Disney/Pixar has launched the “Radiator Springs iPod Sweepstakes” to promote the release of the animated film “Cars.” Four custom engraved “Cars” iPods will be given away.
PC World today announced the winners of its annual “World Class Awards.” Apple won five for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod nano, iTunes, Boot Camp, and Mac mini. Apple was also selected as the “Hardware Company of the Year.”
Dr. Bott has announced the i-doll line of fashion iPod cases. “Made from the finest, most luxurious materials, i-doll cases are hand-stitched by French leather craftsmen who pay close attention to detail and tradition,” says the store. The cases come in more than 20 different styles—from “classic luxury leathers to the most modern and original materials like genuine and metallicized python skin, glossy cotton, fluffy fur.” Each case features a metallic spine, attachment ring and plexiglas stand. Available for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod nano and iPod shuffle, the i-doll cases retail from $28 to $50.
In response to the increase of iPod thefts on the subways, the New York City police department has launched a new program to register and track iPods. The New York Daily News reports: “Under the iPod etching program, cops are using invisible ink to mark the mini-music machines—as well as cell phones, BlackBerries and other electronic devices—so they can return lost or stolen items to their rightful owners and connect with potential prosecution witnesses.” The police are offering the free iPod service at Transit Bureau offices, and are setting up tables throughout the subway system where devices can be marked. About 2,100 devices have been registered in the last three months. [via Infinite Loop]
SigmaTel will likely remain the chip supplier for Apple’s iPod shuffle, after a Samsung executive revealed publicly that the company had won a contract to supply chips in future iPods. According to Wedbush Morgan Securities, Apple may be “punishing” Samsung for the leaked news by keeping SigmaTel as the iPod shuffle chip supplier. “It is not surprising that Apple would ‘punish’ Samsung for commenting publicly about its position within the iPod Nano follow-on, and we believe that SigmaTel is likely to be the resulting beneficiary of the Samsung executive’s gaffe,” wrote analyst Craig Berger in a report Tuesday.
Moshi has introduced a new version of its iGlaze protector for fifth-generation iPods. The ultra-thin stick-on faceplate provides scratch protection for the front casing, screen and click wheel of iPods, and can be repositioned and removed without leaving residue, according to the company. The new 5G iGlaze ($30) comes in four basic colors—pink, white, silver and black/red—and will soon be available in a selection of World Cup styles ($35).
Apple has quietly changed the color of the protective sleeves included with the iPod nano from gray to black. The sleeves first started shipping with the nano in November 2005 after complaints of widespread scratching and a subsequent lawsuit. A nearly identical sleeve came with the fifth-generation iPod from day one. It can be assumed that the fifth-generation iPod sleeves will also now come in black instead of gray. Thanks to iLounger Mikael Langfos for the photo.
Speck Products has announced the SpeckTone Retro, a new iPod speaker system with vintage styling. “SpeckTone Retro looks like nothing you’ve seen for the iPod. The clean lines and nostalgic elegance of 1950’s style makes a statement without replicating or competing with the modern, sleek look of the iPod itself,” says Speck. The $150 speaker system features a top-mounting iPod dock, 28 watt output, a 4” subwoofer and two 3” drivers, and support for 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod nano and iPod mini. SpeckTone Retro’s all-wood speaker cabinet is available in three high-gloss lacquered finishes—green/brown, black/black and white/silver. It will begin shipping in June.
GameSpot speculates that Apple may be getting into portable gaming. “This week, GameSpot learned that there may be more to the Apple-game rumors than mere Mac-mad daydreams,” gaming publication reports. “A tech-sector recruiter contacted the GS NewsDesk with an interesting story of a prospective hire that got away. Recently, when said recruiter made an offer to a software engineer, the engineer turned the offer down—saying he was being ‘heavily recruited by Apple,’” GameSpot reports. “According to the engineer, an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside Apple’s storied iTunes division. The group is specifically hiring for ‘C/C++ coders with a ‘gaming background.’ The engineer says the project in question was described to him as ‘super secret,’ and Apple would not even tell him the exact nature of it until he had been hired and signed a non-disclosure agreement.”
A California appeals court has struck down Apple’s bid to identify the sources of leaked product details that appeared on Apple enthusiast websites, ruling that online reporters are protected the same as traditional journalists. “In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company,” Justice Conrad Rushing of the 6th District Court of Appeal wrote in a unanimous 69-page ruling. “We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes ‘legitimate journalism,” he wrote. “The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here.”
Vaja has announced a new collection of its iVod cases in colors matching the countries/teams competing in this year’s World Cup soccer tournament. Like the original iVod, the World Cup edition cases feature a padded interior, screen and click wheel protectors, and access to all controls and ports. The World Cup cases are priced at $90 each.
Boomwave Products has announced a new line of Podstar Diablo cases for fifth-generation iPods. Like the company’s Diablo iPod nano cases (iLounge Rating: A-), the $30 silicone cases come in four devil-inspired designs in black or red. “A range of devilishly good-looking body casings for your stylish-but-sterile iPod Video. Available in 8 dastardly designs, each of these first-generation Podstars come with a unique personality that just screams with a melancholic but sensual anti-hero vibe,” says Boomwave. “Each Podstar character includes an aluminum hook, removable screen protector and also an individual Podstar ID.”
In an interview with Brian Williams for NBC News, Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented on innovation and the speed in which new iPods are being released. “As the technology keeps moving and lets us do more and more, we want to bring customers with that, not just leave them using stuff that they could do five years ago,” Jobs said. “You keep on innovating, you keep on making better stuff. And if you always want the latest and greatest, then you have to buy a new iPod at least once a year.” When asked by Williams where he sees himself in the American family of thinkers and inventors, Jobs said: “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
The iPod Concerto Table by Lovegrove and Respucci is a piano-shaped design concept that integrates an iPod dock and amplified speakers underneath the lid.
Contour Design is giving away 200 more free iSee nano cases in response to popular demand. Contour will also be extending their 15% off sale until May 28, 2006.
Lucasfilm today announced that Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-winning animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars will soon be available from the iTunes Music Store. Beginning today, the 20 chapters of Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1 will be available on iTunes, with Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2 following next month. Each episode will be available for $1.99 with the full season of Volume 1 for $10.99. “The original animated series produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd. and renowned director Genndy Tartakovsky follows the exploits of heroic Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and a legion of Jedi Knights as they fight against the forces of the Dark Side.”
NBC has announced that it is now offering a collection of news and documentary programming for purchase from the iTunes Music Store. Programming from NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC will be priced at $1.99 per download. The offerings include select NBC News and CNBC specials, “NBC News Time Capsule,” “Tom Brokaw Reports,” “Meet The Presidents with Tim Russert,” “Dateline: Crime & Punishment,” and MSNBC’s “Caught On Tape” and “Lockup.”
Apple won two more D&AD awards at last night’s Global Awards ceremony. Both the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano were recognized in the Product Design category.
The MacTV Videocast has announced “The iPod Collection,” which will aim to collect every iPod commercial and iPod related video and offer them to users in an iPod-ready format.
Following this week’s announcement of the Apple/Nike partnership, a new Apple patent application has been made public for a “Music synchronization arrangement” that could control the tempo of music on your iPod depending on the type of exercise being performed. “The invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of the user during an activity such as exercise,” the application reads. “By way of example, the speed of the music can be controlled to match the pace of the activity (synching the speed of the music to the activity of the user) or alternatively it can be controlled to drive the pace of the activity (increasing or decreasing the speed of the music to encourage a greater or lower pace). One aspect of the invention relates to adjusting the tempo (or some other attribute) of the music being outputted from the computing device.”
Pearson today announced that it has acquired PowerSchool, Apple’s student information systems (SIS) division, and will develop educational content for teachers and students compatible with the iPod. From the company’s announcement: “Pearson will also develop new services for educators and students, including research-based educational content compatible with iPod, the world’s most popular digital music player. Teachers will have access to podcasts on professional development to help with lesson preparation and provide innovative ways to reach students struggling with specific content. Students will be able to load their iPods with study guides that are aligned with Pearson texts and listen to review notes to prepare for exams.”
BusinessWeek has an article with several interesting details on the Apple and Nike partnership, as well as the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. The article says that Apple had approached Nike about being its MP3 player supplier, but that Nike executives had an idea for something bigger. Nike and Apple designers first met 18 months ago to create a smart shoe product, but were met with some challenges—the sneaker sensor was initially too big for Nike engineers and too small for Apple. Another challenge was battery life (close to 1,000 hours, which is said to outlast the shoes) and wireless technology. “Wireless takes power,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. “The last thing you wanted was a wire going down your leg. It looks deceptively simple and that’s how it should be. It took a while to get it right. But there is a lot of technology there.” Jobs said he also wanted to keep the price point low for the Sport Kit. “This thing is over 90% accurate right out of the box, which is huge. Something like this would normally cost a lot more money. We priced it so everyone can afford it because we want everyone to try it and experience how cool it is.”
Griffin Technology has announced the TuneBuds combination earbuds and lanyard for the iPod nano. Based on Griffin’s EarThump earphones, the $35 TuneBuds feature a chromed dock connector insert, three sizes of interchangeable earpads and come in black or white. “TuneBuds are designed to unleash your nano’s full audio potential,” says Griffin. “TuneBuds isolate your listening experience from outside sound by fitting comfortably inside your ears, to deliver rich, crystal clear audio. Standard earbuds pale in comparison.” Each Tunebuds package also includes a free LE version of Griffin’s iFill software.