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Autobytel’s CarTV offers iPod-formated videos

Autobytel’s CarTV has converted several of its automotive videos to play on the new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod. The downloadable video content includes “expert third-party new vehicle reviews, step-by-step car maintenance tips, and a weekly automotive news program covering late-breaking industry announcements, trends and issues.” CarTV will also provide daily coverage of next week’s SEMA show in iPod video format. The company said new videos will be added each week.

Apple relaxes return policy on 5G iPod, reason unclear

Following a series of complaints from consumers regarding the company’s policy on iPod nano returns, Apple appears to not be taking any chances with the new fifth-generation (video) iPod when it comes to customer satisfaction. According to a report published by AppleInsider, the company recently told Apple authorized service providers to replace new iPods that exhibit “any type of hardware failure,” including “those that would normally be classified as abuse.” For a short period of time, Apple will be “evaluating all forms of hardware failure on the recently announced fifth-generation iPod,” the company reportedly said, and will take back any fifth-generation iPod reported to have a problem. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two iLounge editors and a number of readers have reported data synchronization problems with their new iPod units, which appear to be hardware related. Problem units fail to fully transfer music libraries from a host computer, halting 500-2000 songs into the process. When replaced with new units, no synchronization problems were evident.

iPREPpress offers SparkNotes study guides for iPods

iPREPpress and SparkNotes have released 11 study guides for classic American and British literature that can be downloaded and read on your iPod. The iPod study guides offer the same content as the best-selling SparkNotes study guides including “context, plot overview, summary and analysis, theme, motives, key facts and quizzes, and audio hyperlinks to context, audio plot overview and audio analysis of major characters.”

Available study guides for the iPod include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, and A Tale of Two Cities. The SparkNotes guides, which sell for $4.95 each, work with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos.

Microsoft VP: We’re ready to work with Apple on Xbox 360

In an in-depth interview with IGN, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and XNA Chief Architect J Allard said that he hopes to work more closely with competing companies such as Apple when it comes to making their devices compatible with the Xbox 360.

“I’m pro consumer on this one to the end,” says Allard. “Anybody in my company who thought this was a bad idea to plug in Sony or Apple devices into this thing, I ended that conversation pretty quickly. This is the right thing to do for consumers. Once they invest $500 in their digital media library, you can’t ask them to go buy a 360 music player and a 360 digital camera, and a 360…NO! They got their stuff. They’re going to want to plug it in. We’re going to be open here, guys. And if anything, I wish we could be more cooperative with the other companies that are doing those things. And if Sony or Apple were to call me up and say, ‘Hey, we want to some special things with the 360,’ I’m on it. I think it would not be in anybody’s interest to say, we’re not going to work with 360. It’s good for them, it’s good for us, and it’s good for consumers.”

iPod owners among internet’s ‘most prolific influencers’

A recent consumer study by analytics firm Intelliseek found that iPod owners are significantly more likely to create and spread consumer-generated media on the web.

According to Intelliseek’s study: “iPod users are twice as likely to have authored a blog than consumers who do not own MP3 players, and they outpace other MP3 owners on creating and posting content online. iPod users are also 2.5 times as likely to exchange text messages on cellular phones (59% vs. 24% of non-owners), three times as likely to take photos with a camera phone (45% vs. 15%), and three times as likely to download video clips and movies to a personal computer (47% versus 16%). The representative study of 660 online consumers was conducted in August, 2005.”

The consumer behavior study also finds that “iPod users are product innovators, significantly more likely to own digital video recorders, personal digital assistants, digital cameras, laptop computers and cell phones than non-iPod owners. They tend to link to the Internet via broadband and wireless connections, and are more likely than others to skip past or filter advertisements, especially online, a behavior that may be linked as much to high usability/interface expectations as it is to a dislike of advertising.”

Central Park Media offers anime video for new iPod

Central Park Media has announced that it is now providing anime content for the new video-capable fifth-generation iPod.

“Visitors can now download the first episode of Central Park Media’s upcoming Armored Trooper VOTOMS as well as view the trailer for the shockingly horrific Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek, scheduled to premiere on a special pre-Halloween midnight broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, Saturday, October 29, and Hammerboy, winner of numerous prestigious awards on both sides of the Pacific.”

Central Park Media said it will soon be making available more full episodes and trailers to best-selling CPM anime including Descendants of Darkness, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Shadow Star Narutaru, among hundreds of other titles.

ColorWare to offer 5G iPods in custom colors

imageColorWare plans to offer the new fifth-generation iPod in a rainbow of custom painted colors with a scratch resistant coating. The company says the 5G iPods will be available in 23 standard colors and 460 color combinations with its “scratch resistant X2 coating.” ColorWare will sell the 30GB iPod for $365 and the 60GB model for $465. ColorWare currently sells custom painted iPod nanos and fourth-generation iPods, and also offers a service that lets you send in your iPod to have it colored in the hue of your choice for $64.

New RAM in 5G 60GB iPod doubles memory, improves performance

imageThanks to a report by an iLounge reader, additional details on internal differences between the 30GB and 60GB iPods have been discovered. As initially shown through a diagnostic test of the new iPod, the 60GB model actually contains twice as much SDRAM - 64 Megabytes rather than 32 Megabytes. SDRAM typically serves as a buffer for audio and video clips, and additional memory can reduce the number of times an iPod’s hard drive is accessed, thereby further improving battery life.

imageLike the 32MB component, the 64MB chip is a Samsung part, here labeled K4M51163PC. Previous teardowns of the new iPod have not revealed this difference in components, as they have focused on the less expensive 30GB iPod.

imageIn combination with the 60GB’s new hard drive, which is shown to be a Toshiba MK6008GAH, and the unit’s battery (additional pictures of which are shown at Read More below), the additional memory helps the larger iPod to provide nearly six hours of tested audio run time over the smaller one, over two more hours of photo slideshows, more than one hour of additional on-screen video and over two extra hours of on-TV video. As noted in our comprehensive review, this is the first time that component differences between full-sized iPods have been used to create battery performance distinctions between models.

Report: 30GB iPod costs Apple $151 to build

Market research firm iSuppli has taken apart the new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod and concluded that the 30GB device, which sells for $299, costs Apple $151 to manufacture—a profit margin of around 50%. “This is in line with what we have seen with other iPod products from Apple,” says iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty.

Like a similar report earlier this week, which estimated that the 30GB model cost $143.50 to build, the researcher documents the suppliers of components in the new iPod. iSuppli notes that Broadcom makes the video chip, while PortalPlayer and Wolfson Microelectronics produce the audio chips.

“In this case, the Broadcom chip is just for video and the PortalPlayer chip is just for audio,” Crotty says. “Right now, Apple is keeping the functions separate. Over time, you’ll see more chips that do everything. But now it’s probably more cost effective for Apple to do it with separate chips.”

iPod 5G (video) teardown online (updated)

Investment bank Jeffries & Company has posted an investment summary that includes details about the chips used inside the new iPods, as well as a few pictures. The chips include the PP5021 decoder and CPU “system on a chip” from PortalPlayer, a BCM2722 video decoder/processor from Broadcom, a K4S56163PF 256Mbit SDRAM module from Samsung, a WM8758 audio codec chip from Wolfson Microelectronics, a SST39WF800A 8Mbit Parallel Flash chip from Silicon Storage Technology, and a CY8C21 PSoC Mixed Signal Controller for the click wheel from Cypress. The report indicates that the estimated total cost of components for the new 30GB iPod is $143.50. [via TUAW]

Notably, the hard drive shown and glossed over in the Jeffries & Company report is a Toshiba 30GB MK3008GAL, a super-slim 1.8” hard disk that to date has only been produced in 20GB, 30GB, 40GB and 60GB (MK6008GAH) capacities. Consequently, Apple would need to use the thicker, less power-efficient MK8007GAH drive for an 80GB version of the 5G iPod, or wait for a thinner 80GB version matching the 60GB model to be produced.

Mossberg: New iPod a ‘surprisingly decent video player’

In his column for the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg has taken a look at the new iPod 5G (video), including a close look at the device’s video functionality.

“Our verdict is that this new iPod is an excellent music player. It has all of the strengths that have made prior iPods monster hits, and a few subtle refinements. Plus, it’s a surprisingly decent video player, with crisp, smooth vivid playback of TV shows, music videos, short films, video podcasts and home videos… We wouldn’t want to watch a full-length movie on this iPod—the screen is just too small. But, for short things like music videos, video podcasts or even hourlong TV shows shortened by stripping out the commercials, as Apple is doing, the new iPod provides a pretty good experience.”

iPod Updater 2005-10-12 released

Apple has posted iPod Updater 2005-10-12 for download on its website. The update includes iPod Software 1.0 for Apple’s new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod, but does not bring any new features to current iPods. According to the brief release notes, iPod Updater 2005-10-12 “contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-09-23 for all other iPod models.”

Fifth-generation (video) iPods arrive

imageApple’s new fifth-generation iPods have begun arriving to those in the U.S. who placed their order shortly after last week’s announcement. iLounge editors and several forum members have already received their new iPods, with many more iLoungers reporting that theirs have been shipped. In addition, it has been confirmed that most Apple retail stores have received a limited number of the new iPods.

We’ve posted a six-page photo gallery featuring the unpacking of a 30GB black iPod and a 60GB white iPod. You can also check out our Top Ten Things You Wanted to Know About the 5G iPod article, our original first look article on the device, as well as our gallery of 300+ pictures from the special Apple event where the new iPod was unveiled. Stay tuned to iLounge for our comprehensive review.

iPod chief stepping down, to be succeeded by ‘Father of iPod’

Apple today announced that Jon Rubinstein, the company’s senior vice president of its iPod Division, will retire on March 31, 2006 and will be succeeded by Tony Fadell, Apple’s vice president of iPod engineering. Apple said in a statement that Fadell, known to insiders as the “Father of the iPod,” will report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and take over all aspects of iPod development.

“I’ve worked with Jon for over 15 years, and we’re going to miss him. Jon has done an excellent job as a member of Apple’s senior management team, as well as building our world-class iPod engineering team and running our hardware engineering team prior to that,” said Jobs. “Tony has been doing a superb job running a large part of the iPod engineering team, and we’re expecting a very smooth transition.”

Fadell, an engineer who previously worked at General Magic, Philips Electronics and RealNetworks, is credited for the birth of the iPod. Fadell reportedly approached Apple with the idea of a portable digital music player coupled with a paid download service in 2001. Apple provided Fadell with a 30-person team and a tight deadline to create the first iPod.

Apple also announced today that it has named Tim Cook its chief operating officer. Cook, who has been Apple’s executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations since 2002, will continue to report to Jobs.

U2 iPod takes final bow

imageWith the introduction of the new fifth-generation iPod today, it would appear that Apple has quietly discontinued the special edition U2 iPod (in addition to the obvious replacement of fourth-generation color screen iPods). The black-and-red iPod’s previous home (www.apple.com/ipod/u2) now simply redirects to the main iPod page on Apple’s website, and is not available from the online Apple Store. The U2 iPod was introduced one year ago this month at the same venue as today’s special event in San Jose, California. It should be noted that U2 does appear in the new iPod commercial.

Apple posts special event video, iPod commercial

Apple has now posted a streaming QuickTime video of today’s “One more thing” event, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new iPod, iTunes 6, and updated iMacs. In addition, Apple has also made its latest iPod commercial available for download. The new spot features a U2 video playing on a new iPod with the tagline, “Watch your music.”

Apple intros fifth-generation iPod with video playback

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As widely expected, Apple today introduced the long-rumored new iPod with video playback capabilities. The new fifth-generation device, which is up to 30% thinner than the previous full-size iPod, features a larger 2.5-inch color screen (320 x 240 resolution, 260,000 colors) that can play videos, including music videos, video Podcasts, home movies and television shows, in addition to displaying album artwork and photos. It supports MPEG4 and H.264 video at 30 fps and also sports TV out. (See our report on iTunes 6 for further details on available video content). The new iPod is available in both white and black versions in 30GB ($299) and 60GB ($399) capacities. Both models will begin shipping next week.

iLounge Exclusive: New iPod revealed

iLounge has snapped exclusive photos of advertisements for the new iPod, which will be introduced today at Apple’s “One more thing” event in San Jose, California. The familiar silhouette posters clearly show an all-new iPod model with a noticeably larger display, approximately 2.5 to 2.6 inches diagonal, compared to the current full-size iPod’s 2-inch screen. Also of note, the headphone jack has been moved from the top-center to the top-right side of the device.

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MORE TO FOLLOW

Apple hints at new iPod announcement, sees ‘staggering’ nano demand

During Apple’s fourth quarter conference call with analysts and press Tuesday, a senior Apple executive said that the final phase of a complete iPod lineup revamp would be revealed before the holiday shopping season, hinting that full-size iPods would soon receive a makeover and new features—possibly at tomorrow’s special event in San Jose, California.

While discussing the iPod family and the new iPod nano, which just replaced the iPod mini, Tim Cook, Apple’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations, said that his company had some “very innovative new products that we have yet to introduce” for the holiday season. Cook noted that Apple began working on “revolutionary” new versions of its iPods more than a year ago, and that last quarter was the final quarter for the older models.

Also during the conference call, Cook said that Apple sold over 1 million iPod nanos in the first 17 days of the product’s availability (before the fourth quarter ended), and that the company is seeing “staggering” demand and an “enormous backlog” for the tiny device.

BBC 6 Music report: Video iPod set to debut in London next week

During a broadcast earlier in the day, BBC 6 Music news reported “Apple is set to unveil a new video iPod at the BBC Television Centre in London on October the 12th. The company is expected to reveal details of the new MP3 and video player as well as video bundles to be available from the company’s iTunes stores.” Conflicting reports about the rumored video iPod have run rampant across the web since Apple sent out the “One More Thing…” announcements yesterday. The broadcast is no longer available on the BBC site.

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