Mix: Patent, Sierra, iHaloStats, 500XL

A new Apple patent application recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office suggests that the company may be planning to introduce illuminated touch pads in future iPod models. Patent application 20080018617, titled “Illuminated touch pad,” describes an “illuminated input device” comprised of “an object sensing mechanism capable of sensing a user input over an input surface; and a visual feedback system configured to illuminate the input surface in association with a user input.”

Sierra Sound has announced availability of an updated version of its iN Studio 5.0 Smart Speakers featuring an Apple Authentication Chip, allowing for video-out functionality when using the latest model iPods — specifically, the iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and iPod touch. “The concept of a Smart Speaker includes providing the features and functionality necessary to fully enjoy the capabilities of the Apple iPod.

By quickly integrating the authentication chip into our product line we have shown our true commitment to being a made for iPod partner and iPod owners that want the most from their digital music players,” said Lamar Green, President of Sierra Sound.

A new web application for iPhone and iPod touch, iHaloStats, allows Halo 3 players access to their game statistics, including service record, medals, weapon use, and rank history, from their portable device. To access the application, visit iHaloStats.com from an iPhone or iPod touch.

FRED has introduced a new set of desktop speakers inspired by the original-design iPod earphones. The 500XL speakers are supposedly 500 times the size of the original iPod earbuds in volume, and feature a built-in amplifier, as well as the ability to run off battery, AC, or USB power. Pricing is not yet available.