To celebrate the upcoming launch of iLounge’s Free iPod Book 2.0, we’re holding two big contests and giving away six pairs of Shure’s high-end E500 earphones and one brand-new Mac mini. In the “iPod 2010 Concept Art Contest,” we’re looking for the four best “future iPod” pieces of original concept art. A grand prize winner will get the Mac mini, while the most realistic, most creative and funniest entries will get a set of Shure earphones. Our “iPods Everywhere Photo Contest” seeks pictures taken of iPods in the car, in the home or on the go. The winner in each of the three settings will also win a set of Shure earphones.
Facing declining numbers in classrooms, the Vacaville school district in California has resorted to giving away iPod shuffles and iTunes gift cards to students with perfect attendance.
Sony plans to take on the iPod once again. Takao Yuhara, senior vice president of Sony, said the company is developing a new music player and a companion download service that will be released later this year.
Koyono has announced three new Spring and Summer jackets with integrated iPod controls. The new BlackCoat Sport ($225) is a button-up jacket made of waterproof nylon. It offers full iPod control and has five pockets. The BlackCoat Sport Surf Edition ($170; shown) is a short-sleeve hybrid shirt/jacket made of a breathable stretch cotton material with water repellant technology. It has several pockets, iPod connectivity, and “gives you a place to stow belongings you would otherwise have to drop in a bag or dangle off of you somehow.” The BlackCoat Work ($190) is a stretch cotton version of Koyono’s original jacket. Like the others, it has built-in iPod controls, and features a classic cut, waterproof coating and five pockets.
Six lawsuits filed against Apple over iPod nano problems have been consolidated and transferred to the Northern District of California. The case will now be heard by Judge Ronald Whyte in San Jose. “Three lawsuits have been filed in California and one each in New Jersey, New York and Louisiana on behalf of customers who claimed their iPod nanos scratched excessively with normal use,” reports CNET News.com. “The suits also allege that Apple failed to disclose and repair the alleged defect and that Apple failed to abide by the warranty.” Meanwhile, Macworld UK reports that the judgement in the Apple Computer vs. Apple Corps case will take place on Monday, May 8. “Justice Edward Mann has been deliberating on the case since before Easter,” the publication notes. “At the ruling he will reveal if he has decided to grant an injunction barring Apple Computer from using its logo within iTunes.”
Apple launched the iTunes Music Store three years ago today on April 28, 2003. The store launched with over 200,000 songs and “groundbreaking personal use rights.” In addition to expanding the store to 20 other countries, Apple’s U.S. iTunes Music Store now offers over 2.9 million songs, 60,000 podcasts, 9,000 music videos, and over 70 television programs from ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, MTV, ESPN and Showtime. More than 1 billion songs have been sold to date.
During Apple’s annual shareholders meeting yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described Apple’s upcoming products as “the best I’ve ever seen in my life,” and said that he had no interest in becoming an executive at Disney. While Jobs didn’t go into detail, he hinted at an Apple media center device and mentioned that an “exciting” television ad campaign would launch next week. Jobs said that after Disney completes the acquisition of Pixar, where he is also the CEO, he actually plans to spend more time at Apple. In response to a concerned shareholder question about his role at Disney, Jobs said “it’ll require less of my time than Pixar did.”
Tekkeon has announced a limited edition black version of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPods. The all-in-one accessory provides more than 9 hours of extra video playback and up to 42 hours of extended music playback, according to the company. In addition to extra battery power, myPower features FireWire and USB 2.0 connections to sync your iPod with your computer, a line out for use with external speakers, and a 5V charging output to charge a mobile phone or other devices. myPower sells for $70 and works with 3G, 4G and 5G iPods and the iPod mini.
After a successful upgrade yesterday evening, iLounge’s Discussion Forums today have a new look, new topics, and new features. Faster and easier to use than ever before, the Forums now benefit from expanded search capabilities, more efficient layout, and other design tweaks.
Proporta has announced its Color Change Silicone Case, a new protective skin for the iPod nano that gradually changes colors according to its temperature. The case is available in hot pink, deep blue and charcoal, and features a removable lanyard and access to all iPod controls and ports. “As the temperature rises, the case changes color (gradually getting lighter) allowing you to buy just one case but own a multitude of colors,” the Proporta says.
Business 2.0 speculates that Apple could be asking Sony and other studios to include iPod-ready versions of movies on Blu-Ray disc releases alongside the full, high-definition versions.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that the new generation of mobile phones will “outclass” today’s iPod as portable devices to play music. “Portable music is not just the iPod,” he said.
Marware has announced the immediate availability of its C.E.O. Folio case for fifth-generation iPods. Designed with the “mobile executive” in mind, the C.E.O. Folio offers a lined notepad and pen, pockets to store ID and credit cards, and iPod holster. It features a full–grain black leather exterior, microsuede interior, iPod screen protector, and snap closure. The C.E.O Folio fits both the 30GB and 60GB iPod models and sells for $40.
Tekserve, a large independent Apple Specialist in New York City, has created a new ad that features close to two hundred iPods, estimated to have an original value of $50,000, falling like dominoes. The 15-second commercial will begin running every 20 minutes on the large LED display outside of Madison Square Garden from May 1 through June 30. “Despite our rather rough treatment of the iPods, I want to assure Apple lovers everywhere that no iPods were hurt during the filming of this commercial,” said Tekserve’s Dick Demenus.
An executive from Samsung revealed today the company has won the contract to provide the processors in Apple’s next-generation iPods, apparently taking the partner position that PortalPlayer said it lost last week. “I knew that we would win this design,” Jon Kang, senior VP for the technical marketing group at Samsung Semiconductor, said during a presentation at the SEMI Strategic Business Conference. “We won the design with the iPod.” Kang referred to the company’s chip as a “PortalPlayer killer” and said that Samsung, which already produces NAND flash-memory chips for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, has been working with Apple for a long time. “It’s a huge win for us,” he said.
Bella Corporation has introduced Catapult, a new device that allows users to capture video footage from DV or HDV video cameras directly to iPods and other USB-based storage drives. The Catapult, which comes with a piggy-back neoprene pouch to hold an iPod or 2.5-inch hard drive, features options for time lapse and remote trigger-based recording, as well as pre and post record functionality. It is powered by either its built-in rechargeable batteries or an included AC adaptor, and works with DV and HDV format cameras that include a FireWire connection, such as those from Sony, Canon, JVC, and Panasonic. The Catapult will be available in the second half of 2006 for “under $300.”
TV Guide magazine has announced a new weekly column called “Downloads,” which will feature information about television shows available for download or online viewing each week.
Following a vague report in March that said Quanta Computer had secured a contract from Apple to manufacture “video iPod devices,” the Chinese-language Commercial Times reported today that the order has been shifted to an “unspecified EMS provider.”
In his latest research report sent to clients, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster notes that the iPod is continuing to gain market share as evidenced by recent NPD Techworld data and Amazon.com rankings. Munster said that various versions of the iPod now hold all 10 spots on Amazon’s Top 10 Seller List for Portable MP3 Players, up from 8 last month. “We believe the increase is noteworthy given that the last time we recorded 10 iPods in the Top 10 occurred on Sept. 9, 2005, prior to the holiday shopping season,” he commented. Munster expects that by the end of 2006, more than 85 million iPods will have shipped since the device was introduced.
i-O Display Systems has introduced the i-Theater, a new wearable display for video iPods and other portable devices. The $500 headset features dual QVGA resolution screens (320 x 240) which the company says are the equivalent to watching a 50-inch display viewed from a distance of 8.5-feet. The i-Theater weighs 3.5 ounces, comes with a rechargeable battery, and offers a “sleek, ergonomically comfortable and lightweight design.”
Teac recently introduced two new iPod speaker systems with clock radio functions. The SRL-200 ($150; shown) features an integrated iPod dock, digital AM/FM radio tuner with 20 FM station presets, LCD display, and wireless remote. The system lets you awaken or fall asleep to the music on your iPod. The second unit, the Teac GR-10i ($160), is a similar clock radio with iPod dock. It sports a silver exterior, and also features a digital AM/FM tuner, LCD display, remote and sleep/alarm functions.
Wolfson Microelectronics, which makes audio chips used in iPods, said its first-quarter profit more than tripled, driven by demand for portable digital music players. The company’s earnings rose to $7.7 million from $2.49 million a year earlier.
Senator Conrad Burns—who is said to be the fourth-highest recipient of entertainment industry money in Congress—has returned the free iPod sent to him by IPac. A campaign spokesperson said the iPod “is the first time we have received something technological” as a donation, adding that “it’s just not a donation that we want” and confirming that while Burns does not own an iPod, “if he wants an iPod, he’ll buy one.”
A new survey by Rock radio consultants Jacobs Media found that iPod ownership has risen sharply among radio listeners. The firm said that the percentage of iPod owners has increased from 21% in its 2005 study to 35% in 2006, and that nearly half (48%) of those who haven’t purchased an iPod or MP3 player say they are very or somewhat likely to soon. Unsurprisingly, Jacobs also said that iPods are eating into radio listening. “There are strong indicators that at least initially, iPods sharply cut into time spent listening to radio,” the firm said. “About one-fifth of iPod owners say they listen mostly or exclusively to these devices. Four in ten now split their listening between iPods and radio, while over one-third primarily listen to the radio.” In addition, Jacobs said that one-fifth (22%) of those who own an iPod say they’ve downloaded a podcast. Of this group, nearly two-thirds (64%) subscribe to at least one podcast.