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Ministry of Sound micro system packs iPod dock

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Ministry of Sound has released its MOSMC1319 Micro System, the latest stereo from the company to sport an iPod Dock. In addition to the Dock, which features the ability to charge the iPod while attached, the 1319 features 2 x 10 watts RMS power, a FM tuner, USB, a VFD function display, an SD/MMC card slot, MP3 and WMA compatibility, a built-in CD player, preset equalizer, and a full remote control. The Ministry of Sound MOSMC1319 Micro System is available now and sells for £87.99, or around $178. [via Engadget]

Mix: Helium, Google, Virgin, Ramones, Woz

  • September 25, 2007

Helium Digital has announced the launch of its new HD-005 3.5mm Headphone adapter, which allows all headphones that use a standard 3.5mm headphone jack to be used with the iPhone’s recessed headphone port. The HD-005 adapter sells for $4.

Google has launched a new iPhone-specific interface for its Google Calendar application. The new interface can be accessed by visiting calendar.google.com from the iPhone or iPod touch.

iTunes competitor Virgin Digital has announced that it is shutting down next month. The online music subscription and download service said U.K. users with more than one month of outstanding subscriptions will get a refund, but unused credits for song downloads should be used and won’t be refunded. U.S. users will be able to use their credits on Napster’s music download service.

Richard Reinhardt, former drummer for The Ramones, has sued Apple and others for copyright infringement, claiming the companies lacked permission to sell downloads of six songs he authored. Reinhardt is seeking at least $900,000 in damages.

In a recent interview, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak criticized the timing of Apple’s decision to drop the iPhone’s price by $200. “Nobody expects a product to drop that much in price in such a short time,” said Wozniak. “Steve Jobs and everyone expects technology to drop in price. The first adopters always pay a premium. I am one of them. I am used to that. But that one was too soon, too harsh.”

Amazon launches public beta of DRM-free music download store

Amazon has launched a public beta of Amazon MP3, its new digital music download store offering DRM-free 256kbps MP3 files. According to Amazon, the service boasts “Earth’s biggest selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads.” The service currently offers over two million songs from more than 180,000 artists. Individual tracks are available for $.89 or $.99, with full albums available from $5.99 to $9.99. In addition, the company is offering its Amazon MP3 Downloader, a helper application that seamlessly adds users’ MP3s to their iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries.

Vaja delivers i-Volution Crystal 2 case for iPhone

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Vaja has announced the release of its i-Volution Crystal 2 for iPhone, a new leather case featuring an engraved design with embedded Swarovski crystals. The i-Volution Crystal 2’s case design is based on the i-Volution Top Holster for iPhone, with the Crystal 2 differentiated by engraved designs on its back and front, both adorned with Swarovski crystals. The Vaja i-Volution Crystal 2 is available in one of two designs, in a multitude of hues, and with crystals in one of seven user-selectable colors. The Vaja i-Volution Crystal 2 leather case for iPhone is available now; pricing starts at $220.

Tunewear reveals Icewear for iPhone

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Tunewear has introduced its Icewear silicone case for iPhone. The Icewear for iPhone is made from high-density silicone, and features Tunewear’s patented rib technology for a more secure grip. Other features include embossed edges around the screen to prevent scratching, included Tunefilm clear protective film for added screen protection, and complete access to the iPhone’s ports and controls. Tunewear Icewear for iPhone will be available in October and will sell for $30.

Myvu solo plus offers iPod touch, classic, 3G nano compatibility

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Myvu Corporation has introduced its Myvu solo plus, the latest addition to its line of personal media viewers. The Myvu solo plus features an Apple authorization chip that allows it to be used with the iPod touch, iPod classic, and iPod nano (with video), as well as with fifth-generation iPods. Kip Kokinakis, president and CEO of Myvu, said, “We’re proud to introduce Myvu solo plus with support for Apple’s new iPod line just weeks after the new models were introduced, so our customers can stay on top of the latest technologies as they happen.” Other features include a pendant for power and picture control, built-in noise canceling in-ear earbuds, a low-profile design so users can see their surroundings, and a lightweight rechargeable battery that provides up to four hours of play time on a single charge. The Myvu solo plus will be available in early October and will sell for $200.

Apple announces more iPhone Tech Talks

Apple has announced more iPhone Tech Talks for Apple Developer Connection members. The talks offer “in-depth technical information on how to optimize your Web 2.0 application and content to take advantage of the features and capabilities of iPhone.” The free one-day seminars are scheduled to take place in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Atlanta in October and November. For more information on the talks or to sign up, visit the iPhone Tech Talks page.

Apple warns against iPhone unlocking, software update coming later this week [updated]

Apple today released a statement regarding the use of iPhone unlocking programs and the changes they make to the iPhone. Apple claims that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available online cause “irreparable damage” to the iPhone’s software, and that a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update will likely cause modified iPhones to become “permanently inoperable.” The company also revealed that it will release the next iPhone software update, containing “many” new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, later this week. Apple went on to strongly discourage iPhone owners from installing unauthorized unlocking programs, and gave the following warning to those still considering the option: “Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.”

Update: Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, has made a statement clarifying the company’s intentions regarding the warning. “This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked,” Schiller said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences.”

EyeTV 2.5 update brings Wi-Fi video streaming for iPhone, iPod touch

Elgato has released EyeTV 2.5, a free update to its EyeTV 2 television software. EyeTV 2.5 offers WiFi Access, a feature that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to connect to, browse, and play back recorded programs directly from the device over a local Wi-Fi network. In addition, EyeTV 2.5 features one-click export for iPhone and iPod touch, and can also automatically export to iPhone when scheduled recordings have completed. Other changes include improved H.264 HDTV playback performance, the ability to record from the live TV buffer, and IPTV support for Freebox. EyeTV 2.5 is a free update for all EyeTV 2.0 users; a full download of EyeTV runs $80.

Vivendi labels Apple’s contact terms ‘indecent’

Speaking at a media gathering in France, Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy called the terms of Apple’s iTunes Store contract “indecent,” claiming that the iPod maker’s share of iTunes sales is too large. “The split between Apple and (music) producers is indecent ... Our contracts give too good a share to Apple,” Levy said. He also called for variable pricing, stating “We should have a differentiated price system.” In July, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group announced that it would not renew its long-term iTunes contract, deciding instead to renew its music distribution contracts with Apple on a monthly basis.

iPhone beats N95, HTC Touch in usability test

The iPhone soundly bested both the Nokia N95 and HTC Touch in a recent usability test by Perceptive Sciences, a Texas-based usability consulting firm. The test, which was designed to be as objective as possible, asked ten people who had never used any of the three devices to perform simple tasks, such as setting the phone to vibrate, making a call, saving a phone number to the contact list, sending a brief e-mail, and taking a photo. Completion times for each task were recorded and compared; based on these results and the scientists’ observations, a score of between one and five was awarded. Overall, the iPhone received a score of 4.6 out of 5, compared to the HTC Touch’s score of 3.4 and the N95’s score of 3.2. “Testers were [typically] about twice as fast doing specific tasks on the iPhone, which is pretty remarkable,” said senior research scientist Tom Thornton. The iPhone was triumphant in all but one of the five testing categories, losing to the Nokia N95 in “Functionality.”

iStyles unveils accessories for new iPods

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iStyles has introduced several new accessories for the iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (with video). A multitude of different designs are available on iStyles Skins for iPod classic and iPod nano (with video), vinyl coverings for the players that feature removable adhesive backing. They sell for $7 and $6, respectively; Skins for the iPod touch will be available at a later date. iStyles Sleeves for iPod touch and iPod classic come in a variety of fabrics and designs, and are handmade, featuring micro-fiber cloth interior lining. They sell for $10. iStyles Silicone cases for the iPod classic are available in seven different colors and feature cut-outs for access to the headphone jack, hold switch, and Dock connector, Click Wheel protection, and included screen protector. Available for both 80GB and 160GB models, they sell for $15 each.

Sony intros iPod-ready car stereos

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Sony has announced three new iPod-ready in-dash head units, including the CDX-GT420IP CD receiver, which comes with an iPod control interface. The CDX-GT420IP includes a 4.9-foot cable with Dock Connector that allows for full control of a connected iPod from the unit. Other features include a built-in amplifier providing 52 watts of power per channel, MP3, WMA, and ATRAC3plus compatibility, a front-panel auxiliary input, one set of preamp outputs, and EQ3 audio equalization. The Sony CDX-GT420IP CD receiver is available now and sells for $130. In addition, Sony also announced the iPod-ready CDX-GT520 ($140) and CDX-GT320 ($100), both of which require the $50 XA-120IP iPod adapter for full iPod control.

Starbucks plans iTunes promos, 50 million song giveaway

In an effort to further its partnership with Apple to provide free wireless iPhone and iPod touch access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, which begins on October 2 with access in 600 New York and Seattle-area locations, Starbucks today announced a number of promotions aimed at expanding the purchase of company-picked music from iTunes.

Most notably, Starbucks will give away 1.5 million iTunes downloads per day from October 2 to November 7, totalling 50 million downloads by the end of the promotion. Each day, over 10,000 Starbucks locations will hand out “Song of the Day” cards allowing customers to download one free track from an artist such as Bob Dylan, Joss Stone, Dave Matthews, Bebel Gilberto, John Mayer, KT Tunstall, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Keith Urban or Paul McCartney.

U.S.-based locations of Starbucks will also begin to sell iTunes Digital Release Cards, which will include not only full albums from selected artists, but also bonus materials such as videos, music videos, bonus tracks and/or digital booklets, depending on the release. The Card must be activated at the Starbucks, and its contents downloaded on a Mac or PC. Starbucks will also offer the “Starbucks Card Plus Two,” a reloadable restaurant card that also entitles the purchaser to download two tracks of his or her choice from the U.S. iTunes Store.

Interestingly, Starbucks also confirmed that its iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store partnership enables users to access the Store not only from the iPhone and iPod touch, but also through laptops running iTunes software. As such, wireless access to iTunes with any of these devices won’t require either a hotspot login or payment of connection fees.

Ambrosia Software releases iToner 1.0.2

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Ambrosia Software has released iToner 1.0.2, the latest update to its custom iPhone ringtone application. iToner allows iPhone owners to use any MP3 or AAC audio files they like as ringtones, bypassing Apple’s recent attempts, in the form of iTunes 7.4.1 and 7.4.2, to prevent exactly that, and force owners into using iTunes Store-purchased ringtones. iToner 1.0.2 adds “continued iTunes 7.4.x compatibility, playlist improvements, along with other fixes and enhancements.” A free download 30-day trial of iToner is available; a full license costs $15. iToner requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later.

Noreve debuts Tradition leather case for 3G nano

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Noreve has taken the wraps off its Tradition leather case for iPod nano (with video). The Tradition features a hand crafted leather outer, cloth interior lining, a padded design, openings in the leather for access to the Click Wheel, Dock connector, headphone jack, and hold switch, a magnetic closure for the flip-down front cover, and a removable 360-degree rotating belt clip. The Noreve Tradition leather case for iPod nano (with video) is avialable now in a wide variety of colors and sells for 36€, or about $50.

PDair rolls out Aluminum Case for 3G iPod nano

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PDair has introduced its Aluminum Metal Case for iPod nano (with video). The metal case features neoprene inner lining, cutouts for access to the headphone jack, hold switch, Click Wheel, and Dock connector, and an included neck strap. The PDair Aluminum Case for iPod nano (with video) is now available for pre-order in either black or silver and sells for $25.

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Wrappers updates Sleeves with new fabrics, models

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Wrappers has introduced a new line of Shiny Sleeves, simple slide-on iPod coverings made from polished polyurethane to match Apple’s new metallic iPod classic and iPod touch designs. Wrappers’ Shiny Sleeves feature 100% Thai silk lining in a choice of four colors, and sell for £14, or around $28. In addition, Wrappers has also added iPod classic and iPod touch sleeves to its line of Alcantara cases. The Alcantara Sleeves are lined with microfiber, have an optional band, and sell for £11, or around $22.

Mix: Nordic iPhone, Budclicks, Trade-In, SendStation, Hearing Loss

  • September 21, 2007

Nordic network operators TeliaSonera and Telenor have both told Dow Jones Newswires that they are “very interested in the iPhone,” and are both in talks with Apple regarding the handset. “We have seen immense interest in the iPhone from our customers,” said Anders Krokan, Telenor spokesman. “We are still in talks, but I doubt we would be able to offer the iPhone this year.”

Earclicks LLC. has introduced its Budclicks line of decorative accessories that clip on to standard iPod earphones. Prices start at $6.

Your Electronic Warehouse is offering a $20 Trade-In program for iPod owners. Users who send in their pack-in Apple iPod Earphones will receive a $20 credit good on any electronics or golf purchase of $75 or over.

SendStation is currently giving away 1000 of its PocketDock FireWire iPod accessories through its online store; customers need only pay for shipping. In addition, it’s also offering a 33 percent discount on its PocketDock AV accessory, which brings its price to $25.

The Hearing Loss Association of America has filed formal complaints with the FCC over the iPhone’s lack of hearing aid compatibility. “The phone [is] not usable with a hearing aid, either on the microphone or telecoil setting,” said Brenda Battat, the HLAA’s associate executive director. “Clearly, it was not designed to be hearing aid compatible. It should have been.”

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