Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced its new HybridShell for iPod nano. The HybridShell is a new case that combines a clear polycarbonate front shell with a textured rubber back — the silicone backing provides grip, while the clear plastic front allows the nano’s color to show through. The HybridShell features the same snap-on backing as previous DLO nano shells, and offers access to the nano’s Click Wheel, hold switch, headphone port, and Dock Connector. “DLO brings you the best of both worlds with the HybridShell. Its unique combination of a textured rubber back and sleek polycarbonate front gives you the sturdy, no-slip grip of a silicone case with the sleek style of a hard shell front that won’t hide the personality of your iPod,” said Marcia Germ, director of product development for DLO. The DLO HybridShell for the second-generation iPod nano is available with either a black or pink backing and sells for $15.
Pacific Design and fashion designer Chloe Dao, winner of “Project Runway” Season 2, have introduced the Chloe Dao Collection, which includes six cases designed for the iPod, iPod nano, and iPhone. The Chloe Dao Nano Wallet features in-case access to the Click Wheel, all ports, and the hold button, interior organization sleeves for ID, credit cards, money, etc., integrated headphone cord management, and a bungee cord strap. The Chloe Dao Contour Molded Sleeve for iPod nano features a built-in Lexan screen protector, access to all controls and ports, a detachable wristlet, and fits first- and second-generation iPod nanos. The Chloe Dao Contour Molded Sleeve for iPod features a sewn-in Lexan screen protector, access to all controls and ports, a detachable wristlet and fits 30, 60, and 80GB fifth-generation iPods. All three cases are available in three different prints — Blue/Red Pinstripe, Retro, and Small Heels — and sell for $20.
iPhone cases include the Chloe Dao iPhone Vertical Pouch, which features polyurethane construction, in-case access to the headphone port, a magnetic snap closure, poly-cotton velvet lining, and a removable wristlet. The Chloe Dao iPhone Horizontal Pouch offers the same features as the Vertical Pouch, but in a landscape orientation. Finally, the Chloe Dao iPhone Flip Case features a dual design that can be used with or without the flip cover, in-case access to the device’s buttons, headphone port, and camera, a protective LCD surround steel wire frame, a hidden magnet closure, poly-cotton velvet lining, and a detachable wristlet. All Chloe Dao iPhone cases are available in Blue/Red Pinstripe, Retro, and Small Heels prints — except the Vertical Pouch, which is not available in Retro — and all three are priced at $30.
ESPN has launched an iPhone-specific version of its PodCenter podcast listings. The interface can be accessed by visiting espn.com from an iPhone and features more than 25 podcasts.
Popular social networking site Facebook has also launched an iPhone-specific interface. It can be accessed from the iPhone at iphone.facebook.com.
Nike’s Amp+ iPod-controlling watch has appeared on the FCC’s website. The black watch connects to the iPod nano through the Nike+iPod Sport Kit.
French wireless service provider Orange has declined to comment on recent reports claiming that it has won the license to carry the iPhone in France. “Orange has no comment to make on the rumors about the iPhone,” a spokeswoman for the carrier said in an e-mailed statement.
Energizer Holdings has introduced its Energizer Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod, a battery-based portable power source. The Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod runs off of two Energizer e2 Lithium AA batteries, and features a patented control chip that maximizes power transfer to the iPod. In testing, the device provided 46 hours of music playback on the iPod nano and more than 32 hours of music playback on the iPod with video. The device also features a flip design that allows it to function as a stand during charging. “For many consumers, digital music players are an essential,” said Mike Rivard, Energizer General Manager, New Products. “They don’t go anywhere without their iPods. This new Energizer Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod allows them to know that whether they’re on a plane, at the beach, or anywhere in between, their music will keep going.” The Energizer Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod will be priced around $30 when it goes on sale this fall.
Scosche Industries has announced it is shipping a new OEM iPod interface for select 2004-up Lexus, Toyota, and Scion vehicles. The interface, named AXIPTA, allows full control of the iPod through the factory radio. Control features include full text scrolling, full iPod menu navigation including artist, genre, album and song title, seek up and down, and volume control through the factory radio. The interface also includes an additional universal RCA audio input, and features plug-n-play installation with all the necessary harnesses included. “We are pleased to add the Toyota interface to our family of OEM integration products,” said Kas Alves, vice president, sales and marketing, Scosche Industries. “Our new interfaces allow consumers to upgrade their factory radios to control their iPod and our AXIPTA allows the user more flexibility. We are proud to bring another first-to-market product with our newest Toyota interface.” The Scosche AXIPTA is available now for $200.
ZAGG Inc, makers of invisibleSHIELD, has announced its entry into the electronics accessories market with the RockStic portable speaker system for iPod. The RockStic features a tube-shaped aluminum body, an integrated iPod Dock, line-in for other audio sources, AC or battery power, and an included full-function remote. “The digital media revolution is about mobility and enjoying your music wherever you go. The unmatched convenience of the battery-powered RockStic coupled with its rich sound, allows music lovers to take their favorite tunes with them without any restrictions,” said Robert Pedersen II, President and CEO of ZAGG. The RockStic is available in silver, black, and pink, and normally sells for $70, but is currently offered at the “Intro Price” of $50.
John Lennon’s solo catalog has been made available on the iTunes Store. Among the offerings are sixteen of Lennon’s solo works, including the “Lennon Legend” and “Acoustic” collections, which are making their worldwide digital debuts. The albums “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,” “Sometime in New York City,” “Walls and Bridges,” “Milk and Honey” and the collections “Anthology” and “Working Class Hero” will also include exclusive video content for a period of 30 days. “John would have loved the fact that his music will now be available in a format suited to a new generation of listeners,” said Yoko Ono. “John Lennon is one of the greatest artists of our time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to have his solo catalog available on the iTunes Store for the first time.” As part of EMI’s DRM-free initiative, Lennon’s solo works are also available as iTunes Plus downloads for $1.29 per song.
After an extended delay, Numark has announced a date for its iDJ2 iPod DJ mixing console. The iDJ2 features a Universal iPod Dock, and the ability to scratch, control pitch, key-lock, and simultaneously play two songs from a single iPod. Other features include a full-color screen, XLR and RCA connections, line inputs, and USB ports. In addition, the iDJ2 features a special iPod Direct Mode function that allows users to play all iPod-supported music including songs purchased from the iTunes Store. The Numark iDJ2 will be available in September with a street price of around $600.
Disney Consumer Products has introduced two new iPod boomboxes. The speakers, available in Hannah Montana and High School Musical models, feature an integrated iPod Dock, a digital AM/FM tuner, projection of time and radio station on the ceiling, two 2- or 2.5-inch drivers with 2.5-3 watts per channel, and a smart/self timer chip. The Hannah Montana model resembles a guitar amp and is purple and silver, the High School Musical model is bright red and resembles a school locker. Both systems will be available at major retailers this fall and will sell for $70.
Monster has announced the launch of three new iPod-related products — the Wireless Audio Bridge, the iSlimCharger for iPod shuffle, and the iCarCharger 200. The Monster Wireless Audio Bridge for iPod is a two-piece wireless audio transmission system that uses 2.4 GHz technology to connect the iPod with an audio bridge that is hooked into a home audio system. It features a compact transmitter with a 30-ft range, and will sell for $100 when it ships in mid-October. The iSlimCharger for iPod shuffle is a compact charging accessory that allows the shuffle, with charger attached, to be plugged directly into a USB port. It features 24k gold contacts, a rugged housing, and will be priced at $15 when it becomes available at the beginning of September. The Monster iCarCharger 200 is an in-car iPod charger that features a hardwired minijack cable for better audio quality. It will retail for $60 when it ships in mid October.
At this weekend’s C-4 developer conference, two coders from the Ecamm Network managed to produce a functioning video conferencing application for the iPhone. The application requires a modified mirror to overcome the fact that the iPhone’s camera faces the wrong direction for conferencing. Currently, the application does not handle audio, although the developers point out that the application can run while using the phone on speaker, allowing for audio alongside the video. Neither the completed application nor the source code for the project is currently available; the developers say to “check back.”
H2O Audio has announced the release of the iS2, a waterproof case designed for the second-generation iPod shuffle. The iS2 is rated for submersion up to 10ft., and features a patented built-in control pad that provides full access to the shuffle’s controls, even when submerged. In addition, the iS2 comes with a sport armband, and is fully compatible with H2O Audio’s Underwater Headphones, as well as standard headphones. “Our iS2 waterproof case mirrors the Shuffle’s sleek design and provides inexpensive yet durable waterproof protection for all environmental conditions,” said Kristian Rauhala, CEO of H2O Audio. The H2O Audio iS2 waterproof case for the second-generation iPod shuffle is now available for pre-order and sells for $40.
Griffin Technology has announced several new color options for its Tempo for iPod shuffle and Streamline and Reflect cases for iPod nano. The Tempo armband for iPod shuffle is now available in pink, and sells for $15. The Streamline armband for iPod nano is also available in pink, and is priced at $30. Finally, the Reflect hard-shell case for iPod nano is now offered in Pink and Blue, and sells for $25.
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DICE Electronics has introduced its iTPA-220 iPod tube amplifier system. The system features dual 6N3 tubes for an analog sound, an integrated iPod Dock with charging capabilities, an included remote control, video out, and auxiliary-in. The included active speakers feature a 2x20 watt solid state amplifier, 4-inch mid/bass drivers and 1-inch dome tweeters, bass reflex ports for increased bass response, and 1/8” audio in/outs for connecting the speakers to the preamp. The DICE iTPA-220 will launch in September for $300, pre-orders are now being taken.
Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, several online reports, as well as a discussion thread on Apple’s support site, indicate that some iPhone owners are experiencing what are being referred to as “dead spots” on the device’s touch-screen. An analyst report has claimed that the rights for the iPhone’s touch-screen technology were purchased from a bankrupt Finnish company that was trying to make a similar device. That company is said to have encountered the problem that with extensive use, the screen’s heat-receptive film would begin to degrade and the screen would lose its sensitivity. Apple, while not yet publicly acknowledging the issue, has reportedly been very quick to replace or repair the problem units. If you have any abnormalities with your iPhone’s touch-screen, please let us know in the comments.
Apple has launched My iTunes Widgets, small self-updating add-ons for web pages, social-networking profiles, or blogs. Described as “an effortless way to keep your friends up-to-date with your favorite music, TV shows, movies, and more,” the widgets require users to sign into their iTunes account, click “Enable My iTunes,” choose the size, content, and color theme of their widget, and paste the resulting code where desired. The widgets can show “My iTunes Purchases,” a listing of the most recent music, music videos, TV shows, and movies purchased from the iTunes Store, “My iTunes Reviews,” which lists music, music videos, TV shows, and movies rated higher than three stars, or “My iTunes Favorites,” which shows the artists whose music the user has purchased the most from iTunes. My iTunes Widgets can be embedded on any Flash-enabled website; the My iTunes feed is also compatible with most common RSS or ATOM readers.
Apple has begun airing two new iPhone television commercials. The first, “Instead,” tells listeners that “instead of carrying an iPod and a phone… why not carry an iPod, with all your favorite music, and movies, in your phone.” The second spot, “Amazing,” says “It’s amazing what fits in a pocket these days… your favorite music, all your email, today’s newspaper (as it shows the New York Times web page), endless entertainment, and of course, a phone.” Both ads are available for viewing on Apple.com.
Universal Music Group has announced plans to begin selling DRM-free tracks from select artists such as Sting, 50 Cent and Stevie Wonder, for a limited time. The tracks, which are to be available as unrestricted MP3s, will be sold on the artists’ websites and through several online retailers, such as RealNetworks, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, and Google. The DRM-free tracks will not be available, however, through iTunes. Some believe that this is a move by Universal to undermine Apple’s overwhelming lead in this market; Universal claims that it is using the iTunes Store as a control group for measuring the impact of DRM-free sales on pricing, piracy and sales. “There’s no doubt these guys are poking a stick at Apple,” said Michael Gartenberg, analyst for Jupiter Research.
Universal Music Chairman and CEO Doug Morris said the test is one of several the company is conducting this year and “will provide valuable insights into the implications of selling our music in an open format.” “Universal Music Group is committed to exploring new ways to expand the availability of our artists’ music online, while offering consumers the most choice in how and where they purchase and enjoy our music,” Morris said. The tracks will be available from Aug. 21 to Jan. 31.
An interesting video has appeared online, showing a mockup of how a Copy and Paste feature might work on the iPhone.
iPhoneology has discovered images in the iPhone’s SpringBoard application that suggest possible widget and Spotlight (search) features for the handheld.
Mac OS X Hints has a handy tip on using the iPhone’s own voicemail feature to record voice memos by leaving yourself a message.
Blogger Tarkan Adams has successfully installed a Compact Flash interface in a 5G iPod, replacing the 30GB hard drive with a 4GB CF card.
e2Sync has qualified its e2Entourage for use with the iPhone. The software works with Apple’s iSync application to provide synchronization of contacts and calendars between the iPhone and Microsoft Entourage.