Fastmac has expanded its “Just Say No To Crack” iPod rehab service to include Apple’s second-generation iPod nano. The program offers repair and replacement of scratched or cracked iPod LCD screens, either as a Do It Yourself (DIY) kit with tools and instructional videos, or via a same-day mail order service provided by Fastmac directly. The DIY kit is priced at $50, while the 24-hour installation service adds an additional $40.
DICE Electronics has announced that the HD DICE, its $200 HD radio receiver with iPod integration, can now support text display on select Honda and Acura models. The HD DICE with iPod integration allows an iPod owner to enjoy a variety of audio entertainment options through their DICE radio, including satellite radio. One can use the track control buttons on the radio to tune to HD Radio stations or control iPod audio selections. Text information is shown on the main display of your entertainment system as new text becomes available.
MTV will release the full upcoming season of “The Andy Milonakis Show” on the iTunes Store a month before the first episode premieres on TV. The six-episode season is available for $9.95, or $1.99 per episode. “This show has a very sort of cult following, making it best suited to be exploited across platforms,” said MTV executive Brian Graden. “The look of the show also has a very much broadband type of ethos to it. We just thought this franchise seemed perfect for this strategy.” The third season of “The Andy Milonakis Show” premieres April 27th on MTV2. The iTunes Store also recently offered the first six episodes of Fox’s The Winner in advance of the show’s March 4th premiere.
Following a slight delay, customers who pre-ordered the Apple TV steaming media device began receiving shipment notifications earlier today. According to several readers and iLounge’s own shipping notice, most will receive their Apple TV by Friday. Originally announced under the iTV codename in September 2006, the Apple TV was officially introduced at Macworld Expo in January along with an expected shipping date of February. Apple later said it would delay the device until mid-March.
Philips has introduced a new iPod-compatible, under-cabinet multimedia player. The Philips DCD778 Docking Entertainment System sports an 8.5-inch widescreen LCD display and can play audio and video from an iPod, DVD, (S)VCD, MP3-CD, CD(RW) and Picture CD. The system also offers a built-in ATSC/NTSC TV tuner, digital AM/FM tuner, two 2-inch speakers, cooking timer and clock, and wireless remote. The Philips DCD778—which the company says is compatible with fourth- and fifth-generation iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod nano—ships next week for approximately $400.
The SnoopTunes NoeStringAttached wireless music sharing device ($60), developed by a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area, is designed to provide Microsoft Zune-like music sharing to non-Microsoft devices such as the iPod. The NoeStringAttached attaches to the headphone jack of a player via a cable and broadcasts the audio signal to similarly equipped iPods and the like within a 15-foot radius. Five broadcast channels are available and the device is powered by one AAA battery.
A company in Japan is selling a limited edition Mickey Mouse iPod nano. Only 500 available, the laser-etched 2GB nano (33.600 YEN) comes with a Mickey-embossed leather case and packaging.
“The humble Apple TV has ceded the limelight to iPhone and has been overshadowed by the buzz preceding the launch of Leopard,” ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes said today. “Yet, we believe the potential is huge for this small device. AppleTV is an ideal conduit for multiple services including DVR, paid-for content (e.g., VOD), gaming, or advertising. We identify and value these business opportunities at $5.3-$11.4 billion, with substantial upside potential.”
Apple is ranked No. 34 in the annual “BusinessWeek 50” list. “Somewhere along the line, Apple went from being Microsoft’s whipping boy to becoming, in some ways, the new Microsoft,” says the magazine. “Apple sets the standard in digital music, with more than 70% of the music player market and nearly 90% of the song download business. While it still has just 5% of the PC market, Mac sales are on the rise, and the company is attacking vast new markets that have long been coveted by Microsoft.”
A Disney investigation found that Pixar had backdated some employee stock options before it was acquired, but that no one currently associated with the company had engaged in deliberate misconduct. Reuters notes that this statement appears to clear Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Case-mate has announced its Signature shuffle case for Apple’s second-generation iPod shuffle. Available in seven colors, the case is made from Italian Pebblestone leather and “seamlessly wraps around the shuffle, combining protection, control and fashion.” The Signature shuffle case, which retails for $12, also features a protective pass-through control pad and a keychain attachment.
In an undisclosed and largely unnoticed update to its QuickTime video playback and conversion software, Apple has quietly added an “Export to Apple TV” feature capable of creating high-definition videos viewable on the Apple TV accessory. Unlike Export to iPod, which currently creates sub-DVD-quality 640 by 480 videos, Export to Apple TV creates not only full DVD-quality 720 by 404 videos, but also 1280 by 720 videos. These videos are viewable in iTunes, but cannot be transferred directly via iTunes to an fifth-generation iPod.
The 1280 by 720 pixel resolution, also known as 720P, is one of several high-definition video formats supported by current televisions. Using the H.264 video compression codec, Apple TV supports 720P playback at 24 frames per second - the frame rate used by movies, not TV shows - at substantially higher bit rates than prior iPod- and iTunes-created videos. A 2.5-minute 720P sample we converted with QuickTime yielded a 4214kbps, 76-Megabyte file from a 5708kbps, 102-Megabyte original, suggesting that feature-length, 90-minute HD movies formatted for Apple TV will require around 3 Gigabytes of hard disk space.
Notably, Apple has not yet announced plans to sell HD movies through the iTunes Store, and has not gone out of its way to advertise Apple TV’s 720P video playback functionality. It has instead focused on the device’s ability to play iTunes Store and iTunes library content - typically formatted at 1/3 the device’s peak 720P resolution - as well as music and high-definition still photography.
This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums: Thinking about buying an Apple TV or iPod-ready speakers? We’ve just expanded our In-Home Solutions forum to include everything from Apple TV to all iPod speakers and other In-Home accessories. You can take a peek at the new forum, Apple TV, Speakers & In-Home Solutions today.
Continuing a discussion started back in 2006, readers are still talking about Rockbox, an alternate firmware for the iPod and other music players that enables certain features not found in Apple’s iPod Software, including new audio formats, graphic equalizers, menu themes, fonts, and lots of games. For experienced users only - and then, ones with certain model iPods - Rockbox continues to evolve on a daily basis.
Need a way to transfer files from iPod to computer, or from iPod to iPod? One iLounge reader has posted news about his new free program - compatible even with Windows Vista - called Jakpod. Take a look at the screenshots and details in the discussion thread.
Finally, iLounge forum members have for years been exchanging music suggestions and recommendations. If you’re looking for a new band - or advice on finding a hard-to-locate song from an old favorite - check out the music forum and its recommendations sub-forum!
Altec Lansing is beginning roll out of the inMotion iM600 iPod speaker system, which was first announced in January. The $150 device is designed to dock with a variety of iPod models and has a built-in FM radio with antenna. It also has a rechargeable battery for up to seven hours of portable playback, an integrated alarm clock, an audio input jack, a remote control and can fold for better storage and carrying.
Just over a week since Apple released iTunes 7.1, the company has made available a new update that fixes issues found in the previous version of the software. According to the brief release notes provided by Apple, iTunes 7.1.1, available for Mac and Windows, “addresses a stability issue and minor compatibility problems in iTunes 7.1.” No further information was given.
Miglia Technology today announced the TVMax+, a new “content collection hub” for use with the video iPod, Apple TV and Macs. The TVMax+ allows users to record video content straight to a fifth-generation iPod, Apple TV via iTunes, or a Mac. Recording modes include “iPod Better,” “iPod Best,” Apple TV, DVD-ready MPEG-2, iMovie ready MPEG-4, and DivX. The Mac-only device also doubles as a digital TV tuner—allowing you to watch, pause and record TV shows—as well as digitizes VHS tapes to DVD using real-time MPEG-2 compression. The TVMax+ sells for £149 (about $288).
With this month’s release of the Apple TV, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple is entering the digital living room market with a 10x lead over the next closet competitor, Microsoft’s Media Center, thanks to the large amount of iTunes users. The analyst estimates that there are approximately 110 million active iTunes users, compared to 12 million active Media Center users. Munster believes the digital living room market in 2008 will be worth $4.7 billion, and is currently expecting Apple to sell 2 million Apple TV units in 2007.
“We believe iTunes is a Trojan horse media center, which will give Apple a significant early lead in the digital living room,” says Munster. “While Apple does not disclose iTunes user base statistics, we estimate that there are at least 110m iTunes users, which represents the preliminary addressable market. To compare, the closest Windows-based product is Windows Media Center, which serves as a media hub for music, TV, and movies on PCs. While the comparison is not apples-to-apples, as Media Center is part of the Windows operating system, we estimate there to be 23m Media Center-enabled PCs. We estimate there are 12m actual Media Center users. (Note: about 40% of all PCs sold in retail stores come with Media Center pre-installed.) In other words, Apple has a 10x headstart in the digital living room.”
Griffin Technology has announced that its TuneFlex AUX is now shipping. An updated version of its flexible charging cradle with line-out audio, the TuneFlex AUX includes an audio cable for automobiles with direct line-in ports. The TuneFlex AUX plugs into a car’s 12 Volt accessory (cigarette lighter) outlet to power and charge an iPod while holding it at a convenient position. A pass-through dock connector allows for use with bottom-mounting iPod accessories. The TuneFlex AUX is available in two models—the TuneFlex AUX for full-size iPods and the TuneFlex AUX for the second-generation iPod nano, both priced at $50. See further details and hands-on photos.
Apple has released iPod shuffle Reset Utility 1.0 for both Mac and Windows. The software—which apparently replaces Apple’s iPod shuffle Reset Utility—lets users completely restore first-generation and second-generation iPod shuffles back to their factory settings “when iTunes is unable to do so.”
The Palms Resort has teamed up with Apple to offer exclusive “Live from Las Vegas” performances on the iTunes Store. The live performances will be recorded at The Palms’ new $80 million concert theater, The Pearl, which which will make its grand debut with a show by Evanescence on March 17. “Evanescence: Live from Las Vegas” will be available exclusively on iTunes with extended song lists and behind-the-scenes interviews for purchase and download. The Pearl, which holds up to 2,500 music fans, features a “state-of-the-art system for digitally capturing live performances. Epic performances and rare behind-the-scenes looks will be captured live from The Pearl, edited and made available within the Live from Las Vegas area on iTunes.”
The Retro iPod Alarm Clock is an iPod dock/alarm clock which hosts small speakers. The clock is designed to let you wake up to your favorite playlist, song, podcast or sound file. One can hit a snooze button to delay the iPod from sounding for nine minutes. Other features include an AC adapter which charges the iPod’s battery and a volume control on the back of the clock.
Apple has updated the UK iTunes Store with the best of Comic Relief music and comedy. To benefit the British charity organization, Apple is selling two Comic Relief singles—“Walk This Way” by Sugababes vs Girls Aloud, and a “special surprise” from Peter Kay, to be released during the Comic Relief TV show on March 16th.
Starbucks has launched a record label based on its existing Hear Music brand. “Now, rather than basically lending the Starbucks brand to an album, the Los Angeles-based Hear Music label will sign its own artists and sell records through Starbucks stores and other retailers,” reports the AP.
Members of England’s cricket team are using iPods to give them an edge in the World Cup. “Coaching staff have started loading bowling actions on to players’ handheld iPod electrical gadgets so they can analyze both their own and opposition techniques,” reports Reuters.
Slacker is a new online music service from the ex-CEOs of Musicmatch, Rio, and iRiver America. The service streams free DJ-programmed internet radio stations. Slacker also plans to introduce a portable audio player with Wi-Fi and 4-inch screen.
Polk Audio has announced two new portable iPod audio systems—the MiDock10 and MiDock Studio. The MiDock10 ($180; shown) features two 3.25-inch full-range drivers in a black ported enclosure. It offers USB connectivity for syncing with iTunes, side-mounted handles, auxiliary input, and headphone jack. The MiDock10 can be operated on AC or battery power, comes with a credit-card sized remote, and fits all dockable iPods. The MiDock Studio ($TBA) is a slightly larger and differently styled iPod audio system being released in April. It features dual 3.25-inch high excursion drivers that are vented via a side-firing flared port. The MiDock Studio features a two-tone black grille/white body color scheme and also has handles, USB connectivity, and auxiliary input.