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Apple posts iPod touch Features Guide

Apple has posted a PDF-formatted Features Guide for the iPod touch. The 85-page guide covers virtually all aspects of the device’s features, interface, and connectivity. According to the guide, the iPod touch will come with a pack-in stand for viewing video and photo slideshows, and will allow users to display playback controls when the device is locked with a double-click of the Home button. The guide also explains the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store in detail; for example, songs purchased from the store are placed in a “Purchased on (name of the iPod)” playlist, as well as the traditional “Purchased” playlist, when the touch is synced with the user’s computer.

iPod classic tests reveal audio problems

Newly released audio measurements comparing the iPod classic to a fifth-generation iPod suggest problems with the newer iPod’s Cirrus Logic audio codec. Having initiated a discussion in Apple’s iPod classic forums, Marc Heijligers writes, “The measurements show is that the iPod Classic indeed has an uplift in treble, and its timing response is incorrect.” According to Heijigers, the new Cirrus Logic audio codec chip, which Roth Capital’s Jay Srivatsa says has replaced a chip from Wolfson Microelectronics inside the iPod classic, misaligns the arrival of treble detail relative to mids and bass, causing audio from the classic to lack “spatial information and a certain timbre.” Heijligers suggests that Apple may be able to fix the problem through a firmware update.

Gecko Gear debuts Gecko Ice for 3G nano

Gecko Gear has given iLounge an exclusive first look at its upcoming Gecko Ice case for the third-generation iPod nano. The two-piece clear hard plastic case completely covers the nano except for the Click Wheel and hold switch/headphone jack/Dock Connector, and will include a neck lanyard, protectors for both the Click Wheel and Dock Connector, and a Universal Dock connector. The Gecko Ice will be available in October, and will sell for $25. Continue reading for more pics of the Gecko Ice.

Poll: Did Apple screw up on iPod touch storage?

Before Apple introduced the new slate of iPods, we ran a poll asking which potential new iPod interested you the most. The responses were clear: 80% of iLounge readers most wanted a hard disk coupled with a large touchscreen display.

Now that Apple has revealed the iPod touch, coupling an iPhone-like screen and interface with iPod nano-like memory capacity, we want to know your thoughts. Did Apple drop the ball on this product, creating something you wouldn’t buy, or have you decided that you will be satisfied with its 8GB or 16GB or storage capacity? Cast your vote now in the iLounge Poll, found on the left-most column of the home page!

Our prior poll, which way would you most prefer to play your iTunes media, is now closed. The majority of readers (62%) said that they would prefer either an iPhone-styled Cover Flow interface (34%) or an iPhone-like scrolling list with finger gestures (28%), while 19% preferred the classic iPod Click Wheel and scrolling list interface, 12% liked a mouse-style interface with iTunes, and few people preferred computer-based Cover Flow (4%), Apple TV interface (2%), or any other control scheme (2%).

ezGear rolls out cases for iPod classic, touch, 3G nano

ezGear has announced its new line of cases for the iPod touch, iPod classic, and third-generation iPod nano. The clearCase Classic for iPod classic ($25) is a clear acrylic case for the iPod classic, and offers access to the dock port, headphone jack, hold button, and Click Wheel, and comes with an integrated removable belt clip and removable neck strap. The ezSkin Slimline for third-generation iPod nano is a silicone case that features access to all ports and controls, an integrated screen protector, and a removable neck strap. It is available in Onyx Black, Frost White, Ruby Red, and Princess Pink, and sells for $25 each, or $35 for a three pack of Onyx, Frost, and Princess, or Cool Blue, Ultra-Lime and Ruby Red.

imageezSkin Classic for iPod classic ($30) is a silicone case offering access to all ports and controls and integrated screen protector. It includes a removable belt clip and pin and a removable neck strap, and is available for both the 80GB and 160GB classic models in Onyx Black, Frost White, Cool Blue, Princess Pink. The ezSkin Touch for iPod Touch ($30) is a silicone case that offers the same features and pack-ins as the ezSkin classic, and is available for pre-order now; it will ship in October. imageezGear also announced ezView Leather Cases ($40) for all three new iPod models, which feature built-in screen protection and stands, protective covers, access to all ports, velcro latches, and removable belt clips. The ezView Leather Case for iPod classic and iPod nano third generation will both be available on September 26, the ezView Leather Case for iPod touch will be available in October.

Apple UK holding ‘Mum is no longer the word’ press event

Apple UK has sent out an email invitation to select media outlets announcing a press event to be held at the Apple Store, Regent Street in London on September 18 at 10:00 a.m. The invitation reads simply, “Mum is no longer the word.”, and includes directions to the store. The event could likely be used to introduce the European version of the iPhone; however, no confirmation of such an announcement has yet been given by Apple, or by the phone’s likely European service providers.

Mix: Ringtones, Cirrus Logic, HTC, SendStation

Another method of creating free iPhone ringtones from standard AAC files has been discovered by the same MacRumors forum member who found the original method last week. The new process is currently slightly more technical, but appears to be more dependable.

Roth Capital’s Jay Srivatsa claims that an audio codec chip from Cirrus Logic has been designed into the iPod classic, replacing a part from Wolfson Microelectronics, reports Barron’s.

HTC CEO Peter Chou, while praising the iPhone’s multi-touch interface, blasted the handset’s design in an interview with BusinessWeek. “The iPhone design is very beautiful,” Chou said. “However, the phone design is quite weak; it’s very, very basic.” He went on to say that HTC’s understanding of the different needs of cellular operators and the company’s ability to tweak its handsets as necessary gives HTC “a huge advantage.”

SendStation has announced a new black version of its popular SendStation Dock Extender. It comes with a matching Universal Dock insert, three interchangeable bumper caps to accommodate various iPod models, and is available now for $29.

iTunes users experience downloading issues

Many iTunes users are reporting a growing problem involving purchases from the iTunes Store. According to messages from iLounge readers and user reports on Apple’s support website, customers are purchasing, and paying for, songs that refuse to download. When users try to select “Check for Purchases”, they receive an error message stating “Unable to check for purchases. iTunes Store unavailable. Please try again later.” At least three separate threads on Apple’s Discussion Boards document the issues. The problem appears to be widespread, with similar issues being reported by users of the iTunes Store in Canada, the UK, Germany, Austria, and Finland, as well as the US. Apple has yet to make any official statement regarding the issue. [Thanks, Rafael]

Apple offers 30-day trial of One to One with iPhone

Apple is now providing a free 30-day version of its One to One personal training service with every retail store iPhone purchase, reports ifoAppleStore. The service, which normally costs $99 for a one-year subscription, includes up to one 50-minute training session per week; the terms of the offer indicate that the 30-day version is limited to a maximum of five sessions. Also, the offer’s companion web page promotes Apple’s iPhone workshops, personal training, and Genius Bar.

iPod classic, nano batteries beat Apple claims

When we posted our reviews of Apple’s iPod classic (iLounge rating: B+) and iPod nano (iLounge rating: A) last week, our early tests had already shown that their battery performance exceeded Apple’s claims. This wasn’t a complete surprise, as Apple became conservative with battery promises two years ago, and has consequently delivered iPods that generally exactly meet or surpass the company’s stated performance levels.

Final test results for the iPod classic and new iPod nano are in—at least, mostly—and they’re impressive. Apple promises that the new iPod nano, regardless of storage capacity, will deliver 24 hours of continuous audio playback and 5 hours of video before the battery expires. In our tests, holding volume at 50% and keeping equalizers off, the new nano played audio of various types for 30 hours and 21 minutes before shutting down. Video tests with test 640 pixel wide videos from the iTunes Store ran for 5 hours and 47 minutes, also longer than Apple’s estimates.

Even more impressive were the run times of Apple’s iPod classic models, which vary in battery claims based on capacity. The 80GB model promises 30 hours of audio playback and 5 hours of video playback. Our tests with the same audio content used on the new iPod nano ran for 36 hours and 16 minutes, while the same videos played for 6 hours and 46 minutes. Apple claims that the 160GB iPod classic will do better, suggesting 7 hours of video play time and 40 hours of audio. Our results were better: the 160GB model played videos for 9 hours and 28 minutes before expiring. And our audio test has been running for more than two full days at this point: this model has been playing our test audio in loops for over 56 hours. The battery still shows some remaining power. (Updated: Our 160GB iPod classic finally ran out of juice after 58 hours and 14 minutes of playback.)

As promised, we’ve been updating the battery sections of our reviews with the final numbers as they come in, but given how impressive the numbers are, we felt that they were worth bringing to your attention in a separate news story. The iPod classic and iPod nano reviews can be seen in their entirety here, with comparisons against past iPod models.

Apple: Updates will ‘most likely break’ native iPhone apps

Yesterday Apple Vice President for iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak said that Apple is taking a “neutral stance” on third-party native application development for the iPhone. Apple has now backtracked somewhat on that statement, saying “software updates will most likely break” native applications in the future. Third-party native application development for the iPhone has been a hot topic since the device’s introduction in January; Apple announced that the iPhone would use third-party web-based applications at its WWDC conference in June. Developer reaction to that announcement was decidedly mixed, and in the months following the iPhone’s release, a dedicated group of developers have produced a myriad of native applications, from IM clients to game emulators, for the device.

Free iPhone software SIM unlock released [Updated]

Following Monday’s announcement of commercial sales of iPhone unlocking solutions, intrepid hackers have released a free method for unlocking the iPhone via software. The manual steps were originally released by the iPhone Dev Team, and have been verified to work by iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington. Following this release, a GUI application is in development that will greatly reduce the technical skill required to perform an unlock. After performing the unlock, the iPhone can be used with any SIM from any service provider.

Update: The GUI application originally linked in this story is actually the work of TUAW’s Erica Sadun. We have removed the link to the unfinished GUI application, as Erica, the true developer of the application, plans to release her work through the package manager for the iPhone once it is ready.

iXoundWear announces caps for 3G iPod nano

iXoundWear has announced plans to release new caps designed specifically for the third-generation iPod nano. Both the iXoundWear Sport Cap and Running Cap will feature an internal sweatband, coated fabric player pocket, a top flap to secure the iPod in place and protect the screen, a clear control window to access the Click Wheel, and an adjustable pocket for wire management. In addition, each cap will include 2 bendable polyurethane plastic spools to wrap wire. “We are very excited about the new iPod Nano 3rd generation and our design team has been working hard to make our caps compatible,” said Karl Faust, iXoundWear CEO. The iXoundWear Sport Cap and Running Cap for third-generation iPod nano will both be available in November and will sell for $20; iXoundWear’s current hats, visors and beanies for iPod are now being offered at $16 each.

Logitech intros Pure-Fi Elite Speaker for iPod

Logitech has introduced its Pure-Fi Elite speaker system for iPod, a “high-performance” stereo with digital AM/FM tuner that is quite similar to the company’s well-received AudioStation system. The Pure-Fi Elite packs two-way satellites, 1-inch dome tweeters, and 4-inch high-power, long-throw woofers in its 16-inch wide, 7.25-inch tall, and 4.25-inch deep 8-pound cabinet. Features include an LCD screen that displays digital clock or radio station information, an advanced remote control, integrated Universal Dock, auxiliary-in jack, composite and S-Video output, and the ability to charge the iPod when it’s docked in the system. The Logitech Pure-Fi Elite will be available this October and will sell for $300.

Apple: iPhone apps OK, no Bluetooth, Games in iPod touch

According to a report from PC Magazine’s Gearlog blog, Apple has decided not to interfere with third-party iPhone application development—for now. Discussing the state of iPhone application development with Apple Vice President for iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak, the report claims that Apple is taking a “neutral stance” on applications for the device, whereby the company will not stop people from writing software or release software updates designed to break the software, but it also won’t design software updates to avoid accidentally breaking such applications, either. Joswiak also suggested that the company may re-evaluate this position in the future.

The report also states that the upcoming iPod touch does not include Bluetooth hardware, contrary to certain initial images that circulated around the Internet shortly after the device’s launch, and confirmed that games are not coming for the iPod touch “right now.”

Rogue Amoeba offers free MakeiPhoneRingtone

Responding to Apple’s decision to add a 99-cent ringtone creation tool to iTunes 7.4, third-party developer Rogue Amoeba has released MakeiPhoneRingtone, a Mac OS tool that automates the process of adding your own ringtones to the iPhone for free. “Simply drag and drop AAC ringtones,” explains the company, “and they’ll show up in the iPhone Ringtones tab. Sync your iPhone and they’ll ready for use.”

Rogue Amoeba recommends use of its $32 Fission software for editing down your songs into ringtones, and promises to “do our best to keep MakeiPhoneRingtone working with iTunes updates” if Apple attempts to block homemade ringtone creation. Other audio editing tools, including Audacity, can also be used to edit songs into shorter files for free.

Ringtone creation added to iTunes

As pre-announced at last week’s The Beat Goes On event in San Francisco, Apple has today turned on custom ringtone functionality in iTunes. The feature enables users to convert certain iTunes Store tracks into ringtones at a cost of $0.99 per ringtone plus the initial cost of the iTunes Store download; other tracks, including ones you have imported from your own CDs, cannot be converted.


To support the feature, a new “Ringtones” area has appeared in the Library column on the left hand side of the iTunes screen, and there is now an option to “Create Ringtone” from eligible tracks. In addition, users can now add the “Ringtone” column in the View Options (Command-J) box. Doing so brings up a message stating “You can create iPhone ringtones from many songs purchased from the iTunes Store. Do you want to check with the iTunes Store to see which songs the music labels have cleared for use as ringtones?” Underneath this message explaining that users can click the bell next to cleared songs to create a ringtone. The feature is shown off at length in our Secrets & Features of iTunes 7.4 feature article; because of the restrictive implementation and excessive fees, we recommend that readers avoid using the ringtone creator.


Fox parent News Corp. to stay on iTunes

News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin has stated that the company will not follow NBC Universal and remove its television shows from iTunes. Chernin said that while his company was not in a dispute with Apple, it would like a more say in the pricing of its programs. “Right now we have a perfectly good relationship with Apple,” Chernin said in an interview. “But let me say this, we’re the ones who should determine what the fair price for our product is, not Apple.” Chernin also said that it was staying with iTunes because of the difference in advertising-supported realtime streaming and Apple’s paid downloads; News Corp. is NBC Universal’s partner on the upcoming Hulu video streaming venture.

Vers real wood iPod sound system debuts

Developed by product creation company Sprout Creation, the Vers iPod sound system is the first in a line of iPod and iPhone sound systems that are hand crafted from real wood. The Vers features a class D amplifier, 2-3” custom designed speakers delivering 30 watts peak power, and a 14 function remote. The Vers is hand built and finished, so each system is unique. “Many musical instruments have been made of wood for centuries,” says Dave Laituri, partner and creative director. “Wood simply sounds better, more natural, than any other material out there.” Vers will be available this fall and will sell for $179.

Numark now shipping iDJ2

After a lengthy delay, Numark is now shipping its iDJ2 portable DJ mixing console with Universal Dock for iPod. The iDJ2 features the ability to scratch, control pitch, key-lock, and simultaneously play two songs from a single iPod with a full-color screen. In addition, it boasts a special iPod Direct Mode function that allows users to play all iPod-supported music, including songs purchased from the iTunes music store. The Numark iDJ2 is available now and carries a suggested list price of $799.

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