Credit Suisse First Boston said today that it expects Apple to unveil an “iPod shuffle capacity and functionality refresh later this summer or early fall.” The firm said it also sees Apple increasing its iPod mini capacities “throughout the year.” In addition, CSFB commented on the new podcast support in iTunes 4.9, noting that it expects Apple to monetize the radio-like programming with “usage fees once adoption rates increase.”
In addition to its bigger announcements of iTunes 4.9 and its new color screen iPod lineup, Apple today quietly dropped the price of the 1GB iPod shuffle to $129, from $149.
The price cut is seen as a move to boost sales and distance the device away from the lower-end iPod mini model. It is widely believed that the 1GB iPod shuffle model was not a big seller due to its close pricing to that of the $199 4GB iPod mini, despite lacking several of the mini’s features.
HotRomz has expanded its line of unique hand-made iPod sleeves with the introduction of new iPod shuffle versions.
Available in a variety of colors and tactile textures, these original shuffle covers range from “plain to furry to wild” and sell for $14.95 each. The new iPod shuffle sleeves include “Tribble” (available in 7 colors), “Shuffle Muffle” (available in 15 colors), “Birds of a Feather” (available in 8 colors), and “Neon Shuffle” (available in 12 bright colors). They feature an opening at the top for the lanyard and an opening at the bottom for the earphones jack.
Because of “weaker than expected” iPod shuffle sales, NAND flash prices could drop up to 40% for other manufacturers if Apple’s allotted portion is made available, according to a DigiTimes report.
“Although the iPod Shuffle was a hit when it was first introduced on the market, sales of the MP3 player are not justifying the supply forecasts for NAND flash that Apple has secured from Samsung, the sources stated. If Apple cancels the orders, Samsung may release even more NAND flash into a market already being affected by the influx of a number of new NAND flash producers,” the tech site reports.
Tatuz International today announced its new Tuscany iTatu collection for the iPod shuffle. The new collection consists of five new solid colors “inspired by the beautiful natural colors of the Italian countryside. Earth tones consisting of Olive Green, Rust Red, Golden Yellow, Warm Orange and Brown are featured in the set.” The protective stickers are priced at $2.49 each or $9.99 for a five pack.
In addition, Tatuz also announced the “Proud to be an American” 4th of July promotion. Between June 12th and July 4th, the company is offering customers a free US Flag iTatu with every purchase placed via the company’s online store.
Kyoto, Japan-based Miyavix recently unveiled a new version of its Kimono case for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The new case, which comes in three different floral patterns, is made of authentic Japanese Kimono fabric. It offers an adjustable-length lanyard, decorative tassel, and a leather top snap closure.
While pricing and U.S. availability are unknown, the Miyavix Kimono cases for the 4G iPod and iPod mini (iLounge Rating: A-) were both distributed in America by Power Support. We’re awaiting U.S. distribution information from the company.
Pacific Rim Technologies today announced the availability of its new iPod shuffle Cradle. The dock/stand charges and syncs your iPod shuffle and works with both Macs and PCs. The iPod shuffle Cradle sports a matching white exterior and has a blue light that glows when charging the device. The accessory works with both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1, and is shipping immediately for $10.99.
ezGear has announced the ezSkin Bodysuit and ezSkin Tankini cases for the iPod shuffle.
The ezSkin Tankini (right) is a two piece silicone case that includes a skin for the shuffle and another skin for the USB cap. It is available in five colors—Sky blue, Princess pink, Onyx black, Lime green, and Frost white—and is sold in a two-pack with one color and one Frost case for $18.98.
The ezSkin Bodysuit (left) is a one piece case for the iPod shuffle that sports a built-in metal hook. The case is available in the same colors as above, except the Bodysuit also comes in Grape purple and is not offered in Onyx black. Like the Tankini, the Bodysuit is sold in a two-pack for $18.98.
Jocelyn Vilter of Charter Oak Rags let us know about her new line of hand-made iPod shuffle sleeves. She offers a variety of designs, including several jacquards, prints and solids. Each lightweight case features a detachable beaded lanyard. The iPod shuffle sleeves from Charter Oak Rags are priced at $10 each.
Meanwhile, Mercury Software Japan has introduced the iTabi shuffle, a new iPod Shuffle case made from embroidered gold fabric (kinran) traditionally used for making the kimono sash (obi) in Japan. “Like the ‘tabi’ or the traditional Japanese sock worn with kimono, iTabi protects your iPod while ‘on the road’ (another meaning of tabi).” The iTabi shuffle sells for $19.98.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced the DLO Flexible Dock for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The $19.99 accessory is a 7-inch adjustable USB dock that lets you connect your shuffle to any computer. The company said it’s a perfect solution for those with recessed or tightly spaced USB ports, and that the gooseneck cable displays the shuffle for easy access.
“The DLO Flexible Dock frees up adjacent connectors that would otherwise be blocked by the extra-wide iPod shuffle,” DLO says. “It plugs into any free USB port with a standard size plug, then bends out of the way and offers a super-handy connection port, providing easy in-and-out access for the shuffle. It also prominently displays the shuffle right next to a person’s computer or screen.”
iPodStyles said it has teamed up with Sumajin to offer the Shuffle Loop, a new silicone case for the iPod shuffle. According to the companies, the Shuffle Loop was designed to protect the device with thicker silicone materials at the corners. The case is available in six colors—black, blue, clear, green, orange and pink—and can be purchased with a matching Smartwrap ($4.99) and earphone sponges ($1.30) to “complete the look.” The Shuffle Loop is priced at $8.
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced the immediate availability of a new glow in the dark version of its Gel Shield silicone case for the iPod shuffle. The glow in the dark Gel Shield is available for $9.99.
Also available from Pacific Rim are the original Gel Shield cases, which come in five colors—Lime, Charcoal, Juicy Pink, Sky Blue and White. They sell for $7.99 or in a 3-pack for $14.99.
An iLounge reader in Taiwan recently purchased the Luxpro Super Tangent and provided us with his observations of the iPod shuffle clone as well as a photo gallery of the device and its packaging.
The iLounger said the Super Tangent is “worse than you could believe” and that “every detail is wrong.” He said the player cost about US$115 and that the buttons do not work well, battery life is “terrible,” and the recorder simply did not record. The reader also said that the LEDs do not shine through the casing properly, and that it doesn’t fit well in a USB port. “There is nothing that works even close to right,” he said.
Update: Phillip Torrone of Make magazine let us know that he had a little better luck with the Super Tangent he purchased. He has posted a review and several photos of the device, including comparison shots beside the iPod shuffle.
Capdase has introduced the Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle. The package includes a silicone case (with “EZ dust Go” treatment), an adjustable neck strap, a custom replacement USB cap, and four earphone clips (hold cable along lanyard for better cord management).
The Capdase Soft Jacket Value Set for the iPod shuffle is available with a silicone case in white, blue, dark blue, green, pink, black, orange, or purple. Pricing and expected release information were not available.
DigiTimes reports that Apple plans to introduce 2GB and 4GB versions of the iPod shuffle as early as next month. The publication said that Samsung and Toshiba are “aggressively planning to ramp up their output of 8Gbit NAND flash chips, as Apple Computer plans to roll out 2GB and 4GB versions of its iPod Shuffle this June and August, respectively.” Apple currently offers 512MB and 1GB iPod shuffle models.
Shufflesome is offering several Teflon-coated vinyl sticker sets designed by artists to cover the front, back and sides of the iPod shuffle.
“The project is run by a growing number of contributing artists from around the world, who supply the designs,” the site told iLounge. “To my knowledge, Shufflesome is the only shop offering a complete, 10-piece sticker set to cover all areas of the iPod shuffle.”
Shufflesome said that voting by site visitors affects which designs are chosen for future production. All current sticker sets are priced at $9.90.
ezGear has announced the ezClip Shuffle, an add-on belt clip for the iPod shuffle. It snaps onto the USB end of the device, replacing the Apple USB cap. “The ezClip Shuffle is a sturdy belt clip that replaces the Apple iPod shuffle USB cap so that you can wear your iPod shuffle on your belt, in your pocket, or on a sleeve,” says ezGear. “The ezClip shuffle is simple and easy to use and provides the flexibility iPod Shuffle users desire.” It’s priced at $12.49.
Vaja has introduced its new AP11 flip-top iPod shuffle case. Made from the Argentine leather, the case features “play-through” access to the control pad, and has an opening for the headphone port and slider switch. As with Vaja’s other iPod cases, the AP11 case is available in a rainbow of colors via the company’s customization options. The Vaja AP11 leather iPod shuffle case is priced at $34.90.
Tunewear has introduced its Clipwear holder for the iPod shuffle. Made from aluminum, the Clipwear “forms an external shell for rugged use” and features a clip that lets you attach your iPod shuffle to just about anywhere. Its open-face design allows for access to the control pad and headphone port, while an opening on the back of the Clipwear lets you use the shuffle’s slider switch. The $14.95 accessory can also be used with a lanyard (not included) or a shorter strap.
Tatuz International has announced six new iTatu designs for the iPod shuffle. The new designs include four new national flags for Russia, Austria, Australia and Korea, and two new stripe designs, red and purple. They’re priced at $2.49 each.
“An iTatu is a colorful, protective, non-permanent covering for your iPod shuffle digital music player. Made from durable, high gloss Mylar, they are specially designed to be easy to put on, easy to take off, and leave no adhesive residue. iTatus provide your iPod shuffle with fashionable protection from scuffs and scratches, and also allow you to customize the look of your iPod, giving it a fun and unique personality.”