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Mix: iTunes Japan, Jobs, Video praise, Xbox 360, Zeitgeist

Apple’s Japanese iTunes Music Store has added new content from Victor Entertainment. The record label offers 18 albums totalling 209 tracks of mainly Japanese domestic artists.

USA Today tech columnist Kevin Maney says that 2006 could be the year Apple CEO Steve Jobs finally “falls off his pedestal.”

“The new iPod is its own little addictive medium,

Sonnet releases USB power adapter for iPod

imageSonnet Technologies has announced a USB power adapter for charging an iPod without a computer. Available in black or white, the compact adapter is “about 2/3 the size of its competition” and offers fold away blades, universal power compatibility (100-240V, 50/60 Hz) for worldwide use, and non-polarized blades so it can be plugged in with the USB outlet face up or down. Sonnet’s iPod USB power adapter is compatible with 4G/5G iPods, iPod mini, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle. It’s available immediately for $20. A European version will be released in January.

iPod earbuds could cause hearing loss

The type of earbud headphones that come bundled with every iPod sold can cause serious hearing loss, according to a Northwestern University professor and audiologist. The earbuds can lead to permanent damage after only an hour of high-volume music in the 110- to 120-decibel range, the equivalent of a concert, said professor Dean Garstecki. He recommends switching to over-the-ear headphones, listening to your tunes no more than an hour a day, and turning down the volume.

“Insert earphones can boost the signal by as much as six to nine decibels. That’s about the difference between the sound of a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle,” said Garstecki. “It’s a significant difference.” He also noted that the storage space on iPods contributes to problems. “Not only do you have a signal that is likely to be more intense, you’re likely to be using this device longer than people have been using CD players and Walkmans in the past. This increases the likelihood of hearing loss down the road.”

For a more complete article about this issue please read “Listen Safely: Your Ears and Your iPod” by iLounge’s Kirk McElhearn.

Body Glove debuts iPod nano case

imageBody Glove Technology Accessories has announced the MP3Suit, a new form-fitting case for the iPod nano. The MP3Suit features Body Glove’s signature Scuba material in black with a silver trim and the Body Glove logo. The water-resistant material protects the iPod nano from everyday use and has openings for the click wheel, dock connector, hold switch and headphone jack. The $30 case also comes with a belt and armband attachment. The MP3Suit will be available at in January.

A happy holiday wish from iLounge

Everyone at iLounge would like to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. As a special thanks to all of our wonderful readers, advertisers and those in the iPod industry, we’ve created this holiday card for you to enjoy. We’ll continue updating the site throughout the week.

Mix: Apple website, Rob Glaser, Steve Jobs, Entrepreneur

According to research from Nielsen//NetRatings, Apple had the fastest growing website among the top 10 web brands for November 2005. Apple ranked No. 1 by climbing 57 percent over November last year.

In an interview with Engadget, RealNetworks founder and CEO Rob Glaser has a number of negative comments for Apple, iTunes and the iPod.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been named to Time’s “People Who Mattered” list. “If you could read this man’s mind, you would see the future,” the magazine says. “He has sold more than 18 million iPods this year, more than doubled Apple’s stock price (to an all-time high) and put Desperate Housewives in your pocket. Jobs’ thoughts tend to become our reality. What will he think of next?”

Entrepreneur magazine has an article on what made the iPod a hit and why every entrepreneur should pay attention, with insight from iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz.

Fluffpod for 5G iPod now available

imageFluffpod has introduced a new version of its Fluffpod case for Apple’s fifth-generation iPod. The furry case, available in white or pink, features satin lining and screen and click wheel protectors. It sells for $25. “Fluffpod video, besides being soft and furry on the outside, is lined with white or pink silky soft satin giving your iPod a bed to lay in for super soft protection,” says the company. “Two white leather boots on the bottom of the case keep your iPod secure, with room for the dock connector to be attached without sacrificing your iPod’s safety, or comfort.”

‘Commander In Chief’ added to iTunes Music Store

As promised, new television shows are being quietly added to the iTunes Music Store. The latest show is ABC’s new Commander In Chief. “Solid writing and great casting have made Commander in Chief one of the stronger political dramas on television,” says Apple. “Geena Davis leads the cast as Mackenzie Allen, a former university chancellor who is taken in as the running mate of a more conservative presidential candidate. A short time after winning the election, the president undergoes critical surgery, requiring Allen to step up to the plate. Difficulties arise in the form of Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton and various others members of the cabinet who aren’t entirely convinced that Allen is right for the job. As if being leader of the free world isn’t enough, she also has three children and a husband.”

OtterBox for iPod nano announced

imageOtter Products has announced a new version of its rugged OtterBox for the iPod nano. The “waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof, and drop-proof” case features an interactive membrane that provides protected click wheel access, a hard screen cover, rubber lining, and a secure-close latch. The case works with any standard set of headphones, and when combined with waterproof headphones, allows you to use your iPod while swimming. The $40 case also includes a removable neck lanyard and belt clip. Optional armbands are available for $14.95.

Griffin ships iTrip Auto for iPod

imageGriffin Technology today announced the availability of the iTrip Auto, the latest addition to its iTrip lineup. First shown in the iLounge Holiday Buyer’s Guide, the iTrip Auto is a combination iPod charger and FM transmitter for in-car use. It connects to an iPod’s dock connector port, features a backlit LCD screen and allows for easy tuning via a wired remote-like device. The iTrip Auto also offers selectable LX and DX modes, and US and International tuning modes. Priced at $70, the iTrip Auto works with all dockable iPods, including the 5G iPod and iPod nano.

XtremeMac intros trio of leather cases for 5G iPod

imageXtremeMac today announced three new cases for the fifth-generation iPod. The MicroFlip ($40; black, brown, dark brown or saddle) is a leather flip-style case that features a belt clip and built in protection for the iPod’s screen and click wheel. The MicroFolio ($40; black, brown, dark brown or saddle) and MicroFolio Chic ($40; pink or white) are billfold-style leather cases with pockets for an ID or credit card and cash as well as screen and click wheel protectors. MicroFolio Chic offers the same internal design as MicroFolio and also features a tab closure and a removable carabiner. All three of the cases will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

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.

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