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The Incredible Edible iPod

By Cynthia L. Webb
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2004; 10:11 AM

2004 is turning out to be the year of the iPod. Last week retailers reported that they're running short on the popular digital music players. This week brings news of novel ways that people are putting their iPods to work.

No. 1: Homemade broadcasts. The Boston Globe today wrote about "podcasting," a digital twist on the ham radio world: "Richie Carey has heard the future of radio. It's on an iPod music player. Carey, a 38-year-old website developer and marketing consultant from Sandwich, is among an early wave of fans for a new broadcast medium dubbed 'podcasting' -- audio content that listeners download from websites to iPods or similar digital music player devices. ... Carey is not just a daily consumer of podcasted talk shows about technology and politics but a fledgling podcaster himself. He has a regular audience of about 50 people who download his 'definitely not polished' spoken musings about life, personal electronics, and even the importance of getting your brakes checked -- a 'podcast' he made and instantly posted from his cellphone while sitting outside the Sears repair shop one day recently. 'This is technology that gives me a voice I never had a month ago,' Carey said. 'It's amazing how someone can now make a cellphone call that can be heard all around the world.' If Internet-based weblogs turned everyone into a potential newspaper columnist, and digital cameras let them become photojournalists, podcasting is promising to let everyone with a microphone and a computer become a radio commentator."
The Boston Globe: Computer, Microphone, IPod Make Broadcasting Personal

_____About Filter_____
Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.

_____Filter Archive_____
Shooting for Video Game Success (washingtonpost.com, Dec 21, 2004)
Santa's Bag of Tech Mergers (washingtonpost.com, Dec 17, 2004)
iPod: The Gift That Keeps on Going (washingtonpost.com, Dec 16, 2004)
Nice Day for a Wireless Wedding (washingtonpost.com, Dec 15, 2004)
Google -- 21st Century Dewey Decimal System (washingtonpost.com, Dec 14, 2004)
More Past Issues
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No. 2: Free labor for Apple's marketing machine. "IPod My Photo is a new web-based service that transforms any digital photo into a signature iPod silhouette-style ad. Customers upload a digital snap, choose a background color and pay. In about five days, the 'iPodified' image is e-mailed back to them. A white iPod and earbud wires will even be added to the picture, if so desired," Wired News reported. "'It's mostly pets, a lot of children and tons of married couples,' said iPod My Photo co-founder Kevin Muoio. 'There's lots of new babies, too. Straight out of the womb -- bang, they've got an iPod on them.'"

Now that's viral marketing for you.

More from Wired: "IPod My Photo is the brainchild of Muoio, a 34-year-old salesman from Rhode Island, and his friend Dave Schroeder, 35, a web developer who lives in Virginia. The service comes hot on the heels of iPod users making their own home-brew video ads for Apple. A week after launch, the pair have received orders for about 150 iPodified images."
Wired News: iPod Fans Get Into the Picture

No. 3: Mature audiences only, please. Playboy "has posted a download called 'iBod' on its Web site that delivers pictures for viewing on Apple Computer's new iPod photo device," CNET's News.com reported. "The free gallery consists of 25 PG-rated images sized for the iPod photo's display. Digital content with nude pictures is available on Playboy's subscription site Playboy Cyber Club. A Playboy representative described the download as a soft launch for services that will target a variety of portable devices capable of displaying photos. A formal launch is planned for January, but the company figured many iPod photo devices would be given out for the holidays and made the feature available now. 'We aimed at the iPod first because its owners know how to download images,' said Rob Walton, entertainment senior editor for Playboy.com. The feature is meant in part to show Playboy.com visitors how to download Playboy content onto a portable device, according to Walton."
CNET's News.com: Playboy's Free Come-On Turns iPod Into iBod

Let's not forget No. 4, which is the real "No. 1" reason that people want the iPod: the music. And that's as true for our neighbors to the north as it is for us. "On the last shopping weekend before Christmas Day, electronics retailers across Canada said they were sold out of iPod minis and could do little more than offer condolences," Canada's Globe and Mail reported, comparing the frenzy to the Cabbage Patch Kids freak-out of decades past. "There are some big differences with this latest consumer craze. For one, at about $350, the iPod mini is much more pricey than the dolls. And its target demographic is a little different. Instead of toy-obsessed toddlers, the iPod takes aim at music-obsessed teens and gadget-obsessed men. There is, however, one frustrating similarity for would-be Santas: Getting the hot gift takes a great deal of perseverance, luck or both, as Neal and Sharon Gledhil found out last week. The Calgary couple was on the hunt for two iPod minis for their two eldest sons, a search that took Mrs. Gledhil to 10 electronics shops around the city."

The Gledhil's gain (assuming they found their iPods) is Ottawa's loss. "The Federal Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the Copyright Board of Canada did not have the legislative authority to impose the levy on digital music players, such as Apple's wildly popular iPod, which sell for about $400. The fee, introduced a year ago, is similar to levies charged on blank compact discs and audio cassettes. It ranges from $2 to $25 per digital player device. The money is collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective and distributed to musicians, songwriters and record labels," the Globe and Mail reported.
The Globe and Mail: Shoppers In A Frenzy As iPod Calls the Tune
The Globe and Mail: MP3 Ruling 'Great' For Consumers

Apple Pucker

Not all Apple news is so sweet. Remember the Macintosh? "Some analysts suggest that Apple's core products -- its desktop and notebook computers -- could ride the coattails of the iPod's overwhelming success. More than 2 million of the players were sold in Apple's fourth quarter, which ended in September, and predictions for the holiday season range as high as 4 million (reports of retailers being out of stock surfaced last week)," the Seattle Times reported. But it's a long shot that Apple's PC biz will be buoyed. "Apple's market share in personal computers peaked at 16 percent in 1986 and has hovered in the low single digits since the late 1990s. Even as the iPod was becoming a cultural and business phenomenon, the company ranked just 10th among all PC-makers in the third quarter of this year with 1.9 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC."
The Seattle Times: Apple's Computers Languish Next to iPod

Slicing Open the Core

Apple has filed a lawsuit to stop rampant rumor-mongering about its products from cropping up on the Web. "The suit, filed Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, accuses unidentified people of divulging confidential information about unreleased products to unnamed Web sites. Apple's lawyers said this closely guarded information could only be obtained from someone who signed a confidentiality agreement with the company. The suit contends the leaks are both damaging to the Cupertino company and a violation of California trade-secrets laws. It asked the court to immediately halt the disclosures and impose unspecified monetary damages," the San Jose Mercury News reported over the weekend. "In the suit filed this week, Apple did not identify the product but said its technical details and images were published online in late November. Web sites devoted to the Apple have been speculating about the January Macworld conference in San Francisco, at which Chief Executive Steve Jobs typically unveils the company's latest high-profile product."
San Jose Mercury News: Apple Suit Seeks To Quiet Leaks (Registration required)


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