Apple’s U.S. market share of hard drive-based music players fell nearly 5% in September to 87.3%. The decline was attributed to an increase in sales of flash-based players and the first time inclusion of the HP-branded iPod in the numbers. “Among hard drive-based players, Apple maintained its strong hold on the market with a 87.3% share, down from 92.0%, followed by HP in second with its iPod made by Apple at 3.6%,” reports The Mac Observer. “Combining the HP and Apple percentages, Apple controlled 90.9% of the market share, down 1.1% from August. Finishing out the top five of hard drive-based players was Rio with a 2.8% share, up from 2.5%, Creative in fourth with 2.6% from 2.3%, and iRiver at 1.5% from 1.2%.”
Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich is expecting Apple to sell 2.68 million iPods in the December quarter—nearly four times higher than a year ago. “Demand for the music players, which let users download, store and play thousands of songs, made Apple the second-best performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year… Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., said last month that sales will rise to as much as $2.9 billion in the period that ends Christmas Day, as gift buying fuels a ‘marked increase’ in iPod shipments and customers snap up a new version of the iMac computer released in September.”
Poetstyle today introduced two new fashion iPod cases. The Desdemona is a Shakespeare Othello-inspired “black witty” case for fourth-generation iPod and iPod Photo models as well as the iPod mini. Also announced was a new, smaller version of Poetstyle’s Princess case for iPod mini users. Both cases are made with genuine leather and come with a special buckled-carrying cord. Poetstyle is offering a special pre-order price to the first 100 customers. The mini-size Princess case is priced at $31, while the Desdemona sells for $40 (mini-size) and $35 (4G iPod).
Vaja has announced that it is now shipping its iVod case for fourth-generation iPods. Similar to its existing line of i-Volution iVod cases for earlier model iPods, the padded leather case features a screen protector and access to the Click Wheel, dock port, headphone port, and hold switch. The $70 case is available in a slew of color combinations.
As first noted in the comments of an iLounge news item, the audio defect found in Apple’s fourth-generation iPod and iPod Photo is apparently caused mostly by third-party headphones/earbuds that have a metal base around the headphone plug. When the metal base comes in contact with the metal case of the iPod, the static and hard drive accessing noises can be heard.
Several readers have provided temporary fixes for the issue. One reader suggests using a small piece of plastic wrap between the headphone plug and iPod, while another has had luck with a tiny teflon washer. Others have simply used scotch tape. Basically, any insulating material that can fit between (and around) the plug and the top of the iPod will work as long as it does not conduct electricity.
One enterprising iPod owner has squeezed an external iPod battery pack into an Altoids tin.
Japanese manufacturer Audio-Technica has introduced a new set of headphones that match the colors of the iPod mini.
In an article on mobile porn, Wired calls Apple’s new iPod Photo “a triple-X theater in your pocket.”
Sonnet Technologies has announced that its PodFreq FM Transmitter for iPod now includes a car charger at no additional cost. The car charger works in any standard +12V cigarette lighter/auxiliary power socket, and plugs into PodFreq’s FireWire port to charge the iPod. Features include a replaceable fuse to prevent damage in case of a power surge or short circuit, an extendable, coiled cord, and an LED power indicator. PodFreq is compatible with all third- and fourth-generation iPods.
Belkin today announced the TuneBase FM, a new all-in-one car solution that allows you to mount, power, charge, and play your iPod mini. The $79.99 product plugs into a cigarette lighter outlet and features a built-in FM transmitter (with four programmable memory slots) for wireless connection to your car stereo. The TuneBase FM, which will begin shipping on November 22, also features an iPod mini holder with a flexible-steel neck that offers easy repositioning. While mounted in the TuneBase FM, your iPod mini charges and plays audio simultaneously. Belkin’s website has yet to be updated with the new product.
Griffin Technology today announced it has begun shipping the Griffin EarJams. Introduced this summer at Mac Expo in Paris, EarJams snap onto your iPod’s existing earbud-style headphones and “significantly increase the bass output, volume level and comfort.” A sonic enhancing cone transmits the sound directly into the ear, according to the company, while slip-on soft ear pads are provided for protection and comfort. The new Griffin EarJams retail for $14.99.
Tekkeon today unveiled myPower, a new iPod case/portable dock with a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery. The lightweight, all-in-one device provides fourth-generation iPod and iPod Photo users with an extra 32 hours of extended play time, third-generation iPod users with up to 20 additional hours, and iPod mini users with up to 28 additional hours.
myPower includes a FireWire port and a USB 2.0 port to enable users to sync their iPod using standard (and included) FireWire or USB cables. It also sports a line out port for connection to a stereo or external speakers, and a 5V charging output for simultaneously charging a mobile phone or other gadgets. myPower is priced at $89.95.
First International Digital today introduced its newest series of irock! Beamit wireless FM transmitters for portable audio devices. The 440FM features a built-in cigarette lighter power adapter, 90 degree swivel action, and 12 channels of digital tuning. The device is priced at $29.99. The lightweight 450FM plugs into the headphone jack of any portable music player and offers 100 channel digital tuning. It is powered by 1 AAA battery (optional battery-free operation when used with the included 12VDC auto adapter) and sells for $39.99.
According to a new survey by Jupiter Research, Europeans are more interested in portable music than portable video. The research firm found that only 13 percent of European consumers want to watch video on a portable gadget, while nearly a third are interested in listening to music on a device such as an iPod. Jupiter said that only 5 percent of those surveyed wanted a player that could play back both music and videos.
Tuesday’s US presidential election comes down to “the iPod Vote,” according to Geek Culture’s latest Joy of Tech comic. “Finally, both candidates clue in that it all comes down to the iPod vote,” Monday’s comic jokingly reads.
According to Engadget, iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload, the iTunes plug-in that allows users to transfer songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. Apple allows an iPod to be associated with only one iTunes music library at a time in order to prevent the device from being used to transfer songs to any Mac.
iPod fan Jared Winick loves the portable music player so much that he created a fully functional iPod Halloween costume with working display and audio.
We’ve also come across a slightly better looking iPod costume (minus the audio capabilities) as well as a very original trio that dressed up as characters from Apple’s “Silhouette” iPod+iTunes TV and print ads.
After preliminary testing of our new 60GB iPod Photo hardware, iLounge has confirmed the presence of the same audio defect widely reported in the fourth-generation iPod shortly after its release. The defect can be heard in headphones when the iPod Photo’s hard drive reloads its music memory buffer, and sounds like static accompanied by hard drive accessing noises, overlapping for several seconds the beginning of a music track.
As a reader noted in iLounge Backstage earlier this month, an almost identical problem has been reported, acknowledged, and addressed by Rio, the manufacturer of Carbon music players. Though iLounge provided two affected fourth-generation iPods to Apple in late July, the company has to date has had no official comment on or public solution for the defect.
Though we realize that few of our readers will have purchased the $599 60GB unit, we ask that those with iPod Photos read the prior reports and testing procedure, and add comments to this story’s thread so that we can determine the scope of these issues. We note that the sounds appear to be more faint and intermittent in our iPod Photo hardware than in our 4G iPods, however, they can still be heard.
Ten Technology today announced flexDock, an auto charger and mount for the iPod mini. The TEN Technology flexDock mini for the iPod mini features a dock on an adjustable arm that plugs into standard cigarette lighter sockets in most automobiles worldwide. The flexDock mini will securely hold and power the iPod mini. The flexDock mini will begin shipping in November 2004 and also will be available through the Apple Store Online. The suggested retail price is $49.95.
“Hip-hip duo OutKast took top honors on Wednesday as the recording industry handed out its first awards for music sold through Internet-music services like Apple Computer Inc.‘s iTunes.
The flamboyant Atlanta duo’s “Hey Ya!” collected a multi-platinum award for downloads of at least 400,000, while “The Way You Move” and “Roses” won platinum awards for sales of more than 200,000 each.”
A reader has submitted a link to a website poking fun at Ashlee Simpson and the release of the U2 Special Edition iPod. Not very happy about the U2 iPods’ design the sites’ owner said, “it looks like the A-Team van,” and has retaliated with the iPod Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition.
Marwares’ new TrailVue is a flip-lid style case made of ballistic nylon. The mini is held in place via a clear vinyl sleeve sewn into the case and it also provides protection for the LCD screen. The TrailVue includes a low-profile spring clip and is compatible with the Multidapt interchangeable clip system. TrailVue costs $29.95 and is available in seven color combinations.