Welcome to this week’s edition of First Looks – a collection of previews showing brand new iPod accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. For additional peeks at new iPod accessories, check out our Holiday Buyers’ Guide and The Free iPod Book, already available online. Here’s what’s new this week:
Belkin TuneBase FM for iPod – Click Here for Details
We’ve tested Belkin’s three-in-one FM transmitter, charger, and gooseneck mount called TuneBase FM for iPod mini – now, the company has released a version for full-sized iPods. Eight different sizer trays are included to enable everything from thick 60GB iPods to sliver-thin iPod nanos to fit inside the mount, while an enhanced FM transmitter broadcasts better-sounding music from your iPod than most of its competitors. Station tuning is handled through buttons on the cradle and an on-iPod-screen interface similar to Griffin’s iTrip for iPod nano. In a surprising change, the device no longer provides line-level iPod audio output through a port; it’s for FM transmission only.
Belkin TuneBase FM for iPod nano – Click Here for Details
This smaller version of the new TuneBase FM design is specifically made for the iPod nano, and lacks the eight inserts found in the full-sized TuneBase FM’s box. The nano’s lighter body enabled Belkin to use a longer gooseneck and retain the same level of mounting stability. FM transmission works like the model above, with on-nano-screen tuning.
Icuiti DV920 Video Eyewear – Click Here for Details
Shown by Icuiti and covered by iLounge at last month’s International CES 2006, DV920 Video Eyewear is the company’s video device-agnostic wearable display solution, equipped with two 640×480 screens and a battery- or wall-powered breakout pack that can connect to your iPod, computer, or television. An incredible assortment of items is included in the box to adapt the glasses to your needs, including three nose pieces, short and long stems for the glasses, detachable, flexible earbuds, a carrying case, cleaning cloth, and more. The $550 price tag may scare away mainstream buyers, whom Icuiti plans to satisfy with a lower-spec, iPod-specific version by mid-2006.
Kensington Digital FM Radio & Transmitter for iPod – Click Here for Details
Freshly transformed from a 4G and mini iPod accessory to a more widely compatible (read: 5G and nano, too) one, this combination of FM transmitter and FM radio receiver mounts on the bottom of Dock Connector-equipped iPods, and promises to deliver best-of-class transmission performance, thanks to Aerielle wireless technology. A button toggles between transmitting and receiving modes; your headphones connect to its bottom port.
Kensington Entertainment Dock 500 – Click Here for Details
This update to Kensington’s earlier Stereo Dock makes modest cosmetic changes and larger feature improvements, adding video output and Apple’s Universal Dock well to the dock – though no Dock Adapters are included – plus two new features to the included remote. First, the remote is now radio-based rather than Infrared, resulting in a claimed 50-foot transmitting distance. Second, there are now iPod menu navigation buttons so that you can switch between video or photo content from a distance without using the iPod’s controls. The buttons are “up,” “select,” and “down;” holding down select brings you back one menu. Unlike forthcoming video docks, Dock 500 doesn’t let you see the iPod’s menus on your TV screen.
Logitech Wireless Music System (New Version) – Click Here for Details
We’ve previously mentioned the Wireless Music System, but this is the latest version, now with a Bluetooth receiver box that lacks the unusable buttons found on the company’s earlier model. The iPod transmitter remains the same, with a movable headphone port connector that switches between center and right positions based on the model of iPod you want to connect.
Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder 2 (MBJ2400) – Click Here for Details
This standalone video recording device is being marketed at iPod (and Sony PSP) users as a simple way to turn any video content into iPod-playable MPEG-4 files. Different quality and recording options are accessible via an on-screen menu; you must own and insert either a CompactFlash card or a Memory Stick Pro card in order to save your recordings, then transfer them to your computer. We’ve successfully recorded a television show into a directly iPod-viewable video using the system’s integrated recording rimer.
ProShield iPod nano/video LCD Guard – Click Here for Details
These new screen covers for the fifth-generation iPod and nano come with a cleaning cloth that’s used before application; the nano box includes two Guards, while the “video” box includes only one.
Targus 9-pin to 30-pin Accessory Adapter for iPod Family of Products – Click Here for Details
This little cable gives owners of 5G iPods and nanos the ability to use many of the iPod accessories originally designed to mount on top of 3G, 4G, and mini iPods – voice recorders are a notable exception. Targus expects to have the cable out sometime in February.