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Mix: Santa Steve, Shuffle Case, Cars/Pirates, Microsoft Zune

  • November 6, 2006

All Apple employees, from corporate to retail, will reportedly receive a second-generation iPod shuffle as a gift from the company. According to AppleInsider, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sent out a company-wide email last week telling employees to expect their new shuffles by the end of the month.

A member of the Instructables website has found that the case that comes with Apple’s iPod In-Ear Headphones will also work great as a travel case for the second-generation iPod shuffle.

New 2G iPod nano cases debut in iLounge Buyers’ Guide

Several new cases for the second-generation iPod nano made their debut in iLounge’s 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide, which was released last week. Among the new cases are offerings from Marware, Pacific Design, Power Support, PDO, H20 Audio, Sena, A.B. Sutton, Sumo Cases, and Core Cases. Be sure to download the free guide to check out all of the gear, as well as exclusive reviews and feature articles.

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Marware Slyder (1)
Made of crystal clear polycarbonate, the 2G nano case features a slide-down Click wheel access system and rotating Dock connector port cover. It sells for $25.

Pacific Design Molded Leather Skin (2)
The $30 leather case will come in at least three color combinations—pink/white, green/white and black/gray—and features a carabiner hook. It’s expected in early 2007.

Power Support Silicone Square Type, Round Type, and Crystal Jackets
Power Support has three protective cases coming out for the 2G nano. The Square Type ($25) is made of surgical grade silicone, the Round Type ($25) is made from rubber, and the Crystal Jacket ($20) is made from hard plastic. Each case includes Click Wheel protection, Crystal Film screen protectors, a detachable plastic clip, and a silicone Dock Connector port cover.

PDO Aluminum N2 (3)
Constructed of anodized aluminum, the case features a clear hard plastic screen protector and a silicone rubber Click Wheel guard. Three black cases will be available with black, pink, or blue Wheel covers. A silver case with a black guard will also be sold. The cases will sell for $30.

H20 Audio Outdoor Housing (4)
The $40 accessory is an “all-element resistant” (not waterproof) case targeted at active sports enthusiasts. The case, shipping in December, will come with an armband and Click Wheel control panel.

Sena MagnetFlipper (5)
The $35 leather case features a flip-shut lid that covers only the Click Wheel, leaving the screen showing with a clear integrated protector. More than 15 leather options are available, each sealed with a magnetic clasp.

A.B. Sutton Slip
The handmade Slip case ($68) features a cotton inner layer and leather exterior. The case features an integrated screen protector and a “cable tuck” on the back for earbud cord.

Sumo Cases Click Flip
The $30 case sports a full-grain leather exterior with a color-tinted Click Wheel protector, a magnetic latched flap, and neck strap. It will come in five colors—pink, black, blue, green and red.

Core Cases Aluminum Case
An updated version of Core’s aluminum case, it features a two-piece slide-in/slide-out design and features an anodized front and a polished back. Black and silver versions will be available for $20.

Nvidia to acquire PortalPlayer

  • November 6, 2006
  • iPod

Nvidia has agreed to buy PortalPlayer for about $357 million in stock. PortalPlayer, which supplies the audio chip used in the fifth-generation iPod, was hit hard this year when Apple picked Samsung to power the second-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod shuffle. Analysts said the news was the company’s “worst nightmare” because Apple accounted for more than 90% of PortalPlayer’s revenue at the time. Interestingly, it was reported earlier this year that Nvidia had beat out Broadcom to supply the multimedia chip inside the next-generation video iPod. “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,” American Technology Research analyst Satya Chillara said at the time.

iDisguise intros theft deterrent iPod cases

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iDisguise has introduced a new line of iPod cases designed to deter theft. The iDisguise anti-theft cases are made to look like candy tins and hold 1G and 2G iPod nanos securely. “While other iPod security products call attention to the device, iDisguise aims to avoid it,” explains the company. “By disguising your gear in what seems to be a candy tin, it will not appear to be something worth stealing.” The iDisguise cases are available in Wintergreen and Peppermint designs and sell for $11 each.

iSkin releases tokidoki Vibes for 30GB iPod

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Reteaming with tokidoki for updates of the graphics found on its earlier Vibes art cases for the iPod shuffle and iPod mini, iSkin has announced Vibes for the 30GB fifth-generation iPod ($30). The playful, Asian-inspired plastic holders come in eight different versions, and now include separate silicone inserts (“iSkin Si”) to grip the iPod inside. A RevoClip2 belt clip is also part of the package, and can be attached or detached as you prefer.

Thought Out discloses The KEY for iPod shuffle (2G)

  • November 3, 2006

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Thought Out has announced “The KEY” ($22), an accessory that is designed to add a standard USB 2.0 plug and keychain ring hole to the bottom of any second-generation iPod shuffle. The KEY enables users to “sync, charge, and transfer data like any standard USB drive,” and is planned for release in the early first-quarter of 2007. As with most new iPod shuffle accessories, the company’s only available imagery is art rather than actual photography.

Apple releases 1.0.1 Update for iPod shuffle (2G)

Apparently only available for PC users at this time, Apple Computer has released a version 1.0.1 Software Update for the second-generation iPod shuffle, available via iTunes 7.0.2. According to the notes accompanying the download, version 1.0.1 includes inspecific “bug fixes,” and nothing else. As of the time of posting, it does not yet appear as an update for Macintosh users of the new shuffle.

Updated: The Update appears for both PC and Mac shuffle 2G users, however, you may have to “restore” the shuffle in order for the update to appear in iTunes.

Fastmac announces “Just Say No To Crack” iPod LCD Rehab Program

Fastmac today announced its new “Just Say No To Crack” iPod rehab program featuring same day LCD replacements for iPod 5Gs & nanos. The new program offers repair and replacement of scratched or cracked iPod LCD screens, either as a Do It Yourself (DIY) kit with tools & instructional videos, or via a same day mail order service provided by Fastmac directly. According to Fastmac, the program uses only Apple original parts to guarantee quality, fit and compatibility, and is available now with special introductory pricing that starts at $39.95. Each screen carries a 1-year warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.

XtremeMac introduces AirPlay Boost nano, 5G FM transmitters

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XtremeMac today announced AirPlay Boost ($69.95), a series of two FM transmitters for the fifth-generation iPod and second-generation iPod nano, each available in two colors - silver or black for the iPod nano, or white or black for the full-sized iPod. Unlike most other FM transmitters for the iPod, Boost features an external antenna that “boosts signal for superior transmission,” as well as more common features such as iPod on-screen tuning, stereo and mono broadcasting features, a pass-through Dock Connector port for charging purposes, and three presets. It claims to let “you use the entire permissible FM range,” and will begin shipping on November 20th.

Apple adds 8GB nano to (PRODUCT) RED list

Following up on last month’s release of the four-Gigabyte iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition - the first red iPod, and first iPod with a charitable purpose - Apple Computer today announced the immediate availability of an eight-Gigabyte RED iPod nano for $249. “Customer response to the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition has been off the charts,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “We’re thrilled to add a second model with 8GB of capacity, enough for 2,000 songs, so customers have yet another choice in supporting this important cause.”

Identical to the prior version except for storage capacity, the new nano brings the number of 8GB color options to two - black or red - and still contributes a total of $10 from the purchase price to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. The 8GB iPod nano (PRODUCT) Red is available from the online Apple Store today, and will be in retail Apple Stores this weekend.

iFixit posts iPod shuffle 2G disassembly photos

  • November 2, 2006

Repair shop iFixit has posted disassembly photographs of the second-generation iPod shuffle, along with notes on the unit’s various components. Though the shop doesn’t detail specifications for any of the electronic parts, the photographs show a Lithium-Ion polymer battery, an ARM processor with an Apple logo, a memory chip, and a small chip marked “AAC.” Photos and additional details are available here. (via Gizmodo)

V-Moda unveils Vibe earphones

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V-Moda today announced its Vibe noise-isolating earphones. Machined from alloy metal, the in-canal earphones “provide a precise balance of rich bass, warm mids and unprecedented clarity.” The Vibe earphones ($100) are available in Gunmetal Black or FlashBlack Chrome and come with a cable manager and a leather travel pouch. “The luxurious, unprecedented all-metal design of Vibe puts the earphones on par with high fashion jewelry, while the lightweight micro-size and ultra-soft silicon fittings provide a secure, comfortable fit during the most rigorous activities,” says V-Moda. See iLounge’s First Look for hands-on photos of the Vibe earphones.

SwitchEasy offers RunAway holder for Nike+iPod Sport Kit

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SwitchEasy Limited has announced the RunAway AnyShoe Adapter for the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. Made of splash-proof polycarbonate/ABS plastic, the RunAway is a protective holder that allows runners to use the Sport Kit sensor with shoes other than compatible Nike+ models. The RunAway ($8) features a “twist and lock” attachment mechanism and is available in white, black, red, orange, blue, or pink. A color lens pack ($4) with three translucent lens caps in red, orange, and yellow will be available later this month.

Etymotic to unveil Ety8 wireless earphones

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Etymotic has unveiled a new set of iPod-compatible wireless earphones. As noted in the iLounge 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide, the Etymotic Ety8 earphones “combine the styling of the ER-4 series in-canal earbuds with two lightweight boxes containing wireless Bluetooth components and a 6-9 hour battery.” The iPod connection is handled through a bottom-mounting transmitter. Several silicone rubber and foam ear flanges are included, as are extra filters, a cleaning tool, and a leather carrying case. The Etymotic Ety8 earphones are expected to be available in late December for $299 with an iPod adapter or $199 without. Be sure to check out our 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide for more unreleased iPod gear.

iPodMods to offer clear replacement cases for iPods

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iPodMods plans to introduce a new line of clear replacement cases for iPods. As first shown in the iLounge 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide today, the iVue Crystal Cases replace the iPod’s original front casing with a clear version that reveals the internal components and circuitry. Clear shells will be available for fourth- and fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos within the next two months, with iPod mini shells expected at a later date. Multiple translucent colors will also be available. iPodMods said it will charge $30 with free installation for the replacement shells. For further info on this product and a plethora of other new iPod accessories, be sure to check out our 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide.

Podstar case for 2G iPod nano introduced

Boomwave Products has announced a new version of its devil-themed Podstar case for Apple’s second-generation iPod nano. Called the Podstar Diablo Spectrum, the silicone case is available in six different colors and offer “a healthy dose of attitude, personality and quirky style,” according to the company. Each Podstar case includes a sterling silver earring, removable colored click wheel protector, screen protector, neck strap and an individual Podstar ID. The Podstar Diablo Spectrum is available now for $20.

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Report: Cingular to launch music service sans Apple

In a move that would no doubt signal the end of its partnership with Apple, Cingular has reportedly teamed up with iTunes rivals Napster, Yahoo Music and eMusic to launch a new music service. The service, which could be announced as early as tomorrow, will work on music-playing cell phones and will eventually offer wireless downloads, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Cingular’s service initially will support transferring music from personal computers to cellphones using a cable. In a first for music-enabled cellphones, users will be able to transfer music acquired from ‘all you can eat’ subscription services like Napster to Go, Yahoo’s Y Music Unlimited or eMusic,” reports the Journal. “They will also be able to transfer songs ripped from CDs or downloaded in the MP3 and Windows Media formats. Next year, Cingular is scheduled to add an over-the-air downloading component that will feature a menu for compatible telephone handsets that takes users to a virtual store, similar to the ones customers already use to buy ringtones.”

New iPod shuffle arrives; old earphones, weak clip? (Updated)

Updated: See our higher-resolution iPod shuffle (Second-Generation) unpacking gallery here, and freshly updated First Look here.

iLounge readers have started to report the arrival of their second-generation iPod shuffles, and have noted two semi-surprises so far: unlike the iPod shuffles that were demonstrated at Apple’s “It’s Showtime” press event in September, actually shipping models are packaged with Apple’s older, less comfortable earphones rather than the newer, better ones found in current iPod and iPod nano boxes. Official Apple images of the new shuffle published since the event have included the older earbuds, confusing numerous attendees who tried the shuffle along with the improved earbuds. One reader has also reported that the integrated clip is “very weak,” and “won’t hang from a shirt while running,” suggesting that even if the iPod can be attached to clothes for casual use, additional athletic accessories will most likely be needed to render the shuffle safe for active users to wear. Expect additional details as the day progresses, including updates to our extended First Look at the new shuffle.

Apple launches iTunes Latino

Apple today announced the launch of iTunes Latino, a new area within the U.S. iTunes Store featuring top Latin music, music videos, television shows, audiobooks and podcasts. Apple said iTunes Latino offers “hundreds of thousands” of Latin and international music tracks, including a number of exclusive tracks and albums. Genres include Regional Mexicano, Rock Alternativo, Baladas y Boleros, Pop Latino, Reggaeton and Hip-Hop.

As part of the launch of iTunes Latino, Apple announced that Telemundo and mun2 are now offering popular Spanish-language and bilingual television programming on the iTunes Store. The new content includes Telemundo’s “Pasion de Gavilanes,” “El Cuerpo del Deseo” and “Decisiones.” mun2, the popular Latino youth network, is currently offering reality content such as “mun2: The Immigration Special.” The shows sell for $1.99 each.

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