News | iLounge

News

Browse News by Category:

Creative debuts iPod lookalike; Will ‘aggressively pursue’ patent

imageCreative Technology today introduced a 30GB digital media device that bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s new video iPod. The Zen Vision:M, which features a 2.5-inch color screen and video playback support, appears to lift several styling and interface details from the new video iPod. The $330 device also features support for music subscription services, an FM radio and a built-in mic for recording. The Zen Vision:M will be available in black, white, blue, green or pink this month.

Sim Wong Hoo, the outspoken CEO of Creative, took a swipe at the iPod in the company’s press release for the device. “When people see the Zen Vision:M, they tell us it’s incredibly cool,” he said. “We designed the Zen Vision:M with its mesmerizing 262,144 color screen to display four times the color of the 30GB iPod that plays video, and to provide twice the battery life for video playback. Plus, we offer people the freedom to choose their video in a variety of different formats, and to get subscription music or download tracks from a number of different sites to their player.”

While Creative appears to be taking cues from the iPod design, it seems Apple will be the one soon facing a legal threat. At the launch of the new device, the Creative CEO told the BBC that he plans to “pursue aggressively” a US patent it owns relating to music navigation on digital players. “We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation system,” he said. “This is something we will pursue aggressively. Hopefully this will be friendly, but people have to respect intellectual property.”

iWorkout 3.0 for iPod released

iWorkout 3.0 is the latest version of the exercise companion for iPods. The $17 product includes 42 different workout routines made by an ACE Certified Personal Trainer that can be viewed on an iPod. iWorkout allows you to access the text and spoken routines from the Notes feature on your iPod. Owners of color screen iPods can also view associated illustrations. New features include improved narration of workout routines, an automated installer for Mac OS X Tiger users, and larger illustrations for video capable iPods.

Apple’s Jobs: Video sales exceeding expectations, 5G iPods selling well

As reported yesterday, Apple has sold more than 3 million videos since they were added to the iTunes Music Store in October. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that figure “far exceeds our initial expectations.” Jobs also said that the new fifth-generation (video) iPod is selling well. While he wouldn’t detail sales of the latest iPod, Jobs did tell USA Today that “it’s no secret that we’re shipping a lot.” In addition, the Apple boss also commented on the proliferation of sites offering free video downloads in iPod format. “We think it’s terrific,” Jobs said of the new sites. “As long as it’s legal.”

Real’s Rob Glaser: Apple’s Steve Jobs is ‘pigheaded’

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said yesterday that Apple’s refusal to make the iPod compatible with other digital music stores besides iTunes was “pig-headedness” on the part of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Glaser also said that Apple’s closed system promotes piracy of copyrighted music.

“We think Apple Computer, and Steve personally, are making a mistake by making the software proprietary,” Glaser said at the Digital Living Conference in San Francisco, noting that RealNetworks would continue catering to Mac users. “There’s no reason we should penalize Apple customers for Steve’s pigheadeness.”

“Steve makes for a good pinata because he’s taken a position against interoperability,” Glaser said. The music industry “should be pressuring him to change because they have leverage over him. Apple being on its own in term of interoperability makes piracy more compelling for consumers. Because, hey, if I take all my MP3s from this illegal site or that illegal site, they’ll work on the iPod or anything else. Whereas if I buy them legitimately, they’ll only work at one place.”

Veoh offers over 3,000 videos for new iPods

Veoh Networks today announced that more than 3,000 videos are now available for downloading and transferring to the new video-enabled iPods using the company’s software.

“Veoh software, installed on a consumer’s PC or Mac, creates a virtual television network able to distribute TV-quality, full-screen video to hundreds of millions of users with broadband connections,” explains the company. “Motion picture studios, television networks, organizations and individuals can publish unlimited amounts of video content to the network, providing consumers with unparalleled choice in television programming and control over their viewing experience.”

Example content includes “Superman and Popeye, to comedies like The Three Stooges, feature-length films, and more than 10,000 user-produced videos on every subject imaginable.”

Flixpo offers free video content for iPod

How2Share Technologies has launched Flixpo, a new site that offers free video content for the 5G iPod and Sony PSP. Flixpo has downloadable movie trailers, TV ads, independent shorts, and comedy reviews, among several other categories.

“Industry research shows there’s not a lot of compelling digital video content available for iPod and PSP users,” says Colin How, president of How2Share Technologies. “Our mandate with this site is to make it easy for consumers to get high quality, fast streaming content that is easy to access and is already optimized for their portable devices.”

Tekserve announces grand opening of iTopia

Tekserve, a large independent Apple Specialist in New York City, has announced the grand opening of iTopia, a store-within-a-store dedicated to iPods and iPod accessories.

“iTopia offers Tekserve customers a one-stop shop to purchase everything for their iPod,” explains the store. “It features the largest selection of iPod accessories under one roof in New York, from carrying cases to headphones to speakers to car adapters and much more. Customers can try out many of the latest products and find the best accessories for their needs by speaking with Tekserve’s knowledgeable sales staff.”

image

Analyst: Apple hoarding iPods for own stores

Apple is keeping the majority of its iPod inventory for its own retail stores, leaving third-party retailers without an ample supply during the busy holiday shopping season, according to one Wall Street analyst. In a research note obtained by iLounge, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster commented today that Apple appears to not be sharing enough of its iPod supply with its retail partners, as evidenced by a survey conducted over the weekend.

“Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we spoke with 10 Apple stores and MP3 player sales reps at 11 third-party iPod retailers (Best Buy, CompUSA, and Circuit City) regarding iPod availability,” Munster writes. “As we had expected, we found that at Apple retail stores iPod availability was very high. Specifically, all but 2 of the 10 Apple retail stores in our sample indicated that they had all iPods in stock throughout the holiday weekend. On the other hand, most third-party retailers in our checks indicated that they were sold out of various, and in some cases all, iPods,” the analyst said. “We believe Apple is channeling the majority of its iPod inventory to Apple retail stores vs. third-party iPod retailers.”

TiVo’s iPod plan draws legal threats from networks

TiVo’s recently announced plan to allow users to download and transfer recorded TV shows and movies to iPods was not well received by all TV networks and film studios. Several TV and studio execs told Daily Variety that they were even considering legal action against the company.

“TiVo appears to be acting unilaterally, disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content,” an NBC Universal spokesman said. “This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer.” [via PVR Blog]

Scott Kelby updates ‘The iPod Book’

imageBest-selling author Scott Kelby has updated his iPod book with new tips and tricks covering the new 5G iPod, iPod nano, Motorola ROKR and iTunes 6. “The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store (Second Edition)” sells for $15.

“This isn’t the kind of book that tells every little detail about the iPod. There’s no information on compression algorithms, analog vs. digital equalizers, or exporting your playlist in Unicode format. Instead, this book is a ‘just-tell-me-how-to-do-it’ guide to all the coolest, most requested features and functions of the iPod.”

‘Course casting’ lets students listen to lectures on iPods

Several universities across the U.S. have begun distributing lectures in digital form so students can download and listen to them on their iPods. Critics complain that the “course casting” of lectures cuts down on vital interaction with professors, and also lets students get by with cutting more classes.

“Could ivy-covered lecture halls become as obsolete as the typewriter? This fall, a dozen colleges across the country have introduced a controversial new teaching tool called course casting, aimed at supplementing—and in some cases replacing—large, impersonal lectures,” writes Newsweek’s Peg Tyre. “Although it has been around for less than a year, course casting has become as popular as a keg party on homecoming weekend. Students at Purdue University have downloaded 40,000 lectures since the start of the semester—not bad for a school with an enrollment of 38,000. Drexel, Stanford, Duke and American University have begun course-casting programs, too.”

Samsung faces probe into Apple flash deal

As anticipated last month, the South Korean government is investigating Samsung for allegedly selling NAND flash memory chips to Apple at below-market prices. “We are investigating whether Samsung has been unfairly supplying flash memory chips to Apple at cheaper prices than applied to domestic music player makers,” a spokesman at the South Korean Fair Trade Commission said.

Small South Korean digital music players makers have complained that the special pricing given to Apple is allowing the company to build iPods at price points that they cannot compete with.

Analysts doubted the investigation would have serious repercussions for Samsung. “I don’t think the FTC could impose any restrictions on Samsung as it’s a common business practice for companies to offer lower prices to big-volume customers such as Apple,” said Jay Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

iPod shortages expected this holiday season

If you plan on buying an iPod for someone as a gift this year, you may have quite a search ahead of you. BusinessWeek reports that numerous retailers are already warning that they won’t be able to keep up with demand for the hot devices.

“With the holiday shopping season at hand, two truths are swiftly emerging about Apple’s iPod,” says BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows. “First, the product is going to be a gigantic hit. Second, there are going to be shortages. The only question is how big the shortfall will be. Some retailers say they’re getting far fewer iPods than they requested—in two cases, fewer than half of their weekly orders. Also, retailing giant Circuit City expects demand to outstrip supply through the end of the year.”

Crutchfield, which currently has $4 million of all iPod models on order, said that Apple typically ships less than 30% of what the online retailer requests each week. “If you want to get an iPod for someone this Christmas, I’d advise you to get it now—if you can find one,” says Scott Anderson, merchandising manager for online retailer Crutchfield.

TVMyPod offers pre-loaded video iPods

TVMyPod is a new service that allows consumers to buy fifth-generation (video) iPods pre-loaded with the DVDs of their choice.

“With nearly 100 television shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and HBO and over 100 movies, sports events and concerts to choose from, TVMyPod offers something for everyone,” says the company. “Can’t find the DVDs you want? No problem—TVMyPod will locate what you want and customize your order. Here’s how it works: Customers purchase the iPod and the DVDs of their choice; TVMyPod then converts the DVDs to iPod format and loads them onto the iPod at no extra charge. The customer receives the loaded iPod in its original packaging, along with each of the DVDs he or she purchased.”

Apple signs flash supply agreements; ships 30 millionth iPod [updated]

Further solidifying the iPod’s future, Apple today announced that it has reached long-term agreements with Hynix, Intel, Micron, Samsung and Toshiba to secure a large supply of NAND flash memory through 2010. Apple said it will prepay a total of $1.25 billion for flash memory components during the next three months. “We want to be able to produce as many of our wildly popular iPods as the market demands,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Apple also subtly announced that it has now shipped over 30 million iPods.

Update: In a separate announcement, Intel and Micron Technology said that they will be launching a joint venture to produce NAND flash memory, with Apple prepaying $500 million to secure its place in line for the chips.

“Intel will own 49 percent of the new company, IM Flash Technologies, with the remaining controlling stake held by Micron,” reports CNET News.com. “Intel and Micron will each initially contribute $1.2 billion to building plants in Idaho, Utah and Virginia, with plans to add another $1.4 billion each over the next three years. The joint venture is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.”

Another related story notes that Samsung plans to invest about $615 million to build a new production facility to meet rising demand for its NAND flash and DRAM chips. The new plant will be based in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, and is expected to open in the first half of 2006.

TiVo adds iPod support to TiVoToGo service

TiVo on Monday is expected to announce plans to enable users of its digital video recorders to transfer television shows onto Apple’s fifth-generation (video) iPods, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Portable, with the company’s TiVoToGo service.

TiVo admitted that the process of encoding and transferring video content to the new iPod won’t be speedy. While the new software automates the synchronizing of a TiVo and iPod, users are expected to set the devices to do the transferring overnight.

“Getting TiVo to work with an iPod isn’t as simple as downloading music and videos to Apple’s device from iTunes,” reports The Wall Street Journal [paid sub. req.]. “First, a user’s TiVo records a show onto the machine’s hard drive. Then, the program is transferred over a home network to a PC, where it is translated into a video format compatible with the iPod. Next, the video must be transferred to the iPod from the PC. The whole process of getting an hour-long show onto an iPod could take more than two hours from the time a TiVo device finishes recording it.”

The TiVoToGo service, introduced in January, has allowed users to transfer recorded shows to Windows PCs and portable devices based on Microsoft’s Portable Media Center platform. With the added support for the MPEG-4 video format, the company is also adding new copy-protection measures at the same time.

Tivo said the shows recorded with the new TiVoToGo software will have digital watermarks to prevent piracy. The recorded programs will have the watermark embedded in the video file, allowing TiVo to trace and identify the origin of the recorded show.

Tivo will reportedly begin testing the new TiVoToGo software with iPod support “within the next couple of weeks,” according to the Journal, and will make the service available to all of its users in the first quarter of next year for a one-time fee, likely to be between $15 to $30.

Steve Jobs debuts iPod micro, pequeño, invisa on SNL sketch

In an obvious spoof of the frequency of new iPod announcements and the device’s increasingly smaller form factor, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was portrayed on yesterday’s Saturday Night Live introducing three new iPod models.

During the Weekend Update segment of the show, a cast member playing Jobs told Weekend Update anchors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler that the iPod nano and video iPod are now “both obsolete” and pulled the tiny iPod micro from his pocket, noting that it held 50,000 songs. Jobs said, however, that it would be obsolete by Thanksgiving and then introduced the even smaller iPod pequeño, which holds 1 million songs, but said it too would be obsolete by this Christmas. Jobs then proceeded to debut the iPod invisa (just the actor’s two fingers pressed together) and said it held 8 million songs and “every photograph ever taken.”

A video of the sketch can be viewed here.

iPod battery settlement appealed

The settlement to the iPod battery class-action lawsuit, which was approved by a judge in August, has been appealed. Apple reportedly said that it did not file the appeal, but declined further comment. The appeal will delay the benefits owed to eligible iPod owners.

“On October 24, 2005, a notice of appeal was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, against the approved iPod Settlement,” reads a note on the settlement’s official website. “As a result, Settlement benefits will not be provided unless and until the appeal is resolved. This could take an extended period of time (up to a year or more). Until that time, Apple’s normal policies are in effect. Please check this website periodically for updates regarding the status of the appeal.”

Under the settlement, consumers who bought first- or second-generation iPods before May 31, 2004 are entitled to either $25 cash or a $50 credit at the Apple Store. Owners of third-generation iPods are entitled to a free replacement battery if their battery fails or a $50 credit. iPod owners who already paid to have their battery replaced can get up to half of that cost back from Apple.

Apple disputes EMI’s iPod compatibility claims

Record label EMI said late Thursday that music from its upcoming copy-protected CDs will be compatible with iPods—a claim Apple quickly denied. EMI said the discs will use new digital rights management technology from Macrovision.

“Apple is nearly finished with the technical work necessary to enable consumers to transfer music from content-protected discs to their iPods,” the label said in a statement. “This is an important step for EMI and Apple, but even more so for music consumers who will soon be able to legitimately port music from protected discs they own to the iPod.”

However, Apple dismissed EMI’s claims in its own statement. “The information EMI provided regarding iTunes and iPod compatibility with Macrovision’s technology is not true and we have no idea why EMI made this statement,” Apple said.

EMI said consumers will be able to rip one copy-protected version of an album to their computer and transfer it to MP3 players like the iPod. The company said three copies of the disc can be burned to blank CDs, and each individual track can be burned to CD seven times.

Analyst: New shuffle coming, RF interference, EMI playing nice

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has released a new research note that touches upon three topics of interest to iPod owners. Wu discusses the the possibility of a new iPod shuffle in January, the presence of minor RF interference with GSM cell phones and new iPods, and EMI making iTunes-friendly copy-protected CDs.

Wu said the iPod shuffle is due for a refresh as early as January, possibly at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. “We believe this is a key reason why Apple is adding Hynix as a third NAND flash provider in addition to Samsung and Toshiba,” Wu wrote in the report obtained by iLounge. “We are hearing of an even smaller form factor (smaller than a stick of gum) and the potential for the re-introduction of multiple colors, particularly popular among women, including black. We believe price points ($99 and $129) and storage capacities (512 MB and 1 GB) will be similar to the current offerings to minimize overlap with the iPod nano.”

The analyst also explained the RF issue that some iPod users have experienced. “We believe there may be a minor RF (radio frequency) interference problem with the new iPods in isolated cases when they are placed very near a ringing GSM cell phone,” Wu wrote. “From our checks, it appears to impact GSM and not CDMA phones and only on nanos and vPods. When a ringing GSM phone is directly in front of the click wheel, the iPod could go ‘crazy’ and its volume could fluctuate uncontrollably (reminds us of R2D2 when shot by a laser gun). We do not believe this impacts most users in everyday use. We believe this problem could be easily fixed by applying better or more foil tape inside the iPod similar to cell phones and other devices in shielding interference.”

Finally, Wu notes that EMI is planning to ship new copy-protected CDs that are compatible with iTunes. “This is a significant change from its previous stance of shipping Windows PlaysForSure DRM CDs that do not work with iTunes,” the analyst said. “We view this as a positive development and believe other labels could follow.”

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

/* * * APPLE AFFILIATE LINK MAKER * * */