StarWarsShop.com, an official Lucasfilm store, is now offering a Star Wars iPod cover featuring an image of Darth Vader from the upcoming Episode III installment. Developed by MacSkinz exclusively for StarWarsShop.com, the hard shell cover is made of scratch and chemical resistant plastic with the image embedded in the material. “The iPod cover adds an extra level of protection and uniqueness to your iPod. It includes a front and back matching set, and is as thick as a credit card and form fits your iPod,” according to the store. The Star Wars iPod cover will be available in two sizes for the 20GB and 40GB fourth-generation iPod, and is scheduled to ship next month for $29.99.
Make magazine’s Phillip Torrone has built a clever iPod shuffle hand charger.
Anders Hansen has created a giant iPod mini out of Motorola RAZR V3 packaging. “I don’t think this is what Motorola had in mind for an iTunes phone,” says Gizmodo.
Hackaday features detailed “non-violent” disassembly instructions for Apple’s iPod shuffle.
Snocap, the new company headed by Napster founder Shawn Fanning, has struck a deal with Sony-BMG Music to help distribute the record label’s music through file-swapping networks.
Worth 1000 has a Photoshopped 1950s ad for a $49.95 Apple iPod that offers “20 minutes of music anywhere.”
IGG Software today released the first public beta of PlayPod 1.0, a new RSS podcast client and news aggregator. The application features an integrated podcast directory, iTunes and .Mac support, feed groups, podcast previewing, and scheduled downloads. PlayPod is priced at $16.99.
Wired’s Cyrus Farivar has written an article about a New York library that is loaning out iPod shuffles loaded with audio books. “Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web browsing,” writes Farivar. “This week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, became one of the first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod shuffles. For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the portable MP3 devices to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store. They started with six shuffles, and now are up to a total of 10. Each device holds a single audio book.”
Pull-i is a new a line of protective sleeves for all iPods—including first, second, third and fourth generation models, the iPod mini, and iPod shuffle. Made of high-quality cotton felt, the Pull-i sleeves are available in seven colors—black, brown, grey, red, pink, blue and green—and sell for €12.50 (Euro). “All Pull-i jackets fit perfectly well, due to their slim-fit design, which also protects against scratching, slipping and light bumps,” said versandwerk, the company behind the new product. A selection of special edition sleeves for €15 are also available.
PortalPlayer, which makes the chips that power all current hard drive-based iPods, today disclosed details of its next-generation PP5022 chip for portable digital media players. The PP5022 improves upon the current PP5020 chip, offering “up to triple the battery life” thanks to better power consumption. It should be noted, however, that many factors such as LCDs, hard disks, and other integrated components will have a significant impact on battery life. Currently, the 4G iPod offers 12 hours of playback time; the iPod photo 15-17 hours; and the iPod mini 18-26 hours. The PP5022 also builds on the multimedia capabilities of the 5020, with support for video playback and, like the iPod photo’s TV slideshow features, dual-screened control of video: a menu could be on the portable screen while video clips play on your TV.
In a related announcement, PortalPlayer introduced the PP5024 chip, a more limited processor intended for high-capacity flash memory-based music players. In future generations of the iPod shuffle, the PP5024 could eventually replace the SigmaTel processor Apple currently uses. There is currently no clear reason to make such a switch, however.
AccessTunes from Bains Software is a new Mac OS X program that provides always-on music sharing via iTunes and the Web. “AccessTunes starts sharing your iTunes Music Library as soon as you turn on your computer, making it available as a shared iTunes library on the local network, and accessible from anywhere in the world via the Web,” explains the developer. “With accessTunes, you can listen to your roommate’s music even if he doesn’t have iTunes open, or listen to music from your home computer at work, even if you’re on a PC.” AccessTunes is $15 shareware, allows you to share your entire iTunes Music Library or certain playlists, and supports password protection.
NewerTech and Other World Computing today introduced a new high-capacity replacement battery for all fourth-generation iPods. The $25.99 NewerTech NuPower 4G 750mAh battery “offers the maximum capacity possible with 20 percent more capacity than the factory-installed battery shipped with 4G iPod models,” according to the companies. Non-scratch installation tools and instructions are included with the battery.
Also available are NewerTech’s 2100mAh and 1800mAh iPod batteries, which offer up to 70 percent more capacity for first and second-generation models, and the 850mAh iPod battery, which offers 30 percent more capacity for third-generation models.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple’s announcement today that it has sold more than 300 million tracks from the iTunes Music Store means that the daily average of downloads has held steady following a holiday uptick. In a research note to clients, Munster said the average per day since January is approximately 1.35 million downloads, in-line with the 1.43 million average after the holidays. “We had been anticipating a more significant drop off in iTunes sales from the levels seen in the weeks following the holidays,” he said, noting that iTunes sales have exceeded his estimate for the March quarter.
“Computer enthusiasts have worked out how to reprogram Apple’s iPod music player with their own code using an ingenious acoustic trick,” reports New Scientist.
The Register speculates that Apple’s Mac mini was originally intended to feature an integrated iPod Dock.
Forrester Research analysts Josh Bernoff and Chris Charron suggest to Apple CEO Steve Jobs that he should buy TiVo.
South Korea’s Reigncom, maker of the iRiver line of MP3 players, took out ads in local newspapers yesterday, saying it’s the patriotic duty of citizens to buy Korean-made players.
Synergy Creations has announced the release of PeriodicPod 1.0, new educational chemistry software for the iPod. PeriodicPod, which works with third and fourth-generation iPods, gives you quick access to atomic properties. “Due to the limitations of the current iPod screen and interface, PeriodicPod is a reference tool rather than a visualization tool like our Periodic Table software,” the developer explained. PeriodicPod is $9 shareware.
Graphic Clings are personalized protective skins for all sizes of the fourth-generation iPod. They feature printed graphics—such as wood grain, camo, flames, and graffiti—on vinyl that provides “a thin, long lasting, removable and re-usable protective skin that resists scuffs and scratches.” Graphic Clings use static-cling to stick to the iPod, and leave “absolutely no adhesive or residue when removed, and can be left on the iPod for as long as you like.” They offer wrap-around protection to cover the front, back and sides of an iPod, including a clear section for the screen. Graphic Clings are available in 2-packs for $10.
Apple today announced that more than 300 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store since it launched. The company also said that the benefit single “Across the Universe,” available exclusively on the iTMS, debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making it the most successful exclusive digital track ever in its first week of release.
Mediafour has released XPlay 2.1, which adds support for the iPod shuffle and all USB-connected iPods under Windows 98SE and Me. “Now, everything that made XPlay easy to use with the iPod makes it just as clear with the iPod shuffle,” says the developer. “You can move music to and from your iPod with the powerful drag-and-drop interface; copy music from your iPod to your hard drive; revise and reorder playlists; use your iPod shuffle like an external hard drive; listen to your music through Winamp, Musicmatch, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and most other popular software; plus take advantage of other powerful XPlay features.”
The iTunes Music Store is offering a free digital booklet and exclusive track when you download Jack Johnson’s new album, “In Between Dreams.”
Odeo’s Evan Williams says his new company is not just about making a buck off podcasting. “Our focus is on humanizing a very promising technology. Making it easier for those already doing it (listening or creating),” he says.
Sony Ericsson’s new W800i Walkman phone sports MP3 playback, a 2 megapixel camera, 32MB of internal memory, 512MB Memory Stick Duo card, Bluetooth, and more.
In response to Apple’s announcement of a 6GB iPod mini and a cheaper 4GB iPod mini, Creative today lowered pricing on its Zen Micro line. The company’s players now start at $180.
Pacific Rim Technologies today announced Gel Shield, a new silicone case for Apple’s iPod shuffle. The Gel Shield case will be available in a choice of five colors—lime, charcoal, pink, blue and white—and come with a cap protector. Pacific Rim’s Gel Shield for iPod shuffle will begin shipping on Tuesday, March 8, and will be available in a choice of 3-packs for $24.99 or as a single for $10.99.
Burning Love, a German company that makes hand-made iPod covers, today announced the launch of its US online store. The company offers a stylish lineup of iPod cases in a number of colors and fabrics, including wool, felt, corduroy, and fake-fur. “The products are aimed at iPod users who are looking for something different for their gear than the usual silicone or black leather cases available,” Burning Love said. Prices range from $13 to $16.50, and are available for 20/40GB fourth-generation iPods and iPod minis.
Rogue Amoeba Software has announced the immediate availability of Airfoil (originally announced as Slipstream), its new Mac software that enables users to send audio from any application (instead of just iTunes) directly to an AirPort Express base station. “Everyone who owns one of Apple’s popular AirPort Express devices will be thrilled to be able to send audio from applications like RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, and Safari right to their remote speakers,” says the developer. “In just seconds, Airfoil can send audio from almost any application on OS X directly to the AirPort Express.” Airfoil is available at an introductory price of $20.
The iTunes Music Store is now featuring 30 live “Dick’s Picks” Grateful Dead albums “representing the best concerts digitally remastered from the original 2-track source tapes.”
Steve Veres of The Chornicle looks at the past, present and future of the iPod project at Duke University in an extensive article.
Francis Hwang says he will offer his unauthorized special edition Negativland vs. U2 iPod on his website after he was blocked from selling it on eBay due to Apple complaints.
In an article entitled “Podcasting faces growing pains,” Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe looks at the struggles podcasting faces.
The ShuffleClip is a new accessory for your iPod shuffle that allows you to clip the device virtually anywhere. “Formed from a single piece of transparent PETG polymer, the ShuffleClip compliments the design of your iPod while keeping it safe and secure,” says the company behind the add-on. “PETG is an extremely strong, yet flexible material that in many ways behaves more like aluminum than plastic. And unlike products made from other materials, the ShuffleClip will never scratch your iPod.” The ShuffleClip sells for $14.95.