So the tax refund came, and now you're thinking of dropping $3k to install a "Ready for iPod" navigation-slash-AV system in your car. If the iPod part's really important to you, pass for now on Pioneer's AVIC-Z1. Though we otherwise loved the double-DIN, 7" touchscreen system, we're still testing workarounds for the system's weak iPod interface, which turns any music collection into the equivalent of a ROKR E1 phone. You remember, the one that sucked.
Last year, cases flooded the iPod market. This year, it's iPod docking speakers. This week's exclusive reviews of Boynq's four-inch, $60 iCube II and Geneva Lab's mailbox-sized, $1075 Model XL Sound System show the size and price spread, while First Looks at mStation's $300 three-foot-tall Tower 2.1 and $150 Orb (think 2001: A Space Odyssey's Discovery One) show just how diverse dedicated iPod options have become.
Do you swim? Snowboard? Bathe? H2O Audio's finally selling waterproof headphones that you can use with any device, including submersible iPod cases. The same guys make clear iPod and iRiver cases that can safely travel ten feet underwater, and both armbands and swim belts you can use out at sea.
In the news this week, Apple said that even though it shipped 8.5 million iPods this past quarter, it is continuing to go after international markets — mainly European and Asian countries — that could be selling more iPods. PortalPlayer freaked out and dropped the bomb that Apple didn't pick it to supply the chips for the next version of the iPod nano. Apple showed off two new iTunes Music Store features — "Commercial Success" and "As Heard On." And a new survey says that iPods and podcasts are eating into radio listening (duh).