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SpeckTone Retro iPod speaker system debuts

Speck Products has announced the SpeckTone Retro, a new iPod speaker system with vintage styling. “SpeckTone Retro looks like nothing you’ve seen for the iPod. The clean lines and nostalgic elegance of 1950’s style makes a statement without replicating or competing with the modern, sleek look of the iPod itself,” says Speck. The $150 speaker system features a top-mounting iPod dock, 28 watt output, a 4” subwoofer and two 3” drivers, and support for 4G and 5G iPods, the iPod nano and iPod mini. SpeckTone Retro’s all-wood speaker cabinet is available in three high-gloss lacquered finishes—green/brown, black/black and white/silver. It will begin shipping in June.

Apple planning iPod gaming system?

GameSpot speculates that Apple may be getting into portable gaming. “This week, GameSpot learned that there may be more to the Apple-game rumors than mere Mac-mad daydreams,” gaming publication reports. “A tech-sector recruiter contacted the GS NewsDesk with an interesting story of a prospective hire that got away. Recently, when said recruiter made an offer to a software engineer, the engineer turned the offer down—saying he was being ‘heavily recruited by Apple,’” GameSpot reports. “According to the engineer, an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside Apple’s storied iTunes division. The group is specifically hiring for ‘C/C++ coders with a ‘gaming background.’ The engineer says the project in question was described to him as ‘super secret,’ and Apple would not even tell him the exact nature of it until he had been hired and signed a non-disclosure agreement.”

Apple loses court bid to unmask sources

A California appeals court has struck down Apple’s bid to identify the sources of leaked product details that appeared on Apple enthusiast websites, ruling that online reporters are protected the same as traditional journalists. “In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company,” Justice Conrad Rushing of the 6th District Court of Appeal wrote in a unanimous 69-page ruling. “We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes ‘legitimate journalism,” he wrote. “The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here.”

Vaja offers World Cup iPod cases

Vaja has announced a new collection of its iVod cases in colors matching the countries/teams competing in this year’s World Cup soccer tournament. Like the original iVod, the World Cup edition cases feature a padded interior, screen and click wheel protectors, and access to all controls and ports. The World Cup cases are priced at $90 each.

Podstar Diablo cases for 5G iPods announced

Boomwave Products has announced a new line of Podstar Diablo cases for fifth-generation iPods. Like the company’s Diablo iPod nano cases (iLounge Rating: A-), the $30 silicone cases come in four devil-inspired designs in black or red. “A range of devilishly good-looking body casings for your stylish-but-sterile iPod Video. Available in 8 dastardly designs, each of these first-generation Podstars come with a unique personality that just screams with a melancholic but sensual anti-hero vibe,” says Boomwave. “Each Podstar character includes an aluminum hook, removable screen protector and also an individual Podstar ID.”

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Apple’s Steve Jobs on innovation, iPod releases

In an interview with Brian Williams for NBC News, Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented on innovation and the speed in which new iPods are being released. “As the technology keeps moving and lets us do more and more, we want to bring customers with that, not just leave them using stuff that they could do five years ago,” Jobs said. “You keep on innovating, you keep on making better stuff. And if you always want the latest and greatest, then you have to buy a new iPod at least once a year.” When asked by Williams where he sees himself in the American family of thinkers and inventors, Jobs said: “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

Mix: Concerto table, iSee cases, iPodulator Pro, iWeddings

The iPod Concerto Table by Lovegrove and Respucci is a piano-shaped design concept that integrates an iPod dock and amplified speakers underneath the lid.

Contour Design is giving away 200 more free iSee nano cases in response to popular demand. Contour will also be extending their 15% off sale until May 28, 2006.

Star Wars: Clone Wars coming to iTunes Music Store

Lucasfilm today announced that Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-winning animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars will soon be available from the iTunes Music Store. Beginning today, the 20 chapters of Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1 will be available on iTunes, with Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2 following next month. Each episode will be available for $1.99 with the full season of Volume 1 for $10.99. “The original animated series produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd. and renowned director Genndy Tartakovsky follows the exploits of heroic Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and a legion of Jedi Knights as they fight against the forces of the Dark Side.”

NBC News programs now available from iTunes

NBC has announced that it is now offering a collection of news and documentary programming for purchase from the iTunes Music Store. Programming from NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC will be priced at $1.99 per download. The offerings include select NBC News and CNBC specials, “NBC News Time Capsule,” “Tom Brokaw Reports,” “Meet The Presidents with Tim Russert,” “Dateline: Crime & Punishment,” and MSNBC’s “Caught On Tape” and “Lockup.”

Mix: D&AD awards, iPod videos, Taiwan, iHikes

Apple won two more D&AD awards at last night’s Global Awards ceremony. Both the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano were recognized in the Product Design category.

The MacTV Videocast has announced “The iPod Collection,” which will aim to collect every iPod commercial and iPod related video and offer them to users in an iPod-ready format.

Apple files patent for tempo-adjusting iPod

Following this week’s announcement of the Apple/Nike partnership, a new Apple patent application has been made public for a “Music synchronization arrangement” that could control the tempo of music on your iPod depending on the type of exercise being performed. “The invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of the user during an activity such as exercise,” the application reads. “By way of example, the speed of the music can be controlled to match the pace of the activity (synching the speed of the music to the activity of the user) or alternatively it can be controlled to drive the pace of the activity (increasing or decreasing the speed of the music to encourage a greater or lower pace). One aspect of the invention relates to adjusting the tempo (or some other attribute) of the music being outputted from the computing device.”

Pearson buys PowerSchool from Apple, plans iPod content

Pearson today announced that it has acquired PowerSchool, Apple’s student information systems (SIS) division, and will develop educational content for teachers and students compatible with the iPod. From the company’s announcement: “Pearson will also develop new services for educators and students, including research-based educational content compatible with iPod, the world’s most popular digital music player. Teachers will have access to podcasts on professional development to help with lesson preparation and provide innovative ways to reach students struggling with specific content. Students will be able to load their iPods with study guides that are aligned with Pearson texts and listen to review notes to prepare for exams.”

BusinessWeek looks at Nike/Apple partnership, Sport Kit

BusinessWeek has an article with several interesting details on the Apple and Nike partnership, as well as the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. The article says that Apple had approached Nike about being its MP3 player supplier, but that Nike executives had an idea for something bigger. Nike and Apple designers first met 18 months ago to create a smart shoe product, but were met with some challenges—the sneaker sensor was initially too big for Nike engineers and too small for Apple. Another challenge was battery life (close to 1,000 hours, which is said to outlast the shoes) and wireless technology. “Wireless takes power,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. “The last thing you wanted was a wire going down your leg. It looks deceptively simple and that’s how it should be. It took a while to get it right. But there is a lot of technology there.” Jobs said he also wanted to keep the price point low for the Sport Kit. “This thing is over 90% accurate right out of the box, which is huge. Something like this would normally cost a lot more money. We priced it so everyone can afford it because we want everyone to try it and experience how cool it is.”

Griffin intros TuneBuds for iPod nano

Griffin Technology has announced the TuneBuds combination earbuds and lanyard for the iPod nano. Based on Griffin’s EarThump earphones, the $35 TuneBuds feature a chromed dock connector insert, three sizes of interchangeable earpads and come in black or white. “TuneBuds are designed to unleash your nano’s full audio potential,” says Griffin. “TuneBuds isolate your listening experience from outside sound by fitting comfortably inside your ears, to deliver rich, crystal clear audio. Standard earbuds pale in comparison.” Each Tunebuds package also includes a free LE version of Griffin’s iFill software.

Plaintiff in iPod nano suit denies cooperation

The lead plaintiff in the iPod nano scratch class action lawsuit claims that he never wanted to be a part of the case. In a public letter, Jason Tomczak explains that he was greatly mislead and abused by the law firm of David P. Meyer & Associates Co. “At no time did David P. Meyer & Associates or Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro ever receive any attorney-client agreement form from me,” Tomczak says. “On their own time and based on their own schedules and plans, they prepared the paperwork and filed the iPod Nano Class Action suit in California using my name as Lead Plaintiff, however this was done without my knowledge or consent… Whether I am successful or I am financially crippled by David P. Meyer & Associates’ and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro’s defense firms, it is my sole intent to communicate the truth of what happened so that I can begin to find some peace of mind after the hate, harassment and embarrassment brought about by the misuse of my name in the iPod Nano suit.” Tomczak’s detailed story has much more.

Targus offers security lock for iPods

Targus has introduced the Eyelet Security Lock for iPod, a Dock Connector lock that works with Targus cable locks to secure your iPod. “It provides end-users an affordable way to secure their iPod while at work, without having to purchase an entirely new, more costly solution,” says the company. “The eyelet lock also serves as a unique and innovative security device for corporate customers that need to lock multiple iPod demo products.” The lock features a resetable 3-digit combination and is compatible with any dockable iPod (3G, 4G, 5G, nano, and mini). [via Gizmodo]

NHL game highlights come to iTunes Music Store

Several iLoungers note that Apple has quietly added highlights from the NHL Conference Finals to the iTunes Music Store. Apple is currently offering 20-minute highlight videos of the first two games in both conferences for $1.99 each. The final two teams in the East are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres, while the West battle consists of the Edmonton Oilers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Highlights from the forthcoming NHL Stanley Cup series are also expected to be offered. NHL content has been expected on the iTunes store since January.

Nike+iPod system uses proprietary 802.11, not Bluetooth

Confirming whispers heard by iLounge over the past several months, an individual familiar with the product disclosed that Apple’s first wireless iPod accessory—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit—will use a proprietary 802.11 protocol, rather than Bluetooth, for communications. Announced earlier today, the $29 Sport Kit consists of an in-shoe sensor that transmits running performance data, and an iPod receiver that helps record the data and provide audio feedback to the runner. Though not conclusive in any way as to Apple’s future plans, the company’s use of a proprietary 802.11 protocol rather than the widely-licensed Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard, combined with the surprisingly low price point and small size of the Nike+iPod Dock Connector-based Adapter, suggests that future iPod wireless accessories will use similar technology. Such a move could conceivably help Apple avoid the bandwidth limitations associated with Bluetooth standards, and reduce the number of fully “iPod-compatible” wireless accessories released by third-party developers.

Analyst: Apple still in ‘early stages’ of iPod expansion

An analyst with Credit Suisse believes future growth of the iPod looks strong. “We believe Apple is still in the early stages of its product expansion and that the company can grow its iPod units at least 20% for the foreseeable future,” analyst Robert Sempl said in a report to clients. The analyst’s prediction is based on the relatively low penetration rate for the iPod, estimated at about 10% of PC users, or an “active installed base” of about 40 million units worldwide. Sempl sees Europe as ripe for further growth. “Europe remains the biggest opportunity for Apple, in our opinion, based on its penetration rate of only 7.1% and similar demographics and buying patterns to the U.S.,” he said. “However, the company has only demonstrated a moderate inclination to compete in the region, having opened only six retail stores in the U.K. and nowhere else in the region, choosing instead to leverage reseller partners.”

Nike, Apple partner to launch Nike+iPod global products

Nike and Apple have teamed up to launch a new line of Nike+iPod products. The two companies today announced the first product developed through the partnership—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to connect to an iPod nano to store information on time, distance, calories burned and pace. The kit provides real-time audible feedback through headphones, and includes an in-shoe sensor and a small receiver that attaches to the dock connector of the iPod. The new Nike+ Air Zoom Moire is the first footwear designed to work with the kit. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit will be available “within 60 days” for a retail price of $29.

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