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Photo to Movie gets iPod support

LG Graphics has released an updated version of its Photo to Movie software that adds support for exporting video to the iPod 5G. Photo to Movie allows users to make videos from their pictures by making use of the “Ken Burns Effect” that is featured in Apple’s iMovie software, as well as various titles, music,  and transitions. Photo to Movie sells for $49.95.

Elekson intros new Audio Case

imageElekson has introduced its new Audio Case for the iPod. The case features external controls for iPods including Play/Pause, Track Forward and Back, Volume Up and Down, and iPod On/Off. The Volume controls incorporate a smart fabric that allows for scrolling control of the volume level. Pricing and availability information was not yet available.

Pixelgirl Shop adds new handmade iPod nano cases

imageThe Pixelgirl Shop has added two new handmade sleeves for the iPod nano—Sacred Heart and Vintage Glitter.

imageThe Sacred Heart case ($24), designed by Marty Flint, is made from black industrial felt and sports a stitched sacred heart design.

Pixelgirl’s Vintage Glitter sleeve ($10) is made from vintage glitter vinyl and come in blue, pink, gold and silver.

Chrysler announces iPod integration for 2006 models

The Chrysler Group today announced that it plans to offer full iPod integration as an option in most of its 2006 models, with over three million Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge cars offering iPod connectivity this year. The American automaker said it will sell an optional iPod Integration Kit for $175 plus installation from authorized dealerships beginning this spring. The kit will allow drivers to listen to their iPod through the car’s audio system, select music by artist, album or playlist with radio or steering wheel controls and view selections on the radio’s display.

CNET names Creative Zen Vision: M ‘Best in Show,’ ‘iPod Killer’

In announcing its “Best of CES 2006” award winners, CNET has named Creative’s Zen Vision: M “Best in Show,” its top pick of all of the products shown at the annual consumer electronics convention. Citing the device’s “brighter screen, better battery life, and more features” than the iPod, CNET’s editors suggested that the device was an “iPod killer,” praising its support for multiple video formats and “winning design.”

In a video interview with CNN’s Renay San Miguel, CNET editor Brian Cooley was challenged on the choice of a device so similar to the fifth-generation iPod for an award based in part on innovation. Cooley defended the tech site’s choice of the “little more hefty” Vision: M, saying that “sometimes slimmer and more svelte is not always good for your hand,” and said that CNET’s editors preferred the Vision to the iPod on feel. CNET readers picked Pioneer’s Inno, a truly portable XM Satellite radio receiver and recorder, as the show’s best new product.

Pacific Rim debuts Dolphin, Commuter cases

imagePacific Rim Marketing has added two new accessories to its line of iDiddy iPod products—the Dolphin and Commuter.

The wearable iDiddy Dolphin ($35) is a bundle consisting of the company’s fabric iLanyard integrated lanyard/earbuds and a rubberized PVC iPod nano case with belt clip. The Dolphin case is available in four colors—gray, black, blue and red. “The earbuds pound out the bass as well as delivering crisp highs and great mid-tones,” according to Pacific Rim.

imageThe iDiddy Commuter ($50) is a new wallet-style case for the iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod. Available in white or black leather and two-toned brown and tan suede, the case features a padded iPod holder, zippered earbud pouch, cash nook, credit card slots, business card holder, and ID window. Each Commuter ships with an Opticover protective film.

ezGear offers ezStart nano starter kit

ezGear has announced the ezStart nano Starter Kit, which includes “everything you need to use, charge, share, and protect your iPod nano.” The accessory bundle includes the company’s ezCharge car charger, ezPower wall charger, ezSkin nano protective case, ezGold earphone splitter, and ezCassette cassette adapter. The Starter Kit is priced at $60. Sold separately, the five products would retail for over $130.

SoundFX Sound View magnifies iPod video screen

imageSakar has introduced the SoundFX Sound View, an adjustable stand for the video iPod that integrates a screen magnifier and two speakers. The unique variable zoom magnifier enlarges the iPod’s screen image up to 300%, according to the company. The SoundFX Sound View sells for $30 and is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2006.

“The SoundFX Sound View is poised to revolutionize the way iPod video enthusiasts enjoy their digital entertainment,” says Sakar. “The all-in-one device features a cradle designed specifically for the iPod video, allowing users to sit back and comfortably enjoy any song or video hands-free. Twin stereo speakers positioned on each side of the unit provide exceptional amplified sound, while a side headphone jack makes iPod connection easy for personal listening.”

Analyst: iPod to continue to dominate despite new rivals

The latest and greatest MP3 players shown at this week’s CES event in Las Vegas are unlikely to make a dent in the iPod’s market share, according to one Wall Street analyst.

In a research note sent to iLounge, Piper Jaffray senior snalyst Gene Munster details his view of what he saw. “Yesterday we attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and examined the newest MP3 players from various manufacturers. While we found that there are several more legitimate devices out now vs. what we saw at last year’s CES,” Munster notes, “we still believe Apple has the market beat in: 1) form factor, 2) intuitive user interface, and 3) cool factor. We expect the iPod will continue to dominate the market in 2006.”

Speck expands iPod accessory line with new car gear

Speck Products, known for its unique iPod cases, today announced that it is expanding its line of accessories to include electronics for the iPod. Its first such products are three new accessories for the car—the MobileCharge, MobileTune and Mobile3in1.


The MobileCharge ($40; Jan.) is an iPod car charger, the MobileTune ($60; Feb.) is a charger and FM transmitter, and the Mobile3in1 ($TBA) is a docking station that also integrates a charger and FM Transmitter. All three products are wrapped in black leather with chrome accents and blue LEDs, and are compatible with 4G/5G iPods, iPod nano and iPod mini.

Mix: DRM-less videos, iSkin party, Phish, Verizon V Cast

4Flix.Net has announced a new iPod-compatible video download service that offers “hundreds of feature-length movies, TV shows, independent films and other video content… without cumbersome Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions.”

To coincide with Macworld Expo, iSkin will be hosting a party on Tuesday, Jan. 10th at Jillians in San Francisco. “The Keep It Real Event” will feature music by DJ Chip E, Digital Underground’s DJ Fuze, KMEL 106.1 San Francisco DJ Mind Motion and Alise Phoenix. You must R.S.V.P by emailing your name to [email protected]

Jam band Phish is now selling iPod-compatible video clips of its live shows from its website. The shows are priced at $1.99 each.

BusinessWeek’s Spencer Ante says that Verizon’s V Cast music service is “the phone business’ fiercest bid yet to grab away music fans from Apple’s iPod and iTunes.”

XtremeMac unveils Tango sound system for iPod

imageXtremeMac today introduced its Tango speaker system for the iPod. The 2.1 system works with any dockable iPod and offers audio/video output for integrating the iPod into a home entertainment system. The unit also comes with a wireless infrared remote and charges the iPod while docked. Tango retails for $200 and is expected to ship by the end of March.

“Tango was designed specifically for the iPod, and though elegant in its simplicity and smaller than most audio components, it is a full-featured 2.1 speaker system,” says the company. “Tango’s trio of powerful speakers, including a downward-firing subwoofer, provide deep powerful bass and crisp, clear vocals. A sound stabilizer provides grip on most surfaces so that bass vibrations do not cause the unit to shift.”

Clarion debuts iPod-compatible auto gear

imageClarion has announced new car multimedia units with iPod connectivity at CES in Las Vegas. The new devices offer full-featured control and functionality of the iPod interface, according to the company.

Clarion’s single-DIN VRX765VD ($1100; Feb.) has a 7-inch flip-out touch-screen, provides video playback from the iPod, and offers touch-screen control of the DVD menu options. The MAX675VD ($TBA; mid-2006) is a double-DIN multimedia system with a 7-inch color widescreen LCD, on-screen control pad with full iPod control of music functions, and also includes the video playback feature.

In addition, Clarion also said that its six new DXZ multimedia source units and its new DFZ675MC head unit also offer iPod connectivity through the company’s CeNET control.

Apple in legal dispute with Burst over digital media patents, which develops video and audio delivery software, said it was sued by Apple on Wednesday for declaratory relief, alleging patent invalidity or non-infringement. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, follows “a breakdown in protracted negotiations for issuance of a license of Burst’s patents to cover Apple’s iPod and iTunes products,” according to the company.

“Burst anticipates responding to the complaint and filing a counterclaim for patent infringement shortly,” the company said in a statement late Thursday. “Burst remains committed to the enforcement of its intellectual property and looks forward to successfully resolving this litigation through a license covering Apple’s Quicktime, iPod and iTunes products, including Apple’s iTunes Music Store.”

In March of last year Burst settled a major patent and antitrust suit against Microsoft. The software giant paid Burst $60 million to license its patents. “Since the Microsoft settlement, the company has been in patent licensing discussions with several companies engaged in the distribution of audio and video content on computer networks,” Burst said.

1GB iPod shuffle back in stock

Apple’s 1GB iPod shuffle is back in stock at the online Apple Store after being sold out through the holiday season. Apple posted a note on the store in mid-December that read: “Sold out for holiday. Expected availability mid-January.

Updated iPod shuffle, new Apple device at Macworld Expo?

Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster has provided an overview of potential product announcements that could be made at next week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Munster believes that an updated iPod shuffle, expanded iTunes video content, Intel-based Macs, and a new consumer electronics device are all possible.

“We believe it is likely that Apple will announce a new iPod shuffle at Macworld,” Munster said in a research note provided to iLounge. “We believe a new shuffle will have similar capacity to existing shuffles, but a slightly different form factor and potentially a small screen.”

The analyst said he “would be surprised if Apple does not announce new video content offerings” at the event. “We expect new TV shows and, potentially, feature films will be added to the existing offerings available at iTunes,” Munster said.

Munster said we could also expect something completely new from Apple. “We believe it is possible that Apple will introduce some form of new consumer electronics device, continuing on the trend towards being more of an entertainment/media technology company, not just a computer company,” he said.

Shure unveils E500 sound isolating earphones

imageShure has introduced its new high-end E500 sound isolating earphones. The E500s feature triple drivers and an innovative “Push-to-Hear” option that lets you alternate between music isolation and the outside world by automatically activating an external microphone and muting the music. The earphones will be available in May for $500. The Push-to-Hear add-on will sell for $60 extra.

“What HDTV has done to the experience of watching television, the E500’s Triple Hi-Definition Drivers will do for audio,” says Shure. “Utilizing three miniature speakers—one tweeter and two woofers—the E500 lets you experience precise highs and the richest lows that are true to live performance. Delivered in a tiny in-ear package with a sleek and comfortable new bronze metallic design, these earphones represent the ultimate audio experience at home or on the go.”

Altec Lansing shows new iPod speaker systems

imageAltec Lansing is using this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to debut two new iPod speaker systems— the iM9 and iM11. While complete specs aren’t yet available, we’ve checked the systems out on the show floor and were provided with official photos and pricing.

The inMotion iM9 ($200; shown right) is a new splash-resistant speaker system. “The iM9 was designed for the active, outdoor lifestyle and takes campfire songs to a whole new level,” says the company. “Rugged, yet refined, it’s great for indoor use, too.”

Altec’s inMotion iM11 ($100) features a familiar iPod dock and 2-speakers. The company says it is “designed for iPod users looking for more cost-effective ways to share their music while not sacrificing on quality sound.”

In addition, Altec had a black version of the inMotion iM3c ($180) on hand. We’re still awaiting pictures of the speaker system.

Belkin rolls out new iPod accessories

imageBelkin today announced several new iPod accessories at the Consumer Electronics Show, including a new AV docking station, AV cable, and silicone case, as well as three products first shown in the iLounge Holiday Buyer’s Guide—the TuneCommand AV, TuneBase FM and TuneFM.

TuneCommand AV for iPod ($80; available in April)
The iPod docking station (shown) allows you to watch and listen to the content on your iPod through your home system, while simultaneously powering and charging the device. It features a wireless RF remote with a range of up to 120 feet, and is compatible with all dockable iPods with the included universal dock inserts. Connection options include RCA left/right, 3.5mm line-out, and S-Video jacks.

TuneBase FM for iPod, TuneBase FM for iPod nano ($80; available this month)
Two new models of the company’s all-in-one car mount, charger and FM transmitter. The devices offer four FM presets and tuning buttons, flexible-steel necks, and utilize the iPod LCD for tuning. The TuneBase FM for iPod comes with interchangeable trays for each dockable model iPod, while the TuneBase FM for iPod nano is specifically designed for the smaller nano.

TuneFM for iPod, TuneFM for iPod nano ($50; available this month)
Two new bottom-mounting versions of Belkin’s FM transmitter. The TuneFM plugs into the dock connector and uses the iPod LCD display to indicate the FM frequency and memory presets. They also feature a mini USB port, and four preset buttons.

AV Cable for iPod ($20; available now)
Belkin’s new 12-foot AV cable connects an iPod to your home entertainment system, allowing you to listen to music, watch videos and view photos. It features aluminum undermold shield, color-coded and chrome-finished connectors and nickel-plated contacts.

Sports Sleeve for iPod nano ($25; available now)
The form-fitting silicone case features a protective screen overlay, an adjustable and detachable armband, and access to all ports and controls. It comes in frost white and black.

Mix: ZenCast, XM Radio, Google, Keynote prep

Creative Technology has announced ZenCast, a new iTunes-like application for “accessing, creating and transferring thousands of audio and video blogs for select Creative Zen MP3 players.”

XM Satellite Radio has teamed up with Samsung and Pioneer to introduce a pair of portable radio receivers that will also store your own digital songs.

Google will reportedly announce plans today to let consumers purchase video over the Internet from CBS, the NBA and other providers.

Mike Evangelist, a former director of product marketing at Apple, has written an interesting article on the preparation and behind-the-scenes action of a Steve Jobs keynote.

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