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Apple releases iPod game cheats, hidden levels (updated)

Apple has provided iLounge with exclusive cheat codes for two of its iPod Games—Vortex and Texas Hold ‘Em—that allow users to unlock special items such as secret levels, characters and weapons. “There’s a little bit more hidden depth to the games that people haven’t discovered yet,” said Apple senior director of iPod marketing Stan Ng. To find out how to enter the cheat codes and what items you can unlock - including a Dogs Playing Poker stage, Stonehenge, Apple Conference Room, and a New York iTunes Bar - check out this iLounge iPod games article. Apple released the first nine iPod video games, designed specifically for the fifth-generation iPod, alongside new iPod models at a special event in September.

Update: We’ve posed questions to Mr. Ng regarding the current state of iPod game development, and posted the answers in a new article here. The information may be of interest to some iPod game players, as well as potential iPod game developers.

Apple launches iTunes Store, Apple Store in New Zealand

Apple today launched the iTunes Store in New Zealand, “giving New Zealanders access to outstanding local music and the same innovative features, breakthrough pricing and seamless integration with iPod that have made iTunes the most popular music jukebox and online music store in the world.” Over two million songs are available, with individual tracks priced at NZ$1.79, music videos at NZ$3.59 and most albums at NZ$17.99. Apple today also opened the online Apple Store New Zealand, where customers can purchase Apple’s complete lineup of products, including iPods, Mac computers, and related accessories and software.

H20 Audio ships Outdoor case for iPod nanos

H20 Audio today announced the availability of its Outdoor case for first- and second-generation iPod nanos. The $40 case features an impact-resistant, hard plastic shell, H20’s Commander Scroll Wheel protector, dual-locking slider system, and comes with a sport armband and removable belt clip. Unlike H20 Audio’s other iPod cases, the Outdoor case is not waterproof. “The new Outdoor Series allows land-based sport enthusiasts to protect their iPods from impacts and outdoor conditions, allowing them to freely immerse themselves in sound and action,” says the company.

Analyst sees iTV, iPhone and new iPod at Macworld Expo

New product introductions at Macworld Expo next month could include Apple’s iTV, a new iPod, and the iPhone, according to one analyst. In his latest report to clients, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster ranks the likelihood of current Apple rumors and offers expected release dates. He gives the iPhone a certainty rank of 10 out of 10, claiming the device will enter the production phase of 12 million units within the next 2-6 months. Munster said the release of the iTV at Macworld Expo is “almost certain,” giving the rumor a 10 out 10. The analyst also said a widescreen video iPod with touch-sensitivity and wireless features is “likely,” giving the rumor a 7 out of 10 ranking.

Zofunk intros Zozen case for 2G iPod nano

Zofunk has announced its Zozen case for Apple’s second-generation iPod nano. The silicone case is available in six colors—black, grey, white, red, pink and green—and features a white Japanese brush stroke rendition of the click wheel. The Zozen case features a screen protector, play-through click wheel protection, and access to the hold switch and all ports. The Zozen case sells for $25.

Toshiba develops 100GB 1.8-inch iPod drive

A new hard-disk drive announced by Toshiba¬†paves the way for higher capacity iPods. The new 100GB, 1.8-inch drive is identical in size to the 80GB drive currently used in the fifth-generation iPod, but with 25% more storage capacity. “Toshiba plans to start mass producing the drives in January next year,” reports the IDG News Service. “The company doesn’t sell them direct to end-users but to other companies for integration into their products. In the past device makers have typically incorporated higher capacity drives quickly into their products.”

ShuffleBud USB adapter for 2G iPod shuffle announced

Incipio has announced the ShuffleBud, a tiny USB to 3.5mm adapter that allows you to connect a second-generation iPod shuffle to any USB port without having to use the new iPod Shuffle Dock. “The iPod ShuffleBud ($6) is the perfect travel companion, taking up virtually no space in a bag or pocket,” says Incipio. “No need to haul around the Dock and cables that came with your iPod Shuffle, just pack the ShuffleBud and a user all set.”

DLO offers HomeDock Pro

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) has introduced the HomeDock Pro, a new version of its iPod home docking solution. Targeted at custom home entertainment installers, the HomeDock Pro allows users to view and navigate an iPod’s music and videos directly on a TV screen. (DLO’s HomeDock Deluxe only allows users to navigate music menus and not video menus.) “The DLO HomeDock Pro is the world’s first iPod dock that lets you view and select your iPod’s music on your TV screen, and integrate your entire music library and TV shows, Movies and photos into a custom home installation,” says the company. The HomeDock Pro comes with an 18-button remote control and works with 4G and 5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. Pricing was not available.

XtremeMac debuts MicroMemo for 2G iPod nano

XtremeMac has introduced a new version of its MicroMemo audio recorder for the second-generation iPod nano. Like the original version for fifth-generation iPods, the new MicroMemo offers one-touch recording via on-screen controls, and features a flexible, detachable microphone and a built-in speaker for instant playback. Available in black or silver anodized aluminum, the new MicroMemo is priced at $60 and will begin shipping later this month. XtremeMac also announced a new lapel microphone called the MemoMic that works with both versions of the MicroMemo. The MemoMic, available in black, sells for $30 and is now shipping.

Digg founder claims 4GB/8GB iPhone coming in January

Kevin Rose, founder of the popular Digg.com social news site, claims that Apple’s long-rumored iPhone will be released in January in 4GB and 8GB capacities. During the latest episode of the Diggnation video podcast (clip below; strong language used), Rose said the iPhone is extremely small and will have a slide-out keyboard and two-battery design—one for playing music and one for phone calls. Rose also claims the phone will work with all wireless carriers—both GSM and CDMA. Rose prices the iPhone models at $249 and $449. Rose accurately predicted the iPod nano and Intel-based MacBooks days before their release.

ABT iJet, Keyspan TuneView LCD remotes ship

imageTwo new iPod-specific LCD remotes—the iJet Two-Way from ABT and the TuneView from Keyspan—have recently begun shipping to stores. Both remotes allow users to remotely navigate and control music from an iPod directly on the remote using RF transmission technology.

The ABT iJet Two-Way ($130; iLounge Rating: C+) consists of a walkie talkie-shaped remote with two-line LCD display and bottom-mounting iPod receiver with pass-through dock connector and headphone ports.image

Keyspan’s TuneView Remote ($179; shown left) features a color LCD screen and a universal, charging iPod dock for connecting an iPod to a stereo, powered speakers or TV. The TuneView Dock can also be used to sync an iPod with iTunes running on a PC or Mac.

Fastmac expands iPod LCD repair service

Fastmac has expanded its “Just Say No To Crack” iPod repair service to include same-day LCD display replacements for fourth-generation iPods. Already available for fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos, the repair service offers replacement of scratched or cracked iPod screens, either as a do-it-yourself kit with tools and instructional videos, or via a $39.95 same-day mail order installation service provided by Fastmac directly.  5G iPod screens cost $49.95, iPod nano screens cost $39.95, and 4G iPod screens cost $29.99.

JAVOedge offers cases for new iPod nano, iPod shuffle

JAVOedge has introduced a new case for the second-generation iPod nano and two new cases for the second-generation iPod shuffle.

imageThe AlloyVision Crystal Metal Case ($26; shown) for the 2G nano features clear plastic and metal construction. Available in silver, red, green and black, the case comes with a screen and click wheel protector.

The JAVOClearCase ($8 for 7-pack) is a crystal clear case designed to protect the 2G shuffle. It comes in seven colors—magenta, blue, red, orange, clear, bronze, and green.¬†

The JAVOShield Case ($16 for 3-pack) is an anodized aluminum metal case for the 2G shuffle. It comes in metallic silver, black, chrome, metallic blue, metallic pink, metallic green and metallic red.

Apple patent filing reveals ‘zirconia’ device

Apple has filed yet another patent application referring to a device that appears to combine an iPod and a mobile phone. Apple’s application describes a “tube-like” device made using zirconia and alumina and that would be “cost effective, smaller, lighter, stronger and aesthetically more pleasing than current” designs. Using those materials would result in a “highly scratch-resistant surface,” according to the filing. Bloomberg News notes that zirconia could be used to create cases in a variety of colors, including white, black, navy blue, ivory, brown, dark blue, light blue, platinum and gold.

Mix: AllOfMP3.com, Zune nano, Dutch levy, Shoewallet

Russia has agreed to demands from the U.S. government to shut down AllOfMP3.com, the Russian online music store known for selling tracks for pennies. Russia will close the site in an attempt at improving its chance of gaining membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Apple pundit John Gruber wonders if Microsoft chose the wrong iPod to copy. After analyzing Amazon.com sales data, Gruber concludes that Microsoft would have been better off using the iPod nano as inspiration for its first digital media player.

Reuters reports that a Dutch industry group “postponed levying a copyright tax on digital music players and hard-disk video recorders, saying on Wednesday it would wait for the European Commission to first make a recommendation.”

The makers of the Shoewallet have begun marketing the product to runners who want to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with shoes besides the compatible Nike+ models. The $10 Shoewallet attaches to a shoe’s laces and holds an ID, cash and keys.

Oakley debuts new case for 5G iPods

Oakley has introduced a new case for fifth-generation iPods. Made of ballistic nylon, the 99037 iPod case features a flip-top design, play-through screen and Click Wheel protector, and snap closure. The case is priced at $35 and will be available soon at the online Apple Store and Apple retail locations. Oakley said a “Sheetmetal” version of the 99037 case would be available in Spring 2007.

Nike+iPod Sport Kit could be used as surveillance device

The Nike+iPod Sport Kit could be used as an illegal surveillance device, according to a report from four University of Washington researchers. Their report claims that security flaws in the new RFID-powered device “make it easy for tech-savvy stalkers, thieves and corporations” to track your movements. “With just a few hundred dollars and a little know-how, someone could even plot your running routes on a Google map without your knowledge,” reports Wired News. The researchers said that because the Nike sensor contains its own on-board power source and will reveal its unique ID to any Nike+ iPod receiver, a quick hardware hack “any high school student could do in the garage” and a tiny, $79 Linux-based computer can be used to track runners.

Marware intros Runabout wristband for 2G iPod shuffle

Marware has introduced the Sportsuit Runabout for Apple’s second-generation iPod shuffle. The wristband sport case lets you wear your shuffle like a watch, or use an included extension piece to convert it to an armband. Made with Marware’s Orca Skin neoprene and rubber material, the shuffle clips on and off the Sportsuit Runabout and offers access to the headphone port and switches. The Sportsuit Runabout sells for $15.

Griffin ships iTalk Pro recorder

Griffin Technology today announced that it is now shipping its iTalk Pro audio recorder (iLounge Rating: B). Compatible with the fifth-generation iPod and second-generation iPod nano, the iTalk Pro has built-in twin microphones that can record in mono or CD-quality (44.1 kHz) stereo. The $50 accessory also features adjustable gain settings and a stereo 3.5 mm input jack for use with external microphones.

Apple authorizes usage of ‘podcast’ term

One podcaster has received a letter from Apple’s trademark department stating that the company does not object to others using the term “podcast” and that it also does not license the term. “Apple does not object to third party usage of the generic term ‘podcast’ to accurately refer to podcasting services,” Apple said in the note. “Apple does not license the term ‘podcast.’” The letter was in response to a $1 “royalty check” Dave Gray, host of the Global Geek podcast, sent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs nearly two months ago. Gray sent the check and a letter to Jobs following threats from Apple to a site named PodcastReady, claiming trademark violations.

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