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Harman Kardon debuts Infinity One, Esquire Mini, Soho Wireless + JBL Charge 2

Harman Kardon introduced its fall lineup today, including its new premium portable Bluetooth speaker, Infinity One ($300). Infinity One has passive radiators which claim to make the small speaker sound like a much larger system. The water-resistant speaker also includes a 5V 2.1A output for charging. Now available for preorder, Harman Kardon expects Infinity One to ship on November 9.

Additionally, Harman Kardon’s Bluetooth-equipped Esquire Mini ($150) is a smaller, more rectangular version of its Esquire (reviewed here). The new Soho Wireless headphones are a Bluetooth update of its Soho headphones (reviewed here), and JBL Charge 2 is an update of JBL Charge (reviewed here). While JBL Charge 2 is in stock and ready to ship, Esquire Mini is expected to ship on September 18, and Soho Wireless is listed as coming soon.

iPhone hack stories to continue post-SDK, writers say

For years, iPod hackers were all but ignored as they succeeded in making early iPods run Linux, games, and alternate menu systems. But in 2007, iPhone and Apple TV hackers started to enjoy considerable and favorable publicity, as they released hacks and applications that let the devices perform beyond Apple-imposed limitations. In response, Apple last week opened the door to officially sanctioned third-party software for the iPhone and iPod touch, announcing an inexpensive software development kit, a business model, and a distribution network, while simultaneously implying certain restrictions on developers’ freedom. 

Now that hacks will no longer be needed to create applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, iLounge’s editors wondered whether publications will continue to salute Apple hackers as heroes, or whether they will discontinue coverage of hacks now that Apple has provided an official alternative. We contacted a number of publications to get their views on this subject, and received different responses, generally suggesting that coverage of hacks is here to stay. Here’s what we heard; we will add additional responses as we receive them.

(1) Is iPhone and iPod hacking a good thing now that Apple’s SDK provides a legitimate alternative?

Tom Krazit, CNET News: “So long as Apple maintains a one-carrier, one-country policy, I think there’s going to be iPhone hacking indefinitely. I also think there’s going to be a lot of small independent developers that don’t want to join Apple’s official program, because their applications won’t be approved or they don’t want to pony up the $99, or whatever. ... Is iPhone hacking a good thing? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.”

Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo: “I’m happy with the SDK, and most people will pass now on Installer because Apple’s method is open enough and very easy to use. However, hacking is always a good thing, it pushes the envelope forward. It makes Apple work harder to make the iPhone more secure, and it gives the user more options. Example: today we announced how the Pwnage project gives the user total independence for both carriers and applications. While this may not be useful for most, a big amount of iPhone users will find it extremely useful.”

Webmaster, MacDailyNews: “Hacking will continue in order to attempt to deliver things which Apple has said they will bar. Hacking is both good and bad depending on what it’s used for.”

Kasper Jade, AppleInsider: “...I don’t see hackers backing off anytime soon. It’s an inevitable cat and mouse game; given restrictions, there will always be interest amongst some to breach them. It’s only human nature. And once in a while, a great idea will come out of it.”

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “I don’t think it was ever ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It is what it is. It was and remains interesting, from a technical perspective.”

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune: “Seems to me there were two types of iPhone hacks: 1) efforts to write native apps despite the absence of an SDK and 2) attempts to unlock the phone for use in countries where there was no approved carrier. Now that there’s an SDK, we’ll likely see less of type 1. Type 2 will be with us for some time.”

(2) Do you plan to continue to publish hack-related news now that Apple has released the SDK?

Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo: “Yes.”

Tom Krazit, CNET News: “We’ll continue to cover iPhone hacking. This device and platform is still in its infancy (literally) at under a year old. Those developments will continue to have an impact on how the iPhone is used around the world, and how developers react to Apple’s official program. Also, we don’t know yet exactly how Apple intends to enforce its control over what types of applications get to run on the iPhone, and if Apple is heavy-handed with its approach, iPhone hacking won’t go anywhere.”

Webmaster, MacDailyNews: “Yes. Because it is news.”

Kasper Jade, AppleInsider: “Apple has made its stance on hacked or jail-broken iPhones crystal clear. As such, we’ve ceased coverage of those topics because we feel it’s in the best interest of our readers that we not advocate methods that put their cell phones—arguably the most personal piece of electronics one owns—at unnecessary risk.”

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “My criteria remain the same: if the news is interesting or important, I publish it. I expect that jailbreak iPhone development will quickly become both less interesting and less important, but if I’m wrong, I won’t hesitate to write about it.”

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune: “If I think it’s of general interest, I’ll write about it. I suspect there are 3rd party developers who will chafe at the restrictions in the SDK. But there’s no question some of the steam has gone out of the story now that Apple has stepped up to the plate.”

(3) Since these sorts of hacks may violate Apple’s product license terms and invalidate their warranties, what’s your take on what readers should do when a hack interests them, or isn’t that your concern?

Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo: “No need to be concerned. People can always restore the iPhone to an Apple-official firmware and no warranty will be ‘voided.’ AppleCare will never notice that you have installed another firmware. Only paid unlocks, like the one sold by iPhone Sim Free, will remain through restores. Those could probably be detected. But as for Installer.app and the rest of unlocks out there, once you restore, your iPhone will be in the same state as it came from the factory.

In any case, it’s up to the user to decide what to do. We always tell readers about the possible consequences of hacks. Whoever decides to play with their iPhones in this way, it’s their own business, not Apple’s, not ours.”

Tom Krazit, CNET News: “I think my only obligation to the reader when it comes to iPhone hacking is to remind them that they are breaking the terms of their EULA when they jailbreak or unlock, and that might make it difficult to get service from Apple if something goes wrong. On a related note, I think we need to explain why Apple is taking this approach, that officially created apps are more likely to be secure and reliable than unofficial ones. Other than that, I’m not going to moralize about the ethics of iPhone hacking.”

Webmaster, MacDailyNews: “If users wish to void their warranties, it’s up to them. Some will hack, but most won’t; especially after the 2.0 update is released.”

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “If users want to use these hacks, they should feel free to, but they must understand that they’re voiding their warranty by doing so and will receive no support from Apple for any adverse effects. This, too, is unchanged from the situation prior to the official SDK release.”

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune: “My advice? Don’t cross the line if you can’t do the time.”

Thanks to the writers and editors of these publications for sharing your views. As always, we are interested in hearing what our readers think, as well.

5G iPod hacked for internal Bluetooth

iPod owner Fstedie, responsible for the internal Bluetooth how-to for the fourth-generation iPod, has now completed an internal Bluetooth hack for the fifth-generation iPod. Described as “considerably more difficult” than the fourth-generation mod, the new hack leaves the 5G iPod with a stock external appearance, apart from a custom clear front panel. The hack offers “native” stereo Bluetooth support, and requires swapping the 5G’s hard drive for a CompactFlash card in order to free-up space for the transmitter. Fstedie promises that a how-to article will soon be posted to Instructables.com.

iPod classic, nano Diagnostic Mode photos posted

New iPod classic and iPod nano (with video) photos we’ve recently posted will be of interest to some iLounge readers. The secret Diagnostic Mode, also known as iPod Diagnostics, is shown in our new gallery for both of the new iPod models. Activated by holding down Menu and Action (center) buttons at the same time to reset the iPod, then Back and Action at the same time after the reset, iPod Diagnostics lets you see tests that can check the performance of each device’s Click Wheel, screen, accessory ports, and storage medium. Enjoy the new gallery here.

iStyle offers laser etching for iPod, nano, and shuffle

L.A.-based iStyle is offering custom laser etching for the iPod, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, either by mail or by physical appointment at its Melrose Avenue location. The etching is permanent, but can be scratched out or designed over, and does not void the iPod warranty. The service is also available for laptops. Pricing for the etching service starts at $25 for the iPod shuffle or iPod nano; full-size iPods run $35.

PDASmart offers 100GB iPod upgrade

PDASmart has announced the availability of a 100 gigabyte hard drive upgrade for fifth-generation iPods. The PDASmart 100GB iPod upgrade installs without modification in any 60GB or 80GB 5G (video) iPod. For 30GB 5G iPods, a new rear casing is required to allow for the slightly larger drive size. The upgrade is said to extend storage capacity to 25,000 songs or 125 hours of video. The 100GB upgrade for 60GB and 80GB iPods is priced at $275 for a do-it-yourself kit, which includes the Toshiba drive and tools necessary for the installation. A mail-in installation service is available for $10 extra. The upgrade for 30GB iPods is only available as a mail-in service for $300.

iPodMods to offer clear replacement cases for iPods

iPodMods plans to introduce a new line of clear replacement cases for iPods. As first shown in the iLounge 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide today, the iVue Crystal Cases replace the iPod’s original front casing with a clear version that reveals the internal components and circuitry. Clear shells will be available for fourth- and fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos within the next two months, with iPod mini shells expected at a later date. Multiple translucent colors will also be available. iPodMods said it will charge $30 with free installation for the replacement shells. For further info on this product and a plethora of other new iPod accessories, be sure to check out our 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide.

ColorWare offers new 5G iPod, 2G nano in custom colors

ColorWare is offering Apple’s latest iPods—the enhanced fifth-generation iPod and second-generation iPod nano—in a rainbow of custom painted colors. The company says the 5G iPods are available in 24 standard colors, and the new nano can be ordered in one of 28 standard colors. Customers can also pick from “thousands of color combinations.” ColorWare is selling the custom painted iPods for $75 over their retail prices. The 30GB iPod sells for $325 and the 80GB model for $425, while the 2GB nano sells for $225, the 4GB model for $275 and the 8GB nano for $325. ColorWare also offers a service that lets you send in your iPod to have it colored in the hue of your choice for $64 to $84.

ColorWare to offer custom painted iPod nanos

imageColorWare, which offers custom painted electronics and computers, plans to offer the new iPod nano in more choices than Apple’s black and white models. The company has announced that it will sell the nano in numerous professionally painted hues for $65 over retail price—the 2GB iPod nano will sell for $265 and the 4GB model will cost $315. ColorWare currently has a teaser banner up that states that the colored nano service will be “coming soon.” ColorWare currently sells the iPod mini and fourth-generation iPod in a rainbow of colors. [via DAP Review]

Red Wine Audio offers iMod for audiophiles

imageRed Wine Audio has announced the iMod, a $249 upgrade that enhances the sound quality of your iPod by tapping directly into the DAC (digital-to-analog converter) chip inside the device.

“The goal of the Red Wine iMod is to significantly minimize the analog signal path that follows the output of the internal Wolfson WM8975 DAC chip,” explains the company. “Using D.H. Labs silver wire, we take the analog output (line out) directly off of the DAC chip and send it out of the iPod rear case (via a drilled 5/32” hole) to a custom made assembly that  contains Black Gate Non-Polarized NX HiQ coupling capacitors soldered directly to a new 1/8” stereo line out jack.”

Kainjow releases 4G iPodLinux installer

Kainjow, developer of the popular Pod2Go (downloads news, weather, lyrics and more to your iPod), has released an iPodLinux installer for fourth-generation iPods and iPod minis.

“Want iPodLinux running on your 4th generation iPod, iPod photo, or iPod mini, but hate doing all the steps manually? Well now you can get games, videos, gameboy games, Doom, text input, and much more all on your iPod!”

iPod photos used as tiny LCDs at trade show

imageChris Iwanowski of Barking Dog Studios provided iLounge with details and pictures of how the company used iPod photos at recent trade show, Museums and the Web 2005, to show off its website development work. “We wanted to stand out amongst the sea of laptops and LCD displays used by other exhibitors,” Iwanowski said. “So, we conceived the idea of using iPod photos to tell an interactive story of how our web sites are created, rather than just showing the end result.”

“We used a slide show of approximately 120 images and a looping music/voice-over track—all running from the iPod photos,” he explained. “The screen size demanded we make the experience ‘personal’, so each kiosk has a pair of head phones. The small screens of the iPod photos were framed and matted to look like miniature works of art. The frames themselves were selected to represent the character of web site being profiled.”

 

iPod icons hacked, tutorial provided

Our friends at Engadget have posted an impressive, nicely illustrated tutorial on changing an iPod’s graphics to include custom visuals of your choice. The hack requires a program called iPod Wizard, which is explained in greater detail at the tutorial link.

‘iPod & iTunes Hacks’ book released

pic O’Reilly has announced the release of “iPod & iTunes Hacks” by iLounge contributor Hadley Stern. The $24.95 book offers 100 hacks for iPod enthusiasts who want to “explore and experiment, create shortcuts, and unearth cool and unexpected things to do with their iPod that have never even occurred to their friends.” Hacks in the book show iPod owners how to: use their iPods with both Macs and PCs; turn the iPod into an FM radio station, portable stereo, or wireless jukebox; use the iPod as a portable hard drive, and access “hidden” music files; turn the iPod into a universal remote control or voice recorder; play and create games for the iPod; and more.

How to play ‘movies’ on an iPod Photo

Engadget has posted a step-by-step article on how to play a “movie” on an iPod Photo. The process involves exporting the frames and audio of a video, importing them to the iPod and playing them manually by “Click-Wheeling” through the thousands of images while the sound is playing.

Amp your iTrip

A reader notes that a website has posted detailed instructions on how to boost the signal of a Griffin iTrip with the following introduction: “The following is a proof of concept abstract on the iTrip amplifier using the schematic available from thewolfweb. Its purpose is to increase the signal produced by the Griffin iTrip. Use of the finished device is prohibited (in the US and Canada) as it violates Part 15 of FCC laws.” Perform this at your own risk. iLounge is not liable for any damages or injuries.

Hack: iPod as wireless music streamer and fileserver

Using the unlikely couple of Apple’s iPod and a Microsoft Pocket PC handheld, third-party software developer Simeda has devised a fully portable method to wirelessly broadcast iPod music and files to PCs or other portable devices on a local area network. The hitches: you’ll need a 15 Euro (US$19) piece of software, two cable or card-based adapters, music that can be legally performed and/or shared, and plenty of pre-charged battery power to keep both the Pocket PC and iPod going.

iPodMods offers new iPod modifications

iPodMods is now offering several new iPod modification services including; changing the color of your iPod’s LCD backlight ($75), changing the color of the four touch buttons on a 3rd generation iPod ($65), changing the LEDs on the Belkin Battery Pack ($25) and TuneCast FM Transmitter ($25). All modifications are available exclusively at iPodMods.com.

Mac: iVolt 1.0 iPod battery meter hack

Just wanted to get the news out about the third generation iPod’s nifty little battery icon trick. You can use iVolt to easily toggle the battery icon into a voltage meter and back again.

Latest update on Linux port to iPod

Here’s the latest developments in porting Linux to the iPod project (only works with old 5GB, 10GB and 20GB iPods).

“Its been just over one year now since this site went live and with over 1/2 a million page views and over 2000 downloads it seems there is still some interest here which is great. The CVS (Concurrent Versions System) version of the port has been updated to 2.4.24 which isn’t too exciting but does add HFS+ support. Firewire is still not working on 3rd gen iPods but we’re still looking. SBP2 support (the protocol for external Firewire disks) is getting better and hopefully will be working soon. Some work on GUI development is also underway. Something should be demo’able shortly.”

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