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Telco analyst claims iPhone release date June 20

A discussion on Google Finance between readers has revealed that a telecommunications analyst, speaking on the CNBC program “On the Money” Thursday night, said they had been given a confirmed iPhone release date of June 20. June 20 is a Wednesday, which would be an abnormal day of the week for such an important launch for Apple — the company typically introduces new products on either Tuesday or Friday. “On the Money” airs nightly on CNBC at 7:00 ET, and is hosted by Melissa Francis. [via Mac Rumors]

Tide prizes include orange iPod nano

Proctor and Gamble detergent brand Tide is offering an orange iPod nano featuring the Tide logo on the Click Wheel and a $50 iTunes gift card as a prize package in a current promotion. The company is selling “Vintage” t-shirts adorned with a worn, faded Tide logo to raise support for a New Orleans-based charity. All the proceeds from the sales of the shirts go to the St. Bernard Project, to help rebuild 10 homes for families in New Orleans. With the purchase of each t-shirt comes an entry to win an orange iPod nano and the iTunes gift card. One package will be given away each week between today and 6/25. [via TUAW]

iPodweek newsletter arrives today; sign up or miss it

It’s Friday, which means that iLounge’s weekly newsletter, iPodweek, will be available later this afternoon. iPodweek is a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. You still have time to sign up for this week’s edition, if you haven’t done so already — just use the simple form below to submit your email address.

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iPhone well protected by patents

Wireless news site Unwired View has posted an article examining the patents that pertain to the iPhone, and have found that the device is indeed well protected by patent law. Apple-held patents for the iPhone include the multipoint touchscreen, gestures for touch sensitive devices, the proximity detector in a handheld device, a system for sensing ambient light, and the patent for the handset itself, a multifunctional handheld device. In his keynote address this January, Steve Jobs made reference to the fact that the iPhone was protected by law, stating, “And boy have we patented it.”

Study: 90 percent of phone owners find iPhone superior

A study done by Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Labs into consumer perceptions of the iPhone experience shows that 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their own handset. The study captured consumer reactions to an Apple-developed video highlighting the features of the iPhone. “An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their own handset and over 40 percent of respondents rated the iPhone much better across key functional categories—including music player, web browsing, voice mail, and phone call management—indicating real innovation in designing a user experience,” said Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics, who conducted the research. Kevin Nolan, Director of User Experience Research at Strategy Analytics, added, “While the iPhone ‘Wow’ factor is impressive, our user panel indicated that challenges in pricing and positioning may act as a barrier to mass-market success. Nonetheless, the iPhone clearly represents a breakthrough in terms of user experience.”

iPod ‘Amnesty Bin’ found at Zune HQ

Flickr user fimoculous snapped a picture recently of an “iPod Amnesty Bin,” supposedly placed in the entryway to Microsoft’s Zune headquarters. The bin, which (according to a Macworld UK report) was meant to encourage employees to ditch their iPods in favor of the software giant’s beleaguered media player, was nearly empty. It was labeled “iPod Amnesty Bin,” with a picture of a twice-bitten apple in the center, above the motto “bite me.” Only a few fourth-generation iPods can be seen in the Flickr photo, which features the caption, “We visited the Zune headquarters today. In the entryway was an iPod recycling bin.”

DLO debuts TransDock Deluxe

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced the TransDock Deluxe, the latest addition its line of in-car iPod connectivity cradles. The TransDock Deluxe features a built-in FM transmitter, charging iPod dock, AV output, and RF remote control that attaches to either side of a steering wheel. It sells for $130.

“With the TransDock Deluxe, iPod music is broadcast through a car’s FM stereo, iPod videos are shown on in-car video systems, and now DLO has added a steering-wheel remote for safe and convenient entertainment control,” says DLO. “With TransDock Deluxe you can control your iPod on-the-road without ever taking your hands off the wheel.”

Sony unveils iPod-ready home theater system

Sony has announced a new iPod-ready 5.1 channel home-theater-in-a-box system, the DAV-IS10. The DAV-IS10 sports Sony’s Digital Media Port input, which is compatible with Sony’s TDM-iP1 iPod Dock. The system also features Bravia Theater Sync, which uses the HDMI port to communicate with Bravia televisions, a single disc DVD/CD player/receiver, and DVD upscaling to either 720p or 1080i when connected via HDMI. The Sony DAV-IS10 micro home theater system will be available in July for $800.

Analyst: Apple may sell 9.5 million iPods in Q3

According to PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple may sell only 9.5 million iPods in its third fiscal quarter, falling short of the consensus estimate of 9.8 million. Munster’s estimate is based on early April sales data from NPD. “While it is way too early to make a definitive call on June quarter iPod results, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (April) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod unit (sales) of around 9.5 million,” Munster wrote in a client note. “Our current iPod unit estimate at 10.5 million is ahead of Street consensus, which is 9.8 million for the June quarter.” He also mentioned the iPhone launch, stating: “Assuming a late June launch, we believe iPhone will not materially impact numbers in the June quarter. Worldwide Developers Conference, however, is a significant wild card in the quarter. We are expecting a full-feature demonstration of Leopard, including a demo of how Leopard will integrate Windows interoperability.”

McCartney catalog not yet on iTunes

The 25-album back catalog of Paul McCartney, which went live on music services such as Napster, Rhapsody, Urge, and Zune Marketplace on Tuesday, has yet to appear on the iTunes Store. In a press release announcing the McCartney deal, Apple said: “Paul McCartney’s full catalog of 25 solo albums will be available for the first time digitally on iTunes later this month.” It is unknown why iTunes has yet to offer the albums — currently, only McCartney’s newest release, “Memory Almost Full,” is available.

Belkin launches ‘My Best FM’ service

iPod accessory maker Belkin has launched a new online service that helps users locate the best FM radio frequencies for use with portable FM transmitters. After users submit their zip code or city and state, Belkin’s “My Best FM” service will search a comprehensive database of FM radio frequencies and list the ones with the clearest transmission in the specified area. “With summer road trips and other travel excursions coming up, people will be looking to bring their music on the road with them,” says Chris McGugan, Vice President of Product Management for Belkin. “My Best FM will help travelers find the clearest FM station to play their music throughout their trip.”

Monster now shipping iFreePlay headphones

Monster Cable has announced that it is now shipping its iFreePlay Cordless Headphones for second-generation iPod shuffles. The headphones feature an iDock port for the shuffle that connects directly to the headphones, eliminating the need for cords. “With all other headphones, you need someplace to put your iPod Shuffle, not to mention dealing with the cumbersome headphone cords,” explained Noel Lee, company founder. “But with the Monster iFreePlay you dock your iPod Shuffle directly into one of the headphones.” The headphones also fold for compact storage, and weigh 1.6 oz. The Monster iFreePlay Cordless Headphones are available now and sell for $50.

AT&T to offer prepaid iPhone service?

Apple’s iPhone may be available with prepaid cellular service, according to a report from a mobile industry insider blog. The Boy Genius Report has posted screenshots purported to be from an internal AT&T/Cingular system which shows that the iPhone will be available three ways—traditional subscription service, Go Phone Pay As You Go (prepaid), and Go Phone Pick Your Plan (hybrid). If true, prepaid iPhone service would allow consumers to purchase and use the iPhone without signing a lengthy AT&T service plan or dropping their current carrier. Prepaid Cingular cards start at $15.

Verizon COO: iPhone response coming ‘late summer’

Speaking with USA Today regarding the company’s decision to pass on becoming the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. distributor, Verizon Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl claims it has an answer to the iPhone waiting in the wings. “We do have a very good response in the mill,” Strigl claimed. “You’ll see that from us in the late summer.” In addition, Stigl believes that the fate of the iPhone rests more with AT&T’s network than with the handset. “The issue is not the Apple-ness of the iPhone itself, but with the cellular network that it is running on,” he stated. “That will be the true test of the iPhone: What will the iPhone experience be?” As part of its exclusive deal with AT&T, Apple is barred from developing a Verizon-compatible CDMA version of the iPhone for the next five years.

‘Lost’ iPod game now available on iTunes [updated]

Apple has released a new iPod video game based on the hit TV series “Lost.” Published by Gameloft S.A., the game lets users “Help Jack search for dynamite, tend to the wounded, and avoid the black smoke. Relive the crash scene, open the hatch, and ultimately try your best to escape from the Others. Immerse yourself in their mysterious world with authentic settings and a genuine storyline created by the writers of the hit show.” The game is compatible with fifth-generation iPods, and is now available from the iTunes Store for $5.

Updated: Additional details and photographs are available in our First Look at Lost.

iPod-like character featured in ‘Transformers’?

According to “Transformers” star Josh Duhamel, the film will feature an iPod-like character. “The Transformer that will steal all the scenes I would say is this little iPod thing, [it’s] crazy,” Duhamel said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s like this crazy little 12-inch iPod that turns into this little killing machine.” The report also noted that it is possible he was speaking of the Transformer villain Soundwave, which originally changed from a robot into a tape deck. “Transformers” is directed by Michael Bay and will hit theaters July 4.

Mix: USA Today, Apple TV & YouTube, EMI, PC World

USA Today placed the iPod eighth on its list of the Top 25 inventions of the last 25 years, behind innovations such as the cell phone, laptop computers, and DVDs. The newspaper celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

A new plugin for modified Apple TVs, called “A Series of Tubes,” allows users to access YouTube videos from the set-top box. The plugin is expected to be available as a download from the AwkwardTV plug-in directory soon.

Music company EMI Group has agreed to an acquisition by private equity firm Terra Firma for £3.2 billion, or approx. $6.4 billion. The deal must still be approved by the company’s shareholders.

PC World has unveiled its list of the Top 100 Products of the Year for 2007, with the Apple TV placing 11th. Strangely absent was the iPhone, which instead received mention as Most Anticipated Product.

Mondo Mint wireless music system announced

Mondo Systems has announced the Mondo Mint, a new wireless music system consisting of a mini Class-D digital amplifier, two bookshelf speakers, a remote control, and a wireless dock designed to remotely stream music from an iPod up to 100 feet away.

“It connects to any major music source to affordably bring great sound to any room—from den to office to dorm room,” says the company. “An included Mondo Mint wireless dock contains proprietary digital wireless technology that allows consumers to uniquely turn their iPod into a remote control. When placed up to 100 feet away from the amp, music can be streamed, volume controlled, play lists managed, and more—from the couch, desk side, or from another room in the home.”

According to Mondo, the system offers iPod, USB, Wireless Audio and Line In connections for use with a PC, Mac, iPod, MP3 player, CD player, satellite radio, TV or video game console. The Mondo Mint system will be available next month for $349.

Questions surround European iPhone launch

With the stateside launch of Apple’s iPhone just weeks away, questions have begun to emerge surrounding the device’s European launch. Despite the handset being months from hitting store shelves, almost half of European iPod owners would consider the iPhone as their next mobile, according to a survey conducted by Canalys, a Reading, England-based research firm. A key factor in which carrier will offer the iPhone in Europe is whether or not the European version of the handset includes 3G mobile network technology. Apple has already stated that the US version of the phone will not include 3G, instead opting for the more widespread GPRS/EDGE.

If the European version of the iPhone does include 3G, carriers likely to offer the device include 3, a network offering 3G service in Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, and T-Mobile, which offers 3G service in Austria, Britain, and Germany. “Both these operators are the most forward-thinking in how 3G telephones should be brought to consumers,” said Carolina Milanesi, a mobile phone analyst for Gartner in London. “They have the appropriate and futuristic business models necessary for the iPhone already in place.” Vodafone, previously rumored as an Apple suitor, is Europe’s largest service provider.

AT&T pushes Cingular rebranding ahead of iPhone

AT&T has announced that it will accelerate its rebranding campaign at Cingular wireless stores to better take advantage of the iPhone’s launch. The company will replace the Cingular name with new AT&T signage in the interior its 1800 shops, ahead of the iPhone launch in late June. “The iPhone is one of the most anticipated handsets ever in the wireless industry, and we want to make sure that every drop of equity from the iPhone accrues to the AT&T brand,” AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. “We want to be as far along as possible with our rebranding in advance of the launch of the iPhone.” Cingular signage found on the outside of the stores will remain unchanged for now.

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