Participating in tonight’s live iLounge chat with Griffin Technology, five iLounge readers won huge Griffin iPod Survival Kits full of new accessories, and one reader also won a new Griffin TuneCenter Pro Home Media Center. Griffin representatives also answered iLounge reader questions on a wide variety of topics. A complete list of prizes and winners can be found in the full story link above or below, along with some of the Q&A. Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks to everyone, including all of the representatives of Griffin Technology, for participating in the chat today!
Responding to a preemptive lawsuit filed by Apple earlier this year, Burst.com today announced that it has filed counterclaims officially accusing Apple of patent infringement. Burst alleges that Apple’s iTunes, iTunes Music Store, iPod, and QuickTime application infringe on four of Burst’s U.S. Patents (4,963,995; 5,995,705; 5,057,932 and 5,164,839). Burst’s counterclaims come after a suit that Apple filed against the company in January, seeking a declaration that Burst’s patents are invalid and that Apple does not infringe on them. Burst is seeking “a reasonable royalty for Apple’s infringing products and services, and also seeks an injunction against further infringement.”
The upcoming season of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” will incorporate iPods into more than a third of its transformations, including “a 1990 Toyota Celica outfitted with an iPod hookup that includes a ridiculously capacious two-terabyte hard drive—enough space to play music for more than a year without repeating a song,” according to The Washington Post.
Mophie has announced that the first 5,000 people to sign up for its newsletter will receive a free Relo Base Case for either the iPod nano or fifth-generation iPod. The first 200 people will get the case along with “limited edition Mophie gear.” The company says there are no shipping charges and no catches.
BusinessWeek and the Boston Consulting Group have released the results of their second annual ranking of the 25 most innovative companies. Apple’s iPod and iTunes put the company at the top of the list this year. “To launch the iPod, says innovation consultant Larry Keeley of Doblin Inc., Apple used no fewer than seven types of innovation,” reports BusinessWeek. “They included networking (a novel agreement among music companies to sell their songs online), business model (songs sold for a buck each online), and branding (how cool are those white ear buds and wires?). Consumers love the ease and feel of the iPod, but it is the simplicity of the iTunes software platform that turned a great MP3 player into a revenue-gushing phenomenon.”
Muffgear has announced its new Designer Muffs collection, which includes three cases designed by independent artists. Available in three styles for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano, the $17 cases are made from printed polyester canvas with a fleece lining. “The designer muff, is a collaborative effort to create a unique iPod cover showcasing the efforts of young up and coming artists with a percentage of the proceeds going into their pockets, we currently have two designers on board—DrunkPark (Seb Godfrey) & Task Focused (Rob Cordiner),” explains Muffgear.
France Trade Minister Christine Lagarde said yesterday that Apple shouldn’t be surprised at the country’s proposed law to sever the link between the iPod and iTunes Music Store. “Any time a company restricts competition in a market, it gets the attention of regulating agencies. We have to play by the rules of the game,” she said.
A California third-grader received a formal letter from Apple’s legal department after she mailed a note to Apple CEO Steve Jobs with suggestions on how to improve the iPod nano. Following a report by a local CBS news team, an Apple legal counsel called the girl and apologized.
By reader request, the third in our series of live iLounge chats - hosted in our recently opened live chat room - will be with three representatives of Griffin Technology, who will be available to answer reader questions, and give away five total iPod Survival Kit prize packages to lucky iLounge readers. One of the packages will include Griffin’s new TuneCenter or TuneCenter Pro Home Media Center, while the rest will be packed with car, home, and travel accessories. The format will be trivia; additional details are below. Please join us in the chat room on Monday, April 17, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET.
mStation has introduced two new iPod speaker systems—the mStation 2.1 Stereo Tower and the mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb. The Stereo Tower ($300) is a free-standing system featuring an aluminum design, 100 watts of power, and a dedicated subwoofer. The Orb ($150; shown) is a spherical desktop speaker system that offers 50 watts of power and built-in subwoofer. Both systems charge/sync iPods, come with 10-button remotes, and work with all iPod models. The two mStation systems are available immediately.
Fabrix has announced a new range of polka-dotted iPod cases. Available in two styles in pink, blue, black and red, the handmade sleeve cases are lined with quilted padding to protect iPods against light bumps and scratches. The Fabrix cases range from $17 to $20 depending on the design and are available in sizes for standard iPods, iPod nanos and iPod minis.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that during the past four months, iPods and Macs have been featured 250 times on 38 different network primetime shows—a total of 26 minutes of free exposure.
Democratic politicians are more likely than Republicans to permit taxes on purchases of digital music and movies, according to an analysis by CNET News.com
Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Farmer today lowered his iPod shipment estimates for Apple’s March quarter from 10.1 million to 8.8 million units. Based on monthly data from NPD Techworld, Farmer said he believes that March shipment numbers, to be released on April 19, will be below both January and February figures. Farmer’s 2006 iPod estimate falls from 53 million to 47 million units. Shaw Wu of American Technology Research said he also expects Apple to report iPod sales of 8.8 million units, while Bear Sterns analyst Andrew Neff said he expects Apple to ship 10.5 million iPods during the quarter.
Directed Electronics has announced the availability of four new IP-Port iPod adapters that allow users to listen to their iPod through the stock radio in their vehicles. Initially available for Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota cars and trucks, the IP-Port adapters operate through the radio’s CD Changer port using the CD Changer controls for song up/down, playlist/disc select, shuffle and more. They also offer an Auto Charge feature that charges the iPod battery and stops it automatically after one hour of non-use. The Directed IP-Port adapters start at $160.
The Beatles are preparing to make their albums available through online music services after years of refusing to embrace digital music. During the Apple Corps vs. Apple Computer trademark lawsuit last week, Neil Aspinall, a former Beatles road manager and managing director of Apple Corps, said that the company was digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalog in preparation of selling it online. “I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters,” he said. “It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get the publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc.” A spokeswoman for Apple Corps confirmed Aspinall’s statement.
Following up on our First Look at Griffin Technology’s iTalkPro Stereo Microphone for fifth-generation iPods, we have now posted an audio quality comparison file so that listeners can hear the rough differences between the newest iPod’s different recording modes. The 9.1MB file, available here, contains samples of the iPod 5G in High and Low Quality modes outdoors and indoors, plus a sample of the iPod 4G in its original, lower-quality recording mode. Recorders by Belkin and XtremeMac will also take advantage of the 5G’s new modes, which were designed by Apple to enable podcasters, students, and business users to make CD- or superior voice-quality recordings on the go. Technical details can be found below.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced that it is now shipping its HomeDock Deluxe iPod docking system. First announced in January at Macworld Expo, the HomeDock Deluxe features on-screen navigation, allowing users to view and select their iPod’s music on a TV screen. The $150 system comes with an 18-button remote control and also plays videos and picture slideshows from capable iPods. You can read iLounge’s First Look at the HomeDock Deluxe for hands-on details and photos.
IPac today announced that it has shipped the first 12 iPods to Senatorial campaign committees as part of the group’s “Your Senator Needs an iPod” campaign, which was created to help enlighten Senators who work on legislation affecting technology on the importance of balancing copyright and the public interest. Senators receiving iPods include Gordon Smith (R-OR), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Sununu (R-NH), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Ensign (R-NV), John Kerry (D-MA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), George Allen (R-VA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Trent Lott (R-MS).
SendStation Systems says it has teamed up with the Easter bunny to give away 1,000 free FireWire PocketDock iPod adapters. The thumb-sized PocketDock lets you connect a standard 6-pin FireWire cable to the dock connector of any iPod, allowing you to sync/charge your iPod with a FireWire cable or use older iPod accessories. The offer is available while supplies last or until April 16, 2006 and is limited to one PocketDock per person.
BMW has announced a new iPod interface for the newest generation of BMW models. The carmaker said that the new “BMW Interface for iPod” will be available for every current BMW model, including 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons, the new M5 Sedan and M6 Coupe, as well as the 5, 6, and 7 Series. Compatible with all dock connector iPods, the direct-connect unit lets BMW owners incorporate their iPods directly into their car’s sound system, allowing them to control playback and volume, shuffle songs, and sort music by playlists, artist, album, genre or podcast.
Shares of Synaptics rose after an analyst at W.R. Hambrecht said that the company may have won a contract to produce the scroll wheel on the next iPod nano revision.
Bloomberg columnist Mark Gilbert thinks Apple should consider offering adult entertainment on the iTunes Music Store. “iPod porn, desirable or not, may prove an irresistible temptation to a more profit-hungry Apple,” he says.
Roxio has announced the release of Popcorn 2, a new version of its Mac-only DVD burning application. Popcorn 2 adds the ability to convert and transfer video to the fifth-generation iPod, Sony PSP and select mobile phones. The $50 software allows users to create portable-compatible versions of all popular video formats including non-protected DVD-Video, QuickTime movies, MPEG files, iMovie projects and more. Roxio said Popcorn 2 includes predefined settings optimized for standard or high-quality video output, or users can tweak their own DivX, MPEG4, or H.264 levels for bit rate, frame rate, and image size.