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Incase, DC Shoes, Apple team on B4BC case

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imageIncase, DC Shoes and Apple have teamed up to offer a new iPod case to help promote breast cancer knowledge. The companies said that half the proceeds from the case will be donated directly to Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), a non-profit organization that benefits breast cancer awareness.

The white B4BC Folio case, which fits fourth-generation iPods, features unique flip-down access, a pink ribbon graphic, suede interior, a DC|Incase white logo badge, chrome snap, and access to the headphone port.

“There are nearly 250,000 women in the United States under the age of 40 currently living with breast cancer,” notes the companies. “Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), a non-profit, youth-focused education, awareness, and fundraising foundation, aims to increase awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection, and the value of a healthy lifestyle.”

The case will be launched in Apple retail stores at the end of September for $39.95.

Mix: Apple’s iBod, XM Audible Store, Video iPod

  • August 16, 2005

The woman behind the striped bikini silhouette iPod ad says she was paid $1,500 to be photographed for the campaign, but that she still can’t afford one of the players.

Audible and XM Satellite Radio today launched the XM Audible Store, which offers exclusive XM programming available for individual purchase or download subscription, including “The Bob Edwards Show” and “Opie and Anthony.”

Microsoft and Texas Instruments representatives both recently said that Apple will more than likely introduce a portable video player before the end of January 2006.

Loungers get 10% off UE Super.fi earphones

Earphone Solutions has issued a new coupon code (iloungeue10off) that will give you a 10% discount, free shipping and a free airline adapter with the purchase of any Ultimate Ears Super.fi earphones. This is an exclusive offer for iLounge readers.

The Super.fi’s professional-grade audio is produced by “special engineering that places low- and high-frequency speakers in each ear for better fidelity, plus a unique earbud design that securely seals the ear against external noise,” explains Ultimate Ears. “The earbuds’ shape and snug fit—based on Ultimate Ears’ 10 years of experience in handcrafting earphones from silicone impressions of customers’ ears—yield maximum wearing comfort as well as maximum noise isolation essential for use in the gym and other noisy environments.”

Belkin intros TuneFM for iPod

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imageBelkin will soon introduce the TuneFM, a new FM transmitter that lets you listen to the music on your iPod through any FM stereo receiver.

The TuneFM plugs into the headphone and remote jacks on the top of third- or fourth-generation iPods, and features a large LED display that shows the current FM frequency. It has channel up/down buttons and two programmable preset buttons for favorite frequencies.

“Proximity switches give you total control at the touch of your fingertips, and the LED display indicates FM frequency and memory preset, eliminating the need to use the iPod interface for frequency selection,” explains Belkin. “Because the TuneFM is powered by the iPod, no batteries are required.”

Mix: Apple shares, Dave Matthews Band, Wells Fargo

  • August 15, 2005

Shares of Apple were boosted Monday by a report from Caris analyst Mark Stahlman, who said that the company will soon introduce upgraded Macs and a video iPod.

The Dave Matthews Band has posted instructions on how to download songs from its copy-protected album Stand Up into iTunes and onto an iPod. “Please note an easier and more acceptable solution requires cooperation from Apple, who we have already reached out to in hopes of addressing this issue,” the band said on its website.

Wells Fargo is offering a free song download from the iTunes Music Store to anyone who signs up to receive information about its checking accounts. Those who open an account are entered to win one of 125 iBooks.

iLounge Back to School Guide reveals new iPod gear

imageiLounge’s free iPod Book & Back to School Guide, which released today, has exclusive sneak peeks at several upcoming iPod accessories:

Oregon Scientific’s iBall (shown right) is a unique combination clock, two-channel speaker system, and iPod dock.

The On Stage II is an update to JBL’s UFO-like portable speaker system for the iPod, which gains an RF remote.

Blumac’s Cerulean is set of amplified silver speakers that come with a unique, case-friendly iPod dock and remote control.

The Belkin TuneFM is an easy-to-use FM transmitter that uses a large LED display and four touch-sensitive buttons.

The Griffin iRave is “the ultimate iPod shuffle lanyard”—it has a collection of colored lights that pulse in sync to the music you’re playing.

Griffin’s iTalk 2 is the successor to the original iPod voice recording attachment. It adds a button for quick recording and improved, digital automatic gain control.

Sumo’s PlayThru Cases feature either vertical or horizontal front flaps and easy access to the iPod’s controls.

Download the 140-page iPod Book & Back to School Guide for complete details on these new products. The guide, which is available in printable and widescreen versions, also has numerous iPod and iTunes tips, tutorials, reviews, contests and much more.

Mix: Chinese campaign, iPod recreation, Judy’s Books, Anti-iPodders

  • August 15, 2005

Macworld UK reports that Chinese Mac users are preparing an October promotional campaign focused on Apple’s iPod.

Softpedia’s Alexandru Macovschi says: “Companies that invest money and effort into dethroning iPod shouldn’t have skipped the digital music history classes and understand once and for all, that iPod is the result of a once in a lifetime moment, which cannot be recreated even if they add two wheels and a 5TB hard drive.”

Seattle start-up Judy’s Book is offering iPods to anyone who submits 50 reviews of local restaurants and other businesses.

Corilyn Shropshire of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about the “small number of holdouts and self-proclaimed music lovers who are shunning iPods as if they were the coming of the plague.”

O’Reilly releases ‘iPod Shuffle Fan Book’

  • August 15, 2005
  • iPod

O’Reilly has announced the release of the “iPod Shuffle Fan Book” by J.D. Biersdorfer.

“The iPod Shuffle Fan Book is the ultimate written companion for Shuffle owners,” says O’Reilly. “Learn how to master the art of shuffling: discover and create custom playlists, share and publish with iMix, and burn playlists on CDs. Beautifully designed in a colorful, compact format, this handy reference book is a must have for shufflers everywhere.”

The title is priced at $9.95.

Scosche debuts Bluetooth iPod adapter for car, home

imageScosche has announced a Bluetooth wireless interface that connects your iPod to car stereo head units and home audio systems.

The Bluetooth transmitter connects directly to the iPod headphone port and transmits to a receiver connected to the auxiliary input of a vehicle’s head unit or home audio system. The $250 solution offers a wireless range of 30 feet and a 15-hour battery life.

Scosche’s system is Bluetooth 1.2 compliant for “continuous streaming audio and can pair with an unlimited number of receivers.” It’s compatible with third and fourth-generation iPods and iPod minis, and will work with any aftermarket head unit or home audio system that has RCA inputs.

BusinessWeek: Apple not likely to offer subscription service

BusinessWeek reports that Apple is not likely to launch an iTunes music subscription service unless a rival service starts to see “mainstream” user numbers.

“Two music executives tell BusinessWeek Online that earlier this summer, soon after Yahoo’s announcement of its Music Unlimited subscription service, Apple sounded them out about potential financial terms of a subscription service. One of the label executives said Apple was concerned about what e-tailer Amazon.com or Google might do in this area. But, says the source, Apple seemed unlikely to make a move until a rival began forging inroads into its music empire.”

BusinessWeek says that Apple doesn’t have much to worry about right now. “So far, only 2 million-or-so people have signed up for offerings such as RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service or one from Napster. Even Yahoo’s 3-month-old Music Unlimited, although priced at less than half of the others at just $60 a year, has failed to make big headway.”

Download Now: The Free iPod Book and Back to School Guide

It’s here: The Free iPod Book & Back to School Guide, by iLounge.com. Covering all things iPod and iTunes, our first book includes exclusive sneak peeks at new iPod accessories from JBL, Belkin, Griffin, Oregon Scientific, Blumac and Sumo Cases, plus tutorials, contests, and more. Click on read more for the details and the download links. Two versions - printable and widescreen - are available; please download only one. We hope you enjoy!

New Podcast: The iLounge Week in Review 5

imageNow available is the fifth iLounge Week in Review podcast, hosted by iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz.

This week’s topics: A patentable iPod interface, threats from Microsoft to provide new iPod-challenging hardware this year, color, free Pod Subway Maps, Doom for the iPod, and Zizzle’s introduction of the interactive music toy iZ. Additionally, we discuss a collection of new iPod accessories released or reviewed this week, including Tiger’s iDog, eight different iPod mini cases, Shure’s E4c earphones, and Macally’s Link360 Adaptors. We also briefly discuss our new Guide, which will debut on August 15. Enjoy.

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Mix: DRM roadblock, Patents, Google iTunes, Gap commercial

  • August 13, 2005

Reuters reports on digital music’s stumbling block of incompatibility: “At the heart of the problem are dueling digital-rights-management (DRM) systems from bitter rivals Apple and Microsoft.”

Lisa DiCarlo of Forbes says that Apple and Microsoft patents relating to a digital music player “might not even be directly related.”

TheStreet.com reports: “According to market chatter, Apple is set to announce a deal with Google calling for Google to offer Apple’s iTunes music store through its own site.”

The MacTV Videocast website has posted a downloadable copy of the new Gap iTunes commercial in QuickTime format.

Forums: EQ settings, Display hack, Older iPodders, Intro thread

In this week’s dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: although many iPod users prefer not to use the iPod’s equalizers, one reader has asked, “What Are Your Favorite EQ Settings?” Are you an EQ on or an EQ off kind of iPodder?

Some iPod owners have decided to ‘hack’ their iPods in order to change the “Do not disconnect” message - see what others have used to replace the default message. (Be careful: some customization may invalidate your warranty.)

One reader says that his sister believes he is too old to own an iPod at 47 - do you think the iPod crosses the generation gap, or is it a music device for younger audiences only? (If so, are the rest of us doomed to using cassette Walkmen forever?)

Along the lines of our long-running “Show us what you look like” thread: check out The Definitive “Introducing Myself” Thread. New to the forums? Then introduce yourself here!

Mix: Bushcast, iPod Patent, Microsoft, Windows Media

  • August 12, 2005

The White House is now offering President Bush’s radio addresses and select speeches as podcasts on the iTunes Music Store.

BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl says that the recent iPod patent dispute is normal in the tech industry: “When that happens, companies usually find it’s helpful to take out a license on each other’s patents… Apple and Microsoft have a long history of taking out cross-licenses with each other.”

WinInfo’s Paul Thurrott says that Microsoft and its partners aren’t going to catch the iPod anytime soon: “Guys, let me save you a lot of time and money: It ain’t going to happen. If Apple would simply open up the iPod to WMA (Windows Media Audio) files and PC-based online music services, the iPod would accomplish two things: It would literally be perfect, and it would blow away any reason at all to consider any other kinds of music players.” [via MDN]

Peter Griffin, a columnist at The New Zealand Herald says that he won’t be buying an iPod until adds support for Windows Media: “As a user of Windows Media Player and an avid CD buyer, I won’t be investing in the little white device until Apple sees sense.”

Griffin offers PowerJolt auto charger

imageGriffin Technology today announced the PowerJolt auto charger for Apple’s iPod shuffle, fourth-generation iPods, and iPod mini.

The PowerJolt plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet and features a USB port to accept an iPod shuffle directly. The $24.99 charger also comes with a 48-inch Dock Connector USB cable that lets you use the PowerJolt with iPods and iPod minis.

“The PowerJolt auto adapter allows you to take your iPod on the road and listen to great music while keeping your iPod fully charged,” says Griffin. “The PowerJolt charges your iPod whether it’s playing music or in standby mode, ensuring that you’ll arrive at your destination with a fully charged iPod.”

iZ interactive toy to rock out with iPod

imageZizzle, a new toy company lead by the co-founder of the original Tiger Electronics (the company behind the Furby toy), will soon unveil iZ, a “9-inch tri-legged fusion of toy and music.” The unique character lets kids create musical beats by moving and pressing different parts of his body, and doubles as a portable iPod speaker.

While Zizzle has yet to release a picture of iZ, the company recently teamed up with iLounge to launch the “What is iZ Giveaway,” in which iLoungers try to guess what exactly iZ is from a handful of cropped photos of the product.

In an official announcement for iZ, Zizzle said the character will “play your music with his horn flashing lights, his eyes bouncing to the beat, and act as a DJ, adding his own commentary to any song. Let’s not forget iZ’s sense of humor which is demonstrated through burps and other ‘rude’ lifelike noises.”

Zizzle also provided details on the music-making feature. “Kids start by pressing his stomach to start a beat. Once they find a sound they like, they move to iZ’s right ear to add a little rhythm to the equation, and turn his left ear to find a musical lead. An easy to use tempo control makes the sounds limitless as players create tunes never before heard. iZ’s eyes even independently rock out to the innovative tunes created.”

iZ is scheduled to be available at major retailers this fall. A multi-million dollar TV and print advertising campaign is planned. Zizzle said the iPod will be featured prominently in commercials and on the iZ packaging.

Update: Zizzle has provided us with a complete photo of iZ (right).

Apple loses iPod patent because of Microsoft?

  • August 11, 2005
  • iPod

Apple may have lost its attempt to patent the iPod software interface because long-time rival Microsoft had already filed a similar application. Bloomberg News reports that Microsoft’s patent application was filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office five months before Apple’s request, which was rejected last month.

“Apple plans to appeal the decision to ensure it won’t be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft on every iPod sale,” Bloomberg reports. “The decision could be a setback for Apple, which is also facing increased competition from Microsoft, which makes software for rival music players, and other companies that want to take market share.”

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said that Apple will continue to pursue the iPod patent. “Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application cited by the examiner was filed,? Kerris said. “The U.S. patent process is often a lengthy one, involving much back and forth. Apple will continue to pursue this patent application.?

New Lounge Poll launched

The new Lounge Poll, “What’s the highest price you would pay for a video-enabled iPod this year?” has launched in the left column below Ask iLounge. Early balloting suggests that a $599 or more expensive video device wouldn’t fly - what do you think? Cast your vote!

Complete results for previous Lounge Polls are available in the Lounge Poll archives.

Analyst: iTunes may account for 5% of Apple revenue in 2006

Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster expects revenue from Apple’s 20 iTunes Music Stores to account for 5 percent of the company’s revenue in 2006.

“Assuming 133 million iTunes downloads in the June quarter and applying that across the reported 6.2 million iPod shipments, Apple is averaging 6.1 iTunes downloads per iPod (based on the entire iPod estimated installed base through Jun-05),” Munster writes in a research note obtained by iLounge. “If we apply this 6.1x ratio to our cumulative iPod installed base estimates through CY06, iTunes downloads for CY06 would be 1.365 billion vs. our current estimate of 877 million.”

Munster also notes that the Japanese iTunes Music Store is off to a fast start. “iTunes is off to a strong start in Japan, where customers downloaded more than one million tracks in the first four days following the launch of the service,” Munster said. “According to media reports, before the iTunes launch, the top music download service in Japan (Sony) averaged 450k songs sold per month. We see the successful launch in Japan as another indicator that pockets of untapped demand remain in the international market for digital music.”

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