Nvidia has beat out Broadcom to supply the multimedia chip inside the next-generation video iPod, according to a Wall Street analyst. “Based on our analysis, we believe Nvidia is designed into the next-generation vPod socket at the expense of Broadcom,” said American Technology Research analyst Satya Chillara. “We believe the Nvidia chip adds 3D graphics functionality in addition to all of the existing features (such as H.264) that Broadcom supported with the existing vPod.” Apple’s current fifth-generation (video) iPod uses an audio chip from PortalPlayer and a multimedia chip from Broadcom. Apple’s “true” video iPod is rumored to be delayed until the first half of 2007.
Apple will use its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month to announce the second-generation iPod nano and full-length iTunes movie rentals, according to report by Think Secret. The website claims that the new nanos will feature increased capacity (6GB and 8GB) and come in multiple colors. Think Secret says Apple has relented to the Hollywood studios and will offer a subscription-based movie download service. Apple has reportedly already made agreements with Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros.
Following the Apple news site’s reports, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said he doesn’t expect such announcements to come at WWDC. “While we would like to see Apple refresh its nano sooner than later, our analysis continues to indicate a late Sept. to Oct. launch and ramp as more likely,” Wu said in a research note. “There is a first time for everything, but keep in mind WWDC is a Mac event and has not been used in the past for major iPod announcements. We anticipate a separate event to announce new iPod related products.”
References found in the code of the latest iPod firmware update hint at several future features, including phone and messaging options. According to an AppleInsider report, the dissected software has hidden files named “t_feature_app_PHONE_APP” and “t_feature_app_MESSENGER_APP,” as well as variables such as “kPhoneSignalStrength,” “clPhoneCallHistoryModel,” and “prPhoneSettingsMenu.” The code also reportedly has references to an iPod-based search application, an iPod keyboard, and two new games—“Simon” and “Stacker.” AppleInsider says the code also hints at customizable iPod interface themes and other appearance preferences.
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced a new version of its Cube Travel Speakers. The new portable speakers now come in black (previously only available in white), have independent volume control, and ship with with an iPod nano docking adapter. The Cube Travel Speakers are regularly priced at $25, but will be on sale for $20 until August 1st, 2006.
CAVS Multimedia has introduced the IPS-11G Karaoke Station, a new device that allows you to access and play back music, photo, video, and karaoke files stored on an iPod or USB storage device. The IPS-11G, which features a built-in iPod dock and USB connectivity, supports MPEG, MPG, AVI, DAT, VOB, MP3, JPEG, MPG, GIF, and MCG-MP3 karaoke format. The multimedia files are played through your home audio-video system and can be controlled with the included remote. “This does not mean that your iPod must be capable of playing the audio video or karaoke files,” explains CAVS. “Simply store the files in your iPod. The IPS-11G will then access your iPod and play the files… and will turn your iPod or into a home theater system to enjoy music, photos, movies, and also karaoke sing along.” [via Gizmodo]
Bob Borchers, senior director of iPod worldwide product marketing, recently spoke with CNET UK’s Crave about iPod integration in automobiles. Borchers reportedly said Apple wants consumers to move from third-party iPod auto accessories to iPod-enabled automobiles with more advanced factory integration. Crave reports: “Borchers explained how Apple wants to steer consumers away from the inelegant mess of cassette adaptors and wires, which is currently the most popular way to rig an iPod into your car stereo. Apple itself has no interest in producing a car stereo, says Borchers, but is working with third parties to improve iPod integration in new cars… Borchers sees add-ons as passé. What Apple really wants you to buy is a car that’s designed from the ground up to interface with the iPod.”
The Editors of iLounge are proud to announce the immediate availability of The Free iPod Book 2.2 for download. This edition is an expanded, improved follow-up to The Free iPod Book 2.0, which was recommended by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg as the “free manual on getting the most from your iPod.” With four all-new sections and updates to many of the book’s previously-released sections, the 200-plus-page Free iPod Book 2.2 is a must-see for current and prospective iPod owners. Did we mention that it’s free?
New sections include:
Nike + iPod Sport Kit (section S)
Troubleshooting Your iPod (section T)
U2 iPod + iPod Pack-Ins (section U)
and Backstage at iLounge (section V).
For additional details and download links, click below. Previous editions of our PDF-format publications are still available from the iLounge Library. Enjoy!
SwitchEasy has announced two new products for the iPod nano—the KuroDock and Capsule Stickies Touchwheel Protection. The KuroDock is a limited edition charging/docking solution specifically designed for black nanos. It features a white LED light bar with red activity light indicator. The Capsule Stickies are a series of Click Wheel protectors designed by YolkDesign. They’re made from an anti-static adhesive film that leaves no marks on the nano. The KuroDock sells for $30, while the Capsule Stickies cost $4 for a set of 3. Hands-on details and photos of both products can be found in our First Looks section.
Apple will reports its fiscal third-quarter financial results on Wednesday after the markets close. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are expecting earnings, on average, of 44 cents a share and revenue of $4.4 billion. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he expects Apple to top Wall Street expectations on strong MacBook sales, but believes iPod unit sales could be “slightly below” forecasts.
Altec Lansing today introduced the inMotion iM500 portable audio system for Apple’s iPod nano. The “lightweight and impossibly thin” speaker system features a built-in iPod dock, a fold-up design, and broad-faced speaker cones with MaxxBass technology. The iM500 is AC or battery operated (six AAA batteries provide more than seven hours of battery life) and also sports an auxiliary jack for using the speakers with other devices. The compact speaker system weighs 12 ounces and folds to a close at 8.5” wide, 0.7” deep and 5” high. The iM500 will sell for $130.
The first runner has documented his steps in getting the Nike+iPod Sport Kit to work with a pair of non-Nike shoes using only a Velcro strip. Also, the first photos of the internal components of the Sport Kit have been posted online.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has taken the No. 2 spot in this year’s MediaGuardian 100 list. “Jobs is shaking up the established order in the media industry, with the annual MediaGuardian 100 power list today showing him leapfrogging News Corp mogul Rupert Murdoch into second place.” BBC director general Mark Thompson took the top spot.
Apple has updated its support website with a new section covering the new Nike+iPod Sport Kit and related services. The new Nike+iPod support area offers several support documents, technical specifications and FAQs, including information on wireless capabilities, battery performance, and calibration. The new section also provides troubleshooting tips, a discussion forum, and a helpful video tutorial.
Apple’s “true” video iPod isn’t likely to hit shelves until next year, according a report by Apple news site Think Secret. Based on information attributed to confidential sources, the site claims that the long-rumored iPod, which reportedly features a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive display and a virtual track wheel, has been met with “unforeseen technical obstacles” and will be delayed. “It is unlikely now that the new iPod will arrive in time for the holiday season, as recent information points to a release at Macworld Expo/San Francisco in January 2007,” Think Secret reports. “In the interim, sources say Apple is planning a smaller upgrade to the current 5G iPod, one that will likely encompass larger capacities and little more.” The site also claims that Apple insiders have ruled out that the new iPod will feature wireless capabilities, a talking interface, or an organic light-emitting diode display (OLED). As with analysts’ speculation on unreleased Apple products, readers are cautioned to take “insider” information with a grain of salt.
iPod FM transmitters such as Griffin Technology’s iTrip are set to become legal in the UK this Fall. Ofcom, the regulating body for the UK communications industries, has outlined plans to legalize the devices in response to “growing consumer demand.” As previously reported, current British law prohibits the use of FM transmitters because the devices could potentially interfere with commercial FM frequencies. Ofcom has been working with third-party iPod accessory makers and other regulators to make the devices legal.
Gracenote, which maintains the CDDB and provides music information to the iTunes Music Store, has obtained licenses to distribute lyrics online. Gracenote said it obtained the rights to the lyrics of more than 1 million songs from BMG Music, Universal Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Peermusic and other publishers. The company said it was currently talking with its partners, including Apple and Yahoo about launching a service to offer legal and accurate lyrics. The industry service would be the first to distribute lyrics legally to online services like the iTunes Music Store.
A new study by Solutions Research Group shows that the digital music market has experienced “remarkable growth” in the past year. According to the firm’s research, 28% of Americans aged 12 and over now own an iPod or digital music player, more than double the 12% of 2005. The study found that ownership of digital music players tripled among women—from 8% in 2005 to 27% in 2006. Among men, Solutions Research Group said ownership is up to 28% from 18%. The firm also said that Apple has increased its share of all digital music players from 53% to 68% since last year. According to their study, Creative Labs is a distant number two with 6% of the market, followed by RCA, Samsung and Sony. In addition, the firm said that 23% of web users paid for digital music online this year, up from 8% in 2005.
As reported yesterday, Nike+iPod products are being rolled out today at Apple and Nike stores across the U.S. iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz is on hand at a Nike retail store in Newport Beach, California, and filed the below report and photos from the opening.
The most amazing thing is the extent to which Nike+ products have come to dominate the front of the store here. Not only are the products in each of the store’s three display windows—one with a huge banner, one with compatible clothes and shoes, and one just with shoes and a photo of a woman with white earbuds—but they’re prominent inside as well. Nike stores are now carrying iPod nanos. The store we visited only had 1GB nanos for sale. There’s a display with a packaged Sport Kit and boxed iPod nano, articles of clothing with white earbuds, and more. For Apple, this isn’t just a couple of Nike stores with celebrities on hand for photos: this is a full-chain push of this product.
Update 1: Check out iLounge’s First Look at the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, as well as initial photos of Nike+ shoes and apparel.
Update 2: Surprisingly, Nike has begun a retail push for the Sport Kit and Nike+ items outside of its own and Apple’s stores today. Chains such as Chick’s Sporting Goods have unveiled large kiosks, multi-page promotional literature, gobs of Sport Kits, and a wider-than-expected array of clothes and shoes. Besides the Moire and Zoom Plus sneakers, the company has released certain women’s pairs of Shox sneakers, as well as men’s and women’s shirts, jackets, shorts, and pants with iPod nano-sized pockets in their sleeves or fronts. iLounge’s editors have found that most of the Nike items make it virtually impossible to see the nano’s screen while inside, rendering the Sport Kit’s audio feedback feature especially useful.
Bob Seger’s new single “Wait For Me” is now available from the iTunes Music Store, “ending his long holdout from the world of digital music downloads.”
BusinessWeek has a new article on music phones, reporting that “consumers are starting to leave iPods at home in favor of listening to cell phones that store their favorite songs.”
The Aquadock is a water resistant AM/FM radio and docking station for iPods and other MP3 players. The $30 product features a water-tight hinged lid, built-in stereo speakers, a digital LCD clock, and a detachable stand. It is powered by four AA batteries and is available in white or silver. “Whether you’re are enjoying the summer weather at the pool or polishing your singing skills in the shower, the Aquadock provides a safe and convenient way to always have your iPods or MP3 players with you.”
Tunewear has announced the TuneRemote, a new leather case for the Apple Remote that comes with the iPod Hi-Fi and recent Macs. Made of Italian nappa leather, the case features red and white styling, access holes for the control pad and menu buttons, and a removable metal hook. The TuneRemote will be available in August for $20.