The iNews Review

Rivals Can't Match Closed iPod System, but Samsung Comes Close; HomeDock Deluxe Puts Playlist on TV; and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.03.16

This Week's iPod News

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News and Comment

Tips

Products

Content

Software

News and Comment

Rivals Won't Find It Easy Competing with Closed iPod System

Fortune Magazine's Devin Leonard says:

"Steve Jobs has had much to celebrate lately. But the Apple CEO was particularly happy in February when he announced that the iTunes Music Store had sold its billionth song, to a teenager in Michigan who had bought a copy of Coldplay's 'Speed of Sound.'

"That milestone is all the more impressive when you remember that Apple has numerous competitors in the digital music world. Yahoo Music Unlimited and the legal incarnation of Napster are gunning for iTunes customers. Sony and Samsung are trying to create iPod slayers.

"And the field is only getting more crowded. By summer, Amazon may launch a digital music service with a branded MP3 player, possibly made by Samsung. It is already being referred to in the industry as the aPod. Amazon won't discuss its plans, but sources tell FORTUNE that Amazon is targeting people over 40 years old - it refers to them as 'the NPR crowd' - who aren't as likely to own iPods as MySpace users.

"Yet Apple's challengers all face the same problem: Jobs' company will no doubt dominate the digital music market for years to come. That's because Apple has learned its lesson about closed systems."

Samsung's iPod Challenger Comes Pretty Close

The New York Times' David Pogue says:

"For someone who wants a Nano that's not a Nano, Samsung's Z5 is a close enough match in looks, sleekness, capacity and crystal-clear software design. In fact, if iPod didn't loom over every conversation as the screamingly obvious point of comparison, the Z5 could be the next little thing.

"All right, we've now entered Year 5 of the iPod Era. Apple's rivals have had plenty of time to study the iPod, figure out what makes it such a hit and offer reasonable competition.

"As you may have noticed, however, that hasn't happened. Of every 100 people worldwide walking by in their little music isolation bubbles, 78 of them have telltale white iPod earbuds. Year after year, the iPod's market share drifts upward, leaving its rivals to fight over the scraps; call it 'Snow White and the 20 Dwarves.'

"The wannabes have wasted years of opportunity by assuming that they can beat the iPod on features and price alone. They're wrong.

"This week, Samsung is the latest company claiming to have cracked the iPod formula, specifically, that of the wildly popular iPod nano."

Your iPod Can Do More Than Play Music, Videos

Gannett News Service's Kim Komando says:

"Do you use your Apple iPod only to listen to music or watch videos? Whether that iPod connects to a Windows PC or a Mac, here are three things you probably didn't know that it could do.

  1. Play games....
  2. Organize your life....
  3. Store more...."

Georgia College Finds Creative, Strategic Uses for iPod

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Chrysler Announces Full iPod Integration for Most 2006 Models

PR: The Chrysler Group has announced that it will be the first American automaker to provide full iPod integration as an option in most of its 2006 models, with over three million 2006 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge models offering seamless iPod integration beginning this spring. Drivers will be able to listen to their iPod through the car's audio system, select their music by artist, album or playlist with radio or steering wheel controls and view selections on the radio's display.

"Customers have been asking for iPod connectivity and we're excited to make it available to so many of our vehicles in 2006," said Randy Ewers, director, Mopar Accessories Portfolio Team. "We're providing the largest number and range of automobiles with iPod support of any automaker, allowing Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge owners to bring and listen to their entire music collections."

"We're thrilled that over three million Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge automobiles will offer great iPod connectivity in 2006," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. "Over 40 percent of all cars sold in the US in 2006 will offer iPod connectivity."

iPod is the number one digital music player in the world, providing the best way to listen to music on-the-go, at home and in the car. The iPod economy continues to flourish with accessories made specifically for iPod that range from fashionable cases to speaker systems, and 16 carmakers currently offer iPod support. For a complete list of carmakers please visit, http://www.apple.com/ipod/ipodyourcar/. In addition, an array of after-market solutions are available from Alpine, Clarion, Kenwood, and Pioneer for automobiles that currently do not offer iPod integration.

The optional iPod Integration Kit for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge model lines will be available to customers for the MSRP of $175 (US) plus installation from authorized dealerships, and will debut this spring. In addition, the solution can be retrofit to many model year 2005 vehicles. For more information on the iPod Integration Kit for domestic vehicles, or details on other authentic accessories by Mopar, see your nearest Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge dealership, or visit www.mopar.com. iPod products, sold separately, are available in the US through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers.

Mopar is the official parts, service and accessories division of the Chrysler Group, providing factory service parts and accessories for all Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. Like all authentic accessories by Mopar, the iPod Integration Kit is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty and supported by over 3,900 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships nationwide.

Watch Chuck Joiner Create Podcasts on March 25 in Reston, VA

Tom Carlson writes:

"In addition to identifying the Macintosh hardware, software, and accessories needed for podcast production, Joiner will then use these tools to create a polished podcast for posting to either the http://www.macVoices.com or http://www.macNotables.com website, depending on who Joiner interviews and the topic discussed. The interview will occur during the meeting using a 'voice-over-internet' phone (VOIP).

"Pat Fauquet, Washington Apple Pi's Vice President of Programs, explained, 'Chuck will show us the easy step-by-step method he uses to make an information-packed professional podcasts.' She continued, 'Podcasts are a perfect way to supplement the other information on your Internet web site, adding your personality and insights as you share your experiences and expertise with others.'

"As editor-in-chief at the www.mugcenter.com site, Joiner provides resources, tools, hints, bargains, news and announcements for Macintosh user group leaders. At www.macNotables.com, one to a dozen of Macintosh experts and news personalities, including Chuck Joiner, conduct an internet talk-radio show, recorded as a podcast, bringing their varied points-of-view forward as they discuss together a current Macintosh news topic. Chuck Joiner conducts 'The Talk of the Mac Community' interviews on www.macVoices.com with the people on the front line of Macintosh developments. These 'voices' include hardware peripheral, software and accessory vendors as well as Apple leaders. In addition, Joiner is the president of his home town Macintosh user group, the Hershey (Pa.) Apple Core."

Tips

Recommended FireWire and USB Cards

An updated Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"If your iPod has a Click Wheel and your computer has a USB 2.0 port, you can charge your iPod and sync your library at the same time using the included USB cable. If your iPod doesn't have a Click Wheel, then you'll need to use FireWire or the iPod Dock Connector to FireWire and USB 2.0 Cable (part M9126G/A)....

"If you have an iPod nano or Fifth Generation iPod, you must use USB to sync data (music, photos, files) with the computer."

Using Your iPod as a Storage Drive

An updated Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"You can use your iPod as a drive (hard drive or flash drive depending on your iPod) to store and transfer data files on (also known as disk mode).

"Using iPod as a drive

  1. Connect iPod to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if it doesn't automatically open.
  3. Open iTunes Preferences.
    • In Windows, on the Edit menu, click Preferences.
    • On a Mac, from the iTunes menu, choose Preferences.
  4. Click the iPod button.
  5. For most iPod models (except iPod shuffle):
    Select "Enable disk use" or "Manually manage songs and playlists". Either one will allow you to use iPod as a drive. If you select "Manually manage songs and playlists", iTunes won't automatically update iPod with the iTunes library. If you want iTunes to automatically update your iPod, select "Enable disk use" instead.

    For iPod shuffle:
    Click the "Enable disk use" checkbox and set the Storage Allocation slider to the amount you want to be used by audio files and the amount you want to be used for data files.
  6. The iPod disk icon appears on the desktop and in Finder windows, and in My Computer in Windows. Double-click the icon and drag files to or from iPod's window to copy them.
  7. Make sure to eject iPod before disconnecting it from your computer."

Products

DLO's HomeDock

PR: You have a case and headphones for taking your iPod on the go, your car is outfitted with the latest TransPod to enjoy your tunes in the car, but what do you do with your iPod at home? The DLO HomeDock is where your iPod lives - at home. Walk in the door, dock your iPod onto the HomeDock, and enjoy your iPod's music throughout the house.

The DLO HomeDock includes everything necessary to attach your iPod to your Home Stereo and TV to enjoy its music and pictures at home. It includes a 14-function remote control to play your tunes from across the room. It also includes a standard AC plug to power and charge your iPod while docked. It even allows you to connect your iPod without removing it from your favorite iPod case. The DLO HomeDock is truly a home entertainment center for your iPod.

The iPod sounds great through its included earbud headphones. It even sounds great through a set of travel speakers or the iBoom. But when you hook up and play your iPod through your professional, high-fidelity home stereo sound system, we bet you'll be blown away by just how good your iPod really sounds.

The DLO HomeDock connects your iPod to your Home Stereo via the included standard RCA type plugs and cables. No complicated Y-cables or headphone plugs are necessary. Simply dock your iPod onto your HomeDock and your iPod's music is sent to your Amplifier through the superior audio line-out from the bottom of the iPod. No adapters, no loose cables, just great sounding iPod music coming through your 'real' stereo at home.

The DLO HomeDock also connects to your TV via Composite or S-video so you can easily show all those pictures trapped inside your photo capable iPod. Just dock your iPod, select a photo slideshow and begin reliving the memories all over again. Any size TV screen will show off your beautiful photos better than the tiny iPod screen. Connect the HomeDock to one of the new digital flat screen TVs via S-video and the fun is even bigger. Control the show from the comfort of the couch with the included remote control. Of course your chosen musical soundtrack still plays through your Home Stereo speakers for the proper accompaniment to the big picture show.

After you get used to the convenience and performance of the HomeDock next to your home stereo and TV, you'll wish you had its handy connections and remote control right next to your PC or Mac. Well you can. The HomeDock also includes standard USB that connects to your computer and lets your sync and charge your iPod right from the HomeDock. USB powers your HomeDock so you don't even need to plug it in when attached to your computer. Play your iPods music through a pair of powered speakers or passed back through the input of your PC. What you have now is a convenient, great sounding iPod office stereo system - with a remote control of course

HomeDock Deluxe Let You View, Select Tunes on TV

PR: The DLO HomeDock Deluxe is the world's first iPod dock that lets you view and select your iPod's music on your TV screen. View current song information and navigate playlists, artists and albums from the sofa. Never has it been more fun and easy to enjoy your iPod at home than with the HomeDock Deluxe.

Like the DLO HomeDock, the HomeDock Deluxe contains everything you need to get started right out of the box. Simply attach the included power supply and AV cables to your stereo and TV, dock your iPod or iPod nano (HomeDock fits any dockable iPod) and the turn your HomeDock on with the included 20 function remote control. That's when the fun really begins.

HomeDock displays your iPod's music content on a beautifully rendered HomeDock TV screen interface that's as clear and cool as the iPod itself. Navigate with the remote into your songs and playlists to select just the right tunes for any occasion. HomeDock Deluxe then displays the currently playing song info and time at the top of your screen, while letting you select another song from the listings below. Song names and titles are large and easy to read from anywhere in the room. There's even a built-in screen saver in the HomeDock that protects your TV from burn-in if the screen sits idle for too long.

If you've only heard your iPod through your headphones or tiny travel speakers, prepared to be blown away. When you hook up and play your iPod through your professional, high-fidelity home stereo sound system using the DLO HomeDock Deluxe, we bet you'll be blown away by just how good your iPod really sounds.

The DLO HomeDock Deluxe connects to your Home Stereo with standard RCA plugs - no silly adapters or Y-cables are necessary. Your iPod's music is sent to your Stereo through the superior audio line-out from the bottom of the iPod. This is a much higher quality audio signal that if you simply plugged you iPod into your stereo with a Y-cable from the headphone jack. No adapters, no loose cables, just great sounding iPod music coming through your existing stereo at home.

The DLO HomeDock Deluxe is a great way to show all those pictures trapped inside your photo capable iPod. Just dock your iPod, select a photo slideshow and begin reliving the memories all over again. Any size TV screen will show off your beautiful photos better than the tiny iPod screen. Connect the HomeDock Deluxe to one of the new digital flat screen TVs via S-video and the fun is even bigger.

Control the show from the comfort of the couch with the included remote control. Of course your chosen musical soundtrack still plays through your Home Stereo speakers for the proper accompaniment to the big picture show.

After you get used to the convenience and performance of the HomeDock Deluxe next to your home stereo and TV, you'll wish you had its handy connections and remote control right next to your PC or Mac. Well you can. The HomeDock Deluxe also includes standard USB that connects to your computer and lets your sync and charge your iPod right from the HomeDock Deluxe. USB powers your HomeDock so you don't even need to plug it in when attached to your computer. Play your iPods music through a pair of powered speakers or passed back through the input of your PC. What you have now is a convenient, great sounding iPod office stereo system - with a remote control of course

HomeDock Deluxe sells for $149.99

Quick Facts

  • Shipping March 2006
  • Easily connect any dockable iPod to your Home Stereo & TV
  • View and navigate iPods music directly on your TV screen
  • Works with ALL Dockable iPods, including iPod nano and Video iPod
  • Plays iPod videos on large screen TV via AV connection or S-video
  • View picture slideshows with music on your big screen TV
  • Control everything from the sofa with the included 20 Button Remote Control
  • Fully Powers and Charges iPod while in use
  • Includes all necessary cables incl. AC Power Supply and AV Cable

Blinkit Lights Up iPod Ecosystem

BlinkitPR: Blinkit, a new flashlight accessory, is brightening the world for iPod users everywhere by combining a smart safety blinker with a brilliant light beam and a fun flasher that beats in rhythm to the music.

Blinkit, manufactured by Intuitive Devices, Inc., of Los Gatos, Calif., is the first accessory of its kind for the popular personal digital music player to focus on safety, fun and convenience, for joggers, walkers, bikers, campers and all music lovers. It serves a burgeoning iPod accessory market that generated some $1 billion in revenue in 2005.

"Blinkit complements the active lifestyles of iPod users everywhere," said William Weibel, CEO of Intuitive Devices, Inc. "It not only provides personal visibility in darkness, it features six different flash modes with a variety of practical and fun uses. It's a very cool and useful accessory."

BlinkitThe flashlight comes in handy anywhere light is needed. Users can light a dark path or trail, have a safety flasher in an emergency, be safe in a dark parking garage, find a car or house door lock at night, read a book or a map in darkness, locate a seat in a dark theatre, spotlight keys in the bottom of a purse or backpack and shed light on any hard to reach places.

The device plugs directly into any iPod with a dock connector and employs a dual LED beam designed to minimize battery use. A single-button, microprocessor controlled system operates the inch-square, half-ounce device, which does not interfere with simultaneous headphone usage.

An adjustable mirror system lets users direct light forward or to both sides with a high-output beam visible up to several hundred yards away. Blinkit comes with five interchangeable tinted lens caps to change the light color emitted.

Intuitive Devices, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based startup cofounded by Chairman Philip Engelhardt, a Wall Street veteran, venture fund executive and strategic consultant to numerous companies in entertainment and technology, and CEO William A. Weibel, an Apple aficionado, inventor and entrepreneur who, true to Silicon Valley lore, sketched the first Blinkit design on a restaurant napkin.

Blinkit is available for $29.95 from Blinkit, in the iPod accessories section of the Apple Store, and at selected Apple retail outlets.

xFader DJ Crossfader for 2 iPods

PR: In the world of hand held music players, meet the referee.

The xFader is a pocket-sized DJ crossfader for mixing two stereo sources into a master output.

Designed and handmade for bedroom DJs, house party rocking, or simply sound experimentation, the xfader will mix two independent stereo sources into a master output. The two 4" stereo phone input leads are fully compatible with iPods, MP3 Players, PSP, CD Players, Tape Players, Minidisc Players & any other audio device with a mini-jack audio output.

The knob sticking out the top of the xFader is the controller. Push it to the left, the left audio device volume goes up; push it right, vice versa. You can do this smoothly over several seconds, quickly over 1 beat, back & forth, chopping the beats, or just creating noise scapes of two songs that couldn't possibly be mixed together. Inside the xFader is a stereo audio fade 1000 Ohm resistor connected to the knob that dims the one channel and boosts the other. It's a simple idea packaged in a handheld, durable, portable device.

What's comes with the xFader?

  • xFader stereo crossfader
  • 72" patch cord for connecting to amplifier
  • stereo phone jack to stereo RCA jacks
  • xFader Army Sticker

Pick your own color - each custom made just for you!

Price: $40 shipped

Jabra Talks Up Bluetooth iPod Accessories

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"CeBIT Bluetooth headset specialist Jabra this week stepped into the iPod, handheld games console and music-phone accessory markets, pitching a handful of new products designed to free digital music device owners from cumbersome wires.

"Jabra's iPod-oriented offerings include a Bluetooth adaptor, the A125s, that hooks into the MP3 player's dock connector and beams audio out to any Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) compatible headset. Jabra said the unit will run for ten hours."

Wiremedia to Focus on Interoperability with Bluetooth-enabled iPod and Media Players

PR: Wiremedia, a leader in Bluetooth Proximity marketing, today announced that the company is in the process of designing a location-based music and video broadcasting/sharing service that will enable the delivery of music and videos to Bluetooth-enabled iPods and media players. The addition of support for Bluetooth-enabled iPods and media players is an anticipatory move to prepare for what the company believes will take place in the latter part of 2006.

"This announcement demonstrates that our diversification strategy is on track," said Mr. Fede. "As we move forward in 2006, shareholders should expect us to introduce additional major market segments for our much anticipated service," Fede added.

Wiremedia's Bluetooth Mediaserver delivers customized rich media content and applications directly to cell phones, within a range of 100+ meters of a specific location, at broadband speed. Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone users can receive coupons, video, audio, etc. There are "600 million Bluetooth-enabled devices currently in circulation worldwide" according to NetEco. That number is expected to exceed 1 Billion by the end of 2006.

Wiremedia is an emerging company focused on creating scalable mobile technologies and wireless data software applications. The company intends to leverage its immense expertise in mobile content marketing and distribution to deliver value-added mobile applications, services and content to the global market place.

Content

Podfitness.com Puts a Personal Trainer on Your iPod

The Different District's Mike Livsey reports:

"Train with Hollywood's top fitness trainers with Podfitness.com's customized workouts. 'Podfitness allows you to select a world class trainer and choose your own music to get a personalized audio workout on your MP3 player or iPod,' according to Podfitness.com. 'It's a real personal trainer, right on your iPod.' Podfitness will be available for download to your iPod on March 21, 2006 and will cost $19.95 a month, with an additional $5.00 per month if you choose a Premier Trainer."

Software

WordPod Lets You Read Books on Your iPod

PR: WordPod converts an e-book into a set of files which can be read on any modern iPod (one with a dock connector).

WordPod creates books that feel like part of an iPod. Navigate by chapter or by page number, using the standard iPod interface.

Thousands of classics

Create stand-alone books

New in version 1.0.2: Now a universal binary.

System requirements: 3G or newer iPod (any model with a dock connector)

System support: PPC/Intel

WordPod is free.

Share Your iPod over a Network

PR: I wanted to be able to listen to the songs on my iPod for some time now. This is because I don't want to fill up the hard-drive of my iBook with music, but be able to access my music when I'm on the way. I found some solutions but none really made me happy. Then I found mt-daapd which did exactly what I wanted except for one thing. mt-daapd can export any folder as an iTunes-music-share. The missing piece was that it doesn't detect if an iPod is connected. So I wrote a simple program that detects if an iPod is connected and then automatically shares it with mt-daapd.

Note: Someone gave me the hint that you can listen to the songs on your iPod by not syncing automatically, which I didn't know. You can still use Share for the iPod to share an iPod in a network, or if you don't want to disable automatic syncing (at least every time you actually want to listen to your iPod's songs).

ShareIPod detects if an iPod is connected and then automatically shares it with mt-daapd. This allows you to remotely listen to songs on your iPod from a remote location.

New in version 1.1.1:

Version 1.1:

  • universal
  • iTunes 6.0.4 support
  • unsharing

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later, iTunes 6.0 or later.

System support: PPC/Intel

Share for the iPod is free.

iPodVolumeBooster Breaks 100 dB Barrier

PR: iPodVolumeBooster is a program which acts as a workaround for the volume limited iPods sold in Europe, which are restricted to 100 decibels of sound output.

In order to perform this, the program changes a database which is commonly maintained by the iPod. This means that the MP3/AAC files carried by the iPod will not be touched.

Please be advised that your hearing may be damaged irreparable if you listen audible content on your iPod on a high Volume level!

Disclaimer: The author of this program - Hans-Peter Dusel - is not responsible for any damage this application will cause.

Use this app for your own risk!

iPodVolumeBooster has got a little Brother named iPodVolumeBoosterInstant, and it does exactly what is told in its name - it boosts instantly: If you start it, then it boosts your iPod with the recent value you have used in iPodVolumeBooster and finishes afterwards.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

System support: PPC

iPodVolumeBooster is free.

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