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Belkin debuts cases for new iPod nano, classic, and touch

Belkin has announced its first cases for the third-generation iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch. The Sport Armband Plus ($30) will be available for the iPod nano, classic, and touch, and is made from breathable, water-wicking Coolmax material. Features include a cable capsule to help manage and store earphones, an included pocket for key or earbud storage, a clear screen and navigation protector, and an adjustable hook-fastening system for universal fit. The Sport Armband for iPod nano, classic ($20), and touch ($30) loses the Plus’ cable capsule, is made from neoprene instead of Coolmax, and uses a Velcro closure as opposed to the Plus’ hook-fastening system.

The Remix Acrylic Case for iPod nano ($25), iPod classic, and iPod touch ($30) features True-sense Click Wheel protection, and clear polycarbonate construction. The Remix Metal for iPod nano ($25) and iPod classic ($30) boasts the Acrylic Case’s True-sense Click Wheel protection, aluminum construction, machine-etched details, and will be available in silver, black, blue, and pink. The Leather Sleeve for iPod nano ($25), iPod classic, and iPod touch ($30), features a unique one-seam design, leather outer with soft-suede lining, a secure Velcro strap attachment, access to the hold switch and Dock Connector, integrated screen and Click Wheel protection, and will be available in black, chocolate, and cameo pink. The Leather Folio for iPod nano ($25), iPod classic, and iPod touch ($30) features a leather outer with suede lining, a screen protector and magnetic closure, access to the hold switch and Dock Connector, and will be available in black/chocolate, pink/chocolate, and persimmon/bone. Finally, the Silicone case for iPod nano ($15), iPod classic, and iPod touch ($20) features a form-fitting design with an extra layer of silicone, and will be available in black, pink and blue. All the above cases are expected to hit stores in early October 2007.

Jobs on NBC Uni dispute, iPhone price drop

In two separate interviews yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made comments regarding both the company’s recent dispute with NBC Universal and yesterday’s announcement of a $200 price drop on the iPhone. Speaking about NBC, Jobs said, “We hope they’ll reconsider their decisions over time and maybe find out that iTunes and iPods are a great way to digitally distribute their content to tens or maybe hundreds of millions of customers around the world.”

In an interview with USA Today‘s Jefferson Graham and Edward C. Baig, Jobs was asked, “What do you say to customers who just bought a new iPhone for $599? Sorry?” He responded, “That’s technology. If they bought it this morning, they should go back to where they bought it and talk to them. If they bought it a month ago, well, that’s what happens in technology.” He also responded to a question regarding iPhone manufacturing costs relative to the price drop, saying, “We’re in high-volume manufacturing, and we’re pretty good on the costs side. We’re also willing to be more aggressive… The product’s been extremely well accepted; we want to put the pedal to the metal. A holiday season is approaching; we’d have to wait another year for another one.”

Apple posts QuickTime stream of ‘Beat Goes On’ event

Apple is now offering a QuickTime video-on-demand version of its “The Beat Goes On” Special Event held yesterday in San Francisco. The video runs nearly one and a half hours, and includes Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ introductions of the new iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch, as well as an appearance by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

iLounge posts videos of iPods touch, classic, nano and iTunes ringtones

We’ve just posted the first full videos of the interfaces for the new iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and the ringtone creation interface in iTunes 7.4.

You’ll find lots of new details inside each of the videos, including the Safari Debug mode we found on the iPod touch, and much more. Enjoy!

‘The Beat Goes On’ event gallery posted

We have posted our official photo gallery from today’s Apple special event in our Galleries section. This new gallery features more than 240 photos from before, during, and after the event, including photos of Apple’s latest releases, the iPod touch, iPod classic, and third-generation iPod nano.

Apple posts iPod touch guided tour, kills iPod Hi-Fi?

Apple has posted a guided tour of the new iPod touch. Like the iPhone guided tours, the iPod touch guided tour walks users through the various features of the new iPod. Features covered in the tour include the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, Music, Video, Photos, Safari, and YouTube. The guided tour is available for viewing on Apple’s website; it can also be downloaded in both iPod-friendly and “Large” sizes.

In addition, it appears that Apple today has in effect discontinued its iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. Although it can still be found on Apple’s iPod accessory page, the link on that page leads to an error page, that says “The item you have selected is currently not available from the Apple Store.” Also, we were unable to find the system anywhere on the company’s online store. Apple has not yet officially announced the discontinuation of the system.

Apple intros new iPod accessories

Apple today introduced several new iPod accessories to correspond with the new iPod models. The iPod nano Armband is designed for the new third-generation iPod nano, and features an all-grey body with clear window providing access to the device’s controls. It sells for $29 and is available now. imageThe new Apple Universal Dock with Remote features a smaller, pill-shaped IR sensor, an included Apple Remote, and sells for $49. Estimated shipping times on the Dock are listed at 3-4 weeks. Finally, Apple also introduced new Composite and Component AV Cables for iPod, which combine a USB connector for charging with industry-standard AV cables, which run from the iPod’s Dock Connector. Both include a USB Power Adapter, and sell for $49.

Apple announces music partnership with Starbucks

Alongside all-new iPods and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, Apple today also announced an exclusive partnership with Starbucks that lets users access the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on their iPod touch or iPhone, or PC or Mac running iTunes, at participating locations. When a user enters a participating location, their device will automatically recognize the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store using a high-speed Wi-Fi wireless network with no connection fee or hotspot login. Customers will have full access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, including a new “Now Playing” service which displays the name of the song playing in the Starbucks store at that moment.

“Getting free access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and the ‘Now Playing’ service at Starbucks is a great way for customers to discover new music,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Imagine walking into a participating Starbucks, hearing a great song, and being able to instantly download it onto your iPod or iPhone. We think this is very cool.”

“With this partnership, we’re bringing Apple’s leadership in digital music together with not only our retail footprint, but the unique Starbucks experience, to offer customers a world-class digital music experience,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Introducing this new service is a natural extension of our music strategy which only enhances the retail coffee experience for customers by helping them discover and acquire new music instantly.”

The service will make its debut at more than 600 Starbucks company-operated locations in New York and Seattle on October 2, and will continue its national rollout to 350 Starbucks stores in the San Francisco Bay area on November 7; 500 stores in Los Angeles in early February 2008; 300 stores in Chicago in March 2008; and additional markets throughout the US later in 2008.

Apple unveils iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, iTunes 7.4, custom ringtones from iTunes tracks

At its special event today, Apple introduced the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, which offers users the ability to browse, search, preview, purchase, and download songs directly from their Wi-Fi-enabled iPod touch or iPhone. The purchased music is downloaded directly to the user’s device, and is transferred back into their iTunes Library the next time the iPod or iPhone is synced with the user’s computer. Prices and selection on the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store are the same as on the regular iTunes Store. “The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is really fun—you can browse, search, freely preview, buy and instantly download music right onto your iPod touch or iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Innovative products like this keep iTunes at the forefront of the digital music revolution.”

Apple also released iTunes 7.4 today, the latest update to the company’s music jukebox software. The updated software features a larger viewing area for video, filling the entire iTunes window for a better playback experience. In addition, users can also now rate entire albums as well as songs. iTunes 7.4 is available immediately as a free download though Apple’s Software Update application and at

Apple today also announced the ability for users to create custom ringtones from music purchased from the iTunes Store. This $0.99 option allows users to select up to a 30-second segment from over one million participating songs on iTunes and sync them to their iPhone. This works on both newly- and previously-purchased tracks. Users can personalize their ringtones by choosing which portion of the song they want to use, and by setting custom fade in and fade out points. Customers still have full use of the originally purchased song. Both the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and custom iTunes ringtones for iPhone will be available later this month.

Apple announces major updates to iPod family, cuts iPhone price

Apple today announced major updates to the iPod family at its “The Beat Goes On” special event in San Francisco. The iPod shuffle saw a refresh with new colors and packaging, an all-new iPod nano was introduced, as well as the iPod classic (which replaces the original “iPod” in the company’s lineup), and the all-new iPod touch.

imageiPod shuffle: The new iPod shuffle is available in several new colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED model, light green, light blue, and light purple. The smallest iPod also received updated, smaller packaging, while storage capacity remains at 1GB for the same price of $79. It will be available soon.

imageiPod nano: The all-new iPod nano is the same product shown in earlier spy shots, with a 2-inch, 204 pixel per inch, 320x240 resolution screen for video and photo viewing. The all-new design is made from anodized aluminum and polished stainless steel, and is available in five colors: silver, black, blue, green, and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition. It offers 24 hours of audio playback or five hours of video playback on a single charge, and includes three bundled games: Vortex, iQuiz, and Klondike. The new iPod nano also receives an enhanced iPod interface with Cover Flow. It will be available in two storage capacities — a silver-only 4GB model for $149, and an 8GB model available in all five colors for $199. “We’ve taken the most popular music player in the world and added stunning video playback just in time for the holiday season,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The iPod nano just keeps getting better and better with each new generation.” It is available immediately.

imageiPod classic: Replacing the fifth-generation iPod in the company’s lineup, Apple’s new iPod classic features a new, thinner, all-metal anodized aluminum and polished stainless steel enclosure, the same enhanced iPod interface as the new iPod nano, including Cover Flow, and increased capacity and battery life. “The first iPod put 1,000 songs in your pocket-this new iPod classic can put 40,000 songs in your pocket,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With a thinner, all-metal enclosure and an enhanced user interface, the iPod classic is ideal for people who want to hold everything on their iPod.”

In addition, the iPod classic also comes bundled with three games: Vortex, iQuiz, and Klondike. The new 80GB iPod classic is thinner than the fifth-generation 30GB model, and offers 30 hours of music playback and five hours of video playback. It sells for $249. The 160GB iPod classic offers storage for up to 40,000 songs, up to 40 hours of music playback and seven hours of video playback from a single charge, and sells for $349. Both models are available immediately, in both silver and black.

imageiPod touch: Building on the momentum of the iPhone’s iPod interface, the iPod touch features the same touch screen multi-touch interface found on the iPhone, as well as integrated Wi-Fi, the Safari web browser, a 3.5-inch widescreen display, and a 8mm thin enclosure. The iPod touch offers up to 22 hours of audio playback, up to five hours of video playback, and will be available in both 8GB and 16GB capacities later this month. The 8GB iPod touch is priced at $299, while the 16GB model will sell for $399.

iPhone: Apple also dropped the price of the 8GB iPhone to $399. “The surveys are in and iPhone customer satisfaction scores are higher than we’ve ever seen for any Apple product,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve clearly got a breakthrough product and we want to make it affordable for even more customers as we enter this holiday season.” Apple’s official announcement states that “The iPhone 4GB model will be sold while supplies last,” but does not give any pricing details. Update: Several iLounge readers have reported that Apple is offering the 4GB iPhone model for $299 “While supplies last.”

Mix: NBC, Palm, Zune, birdJam

Follwing its public spat with Apple regarding sales of its TV shows on iTunes, NBC Universal has announced that it has agreed to sell its programming on Amazon’s Unbox download service. Shows such as “Heroes,” “The Office,” and “30 Rock” will be available on Unbox the day after they are shown.

Palm has announced that it is canceling its Foleo  mobile companion product in order to focus on its next generation software platform. The laptop-like device was scheduled for release this year.

Microsoft has announced that it is dropping the price of its Zune MP3 player to $199 from its previous suggested price of $249.

birdJam, the iPod-based bird identification resource, has announced that it has more than doubled its bird identification photography collection through a partnership with bird photographers Brian Small and Robert Royse. The birdJam Definitive Photo Collection is priced at $20.

‘The Beat Goes On’ Apple event live coverage [updated]

The iLounge team is on location at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for today’s Apple special event. We will provide live coverage of the event — a live update page and a live IRC chat are planned. For those of you using IRC software, login to the server and set your channel to #ilounge. Closer to the beginning of the event we will be switching the site over to a “Special Event Edition” to provide faster-loading updates. The special event begins at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET.

Update: The event has concluded. To see the notes from our live coverage, check out

iToner offers hack-free custom iPhone ringtones

Ambrosia Software has introduced its iToner application, a ringtone manager for the iPhone that allows users to add custom ringtones to the handset without the need for any hacks or modifications. The application features a drag-and-drop interface for the creation of ringtones from MP3 or AAC files. iToner requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later and is available as a free demo; a full license costs $15.

Mix: China, PodWorks, Ringtone, Bongo

Several reports today indicate that the iPhone is being sold in China for as much as $1170 in underground electronics markets. The handset has been found in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou; Apple considers such sales to be unauthorized.

Sci-Fi Hi-Fi software has announced iPhone support for its PodWorks iPod song transfer application. PodWorks 2.9.2 is available for $8 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Efiko has released an update to its iPhoneRingToneMaker software which adds support for songs purchased from iTunes for Windows XP users and improved syncing of ringtones with the iPhone. iPhoneRingToneMaker is available for PC and sells for $15.

iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington reports that Ontario-based cell phone retailer Bongo Wireless is now offering an iPhone hardware unlock service. The service comes with a replacement guarantee, includes extra services such as ensured YouTube functionality and installation of an NES emulator, and costs $150 CAD.

iPod accessory makers merge as mStation acquires mophie

Mophie, makers of iPod accessories such as the Bevy keychain case for iPod shuffle, has announced that mStation has acquired the mophie brand name and product line. According to mophie, mStation will continue to manufacture the mophie line of products under the mophie brand, and future mophie products will be designed with the input of the original mophie team. “mStation has the culture and experience to grow the mophie brand. Consolidating the manufacturing and distribution of the two companies is a win-win,” says Ben Kaufman, founder of mophie. “The speed and responsive nature of mophie in this quickly changing market is what attracted us to the company. We are thrilled to bring the two brands together and put the mophie energy to work,” says Ross Howe, Director of Sales and Product Development for mStation.

With the mophie brand owned by mStation, Kaufman and the mophie team will focus full-time on the community-based Illuminator decision making process, which has produced several iPod accessory designs in the past. “Why limit this extraordinary process to iPod accessories when it can be adopted by any organization for virtually every decision making activity?” Kaufman said. “The Illuminator is everything that current social networks lack, harnessing all their pent-up power to actually get things done.”

The acquisition is not the first overlap for the two companies, as mStation’s Creative/Marketing Director, Wm. Marc Salsberry, was one of three winners in Mophie’s Illuminator contest back in January. Salsberry designed a protective iPod or iPhone case that attaches to a bag’s shoulder strap.

iSuppli: iPhone outsells all U.S. smartphones in July

According to research group iSuppli, the iPhone outsold all smartphones in the U.S. in July, accounting for 1.8 percent of all U.S. handset sales. In its first full month on sale, the two models of the iPhone sold more than RIM’s BlackBerry series, the entire Palm line, and any individual smartphone from Motorola, Nokia, or Samsung. In addition, sales of the iPhone equalled those of the LG Chocolate, the most popular feature phone in the U.S., iSuppli said. The firm reiterated its forecast that Apple would sell 4.5 million iPhones this year. “While iSuppli has not collected historical information on this topic, it’s likely that the speed of the iPhone’s rise to competitive dominance in its segment is unprecedented in the history of the mobile-handset market,” iSuppli said. According to the research group, most iPhone buyers in July were college-educated males under the age of 35, and a quarter of iPhone buyers switched operators to purchase the phone.

JBL announces On Stage 3 system, Reference 420 and 610 headphones

JBL has announced both its new On Stage 3 portable iPod speaker system and its new Reference 420 and 610 headphones. The JBL On Stage 3 features an integrated Universal iPod Dock, auxiliary in, four Odyssey speakers with 6-watts-per-channel, a remote control with iPod menu navigation capabilities, interchangeable trim rings, and can be powered by six AA batteries. The JBL On Stage 3 will be available in black or white when it is released in October; pricing information was not available.

imageThe JBL Reference 420 and 610 headphones feature leather ear pads and headbands, advanced transducers, and an included storage case and airline and stereo phono adapters. The Reference 420 headphones also feature a weight of 170g, a single cloth-covered side cable, and an included extension cable. The JBL Reference 610 headphones feature wired or wireless functionality, Bluetooth, ear cup iPod controls, a 1.75m hardwire cable, and included Bluetooth dongle compatible with fourth-generation and later Dock-connecting iPods. Both the JBL Reference 420 and 610 are available now, pricing information was not available.

NBC Universal responds to Apple pulling fall lineup

NBC Universal has issued a statement responding to Apple’s announcement that it will not be offering the network’s fall lineup of programming, due to NBC’s non-renewal of its iTunes contract. In its statement, Apple claimed that contract talks broke down between the two companies due to NBC’s demand to raise wholesale pricing of shows in a manner that would more than double the current price of $1.99 per episode. Cory Shields, executive vice president of communications for NBC Universal, disputed these claims in a prepared statement.

“We never asked to double the wholesale price for our TV shows,” said Shields. “In fact, our negotiations were centered on our request for flexibility in wholesale pricing, including the ability to package shows together in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers.” He added, “It is clear that Apple’s retail pricing strategy for its iTunes service is designed to drive sales of Apple devices, at the expense of those who create the content that make these devices worth buying.” Shields went on to say that NBC also asked Apple to take “concrete steps” to prevent piracy, “since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material.” Apple has yet to respond to the statement.

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