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The Pros and Cons of iPod Video: iLounge Podcast 15

imageIs the first video iPod any good? A big mistake? iLounge editors Jeremy Horwitz (in Irvine, California) and Bob Levens (in Cambridge, U.K.) started out with markedly different opinions on iPod video features before Apple Computer’s announcement of the fifth-generation iPod yesterday, but now they’ve changed their minds. Listen to the fifteenth iLounge Week in Review podcast to hear these two editors express their views on the new iPod, and learn all about its new features and omissions. Yesterday’s special breaking news podcast from San Jose, California is also still available for download.

Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: iLounge Week in Review 15 - MP3 Version
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Poll results: Which feature should Apple add to iPods?

The most recent Lounge Poll, “Which feature do you most want Apple to add to iPods?”, is now closed.

With over 5,700 votes cast. the two most popular requested features were a replaceable battery (26%) and FM radio tuning (24%), with video playback rounding out the top three at 21%. Bluetooth wireless support was nearby at 17%, while features such as more games (5%), sports features (pedometer etc, 2%), and “something else” (6%) trailed considerably.

Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What do you think of the iPod with video?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

Mix: AAPL, Bonus feature, Video podcasts, ‘Lost’ experience

Shares of Apple surged 9.1 percent, or $4.49, to $53.74 Thursday following two days of losses. “Several analysts said investors prematurely sold the stock following a fourth-quarter earnings report in which Apple’s revenue fell $6 million shy of Wall Street’s consensus estimates. However, positive reaction to Apple’s new video iPod and content-licensing TV show deal with the Walt Disney Co. sent investors back into buying mode.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Fortune that video is just a bonus on the new iPod instead of its main feature. “This is the best iPod for music ever, and customers basically get the video for free,” Jobs said. “And because the iPod is the most popular portable audio player on the planet, the new iPods automatically become the world’s most popular portable video players, too.”

Reuters reports that “Podcasting is on the verge of setting off a video revolution and users of Apple Computer Inc.‘s new video iPod can expect a deluge of outspoken commentary, religious sermons and pornography.”

Dawn Chmielewski of the Mercury News writes: “The experience of watching an early episode of ‘Lost’ displayed on a 2 1/2-inch screen was surprisingly compelling, with sharp images and stereo sound. I found myself drawn into the scene showing the aftermath of the plane crash that defines the show. But there’s a major caveat here: Steve Jobs needs the support of a lot more studios than Disney.”

Griffin unveils SmartDeck with dock connector

imageGriffin Technology has announced a new model of its SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter, which allows users to control their iPod using the built in controls of a cassette player. Unlike the original SmartDeck, which requires both a headphone and remote jack and only worked with 3G and 4G iPods, the new version connects to an iPod via the dock connector, making it compatible with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. The SmartDeck with dock connector will begin shipping later this month for $29.99.

“SmartDeck is more than just a cassette adapter for iPod; it achieves truly seamless integration between iPod and cassette deck,” says Griffin. “Users can utilize the cassette deck’s forward and rewind buttons to advance to the next or prior songs in the iPod playlist. In addition, pause and stop buttons do what pause and stop buttons are expected to do. When the user hits the cassette deck’s Eject button or switches from Cassette to Radio, Griffin’s SmartPlay technology automatically pauses the iPod.”

Belkin announces TuneCast Auto, TuneFM

imageBelkin today announced the TuneCast Auto, a new version of its device that lets you listen, power and charge your iPod in your car. The TuneCast Auto has an integrated FM transmitter (88.1MHz–107.9MHz) and carges your iPod through your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. It connects via the dock connector port, and features two programmable memory slots, a blue backlit LCD, a velcro tie and surface-mount clip. The TuneCast Auto is priced at $59.99 and will begin shipping in late November.

imageBelkin also today officially announced its TuneFM, which was first shown on iLounge in August. The $39.99 FM transmitter plugs into the headphone and remote jacks on the top of third- or fourth-generation iPods, and features a large LED display that shows the current FM frequency. It has channel up/down buttons and two programmable preset buttons for favorite frequencies. The company said it will also ship November.

Speck now shipping iPod nano cases

imageSpeck Products has begun shipping seven of its new cases for the iPod nano. The cases now available are the SkinTight singles and 3 packs, SkinTight Deluxe 2-packs, ToughSkins in clear and black, and the FunSkin Cloud. Speck says that the remainder of their new iPod nano products, which are priced between $19.95 and $34.95, will be shipping “well before the estimated October 30th date.”

Tunewear offers portable tripod speaker system

imageTunewear has announced the Boomtune Mini, a portable tripod speaker system for iPods and other MP3 players. The $39.95 speakers offer 1W x 2 output and provide up to 10 hours of playback with one AAA battery.

“With a style like you have never seen before, the tripod design can be used with almost any MP3 player from the small iPod shuffle to the iPod 4G/photo. It is also suitable for more than just table top use. In fact, you can use it anywhere. Whether you are staying in a hotel, camping, at a barbecue, or just enjoying the outdoors, Boomtune Mini, will ensure that you can enjoy your favorite tunes no matter where you are.”

Mix: QuickTime, BART, Hollywood, AAPL

Apple has released QuickTime 7.0.3, an update to its powerful multimedia software. The new version allows owners of QuickTime 7 Pro to create videos that can be played back on the new iPods.

The Oakland-based Bay Area Rapid Transit District is now enabling passengers with iPods to download BART schedules and maps. Using the BART QuickPlanner for iPod, passengers can check on train departure times, view a color version of the official BART system map and download general information about stations.

Arik Hesseldahl of BusinessWeek writes: “Music videos and a few TV shows may be the first of its iTunes video offerings, but Hollywood can’t be far behind. The iPod, the new iMac and a faster wireless network will tie this digital media environment together. If Apple can’t do it right—and make billions of dollars in the process—I don’t see who can.”

The Wall Street Journal reports: “Apple’s foray into video is one of its boldest and riskiest bets yet, and it will test the boundaries of consumers’ appetite for the iPod and the company’s iTunes music store, two offerings that have largely been focused on music. For Hollywood, Apple’s marketing power could help catalyze the business of selling TV and movies through the Internet, an opportunity that has been delayed by studios’ concerns about piracy of their content.”

Following the introduction of the new iPod and a day after reporting record fourth-quarter revenue, shares of Apple fell 4.5 percent to $49.25 and were “the biggest drag on the Nasdaq,” according to Reuters.

U2 iPod takes final bow

imageWith the introduction of the new fifth-generation iPod today, it would appear that Apple has quietly discontinued the special edition U2 iPod (in addition to the obvious replacement of fourth-generation color screen iPods). The black-and-red iPod’s previous home (www.apple.com/ipod/u2) now simply redirects to the main iPod page on Apple’s website, and is not available from the online Apple Store. The U2 iPod was introduced one year ago this month at the same venue as today’s special event in San Jose, California. It should be noted that U2 does appear in the new iPod commercial.

NBC video content coming to iTunes next?

The Wall Street Journal reports [paid sub. req.] that the film and TV sides of NBC Universal are “in talks with a number of players, including Apple, about making their content available for downloading.” The paper says that the company is still discussing pricing and security issues. “NBC Universal Digital Media is having conversations with many top players,” Deborah Reif, president of NBC Universal Digital Media, said in a statement. An spokesman declined to comment on whether the company has held conversations with NBC. Currently, Disney/ABC and Pixar are the only two studios offering content on the iTunes Music Store.

iLounge ‘One more thing’ Event Gallery

We’ve posted a large photo gallery from today’s “One more thing event” in San Jose, California. The gallery features 350 pictures from Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ presentation and numerous hands-on shots of the new iPod from after the keynote.

Apple posts special event video, iPod commercial

Apple has now posted a streaming QuickTime video of today’s “One more thing” event, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new iPod, iTunes 6, and updated iMacs. In addition, Apple has also made its latest iPod commercial available for download. The new spot features a U2 video playing on a new iPod with the tagline, “Watch your music.”

Griffin rolls out new iTrip

imageGriffin Technology today announced a new version of its popular iTrip FM transmitter for all full-size dockable iPods, including the new iPod introduced today. Unlike past iTrip models, the new version mounts to the bottom of third, fourth and fifth-generation iPods via the dock connector.

The new iTrip features a backlit LCD screen, a side-mounted switch to select broadcast frequency (88.1-107.9MHz), and the ability to set the iTrip to either US or International tuning modes. The device, which requires no batteries, also offers selectable LX or DX modes of broadcasting, which let you find the best possible audio under real-world conditions. The iTrip is priced at $49.99 and will be available later this month.

New Podcast: iLounge Week in Review iPod 5G Special!

imageNow available is a brand new mid-week podcast from iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz, bringing first details on the brand new fifth-generation (video) iPod, and many other major announcements made at Apple’s One More Thing event in San Jose, California. If you want first details and hands-on impressions of the new iPod, you’ll want to download this podcast. We apologize for the audio quality - we recorded live in a crowded setting.

Past podcasts are available through our iTunes Music Store podcast pages, as well as our podcast feed below. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Direct download: MP3 Version
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Listen to Past Podcasts

iTunes 6 announced; 2,000 music videos, TV shows offered

In addition to the new iPod, Apple also today announced iTunes 6. Available just five weeks after the last major update, iTunes 5, the new version of Apple’s popular jukebox application and online music store features the ability to purchase and download video content for the new iPod.

iTunes 6 offers more than 2,000 music videos, a handful of television shows from Disney/ABC, and six short films from Pixar Animation Studios all priced at $1.99 each. As part of a deal with Disney, current and past episodes from “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” as well as the new drama series “Night Stalker” and the two most popular shows from Disney Channel, “That’s So Raven” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” are being offered.

Other new features in iTunes 6 include expanded online gift options that allow you to give specific songs, albums, music videos or iTunes playlists to anyone with an email address, a public beta of the new “Just for You” personalized music recommendations, and the debut of online customer reviews.

Apple intros fifth-generation iPod with video playback

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As widely expected, Apple today introduced the long-rumored new iPod with video playback capabilities. The new fifth-generation device, which is up to 30% thinner than the previous full-size iPod, features a larger 2.5-inch color screen (320 x 240 resolution, 260,000 colors) that can play videos, including music videos, video Podcasts, home movies and television shows, in addition to displaying album artwork and photos. It supports MPEG4 and H.264 video at 30 fps and also sports TV out. (See our report on iTunes 6 for further details on available video content). The new iPod is available in both white and black versions in 30GB ($299) and 60GB ($399) capacities. Both models will begin shipping next week.

iLounge Exclusive: New iPod revealed

iLounge has snapped exclusive photos of advertisements for the new iPod, which will be introduced today at Apple’s “One more thing” event in San Jose, California. The familiar silhouette posters clearly show an all-new iPod model with a noticeably larger display, approximately 2.5 to 2.6 inches diagonal, compared to the current full-size iPod’s 2-inch screen. Also of note, the headphone jack has been moved from the top-center to the top-right side of the device.

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MORE TO FOLLOW

Mix: Army pitch, Robot statue, EU license, RealNetworks

The Army National Guard has been recruiting young men and women online with the promise of three free downloads from the iTunes Music Store to anyone who agrees to be contacted by a military recruiter.

Make magazine’s Phillip Torrone has posted an excellent photo diary of how to make a robot statue from an iPod box, hot glue and paint.

The Associated Press reports: “The European Union called on Europe’s music industry Wednesday to create EU-wide copyright licenses for online music, saying this would boost demand for legal downloads.”

RealNetworks has settled its digital media antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. Analysts say the deal will help the two companies compete against the iPod and iTunes, but won’t put them in the lead.

Tunewear intros ‘luxurious’ new iPod case

imageTunewear today announced the Prie Jewel, a “luxurious iPod case sensation for iPod and iPod mini.” The new case features a metallic pink and sliver design, rhinestone buckle, and removable silver chain. “Passionate colours, ever-so-smooth soft touch and the pretty design combine to bring you an iPod case that is functional as well as very chic,” says Tunewear. The Prie Jewel also features clear vinyl screen and click wheel protectors and access to the earphone and dock connector ports. It’s priced at $39.95.

DLO unveils redesigned TransPod

imageDigital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced a redesigned TransPod, its all-in-one car solution for the iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini. Like the original TransPod, the device broadcasts your iPod’s music to any FM radio frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 while simultaneously charging and cradling the iPod in the car.
 
The new TransPod features a “smaller, sleeker design with a beautiful curved form and easy-access controls.” It also offers intelligent power control that automatically turns the TransPod on when the iPod is docked and off when the TransPod is not in use. Other new features include front-based tuning buttons and side-based buttons that control backlight and preset functions.

The new DLO TransPod comes in white, silver and black, and sells for $99.99.

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