“It is a bit emasculating to admit this, but portable electronics have replaced sidearms in our culture. I draw upon the Japanese katana for my analogy for several reasons. First, the katana was much more than a mere weapon or cutting tool. It was a portable symbol of status, power, and class. The warrior class, the Samurai, were actually quite numerous. At their height they were nearly 10% of the population of Japan. Before 1876, wearing the katana conveyed to the casual observer that the wearer of the long and short swords possessed a rank and status of an elite group.
The simple fact that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for an iPod, when equal technology is available in a less impressive-looking package, points directly to this analogy. People will pay more for a status symbol, and in doing so, they have made the iPod one of the most important cultural icons today.”
“Pacific Rim Technologies, a global supplier of innovative products specializing in iPod, PDA, Pocket PC cases, today announced the introduction of the iPod ‘iShield II’ hard case made of aircraft aluminum, available in multi-colors and compatible with Apple iPod 10, 15, and 20GB. It will be shipping in quantity in late February.
Apple has posted a ‘coming soon’ page for its Pepsi-iTunes 100 million song giveaway. You can sign up to be notified when the giveaway launches on February 1, 2004. “Watch for our ads during the Superbowl. 100 million songs. 1 in 3 wins.” It seems that you can either purchase Pepsi or Sierra Mist for a chance to win, as indicated by the icons in the lower left.
“Impulsesoft, the leading Bluetooth(R) Audio solution provider, today announced that TEN Technology has licensed its Bluetooth stereo technology. TEN Technology, the company that introduced the naviPod(TM) wireless remote control for Apple’s iPod, the leading digital music player in the world, demonstrated the TEN naviPlay(TM), the first Bluetooth stereo adapter and remote control designed specifically for the iPod, on January 6, 2004 at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, CA.
‘Superior audio quality and long battery life are critical for naviPlay to meet the high expectations of iPod owners. Impulsesoft’s iWISH and iWISA deliver 44.1KHz and 48KHz stereo audio with a long battery life,’ said John Lin, CEO of TEN Technology.”
Editor’s note: Here are photos of the naviPlay prototype as seen at Macworld SF.
“Europeans purchased over three million song downloads in 2003 from the continent’s primary online music store, OD2, raising faint hopes the lackluster music industry is on the road to recovery. [...]
Still, the volume of downloads is growing 25 percent month on month, Grimsdale said, which would mean download sales should grow more than three-fold in 2004. [...]
The more mature U.S. market is growing even faster. American music fans purchased 30 million download tracks in 2003 as online stores such as Apple Computer’s iTunes proved a big hit with consumers.”
“Synch iPod-iTunes Data” synchronizes select data between your iPod and iTunes. The data that can be synchronized are “Date Last Played”, “Play Count”, “Rating” and “Comments”. The data can be transferred from iPod to iTunes or the reverse, or can be synchronized between the two. This application is designed for people who manually manage their iPod playlists.
“Back in 1999, researchers at Compaq designed a 30 Gbyte portable music player that weighed 9.5 ounces, could fit in your pocket and had 10 hours of battery life. The Personal Jukebox - aka PJB - went on sale for more than $500, and Compaq received a handy patent for its work.
But the PJB is not all that interesting in and of itself. Plenty of companies were busy working on their own music players at the time. The demand for such devices was pretty clear, as consumers rushed to organize their music on PCs and wanted a way to carry the tunes around. [...]
The only explanation for HP’s iPod lust is that it was the easy way out - the road least invented. [...]
HP’s decision to pick up Apple product points to nothing less than a failure of the company to capitalize on its own invention. In addition, it shows HP’s unmatched readiness to ignore in-house IP at the very moment a fledgling market looks promising.”
Normally we couldn’t care less about iPod clones, but Korean company Nextway has announced the D Cube NHD-150D, a 1.5GB hard drive based audio player looking very similar to the iPod. It’s white, and has an LCD display above a scroll wheel and buttons similar to older iPods. Its features include; OGG Vorbis support, 8 line LCD, FM transmitter, FM radio and FM record, direct encoding, Mac OS support and the list goes on. We could not find a price posted on the website. Apple has been known to sue for such ‘similarities’ in product design, most notably the original iMac.
Apple has posted a new iPod TV commercial for viewing at Apple.com which features “Channel Surfing” by Feature Cast. It had been shown for the first time during Steve Job’s Keynote speech at Macworld San Francisco.
JAVOedge has released retractable stereo headphones called JAVOeBuds and features; 3.5 mm headphone jack, and retractable cable (47 inch max.). The JAVOeBuds are on sale for $18.95 (expires 2/18/04).
MacMinute reports the iPod mini is #1 on the online Apple Store’s Top Sellers list followed by iTunes Gift Certificates, iLife ‘04, Keystation 49e USB Midi Keyboard, 15-inch PowerBook, Monster iCarPlay wireless FM transmitter for iPods, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, iBook, iMac, and the dual 2GHz Power Mac G5.
Belkin has released a new Neoprene Sport case and Mobile Power cord with dock connector on its website. The Neoprene Sport case ($24.99) features; 360-degree motion with swivel clip, top-loading design with drawstring, and clear PVC cover. The new Mobile Power cord ($24.99) for your car features; replaceable safety fuse, DC input jack (works with F8V3080-APL TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter) and comes with a Belkin Lifetime Warranty.
MicrophoneSolutions.com is selling the pro version of the E5c, the E5, for only $389. Use coupon code F389E5.
In the February issue of Macworld (UK) there is a news item about the ongoing battery replacement issue.
“Apple Europe has confirmed that it will offer Europe’s iPod owners battery replacement and AppleCare packages “soon”, following its move to do so in the US last year. Online campaigners have criticised the usable life of Apple’s music player, complaining that its battery last just 18 months. This allegation is open to question, but Apple is responding to meet its users’ needs, the company’s moves suggest.
Apple’s European PR manager Alan Hely exclusively told Macworld: “The iPod Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program recently launched in the US will soon be launched in Europe. So to will AppleCare for iPod. “The move means readers who bought an iPod last Christmas can protect their music players. UK and European iPod owners will be able to use the battery replacement service “should they experience a depleted battery”.
As with any Apple Protection Plan, AppleCare for iPod will be available for iPod customers within their one-year limited warranty. This means “customers can protect their iPod by buying AppleCare for iPod at a later time when it becomes available in Europe”, Hely said. European pricing has not yet been announced. “
“According to The NPD Group, music downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) services increased 14% from October through November of 2003. That followedsix straight months of decline during the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) legal campaign against pirates, which has so far resulted in more than 300 lawsuits.
Russ Crupnick, vice president of the independent NPD Group, says there may be several reasons for the uptick in downloading. Among them: the inevitable dropoff in publicity from the RIAA’s campaign, more leisure time for students during the holidays, and the launch of several high-profile legal music downloading services.”
Dealmac: Amazon.com once again offers Apple’s iPod 10GB MP3 player for $236.54 with free shipping. It’s still the lowest total price we know to be available. Amazon.com offers the iPod 20GB and 40GB for $370.24 and $463.14, respectively, with free shipping. We couldn’t find a better total price on either of these elsewhere.
Teski, fashion apparel and case designer/manufacturer, has released a new hardcase for 3G iPods. The roadie case is made of PC ABS plastic and features; an interchangeable design for use with an armband or low profile belt clip, access to ‘Hold’ switch, headphone and docking port and provides full access to the front of iPod. The case comes in two-tone white/black on sale for $19.95, and comes in two sizes; 10/15/20GB and 30/40GB. You can purchase an additional 3-pack of front panels (orange, black and clear) for $9.95
“Kenswil [Universal Music’s eLabs president] spoke at the well-attended Music and Technology conference at the Royal Society in London yesterday. His assessment of a Q2 rollout for Apple’s music store was shared by representatives from BMG, EMI and other smaller labels represented at the show who were spoken to by Macworld.
He said: “As far as we know, the deals for Europe have been done, all the agreements are in place to introduce services here.”“