Fabrix has announced the addition of eight new designs to its existing iPod Sleeves Collection. The new designs, chosen to complement the colors of the new iPod family, include: Spring Time, Pink Fuschia, Black Wallpaper, Multi Stripes, Swirly Pop, Oriental Bloom, Oriental Lavender, and Oriental Paisley. Each sleeve features a soft quilted lining for added protection, and a small nylon loop for attaching keyrings, hooks, or carabiners. The new designs will be available in three new sizes for the iPod nano (with video), iPod classic, and iPod touch — namely, the “Fatty Sleeve”, “Classic Sleeve”, and “Touch Sleeve”. All eight new designs and three new sizes are available now; prices start at $20.
ezGear has introduced its new ezWake WK7 Alarm Clock for iPod, the successor to the company’s original WK100 ezWake. The ezWake WK7 features dual alarms, a LED display with dimmer, backlit buttons, a 24-function remote control, the ability to charge the iPod while docked, and the ability to run off AC power or eight D-cell batteries. The ezGear ezWake WK7 Alarm Clock for iPod is available now in black or white and sells for $100. In addition, the WK100 ezWake is available for $90 while supplies last.
Tunewear has announced the opening of the its new web site and company store. The company says the new web site will allow it to better support its customers by opening a direct channel of communication. Intended as a supplement to retail channels, the web store gives Tunewear a place to introduce new products as quickly as possible, and at the same time keep available accessories for legacy iPods, a market that grows with each new generation of iPod. The new Tunewear web store will offer customers wish list functionality in addition to other new features.
In celebration of the new web store, Tunewear is offering a 20 percent discount to iLounge readers. To enjoy the discount, simply enter the code “iLounge07” in the “Promotion Code” area of the Shopping Cart screen. The promotion runs from now until Oct 6.
ZAGG has introduced its latest invisibleSHIELD products for the iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (with video). invisibleSHIELDs for all three models are available as screen or front shields, which cover the screen on the iPod classic and iPod nano, and the entire glass surface of the iPod touch, as well as full body shields, which include specially-cut film that covers not just the front but the side and back of the iPods as well. All invisibleSHIELDs are made from aviation-inspired, scratch-resistant clear urethane film, and carry a lifetime guarantee. ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs for the iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (with video) are available now and range in price from $10-$25.
NBC has announced the launch of its new video service NBC Direct, which allows users to download and watch the network’s primetime and late-night programming for up to one week after broadcast. The service is currently Windows-only; future versions are to support Macs and “portable devices.”
A new version of Navizon Virtual GPS has been released for iPhone, which triangulates a user’s position from Wi-Fi access points and cellular towers, then sends that information to the phone’s Google Maps application. The application is not currently supported by Apple — it requires a “jailbreak” of the iPhone for installation. It is available as a 15 day trial; a full license is $25.
Asked the question “Is unlocking a concern?” at the company’s “Mum” special event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs responded, “It’s a constant cat and mouse game—we have the same thing with the iPod with music.” Jobs then looked at O2 CEO Matthew Key, asking, “Are we the cat or mouse? We have to stay one step ahead of them.”
Korean telecom company KTF is negotiating with Apple to sell the iPhone in South Korea, according to KTF’s CEO Cho Young-chu. “We have been trying to bring the iPhone here, but we have to wait,” Cho said. “The deal is up to the supplier [Apple], not us. Because the (Korean) market is so small, they will not release it until they have confidence in its marketability here.”
French Telecom’s Orange unit has confimed that it will offer the iPhone in France, CNNMoney reports. “We have signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone,” France Telecom’s spokeswoman said. The company also said it will start selling the handset in November, without giving a precise date for the launch. The iPhone is being launched in the U.K. and Germany on Nov. 9. In addition, the company said it “won’t subsidize the iPhone,” but declined to give any pricing details; in Germany, the phone will sell for €399, or around $554. Apple has yet to comment on the announcement.
Marware has introduced two more new cases, the Sportsuit Convertible for iPod classic, and the C.E.O. Premiere for iPod touch. The Sportsuit Convertible for iPod classic is a multi-functional case that features a 3-in-1 design, allowing users to “convert” their case to an adjustable arm-band case, to a belt or shoulder strap clip-on case, or to a slim-profile protective sleeve. Made from orca-skin neoprene, other features include a clear plastic cover for both the screen and Click Wheel, and access to the hold button, Click Wheel, headphone port and Dock connector. The Marware Sportsuit Convertible for iPod classic fits both 80GB and 160GB models, and will be available soon in black, blue or silver. It will sell for $35.
The Marware C.E.O. Premiere for iPod touch is a horizontal “folio”-style case featuring a Nappa leather outer and soft leather interior. It features a notched bottom for easier iPod removal, access to the headphone port and On/Off button, a secure magnetic closure, and a low-profile belt clip. In addition, it includes clear protective film for the touch’s screen and a microfiber cleaning cloth. The Marware C.E.O. Premiere for iPod touch will be available soon and will sell for $30.
Meridian Audio has introduced its iRIS Universal Dock for iPod, offering upscaled video output from the iPod. The iRIS features the Qdeo digital processing engine, which allows the Meridian iRIS to deliver HD-formatted, full-screen video — up to 1080p on HDMI, or 1080i or 720p via the analog component-video outputs — from standard, iPod-compatible video. The iRIS also features standard-definition S-Video and composite video outputs, coaxial and optical digital audio, and headphone and line-level analog audio outputs, an HDMI input with source selection between the iPod and the HDMI source, a USB port for syncing, and an included remote. Meridian co-founder and Chairman Bob Stuart said, “With the Meridian iRIS, Meridian can offer astonishingly good big-screen playback on today’s HD displays, from an affordable device that features simple, ‘dock-and-hit-play’ usability.” The Meridian iRIS Universal Dock for iPod will be available in November for $379.
Though the company has yet to issue an official statement regarding its replacement policies for defective iPod touch devices, Apple today acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg that “a small number of units” have defective screens, an issue that “is being remedied,” according to Mossberg. The columnist noted that “some early iPod Touch units have had defective screens, where images appeared too dark,” but said that “my two test units displayed beautiful images.” iLounge’s review, based upon two store-purchased iPod touch units, highlighted the dark screen problem as one of several affecting the new device.
Some contributors to the iLounge and Apple discussion forums have expressed dismay that Apple Stores have charged them $30 to $40 restocking fees when they’ve attempted to return iPod touch units with dark screens, and that employees have attempted to blame the problems on poor user video encoding and overly high expectations for the screens, amongst other reasons. It is unclear whether Apple will refund the restocking fees in light of the defect, and when guaranteed properly working iPod touch units will be available in stores.
Matias has introduced its Armor for iPhone, the latest addition to its Armor line of hard shell aluminum cases. The Armor for iPhone features an aircraft-grade aluminum outer shell, neoprene interior lining for a secure hold, and access the phone’s touch screen, home, volume, and sleep buttons, sensors, headphone jack, Dock connector, speaker, microphone, and ring/silent switch. In addition, the case includes both an optional neck strap and removable 360-degree swivel belt clip. The Matias Armor for iPhone is available now in silver or black and sells for $30.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced its new PowerBug wall charger for iPod, as well as the DLO Auto Charger for iPod. The DLO PowerBug is a USB charger that powers a variety of USB-based electronics via any AC wall outlet, and features a fold-away design as well as an Intelligent Status Light that glows red or green to indicate its power status. The PowerBug for iPod includes an iPod charging cable for charging all dockable iPods, including the newly-released iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and iPod touch. Available immediately, the DLO PowerBug and PowerBug for iPod are priced at $20 and $25, respectively.
The DLO Auto Charger for iPod is available in black or white, and features an Intelligent Status Light that glows red, amber, or green to show the iPod’s current charging status, Velcro tabs for mounting the iPod near the charger in the car, and a 24-inch coiled cord that stretches to over five feet in length. “Seeing that no new iPods ship with an external power supply in the box, wall chargers continue to be the must-have accessory for any iPod user,” said Rick Case, DLO’s executive vice president of sales. The DLO Auto Charger for iPod is compatible with all dockable iPods, including the new iPod family, and is available now for $20.
SwitchEasy has launched its new Biscuits hard cases for iPod nano (with video). Features include an ultrasonic welded polycarbonate screen-protecting window for Biscuits, a disappearing LCD screen effect for Black Biscuit, slide-in installation, duo tone logo and body construction, and notches on either side of the Click Wheel for easier access. In addition, Biscuits include static membrane guards for both the nano’s back and Click Wheel, color matching Dock connector protector, a white headphone jack adapter for Biscuits, a color-matching headphone jack adapter for Black Biscuit, a custom Universal Dock connector with sink bottom notch for easier Click Wheel access, and a color-matching lanyard. Biscuits will come in five colors — Ivory White, Ruby Red, Sassy Pink, Pastel Blue, Green Apple — and will sell for $20 when they are released September 28. The Black Biscuit model sells for $22, and is available now.
ezGear has introduced its ezArmor classic, an aluminum case for the iPod classic. Features of the ezArmor classic include a clear screen protector, an aircraft grade scratch-resistant anodized aluminum body, neoprene interior lining, access to the headphone jack and Click Wheel, and an included removable belt clip and removable neck strap. Charlie Bernstein, President of ezGear, said, “This is the metal case iPod Classic users have been waiting for and asking for. The ezArmor Classic offers superior protection, a stylish design, and includes a belt clip and neck strap so users can use the iPod while it’s protected.” The ezGear ezArmor Classic is available now in two sizes for the 80GB and 160GB iPod classic, in both black and silver, and sells for $30.
Market analysis group iSuppli has completed its teardown of the new iPod nano (with video), and estimates the Bill of Materials cost of the 4GB model to be $58.85, giving it the lowest BOM cost of any member of the nano line analyzed by iSuppli. The firm estimates the 8GB model’s BOM cost to be $82.85. While these estimates do not include other costs such as manufacturing, software, intellectual property, accessories, packaging, R&D, or advertising, the company claims the ratio between the 4GB nano’s BOM cost and its retail price of $149 is quite high, even for Apple. Part of this reduction in costs may be attributed to changes in component suppliers. “The changes in components have resulted in significant cost reductions in the nano design, allowing Apple to offer a product that is less expensive to build and that has enhanced features compared to its predecessor,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior analyst and teardown services manager for iSuppli.
Among these new component suppliers, Micron, Dialog and Intersil — along with the return of Synaptics — the “big winner,” according to iSuppli, was U.S. semicondutor supplier Micron. ISuppli claims this is the first time they have identified a Micron part in an iPod; in the nano torn down by iSuppli, Micron was the manufacturer of the NAND flash memory that serves as the media player’s storage, an estimated $24 part in the 4GB model and $48 in the 8GB. iSuppli notes that while this is a major win for Micron, Apple will likely continue to use Samsung, the world’s largest producer of NAND-type flash, as suppliers of NAND memory. Samsung supplied the combined core video processing chip in the system, which is estimated to cost $8.60.
Apple and T-Mobile announced today that T-Mobile will be the exclusive German carrier for the iPhone when it launches in that country on Nov. 9. The iPhone in Germany will feature Visual Voicemail, EDGE, and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with T-Mobile to bring the iPhone to Germany,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone in the US has been incredible, and we can’t wait to introduce T-Mobile customers to the most revolutionary mobile device on the planet.”
“We are convinced that we can get our customers excited about experiencing the mobile internet with the iPhone,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO, T-Mobile International. “I am proud that Apple and T-Mobile have become partners.” iPhone owners in Germany will also have use of 8,600 T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi access points, and T-Mobile claims that by the end of 2007, it will be the only network operator in Germany to offer EDGE throughout its entire GSM network. The iPhone is scheduled to launch on November 9 and will be sold in Germany through Telekom Shops of Deutsche Telekom and the T-Mobile web shop. It requires a new 2-year T-Mobile tariff and will be available in an 8GB model for euro 399 (around $554) including V.A.T.
iLounge has confirmed with Apple that past purchasers of iPod games will have to re-purchase the titles to play them on the recently-released iPod classic and iPod nano (with video). According to an Apple representative, the games will need to be repurchased because they were “reformatted” for the new iPods.
Reformatted iPod games currently include EA’s Tetris and Sudoku, as well as Namco Networks’ Ms. Pac-Man. An additional 15 titles are yet to be converted for play on the iPod classic and new nano. Each game sells for $4.99, and no further guarantees of compatibility with other devices, such as a computer, iPhone, or iPod touch, are made by Apple.
Updated: Each of these games has been updated to version 1.1.0, adding new user management features and in the case of Tetris, new control schemes. However, downloading the iPod nano- and iPod classic-compatible version 1.1.0 games will still result in the installation of version 1.0.0 on fifth-generation iPods. Additional screenshots and details are available in this article.
Plantronics has announced its Voyager 855 and 815 Bluetooth headsets, featuring the company’s AudioIQ noise reduction and QuickPair technologies. The Voyager 855 features a removable stereo cable that clips to the headset to convert it into Bluetooth stereo headphones. Note this will not enable stereo on iPhone. The Voyager 815 lacks the 855’s stereo features, but shares its three ear bud sizes and optional ear loops, multipoint technology, sliding boom, and battery life of up to seven hours of talk time and 180 of standby time. The Plantronics Voyager 855 stereo Bluetooth headset and Plantronics Voyager 815 mono Bluetooth headset will sell for $150 and $130, respectively, and will be available in October.
WaterField Designs has announced two new cases for the iPod touch, iPod classic, and third-generation iPod nano. The iPod Smart Case ($29-$39) features a multi-layered padding system that combines a high-impact, rigid insert with a scratch-free Ultrasuede liner. It comes in six colors, three different styles to offer various carrying options — attach it to a strap, clip it on a belt, or slip it in a pocket — and three custom sizes to fit the new iPod touch, classic and 3G nano. It will be available Sept. 30. The iPod Suede Jacket is a basic Ultrasuede case that offers minimalist protection and the ability to double as a screen cleaner. It is available now in four sizes for the iPod touch, iPod classic, 3G iPod nano , and iPod shuffle, and sells for $5-$9. In addition, the company points out that its iPod Travel Case, designed to carry the iPod and all accessories, is available in three sizes — small medium, and large — and is compatible with the new family of iPods.
During a Q&A session following this morning’s “Mum” press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a statement regarding the iPod touch. When CEO of O2 UK Matthew Key was asked whether he knew the iPod touch was coming during iPhone negotiations, he dodged the question, leading Jobs to comment: “Well, one’s a phone, and one’s not. The iPod touch is training wheels for the iPhone.”
CBS has said it does not plan to fight Apple over iTunes pricing. “We’re sort of staying out of the battle,” CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves said at the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment conference. “We like our relationship with iTunes.” He added, “We look at iTunes as much as a promotional vehicle for our shows as a financial vehicle.”
ZappTek, makers of iPod personal information transfer application iPDA, has posted a list of some of the issues it found in its testing of the iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano. Among the problems are missing fields in contact entries, incorrect display of notes in calendar events, and notes links behaving “strangely.”
ipodHoodies has announced the re-release of its extremely popular Bubblegum Pink Hoodie (£12) and Hoodie Nano (£10). Stock of the color is said to be extremely limited, and is being sold on a first come, first served basis.
Bowers & Wilkins has announced the immediate availability of its Zeppelin high-performance iPod speaker system. The $600 system features “Made For iPod” certification, a built-in iPod dock, a five-inch woofer, two pairs of aluminum-domed tweeter and midrange drivers, an included remote, and a total 100 watts of power. “The iPod deserves no less than the best audio reproduction possible,” says Evert Huizing, B&W Executive VP of Business Development, “and we believe Zeppelin delivers the truest, most life-like sound from it. We’ve incorporated our 40 years of technology and know-how into a product that we hope will allow us to introduce a new market to the level of sound quality enjoyed by professionals every day.” The Zeppelin is available now at select Apple Stores nationwide and from the online Apple Store; for more information about the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, check out our comprehensive review.