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iTunes boosts prime time ratings for NBC, ABC

Both NBC and ABC have seen a rise in viewer ratings since adding select TV shows to the iTunes Music Store. NBC credits the availability of its shows on iTunes for the recent increase in viewers during prime time for one of its popular comedies.

NBC’s “The Office,” the most popular show on iTunes, delivered a 5.1 rating last Thursday—its highest ever—among adults 18 to 49. The series delivered a 4.5 the prior week. An NBC executive said he is confident that the iTunes exposure contributed to the rise. Frederick Huntsberry, president of NBCU Television Distribution, said iTunes is bringing new audiences to the show that would not otherwise have watched.

Meanwhile, ABC has also seen a ratings increase for its two most popular shows available on iTunes. Since they were added to Apple’s store in October, both “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” are up versus the same period last year. “Lost” has seen its total audience rise 14 percent and ratings for adults 18 to 49 are up 28 percent. The total audience for “Desperate Housewives” is up 7 percent and 18 to 49 ratings are up 3 percent.

Jobs: Microsoft must build MP3 player this year to compete

  • January 16, 2006
  • iPod

Following his keynote speech last week at Macworld Expo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke to Newsweek in an exclusive interview. While the majority of the excerpts pertain to the new Intel-based Macs, Jobs does talk about iPod competition and Apple’s record-breaking 14 million iPod shipment number.

“The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some do one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work,” Jobs said. “What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.”

Jobs also said that Apple could have sold more than 14 million iPods during the holiday quarter if it had received more components.

“We couldn’t get enough flash memory, we couldn’t get enough of everything [to meet all the demand],” Jobs said. “We had to call the numbers six months in advance. So we sat around and had some meaningful discussions about what that number should be, and we ended up picking the highest of the numbers. You’ve got to admit, picking 14 million in the spring of last year, when the most you’ve ever sold was four and half million, was a pretty big bet. But it turned out that that number was too low.”

Mix: Audi TT, iPod trademarks, iPod school, MWSF/CES, Belkin

  • January 16, 2006

The Audi TT is being sold in Japan with a 2GB iPod nano and connection kit until March 31, 2006.

Apple has reportedly filed with Hong Kong’s Intellectual Property Department for trademarks on two new iPod terms—“iPod Hi-Fi” and “iPod Boombox.”

UK-based Selfridges has opened an iPod school in London, charging 65 pounds ($150) for a 40-minute lesson on how to use the device.

The dates for next year’s Macworld Expo and the Consumer Electronics Show will overlap for the conventions’ entire durations.

Belkin estimates that sales of its iPod accessories will contribute more than $200 million, or more than 20% of its 2005 sales of $800 million, to its 2006 fiscal year revenue.

Apple’s Jobs suggests Dell should eat his words

After the close of the stock market Friday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took advantage of his company’s recent good fortunes to have a laugh at the expense of Dell’s boss.

Shortly after Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Dell’s founder and chairman, Michael Dell, was asked at a technology conference what he might do to fix Apple. “What would I do?” Dell said. “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

Apple’s stock price saw a 12 percent surge last week, which pushed the company’s market capitalization to $72.13 billion, passing Dell’s value of $71.97 billion.

On Friday, Jobs sent an email to Apple employees, which read: “Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn’t perfect at predicting the future. Based on today’s stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.”

Survey: iPod owners more honest

  • January 13, 2006
  • iPod

iPod owners are significantly less likely to download music illegally, according to a new report by XTN Data. In a recent consumer survey, the research firm found that while 25% of people regularly download music using file-sharing software, only 7% of iPod owners do so. The report also found that iPod owners buy 25% more albums (2.26 albums every month) than the average music fan, and that 79% regularly listen to music via the radio, and 50% regularly download music from iTunes.

XtremeMac offers NBA Iconz iPod cases

imageXtremeMac today announced a new licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association and the debut of its NBA Iconz cases for the iPod and iPod nano. Constructed of rubber, the cases feature some of the NBA’s most popular teams and players with a play-through design and clear screen protector.

Three teams are currently available for the 5G iPod—the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat—while four teams and two players are available for the nano—the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Dwayne Wade (Miami), and LeBron James (Cleveland). The NBA cases start at $25.

Blinkit iPod safety light debuts

imageIntuitive Devices has introduced the Blinkit safety flasher/flashlight system for iPods. The $30 device, which is compatible with all dockable iPods, is designed for personal safety when using your iPod after dark. “The Blinkit user becomes easily visible from over a hundred yards away,” says the company. “An adjustable mirror system lets users direct light forward or to both sides. Five interchangeable tinted lens caps let users change the color of light emitted. Whether for safety or just fun, Blinkit helps provide personal visibility at night. In addition, Blinkit also flashes along with your iPod, providing a light show synchronized to the beat of your music.”

Small Dog offers CarTune FM transmitter/charger

imageSmall Dog Electronics has announced its CarTune FM transmitter and car charger for all dock connecting iPods. The product features an LCD display, multi-FM channel support, memory functions for channels, and an adjustable tuner control. “Small Dog worked with manufacturers to create the best value FM Transmitter for their customers,” says the company. “A design was chosen that provides the ability to not only play an Apple iPod through a car’s audio system but also charges the iPod using the car’s DC power port.” The CarTune is available now for $33.

Mix: Mobile Me, Windows Media, iPod add-ons, iPod kids

  • January 13, 2006

Apple has filed a U.S. trademark for the term “Mobile Me,” sparking further speculation of an “iPhone” or other mobile products and services.

Microsoft has officially ended development of Windows Media Player for Mac OS X and plans no future versions of the music-playing software for the Apple OS.

Ina Fried of CNET News.com has a general two-page article on the iPod accessory market.

Leander Kahney’s four children were on hand at this week’s Macworld Expo dressed as iPods to promote his “Cult of iPod” book.

Griffin debuts iClear for iPod nano

imageGriffin Technology has introduced the iClear for iPod nano. The clear hard case is priced at $20 and is scheduled to begin shipping in February. “iClear protects your nano with a tough, transparent polycarbonate two-piece shell that is strong enough to take the daily abuse of any lifestyle, yet attractive enough to be worthy of iPod nano,” says Griffin. “iClear offers full screen protection without adding bulk or weight. Simply place iPod nano into the casing and slide the rear section securely in place.”

XtremeMac’s MicroPack extends iPod playback time

imageXtremeMac today announced its MicroPack battery pack/dock for iPods. The MicroPack, which has an integrated Universal Dock for all dockable iPods, provides up to 80 hours of audio playback for the iPod nano and up to 8 hours of video playback for the 5G iPod. It also doubles as a dock for syncing your iPod with a USB cable, sports dual headphone ports with independent volume controls, and is designed to “position the iPod at a precise angle for optimal viewing, serving as a convenient base for the iPod while watching video content.” The MicroPack is expected to begin shipping this spring for $100.

RadTech rolls out new iPod gear

RadTech has announced several new iPod products, including new cases, cables and chargers. All of the accessories are available immediately.

image

Sleevz Case for 5G iPod and iPod nano
RadTech’s play-through Optex sleeve case is now available for the 5G iPod ($21) and iPod nano ($15). The sleeve provides access to all ports, complete control through the sleeve and offers a clear screen protector. It comes in black, gray, blue, purple, light purple and red.

Acclaro Transparent Acrylic Clamshell Case
The Acclaro is a transparent acrylic clamshell-style protective case for the 5G iPod and iPod nano. The $20 case fully covers the iPod’s display, and includes a neck lanyard and quick-release belt clip with the 5G model, and removable neck and wrist lanyards with the nano model.

ClearCal Transparent Mylar Protective Panels
A pair of ultra-thin and protective Mylar panels to protect the 5G iPod and iPod nano. Priced at $7, the ClearCal uses adhesive that leaves no residue on an iPod and can be reused several times.

Gelz Economy Silicone Case
The form-fitting silicone case is available for 4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. “Colorful, rugged, stylish and durable for long-lasting protection of your iPod’s elegant finish.” The Gelz case comes in blue, green, white, pink and yellow, with belt-clip lanyard and armband options available for most.

Cables & Connectivity for iPod
RadTech is now offering an inexpensive line of electronic iPod accessories—the RetractCable iPod Dock Connector ($10), the RetractCable Earbuds ($8), the AutoPower ($8) in-car charger, and the CarConnection ($10) cassette player adapter.

$1 billion worth of iPod accessories sold during holidays

While Apple shipped a record-breaking 14 million iPods during the holiday quarter, they weren’t the only ones to benefit from the device’s popularity. iPod accessory makers also had a tremendous holiday season, according to one tech analyst. Richard Doherty of the Envisioneering Group estimates that $1 billion worth of iPod accessories were sold during the recent holiday quarter. “It’s the iPod economy,” Doherty said. “And Steve Jobs is the Alan Greenspan of that iPod economy.”

Mix: Wynton Marsalis, Keynote, Podcast tutorials, iFill

  • January 12, 2006

MacTV has posted the new Wynton Marsalis “Sparks” iPod ad that was shown during Steve Jobs’ keynote Tuesday. The ad is also available in an iPod-ready format.

Citing an anonymous source, Wired’s Leander Kahney reports that the Macworld keynote delivered by Steve Jobs on Tuesday was not the one he had planned. Kahney said some of the speech and products had been cut out because of “supply issues.”

Apple has posted a series of eight free video tutorials on the iTunes Music Store that will show you how to create a podcast with the company’s new iLife ‘06 suite.

Griffin Technology announced today that is giving away numerous copies of its iFill software to those who stop by its booth at Macworld Expo.

XtremeMac intros HomeShow, RoadShow kits for iPod

imageXtremeMac has announced two new iPod cable kits—the HomeShow and RoadShow. “At home, XtremeMac’s HomeShow cable package supports connection of iPods to nearly any kind of speaker or video playback device,” says the company. “RoadShow, on the other hand, is an all-in-one cable that connects iPod with video to in-vehicle DVD entertainment systems as well as the vehicle’s DC power system.”

imageThe HomeShow is a 4-piece home audio/video connection kit that includes a composite cable (red/white/yellow), home audio cable, auxiliary audio cable, and audio splitter. The RoadShow is an 8-ft integrated cable that plugs into a car’s 12-volt accessory outlet for charging and links the 5G iPod to the DVD unit via composite audio/video connectors. Both products will be available later this month for $50 each.

Small Dog offers Hippod iPod case

imageSmall Dog electronics is now offering its Hippod iPod case and external speaker. The case features a zippered closure and compatible with all iPods. iPods inside the case connect with the external speaker through an internal headphone plug. The Hippod iPod case also features a built-in belt sleeve and is available now for $25.00.

iLounge announces 2006 Best of Show Awards

The Editors of iLounge have selected the following thirteen new products for its San Francisco 2006 “Best of Show” Awards. Additional details on all of these products will be available on iLounge later this evening.

Altec Lansing inMotion iM9 Speakers
Apple Computer Garageband 3 with Podcast Studio
Apple Computer iPod Radio Remote
Belkin TuneTalk Stereo
Better Energy Systems Tread Case for iPod nano
Contour Design Showcase 5G
El Gato EyeTV2 Television Recorder with Export to iPod
Griffin TuneCenter Interactive Dock for iPod
JBL On Time Speakers and Clock Radio
Mophie Relo Case Series for iPod nano and 5G
Scosche Bluetooth Car Kit for iPod
Shure E500 Earphones
XtremeMac Iconz Sport - NBA Series for iPod nano and 5G

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners - we were highly impressed by these products!

Slappa launches SlipScreen for the iPod nano

imageSlappa has introduced the SlipScreen for the iPod nano. The case is made from a lightweight PU material, and offers complete protection for the nano’s click wheel and dock connector access. The SlipScreen comes with screen and body protectors for the nano as well as a removable belt clip. The SlipScreen for iPod nano is available now and sells for $14.99.

Griffin intros TuneCenter iPod dock

imageGriffin Technology has announced its new TuneCenter iPod dock and charging station. TuneCenter features the ability to navigate and control the iPod from a TV screen using the included 14 button remote, as well as play internet radio stations through the built-in Wi-Fi or ethernet connections. TuneCenter provides both composite and S-Video out, as well as RCA audio. The TuneCenter is compatible with all dock connector iPods, and sells for $99.99. It is scheduled to begin shipping in March; pre-orders are being accepted now.

iPod, iTunes updates hide major new features

  • January 11, 2006
  • iPod

Coinciding with the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple has released iPod Updater 2006-01-10 and iTunes 6.0.2, both classified as “point releases” of its key software packages for iPods, Macs, and PCs. Though the company originally had not published details on many of the new features of these programs, iLounge’s editors found several hidden treasures in each of them, most of which have now been confirmed on Apple’s web site.

imageiPod Updater 2006-01-10 upgrades the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano to software versions 1.1, adding support for on-screen FM radio tuning, the display of accessory-specific color on-screen logo graphics on the Do Not Disconnect screen, and bug fixes. Bug fixes have also been implemented for both versions of the fourth-generation iPod (black-and-white/color), and iPod mini.

Originally described by Apple only as including “stability and performance improvements over iTunes 6.0.1,” iTunes 6.0.2 adds several major new features to the music management software. Most notably, iTunes now handles automatic H.264-format video conversion for the iPod without requiring the purchase of Apple’s QuickTime Pro software. Right-clicking on any video track now brings up a “Convert Selection for iPod” option. iTunes also allows users to stream audio wirelessly to multiple AirPort Express receivers at once, a feature previously found in standalone audio distribution systems such as Sonos’ ZonePlayers.

In less positive additions, Apple has created a mini iTunes Music Store (the “MiniStore”) which displays by default whenever you look at your Library or Playlists. The MiniStore analyzes the music you are listening to and suggests similar options for purchase, a feature that is already being described as unwelcome “spyware and adware” by several writers. You can turn off the MiniStore by selecting Edit > Hide MiniStore.

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