Several iLoungers note that Apple has cut prices on its fifth-generation iPod models in the UK. Apple has lowered the price of the 30GB iPod to £179 (from £189) and dropped the price of the 80GB iPod to £239 (from £259). UK iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remains the same. The US Apple Store does not currently show any iPod price cuts—fifth-generation models are still priced at $249 for the 30GB version and $349 for the 80GB version.
For this week’s peek at the iLounge Discussion Forums, we’ve picked a few topics that range from helpful to optimistic to snarky. Join these discussions (and thousands more) by checking out the links below.
Many comments were inspired by a user who said that he couldn’t get his iPod to turn off. In “For the Love of God, I Can’t Turn off my IPOD!,” reader n19htmare worked through obvious solutions before ultimately opening, photographing, and (sort of) fixing his video-screened iPod. The problem wasn’t what people were expecting. Also: can you offer tips to this iLounger whose nano appears to be frozen?
In our iPod Cases forum, readers continue to discuss and debate their favorite full-sized iPod cases and covers. Judging from the posts, readers seem to love InvisibleShields and Belkin’s recent Brushed Metal cases for iPods. What do you think?
What do you wish could be done with future iPods? That’s the question posted by one iLounge reader. Answers so far range from a miniature camera to optical audio output and user-expandable memory. We have our ideas; what are yours?
Finally, readers offer their opinions on Why Verizon passed on the iPhone, ranging from a poor business choice to a lack of ability to control the product’s interface and features. Was this a bad move or a good move in your view? .
Griffin Technology has announced the availability of its redesigned PowerBlock Travel and the new PowerDuo Travel. The PowerBlock Travel ($35) is an international charger and AC adapter set for iPods. It includes adapters for use in Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The revised PowerBlock Travel now offers twist and lock adapters along with a new look in black. The PowerDuo Travel ($40) bundles the PowerBlock and all of the travel adapters with Griffin’s popular PowerJolt vehicle charger.
Judging is now underway for the iLounge Wallpaper Contest, which as announced in February will issue one iPhone, one Apple TV, or two iPods to the best entries received. With far over 700 entries, the contest’s official Gallery is amongst the best we’ve ever seen, with over 60 top submissions currently under serious consideration for our prizes.
We’ve picked just a few of the many amazing entries, ranging from wildly creative to subtle and cool, to highlight in this story. Click on the Comments link below for additional thumbnails, or click here to browse the complete Gallery. By design, all of the full-sized images in the Gallery are large enough to be used as desktop wallpaper for your PC or Mac. Winners will be announced by the end of tomorrow, March 31, 2007.
Update: Winners have been announced here. Congratulations!
CNET News.com’s Gadget Blog claims that Apple’s iPhone will be available on June 11th. “Ever since Steve Jobs’ keynote at the Macworld Expo in January, we’ve known that the iPhone is being released sometime in June. But we haven’t known exactly when,” the site reports. “Now Cingular is confirming that the release date will be June 11. A customer service manager at Cingular (we called 800-947-5096 and were transferred to sales) gave us that date late Thursday, but, alas, said he didn’t have any additional information beyond that.” The date corresponds with the opening day of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.
Apple said it will be offering Major League Baseball video highlights for the 2007 season on the iTunes Store. The MLB video on iTunes will include a daily 25 minute “MLB.com Daily Rewind” highlight show ($1.99 each/$7.99 season pass) and two weekly “Games of the Week” ($1.99 each/$19.99 season pass) featuring full versions of the best games from the National and American Leagues. In addition, baseball fans will also be able to download episodes of the “MLB.com Baseball’s Best” series ($1.99 each) showcasing classic baseball games from the past. To kick off the 2007 MLB season, iTunes is offering the “MLB.com 2007 Season Preview Show” as a free download on iTunes.
Using an iPod while driving will significantly affect a driver’s performance, according to a recent study by Drexel University professor Dario Salvucci. The Drexel study was conducted on a group of 12 iPod users in a fixed-base driving simulator. While “driving,” participants played three types of media—music, podcasts or videos. The study found that selecting a song or video on an iPod while driving “significantly affected driver performance as measured by vehicle deviation from a lane’s center veering left or right.” The study also found that selecting media affected the driver’s speed (they slowed down) and watching videos significantly affected car-following speed.
EMI chief executive Eric Nicoli said at this week’s CTIA event that the wireless industry needs to look towards Apple if it wants to succeed in mobile music. “Apple makes stuff that people love to own,” Nicoli said. “They love the simplicity and user-friendliness of the iPod and iTunes. Apple doesn’t employ any sorcery or dark magic to achieve this. They listen to what consumers want. And that shouldn’t be Apple’s unique privilege.”
David Pogue of the New York Times hints that Apple worked with NYU researcher Jeff Han on the iPhone’s multi-touch interface. “After the Jobs demo, I called Jeff Han, fully expecting to hear how angry he was that Apple had stolen his idea without permission or consultation (it’s happened before),” says Pogue. “Instead, he knew all about Apple’s project. He didn’t say that Apple bought his technology, nor that Apple stole it—only that he’d known what had happened, and that there was a lot he wasn’t allowed to say.”
DigiTimes reports on a possible shortage of NAND flash memory: “The considerable demand from Apple’s iPhone, the growing number of high-density MP3 players (4-8GB), and handsets with built-in memory should fuel NAND flash demand substantially. A severe shortage is likely to arrive in the second half of the year, he highlighted.”
John C. Dvorak says that Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone before it’s too late. “What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a “reference design” and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures. It should do that immediately before it’s too late.” [via DF]
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the immediate availability of its latest TransDock all-in-one car accessory. First shown in January, the new TransDock gains video-out for use with in-car video displays, an updated mounting arm, and interchangeable faceplates to help match your car’s interior. Like the previous TransDock, the device also broadcasts audio to an FM radio, charges an iPod, and offers an auxiliary input for other devices. The new TransDock sells for $100.
Apple today announced Complete My Album, a new iTunes Store feature that allows customers who have purchased individual tracks on an album to buy the full album at a reduced price. “Complete My Album offers customers up to 180 days after first purchasing individual songs from any qualifying album to purchase the rest of that album at a reduced price,” explains Apple. “When users buy any song on iTunes the corresponding album will immediately appear on their personalized Complete My Album page with the reduced price listed. For example, a user who’s already purchased three 99 cent singles and decides to buy the corresponding $9.99 album would be able to download the remaining songs to complete the album for just $7.02, without having to buy the singles again.”
iPod unit sales for the month of February fell slightly versus the month of January, though the downtick was felt industry wide. “While iPod units fell slightly month over month in February, this downtick was in line with the overall MP3 player market,” Piper Jaffary analyst Gene Munster said today. “iPod market share was unchanged from January to February at approximately 70%.” Based on the decline, figured from NPD sales data, Munster now expects iPod unit sales of 10 million to 11 million for the March quarter. “After the first month of March quarter data (January), we had been pointing to a range of 11m-12m units,” Munster said. “Data for the month of February, however, fell slightly from January, for both Apple and the market overall, which is inconsistent with what we have seen in previous years from January to February.”
Alesis has introduced the iMultiMix 8 USB, an 8-channel all-in-one mixer with USB interface and direct-to-iPod recording. The iMultiMix features a top-mounting iPod dock and will record to any third through fifth generation iPod. The mixer also offers 8 analog inputs, 100 28-Bit effects, phantom power, and 2 switchable mic/line/guitar inputs. The iMultiMix is scheduled to ship in Q3 2007 for $499.
“Unique to its class, the iMultiMix 8 USB is the world’s first mobile recording mixer with iPod transport controls and a control wheel built right into the surface for complete control of the iPod while it is being docked in the mixer,” says Alesis. “Home studios, musicians, podcasters and houses of worship can use the versatile direct-to-iPod recording feature for convenient transfer into iTunes upon connection to a computer.”
The Apple TV streaming media device is powered by a number of semiconductor chips from companies including Intel, Broadcom, Marvell Technology, and Nvidia. According to Prudential Equity analysts, who torn down an Apple TV to price its parts, “Intel is providing the central processing unit, Broadcom is supplying the Wi-Fi chipset, Nvidia is contributing the graphics processor and Marvell Tech is furnishing the hard-disk drive chip.” The Prudential analysts reported that the Apple TV also uses semiconductor components from Texas Instruments, Samsung, Cypress Semiconductor, and Intersil.
Microsoft has released several Windows Vista patches, including one designed to address a major issue with iPods. “The software maker issued a patch that is designed to fix a problem that had left iPods vulnerable to being corrupted if Vista users select the operating system’s Safely Remove Hardware option to eject the music player,” reports CNET News.com. “Apple had resolved several Vista compatibility issues in iTunes, but has continued to warn users to only use the eject function within iTunes to remove an iPod in Vista.”
Apple’s iPhone was briefly shown during AT&T’s keynote session today at the CTIA Wireless 2007 trade show. The AP reports: “When AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson pulled out the gadget during his speech, the audience snapped to attention and the room lit with camera flashes. And while Apple made sure to whisk the closely guarded device away from the convention center right after the speech, another keynote speaker managed to get his eager hands on it backstage beforehand: Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ‘He spent more time with it than I did,’ Stephenson said in an interview afterward. For a minute, ‘It seemed like he wouldn’t give it back,’ Stephenson joked. Then, as quickly as it began, all the fun and games came to an end—Apple style. ‘A guy in blue jeans’ took it away, Stephenson said.”
According to the annual list of influential CEOs in Barron’s Magazine, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is worth more to his company than any other CEO in the world—as much as $20 billion in market capitalization.
Expodition has released a number of free iPod guides for the most popular theme and water parks in the US and UK, including Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood, Thorpe Park, and Warwick Castle.
Splasm Software has released ViddyUp! 1.8, a new version of its iPod video processing tool, adding support for the new Apple TV. Meanwhile, Vallery.net has posted a Mac OS X Automator action for converting Xvix/WMV/Divx files into Apple TV format.
Over the weekend, Apple Stores completed installation of new demonstration areas for Apple TV, the company’s new media players for widescreen TVs. Heralded by window displays showing a silhouetted family with an Apple Remote controlling a live television set with Apple TV demo content, the demo areas include multiple television sets and Apple TV units preloaded with music, photo, podcast, TV show, and movie content. Visitors can test Apple TV for themselves with tethered remote controls, or watch the window demo cycle through. Low-end Sony Bravia television sets are used for the window and in-store displays, rather than the higher-end and more attractive XBR-series Bravia units that were used in prior public demonstrations.
Absent such a demonstration area, the Stores’ promotion of the new device was more limited. One Apple Store we visited previously had two units inconspicuously placed on a low shelf near AirPort Express wireless routers, placement that persisted after the window and demonstration displays were set up. Small areas at the demonstration area and within shelves are devoted to XtremeMac’s XtremeHD cables for Apple TV, as well.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the DLO Twister, a new dual-cover fashion case for first and second-generation iPod nanos. The $25 case features a screen shield and a protective cover that can be quickly switched from a pattern to leather. “The DLO Twister features a one-of-a-kind twisting cover that lets you instantly switch the look of your iPod,” says the company. “With a quick spin of the cover, you can go from gently distressed, high-quality black leather to a fashion-forward, Burberry-inspired plaid.”
Cingular, now a unit of AT&T, has received about 1 million requests for information on Apple’s upcoming iPhone, according to AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson. Cingular, which is being rebranded as AT&T, will be the exclusive U.S. carrier of the device. While Cingular, nor Apple, are currently taking pre-orders, Cingular has a section on it website inviting visitors to submit their email addresses to receive information about the phone when it is released. “One million people have asked us to call when this phone is available,” Stephenson said at the CTIA wireless technology conference.
iResQ has begun offering Apple TV storage upgrades to replace the device’s stock 40GB hard drive. The company is currently offering three upgrade options—160GB ($299), 120GB ($259) and 80GB ($209). iResQ said the Apple TV upgrades will be performed within 24 hours of receipt, and that shipping materials and pre-paid labels are provided. “Upon Apple’s delivery of Apple TV’s last week, we immediately received requests for hard drive upgrades,” said iResQ. “After consideration and testing we can confidently perform these hard drive upgrades with ease. All units that arrive will receive our first-class attention, a brand-new hard drive installed by an Apple Certified Technician, and we’ll return it to our customers within 1 business day after we receive it.”