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Shoe Pouch for Nike+iPod Sport Kit announced

Grantwood Technology has announced the Shoe Pouch, a new product to allow runners and walkers to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with shoes other than the Nike+ shoes. “For any number of valid reasons, many people prefer to wear Asics, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, etc. and even Nike shoes that are not Nike+,” says the company. “We wanted people to be able to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with any style of shoe.” Made of neoprene, the Shoe Pouch attaches through the laces of one shoe and is priced at $6.

iSoundCap intros new running hat for iPod users

iSoundCap has announced a new iPod-ready cap for runners. The iSoundCap Running Hat is made with a breathable, lightweight mesh fabric and holds an iPod nano in a protective neoprene case. “Not only are there no wires hanging below the head when running, but the iPod remains secure and is sweat resistant,” says the company. The running cap works with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit receiver and will also be available in colors to match the second-generation nano—pink, silver, green, black, red and blue. Pricing was not announced.

Monster ships four new iPod accessories

Monster today announced four new iPod accessories—the iCarPlay Wireless 200 FM Transmitter, iTV Link A/V Cable, iSplitter 200 Headphone Splitter, and the iEZClick Wireless Remote.

The Monster iCarplay Wireless 200 FM transmitter ($100) allows iPod users to play music wirelessly through their car stereo while simultaneously charging their iPod. It features Monster AutoScan technology, three programmable station presets, and international modes for use in North America, Europe and Japan.

The Monster iTVLink ($50) is designed to directly connect an iPod to a TV for viewing photos and videos on a bigger screen. The cable features a dock connector for the iPod and S-video and stereo audio outputs for the TV. The iTV Link also has a built-in mini USB charging port.

The Monster iSplitter 200 ($20) allows two people to share music from one iPod. It features two built-in volume controls, a quick-access mute switch, a protective Duraflex jacket, and 24k gold contacts.

The Monster iEZClick ($70) is a wearable RF-based wireless iPod remote control that’s “perfect for use while snowboarding, jogging, or hiking on the go activities.” It features a weather-resistant housing, comes with a clip and elastic Velcro strap, and has an operating range of up to 30 ft.

Adesso’s iLamp lineup features iPod cradles, speakers

Adesso has introduced a new line of desk lamps that feature integrated speakers and iPod cradles. The company’s iLamp line includes the Tempo Architect iLamp (white base with satin steel and chrome accents), the Boogie Architect iLamp (painted champagne steel finish with LED bulbs), the Rock On! Architect iLamp (black painted base with perforated black metal shade), the Tunes iLamp (white plastic bubble shaped base from which two round speakers extend and retract), the Harmony iLamp (flat saucer-like vented shade with a thin blue translucent strip and plastic base), and the Boom Box iLamp (LED lamp with portable, boom box-shaped base). Each iLamp connects to an iPod or other MP3 player via the headphone jack, features an adjustable neck, and retails for $89.

iPod, iLounge turning five

On October 23, 2001, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a digital music player called the “iPod” during a media event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. At the time, Apple was a company only beginning to emerge from almost a decade of troubles, and the debut, held only shortly after the September 11 attacks in New York City, was almost a non-event.

The original iPod, which cost $399, had a cutting-edge 1.8” 5GB hard drive that could be filled with high-speed FireWire connectivity, and used a brightly backlit 2-inch monochrome screen and innovative Scroll Wheel for control. It was about the size of a deck of cards, weighed 6.5 ounces, and worked only with Mac computers. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” Jobs said at the time. Almost no one believed the man, or understood why the iPod’s design was importantly different from previously released MP3 players, but his words turned out to be spot on.

Five years later, the iPod is now a true cultural icon, and has in fact changed the way the world listens to music—more than 69 million iPods are now in the hands of music fans around the globe. The iPod accounts for over 75% of all portable music players sold in the U.S, and is the leading such device in several other major countries. Over 3,000 iPod accessories are said to be available for purchase, while approximately 70% of the 2007 model year cars sold in the U.S. will offer direct iPod integration as an option. Apple’s iTunes Store continues to ring up sale after sale of music, movies and TV shows, with iTunes accounting for 85% of digital media purchased and downloaded in the U.S, and leading each of the markets in which it sells music worldwide. And neither the iPod or iTunes show any sign of slowing down.

Read iLounge’s Brief History of the iPod & iTunes, here.

iLounge will also be celebrating its fifth birthday soon. Our site, known back then as iPodlounge, launched just two weeks after the iPod was introduced, making us one of the first publications to cover the iPod exclusively. Today, iLounge provides more than 1,000 iPod accessory reviews and many more thousand news stories, articles and tutorials. Over 2,000 iPod accessories are in the iLounge database, with products from over 300 different companies represented. Continually growing as the number of iPod owners increase, iLounge sees millions of readers every month, including over 100,000 registered forum members. We’ll be announcing a celebratory contest very soon.

From all of us at iLounge to Apple’s iPod teams, past and present, congratulations on your fifth birthday. We plan to be here to celebrate many, many more.

iLounge debuts iPod Storage Calculator

imageThough Apple lets you know how many iTunes Store-downloaded songs can fit on each iPod, readers often ask us how many songs from their existing library can be squeezed onto a given iPod hard drive or flash memory chipset. In this week’s Ask iLounge column, we answered that question by debuting the iPod Storage Calculator, a new tool that lets you quickly estimate how many compressed audio files of various types will fit in any current or past iPod’s storage capacity.

Most people will find that their existing collections consist of songs compressed at bitrates ranging from 96 to 192 kbps, so we’ve provided automatic calculations for each major bitrate in that range. A handful of listeners will have larger, less compressed files ranging up to 320 kbps, and we’ve included calculations for those bitrates, too. If you’re a really hard-core audiophile, you may insist on Lossless-formatted files - if so, you can use the custom calculation field to make a best guess, or the Lossless field that’s set to an average rate of 850 kbps.

We hope you find the new Storage Calculator useful. As always, your comments are appreciated.

Contour debuts Showcase for 2G iPod nano

Contour Design has introduced the Showcase nano, a new dual-layer case for the second-generation iPod nano.  The hinged case combines a shock absorbing rubber design with a crystal clear hard case. The Showcase nano features play-through Click Wheel and screen protection, a removable multi-position stainless steel belt clip, and secure sliding latch. The case sells for $33 and will be available the first week of November.

Munchkin offers iCrib sound system for babies

Munchkin recently added the iCrib sound system to its line of baby products. The iCrib attaches to baby cribs and features a cradle with inserts to fit the iPod and other MP3 players. The system also has a built-in nightlight and volume limiter, sleep timer, adjustable straps to fit on crib rails, and three modes (music only, lights only or both music and lights). “The iCrib lets you choose the music that soothes your baby to sleep—because some kids are a little bit country, and others a little bit of rock ‘n roll,” says Munchkin. The iCrib sells for $30.

NanoMonster cases for iPod nano introduced

The NanoMonsters are a new line of character-based iPod nano cases. The colorful rubber cases ($20) feature plastic hooks and can stand up on their own. Eight characters are available—Chuckles, Mitts, Skully, Ta Foey, Lucha Brow, Lunch Box, El Momo and T Bone. “NanoMonsters is an innovative and fun new take on boring iPod cases,” says the company behind the line. “These officially licensed designs are not only a protective iPod case but also a cool character all in one.” See iLounge’s First Look at the NanoMonsters for hands-on photos.

Study: More than 90 minutes of loud music harmful

According to a new study, listening to loud music with earphones on an iPod or similar music player for more than 90 minutes a day will damage your hearing. “The study of 100 doctoral students concluded that people who listened to music at 80 percent of volume capacity, at which point the sound is considered loud, should stick to under 90 minutes a day,” reports Reuters. “The study also found no problems for people who listened to music at 10 percent to 50 percent of maximum volume for extended periods. It found, however, that anyone who listened at 100 percent for more than five minutes faced the risk of hearing loss.”

Analyst: iPod sales fueling resurgence in Mac platform

The so-called iPod halo effect is in full swing, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who noted today that a large number of iPod users are turning into new Mac computer purchasers. “The formula is working,” Munster said in a research note. “The 68 million iPods sold in the past five years (39 million of those were sold in the last 12 months) are translating to the resurgence in the Mac platform with worldwide Mac market share increasing from 2.1% in March of 2006 to 2.8% today.” The analyst belives Apple’s iTV and the long-rumored iPhone will also help boost the number of Mac users. “We believe in 6 months the halo effect will expand beyond a simple iPod-to-Mac correlation into a four-way relationship with iPod, Mac, iPhone, and iTV benefiting from each other’s success,” Munster said. “If this plays out, Apple’s growth rate should accelerate in 2007.”

Microsoft: Apple to blame for Windows virus

When Apple said this week that a small number of fifth-generation iPods had shipped with a Windows virus, the company’s statement included the line “as you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.” Now, Microsoft is hitting back, with current and former employees saying it’s wrong to blame the software giant and that Apple’s quality assurance checks are at fault.

“It’s not a matter of which platform the virus originated [on]. The fact that it’s found on the portable player means that there’s an issue with how the quality checks, specifically the content check, was done,” said Jonathan Poon, Microsoft’s product release virus scanning chief. “Steve, if you need someone to advise on how to improve your quality checks, feel free to contact me,” Poon said, referring to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

James Abrams, who held Poon’s job for more than a decade at Microsoft, said: “The Apple iPod incident was not about Microsoft having a hardy operating system, it was all about security and process… That Apple would blame Microsoft demonstrates a lack of understanding of remedial security and manufacturing processes. Virus was only a symptom of the problem. Apple didn’t know what they were shipping.”

Apple: New iPod shuffle still on track for October release

During Apple’s fourth quarter conference call, Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook reaffirmed that the second-generation iPod shuffle would ship to customers and stores before the end of the month.

“We will ship by the end of October,” Cook said, later adding, “We’re excited to get shipments underway in a couple weeks.” Cook said customer reception was excellent and that “demand [for iPods generally] accelerated significantly after the launch,” adding that “it was that acceleration that allowed us to exceed expectations for the quarter.”

Apple introduced the new shuffle at a special event on September 12th. The shuffle, which Apple calls “the world’s smallest digital music player,” features an all-new aluminum design and is roughly half the size of the original shuffle. It offers 1GB of storage and sells for $79.

Apple ships 8.7 million iPods during Q4

Along with its quarterly financial results, Apple today announced that it shipped over 8.7 million iPods during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2006. Specifically, Apple said it shipped 8,729,000 iPods during the quarter, a 35 percent growth over last year’s results.

Apple’s net profit for the quarter was $546 million, or 62 cents per share, on $4.84 billion in revenue. These results compare to revenue of $3.68 billion and a net profit of $430 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Apple said that its fourth quarter earnings were “preliminary” because they may need to be restated due to the company’s stock option troubles. “These preliminary results may be subject to significant adjustment as a result of a likely restatement of historical results,” the Apple said in a statement.

“This strong quarter caps an extraordinary year for Apple. Selling more than 39 million iPods and 5.3 million Macs while performing an incredibly complex architecture transition is something we are all very proud of,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Looking forward, 2007 is likely to be one of the most exciting new product years in Apple’s history.”

Analyst sees Steve Jobs remaining Apple chief

Even though there are currently 150 companies undergoing stock option investigations—which have resulted in the resignations of 9 CEOs and at least 27 executives or directors—Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster believes Steve Jobs will remain Apple’s CEO. Munster said today that Jobs should be in the clear, given that he was aware of these grant dates but was not aware of the accounting treatment and did not benefit from them. “We believe the options backdating issue is in Apple’s rearview mirror and Steve Jobs will remain Apple’s CEO,” Munster said. “Although these issues tarnish Apple’s squeaky clean image, they do not impact the company’s underlying fundamentals. As a result, we expect investors to shift their focus to CPU market share gains and strong iPod sales through the upcoming holiday season.”

Urban Tool offers iPod-ready shirts, holsters

Urban Tool recently introduced several pieces of iPod-compatible apparel. The company’s grooveRider ($150) is a modern-style athletic shirt featuring an iPod pocket and a washable, smart fabric interface for controlling the Apple device. The iShirt ($36), designed for sports enthusiasts, features a side pocket for an iPod, cell phone, or other MP3 player. Urban Tool’s line of everyday usage holsters are designed to help you carry various gadgets and other daily essentials. The wearable holsters ($25-$55) include the hipHolster, sportHolster, basicHolster, and mHolster.

McAfee explains Windows iPod virus, releases removal utility

McAfee has detailed the newly revealed Windows virus that can be found on a small number of fifth-generation iPods. “The W32/RJump.worm, which was discovered June 20, 2006, recently reappeared on video iPod devices released by Apple late September,” explains the software company. “W32/RJump.worm uses the Python scripting language and is converted into a Windows portable executable file (RavMonE.exe). It attempts to spread by copying itself to mapped and removable storage drives and also opens a backdoor on an infected system.” McAfee has released a new version of its McAfee Stinger utility to detect and remove specific viruses, including the W32/RJump.worm and W32/QQPass.worm, another Windows-based virus that can be found on other MP3 devices.

Record video directly to iPod with iRecord device

Streaming Networks has introduced the iRecord, a new digital recording device that allows you to record video directly to an iPod or Sony PSP. The iRecord uses H.264/AVC for video encoding and AAC for audio encoding and gives you three hours of video/audio recording per gigabyte of storage. Music only recording is supported by MP3 audio compression. “Simply connect the iRecord device to any analog video or audio source to record video or audio contents,” explains the company. “The digitally recorded files can be immediately played back on your iPod, PSP or any other USB mass storage device that plays audio files as MP3 or video files as MP4. The recorded contents can also be taken to other players supporting H.264 video and AAC audio in MP4 file format.” The iRecord sells for $200.

Apple finds, fights PC virus on limited number of 5G iPods

In an interview with iLounge this morning, Apple Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing Greg Joswiak disclosed that the company has discovered and taken steps to fight a Windows virus found on a small number of enhanced, fifth-generation iPods sold since September 12, 2006. The virus, RavMonE.exe, affects only Windows computers, and anti-virus software included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. According to Joswiak, “it appears that this Windows virus or worm does not directly cause any data damage, but it can lower the security of the machine.”

“We recently discovered that a small number, less than 1% of video iPods, left our contract manufacturer carrying a virus that affects only Windows computers,” explained Joswiak, who says the company has had “less than 25 reports concerning this problem.” “The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. We’re upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset at ourselves for not catching it.”

Apple’s official Support page for the virus provides links and applications to detect and remove the virus, if a Windows-installed PC lacks the ability to do so on its own, and recommends that you scan other mass-storage devices for the virus if it is detected. Though the company did not specify whether the virus’s presence was attributable to Apple’s decision to ship recent fifth-generation iPods pre-formatted for Windows PCs rather than Macintosh computers, Joswiak noted that Apple has taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future.

Hear Griffin, Belkin, XtremeMac recorders, directly compared

To help consumers interested in choosing a fifth-generation iPod- or second-generation iPod nano-compatible recording device, iLounge has posted a set of three audio files that will help you make direct comparisons between all of the current and soon-to-be-available options. All three files were recorded at the same time using new iPod nanos, with Griffin’s final iTalkPro, Belkin’s TuneTalk Stereo, and XtremeMac’s MicroMemo placed next to each other on identical angles. Each device is set on high (stereo) recording mode and given an opportunity to use its built-in automatic gain control feature, if any, to record audio at close and increasingly far distances, with slight ambient background noise. The files are:

Belkin TuneTalk Stereo Uniform Test
Griffin iTalkPro Uniform Test
XtremeMac MicroMemo Uniform Test

Also: see our full reviews and First Looks coverage in the Recorders - Audio section of our comprehensive accessories guide.

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