The iNews Review

iPod/iTunes Could Use Cell Phone Network, French Propose Less Restrictive DRM Law, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.05.11

This Week's iPod News

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

For current iPod prices from a variety of sources, see our Best iPod Deals.

News and Comment

Products

Software

News and Comment

French Senate Proposes Less Restrictive DRM Law

The International Herald Tribune's Thomas Crampton says:

"The Senate version of a French copyright bill will be more sympathetic to software companies like Apple Computer than was the version passed overwhelmingly by the National Assembly in March, a senator on the commission reviewing the bill has said.

"The new proposals, to be introduced for debate Thursday, come after intense lobbying by technology companies and virtually ensure that the radical copyright overhaul once envisioned by supporters will be stalled as politicians maneuver toward a compromise."

Patent Application Points to Use of Cell Network for iPod Downloads

The Register's Andrew Orlowski reports:

"The US Patent and Trademark Office has published two patent applications today which offer some clue to the future shape of the iPod, and also Apple's ambitions as a digital media distributor.

"As well as an intriguing glimpse of what a wireless iPod could do, it potentially sets Apple on a collision course with the major cellular phone networks.

"Patent application (#20060095339), filed 18 months ago, describes an iPod that's fully wireless enabled - but envisages it as a portable shopping cart rather than a device for sharing media.

"It's sure to be read with great interest by lawyers at the giant cellular phone carriers. It also describes a method of tagging a digital media file on one device and network and downloading it to another device on another network. That's very similar to how Sprint and Verizon - to name but two - allow you to buy a song over the air, and then tag it for downloading to your PC when you get home.

"And this has the potential to bring Apple into a head-on collision with the carriers, once again."

Products

JBL Rolls Out Radial iPod Speaker System

PR: JBL's High-Performance System Gives Music Lovers a VIP Pass to Great Sound and Drop-Dead-Gorgeous Style

JBL, a leading provider of award-winning audio products for the computer industry, today announced the introduction of JBL Radial, a high-performance entertainment dock for the iPod. Designed with audiophiles in mind, the versatile JBL Radial delivers powerful high- and mid-frequency sound, and ample deep and distortion-free bass, in a single compact, stylish device. Offered in either elegant black or chic white, both with chrome accents, JBL Radial makes the perfect iPod companion by adding a sleek and modern look - and clean and beautiful sound - to any room or office.

With 60 watts of total power, JBL Radial combines proprietary technologies to produce legendary sound. The system includes four aluminum-domed Odyssey(R) full-range drivers, which are driven by powerful neodymium magnets, for superior dynamic range. Further, the low-frequency driver is capable of peak-to-peak travel of nearly one inch, providing astonishing and accurate bass reproduction. JBL Radial also includes signature technologies such as Computer-Optimized Equalization, which produces a rich soundstage, and Optimized Compression Topology, which ensures clean and accurate sound at high-output levels.

"We knew it was important to have a robust range of products to suit the needs, tastes and budgets of all of our customers. JBL Radial was created for customers who were looking for a higher-end home audio product," said Fred Faulkner, JBL Multimedia's vice president of sales and marketing. "We're excited to include JBL Radial in our award-winning iPod docking-speaker line."

A true high-performance entertainment dock, JBL Radial allows consumers to fully enjoy every iPod feature from one source; simply connect JBL Radial to a computer or TV to enjoy photos or videos stored on a docked iPod. Further simplifying the process, the included JBL Radial RF smart remote gives users full iPod control, allowing them to change tracks, browse through libraries, adjust settings, and scroll through extras - all without having to get off the couch or walk across the room.

As it does all JBL iPod docking speakers, JBL Radial charges the iPod even if it's not connected to a computer, or if the system is in "off" mode. Additional features include easy-to-use touch volume controls, additional cables for connecting it to other devices, and an extra connector on the rear that allows synching a docked iPod with iTunes on the computer.

JBL Radial is compatible with all docking iPods, including the 5G iPod and iPod nano, and comes equipped with a mini stereo jack connection for use with devices such as digital music players, personal CD/DVD players, and laptop and desktop computers. Offered in either black or white, JBL Radial has a suggested retail price of $299.95. This high-end iPod speaker system will be available in June 2006, online at www.jbl.com and at quality retailers nationwide.

First Bluetooth Adapter for iPod nano

PR: Anycom Technologies Inc., a leading provider of wireless data communication and Bluetooth technology, announces BluNa - the world's first Bluetooth adapter designed especially for the iPod nano, carrying the logo "Made for iPod," from Apple.

BluNa transmits music wirelessly in crystal clear, digital quality from the iPod nano to any Bluetooth receiver, including speakers, headphones, computers or stereo systems.

When users plug BluNa into an iPod nano, they receive automatic playability with the paired mobile device. Since there is no pairing button, pairing will be done automatically and stored for future connections. To pair for the first time, users simply put the receiving device into pairing mode.

BluNa is Bluetooth 1.2, Class 2, supporting the A2DP profile. The sleek design weighs less than 10 grams, and is available in black and white.

"We are thrilled to unveil the world's first Bluetooth adapter made exclusively for the iPod nano," said Anycom managing director, Walter Daguhn. "The compact form and light weight will allow users to listen to their iPod nanos wirelessly and without a clunky adapter. The detail and precision allow BluNa to fit perfectly with the dimensions of the iPod nano, and in turn to become a single mechanical object."

The multifunctional iPod nano adapter can be used in several settings:

  • Use BluNa with the Anycom BIWAS-20 Bluetooth speaker to send tunes wirelessly from your iPod nano to the speaker in different rooms in your house or outdoors. (Bundle MSRP $349.99).
  • Pair it with the Anycom BSH-100 headphones. Listen to the music wirelessly from your iPod nano and simultaneously sync the BSH-100 with your cell phone. When a call comes in, the iPod nano will automatically pause for the user to take the call, and then resume when the call is finished. (Bundle MSRP $229.99).
  • Connect with a stereo system using Anycom's Bluetooth Stereo Receiver.
  • Anycom will soon offer a car audio adapter that can receive Bluetooth audio streams and play through the car stereo system.

Bluetooth Remote Control Function (AVRCP) has also been implemented in BluNa, so that song selection, play, pause and stop commands can be given from the Anycom stereo headphone.

BluNa will be available in May for $119.99 and will include an AC power supply to charge the iPod nano quickly without a USB connection. It will also be compatible with other Bluetooth devices like stereo headsets from Logitech, Motorola or Plantronics.

By detaching a part of the BluNa, the adapter can also be used on any other iPod with a dock connector, including the iPod mini and iPod video models.

Products can be purchased at eCOST, Amazon.com, mobileplanet.com, buy.com, Frys, Microcenter (CA), and Office Depot.

Software

EasyWMA Converts WMA, ASF, and WMV to iPod-usable Formats

PR: EasyWMA allows you to convert WMA, ASF, and WMV audio files to MP3, M4A, or WAV so that you can play your favorite songs in iTunes or any other player on your Mac.

EasyWMA has a very simple user interface, full drag and drop support, and can even do batch processing to convert your whole library of WMA songs in one click. It's also super easy to install : just a simple application to drag and drop on your hard disk.

Open your WMA audio files by choosing "Open..." in the "File" menu, or simply drag and drop the files you want to convert on EasyWMA window. Notice that since version 2.0, you can directly open or drag and drop folders, EasyWMA will automatically look for all WMA files.

EasyWMA will create a new file with a ".MP3" extension in the same folder as the original WMA file (or on the Desktop if the folder is not writeable). Notice that EasyWMA will not convert WMA audio files including DRM. For these files, EasyWMA will probably just create an empty file.

EasyWMA provides iTunes integration : you can automatically add converted files to a playlist of your choice in iTunes.

Main features

  • Input formats : WMA, ASF, WMV, WAV
  • Output formats : M4A, MP3, WAV
  • Manual or automatic bit rate selection from source (32-320 kbps)
  • Batch processing
  • Drag & drop of files and folders
  • ID3 tags support

New in version 2.5.2:

  • Added German localization (Thanks to Hartmut Hillmann)

System requirements: Requires Mac OS X v10.2 or later.

The full version of EasyWMA costs $10.

Existing users of EasyWMA may qualify for a free update to version 2.5.1

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