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MCE brings Noreve’s iPod cases to North America

imageMac hardware retailer MCE Technologies has entered into a distribution agreement with Noreve to sell the French company’s leather iPod cases in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. “Currently available only in Europe and carried by Apple Store Europe, Noreve cases are designed using high-quality, ultra-fine grain leather and include features and craftsmanship that one would expect to see in much more expensive cases, but at a fraction of the price,” said MCE. Currently available and shipping now in the U.S. are the Noreve Tradition cases for the 5G iPod ($35) and iPod nano ($30).

Trendy Shields for 5G iPod, nano available

Trendy Geek has announced that its Trendy Shields are now available for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The transparent film sleeves help keep iPods clean and scratch-free. The $13 Trendy Shield kit contains three protectors (6 pieces all together). “Trendy Shields are inexpensive and transparent,” noted the company. “They are made of a thin material that clings to the iPod using high static. The film covers the iPod’s delicate case perfectly. When the shields need replacing, there is no sticky glue or residue to remove—they simply peel off.”

Mix: iPodMyBaby, Hewlett-Packard, eMusic, ‘Da Vinci Code’ has announced the winner of the World’s Cutest Baby Contest, Madison, daughter of Mike and Michelle, from Minneapolis, MN. They will receive the prize package of a family of iPods.

After ending its iPod distribution deal earlier this year, HP’s contract with Apple requiring it to load iTunes on its PCs will lapse in January. This will allow the company to look at its digital music options with other companies.

eMusic today announced the addition of its millionth song. The track is a live version of the Pixies’ classic “Here Comes Your Man,” off of their forthcoming digital-only album entitled “Hey,” and will be exclusively on eMusic until January.

Apple is offering the theatrical trailer for “The Da Vinci Code” in iPod video format alongside small, medium, full-screen, and high definition versions.

Carbon fiber iPod nano case introduced

imageC6 Manufacturing has introduced a carbon fiber iPod nano case. The $40 case features genuine aerospace carbon fiber construction, a clear screen protector and a stainless steel belt clip. “As a designer for professional motorsports teams (Indy car, NASCAR) I have been using advanced materials such as titanium and carbon fiber all my career,” C6’s Jason Anderson told iLounge. “When I purchased a nano and could not find a decent case for it, I decided to create my own. After it was completed everyone who saw it wanted one (even people who hadn’t purchased a nano yet) so I decided to start selling them.”

Apple sold out of 1GB iPod shuffle until January

The 1GB iPod shuffle is out of stock at Apple’s online store and is not expected to be available again until next month. A brief note on the store reads: “Sold out for holiday. Expected availability mid-January.” Coincidentally, Macworld Expo in San Francisco, where Apple annually releases new products, runs January 9-13. The 512MB shuffle is still available for order and ships in 1-2 business days, according to Apple.

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said last month that the shuffle is due for a refresh as early as January. “We are hearing of an even smaller form factor (smaller than a stick of gum) and the potential for the re-introduction of multiple colors, particularly popular among women, including black,” Wu wrote in the report obtained by iLounge. “We believe price points ($99 and $129) and storage capacities (512 MB and 1 GB) will be similar to the current offerings to minimize overlap with the iPod nano.

Customizable iJacket cases for iPods announced

imageBrainchild Products has announced its line of customizable iJacket cases for the iPod. The iJacket cases are made of “a soft, flexible yet rigid silicone material that is durable enough to withstand scrapes, scratches and provide protection while still allowing the user to access the iPod’s unique touch-sensitive click wheel surface to control volume or browse music,” according to the company. The iJackets also come with a removable rotary belt clip or lanyard. You choose from one of several stock designs for fourth-generation iPods ($19), the iPod mini ($17) or iPod nano ($17), or you can customize an iJacket using a logo, high resolution photograph, or just standard text (minimum quantity of 50, pricing unavailable).

Mix: Song cuts, Microsoft, iPod applications, iPhone

Nielsen Entertainment Research says that music labels keep about 34 cents from each 99-cent music track sold through services such as iTunes. Approximately 31 cents goes to the seller, and about 34 cents is paid out for rights and royalties.

Microsoft is reorganizing its entertainment division in a bid to take on Apple’s iPod and the iTunes Music Store. The software giant did not rule out a Microsoft-branded portable media device.

According to a recent company job posting, Apple is currently looking for qualified software developers to help build “new complex” iPod applications for the Windows operating system.

Morgan Stanley’s Rebecca Runkle is the latest analyst to speculate that Apple will introduce an “iPhone” next year. She says Apple shares may surge 25 percent in the next year on new products and iPod sales growth.

iShok cases for 4G iPods announced

imageSBS Innovations has announced its new iShok protective case for fourth-generation iPods. The new iShok 4G20 case “protects the iPod from accidental damage through a unique combination of hard plastic and soft rubber, in a sleek and stylish design.” It features a removable click wheel cover, snap closure, and a built-in stand. The iShok 4G20 case is designed specifically for the 20GB iPod, but the company said other sizes will soon be available, including cases to fit the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano.

Bush shows off presidential iPod

imageIt was already known that U.S. President George W. Bush is an avid iPod user, but now a video has been posted by Sky News that shows a candid portion of a recent interview in which Bush discusses the iPod.

Reading from his fourth-generation iPod, Bush says artists include: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, The Angels, The Archies, Aretha Franklin, and Dwight Yoakam. He is corrected when he calls Don Mclean, known for the classic song “American Pie,” Dan McLean.

The president noted that U2’s Bono came to the White House and showed off the latest iPod. Bush said that his iPod “was a clunker” compared to the new model, referring to either the fifth-generation iPod or iPod nano. In addition, Bush said he also owns an iPod shuffle. “Pretty high tech stuff,” Bush said overall.

Wurlitzer offers iPod-compatible jukebox

imageWurlitzer is now offering a classic-style jukebox that features iPod compatibility and Bose speakers. The “One More Time” jukebox sells for $9,500. “A real treat for the eyes and ears,” says Wurlitzer. “In the nostalgic design of the most beautiful jukebox ever built, the CD changer plays your favourite music of 100 CDs. The installed Bose Acoustimass Sound System offers all your favourites and top charts in superb stereophonic quality. Now the Apple iPod extends the music repertoire by an additional 60 gigabytes, making more than 10,000 songs available.” [via]

Griffin now shipping AirClick for new iPods

imageGriffin Technology today announced the availability of its AirClick remote with Dock Connector, the latest version of its wireless remote control solution for iPods. Unlike previous models, the receiver of the new AirClick connects to an iPod’s dock connector instead of the top headphone and remote ports, allowing it to work with the fifth-generation iPod. The AirClick uses RF technology that allows users to control their iPod from up to 60 ft. away and through walls. It sells for $40 and is also compatible with 4G iPods and iPod minis.

Belkin ‘confident’ in DLO patent lawsuit

Following a similar statement from Griffin Technology, Belkin has provided iLounge with its official stance on the patent infringement complaint filed against the company by Netalog/Digital Lifestyle Outfitters. Belkin’s attorney denied that any of the company’s iPod products violated a DLO patent and said Belkin is confident it will not be penalized in court.

“It is Belkin’s firm belief that such complaint has no merit and Belkin has specified a number of defenses to the complaint, including but not limited to invalidity of the ‘085 patent,” Chris Flower, general counsel for Belkin, said in a statement. “Belkin is confident that a verdict will be rendered in its favor with regard to this matter.”

XtremeMac intros updated SportWrap armband

imageXtremeMac today announced an updated version of its SportWrap armband for the fifth-generation iPod. The new SportWrap features the same basic design as the original, according to the company, with additional features that make it compatible with the new iPod, as well as all 3G and 4G iPods. The $30 armband features a neoprene body with a special moisture barrier, a clear plastic play-through protector, an adjustable velcro strap, and an elastic loop that stows excess headphone cord. The new SportWrap will ship later this month.

HBO interested in offering shows for video iPod

Time Warner’s HBO is interested in making a deal with Apple to offer programing for the video iPod, the cable network’s chief executive said on Thursday. “I’m very excited by the video iPod,” said HBO’s Chris Albrecht. “At some point, I think we would have some arrangement with them.”

Albrecht’s comments came as HBO and Cingular Wireless announced a multi-year agreement to deliver video clips of hit television shows, including The Sopranos, to mobile phones via Cingular’s new high-speed wireless network.

As reported last week, HBO recently added several podcasts to the iTunes Music Store, including special content from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Rome, Entourage, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Griffin responds to DLO lawsuit, denies infringement of patent

Griffin Technology has responded to the Netalog/Digital Lifestyle Outfitters patent infringement lawsuit, claiming that its RoadTrip iPod accessory in no way infringes upon the patent relating to the DLO TransPod. Griffin also said that it has countersued DLO and filed motions to dismiss the case.

“We do not believe that the DLO patent is valid, nor that any of our products infringes the patent,” Griffin’s Jason Litchford told iLounge. “In 2004 we sued Netalog for a declaration to that effect; that their patent is invalid and not infringed upon. We have filed motions asking that the case be dismissed on those grounds and the Court is currently considering those motions.”

In addition, Litchford noted that Griffin is also in a separate legal dispute with DLO over the recruitment of Andrew Green, former vice president of marketing at Griffin. Green is now DLO’s creative director and marketing VP. “DLO filed the [patent] lawsuit against us during a period when DLO was secretly recruiting one of our senior managers, which is currently under separate litigation,” Litchford said.

iLounge has contacted Belkin, the other iPod accessory maker being sued by Netalog, and is expecting a statement shortly.

Mix: Google, NBC, Video directors, Napster

Google has launched a new service that allows users to quickly find song lyrics, musical artists and CD titles. The company is also providing links to purchase music from iTunes, RealNetworks Rhapsody, eMusic and

In a recent interview, NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker said that he sees no limit in the number of shows that can be offered via iTunes. “We see it as a brand-new business, and it will be run like any television network, with new material refreshed and replenished all the time,” Zucker said. “I don’t think there’s a limit as to how many shows we can have available.”

A group calling themselves the Music Video Directors Alliance says the music industry is not properly compensating directors over sales of their videos at the iTunes Music Store. It has posted a petition to gather support.

A new survey by marketing research firm Ipsos Insight reveals that “the battle for mass market consumer awareness remains essentially a two-horse race between Apple’s iTunes and Napster 2.0.”

ezGear offers clearCase Sport for iPod nano

imageezGear has announced the clearCase Sport for the iPod nano. Made of ultra-clear acrylic, the clearCase Sport features a removable neckstrap and a removable elastic armband. The case offers access to all ports and the click wheel, and flips open for easy installation and removal of your iPod. The clearCase Sport is available immediately for $35.

DLO files patent infringement suits against Belkin, Griffin

Netalog, which develops and sells iPod accessories under the Digital Lifestyle Outfitters name, announced today that it has filed lawsuits against Belkin and Griffin Technology alleging patent infringement. Both complaints are over a Netalog patent relating to its DLO TransPod FM transmitter and car charger.

The lawsuit against Belkin, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleges that the company has willfully infringed U.S. patent No. 6,591,085, entitled “FM Transmitter and Power Supply/Charging Assembly for MP3 Player,

Speck’s Cloud, Grass FunSkins now shipping

imageSpeck Products has announced that it is now shipping its two FunSkins for the fifth-generation iPod. The Cloud FunSkin is a white rubberized “fluffy cloud of protection and fun,” while the Grass FunSkin offers a spiky grass-themed design in either green or black. The cases, which fit both the 30GB and 60GB iPod, come with a screen protector and a removable belt clip. The FunSkins retail for $35 each.

First iPod-compatible payment terminal demoed

Ingenico says it has developed the world’s first terminal accepting a payment on an iPod. The invention, which was demonstrated last month at the Cartes 2005 exhibition, uses the company’s i5100 terminal, Atlantic Radio System’s FM data extraction module and Griffin’s iTrip FM transmitter to “communicate with the iPod via the FM band while enabling users to pay for goods using their MP3 player,” according to Ingenico.

“At this past Cartes exhibition, Ingenico demonstrated how, in a hypothetical future, travellers could book plane tickets and receive them via MP3 format by e-mail,” the company explains. “He or she would then just need to store the MP3 receipt on an iPod before going to the airport. When preparing to board, the traveller would simply play the MP3 ticket on the iPod to send all ticket information securely and in real time to the boarding gate. Ticket information might include passport, itinerary and price data as well as pre-encoded biometric features for passenger verification at the gate. The same intuitive, user friendly payment system can also be used for gift vouchers, tickets and virtually all other forms of prepaid transaction.”

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