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Mix: iPod mini, CNET list, Joswiak, nano reaction, Pacific Rim

Following the introduction of the iPod nano, Costco has lowered the price of the 4GB iPod mini to $149.99 (from $189.99). The 6GB mini is priced at $239.99 from Costco.

CNET has ranked the original iPod its No. 1 gadget of the past 10 years. “No other product has had the incredible, loyal devotion that the iPod inspires. It’s also one of only a handful of products to get a 9 rating from CNET. It revolutionized and popularized music players with its stylish design and is still considered the industry leader. Even if you devoutly believe other music players have better features now, you have to acknowledge that iPod is still the king.”

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod worldwide product marketing, will participate in a panel discussion during the Digital Life exhibition, which begins October 14.

“Demand for the iPod Nano has been predictably strong ever since Apple introduced the latest member of the popular iPod family on Sept. 7,” writes Benny Evangelista of the San Francisco Chronicle. “What’s unusual is the instantly emotional, fawning reaction the Nano receives almost universally, from loyal customers to skeptical technology reviewers. Experts say that kind of rare gotta-have-it reaction is the result of a calculated strategy by Apple that combines innovative design and marketing.”

Pacific Rim Technologies has cut the price of its Cube Travel Speakers by 50%. Until September 24th, the company is offering them for $19.99 using coupon code APPLEEXPO.

Matias keyboard with USB 2.0 dock now available

imageMatias has announced the availability of its new USB 2.0 Keyboard, which features a USB 2.0 dock for iPods and other devices. The keyboard, which was first unveiled in July, lets users sync their iPod via a convenient port on the the top of the product. The USB 2.0 Keyboard is available now for both PCs and Macs, in US, French, UK, and German layouts. It retails for $39.95, or $49.95 with a 2-button optical wheel mouse.

“Mac users have been plugging USB cables into their keyboards for years, but many newer devices require the higher speed of USB 2.0,” says Matias. “iPods, USB flash drives, and newer digital cameras can take forever to transfer files if you don’t have USB 2.0. Our new USB 2.0 Keyboard gives you transfer speeds up to 40 times faster than regular USB keyboards.”

Belkin to debut TuneBase for iPod shuffle

imageBelkin tomorrow will announce its TuneBase for iPod shuffle. The accessory allows you to mount and charge your shuffle in your vehicle, and features a flexible neck for positioning and a 3.5mm line-out jack for use with the specially designed Belkin Cassette Adapter (included) or select FM transmitters. The TuneBase for iPod shuffle will be available in November for $39.99.

In other Belkin news, the company will announce that its existing line of iPod accessories includes many devices that are compatible with the new iPod nano, including the TuneCast II and Auto Kit for iPod, which are both available in white and black versions. Belkin said that new nano accessories will be available starting in October.

New Podcast: The True iLounge Week in Review 10

imageNow available is the tenth iLounge podcast, and the first “true” Week in Review, co-hosted by iLounge’s Bob Levens and Jeremy Horwitz. Even if you’ve skipped past podcasts, you’ll want to listen to this one.

News in this week’s podcast includes Speck’s new iPod nano cases, Incase’s line of collegiate cases, iTunes 5 problems and a new feature. We also cover reviews of Apple’s iPod nano, Motorola ROKR E1 phone, Sharper Image iSphere and iPulse, Belkin TuneStage, and Design Annex iBeat. Both audio-only and enhanced versions of the podcast are available now.

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: Enhanced Version
Direct download: MP3 Version
Subscribe to our Podcast feed
Subscribe to our iTunes Podcast feed
Listen to Past Podcasts

RadTech to intro ClearClip for iPod shuffle

imageRadTech next week at Apple Expo will introduce its ClearClip, a new clip solution for Apple’s iPod shuffle. Made from durable, transparent Polycarbonate, the ClearClip cradles the entire shuffle and features a clip that lets you attach the device to nearly anything. The product allows access to the mode switch on the back of the shuffle and the control pad on the front. The ClearClip is priced at $17.95.

Mix: Crystal nano, Macworld Boston, Apple Pack Rats

The folks behind the Crystal Mini are running an eBay auction for the first iPod nano encrusted in authentic Swarovski Crystals. The Crystal nanos will soon be sold online for $1,000 each. Bidding starts at $350. [via Engadget]

CNET reports that IDG World Expo has cancelled the Boston Macworld Conference & Expo. The event struggled the past two years after returning to Boston from New York City.

Wired News has an interesting article, entitled “Meet the Apple Pack Rats,” that looks at some of “the legions of Macintosh and iPod users for whom the elegance of the user interface begins with the bold graphics and sleek texture of the box the new machine comes in.”

Wireless group talks with Apple about Bluetooth iPods

Wireless technology group Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) has reportedly approached Apple about installing its Bluetooth wireless chips into future generations of the iPod.

“CSR’s chips would allow Apple to manufacture iPods with wireless headsets, an increasingly popular feature of mobile devices among consumers,” reports The Independent. “Apple has sold more than 22 million iPods and although it is possible to buy separate adapters that connect an iPod to earphones wirelessly, the music players do not come with Bluetooth as a standard. CSR confirmed it had approached Apple after publishing a bullish trading update yesterday that showed sales of its chips, which enable devices to provide wireless connections using the Bluetooth technology standard, are rising faster than expected.”

RadTech adds Portectorz for iPods, AirPort Express

imageRadTech has expanded its Portectorz line to include all dockable iPods and Apple’s AirPort Express. Made from high-polymer silicone, Portectorz have a custom-molded design to keep the ports of products such as iPods, PowerBooks and iBooks clean and protected from foreign objects. Portectorz are Uni-die molded and lightly frosted for a “smooth and elegant appearance that beautifully complements your digital device’s style.” The Portectorz for 3G/4G iPods and iPod minis sell for $5.95. The AirPort Express Portectorz is priced the same.

Earbud Clip keeps cords under control

imagePKOH NYC has announced the Earbud Clip, a new cord management product for iPods and other MP3 players. Produced in Lexan polycarbonate, the clip comes in a set of four colors—white, black, green and pink— for $9.95.

“The product approaches the problem of tangled earbuds in a unique way; rather than using a separate reel, it simply secures the cord after the earbuds have been wrapped around the iPod,” explains the company. “This provides for a fast, convenient, and highly compact way to store your earbuds and prevent them from tangling. When not in use, the clip remains conveniently attached to the cord.”

Forums: Spousal suspicion, nano Euro capped?, Black or White, iTunes 5 for Windows, cracked nanos

In the latest dip into the iLounge Discussion Forums: with the iPod nano screaming “Buy Me” and invoking impulse purchases, one reader shares his attempts to hide his latest iPod addition from his suspicious wife. Have you succumbed to the urge?

A reader asks the question “Are nanos available in Europe subject to the EU Volume Cap?” Initial replies suggest not, and one member even states his nano arrived with a sticker stating in French “...that prolonged use at high volumes may damage the user’s hearing.”

In a poll started by one member the votes are pretty even in “Which color for nano? What’s your choice?” Do you think that the classic white rules or that black is the new white?

With the news that Apple is to address iTunes 5 problems with an update, make sure you check out the forums for posts on this issue, in the iTunes for Windows Discussion forum and also in the Windows iPod Problems Discussion forum.

Some readers are reporting that their iPod nanos have suffered cracked displays after being carried in their pockets - have you had a similar problem?

Mix: Dell, Austin City Limits, Napster & Yahoo, Steve Jobs

In its latest move to take on the iPod, Dell plans to unveil three new Dell DJ music players, including a tiny, flash memory-based model with LCD screen and an FM radio receiver called the Dell DJ Ditty. The company also plans to add color screens and XM Satellite Radio to its Pocket DJ and Dell DJ models.

CitizenPod has released its free 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival clickguide, which puts the entire ACL Music Festival lineup, performance schedule, band bios and festival information on your iPod.

Napster and Yahoo! are battling it out for second place in the digital music industry. The iTunes Music Store continues to dominate with a market share of about 82%, leaving Napster, Yahoo!, Microsoft and RealNetworks to fight for the remainder of the pie.

The Economist has an interesting piece on Apple CEO Steve Jobs: “In short, Mr Jobs currently seems vivacious by anybody’s standards. There are even rumors that he might run for governor of California (as a Democrat, presumably; Al Gore is on Apple’s board). For somebody famous in large part for a spectacular defeat—to Bill Gates and Microsoft—all this must feel like a new lease of life, in every respect.”

Tunewear intros Tunetag case for iPod nano

imageTunewear has announced yet another new addition to its line of iPod nano accessories. The Tunetag is a luggage-tag style case for the nano made from nappa leather. The case features a transparent vinyl sheet that covers and protects the entire front of the nano while at the same time enabling control of the Click Wheel and full view of the screen. The Tunetag’s belt strap lets you attach the case to the handle of your luggage, belt loop or elsewhere. The Tunetag will be be available next month. Pricing was not announced.

earBuddy carrying case stores iPod earbuds

imageSendStation Systems today announced the earBuddy carrying case for Apple’s white iPod earbuds. The compact case is built with ballistic nylon and features an ABS frame on the inside to easily wind up the cable and store the earphones. The product has a detachable keyring and was built to withstand 200 lbs. of force. The company also said that while the earBuddy was designed specifically for the Apple earbuds, it can still hold many other brands as well. The earBuddy comes in two color schemes—a silver and black version with orange zipper and an all-black version. It’s expected to ship later this month. SendStation said that pricing has not yet been determined.

Mix: Taiwan players, Sony, NYPD, nano sleeve, DOA nanos

DigiTimes is reporting that the iPod nano is forcing price cuts of non-brand name MP3 players in Taiwan. Vendors have reduced their retail prices by 10-20% for 512MB models and 20-35% for 1GB models.

Sony is starting its digital music comeback tour in Japan: “Analysts say the staggered timing of the rollouts appears to reflect a strategy by Sony to use its home-court advantage in Japan, one of the world’s largest and most competitive markets, to hone its products and strategies before taking the fight to other countries.”

The NYPD is now podcasting. Newsday reports that the first podcast includes “information on street closings during the UN General Assembly meeting and interviews with a captain about identity theft, as well as with a chief sent to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”

MacVroom has posted an article on how to make your own iPod nano sleeve out of a chomois cloth.

MacFixIt reports that some iPod nanos are being received DOA: “We’ve received a few reports of users taking delivery of out-of-the box non-functioning iPod nanos. This type of problem is typical for any large-scale manufacturing roll-out, though we are keeping a close watch for any potential trends.”

ColorWare to offer custom painted iPod nanos

imageColorWare, which offers custom painted electronics and computers, plans to offer the new iPod nano in more choices than Apple’s black and white models. The company has announced that it will sell the nano in numerous professionally painted hues for $65 over retail price—the 2GB iPod nano will sell for $265 and the 4GB model will cost $315. ColorWare currently has a teaser banner up that states that the colored nano service will be “coming soon.” ColorWare currently sells the iPod mini and fourth-generation iPod in a rainbow of colors. [via DAP Review]

Motorola ROKR phone now available in UK

Apple announced today that the new iTunes-enabled Motorola ROKR mobile phone is now available from select Motorola resellers in the UK, including Carphone Warehouse. The ROKR will go on sale at midnight tonight at the Carphone Warehouse located at 272 Oxford Street in London. The first 50 customers will get 100 free downloads from iTunes. The phone stores up to 100 songs and features 3D stereo sound, a stereo headset, video capture and playback, Bluetooth, VGA camera and more. It’s available through UK mobile carrier O2 from Carphone Warehouse for free with contract or £209.99 with pay-as-you-go airtime.

Red Wine Audio offers iMod for audiophiles

imageRed Wine Audio has announced the iMod, a $249 upgrade that enhances the sound quality of your iPod by tapping directly into the DAC (digital-to-analog converter) chip inside the device.

“The goal of the Red Wine iMod is to significantly minimize the analog signal path that follows the output of the internal Wolfson WM8975 DAC chip,” explains the company. “Using D.H. Labs silver wire, we take the analog output (line out) directly off of the DAC chip and send it out of the iPod rear case (via a drilled 5/32” hole) to a custom made assembly that  contains Black Gate Non-Polarized NX HiQ coupling capacitors soldered directly to a new 1/8” stereo line out jack.”

Reminder: $2700 in contests ending; 15 shuffles, 3 iFis to win

As a reminder for potential entrants, two iLounge contests with roughly $2700 in prizes are ending this week - one tonight. Our Search for iPod Trivia Contest gives you the chance to win one of three Klipsch iFi Speaker Systems, each worth $399. You’ll find the contest on page 72 of The Free iPod Book and Back to School Guide. This contest ends at 11:59PM tonight.

Our separate Blog The Book Contest ends on September 23, 2005, so new bloggers still have a chance to win. A total of 15 iPod shuffles or cash prizes up to $1500 will be given away. Complete contest rules are available here.

Mix: nano praise, video iPod, nano onesie, ROKR review

In a glowing review of the iPod nano for The New York Times, David Pogue writes: “Apple says its iPod and iTunes music store have 74 and 85 percent of their worldwide markets. But according to Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray analyst, the end is near… Well, he’s right about one thing: Apple’s market share won’t stay at 80 percent. It’s about to go up.”

BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl discusses a video iPod and online video store: “If Apple doesn’t do it, someone else will. But my money is on Apple—and Jobs. Apple is the only company that can do this right. And in fact, the movie industry needs some help in finding its way in the digital world. Apple has been this way before with music. It can do it again with video, and change the entertainment world once again.” has added a “Nano Black” version of its iPod-themed onesie. “Ultra realistic black with glossy click wheel on 100% cotton American Apparel one piece. A special silk screening technique was used with high density inks to provide a slick and shiny wheel on your baby’s belly. Impossibly cute.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg reviews the Motorola ROKR: “As a music player, the Motorola ROKR is OK, as are the two other music phones we tested. But none of them approaches either the style or the functionality of the iPod, and none lives up to the full potential of what a combined cellphone and music player could be.”

Apple to address iTunes 5 problems with update

Apple has acknowledged problems with the Windows version of iTunes 5 and said it will release an update next week to fix the issues.

“Apple is aware that a limited number of customers are experiencing issues with installing iTunes 5,” the company said in a statement. “We’re working to resolve this and expect to have a software update early next week.”

Problems reported on Apple’s support message board include computer crashes, deleted playlists, problems with purchased music transfers, and application conflicts, among other issues.

If you’re experiencing problems with iTunes 5, stop by the iLounge Forums where we’ve set up sections to troubleshoot iTunes 5 for Mac and Windows.

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