions the device’s status light for easier checking.
“Apple’s award-winning industrial design merits more than being plugged into a wall socket and hidden away,” says Griffin. “The AirBase makes an elegant artistic statement that compels you to display it on the desk, shelf or entertainment center. It offers some major functional benefits, as well.”
Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich said today that Yahoo’s low-priced subscription music service could cause Apple to offer a similar plan of its own through iTunes. “Apple could flick the switch on a subscription model,” Milunovich said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “Yahoo clearly is a problem for Real Networks and Napster, but will it hurt Apple? We do think Yahoo’s entry could cause Apple to offer iTunes as a subscription model later this year, especially if there is evidence of share loss.” He noted that subscriptions account for about 15% of the legal download market with iTunes holding over 70%.
Milunovich also said Apple is working to protect iPod profits. “Meanwhile, Apple isn’t standing still,” he said. “Industry observer Robert Cringely examined the new Tiger OS and found unused icons and support of the H.264 codec that hint at video capability on the iPod and an iTunes video store. Similarly, we have speculated that an iPod running video clips could be out for Christmas and that H.264 was important to future hi-def plans. Cringely also believes Tiger may have support for competing music formats, indicating that if iPod margins get squeezed Apple might license its software and switch to software-driven profits. That’s more of a stretch though Apple does appear to have learned from past mistakes.”
Chris Iwanowski of Barking Dog Studios provided iLounge with details and pictures of how the company used iPod photos at recent trade show, Museums and the Web 2005, to show off its website development work. “We wanted to stand out amongst the sea of laptops and LCD displays used by other exhibitors,” Iwanowski said. “So, we conceived the idea of using iPod photos to tell an interactive story of how our web sites are created, rather than just showing the end result.”
“We used a slide show of approximately 120 images and a looping music/voice-over track—all running from the iPod photos,” he explained. “The screen size demanded we make the experience ‘personal’, so each kiosk has a pair of head phones. The small screens of the iPod photos were framed and matted to look like miniature works of art. The frames themselves were selected to represent the character of web site being profiled.”
Echoing comments from Piper Jaffray, Banc of America Securities said today that Yahoo’s new music service will “have very modest near-term impact” on Apple. “The stickiness associated with iTunes and Apple’s hardware has had a protective effect (as they are only compatible with one another), and Apple has held share in music downloads and gained shared in MP3 in the last few quarters,” the research firm said. “If the subscription model does prove to be popular, we would expect Apple to counter and match with a subscription model of its own, which would increase margins.”
The iStore has announced a special offer on the iJet Wireless RF Remote for iPod for all iLoungers. From now until June 15, you can buy the device for the discounted price of $39.99 (regularly $59.99).
“This remote has the longest range of any remote available for the iPod, up to 150 feet,” says the iStore. “Since it is an RF remote, it works through walls unlike IR remotes which are only line-of-sight. The iJet comes complete with a removable belt clip for the remote and as an added bonus, it includes an RCA to 3.5mm headphone cable so it can easily be connected to a home stereo.”
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates sees consumers moving to mobile phones for listening to music on the go, and expects the iPod’s popularity to wane.
“As good as Apple may be, I don’t believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run,” he said in an interview published Thursday in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface—like the iPod today—and then lost its position.”
“If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I’d bet on the mobile phone for sure,” Gates said.
Sonnet Technologies has announced the PodFreq Black, a new version of its iPod FM transmitter designed specifically for the special edition U2 iPod. “This new PodFreq features a unique mix of black and clear materials that harmonize with the iPod U2 in a way only surpassed by the sublime union of Bono’s vocals and The Edge’s guitar,” says Sonnet.
The PodFreq features a digital tuner with LCD display and broadcasts to any frequency between 88.3 and 107.7MHz. It also sports a telescoping antenna, an integrated dock with mini-USB 2.0 and FireWire ports, and comes with a car charger. The PodFreq Black will be available next month for $99.95.
The shuffle products include: AirPlay FM Transmitter for iPod shuffle ($49.95); Car Charger for iPod shuffle ($24.95); Bumperz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/5-pack; iLounge Rating: C+); SportWrap for iPod shuffle ($29.95); Shieldz for iPod shuffle ($19.95/3-pack; iLounge Rating: B); Wrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack); TuffWrapz for iPod shuffle ($24.95/3-pack; iLounge Rating: A-); SuperHook for iPod shuffle ($19.95; iLounge Rating: B-); SuperClip for iPod shuffle ($14.95; iLounge Raing: B-); Audio Splitter for iPod shuffle ($12.95); and Audio Kit for iPod shuffle ($49.95).
Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster said today that he does not think sales of the iPod will be affected by Yahoo’s new subscription-based music service offerings. “We do not anticipate the market share of the iPod will be meaningfully impacted by the emergence of Yahoo! and other music subscription services,” Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “In addition, if subscription services become more successful, we believe that by year end Apple will introduce its own version of a subscription based music service.”
“We have seen over the last two years that the success of online music services is driven by compatible devices,” Munster said. “As a datapoint, despite new music services in the past year, Apple has maintained its ~80% market share in the portable audio device market. In other words, the risk to Apple is a killer new MP3 player, not a new online music service.” Munster also reiterated his that by the end of 2005 more than 35 million iPods will have shipped.
Speck Products today announced “Connect and Protect,” a new silicone iPod shuffle skin with four connecting caps that allow you to “strap, clip, and connect your shuffle to just about anything.” The $29.95 package features a clear skin with separate lanyard cap, key chain cap, carabiner cap, and pen cap.
“Connect and Protect has your Shuffle covered and connected: around your neck, on your bag, keys, pants, tie, dress, scarf… wherever you want it! The rubberized Skin keeps your Shuffle protected—the 4 caps keep it connected.”
Gizmodo says it received confirmation from a Motorola representative that the three iTunes Mobile screenshots it has are the real deal.
Apple’s ubiquitous iPod silhouette advertising has made its way into The Simpsons.
Many people worship their iPods, but this iPod shuffle crucifix might be taking it a bit too far.