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Apple wins logo battle; Jobs hopeful for Beatles on iTunes

Apple Computer has won the trademark lawsuit brought on by the Beatles’ Apple Corps, and can continue using its logo on the iTunes Music Store, a judge in the U.K. ruled Monday. Apple Corps has long-accused Apple Computer of violating a 1991 agreement by moving into the music business. The iPod maker has contended that iTunes was primarily a data transmission service and permitted by the agreement. Judge Edward Mann of Britain’s High Court ruled that Apple Computer did not breach the agreement because the logo is used for the store itself and not the music. “I think the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service,” Mann said in his judgment. “I find no breach of the trademark agreement has been demonstrated. The action therefore fails.”

iLounge launches mobile version of forums

iLounge is pleased to announce today the launch of our Mobile version of the iLounge Discussion Forums. Available at the top of our existing iLounge Mobile page (iLounge.com/mobile) under Forums Home, you can now access the world’s largest iPod community from the road—with a superior interface that’s easier and more powerful than ever before. Designed to be compatible with PDAs and keyboard-equipped smart phones, the Mobile Forums provide Members with a powerful search tool, list of new posts, and the option to switch between stripped-down and full graphical versions of the forums. You can easily post to the forums, too.

We hope that you enjoy the new Mobile Forums. As always, your comments and suggestions are most appreciated.

 

Apple debuts psychedelic iPod ad

Apple has begun airing a colorful new iPod + iTunes television commercial. The new ad features the same silhouetted iPod-toting dancers as previous ads, but with psychedelic background colors (instead of solid colors) and an overall 60’s-style influence. The 30-second spot features the song “Love Train” by Wolfmother. [via TUAW]

Griffin debuts iClear for 5G iPods

Griffin Technology has announced the iClear for fifth-generation iPods. The hard-shell case, which was first available for the iPod nano, features a crystal clear design and provides access to all controls and ports. “iClear’s transparent and unobtrusive design protects the iPod with a tough, polycarbonate two-piece shell that is strong enough to take the daily abuse of active lifestyles. iClear delivers full screen protection without adding bulk or weight.” The new iClear case, priced at $20, works with both 30GB and 60GB iPod models.

Apple patent covers audio navigation for iPod

In a second patent application posted this week, Apple details an audio-based navigation interface that would allow iPod users to navigate and select music without looking at the iPod’s display. “Apple describes a system for automatic generation of audio navigation tags for your iPod,” reports Unwired View. “The tags are generated from the metadata of your music or video files—the text information like author, song name and duration, film director or lead actor name, etc.—which comes with a song or video that you download from iTunes store. This text information is then converted using text-to-speech software into a small audio files—audio navigation tags. The iPod computing capabilities are too small to do a good text-to speech translation, so this operation is carried out on your Mac or PC. Audio navigation tags then are attached to the songs or videos themselves and transferred to you iPod.”

Apple files patent for wireless iTunes purchases

A recently published patent application from Apple reveals a proposed method of buying a song, ring tone or music video over a wireless network. The application, which was posted this week on the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes an invention that would allow cell phone users to connect to an online store like iTunes and mark a song or video to be downloaded later to a computer. CNET News.com reports: “According to the application, the invention would allow cell phone or wireless-PDA users to essentially bookmark a song or video on an online music store. Then, when they return to their PC, they could download it over a fast network. If bandwidth permits, they might be able to download the song or file directly to their phone.”

Klipsch iGroove goes black

Klipsch has announced a new version of its iGroove speaker system to match Apple’s black iPods. The black iGroove, which will be available next month for $250, offers the same features and performance of the original iGroove, according to the company. The iGroove is a two-way system with dual 2.5-inch woofers, crossovers and dual 1-inch MicroTractrix horn-loaded tweeters. It works with third, fourth and fifth-generation iPods, and comes with special iPod mini and nano adaptors. The system comes with a wireless remote and can work with other devices using a standard miniplug.

Mix: DDEX, Rubinstein, Hi-Fi deal, Defaced store

  • May 4, 2006

In an effort to better track digital music sales, the four major record labels and companies such as Apple, Microsoft and RealNetworks have founded a consortium called Digital Data Exchange (DDEX).

Jon Rubinstein, the former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, recently cashed in 112,293 shares of Apple common stock in exchange for nearly $8 million.

Analyst addresses unanswered questions on Apple

Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster has released a research report in which he addresses more than 20 unanswered questions on Apple, the majority of which are iPod and iTunes related. In the report, Munster gives his views on several topics, including the possibility of a built-in iPod FM tuner, an Apple iPhone, how the iPod will keep its competitive advantage, and whether or not the iPod shuffle will be cut from the iPod lineup. The analyst also digs into the average number of iPods each iPod owner has, advertisements in iTunes, the downtick in last quarter’s iPod sales, Sony’s hopes of creating an iPod competitor, and when we’ll see full-length movies on the iTunes Music Store. You can read Munster’s answers to the iPod and iTunes questions in their entirety after the jump.

World Cup guide for iPods released

CoolGorilla has announced the release of the Germany 2006 World Cup Guide for iPods. The free download includes details of every player from every team, a full break down of the game schedules, country and stadium details, and manager profiles. “This game will transform your iPod into an interactive football encyclopedia,” syas CoolGorilla. “It unleashes the power of your iPod by using a clever system of menus so that all the information you want is only a few clicks away. Astound your friends with your knowledge of the beautiful game.”

Vaja intros Rasta case for 5G iPods

Vaja has introduced a new “Rasta” version of its i-Volution iVod case for the fifth-generation iPod. Like the original iVod, the $90 case is made from genuine Argentine leather and features built-in screen and click wheel protectors, a padded interior, and access to all controls and ports. Vaja says the new Rasta iVod case can be customized with more than 1000 color combinations.

H2O Audio ships waterproof housing for iPod nano

H2O Audio today announced that it has begun shipping its waterproof H2O Audio case for the iPod nano. The form-fit case is submersible up to 10 ft. and features the “Commander Scroll Wheel” for function of the iPod click wheel, LatchTight locking system, SealTight connector (compatible with standard 3.5mm headphone plugs), and Sport Armband. “Everyone from surfers, wakeboarders, water skiers, and swimmers to joggers and snowboarders can now strap on an H2O Audio for iPod nano using an armband or swim belt and take their soundtrack into their favorite activity regardless of environmental conditions,” says the company. The H2O Audio case for the iPod nano is priced at $80.

PortalPlayer vows to regain Apple’s iPod business

During a conference call with analysts after releasing first quarter earnings Tuesday, PortalPlayer CEO Gary Johnson said that the company would “fight back” to regain the lost iPod chip business at Apple. As reported late last month, Samsung was selected over PortalPlayer to supply the new processor chips in future flash memory-based iPods. According to a new report, however, the next-generation video iPod chip business still appears to be up for grabs. “Broadcom, PortalPlayer and Samsung are said to be competing for the next-generation, video iPod socket,” says the EE Times. “In other words, Samsung did not win the entire iPod business at Apple—at least for now.”

Mix: Trapped miners, Rockbox, Adobe promo, iAudioGuide

  • May 3, 2006

Two men trapped in a mine in northern Tasmania were given iPods to keep them entertained while they wait for rescuers to begin a new drilling operation to set them free.

CNET’s James Kim has reviewed Rockbox, the open-source firmware alternative for iPods which offers features like OGG and FLAC support, gapless playback, crossfading options, and a customizable interface.

RCA Dance Vault brings music out of storage and into iTunes

An effort by RCA’s music label is bringing “a feast of rarities” to the iTunes Music Store, according to a company executive. “A year ago, I looked for (Odyssey’s) ‘Native New Yorker’ on iTunes, and I couldn’t find it,” says Hosh Gureli, RCA Music Group vice president of A&R. “In fact, none of the classic (dance) stuff was up there.” Gureli said he found that most of the music was sitting in RCA’s Pennsylvania storage facility, and shortly after started working on the RCA Dance Vault project. Reuters reports that the vault’s initial iTunes offering includes previously non-digitized dance classics (“Native New Yorker”), promo-only extended mixes (Eurythmics’ 12-minute “Right by Your Side”), DJ tools such as a cappellas and bonus beats, and new material without traditional release options (Joe Bermudez’s remix of Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You”).

Report: French DRM law gutted

The French interoperability bill that would have forced Apple to open its FairPlay copy-protection technology used by the iPod and iTunes Music Store appears to have been gutted in committee. According to reports, most of the original provisions, which Apple said would result in “state-sponsored piracy,” have now been removed or rewritten. Ars Technica reports: “Previously, ‘information needed for interoperability’ covered ‘technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information.’ Now this has been changed to ‘technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work.’ But a ‘protected’ version of the work can’t be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won’t be attained with this clause.”

Marware Sidewinder iPod case now shipping

Marware has announced the immediate availability of its Sidewinder case for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The Sidewinder (iLounge Rating: A-) is a hard case featuring a retractable kickstand, “slide-and-hide” headphone cord wrap, and flip–open dock connector cover. The case comes in black or white and also includes Marware’s Multidapt belt clip system. The Sidewinder for the 30GB and 60GB iPod sells for $30, while the Sidewinder for the iPod nano costs $25.

Apple renews fixed-pricing deals with major labels [updated]

Despite a recent push for variable song pricing by some in the music industry, Apple has reportedly renewed contracts with the four major record labels to keep songs on the iTunes Music Store priced at 99 cents each. “The agreements came after months of bargaining, and were a defeat for music companies that had been pushing for a variable pricing model,” reports the Financial Times. Of the music industry’s big four record labels, executives at Warner Music, EMI and Sony BMG have all expressed their support for variable pricing. Apple CEO Steve Jobs last year famously called the record companies “greedy” for considering to raise song prices.

Update: Apple has released an official statement confirming the news. “We’ve renewed our agreements with the major music companies and we’re pleased to continue offering iTunes customers music at 99 cents per song from a library of over 3 million songs,” an Apple representative said in a statement.

Mix: ABC shows, MP3 players, French law, iTalk video

  • May 1, 2006

As expected, ABC has launched its free streaming video service offering full episodes of Desperate Housewives, Lost, Alias, and Commander-In-Chief. The shows contain ads and are in a Flash format that cannot be downloaded. [via Gizmodo]

The worldwide MP3 player market will jump from 140 million units in 2005 to 286 million by 2010, according to a new report by In-Stat. The firm says “drivers for this market include falling price points, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, increasing Flash memory capacities and enhanced functionality.”

iPod nano to get video playback, Apple working on vPod battery life?

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu believes that the next version of the iPod nano will gain more storage capacity and basic video playback features. “We continue to believe that the iPod nano is in need of a refresh with either an increase in storage capacities and/or price cuts to regenerate interest,” Wu said in a research note to clients. “Our most recent checks indicate that the current 2GB and 4GB models will see their storage doubled to 4GB and 8GB capacities. We are also picking up that basic video playback capability will likely be added to further differentiate against competitors. We anticipate these new nanos will become available in the September quarter and become top sellers, particularly if Apple keeps its price points low at $199 and $249.”

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