This week at iLounge: We did a little celebrating at iLounge this week, as our release of The Free iPod Book 3.0 led to more than 300,000 downloads of the guide to all things iPod, iTunes and more — a feat that would be impossible without the wonderful contributions and support of our readers.
All that celebrating didn't keep us from our reviews, as we got to play with the Memorex iTrek Mi3000 Portable Speaker for iPod, and found it to be a solid, well-thought-out product. We also checked out the Mondo Mint Digital Music Station DMS300, which earned our recommendation despite it's overly bassy sound. We found Incipio's IncipioHitch USB Adapter for the 2nd Gen iPod nano to be a decent, reasonably priced accessory that doesn't offer much utility beyond functioning as a replacement for Apple's Dock Connector to USB cable that comes free with every nano. Our Apple TV review also saw an update this week, to reflect the new 160GB model.
We got our mitts on the cleverly named iHome iH20 Hidro-Fi Water-Resistant Shower Speaker System, which hides your iPod inside, away from the water, and SendStation's PocketDock AV All-in-One iPod Video Kit, which offers audio, video, and USB out in a pocket-sized adapter. We got our first looks at a several new cases as well, including the Skymate Designer Series Cases for iPod 5G and nano 2G, the Skymate Classic and Folded Series nano Cases, and the Aquarius iJacket for iPod shuffle 2G.
Backstage, we took a closer look at Apple's latest iPhone commercial, "Watered Down," and found that not only is an old (October 2, 2006) version of NY Times.com displayed on the handset, but the iPhone's build of Safari also seems to properly render the site's flash-based video player.
If you've been thinking about buying "Made for iPhone " accessories before you dutifully line up at your local Apple or AT&T Store on June 29, you might want to wait. We looked at the reality of the current iPhone accessory situation, and recommend you hold off until we all get a better understanding of what accessories will work and which ones need work to play nice with the new handset. And if you're thinking about selling off your current iPod to fund your iPhone purchase, take a look at our latest pricing chart to get an idea of how much your older model should be worth.
In the news: We finally got what we've been waiting for: an iPhone release date. Three new television commercials trumpeted the June 29 launch date, while showing off the long-awaited handset's main features — and a fourth appeared mid-week to keep the hype machine in high gear. A European CEO claimed that the iPhone needs servers placed "deep into the [operator's] network" in order to work correctly, while rumors continue to swirl about third-party applications for the device. AT&T is reportedly beefing up its EDGE network in anticipation of the iPhone, other reports claim that the device will lack the Disk Mode option its iPod brethren share, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple may sell 45 million of the handsets in 2009.
Apple launched its new "Major in Mac" promotion, offering a free iPod nano to every college student who buys a Mac. Belkin began shipping its iPod power accessories, Incase introduced a couple of new iPod folio cases, and rumors claim that Apple may have to put the rumored flash-based video iPod on hold.
Things were fairly quiet on the Apple TV front this week, although research firm iSuppli did provide a look at the device's component cost, and found that with an optimistic cost of $237, Apple isn't exactly filling its coffers on the back of the set-top box.
Oh, and those commercials that announced the iPhone's release date? Apple mysteriously removed the "Use requires minimum new 2 year activation plan" disclaimer from the ads both on-air and online, adding to the confusion regarding what activation plans will be available for the phone, as well as lending credence to rumors that the handset would be available for use with prepaid service. We'll all know for sure June 29.