updated 09:00 am EST, Sat February 4, 2006
iPodNN this week
This week, a major Belgian music retailer announced a partnership with Apple's iTunes Music Store, and said it would offer its customers 20 free iTunes downloads to help introduce them to the service. The following day, iTunes was ranked the No. 1 music service in Germany by the Financial Times. Industry analysts said on Tuesday that Verizon Wireless' new V Cast Music Service--which leverages Microsoft technology--will present a challenge to iTunes. Wednesday, word spread that iTunes UK is now offering music from all of this year's Brit award nominees, with albums from each artist available for purchase at the store. News came Thursday that Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld will close New York Fashion Week on February 10th with his Fall/Winter '06 line, to be made available as a Podcast via the iTunes Music Store. That same day, a new service emerged allowing artists to publish their own tracks and albums on the iTMS, as well as RealNetworks' Rhapsody service without the need for record labels and without giving up their rights of ownership.
Reports speculated on Wednesday that Apple's iPod shuffle may be replaced by a new 1GB version of the iPod nano with a smaller screen, but that the new device would cost $200 rather than the $100-130 Apple currently charges for the iPod shuffle. iPodResQ began offering its new iPod nano high-capacity battery program, a nationwide service designed for all Nano owners that want longer play life. Thursday rumors circulated that Apple and U2's Bono may partner on a new red iPod in the near future to help promote a new project to battle AIDS, which plans to convince the world's largest companies to release special red-branded products while offering a portion of the profits to the fund.
Hearing loss, lawsuit
Democratic Representative Edward Mackey of Massachusetts on Monday asked the National Institutes of Health to decide on the health risks of listening to portable music players, such as Apple's iPod. Just two days later, a lawsuit was filed against Apple claiming that the company's popular iPod player causes hearing loss, that the company does not adequately warn users of the risks, and that the design of its white earbud phones excerbate inherent risks.