Wi-Gear has announced the iMuffs MB210, a new version of its wireless Bluetooth headphones for the iPod. The upgraded iMuffs add support for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano, new echo and noise canceling software for the microphone, improved range and signal reliability, and are offered in a choice of white or black. The $180 headphones and wireless iPod adapter allows users to listen to their iPod wirelessly from up to 30’ away. The behind-the-neck headphones feature controls for play/pause, volume, and next/previous track, and also offer mobile phone integration.
France is set to vote in a new law that would force Apple to open up its iTunes Music Store to enable consumers to transfer purchased songs onto devices other than the iPod. If enacted, industry observers say the law could prompt Apple to shut down the iTunes store in France.
“Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format,” reports Reuters. “It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management—the codes that protect music, films and other content—if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France. ‘It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up ... You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,’ Vanneste said.”
iFrogz has announced its new customizable three-component iPod cases. The complete iFrogz set consists of the wrapz (main silicone body), bandz (extra side padding) and screenz (screen and click wheel protector). The $24 cases are available for 4G and 5G iPods and the iPod nano.
The cases, which feature an anti-static treatment and belt clip, are available in a rainbow of custom colors and come with one screenz decal that covers the click wheel. “With hundreds of screen decal selections in different categories such as sports, girly, culture, artistic, pop, colors and nature, iFrogz offer over a million combinations of complete iFrogz sets,” says the company.
Apple investors shouldn’t focus too much on recent rumblings from manufacturers and suppliers suggesting a slowdown in iPod sales, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “Our preliminary analysis of iPod unit shipment data from NPD leads us to believe that Apple is on track to meet or slightly exceed our iPod unit assumptions and be primarily in line with Street numbers,” Munster said in a research note provided to iLounge. “Specifically, our analysis of data for January points to iPod units of 9.3 million in the March quarter; we are modeling for 9.0 million (average iPod unit estimate from 11 Street models is 9.5 million).”
Munster says that recent news coming from suppliers isn’t the best way to forecast iPod unit sales. “In some cases, various Apple suppliers and manufacturers can provide a decent indication of trends in the iPod business, but making direct assumptions about Apple from chatter out of these partners does not always prove to be the best course of action,” Munster said. “Apple has more than 50 supply and manufacturing partners for its products. A small handful of these partners receive the majority of their revenue from Apple, while most receive revenue from many other companies that have products in totally different segments of the market.”
Fortte has released new leather cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The PDA style flip-cover cases are made from Italian leather and feature openings for all controls and ports, a removable spring-loaded swivel clip, and a snap-button closure. The 5G iPod case sells for $35 while the nano version sells for $29. Both are available immediately.
While it still doesn’t sell its shows on iTunes, HBO has added free video podcasts to promote the sixth season of The Sopranos. The podcasts feature cast interviews and other behind-the-scenes content.
Podfitness will soon offer individualized personal training sessions for iPods. “Using patent pending technology, Podfitness allows you to select a world class trainer and choose your own music to get a personalized audio workout on your MP3 player or iPod.”
SanDisk CEO Eli Harari claims his company’s new Sansa e200 MP3 player is better than the iPod nano: “We feel it’s far better designed than Apple’s Nano… Sansa is priced attractively and has many more features than the Nano. You can view pictures and videos on our unit. We have FM radio, voice recording, a slot to add extra memory from a card, and a removable battery. The Nano doesn’t have those.”
Speaking to T3 magazine, a Denon representative dismissed iPod speaker systems, saying: “These are all just overgrown boom boxes and they only work with iPod. For about £320 you can buy one of our brilliant mini Hi-Fi systems and a Denon iPod dock.”
The Star Wars Shop and XtremeMac have teamed up to launch limited edition 60GB/30GB iPod and iPod nano cases. The 30GB iPod ($29.95) case features Star Wars characters, Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vadar and Chewbacca rocking out as if in a rock band. The iPod nano ($24.95) case features Stormtroopers attacking. The cases are available for pre-order and will ship sometime in March.
Koyono has announced that its first iPod-ready outerwear garment goes on sale today. The BlackCoat Work Premiere Edition, a lightweight jacket with a black Nextec nylon shell, has several gadget pockets and integrated ElekTex iPod controls. It sells for $250 and will ship by the end of March. The company said its BlackCoat Work, a stretch cotton version of the same jacket, won’t be shipping to customers until May. It is priced at $180 and can be pre-ordered now.
Apple has added several refurbished iPod minis to its online store. Apple is currently offering first-generation 4GB minis in silver, blue, pink and green for $149. The company also has a stock of second-generation 4GB models in silver, blue and green for $159.
The second-generation mini offers 18 hours of battery life (compared to the original’s 8), color-matching icons on the device’s click wheel, and ship without a FireWire cable or AC adapter, which were both included with the first-generation model. The iPod mini was discontinued with the introduction of Apple’s iPod nano in September 2005.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the 140th richest person in the world, according to Forbes’ annual list of billionaires. Jobs’ net worth now stands at $4.4 billion.
Following the release of the iPodMame software, an iPod nano owner has built a 5-inch arcade cabinet replica that houses his nano when playing Pac-Man.
CitizenPod has released a free 2006 SXSW ClickGuide for iPods. “Download the guide and you will have panels, bands, films, and nighttime events, all on your iPod and at your fingertips.”
Some music industry executives feel that releasing an artist’s single on iTunes and other online music stores is hurting sales of CDs, and may move to hold off on early digital distribution.
The New York Times reports that Amazon.com is currently in talks with three film studios about launching a paid service that would allow users to download movies and TV shows and burn them onto DVDs. Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers are the Hollywood studios reportedly in discussions with the internet retailer.
“If the advanced negotiations are successfully concluded, Amazon’s service would position itself in the media world alongside rivals like Apple’s iTunes as a place where people go not just to order goods to be sent by mail, but to instantly enjoy digital wares as well,” reports the Times. “Depending on the pricing of downloaded movies and the agreed split between the studios and Amazon, electronically selling DVD’s to consumers could represent a way to increase profit margins, as the overall growth of DVD’s has cooled.”
As previously reported, Amazon.com is also planning to launch a digital music service and Amazon-branded MP3 players. The Wall Street Journal said last month that the company is finalizing deals with music labels and could launch the service and portable devices as soon as this summer.
UK-based Ubahn Clothing is now offering a new collection of iPod cases designed to resemble grey hooded sweatshirts. The company’s Hoodie cases come in sizes to fit all full-size iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. Prices start at £10. “Hoodies are a unique and stylish way to cover and protect your iPod,” says Ubahn. “Iconic grey hoodies are recognized by almost all musical tastes. They are an irresistible accessory.”
SiK has announced its Lix case for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The ultra-thin hard shell case is available in clear or with full-color designs. The clear version for both the 5G iPod and nano sells for $16, while the decorated versions cost $26.
“Lix provides protection, style and versatility in an impossibly thin polycarbonate case,” says SiK. “Engineered to precisely fit the geometry of your iPod, Lix is virtually imperceptible to the touch. The two piece design offers seamless display and click wheel protection and makes putting your iPod in or taking it out of the case easy. Compatibility with virtually all iPod accessories means your iPod never needs to leave the safety of Lix.”
CoolGorilla is now selling an interactive movie quiz game for iPods. The $5 audio game is read by New York’s DJ Thomas, and features questions on Star Wars, Spiderman, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski, The Matrix, James Bond, and many more movies.
“This game will transform your iPod into an interactive sonic gaming platform,” says the developer. “It unleashes the power of your iPod to keep a track of your score throughout the quiz so you can challenge your friends to find out how much they really know about the movies. At the end of each game DJ Thomas will tell you how much you scored together with a description of how well she thinks you played the game. If you’re smart enough to get all the questions right you will unlock the secret code which enables you to enter your name on the CoolGorilla hall of fame and be the envy of all your iPod friends.”
CoolGorilla also offers a free Rock & Pop music quiz game and plans to soon relase a Rap, R&B and Hip-Hop iPod game, according to the company’s website.
AtomFilms has announced AtomFilms To Go, a new section on its website that offers select original short film and animation content formatted for the video iPod and Sony PSP. AtomFilms To Go is launching with 10 titles, including “Street of Pain,” a hit comedy starring Steve Carell of “The Forty Year Old Virgin” and NBC’s “The Office.”
The site said new titles will be introduced weekly. Upcoming AtomFilms To Go releases will include “a selection of AtomFilms’ biggest all-time hits, current film festival favorites, and worldwide premieres of original projects developed by AtomFilms Studio.”
SBS Innovations has announced the iShok Nano, a new hard case for Apple’s iPod nano. “The iShok Nano is the first case to provide 360’ polycarbonate armor with thermoplastic rubber shock absorber,” says the company. “The case also features a unique secure snap closure that allows for synching your iPod in the protective case. The innovative flip-top lid lets the listener operate their iPod while fully closed. The iShok Nano Case is also water and dust resistant.” It’s available at a special introductory price of $19 until April 15th.
iPodMame is a new project that uses the iPodLinux software to allow users to install and play Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man on a fifth-generation iPod or iPod nano.
Microsoft has officially announced the first Origami device. Samsung’s Q1 is an ultra-compact PC that runs Windows XP and features a 7-inch touch-screen, 40GB HD, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Gizmodo has hands on photos.
Rush Limbaugh has been working with Apple engineers to offer his paid “Rush 24/7” podcast through iTunes.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today introduced the nanoTune, a new accessory for the iPod nano that combines an FM transmitter, FM radio and headphone amplifier. The $70 device is available immediately. Check out iLounge’s First Look at the nanoTune for more details and photos.
“The nanoTune’s FM Transmitter allows owners to play their iPod nano’s music in the car, at home, anywhere there’s a stereo,” says DLO. “It also adds an FM radio to the iPod nano for on-the-go news, sports and weather updates. Other unique features include a headphone amplifier, an integrated protective case that doubles as a desktop stand, and a 30-pin iPod connector for use with all existing iPod car chargers and most iPod docks.”
Sonnet Technologies has announced the PodFreq Nano, a new version of its FM transmitter designed specifically for Apple’s iPod nano. In addition to FM broadcasting, the PodFreq Nano also incorporates a protective case, integrated dock, car charger, car cradle (vehicle mount sold separately), and telescoping antenna. It sells for $100.
“PodFreq Nano is simple to use—with its integrated, backlit display and dedicated tuning buttons, it is easy to quickly tune and broadcast to any empty station frequency without having to navigate through menus,” says Sonnet. “There are no cables to plug in and no software to install—just extend the antenna and
you are ready to Freq.”
Logitech today announced that its mm50 portable iPod speaker system (iLounge rating: A-) is now available in black to match the latest iPods.
The $150 system features “Max-X” high-excursion drivers, a built-in iPod cradle, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 10 hours. You can simultaneously recharge the iPod battery and speaker battery when powered by the included AC adapter. The system works with all dockable iPods and comes with a travel case and a wireless remote control.