Scosche has announced its new HZ5 tuneSTREAM Bluetooth Headphones, along with new kickBACK cases for the iPod touch 2G, iPod nano 4G, and iPod classic. The tuneSTREAM headphones feature Bluetooth 2.0 with a 30ft range, the ability to answer phone calls, a rechargeable lithium ion battery providing up to 8 hours of playback time, and support for A2DP, AVRCP, and HFP profiles. They will sell for $100. The kickBACK cases are made from clear polycarbonate and feature integrated stands for video viewing, silicone traction cleats in various colors, and included screen protectors, polycarbonate removal keys, and cleaning cloths. The iPod classic and iPod touch 2G models will sell for $30, while the kickBACK for iPod nano 4G is priced at $25.
Shure has unveiled its SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones. Featuring a compact form factor, the SE115 uses second-generation Dynamic MicroSpeakers for warm, detailed sound with enhanced bass, and includes a fit kit with interchangeable earphone tip and cable options to ensure comfort and maximum sound isolation. Available in blue, pink, black, and red, the Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones will be available this spring and will sell for $100.
Speck Products has introduced its new Fitted and ToughSkin cases for the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch, as well as its CandyShell cases for the iPhone 3G. The Fitted cases are two-piece, snap-together hard shell cases featuring a fabric outer and cutouts for full access to all ports and controls. Initially available in black herringbone with pinstripes, the Fitted cases will sell for $30 each. The ToughSkin rubberized cases feature an all-new treaded texture for added grip, and slightly thicker corners for added protection from bumps and drops. The iPod nano version includes a clear hard shell front for screen protection and a detachable swivel belt clip, while the iPod touch model includes a detachable combination holster and rotating belt-clip. ToughSkin for iPod nano will sell for $30, while the iPod touch version will sell for $35. Finally, the CandyShell for iPhone 3G combines a soft rubberized interior with a shiny hard outer shell, and offers access to all ports and controls, including soft-touch rubberized power and volume button covers. In addition, the CandyShell includes a cleaning cloth and removable screen protector film. Available in black/yellow, dark grey/lime, white/red, and light grey/pink, the CandyShell sells for $35.
iHome has announced its new iP1 Speaker System for the iPod and iPhone. The unique system uses a BonGiovi Digital Power Station processing and a 100 Watt amplified for clean sound, and features an integrated Dock, two four-inch woofers and two one-inch tweeters suspended in a smoked acrylic frame, an aux-in jack, A/V output, and a remote control iPod and iPhone menu navigation. Pricing and release information has yet to be announced.
Elgato has announced its new 2009 EyeTV Hybrid USB TV Tuner Stick for North America and version 3.1 of its EyeTV software. The 2009 model of the EyeTV Hybrid improves upon the previous model with a new enclosure, built-in FM radio tuner, and better reception. It also includes EyeTV 3.1, the latest version of the TV watching and recording software. Version 3.1 offers the TV Guide electronic programming guide for North American users, new Smart Series Guides for recording all episodes of favorite shows, the ability to search the guide by genre, and advanced Parental Controls. The new 2009 EyeTV Hybrid USB TV Tuner Stick is available immediately and priced at $150; the EyeTV 3.1 upgrade will be a free download for all EyeTV 3 users later this month.
Vestalife has introduced two new speaker systems for the iPod and iPhone, as well as a portable monitor and speaker system. Like the company’s previous Ladybug speakers, both the Jewelbox and Firefly systems feature compact, rounded designs with fold-open speaker wings. The Jewelbox’s speakers open to reveal a flat surface and integrated Dock, and the system features a digital amplifier, full function remote control, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, automatic shut-off, an auxiliary input, touch-sensitive LED volume indicators, an A/V output jack, and an USB port for syncing. The Firefly features a design similar to that of the Ladybug, with two front speakers that fold down to reveal an integrated dock in front of the rear shell, which houses a built-in subwoofer. Other features mirror those of the Jewelbox, including the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and touch-sensitive controls.
Finally, the company has introduced the Butterfly Monitor portable video monitor and speakers. Offering a design extremely similar to that of the company’s Butterfly speaker system, the Monitor features the ability to view movies and photos via a built-in SD/MMC card reader, a seven-inch, 16:9 color LCD screen, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a full function remote control, auxiliary input, touch-sensitive LED controls, and a USB port. All three new systems are expected to be released at the end of the second quarter; pricing has yet to be announced.
Following ongoing rumors regarding the health of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the company co-founder has published an open letter on the matter. Jobs writes, “For the first time in a decade, I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote. Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed.
I’ve decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow.”
“As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority. Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis. The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery.”
He continues, “I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO. I hope the Apple community will support me in my recovery and know that I will always put what is best for Apple first. So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.”
Ultimate Ears has introduced its new MetroFi 170 and MetroFi 220 Earphones. Both new earphones feature a single-driver, in-ear design, with the 220 featuring a titanium-coated speaker for more detail in the higher frequencies compared to the 170. In addition, both earphones feature a red-colored right earphone to help distinguish between left and right buds, and include three sizes of silicone ear cushions, as well as a carrying case. For iPhone and Fall 2008 iPod users, both the 170 and 220 will be available in vi models featuring an integrated microphone for calls and remote button for call management and basic playback control. Ultimate Ears’ MetroFi 170 and MetroFi 220 Earphones will be available in February for $50 and $80, respectively; the vi models will sell for $10 more.
XtremeMac has announced its new Micromemo microphone accessory for the fourth-generation iPod nano. This digital audio recorder saves .wav files onto the nano, where they appear in iTunes the next time the device is connected, and is designed to complement the body of the nano, with a protective back that encases the device. Other features include a flexible, detachable microphone, illuminated recording status indicator, a built-in speaker, and a 3.5mm input for use with other microphones. It will sell for $50 and is expected to ship in March.
As always, iLounge’s editors are in the process of arriving in San Francisco, California to cover tomorrow morning’s keynote address from Apple, as well as all of the other major news from Macworld Expo. Please bookmark this page and plan to tune in to our live play-by-play coverage of the keynote slightly before 9AM Pacific Time.
iLounge’s live coverage provides a high-speed text feed to bring you the very first word on major keynote announcements, with some accompanying photography. Past live feeds have been up to minutes ahead of coverage found elsewhere, and we have a team of five editors in place this year to cover the many announcements expected from both Apple and third-party developers in the early hours of the show. Expect some interesting but small surprises tomorrow. We look forward to sharing them with you.
iLounge editors are now on site outside of the hall where Phil Schiller will give this morning’s keynote address. Crowds outside the Moscone Center are said to appear lighter than in previous years, with a decidedly less excited vibe indoors, as well.
A recently published Apple patent application shows that the company has been researching iPhone-friendly gloves. As cold-weather users of the iPhone or iPod touch may already know, the devices’ capacitive touch screens don’t work with most insulated gloves, as they block the electrical response needed to operate the screen. Apple’s patent filing describes a pair of gloves with a second inner layer that would simulate the electrical feedback of human fingers, and matching openings on each fingertip to allow the inner layer to be exposed when in use. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]
SwitchEasy has introduced the RebelSerpent, its latest case for the iPhone 3G. Based on the company’s well-received CapsuleRebel case, the RebelSerpent is a hybrid case featuring a inner layer made of Adaptive Dynamic Soft Polymer (ADSP) and a Lexan polycarbonate “UltraFrame” that attaches to the outside of the ADSP shell. Unlike the CapsuleRebel’s shell, which features a smooth surface, the RebelSerpent’s offers a faceted, diamond-shaped texture for added grip. It also features tactile covers for the device’s buttons, and comes with two anti-static screen guards, a microfiber cleaning wipe, a Universal Dock Adapter, a video dock stand, and a Dock Connector protector. The SwitchEasy RebelSerpent for iPhone 3G is available now and sells for $27.