Tunewear today announced Tetran Luminous, a glow-in-the-dark version of its offbeat earbud cable winder. The spiked creature lets you wrap your iPod earbud cords around it to reduce cable mess. Tunewear says Tetran can also be used as personal massager. It sells for $13 and also comes in pink, green, yellow, and orange.
The French Senate today passed an amended version of its controversial copyright bill to soften the law that could force iTunes and other digital music services to open up their copy-protection technologies to competitors. “The text of the bill approved by senators on Wednesday retains the principle of DRM interoperability, but opens a loophole allowing companies to keep their technology secret, which should please Apple, but may not leave consumers as happy,” reports Macworld UK. “Senators weakened the bill’s blanket requirement that vendors give details of their DRM technology to those wishing to develop interoperable systems. Instead, they voted to create a new regulatory authority responsible for mediating requests for such details.”
Audible.com said nearly a quarter of its first-quarter revenues came from sales of content through the iTunes Music Store. Audbile CEO Don Katz said iTunes sales totaled $4.4 million, or 23% of revenues. Revenue from the Music Store “has been growing like crazy,” Katz said.
Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser says that iPod owners steal music. The majority of music on the average iPod is obtained illegally, with relatively few songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store, Glaser said in an interview with The Guardian. “If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it’s called stealing,” Glaser said. “The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends’ CDs, which is illegal. But it’s the only way to get non-copy protected, portable, interoperable music.”
Bosch Power Tools and Accessories has announced the Power Box Dock for iPod, a new add-on unit for its rugged Power Box jobsite radio/CD player and power center. The new Bosch iPod dock plugs directly into the Power Box’s 12-volt auxiliary outlet and 3.5mm input jack to play music or charge the iPod. The dock completely encases the iPod and is weather and dust resistant. The Power Box Dock ($40) is compatible with fourth and fifth-generation iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod nano. The Bosch Power Box ($180) features an integrated AM/FM digital radio, CD player (MP3 and CD-R/RW compatible), Bosch battery charger, 4-way GFCI power outlet, 12-volt outlet, and keychain remote control.
In an article looking at the different approaches taken by Apple and Microsoft in building products, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is working on a cell phone and a home-media hub. “In the post-PC era we’re in today, where the focus is on things like music players, game consoles and cellphones, the end-to-end model is the early winner,” Mossberg says. “Tightly linking hardware, software and Web services propelled Apple to a huge success with its iPod. Microsoft, meanwhile, has struggled to make its component model work on these devices and, in a telling sign, is using the Apple end-to-end model itself in its Xbox game-console business. Now, Apple is working on other projects built on the same end-to-end model as the iPod: a media-playing cellphone and a home-media hub.”
Following its legal win in the trademark battle with Apple Corps, Apple Computer says it will now work hard to get the Beatles’ music catalog on the iTunes Music Store. “We certainly will do everything we can to get them on iTunes,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, told Bloomberg News. “The Beatles aren’t available in any digital format today but they are going to be one day. We certainly hope that happens on iTunes.” After the ruling in the dispute was given earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had similar words. “We are glad to put this disagreement behind us,” Jobs said. “We have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store.” Apple Corps said last month that it is remastering the Beatles’ catalog to make the songs available for purchase online.
In an apparent response to disgruntled iPod accessory makers, Apple has reportedly made changes to its “Made for iPod” licensing program, switching from a percentage-based fee to a flat fee structure. “The initial licensing program was based on Apple taking a percentage of revenue from all products that connected to an Apple 17-pin iPod connector,” reports Smarthouse. “Originally Apple proposed a fee of 1.5% but as the popularity of the iPod increased and sales moved into the tens of millions Apple told organizations like Bose that they had to pay up to 10% of revenue back to Apple for being an official partner of the “Made for iPod” program. Instead, the program has been replaced with a flat $4.00 per unit fee.”
Numark, maker of the iDJ mixing console for iPods, recently introduced the iCDX digital turntable. The iCDX enables DJs to play and manipulate music stored on a USB drive or iPod. It features an iPod dock, touch sensitive scratch wheel, automatic BPM counter, a digital output, and LCD screen. The iCDX can also connect to a computer and take advantage of “a wide variety of popular DJ software packages,” and features an illuminated CD/DVD drive for playing multiple disc formats with “support for MP3, including ID tags, hot starts, seamless looping, and scratching.” Pricing and availability have not been announced.
ZAP today introduced a new series of lithium battery packs designed to add hours of playback time to iPods. Called iZAP, the battery add-on accessories for the iPod are part of a new line of ZAP Portable Energy chargers to power a range of mobile devices. The iPod nano iZAP ($50) adds 28 hours of listening time; the iPod mini iZAP ($60) adds 25 hours of music playback; and the iZAP for fifth-generation iPods ($60) adds 3-4 hours of video viewing time.
Sony has announced that it will support the AAC audio format used by Apple in the next version of Sonic Stage, its digital music management software. While the application will not be able to play copy-protected songs from the iTunes Music Store, Sonic Stage will play music encoded with iTunes in AAC format. Sony already supports AAC in its PSP gaming device and select mobile phones, and it appears Sony plans to soon do the same with its line of Walkman digital music players. “Sony’s latest strategy is taken as an open acknowledgment that it can no longer ignore iPod’s dominant lead,” says one report on Sony’s announcement.
A new amendment from the French Senate could allow Apple to sidestep the country’s plan to open its FairPlay DRM technology if Apple was to negotiate deals with record labels and artists to obtain copy-protection authorization. “The amendment, proposed by the Senate Cultural Affairs Committee, softens the terms of a government-backed copyright bill Apple criticized as ‘state-sponsored piracy’ after its first reading in March by lawmakers in France’s lower house,” reports the AP. “But the Senate committee’s changes could allow Apple to maintain the exclusive link between iTunes and the iPod, lawyers and officials said.”
Numerous Red Hot Chili Peppers fans are angry with Apple after not receiving their promised Ticketmaster pre-sale codes to purchase advance tickets for the band’s upcoming tour. As part of a promotion that launched early last month, iTunes users who pre-ordered the Chili Peppers new album “Stadium Arcadium” were told that they would receive a code via email on Monday, May 8, that would allow them to join in the pre-sale of tickets. However, the majority of those who pre-ordered the album have yet to receive their code, and ticket pre-sales began earlier today without the iTunes users being able to take part. A large number of complaints by Chili Peppers fans can be found in a discussion on Apple’s support forums.
Anycom Technologies has introduced BluNa, a new Bluetooth adapter designed specifically for the iPod nano. The device transmits music wirelessly from the nano to any Bluetooth receiver, including speakers, headphones, computers or stereo systems. BluNa features automatic device pairing and is compatible with Bluetooth products from Anycom and companies such as Logitech, Motorola or Plantronics. The BluNa adapter can be purchased separately ($120) or in a bundle with the Anycom BIWAS-20 Bluetooth speakers ($350) or Anycom BSH-100 headphones ($230). It will ship later this month.
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced the limited release of a pink iPod nano magnesium case for Mother’s day. Like the company’s original black and white magnesium nano cases, the new pink case features neoprene lining, a clear acrylic screen protector, click wheel film protector, two belt clips and a lanyard. Available in limited quantities, the case will be priced at $30 (regularly $35) today only.
Fox Entertainment Group and Apple today announced that television programming from Fox, FX, SPEED, Fuel TV and 20th Century Fox Television is now available for purchase on the iTunes Music Store. Starting today, 16 series can be downloaded, including hit shows such as Fox’s “24” and “Prison Break” and FX’s “The Shield.” Other shows include FX’s comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and Fox’s “Stacked;” reality series, including Fox’s “Unan1mous,” FX’s “Black. White,” and “30 Days;” and favorites from the 20th Century Fox Television library, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and “Lost in Space.” The Fox programming also includes SPEED’s “Pinks” and “Unique Whips,” and Fuel TV’s action sports diary “First Hand.” Apple said iTunes now offers over 90 TV shows for $1.99 per episode.
JBL has introduced the new JBL Radial iPod speaker system. The circular unit features 60 watts of total power, four aluminum-domed Odyssey full-range drivers, an RF remote control, and USB and audio/video connectivity. “Designed with audiophiles in mind, the versatile JBL Radial delivers powerful high- and mid-frequency sound, and ample deep and distortion-free bass, in a single compact, stylish device,” says the company. “Offered in either elegant black or chic white, both with chrome accents, JBL Radial makes the perfect iPod companion by adding a sleek and modern look -– and clean and beautiful sound –- to any room or office.” The JBL Radial is compatible with all docking iPods, and will be available next month for $300.
BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl is the latest to report on SanDisk’s move to take on the iPod. “The outfit’s flash-memory factories and penchant for feature-packed, low-cost players may help its fight against the iPod juggernaut,” the article says.
Griffin Technology today announced the PowerDuo charger bundle for iPods. The PowerDuo package includes Griffin’s PowerJolt auto charger and PowerBlock AC charger “for a complete travel and home charging solution.” The PowerJolt plugs into any available 12V accessory port or cigarette lighter socket and charges your iPod in the car. The PowerBlock powers and charges iPods from a wall outlet. Apple’s iPod shuffle plugs directly into PowerBlock’s USB port, and all other supported iPods use the included Dock Connector cable. The PowerDuo bundle is priced at $40.
The NBA and Apple have announced that remaining games from the 2006 NBA Playoffs will be available for purchase from the iTunes Music Store. Basketball fans will be able to download 15 to 20 minute recaps from games broadcast by all NBA networks—ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBATV—within 24 hours after games conclude. In addition to the game recaps for Playoffs game, iTunes users will also be able to purchase complete game replays of every Finals game the day after they air on ABC. TNT Sports will also provide more than 15 episodes of “Inside the NBA on TNT” that will feature exclusive off-camera footage and interaction between Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.