From all of us at iLounge to all of our wonderful readers, Happy New Year!
We could hardly have asked for a better year than 2004. iLounge has been blessed with the world’s greatest readership, plenty of exciting news, and all signs pointing towards a bigger, better and brighter 2005. Our forums continue to grow dramatically, our behind-the-scenes Backstage page has gone from pipe dream to reality, we launched the free Buyers’ Guide, and we’ve expanded to offer an audio-format Podcast of key iLounge content. Two big contests (Etymotic giveaway, Klipsch giveaway) are ending tonight. Much, much more is planned for next year.
We hope that this year has brought you as much fun, happiness, and relaxation as you have hoped for, and that 2005 will offer you at least as much of the same! Please use this comments thread to discuss your New Years’ resolutions, and your hopes for iLounge in the year to come.
Best wishes from Dennis, Jeremy, Larry, and the rest of Team iLounge!
As the world watches in increasing horror at the lives lost and damage caused by the earthquake off Sumatra on December 26 2004, there is still something that we can do to help.
Although many governments around the world have pledged millions in aid to assist, this will probably not be enough to help. With an estimated 120,000 fatalities so far and the likelihood of a million plus survivors not having the basic essentials to survive, suffering people need our help now.
iPod owners are amongst the world’s most fortunate people. At this time of need, please consider making at least a small donation to those less fortunate. There are numerous organizations currently accepting donations of money to help the devastated areas. As an example of what our money can do, a donation of $100 can provide enough timber and sheeting to build a home for a family.
This disaster has affected so many people, and with our membership spread all over the globe, we hope that we can do something to help - at least a little. Thank you for reading, and for caring.
For U.S. charity details, visit Apple.com.
U.K. readers can give online at Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
HotRomz has introduced a new line of iPod Tattoo skins (stickers), available in a wide variety of designs. HotRomz iPod Tattoos are available in a multitude of designs such as Leopard, Zebra, Aliens, Egyptian, Tie-Dye, Super Freak Abstracts, Skulls, Monochrome, Patriotic, and many more. Compatible with 4th generation iPods, hp iPod, and U2 iPod; 20 and 40GB models. HotRomz iPod Tattoos retail for $3.99 each, matching blank CD-R media $2.99 each. Both product lines are also available in “Cool Paks.”
San Francisco-based messenger bag maker Timbuk2 has joined the iPod accessory market with two new products: the iPod Case ($20.00) is a ballistic nylon and Velcro sheathe available now in eleven colors (navy blue, black, gray, red, purple, brown, silver, orange, dark green, pink, and burgundy), designed as one-size-fits-all and matching the company’s well-respected bags. An iLounge review is forthcoming soon.
Timbuk2’s iPod Graphic Sleeves are planned for an early 2005 release, and are tailor-cut to the specific shapes, screen sizes, and controls of the iPod and iPod mini. As originally designed, each Sleeve will include a “durable graphic exterior” made from vinyl, a “plush interior lining,” a color-coordinated “spring steel belt clip,” and a snap to hold the top of the case closed. Pricing is as yet unknown, and these features are subject to change before release.
Tunewear announced the release of several new iPod cases today. The new Tunewear Aluminum Clip (also listed on their site as “Aluminium Clip”) is an all-aluminum holder with built in belt clip made from a solid block of aluminum. The Aluminum Clip requires that you also have Tunewear’s Icewear mini. Aluminum Clip for Icewear series will be available at the end of January 2005 for a suggested retail price of $18.85.
The Tunewear Waterwear is a clear plastic, water resistant case for 4G iPods (not recommeneded for iPod photo) and iPod mini featuring a patent pending silicon wheel window, wtaerproof seal and headphone isolator plug. The Tunewear Waterwear case will be available at the end of January 2005 for a suggested retail price of US$24.95.
The Poptune removable wrapper (sticker) for iPod mini comes in 8 patterns ranging from Americana to Zebra. The Poptune series will be available mid-January 2005 for a suggested retail price of $8.95.
Finally, the Prie Hook case is designed to fit 20GB, 40GB and iPod Photo using a unique spring system to adjust to the size of your iPod. An iPod mini version is also available. The Prie Hook features a large spring-loaded hook on top, all leather construction, flip-lid dock cover, clear vinyl screen and wheel protector and access to all iPod functions. Prie Hook will be available in mid-January 2005 for a suggested retail price of US$54.
Today Itzkitz Limited announced the release of ipodkitz for 4th Generation & iPod mini. The ipodkitz includes a hard shell leather case, USB sync charge cable & the Sumajin Smartwrap for headphone cable management. Ipodkitz cases are available in Black, Red or White and includes a velvet interior. The ipodkitz are $39.99 and are available direct from the manufacturer at itzkit.com
On the heels of Belkin’s quiet announcement of the Bluetooth-enabled iPod-to-stereo solution TuneStage, Germany’s Networx has revealed BeamDock, “the superior wireless audio solution for Apple’s iPod.” BeamDock’s iPod music transmitter resembles a thicker version of the official Apple Dock and includes a similar white receiver that connects to a stereo.
According to Networx, BeamDock’s “fully digital audio transmission… delivers the highest audio quality in a sleek elegant design,” interfacing with the Dock Connector port of current iPods, or the analog audio output ports of older iPods and non-iPod devices. The BeamDock boasts a 100-foot transmission range via 2.4GHz ISM broadcasting, built-in volume controls, full iPod-to-computer connectivity via mini USB and mini FireWire ports, and a rechargeable battery for eight hours of continuous playback when disconnected from the included power supply. Users can also switch between 14 2.4GHz channels to avoid interfering with other wireless connections and telephones. Initial BeamDock shipments are planned for late February 2005 at a price of $160.00.
In response to an earlier column written about the iPod Halo Effect, The Wall Street Journal has published 27 letters from various iPod, Windows users, or Windows iPod users stating that the iPod or Windows problems is the reason they have switched to the Macintosh platform. One reader wrote, “After receiving an iPod as a gift, I was inspired to research other Apple products. In the last two months I’ve purchased an iMac G5 for my office and an eMac for home, both replacing Windows machines. I’m amazed at the elegance, simplicity and ease of use of these products.”
Podtender software contains over 900 drink recipes for use on iPod using the Notes feature. Podtender 2.0 has been reformatted, and the software restructured, it uses the iPods familiar navigation, making it easier to find drinks, all recipes are now listed by name under each letter of the alphabet and all recipes are now displayed individually. Podtender is shareware and costs $9 and a free demo is available for download.
Amazon reports that the among the top selling electronics products this holiday season were the Apple 20GB iPod and the Apple 4GB Silver Mini iPod. Consumer electronics sales surpassed book sales on Amazon Thanksgiving weekend and was Amazon’s largest sales category for the first time.
Bloomberg reports that Clarion Co will begin selling a car audio and video system in Japan next year that’s compatible with Apple’s iPod portable music player. “People have asked why the iPod can’t be used in car systems, and from that perspective there is plenty of interest,” Tatsuhiko Izumi, president of Tokyo-based Clarion, said in a television interview.
To celebrate this holiday season we created a special holiday desktop/wallpaper for your enjoyment. Thanks for making iLounge your Internet destination and have a safe and happy holidays!
In what appears to be another product designed specifically for the special edition U2 iPod, Harman Multimedia has unveiled a black version of its JBL Creature II speaker system. “Featuring cutting-edge sci-fi design and superior sound performance, JBL Creature II is a unique plug and play solution. JBL Creature II offers consumers cool design and exceptional sound, proving that excellence does not have to come in an expensive package.” The three piece speaker system offers touch volume control, a straightforward interconnect technology, and subwoofer. JBL Creature II, which supports all iPods and all computers with a headphone port, is available for $99.95.
Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry of the Wall Street Journal said a significant number of people wrote in to let them know that the iPod, Windows security concerns or a combination of the two had made them switch to a Mac or plan to do so.
Forbes tech writer Arik Hesseldahl said that a video iPod tops his 2005 wish list. “The experience shouldn’t be about watching video on a tiny handheld screen. What I do want is to output video from the iPod to a TV. An 80-gigabyte hard drive would make it practical.”
The iPod’s success isn’t just music to the ears of Apple—companies such as PortalPlayer, Audible.com, and Synaptics are also reaping the benefits.
Tweeter is offering 15 percent off iPod accessories through January 2, 2005. You must use coupon code TWTRGIFT during checkout to receive the discount.
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has increased his iPod collection—to 70. “I have some white ones but lots of metallic pinks, blues. I have had every single CD I have downloaded. I enjoy gadgets.”
Apple has applied for a patent on technology that would allow an iPod to detect when it is falling and then stop reading or writing to the hard drive, increasing the chance that its insides would survive the drop. “The portable-computing device protects its disk drive by monitoring for such accelerations and operating to avoid usage of the disk drive during periods of acceleration,” Apple said in the patent application, which was published Dec. 16. “Through such protection, the likelihood of damage to the disk drive or loss of data stored on the disk drive is able to be substantially reduced.”
Vaja has introduced another new Rasta version of its iVod case for all sizes of the iPod photo and 4G iPod. The $110 case is made from genuine Argentine leather, and features a built-in screen protector and access to the Click Wheel, dock port, headphone port, and hold switch. The iVod case is also available in a slew of other color combinations for $70.
PDAtrends has released its SkinArt Winter ‘04 Collection for the fourth-generation iPod and iPod mini. The special silicone cases come in a variety of styles and feature an open top to accommodate accessories, allows full access to the iPod’s controls and ports, and has a bottom opening for syncing/charging without taking the iPod out of the case.
Rogue Amoeba Software today announced Slipstream, a new application that allows audio from any application to be heard through remote speakers attached to Apple’s AirPort Express. “Since its release, tens of thousands of people have purchased Apple’s new AirPort Express and enjoyed the AirTunes feature, allowing audio from iTunes to be played to remote speakers. With Slipstream, audio from any application can be sent to the AirPort Express—users longing to send audio from applications like RealPlayer and Windows Media Player need look no further than Slipstream.” Slipstream will be available early next year for an introductory price of US$20.
Apple Canada and Canadian retailers such as Future Shop and Best Buy will reduce the price of all iPods in response to the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision throwing out the levy on music players with embedded memory. The price will be reduced by the amount of the previously imposed levy, which equates to CDN$25 for 20GB and 40GB iPods, and $15 for iPod minis.
Credit Suisse First Boston has raised its target price for Apple stock to $70 from $40 and said it is expecting the company to sell nearly 5 million iPods this quarter. “We believe Apple will ship 4.8 million iPods in the December quarter and will once again exit the quarter with a substantial backlog, mostly in international locales,” the firm said. “This iPod number will fall short of some overly aggressive expectations mainly due to a shortage of hard drives, a problem that has plagued the company for over a year, but one we believe will finally be remedied in the calendar first quarter.”