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Mix: Norway, ViddyUp, Cell phones, One Man Band

Apple has until June 21 to change the terms of conditions of its iTunes Music Store in Norway. “If Apple does not make its songs playable on all music devices by June 21, it faces fines which would then be followed by court action,” according to reports.

The developer of Podner, the iPod video conversion application for Mac OS X, has changed the software’s name to ViddyUp. The app also gains SubRip (SRT) subtitle support, more informative error display and minor appearance tweaks.

ezGear intros ezVision Video iWear

ezGear has announced the ezVision Video iWear, a new wearable display for fifth-generation iPods and other video sources. The ezVision Video iWear, which simulates a 50-inch widescreen TV, features dual video screens, built-in stereo earbuds, and a rechargeable LiNH battery with up to 8 hours of battery life. “The ezVision Video iWear offers a host of features, includes everything that you need to use them and works with your iPod, DVD player, TV output, Zen Vision M and most other devices with video Out signals,” says ezGear. “The ezVision Video iWear are great for traveling on a plane in a car or even to add privacy and courtesy in your own home.” The headset is priced at $400.

Low wages, long hours for iPod factory workers

The UK’s Mail on Sunday has published a report (not yet available online) that offers a look inside the Foxconn-owned iPod factories in China. Macworld UK says the newspaper’s report reveals that an iPod plant in Longhua houses 200,000 workers, who work 15-hour days for $50 per month. The workers reportedly live in dormitories that house 100 people each, and that outside visitors are not permitted. The Mail reports that the iPod nano is made in a five-story factory that is secured by police officers. The article also says that workers at an iPod shuffle factory in Shanghai are housed outside the plant, and earn $100 per month—but that they must pay for their housing and food, “which takes up half their salaries.”

JavoEdge intros color-changing case for iPod nano

JavoEdge has announced a new color-changing case for the iPod nano. The silicone NeXskin utilizes Hyper Touch Technology (HTT) to change into three color tones in room, cold and warm temperatures. The NeXskin is priced at $12.25. “HTT is a new, never before seen on a skin case feature. Its thermochromic dye allows the NeXskin to change color depending on the ambient temperature. Whether you use your device in warm weather, indoors or cold environments, the NeXskin will change its color and mood with you.”

Kensington intros 4-in-1 iPod car charger

Kensington has announced the 4-in 1-Car Charger for iPod. The $35 accessory features a USB 2.0 port that can be used to charge iPods and other USB-powered devices such as an iPod shuffle, cell phone or PDA. The charger comes with a detachable USB 2.0 to dock connector cable with pass-through dock connector port for use with other accessories. “Driving and your iPod naturally go together,” says Kensington. “Keep the sound moving with the Kensington 4-in-1 Car Charger for iPod that powers click wheel iPods, including iPod nano, and iPod with video.” The charger will be available next month.

Mix: PortalPlayer, BPI request, Ratatouille, Flash Mobs

PortalPlayer said yesterday that it has cut 14 percent of its work force—about 45 employees. The move comes two months after the company said its chips would not be used in some of Apple’s flash-based iPods.

The BPI, the British recording industry’s trade association, says that Apple needs to open up its FairPlay DRM to allow music from the iTunes Music Store to be playable on other devices.

Incase, DC shoes debut new case for 5G iPod, nano

Incase Designs and DC Shoes have teamed up again to release a new case for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The DC|Incase Folio features a black camouflage nylon exterior, Velcro patch closure with leather nameplate, suede lining and Nappa leather interior with a camouflage embossed design. The case also offers access to all controls and an interior slot for ID or credit cards. Both the 5G case ($40) and nano case ($35) are available now in Apple retail stores and Apple’s online store.

iLuv unveils tablet-style media player for iPod

iLuv has introduced a new portable tablet-style media device that allows users to play videos stored on iPod as well as DVDs. The iLuv i1055 features a 7-inch widescreen LCD display, an integrated rear dock for fifth-generation iPods, and a disc drive that supports DVDs, VCDs, audio CDs and MP3 CDs. The $250 device, available in black or white, also has a built-in rechargeable battery, S-video output, and an on-screen interface. The i1055 comes with a remote control, carrying case, and headphones.

Sonnet announces iFreq FM transmitter

Sonnet Technologies has announced the iFreq, a new in-vehicle FM transmitter and charger for the iPod nano. The iFreq consists of a mounting cradle that’s wired to an FM transmitter unit which plugs directly into a car’s cigarette lighter outlet. The $80 product features a backlit LCD display, broadcasts from 88.1 to 107.9, and comes with an adhesive-backed magnetic disk that is attached to the dash to mount and unmount the cradle. Sonnet said the iFreq will begin shipping in third quarter of 2006.

Lawsuit: Apple sought licensing deal with Creative in 2001

Creative Technology states in its patent lawsuit against Apple that the iPod maker approached Creative in 2001—before the introduction of the iPod—about licensing the company’s technology or investing in a possible Creative digital media player spin-off company. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Creative says in its suit that Apple CEO Steve Jobs approached a Creative employee at the January 2001 Macworld trade show and praised the Nomad, Creative’s first MP3 player. The two discussed a possible meeting, and Mr. Jobs ‘indicated Apple wanted a smaller version’ of the Nomad… The next month, according to the suit, Creative executives met again with Mr. Jobs. The suit says Apple proposed that Creative either license its technology to Apple, or spin off its portable media-player business into a separate company in which Apple would invest. Creative, however, declined Apple’s proposals. In October, Apple introduced its first iPod.”

iPods more popular than beer among college students

The iPod has surpassed beer drinking as the most “in” thing among college students, according to the latest study by Student Monitor. The market researcher found that 73 percent of the 1,200 students surveyed said iPods were “in.” Drinking beer and social networking website Facebook.com tied for second most popular with 71 percent of positive votes from students. The “in” list also included text messaging, bar hopping and downloading music. Student Monitor said the only other time beer was temporarily dethroned in the 18 years of the survey was in 1997 by the Internet.

CBS shows come to iTunes; Over 30 million videos sold

CBS and Apple today announced that prime-time programming from CBS is now available on the iTunes Music Store. Shows available include the reality series “Survivor,” the popular dramas “NUMB3RS” and “NCIS,” and top-rated CSI programs: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami,” and “CSI: NY.” Earlier this year, CBS Sports offered the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on iTunes, and Showtime, which is a division of CBS, brought iTunes users “Sleeper Cell” and “Weeds.” Apple said it now offers over 100 TV shows and is the world’s most popular online video store with over 30 million videos sold.

Apple drops iPod prices in Canada

Apple Canada has quietly cut prices of the fifth-generation iPod. The 30GB model is now priced at CAD$349 (was $379), while the 60GB model now sells for $459 (was $499). The just-announced special edition U2 iPod, based on the fifth-generation design, sells for $379. The price drop is an apparent response to changes in international currency exchange rates. iPod nano and iPod shuffle pricing remain unchanged.

Mix: Mac sales, Norway, The Fader, CoverScout

Forbes’ Rachel Rosmarin says the iPod has done little to boost Apple’s Mac sales. “As impressive as the iPod has been for Apple, its success has yet to transfer to the company’s PC line, which remains a high-profile also-ran. In the last quarter, Apple’s U.S. market share dropped to 3.5% from 3.6% in the same period last year.”

The Consumer Council of Norway has won a preliminary ruling that could force Apple to change its iTunes terms of service (TOS) in the country. The group filed a complaint with the Consumer Ombudsman earlier this year.

iDea HomeDock offers iPod, PSP connectivity

FriendTech has introduced the iDea HomeDock, a new combo docking station for iPods, Sony PSPs, and other portable devices. The HomeDock comes in two versions—wired and wireless—and allows users to connect the handheld devices to a home entertainment system for music and video playback. In addition to audio/video connectivity, the unit also simultaneously charges both iPods and PSPs, and features a 16-button remote control and a USB 2.0 port for synchronization with a computer. Other MP3 players and music cell phones can also be connected to the unit. The iDea Wireless HomeDock uses RF HD-Audio transmitting and broadcasting to send music wirelessly to multiple room stereos and headphones. Pricing and availability were not announced.

Pacific Design debuts GrandStand iPod case

Pacific Design has announced its GrandStand case for fifth-generation iPods. The $40 case is constructed of “rich Italian-sourced polyurethane (PU) material and full-grain leather,” and features a Lexan screen protector, belt clip, and flip-cover that can be folded back to create a stand for watching videos. The GrandStand is available in five color combinations—black with a red stripe, brown with a tan stripe, green with a white stripe, turquoise with a white stripe, and pink with a white stripe.

World Cup iPod guides released

With the 2006 World Cup starting this week, two companies have released iPod guides to help those traveling to Germany for the tournament. MyCityMate has created a free 12-city guide that contains roughly 750 venues—from restaurants to bars and clubs to points of interest—for the host cities in Germany. Coolgorilla, who recently released an iPod World Cup guide with schedule and player information, has announced a new German translation guide for the iPod. The free guide has over 750 MP3s of recorded German words and phrases. “You simply select the phrase you require in English, play the translation and off you go,” says the company.

DLO debuts case for new U2 iPod

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced its limited edition Cross Case for the new special edition U2 iPod, which was announced earlier today. The new Cross Case features red and black leather construction, a protective flip-over cover, an ID or credit card pocket, and belt clip. The case has an expanding body style and dual headphone openings to fit both fourth and fifth-generation iPods. The case is priced at $40 and will be available for a limited time.

Blog the Book to win a $1075 Geneva iPod sound system

To get the word out about our Free iPod Book 2.0, we’ve teamed up with Geneva Lab to launch the Blog the Book XL Contest. Like last year’s contest, all you have to do to enter is add one of our contest badges to your blog or website and link to the Book. The grand prize winner with the most referrals to the Free iPod Book 2.0 download page will win a Geneva Lab Model XL Sound System (value: $1075). The second place winner with the second most referrals wins a Geneva Lab Model L Sound System (value: $599). The third place winner—with at least 25 or more unique referrals and an on-blog description of his or her favorite part(s) of the Book—will be chosen by iLounge’s editors to also win a Geneva Lab Model L Sound System.

Mix: Life2Go, Keane, Unique Whips, iSubscription

Kainjow has changed the name of its Pod2Go software to Life2Go. The program, available for Mac and Windows, lets you load your iPod with news, weather forecasts, movie showtimes, stock quotes, driving directions, horoscopes, lyrics, gas prices, and more.

Contact Music reports: “British rockers Keane are devastated their chances of getting to number one in the album charts later this month have been jeopardized by an iTunes blunder. The band’s second album may not reach the top spot because the online music store accidentally put ‘Under the Iron Sea’ on sale on their Belgium site last Tuesday, May 30—two weeks ahead of the official release.”

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