One year ago, iLounge created “iPodweek,” a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’d published, which you may or may not have seen elsewhere online. Today, we’re adding a new feature to iLounge: iPodweek will be available as a free weekly newsletter for readers interested in quickly catching up on our past week’s highlights via e-mail. We will also feature iPod accessory discount offers from various companies and retailers.
Back in 2004, we started with a list of 19,000 forum members and notified readers that we were planning to create a list of addresses for a newsletter. Today, the list contains over 190,000 self-registered e-mail addresses, which we’d normally love to use as a starting point for mailing out iPodweek.
But—and this is a big but—since so much time has passed since we made that announcement, and some people mightn’t have wanted to sign up for regular mailings, we are taking a conservative approach to do right by all of our readers. So we’ve decided to start the list fresh with a new signup form. Just enter your address and hit submit to sign up for iPodweek; an unsubscribe option will also be available for those who want it.
Thanks to XtremeMac for sponsoring the launch of the iPodweek newsletter. XtremeMac is offering 20% off its entire online store to iPodweek subscribers. Xtrememac will also be giving away one (1) XtremeMac Luna iPod Alarm Clock Radio, one (1) pair of FS1s earphones and one (1) InCharge Traveler to one lucky iPodweek subscriber. The winner will be announced in next week’s issue (May 4, 2007). (Retail value of total prizes $370)
We hope you enjoy this new feature of iLounge!
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Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are both in the race for Time Magazine‘s 2007 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Picking the list has traditionally been the duty of the magazine’s editors, but this year the process is also open to online voting. As of this writing, Steven Colbert was ranked number one, with Jobs sitting at number eight, and Ive at number ten.
SwitchEasy Limited has announced the immediate availability of its Capsule case for second-generation iPod nanos. The cases, offered in either Crystal or Black Amber, are made from GE Lexan plastics and include integrated Click Wheel protection and a color-matching headphone port extender. Unique to the Black Amber Capsule is a “floating Display effect,” in which the nano’s screen is not visible when off, and appears to “float” when active. You can learn more by checking out our First Look. The SwitchEasy Capsule case for second-generation iPod nano sells for $20.
AT&T plans to market the iPhone to business users in addition to consumers, according to an InfoWorld article. The publication reports: “Cingular, which acquired AT&T Wireless, recently decided that the iPhone will appeal to business users and the operator is now working hard to ensure that its back-end enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships, said a source familiar with the company’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has been on a FUD campaign since the iPhone’s introduction, saying the device will not work for business users. Chris Sorenson, Microsoft’s head of smartphone strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, recently said the iPhone will be irrelevant to those users because of its “closed” operating system and lack of Office support. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also dismissed the iPhone. “It doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine,” he said in January.
Following a brief glimpse last week, Apple has now released the iQuiz game for fifth-generation iPods. According to the game’s description, iQuiz includes four built-in games, including entertainment trivia and a quiz game based on a user’s music library. Unlike other iPod games, which sell for $4.99 each, iQuiz is priced at only 99 cents.
“Get your trivia fix with iQuiz, the fast-paced entertainment trivia game designed in a portable format,” says Apple. “Put your pop culture knowledge to the test with questions about music, movies, and TV shows. Or choose Music Quiz 2 to find out just how well you know the songs, albums, and artists on your iPod. You can keep the challenges coming by creating your own custom trivia packs to share, or add trivia packs created by other players.”
Apple will report its results for the second fiscal quarter 2007 on Wednesday afternoon, and will also offer a webcast of the conference call discussing the results that will begin at 5pm on Wed.
Amazon is preparing to launch an online music store in May, according to a London Times report. The store will offer unprotected MP3s; EMI is expected to be one of the first labels to appear on the service. [via Forbes]
Griffin has drastically reduced the price of their Hi-Way case for iPod Hi-Fi, from $50 to $10.
Customized cell phone shop Amosu is now offering iPods with backs plated in 24 carat gold. Both 30GB and 80GB fifth-generation iPods are available, as well as the 8GB iPod nano, all offered in either black or white. Pricing for the 80GB model is £399, approx. $800, while both the 30GB fifth-generation and 8GB nano sell for £299, or approx. $600. [via Gizmodo]
SendStation Systems has announced that its iPod Dock Extender is now shipping. The $29 accessory allows users to dock an iPod or attach dock-mounted accessories without removing the device from its case. SendStation has also relaunched its smartCharge iPod car charger with a lower price and new cable. The smartCharge, which now sells for $25, comes with a special audio-enabled USB-iPod Sync/Charge cable. “It provides superior quality sound through smartCharge’s built-in Line Out jack, for direct connections to the Aux In jack found on many car stereos,” according to the company.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will likely be cleared in the federal investigation of stock options backdating at Apple. “A Mercury News examination of a massive 2001 stock-options grant to Jobs that was backdated through bogus documentation—the central focus of the federal probe—shows there is scant evidence, if any, to support criminal charges against the Silicon Valley icon,” reports the newspaper. “Despite Apple’s disclosure that Jobs approved widespread backdating at Apple, there is no evidence he directed the backdating of his own grant or covered it up afterward, based on a review of regulatory filings and interviews with lawyers intimately familiar with the grant who asked not to be identified. Without such proof, federal prosecutors do not have the type of egregious misconduct they’ve targeted in the blossoming options scandal.”
Want to win an Apple iPhone or iTunes Gift Card money from iLounge? There’s still time left!
We are holding our iPod Fashion Photo Contest to coincide with the release of The Free iPod Book 3.0 - sequel to our popular, million-downloaded series of Books. To enter, submit your photograph in one of two categories - People or iPods - for a chance at two 8GB iPhone top prizes, two 4GB iPhone second prizes, or two $100 iTunes Gift Cards.
Official rules and more samples can be found here. Entries are due by May 20, 2007, and winners will be announced on June 1 inside The Free iPod Book 3. Best of luck to all entrants!
This week in the iLounge Discussion Forums:
Because we’re always excited about whatever Apple might be planning to release in the iPod family, we love the Future iPods forum—a place to speculate on upcoming iPod models. Perhaps not surprising given how long in the tooth the 5G iPod feels, the forum is filled with people on the verge of collapse. You can guess what people are excitedly saying in Going crazy waiting for the next iPod, and About a new Video iPod. But in I don’t like the direction mainline iPods are headed, users worry about control schemes for touchscreen iPods. Which side are you on?
Elsewhere in the Forums: A thread running since 2004 lets you compare the computer setups of your fellow iLoungers. As one reader put it before showing a photo of his own spread, “Let’s see who’s got the cool setup and who is just plain out boring.” Take a look at Workspace Setup for the details.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, which will soon become a unit of Philips, has released photos of its first case for Apple’s iPhone. Like the new iPod Jam Jacket announced this week, the forthcoming iPhone Jam Jacket is a silicone case with a headphone management system that secures cables and earbuds to the back of the case. No other details were provided. “Along with the Jam Jacket, we’re working on several products for the iPhone which you can expect to see announced shortly,” a DLO representative said. View larger photos below. [via CrunchGear]
iSkin has announced its new Cerulean line of Bluetooth iPod accessories. The Cerulean TX is a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver for iPod, which features stereo Bluetooth audio capabilities, is powered by the iPod, and can also be used with a Mac or PC. The innovative Cerulean RX connects to the Dock Connector of dedicated iPod speakers, and when used with the TX allows users to control their music directly from their iPod, Mac, or PC. The Cerulean F1 is a pair of wireless stereo Bluetooth earphones that feature integrated mono headset functionality, and while designed to match the TX and RX, can be used with any Bluetooth-capable device. In addition, the F1 can be used simultaneously with both an iPod (using a Cerulean TX) and mobile phone. The Cerulean TX+RX package and the Cerulean F1 earphones are scheduled for a May release and will sell for $150 and $130 respectively.
Following its anti-DRM deal with EMI earlier this month, Apple is entering talks with the other major record labels from a position of strength, according to industry executives. During this month’s contract renegotiations, Apple is expected to focus mainly on getting the labels to follow EMI’s lead and drop copy-protection on their digital music offerings. The labels, however, will try hard to push their own agenda, including variable song pricing, an iTunes subscription plan, and possibly trying to get their hands on a cut of iPod or iPhone sales.
“Universal, Sony BMG and Warner will aim to steer contract renewal negotiations with Apple to discussions on variable pricing for songs, a subscription service for iTunes, and more bundling of tracks and other features into digital packages,” reports Reuters. “The music companies also want to improve their margins on the wholesale pricing of digital songs. There has even been talk of getting a cut of sales of iPods themselves, or future devices such as the highly anticipated iPhone set for availability in June. But analysts see that as unlikely, with EMI’s deal probably pushing the issue of dropping digital rights management to the top of the agenda.”
Griffin Technology has announced the availability of its dock adapter for the second-generation iPod shuffle. The $20 dock adapter enables use of the shuffle in speaker systems and other devices with an Apple Universal iPod Dock. The adapter features a slider switch that toggles between Charge/Sync and Audio Play modes. See iLounge’s review of the Griffin dock adapter for more details.
After mysteriously removing and then returning “Star Trek: The Original Series” to/from the iTunes Store, Apple is now offering a $25 iTunes Card code to anyone who purchased the series’ first season before its removal. According to iLounge editor Jesse Hollington, the episodes were removed because they were “mixed” — some episodes were from the original series, while others had been digitally remastered and enhanced with new special effects. Since the episodes re-appeared on the iTunes Store, they have been offered in both the original and digitally remastered versions, and are labeled as such. In addition, the previously removed “Star Trek: Enterprise” has also reappeared on the store.
Chris Sorenson, Microsoft’s head of smart-phone strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, recently told press that the iPhone will be irrelevant to business users due to its “closed” operating system and lack of Office support. “It’s a great music phone, and I’m sure it will be fantastic and have an interesting user interface,” said Sorenson. “However, it’s a closed device that you cannot install applications on, and there’s no support for Office documents. If you’re an enterprise and want to roll out a line of business applications, it’s just not an option. Even using it as a heavy messaging device will be a challenge,” the executive added. These comments echo those made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in January, when he stated “it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine.”
Although Apple’s iPhone is months away, awareness of the device is high among U.S. consumers. According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, 47% of respondents were aware of the iPhone and 17% expressed interest in purchasing it. Harris also broke down when consumers intended to buy the device. “Of those expressing interest to purchase, 9% say they would buy at product launch and another 8% would buy before their current wireless service contract expired,” the research firm said. “About 17% say they would wait for their current wireless contract to expire before purchasing and 25% would purchase it—when their existing wireless carrier offers the iPhone. Finally, a full 40% of buyers intend to wait for the price to come down.”
Following a panel discussion at NAB this week, Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian said he has spoken with Apple about the possibility of streaming to the iPhone, claiming his company “would love to support” the device. “I think the question for them is going to be, how are they going to phase the (iPhone) out?” Krikorian said of Apple. “There’s been some talk about whether it’s going to be a closed device or…open, or whether they’ll phase it (out), so I think it’s going to be up to them to see when (streaming) might be available. But I cannot comment any more than that.” Last week Sling confirmed that it is working on making the SlingBox compatible with the Apple TV.
Apple’s iPhone is on schedule to be released at the end of June, an AT&T executive said yesterday. “Our expectations are good. Our testing has been good,” said AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson. “The iPhone is on target to launch in June.” Stephenson said he was not sure how many of the devices will be available at launch. “We’re sorting through that right now,” he said. “We got a million people waiting to buy it so we’re hoping we get a million.” Despite recent speculation that the iPhone would be delayed, Apple also said last week the iPhone had “already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned.”