Contradicting dismissive statements towards the iPod recently made by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in a separate interview, the company’s Xbox division corporate vice-president J. Allard told 1up.com that the company actually hopes to model its new game console Xbox 360 on Apple’s iPod success, and follows the thinking of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. As explained in the section of 1up’s story titled “Is the Xbox 360 Powerful Enough?”:
“Our initial thinking was there can only be one [Xbox 360 SKU], but you know, that just limits options,” says Allard. “I don’t wanna think that way. If Steve Jobs thought that way, iPod sales would have [plateaued] because there’s a finite market for people that want 20GB white things that play music at a price point that’s above $200. And that’s all he could do with iPod.” Elsewhere in the article, Allard explains that after “lots of color studies,” the company chose a white and metal design based partially on “consumer preference and value. They associate a lot of value with the lighter colors. Most people actually came back and said, ‘This reminds me of iPod.’”
The article further notes that Microsoft designed the Xbox 360 with a 20GB removable hard drive that will permit users to carry their game data (and ripped game soundtracks, amongst other things) wherever they go, with changes to the hard drive a distinct possibility. “Who knows?” the article quotes Allard as saying. “We talk to retailers, we start taking orders, Japan says, ‘What we really wanna do is have a 60-gig hard drive and a wired controller,’ something like that. The system’s so flexible that until we start stuffing them in boxes, nothing’s for sure.”
iLounge readers with blogs still have the opportunity to enter the iLounge Buyers’ Guide 2005 Bloggers’ Contest, with three great prizes. One grand prize winner will score a pair of Shure E5c earphones ($499 value), while two second place winners will get their own pairs of Etymotic ER-6i earphones ($149 value, each). Don’t miss your chance - check out the official rules from this link right now!
iLounger Ashley Burrows let us know that he recently finished his iPod inspired “iTable.” He said it was a project for his A-level Design Technology course and that it took months to complete. Burrows was kind enough to share the process of building it along with a handful of photos, including his initial illustrated design.
“Basically, I started with a square frame built out of pine (this made the sides) and then glued a piece of MDF on the top,” Burrows said. “This gave me a five-sided cube kinda thing. To curve the edges I used a hand plane (yeah, it did take about 30 hours to do the curves) and a shaped block covered in sandpaper.”
iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will appear on popular Internet radio broadcast Your Mac Life on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 to take listener questions at 8:15PM Central Time, 6:15PM Pacific Time. A live stream of the broadcast will be available at this link, and listeners will be able to submit questions in the Your Mac Life chat rooms, which open at the beginning of the show.
Want to queue up for a question? Send it to [email protected] or join the YML chat. Two Your Mac Life chat rooms are available. Go to the World Without Borders site (http://www.wwbchat.com/login/index.shtml) or use the dedicated IRC Server at irc.netmug.org, channel #yourmaclife.
Update: A transcript is now available here.
In response to reader requests, iLounge is proud to announce two new ways you can simplify your search for iPod accessories. Today, we have launched “Ratings Only,” a way you can compare letter grades across all of the approximately 350 products reviewed by iLounge, and a collection of improved accessory categories that make it easier to find and sort accessories by type.
Click on “Ratings Only” at the top any of our Reviews pages to view this new page with grades of all reviewed products, listed in alphabetical order. A drop down menu at the top of the page will let you narrow down the grade listings to the following new review categories.
Adapters and Cables
Car Power Chargers, Kits and Adapters
Cases - iPod 1G & 2G
Cases - iPod 3G
Cases - iPod 4G/HP/U2/photo
Cases - iPod mini
Cases - iPod shuffle
Clips - iPod shuffle
Clips and Cord Managers - General
Headphones & In-Canal Earphones
iPod Hardware Expanders - General
Microphones and Microphone Adapters
Stands (Docks and Cradles)
Stickers, Guards and Film
If you’re looking for a way to view our reviews in “best grades first” order, download the most recent issue of our free iLounge Buyers’ Guide 2005 and check out the Report Card on pages 90-92.
PodBrix has announced its latest iPod-themed novelty mini figure — Mister Brix. The $16.99 figure, which attaches to the Apple earbuds cord, will go on sale today at 9:00 p.m. ET.
“Mister Brix is designed to be attached to the earbud cord of your iPod music player. His hands are fixed and he uses two vinyl grips to keep himself firmly attached at all times,” explains the creator. “Mister Brix never gets tired and he will not damage your earbud cord. He can be used with any model of iPod. Mister Brix is made from injection molded white plastic. He is not painted.”
Update as of Saturday, April 9 at 2:09PM PST: We are aware that a significant number of our readers are experiencing formatting issues with the new homepage on different browsers, and we’re working hard to fix them. There will be a number of additional tweaks to the main page over the next 24-48 hours to further improve layout and readability, so stay tuned.
A picture of the homepage as it generally should display on your monitor can now be viewed by clicking on Read More below. If it is not displaying in this way, your browser is likely set to display fonts at an unusual size, and most layout issues can be temporarily fixed by adjusting downwards to “normal” font settings.
And yes, the navigation bar will soon be fully functional. Instead of drop-down menus, the gray bar will change contextually by section (news, articles, free music, etc) to let you jump to the preferred sub-section below.
Welcome to the new iLounge. Even though we’re still tweaking the many pages of the site, the first stage of our long-awaited redesign is finally live and ready for you to kick the tires. Our aim with the new look is to streamline every aspect of the site, making it faster and easier for you to find and read the content you want. Be sure to email us what you think of the sparkly fresh site, and inform us of any major issues caused by the redesign. If you’d rather not send an email, you can comment on this news story and we’ll be sure to read everything you say.
Also, keep in mind that this is only the first phase of the redesign — more sections will be getting a makeover in the coming weeks. You can look forward to the revamped iLounge forums, tips & tricks, gear guide, and hacks & mods sections. In addition, we’ll soon be launching the new myPod online helper, which will offer one-click access to the information and accessories that are related to your specific iPod model.
iLounge today announced a new 2005 Buyers’ Guide (Spring/Summer) contest just for those of you with blogs. The contest is simple. We’ll publicize and award prizes to three blogs that spread the word about the new Buyers’ Guide.
Our grand prize winner will be picked on straight numbers: the blog with the most referrals to our Buyers’ Guide 2005 page will win a pair of Shure E5c Earphones (valued at $500). We will also select two second place winners randomly from the pool of all blogs with 25 or more unique referrals, so virtually anyone has a chance to win. Each of these second place winners will get one set of Etymotic 6i Isolator Earphones (valued at $149). All of these prizes were donated by EarphoneSolutions.com. All you need to do is insert one of the contest badges onto your blog’s page - with the code that lets us properly count your referrals.
Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief, will be on tonight’s Your Mac Life radio show. He’ll be discussing the latest iPod accessories and what the future holds for the iPod. The broadcast will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. PT. An audio feed is available here, with a video feed for QuickTime 6 here. Host Shawn King will also be giving away an iPod shuffle to one lucky student listener tonight.
The Iconfactory has announced the release of “iPod, Therefore I Am”—a new collection of freeware icons from Dave Brasgalla. The set of 8 icons will “let you give your iPod the icon it deserves in popular ‘World of Aqua’ style, and it won’t even cost you .99 cents!” The collection includes the 4G iPod, the special edition U2 iPod, the “more vibrant” colored iPod minis, the iPod shuffle, and the iPod photo. The new set is available for Mac, Windows or as a Pixadex iContainer.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said Friday that it has successfully obtained compensation from UK residents who illegally distributed music via peer-to-peer networks. The average settlement was more than £2,000. The 23 illegal filesharers (named on the BPI site) that have settled range in age from 22 to 58 and include people from every walk of life—from a student to the director of an IT company to a local councilor. The number of files they were distributing over the internet ranged from hundreds to many thousands. The BPI said it will soon bring 31 new cases against UK filesharers.
Raven Solutions today announced the release of “Beyond The Music: Doing More With Your Apple iPod,” a 67-page eBook with tips and information on how to use an iPod for more than just listening to music. “Talking to iPod owners, it was apparent that they were not aware of how versatile the iPod really is”, said author Steve Sande. “An iPod can be used as a personal digital assistant, a portable hard disk drive, a news reader, an email inbox and more.” The ebook is published in Adobe Reader and eReader formats, and sells for $5.
Peachpit Press has announced the release of “The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store” by best-selling author Scott Kelby. “You’ll learn how to do only the most important, most requested, and just plain cool things you’re going to want to do with your iPod so you can start having fun with it today,” Peachpit says. “Each page covers just one topic, complete with full color photos making it easy to find just what you’re looking for fast. Plus, it shows you how to get the most from the iTunes Music Store, how to integrate your iPod into your car, which iPod accessories are hot, and there’s even entire chapters on using Apple iPod photo and the new iPod shuffle.”
Following the similar PodBrix Lego mini figure, an unnamed artist has announced the release of PodFas, limited edition custom designed Stikfas action figures inspired by Apple’s silhouette iPod ad campaign. “Podfas are a limited edition of 250 unique handcrafted figures, fully poseable and standing approximately 3-inches tall. Each Podfa comes with 4 coloured display backgrounds and a certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by the artist.” The PodFas are available exclusively from the PodFas website for $20.
TRUSTe, a nonprofit organization dedicated to internet privacy, has ended its relationship with the company operating FreeiPods.com and other websites due to violations of privacy promises to consumers.
“TRUSTe said Gratis Internet of Washington could no longer display the industry’s broadly recognized seal intended to assure consumers that a website complies with privacy-protection guidelines on any of its internet properties,” reports the Associated Press. “It was the first such revocation in at least two years under the industry’s own regulatory program… TRUSTe said Gratis violated promises involving the protection of children’s information and changed how it managed the private information of its customers without adequately notifying them.”
Consumers should be wary of spammers using the iPod brand name, according to Clearswift’s Spam Index, an in-depth industry analysis of unsolicited e-mails. Clearswift said that e-mails purporting to sell the popular digital audio player made an “unprecedented debut” during December.
“Spammers have been keen to get in on the action with one of the most sought-after Christmas gifts,” Clearswift said. “News of stock running out in December coincided with the flood of e-mails claiming to sell limited edition or heavily discounted iPods. Some e-mails even offer them for free in suspicious-looking competitions.”
Apple’s new low-cost products that were introduced earlier this month are expected to be used heavily in forthcoming spam campaigns. “With the Mac mini and iPod shuffle having launched this month, e-mail users should prepare themselves for an onslaught of lifestyle junk mail, spearheaded by an influx of Mac-inspired spam,” the company said.
Rip2Pod is the latest company to offer a CD-loading service for iPods. “We are located in New York City in the West Village and are dedicated to making your lives easier. For just $1 a CD, weeks and months of frustration will be avoided. We provide ripping services for any entity that legally owns their own music media such as DJs, art galleries, restaurants, or individuals. We have pick-up and delivery service available to all residents of the New York City metropolitan area. We offer a wide range of encoding formats and bitrates. All files are tagged with Song Title, Artist, Album, Genre, and Album Artwork. Multiple options exist for transferring the files back to you including DVD’s, ‘Plug and Play’ external drives, or simply your iPod.”
The head of Sony’s video game unit said this week that his company missed out on potential sales from its line of digital audio players because it was overly protective of Sony’s music content. “Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, said he and other Sony employees have been frustrated for years with management’s reluctance to introduce products like Apple’s iPod, mainly because the Tokyo company had music and movie units that were worried about content rights. Now, Sony’s divisions are finally beginning to work together and share a common agenda, Kutaragi said at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.”
Creative Technology today reported that it sold two million digital music players in its second quarter of fiscal year 2005, ended December 31, 2004. The company said sales were up 50 percent to $375.1 million, and that it has sold over five million players to date. In comparison, Apple sold over 4.5 million iPods during the same holiday quarter, and has sold more than 10 million to date.
Following recent criticism of Apple’s iPod shuffle, Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo said in a financial statement that his company will benefit from the new low-cost Apple player. “I believe we are extremely well positioned against the flash products and pricing that were recently announced by Apple, as we have superior features and broad product lines that span the entire category,” Wong Hoo said. “I also believe that Apple’s entry into the flash market will create more awareness in the flash market segment, and we are well positioned to become a big beneficiary of this expanding market.”