Despite the increasing popularity of the iPod and iTunes Music Store, digital music sales in the U.S. have plateaued in recent months. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of digital tracks almost tripled to 6.6 million downloads a week in the year through May, and were at only 6.7 million in the last week of October.
“The download numbers suggest that the iPod’s iconic success, which has driven up Apple’s share price almost sixfold since 2001, isn’t translating into new music sales the way the evolution from vinyl albums to cassettes and then CDs did,” says Bloomberg’s Charles Goldsmith. “For many users, the portable devices are just another way of stocking and listening to music, not an incentive to buy new music,” he says.
iLounge has today opened the Library, a section of the site dedicated to our free Buyers’ Guides and Books. The Library provides one-click downloading access to each of our previous editions, starting with our 2004 Buyers’ Guide, continuing to our Spring/Summer 2005 Guide, The Free iPod Book, and our most recent Holiday 2005-2006 Buyers’ Guide.
The Free iPod Book contains comprehensive iPod and iTunes tutorials, as well as information on the wealth of iPod-related repair, customization, and CD ripping service providers currently out there. Past editions of our Buyers’ Guides focus heavily on accessories for discontinued iPods and iPod minis. All of these publications are in PDF format, and available free of charge.
The Pixelgirl Shop has added a slew of new iPod nano cases to its online store of handmade goods.
The Urban Metallics Sculpted Leather Nano Case ($45) designed by Marty Flint is a hand-oiled leather stitched case that has a “dark silver texture made out of words, blended onto the black leather for an urban but grungy feel.”
The Sweethearts White Nano Case ($18) is a white vinyl hand-stitched case also designed by Flint. It has a “cute heart pattern stitched onto the front and a cool sewn edge to give it a finished look.” Flilnt’s Winter White Nano Case ($18) is identical to his Sweethearts nano case, but with a light blue snowflake pattern instead of hearts.
Gerbera Designs has three designs available from Pixelgirl. All three cases sell for $25 and include iPod Nano Case - Flowers, iPod Nano Case - I love Eames, and iPod Nano Case - Mod Dots. The flip-style fabric cases have a clear pocket for the nano, foam padding and velcro closure.
The Mod Lines Nano Case ($18) by Emily Sessions has a hand-sewn design made of a wool/acrylic blend felt, with acrylic felt appliques and velcro closure. The case also has a clear vinyl covering for the screen and click wheel.
Two 16-year-old Philadelphia boys were arrested in an undercover sting operation yesterday after holding a female college student’s iPod for ransom since this past weekend. The iPod was recovered unharmed.
The BBC is reportedly planning to make most of its programming available for free on platforms such as the video-enabled 5G iPod for seven days after it has been broadcast.
Online search engine Guba is “set to offer vast amounts of pornography and other video files specifically tailored for Apple’s new iPods,” reports Reuters. Beginning this month, Guba will convert video files from Usenet newsgroups into H.264 format.
Griffin Technology has announced that its RoadTrip FM transmitter, charger and cradle now works with Apple’s fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. A new cradle for the nano now ships with every RoadTrip, and the 5G iPod works with the RoadTrip’s adjustable cradle. The all-in-one car solution also now comes in either white or charcoal. The RoadTrip, which sells for $89.99, is now compatible with any 3G/4G/5G iPod, iPod mini and iPod nano. Current RoadTrip owners can get the nano cradle from Griffin for free plus the cost of shipping.
The iLounge team will be on hand at next week’s Portable Media Expo & Podcasting Conference in Ontario, California. Our booth will feature a hands-on lounge area with a number of iPod accessories from companies such as Altec Lansing, Belkin, Griffin, DLO, iHome, JBL, Macally, Oregon Scientific, iSkin, and Speck.
The booth will also feature a “History of iPod” display showcasing every generation of iPod with music and featured podcasts to listen to. The iLounge booth will sport two 20” iMacs for checking out the Holiday Buyers’ Guide and the iLounge website, as well as a 50” Plasma display showing visuals to music. We’ll also have giveaways of iLounge T-shirts and iPod accessories. In addition, iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will moderate a panel featuring leading members of the iPod economy at the event. You can check out renderings of the iLounge booth by clicking below.
Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster expects Apple to ship approximately 37 million iPods in 2005. “We expect the iPod to continue to be a foundation for growth in other parts of Apple’s business, and we expect that by the end of CY05 more than 37 million iPods will have shipped, providing Apple with a greater scope of awareness for various products (halo effect),” Munster said in a research note obtained by iLounge. “It appears that this phenomenon has begun to take effect, with a record 1.23 million Macs shipped in the September quarter.”
Munster also notes that iPod models are still dominating Amazon Top Seller Lists. “We believe that the iPod is continuing to gain traction in the December quarter as evidenced by the number of iPods included on the Amazon Top Seller List for portable MP3 players and All Electronics,” he said. “The number of iPods in the Top 10 increased by one, from 7 to 8 since our last update on October 21. Apple has 2 products in the Top 10 Sellers List of All Electronics and 4 in the Top 20.”
SKProducts has introduced the CarClip, a new iPod holder that hangs from your car’s rear view mirror. The CarClip puts your iPod at eye level, allows for use of top-mounted accessories and provides access to the dock connector port. The CarClip for the iPod mini sells for $24.95 and is available now. An iPod nano version will begin shipping on November 8th.
“The CarClip is engineered from a single piece of laser-cut, hand-molded, clear acrylic plastic designed to fit the iPod. The simple, yet elegant design, is accompanied by a colorful set of patent pending rubber Fishband motion buffers. These elastics go through the CarClip and around the center knob of the rear view mirror to prevent swaying.”
The folks at Engadget have gotten their hands on the upcoming Motorola SLVR L7 phone and report that the device has a mobile version of iTunes on it like the ROKR. The gadget site notes that there is no headphone jack and speculates that the phone will work with wireless Bluetooth headphones.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu says that Apple’s announcement of 1 million video downloads from iTunes is better than most expected this soon. “No one had any doubt they would reach 1 million (downloads),” said Wu. “But I think the speed of adoption is ahead of expectations. It’s a good sign for Apple, and its strategy.”
iPodMyBaby.com has kicked off a World’s Cutest Baby contest. The baby crowned the “World’s Cutest” will win a family of iPods (5G iPod, iPod nano and iPod shuffle), magazine subscriptions to Cookie and Wondertime, and global exposure on iPodMyBaby’s website.
Apple has moved up to 41st position in BusinessWeek’s survey of global brands. “The new placing sees Apple rise from 43rd place last year and 50th position in 2003. The reason for this is that Apple is now valued at $7.985 billion. This is $1.1 billion more than last year,” reports Macworld UK.
JAVOedge has announced the availability of a new leather case for Apple’s iPod nano. The JAVOLeatherCase features a slim top-flap design with magnetic closure, a detachable belt clip, and is available in nine colors—black, blue, brown, green, light blue, pink, red, white, and yellow. The textured leather case is priced at $29.99.
Wcities, a leading provider of travel and destination content, has released its first Pod CityGuides. The travel guides are downloaded and transferred to your iPod, providing you with details “for the coolest clubs, hippest hotels, trendiest restaurants, top attractions, and hottest events in more than 300 cities around the globe,” according to the company.
“With the handy Pod CityGuide you can customize your travel itinerary with the same ease and convenience that you program your iPod,” says Wcities. “When you use the Pod CityGuide, you can forget your calendar because the personal event guide keeps you up to date with the coolest events including concerts, sports, theater, festivals and museums, in cities across the USA and around the world.”
Following Apple’s announcement yesterday that more than 1 million videos have been downloaded from iTunes, BusinessWeek reports that demand for the video-enabled fifth-generation iPod may be outstripping supply.
“Apple hasn’t yet said how many of the new players it has sold since the units started shipping Oct. 17, but clues are mounting that there simply aren’t enough around,” says BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl. “It’s taking Apple between five and seven business days to fill online orders for the video iPod, according to the company’s Web site.”
Component constraints are reportedly to blame for shipping delays with the 5G iPod and iPod nano. iSuppli analyst Vinita Jakhanwal says that the component is probably a light-emitting diode backlight used to brighten the iPod’s screen. “They’re going into iPods, but they’re also going into cell phones,” Jakhanwal says. “The lead times for these backlights has gotten longer in recent weeks.”
inSight Concepts has announced the PodFitKit, a new product that aims to turn the Apple-supplied iPod earbuds into custom fit earphones. “PodFitKit consists of a unique, moldable silicon material that, when fitted properly, becomes integrated with the iPod’s earbuds,” explains the company. The PodFitKit is priced at $9.95.
“You get a totally customized earpiece that is quite similar to molded hearing protection, hearing aid fitting material and prosthetic inserts that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars,” says inSight. “Your iPod earbuds suddenly fit! And not only do they fit, they’re actually comfortable, and they stay put! The special silicon formula in PodFitKit hardens to the precise shape of your ear, while maintaining the earbud’s optimum positioning. Yet, it still remains slightly pliable on the surface for comfort.”
It’s here: just in time for your wish list, iLounge released the free Holiday Buyers’ Guide 2005-2006, packed with all sorts of amazing iPod goodies, ratings of over 650 products, tables of used iPod prices, and much more. Click on read more for details and download links. Enjoy!
Samsung plans to launch a digital music store similar to Apple’s iTunes, according to Choi Gee-sung, the head of the company’s digital media business.
The Independent has a profile of Apple CEO Steve Jobs that contains some interesting quotes. “I end up not buying a lot of things,” he says, when asked how he chooses which gadgets to buy. “Because I find them ridiculous.”
The Taipei Times looks at how Apple began using the “i” in product names.
Mobile Tracker reports: “Sprint Nextel today became the first US wireless carrier to launch its own music store. The Sprint Music Store offers more than 300,000 songs [$2.50 each] that can be downloaded directly to a mobile phone over-the-air.”
The Cult of Mac blog is rounding up photos of people dressed up like iPods for Halloween, as well as iPods that have been dressed up.
HandStands is now offering a new version of its iSnug case for the iPod nano. Like the iSnug for full-size iPods, the hard-shelled case features an EVA foam cutout, belt loop, and a mesh pocket for earphones or cables. The iSnug nano also includes a leather skin case, lanyard, micro-fiber cloth, and a clear protective film for covering the face of the Nano. The iSnug nano is priced at $40 and will be available in mid-November.
Makayama Interactive has announced the release of iPod Media Studio, a new Windows application that encodes video for playback on the new fifth-generation iPod. The $33 software can encode several formats (AVI, MPEG1, DivX, XVID, VOB, ASF) and enables DVD-to-iPod conversions.
“The feature that everyone wants, but Apple didn’t give you. This software allows you to transfer DVD’s directly to your video iPod and enjoy them on the gorgeous 2.5” LCD-monitor. You can take any movie from DVD, but also recorded TV-material, or home movies from your DV-camcorder or digital still camera, and with 3 clicks convert those into a small file, which is optimized for playback with the iPod built-in video player. Enjoy movies with an amazingly sharp picture and stereo CD-quality sound.”
zCover has announced the availability of its iSA silicone case for the fifth-generation iPod. The form-fitting case is available in six colors—black, blue, pink, grey, clear, and glow-in-the-dark white—and also comes with a clear screen protector and a removable rotary belt clip. The iSA case sells for $29.95 and is shipping now.
Apple today announced that over one million videos (TV shows, music videos and Pixar short films) have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store since they debuted on October 12th.
“Selling one million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods.”
Pacific Rim Technologies has announced two new iPod nano accessories—the Nano iCradle and the Nano Gel Shield. Both products will be available the second week of November. The Nano iCradle ($49.99) consists of a dock and a remote that allows users to control their nano from up to 30 feet away. The iCradle, which is available in black or white, also lets users sync/charge their nano. Pacific Rim’s Nano Gel Shield ($19.99) is a silicone case with an anti-dust coating that “does not pick up lint or dust while in your pocket or your desk.” The Gel Shield comes in a 3-pack (white, blue and black) with a lanyard stereo headset, and a click wheel and screen protector.