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Report: Apple close to exclusive iTunes deal with Beatles

After years of shunning digital music distribution, the Beatles may soon make their online debut on the iTunes Store. According to Fortune, Apple is close to landing a deal with the band’s record label, Britain’s EMI Group, to offer the Beatles’ catalog exclusively. “While details remain to be worked out, Fortune has learned that iTunes is close to a deal to bring the Beatles catalog online,” the magazine reports. “Apple is said to be angling to become the exclusive online music store for the Beatles for a limited window of time.”

Fortune also mentions the possibility of the Beatles allowing Apple to use one of their songs in an iPod commercial, or agreeing to sell a special edition Beatles iPod like U2 currently does. The magazine reports: “Also being discussed is whether the band would be willing to take two steps at the same time and endorse the iPod by allowing its music to be used in a commercial. Another scenario making the rounds is the prospect of the Beatles following U2’s example with a branded iPod.”

BET shows now on iTunes Store

BET Networks, “America’s largest African American media company and the world’s premiere conduit of Black culture,” has added several TV shows to Apple’s iTunes Store. The BET programming includes “American Gangster,” “Beef: The Series,” “Lil’ Kim: Countdown To Lockdown,” “DMX: Soul Of A Man,” “BET Comic
View” and “The Christies: Commited.” [via TUAW]

Black Friday iPod deals offered

The online Apple Store and Apple retail locations are offering several “Black Friday” discounts on iPods and iPod accessories today only. Customers can save up to $31 on fifth-generation iPods and up to $21 on iPod nanos (excluding Product RED nanos). Apple is also taking $51 off the iPod Hi-Fi, $32 off the Logitech AudioStation Express, $22 off Kensinton FM Transmitters, up to $102 off Shure earphones, up to $12 off select iPod cases, $62 off the Sonic Impact Video-55, $22 off the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo, $11 off the Apple iPod Radio Remote, and $5 off the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. has deals on all of the second-generation iPod nano models. The 2GB nano (silver) is on sale for $138, the 4GB nano (silver, pink, blue, green) is on sale for $178, and the 8GB nano (black) is on sale for for $228. [via The Bargainist]

GizMac is offering 50% off its Titan cases for first-generation iPod nanos. Constructed of aircraft grade aluminum, the case is available in black, pink, red, blue, silver, green, purple, orange and gold.

JAVOedge, maker of several iPod cases, is giving customers 25% off entire orders. You must use coupon code JAVO25BLKFRI at checkout.

iPod Xtras will be offering discounts every four hours on a different category of products. The schedule is as follows: 12:00 AM-4:00 AM Connections, 4:00 AM-8:00 AM Speakers, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM iPod Cases, 12:00 PM-4:00 PM Headphones, 4:00 PM-8:00 PM, Car Solutions, 8:00 PM-12:00 AM Remotes & Other.

Pacific Rim Technologies has several products—from cases to portable speakers—on sale today and tomorrow with prices starting at $9.99. Free shipping is also offered.

iStyles is offering 50% off its entire stock of iPod cases and skins. Customers must use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to receive the discount.

XtremeMac announces Luna clock radio

Just in time for the holidays, XtremeMac has today announced Luna ($150), a dual alarm clock and audio system for Dock Connecting iPods. Entering a market currently dominated by iHome’s iH5-series clock radios, Luna comes equipped with a modern white-on-black digital clock face that displays the current time, full date, and dual alarm details by default, switching to an iPod-like menu interface for when you need to change settings. The screen’s brightness is user-adjustable. Four dials on the unit’s top provide controls over bass, treble, radio tuning and volume; an included 18-button remote control lets you access many of the iPod’s and Luna’s features from a distance. The unit will ship on December 18, 2006 to online pre-orders, and will be sold in Apple retail stores starting around the same date.

ezGear intros EZL iPod stand

ezGear today announced the Original EZL, a folding stand designed for iPods and other portable devices. “Manufactured from high-strength and lightweight ABS plastic, the EZL is the perfectly portable solution for holding your iPod. When stored, the EZL lies completely flat at a mere 1/8” of an inch, easily fitting in your pocket, purse, backpack, or briefcase. When opened, the EZL provides a rock solid stand to display your iPod. The arms at the bottom of the EZL lift your iPod off of the table, providing convenient access to the dock connector. The neoprene pads provide further stability and scratch protection.” The EZL is priced at $15.

Study: Podcast use rising but small for daily usage

According to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a growing number of consumers are listening to podcasts, but very few do so every day. The study found that 12% of web users have downloaded a podcast, an increase from 7% earlier in the year. However, only about 1% said they download a podcast on a typical day. “While podcast downloading is still an emerging activity primarily enjoyed by early adopters, the range of content now available speaks to both mainstream and niche audiences,” said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew. “We are at a crossroads of a major transition in the way media content is delivered and consumed.”

YoTank offers machined aluminum 2G iPod nano case

YoTank has announced the iTank Nano 2, a new version of its machined aluminum case for the second-generation iPod nano. Like the company’s previous cases, the iTank Nano 2 is machined from solid aluminum and polished to a mirror-like finish ($50). The case is also offered in anodized black ($58) and a special edition anodized red ($TBA). The iTank Nano 2 also has an integrated Lexan screen protector.

Analyst: Retailers suggesting iPods to customers 70% of time

Retail store clerks suggest an iPod 70% of the time, according to a new survey by Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster. “Our checks with 40 big-box retailers show that store clerks are suggesting iPods significantly more than other brands,” Munster wrote in a report today. “Also, they are suggesting iPods to customers more than they used to. When asked to suggest an MP3 player for less than $200, 70% suggested an iPod model. This figure is up from 52% in June 2005 and 38% in November 2005.” Retailers suggested SanDisk players 13% of the time and Creative players 10% of the time, followed by Sony (5%) and Samsung (3%). “Overall, it is clear that the iPod brand dominates mind-share among indirect sellers of MP3 players,” said Munster.

RhinoSkin intros aluminum case for 2G iPod shuffle

RhinoSkin has announced its new iPod shuffle Accents. Designed for the second-generation iPod shuffle, the aluminum cases feature a neoprene lining and a high-polish finish in four colors—red, blue, green and pink. RhinoSkin’s Shuffle Accent four-pack retails for $20 and will be available in December.

Duracell PowerFM combines FM transmitter, battery, case

Battery-Biz, Inc. has introduced the Duracell PowerFM, a new iPod accessory that “combines the functionality of an FM radio transmitter with the convenience of an extended rechargeable battery as well as the protection of a silicone case.” The PowerFM features a black, sled-like design and provides more than double the iPod’s run-time and allows users to transmit their music to any FM radio. Priced at $80, the PowerFM will be available for first-generation iPod nanos and fifth-generation iPods next month. A version of the second-generation iPod nano will be available in January.

Mix: Speck promo, Bill Gates, Ear infections, Bill O’Reilly

Speck Products has announced a new Holiday Special. From November 20th to November 27th, buy any two regularly priced iPod cases from Speck, and you’ll get a compatible “surprise case” for free.

During a speech at Stanford University last week, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said the iPod was “phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic.” He said Microsoft’s goal with the Zune is “more modest” than replacing the iPod. “It’s a growing market… we can get some of the new users and some of the switchers. We need to excite people about the concept - the idea of sharing” music and video through Zune’s built-in WiFi.

In her “Ask The Doctor” column for The Australian, Linda Calabresi answers a question about whether wearing iPod earphones for too long could cause ear infections. “Earphones and ear plugs will not cause an infection by themselves,” she says. “However, with prolonged use they can sometimes irritate the ear canal, making it more prone to an infection. You could possibly reinfect yourself if you used them while you had an outer-ear infection.”

Even though he sells memberships to podcasts of his radio show, Bill O’Reilly recently said on air that the iPod and PlayStation 3 are examples of how “American society is changing for the worse because of the machines.” He later said, “I don’t own an iPod. I would never wear an iPod… If this is your primary focus in life - the machines… it’s going to have a staggeringly negative effect, all of this, for America.”

Apple airs new iPod shuffle commercial

Apple began airing a new iPod shuffle TV commercial last night during primetime. The 30-second spot features numerous people putting on different shirts and jackets and attaching a new second-generation iPod shuffle to them. The commercial features the song “Who’s Gonna Sing” by The Prototypes and ends with the tagline “Put some music on.”

Zune launch has little effect on iPod dominance

Despite a great deal of press coverage and a much-publicized launch last week, the Microsoft Zune has had no initial impact on iPod sales, according to analysts. “Initial findings suggest that the introduction of the Zune has had little effect on the iPod’s dominance of the U.S. MP3 player market,” said Steve Lidberg, an analyst at Pacific Crest. “On, Apple iPod held three of the top-four-selling electronics devices, while the black Zune ranked 18th. On CircuitCity. com, Apple controls nine of the top 14 MP3 player spots, with the black Zune ranking 15th. While Zune may take some incremental share from second tier players such as SanDisk and Creative Labs, we believe Apple will maintain its approximately 75% share of the U.S. market.”

JukeDock iPod dock announced

Pressure Drop has announced the JukeDock, a new iPod A/V docking solution that resembles a vintage jukebox. The JukeDock, which connects your iPod to your home entertainment system, is available in white or black for $100. In addition to audio and video connectivity, the JukeDock can sync your iPod with a Mac or PC, works with your existing home stereo remote control, and features built-in lights that can be set to one of four modes—“Rainbow,” “EQ,” “Cycle,” and “Steady.” The JukeDock works with 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod nano.

iPod glow leads to lost mushroom picker

The iPod nano’s best-of-class battery life definitely paid off for a lost mushroom picker in Oregon last week. Twenty-five year old Pini Nou was spotted in heavy underbrush and rescued after search teams saw the glow of his iPod Friday. “The underbrush was so thick, it took the searchers a full 22 minutes to reach Nou, who, lacking a flashlight, had been trying to use the faint glow of his iPod nano display as a light source,” reports the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “It took several more hours to get him safely out of the woods, and searchers didn’t get back home until around 6 a.m.”

Tunewear debuts two new iPod nano cases

Tunewear today announced two new leather cases for the iPod nano—the PRIE uni and the PRIE SilverBall. The PRIE uni is a black case with colored stitching along the front and back. It features a flip-cover that closes with a magnetic flap and a removable metal hook for attaching it to a belt loop or bag. The case, which also comes with a clear protective film for the screen and click wheel, is available in green, blue, and purple stitching. The PRIE SilverBall is identical in features to the PRIE uni, but features an accent of three silver circles located on the front of the case instead of stitching. Both cases work with 1G and 2G iPod nanos and will be available next month for $40 each.

Study: iPods overwhelmingly used for audio, not video

Despite the fifth-generation iPod’s much-touted video capabilities, which were added in October 2005, the device is still mainly used for audio, according to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research. The study found that less than 1% of content played by iPod users on either iTunes or the device itself were videos. Among 5G (video) iPod users, only 2.2% of content played was video. The study also found that 15.8% of iPod users have played a video on either iPod or iTunes. Nielsen monitored a panel of 400 iPod users in the U.S. from October 1-27 for the study.

“Owners of Apple’s ubiquitous portable media device spend far more time on it listening to music or audio podcasts than they do using it to watch TV or movies,” Andrew Wallenstein of The Hollywood Reporter writes. “That was among the findings in an unprecedented preliminary study conducted by the audience-measurement service in October—about one year after a video window was introduced to iPod and its corresponding Internet platform, iTunes. The iPod research conducted by Nielsen is the first publicly available independently published data on consumption habits for the device.”

Sharper Image offers iPulse Bear

Gearing up for the holiday shopping season, Sharper Image is offering an iPod-compatible stuffed bear with built-in speaker. The iPulse Bear “hugs your music player in a pouch in his belly,” while a hidden cable connects to the headphone jack of any iPod or other MP3 player. The $40 bear also has glowing eyes and LED lights that pulse to the music’s rhythm, frequency and volume. The iPulse Bear, available in white or brown, runs on four C batteries or an optional AC adapter ($10).

Wedding called off over $8K one-month iTunes tab

In response to a call for readers’ most embarrassing DVD purchases, Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross received a note from one woman who claims that she called off her wedding because her fiancé bought more than 8,000 songs from the iTunes Store... in one month.

“I used to wonder how my husband-to-be had more than 700 music CDs and more than 300 movie DVDs and hundreds and hundreds of record albums until I discovered that he had $43,000 in credit-card debt,” Susan P. writes. “In looking at his last bill (for one month) he had charged more than 8,000 iTunes at 99 cents each and had charges at places that sell music and movies, too. This guy made $45,000 a year. Called off the wedding.”

[via TUAW]

Paramount sues to stop loading of DVDs onto iPods

Paramount Pictures has sued Load ‘N Go, a small business that loads DVDs onto video-enabled iPods on behalf of customers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports: “According to the suit, Load ‘N Go sells both DVDs and iPods and loads the former onto the latter for customers who purchase both. The company then sends the iPod and the original DVDs to the customer. So the customer has purchased every DVD, and Load ‘N Go just saves them the trouble of ripping the DVD. The movie studios’ suit claims that this is illegal, because ripping a DVD (i.e., decrypting it and making a copy) is illegal under the DMCA. The suit also claims that this constitutes copyright infringement.”

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