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Dodge Caliber sports integrated iPod cradle

The new 2007 Dodge Caliber, which will be launched with a large marketing campaign starting this Sunday, features a built-in cradle and auxiliary stereo input jack designed for the iPod and other devices. While Dodge describes the cradle as an “MP3/Cell Phone Holder,” the company clearly shows it being used with a fourth-generation iPod. The rubber-lined holder flips open from the top of the center console armrest to face the driver.

HandStands intros iSnug set for 5G iPod

HandStands has announced a new version of its iSnug case for Apple’s fifth-generation iPod. Like the iSnug Set, the hard-shelled case features an EVA foam cutout, belt loop, and a mesh pocket for earphones or cables. The iSnug Video also includes a leather case, lanyard, micro-fiber cloth, screen protector, and doubles as a stand. The iSnug Video Set is priced at $40 and is expected to be available in mid-April. 

Mix: Intel chip, Podcast usage, Gratis suit, Missing Manual

Deborah Conrad, VP and director of Team Apple at Intel, has commented on the use of an Intel chip in an iPod. “I don’t think you’re going to see anything soon,” she said. But when it comes to future Apple devices, “that’s where we get very, very excited.”

According to a recent consumer survey by Bridge Data, more than 80% of podcast downloads never make it to a portable audio player—they are listened to on a PC or deleted first.

U.S. backs Apple against French interoperability law

The U.S. government is backing Apple in the company’s protest against a French law that would force it to open up its FairPlay digital rights management technology. Speaking on CNBC, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Apple needs to protect its intellectual property. “Any time something like this happens, any time that we believe that intellectual property rights are being violated, we need to speak up and in this case, the company is taking the initiative,” he said.

Jimi iPod nano case announced

Mr. Smith, maker of the popular Jimi wallet, has introduced a similar product for the iPod nano. The Jimi nano case ($20) is available in six translucent colors and features interchangeable faceplates, a belt clip, and access to all controls and ports. “The case and cover each come in 6 colors, so that’s 36 possible combos,” says the company. “Aqua and Safety Orange, Ruby and Green, Clear and Magenta… whatever you fancy. And exploiting the iPod polished back we created a ‘mirror’ window, which allows you to use your nano-case to signal for help (very Macgyver), change your contact lenses, or check your smile.”

Scosche intros RF remotes for 5G iPod, nano

Scosche has announced its new Freestyle line of RF remotes for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. Both RF remotes offer up to a 150-foot range, the signal capability to travel through walls, and can control basic functions (play/pause, on/off, volume, track and RWD/FFD) plus the random song feature and access playlists. Both $70 remotes—the Scosche NRF remote for the iPod nano and the IPRF-Doc remote for the 5G iPod—are available in black and feature pass-through dock connector ports and audio-input jacks.

Speck announces CableGuys, Mystery Case deal

Speck Products today announced the CableGuys, “fun and functional” audio/video cables for iPods. The CableGuys come in a 3-pack that includes a home stereo cable, computer speaker cable, and a headphone splitter for $25. An iPod-to-USB cable is available for $20. Speck also announced its Mystery Case of the Day promotion. “Every day, Speck will be shipping a different mystery case valued at $20-$35,” the accessory maker said. “Take a change and surprise yourself with one of Speck’s great iPod cases.”

Mix: Thanko, Movie service, Fitchburg State, Volkswagen

Japanese manufacturer Thanko is selling a speaker made from an iPod box. It sells for ¥3,980 and is available as a 5G iPod or iPod nano box. [via Gizmodo]

Universal Pictures has launched a new service in the UK that will sell digital downloads of movies—one for a computer and one for a portable device—and a DVD that will arrive in the mail.

Taiwanese phone maker claims Apple scouting for iPhone

Phone maker BenQ claims that Apple has been talking to various Taiwanese manufacturers the past few months about building an iPod-based cell phone. “An iPod phone is definitely coming,” a BenQ executive reportedly told SmartHouse. “BenQ will not be making it as we are in competition with Apple, however several of our suppliers have been approached to manufacture parts. Among manufacturers in Taiwan it is common knowledge. The issue for many is the availability of parts if the phone takes off.”

Marware Stand for iPod nano announced

Marware has introduced a new dock/stand for Apple’s iPod nano. Available in black or white, the Marware Stand can be used to sync your nano with a computer or to connect the device to your home stereo. It features a USB cable and two line-out ports. The Marware Stand sells for $25. “Designed specifically for iPod nano, the Marware Stand provides a perfect fit,” says the company. “Its sleek curves showcase the nano to perfection, while keeping the screen in easy view. Whether syncing your nano or using it with your home theatre system, the Marware Stand enhances your iPod experience.”

Apple announces iPod deal with French university

Only a day after French lawmakers voted to approve a new bill that could force Apple to open its copy-protection technology used on the iPod and iTunes, the company announced a collaboration with one of France’s leading universities to provide iPods and other technology for educational use. HEC, the French institution, will use fifth-generation iPods loaded with content and distribute lectures and other curriculum online.

Wrappers offers auto-inspired iPod slip covers

Wrappers today introduced a new line of iPod cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. “We’ve teamed up with luxury car interior designers Alcantara to bring you an exclusive range of iPod slip covers hot off the catwalk at the Geneva Motor Show,” the accessory maker explains. The new cases are available in six colors—sunset orange, midnight blue, cranberry, oatmeal, otter grey, and smokey black—for $26.

iSkin debuts DuoBand, Slims for iPod nano

iSkin has announced two new iPod nano products—the iSkin DuoBand and iSkin Slims. The DuoBand is an armband/hard case that has an outer polycarbonate layer and an inner silicone layer of protection. It comes with either a clear or pink skin and an armband in black or pink with a reflective strip. The iSkin Slims are silicone cases that come in a 5-pack of various colors. They can also be paired with the iSkin DuoBand. Both are available immediately for $30 each.

Mix: iNES, Apple event, Quanta, Chili Peppers

iNES is a Nintendo emulator for the iPod based on the iPodLinux software. Games such as Super Mario Bros. 2, Megaman, and Skate or Die all currently work on fifth-generation iPods.

While he expects new products soon, UBS analyst Benjamin A. Reitzes believes Apple will not be holding a special event around April 1 to mark its 30th anniversary.

Disney sells 4 million iTunes video downloads

Disney CEO Bob Iger said Disney-owned television content has surpassed 4 million downloads on the iTunes Music Store since videos were added in October 2005. Disney content includes shows from ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN/ABC Sports. “Technology has transformed authority from the distributor and creator to the consumer. Today’s consumer is more tech-savvy and governs how and when and at what price content is sent to them,” Iger said at his keynote speech Monday at the TelecomNext show in Las Vegas.

GizMac adds new Titan case colors

GizMac Accessories has announced the addition of four new color choices for its Titan anodized aluminum iPod nano case. The Titan is now available in cranberry, light blue, light green and dark orange, in addition to the original black, aluminum, pink, purple and gold. The $40 case features a screen and click wheel protector, carabiner clip, armband, belt clip and lanyard.

Apple: French law will result in ‘state-sponsored piracy’

Apple said on Tuesday that France’s proposed music interoperability bill would result in “state-sponsored piracy.” An Apple representative said the law—which would force the company to open its FairPlay DRM—is likely to cause digital music sales to steeply decline, but that iPod sales might actually increase. “The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris. “If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers… iPod sales will likely increase as users freely upload their iPods with ‘interoperable’ music which cannot be adequately protected,” Kerris said. “Free movies for iPods should not be far behind.”

French law would have ‘minimal’ impact on Apple

The French National Assembly’s vote to open copy-protection technologies on music stores and digital audio devices will have “minimal” impact on Apple, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. While the analyst believes that the law will be made official by the French Senate, Munster said in a research note that Apple will likely halt music sales in the country. “In our opinion, Apple would prefer to remove itself from the French market than start what could be a slippery slope of other countries passing similar legislation,” he said.

viewTunes Jukebox for Mac, Windows released

Amphonic Designs has released viewTunes Jukebox 1.0 for both Mac OS X and Windows XP. The new software is a “powerful music player that offers a better way to enjoy your music library.” viewTunes allows iTunes users to visually browse their music collection by album cover with a mouse, remote or touch screen. The $12 software also lets users quickly access artist information, concert schedules, and music videos from the web.

French lawmakers approve bill to open iPod, iTunes

French lawmakers have voted to approve the online music interoperability bill that would force Apple to open its copy-protection technology and break the exclusive tie between downloads from the iTunes Music Store and the iPod. As reported earlier today, “the draft law—which also introduces new penalties for music pirates—would force Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to share proprietary anti-copy technologies so that rivals can offer compatible services and players.” The French Senate will give a final vote on the bill in coming weeks.

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