This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums: now that Sony BMG and EMI are offering iPod incompatible audio CDs, we check into a long-running discussion on copy protected CDs in the Music Forums.
In the In-Car Solutions Forum one reader’s solution for a neat installation of an iPod mini in a Ford Explorer Sport has been resurrected from the depths.
The ability of iPod users to collect boxes full of ‘phones is raised in this thread asking for readers to list their “headphone stashes.” Are your shelves groaning under the weight of Shures, Sennheisers, Sonys, et al.?
How do you treat your iPod? Do you protect it at all costs or believe it should wear its scars proudly? Find out how others look after their iPods… or not, as the case may be!
HotRomz has expanded its line of unique hand-made iPod sleeves with the introduction of new iPod shuffle versions.
Available in a variety of colors and tactile textures, these original shuffle covers range from “plain to furry to wild” and sell for $14.95 each. The new iPod shuffle sleeves include “Tribble” (available in 7 colors), “Shuffle Muffle” (available in 15 colors), “Birds of a Feather” (available in 8 colors), and “Neon Shuffle” (available in 12 bright colors). They feature an opening at the top for the lanyard and an opening at the bottom for the earphones jack.
Several one-of-a-kind iPod cases are now up for auction as part of the Style & Sound fundraising initiative for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC). The cases were created by well-known fashion designers and contain a 40GB iPod courtesy of Apple and a personal playlist created by each designer’s celebrity partner.
Designers include Marc Ecko, BCBG Max Azria, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Sean Combs, and Luca Orlandi. Some of the celebrities involved are Renee Zellweger, Katie Holmes, Brittany Murphy, Mischa Barton, Hype Williams, Brooke Shields, Cyndi Lauper, and Jessica Alba.
The cases are fashioned from various materials, such as leather, bejeweled, snakeskin, metal, and nylon.
There’s even a Do-It-Yourself knitting kit and an “old school” boom box that features a custom “pop-n-play” iPod slot. It’s a modified LASONiC TRC-931 that features a working AM/FM tuner and cassette deck.
Anapod Explorer 8.8 from Red Chair Software is the latest version of the iPod management application with Windows Explorer integration, file backup, web streaming, and more. This update adds Album Art support for iPod photo users. MP3, M4A, and iTunes Music Store files with embedded art will now have their art displayed on the iPod when transferred using Anapod.
Logitech on Wednesday will introduce a new set of Bluetooth wireless headphones for the iPod. The “Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod” package includes a wireless behind-the-head headset and a small receiver that plugs into the top of any Dock Connector iPod (3G, 4G, photo and mini).
The $149.99 headphones, which weigh 3.2 ounces, feature integrated controls (volume, track forward, track backward, play and pause) and work up to 30 feet away from your iPod.
Logitech said that the headphones and the adapter are paired at the factory for a quicker out-of-the-box use. They’re both also powered by rechargeable batteries, which provide up to eight hours of playback time.
The Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod will be available in July throughout the U.S. and Europe. You can read iLounge’s review here.
The 8.4 million iPods Apple shipped in 2004 accounted for nearly one third of all digital audio players last year, a recent report by research firm In-Stat found. Various models of the iPod made up 30.2% of the combined worldwide hard drive and flash-based music player market in 2004.
The firm said revenue for MP3 players reached approximately $4.5 billion, “a remarkable increase of almost 200% over 2003.”
In the same report, In-Stat also said that “the exploding market” for portable audio players is expected to reach over 104 million units by 2009, up from 27.8 million units in 2004. “Drivers for this booming market include falling prices, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, smaller hard disk drives, and increasing Flash memory capacities,” the firm said.
About 35% of music fans now download tracks legally from online stores such as iTunes, and the percentage will soon pass the 40% who have pirated music, according to a new survey by Entertainment Media Research.
The third Mike Industries iPod-A-Month Creativity Competition seeks entries (text, video, audio, a web site, or a GIF/JPEG image) that display “the most creative alternative use of an iPod.” The winner will receive an iPod shuffle. iLounge is also providing a pair of Etymotic ER-6i earbuds and an Apple sport case to the winner.
Stewie Griffin from the animated Fox series “The Family Guy” was featured in his own Apple inspired silhouette commercial this week.
Contois Music Technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the user interface of iTunes, according to an AppleInsider report. Contois alleges that Apple violated a patent it holds, and seeks damages and the ability to stop Apple from distributing iTunes as the application looks and behaves now.
“The suit, filed on June 13th in Vermont District Court, alleges that Apple’s iTunes software design infringes on Contois’ six-year old design patent (US Patent No. 5,864,868) entitled ‘Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices.’ Contois is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Apple from further distributing its iTunes software in its current form. The company also asked the Court for an unspecified amount of monetary damages resulting from Apple’s ‘copying and willful infringement’ of its design patent as well as reimbursement of legal fees associated with the lawsuit.”
Laptop accessory maker Targus today announced an iPod accessory line featuing new cases, a wireless remote and a sound enhancing amplifier.
The Slide Case ($29.95) is a black leather case that consists of two parts—the iPod fits into the top piece, which slides into a second leather piece with a belt clip, allowing you to face your iPod in or out (to conceal it or for easy access to controls). It’s available in three sizes for the iPod mini and all versions of 3G, 4G and photo models.
The Flip Case ($29.95) is also a black leather case for the iPod mini and full-size Click Wheel iPods. It features a front that flips down for quick access to iPod controls and connectors. The Flip Case also includes a belt clip and an iPod screen protector.
Targus’ RemoteTunes ($49.99) wireless remote uses RF technology to allow iPod users “freedom to control their music at home, in the office or while on the go.” It offers a range of 150 feet and does not require line of sight to work. The remote also features a “power save” mode—when it doesn’t receive a signal for 20 minutes, it powers off (once the remote buttons are pressed it automatically powers back up). The package contains a remote, receiver, belt clip, stereo cable and tabletop stand. It is based upon ABT’s iJet (iLounge rating: A-).
The SoundUP ($39.99) high definition sound enhancer and amplifier “utilizes Phantom Technologies’ patented circuit and restores information lost when audio files are compressed—revealing instruments and voices that are trapped during compression and previously not heard.” Available in two sizes for the iPod and iPod mini, the device is also a headphone splitter and includes a remote pass-through allowing RemoteTunes or Apples’ wired remote to be used with it.
As part of “a growing skirmish between the record labels and digital music master Apple,” both Sony BMG and EMI are releasing more and more copy-protected CDs that can’t be transferred to an iPod.
“CDs with the protective technology prevent users from posting them on the Internet and allow users to burn only three copies onto other discs, which themselves can’t be copied again,” reports Variety. “Sony BMG is already selling about half its discs with the technology, while EMI releases its first this summer. But the technology also prevents consumers from transferring songs onto an iPod… because the technology uses Microsoft’s Windows Media software.”
Variety says that both labels hope to reach a deal with Apple that will allow iPod owners to legally rip and transfer music from the CDs to their iPod for listening on the go.
“By launching the copy-protected CDs without iPod compatibility, the labels are raising the stakes in an ongoing conflict between Apple and the rest of the music business, which wants the tech company to open its proprietary iPod and let others sell antipiracy-protected songs that work on the device,” the publication reports.
FastMac has announced a new iPod battery upgrade that offers up to 70% more capacity than the original battery and up to 7.5 times as many charge cycles, according to the company. “This is accomplished through the use of patented nanoparticle technology code-named ‘TruePower,’ which significantly slows the degradation of the battery,” says FastMac.
The upgrade is available for 1G/2G iPods ($39.95) and 3G iPods ($29.95), and comes with a 2-year warranty. The company said necessary tools and installation instructions are included. FastMac also offers an iPod upgrade service for an additional $49.95, which includes prepaid shipping and professional installation.
Brand Republic asks if the iPod shuffle is damaging Apple’s iPod image.
LA Weekly has an interview with CD Baby founder Derek Sivers, who discusses online indie music distributing and Apple’s goal to “get every piece of music ever recorded available in the iTunes Music Store.
TechRestore has announced a $99.99 lifetime iPod battery replacement service. The iPod Battery Freedom service for all full-sized iPod models (1G/2G, 3G, 4G, photo and mini) includes installation of a replacement high capacity iPod battery “with at least 30% more capacity than the original iPod battery” and return overnight shipping for the first battery replacement.
A quick check of the program’s terms and conditions reveals that you are eligible to get a replacement battery only once every 18-months, and that (in addition to your costs of shipping your iPod to the company) you’ll have to pay a $12.99 return shipping charge each time a future battery is replaced.
BadApple is a free plug-in for the Windows version of iTunes that enables users to download and manage podcasts directly within the application.
“After downloading and installing BadApple, you will have a ‘Podcasts’ link you can click on from iTunes,” explains the developer. “You can use this to browse through categories to find the Podcast you want. Each podcast has a description. Once you locate a podcast you are interested in, double clicking on the podcast will load it to your library. When you plug in your iPod the podcast will be loaded to that depending on your settings.”
As first reported by German web site iPodfun.de, Griffin Technology has used MacExpo in Germany to publicly debut iFill ($19.99), new software that records Internet Radio broadcasts to an iPod - a concept described by Griffin as timeshifting of Internet Radio. “iFill is the perfect way to fill your 60 GB iPod with an incredible array of of music from thousands of Internet Radio stations around the world,” explained Paul Griffin, President, Griffin Technology. “iPod users have needed a way to sample a wide variety of music and programming. iFill ‘fills’ this need and also makes it a snap to purchase the music they like.”
Under development for some time, iFill is capable of recording multiple radio stations at once, automatically splitting each broadcast into tagged MP3 or AAC format songs. As its name suggests, it will continue to record until your iPod is filled with as much new music as you desire. iFill includes an easy-to-use interface that is independent from iTunes, yet incorporates all of its key features - including one surprise.
Concerned about the potential for music piracy, Griffin has incorporated music industry-friendly safeguards. iFill will not operate without an iPod attached to your computer, and will save songs only to the iPod, not your computer. Additionally, after automatically identifying a song’s artist and title, iFill’s “Songs on iPod” list will include a direct iTunes Music Store link (“little round arrows in the list view”) so that you can easily purchase a full, clean version to replace the imperfect one recorded from radio.
Currently available as a one-week demo for Mac OSX 10.3 and 10.4 users only, iFill will be released for Macs in July. A version is also under development for Windows PCs, and is planned for release in August.
Pressure Drop has announced a limited edition DecoDock with red, white and blue LEDs to celebrate the 4th of July. The Independence Day DecoDock sells for $31.99 and will ship on June 24th in limited quantities.
The DecoDock (iLounge Rating: B) is a stylish dock designed in the classic Art Deco style for charging/syncing an iPod shuffle. It’s also offered in cobalt blue, obsidian black, silver, pink, green, and white.
The MP3 player market is set to double between 2005 and 2009, DisplaySearch analyst John Jacobs said yesterday. He expects the global MP3 player market to exceed 50 million units this year.
Coldplay’s new album, X&Y, topped the sales charts in the U.S. and also did well in digital format. Approximately 8% (about 62,000) of the nearly 740,000 copies sold in the first week were downloaded from online stores. “Most of those sales were at Apple’s market-dominating iTunes Music Store, which had been accepting orders for the album for a month,” reports the LA Times.
A British sociologist says that iPod owners “love being able to shut out the world’s distractions, hate their cellphones and would prefer not to talk to anyone.”
The New York Public Library has excluded iPod users from access to its new audio eBook collection because of its choice to use a Windows Media-based technology for the audio DRM.
Pacific Rim Technologies has kicked off a June sales promotion just for iLounge readers. The discounts will last until June 30, 2005.
You can get $5 off the company’s Cube Speakers (coupon code: IPODLOUNGE-CUBE), $10 off its Stereo Kit bundle (IPODLOUNGE-REMOTE), $2 off its aluminum hard case (IPODLOUNGE-4G), and $4 off its iShield 1 or iShield 2 (IPODLOUNGE-3G).
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has joined the iPod generation. UK tabloid The Sun reported Friday that she is now the owner of a silver 6GB iPod mini, and that Prince Andrew, fourth in line to the throne, was behind the move.
“The Queen loves music and was impressed by how small and handy the iPod is,” a royal insider told the paper. “Obviously it is quite complicated to download songs, but I’m sure one of the courtiers will do it for her. Prince Andrew will probably also help out because he’s a real dab hand with gadgets.”
The Cableyoyo is a cord management product for devices such as the iPod. The product’s ultra-thin plastic case conceals up to 6-feet of coiled wire. It also comes with a small adhesive attachment that lets you mount the Cableyoyo to virtually any surface. The Cableyoyo, which is available in white, black and silver, began shipping earlier this month for $4.99.
“Our increasing dependence on digital products is creating a persistent and growing nuisance: a mounting pile of tangled cords,” says the company behind the product. “Even wireless products require electric chargers. The Cableyoyo brings order to that chaos, cleans up your desktop, stores your wires neatly, and makes travel with cables hassle-free.”