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Dressing up and dissecting your shuffle

This is from CNet News.com:

Shuffle’s on to dress up baby iPod

Add-on maker XtremeMac on Friday debuted more than a dozen accessories for the iPod Shuffle, ranging from auto accessories like a car charger and an FM transmitter to aesthetic enhancements such as Bumperz–colored silicon bands that go around the flash music player.

After seeing Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduce the iPod Shuffle at Macworld in January, XtremeMac CEO Gary Bart saw a hit in the making and quickly headed off to China to ready a slew of add-ons.

“The development of such an extensive line of new iPod Shuffle accessories just six weeks after its launch at Macworld shows our determination and commitment to being the iPod accessory leader,” Bart said in a statement.

After playing dress up with your shuffle it’s time to take it apart. Still from CNet News.com:

A voyage inside the iPod Shuffle

IDC analyst IdaRose Sylvester recently dissected a 512MB iPod Shuffle, purchased at retail, to determine what the tiny music player is made of. Her report, published earlier this month, reveals that Apple used two main chips spread over two separate circuit boards to foster the compact design of the music player, which was introduced in January.

The article continues to say:

The Shuffle’s Samsung flash memory chip is mated to a separate circuit board. The two boards are sandwiched together at the top of the Shuffle, leaving room for its battery below.

The Shuffle’s lithium-ion battery takes up the bottom half of the device; it sits between the boards and the player’s USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector. Sylvester surmises that because of the Shuffle’s design, it may not be possible for the battery to be replaced by a consumer, if at all.

On a side note, CNet News.com also mentions that there has been a boom in iPod add-ons:

Less than three weeks ago, XtremeMac President Gary Bart was in San Francisco, sitting in the VIP section as Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Shuffle.

Days later, Bart packed his bags and jetted to China, where he has been working feverishly to produce 14 new accessories for the music player. Such is the life in the lucrative but highly competitive market for iPod add-ons.

Stratospheric iPod sales have created a vast opportunity for other companies to sell companion gear, but the spoils have gone to those able to keep pace with Apple, which has introduced at least a half dozen kinds of iPods since the first model arrived in late 2001.

Putting a dollar figure on the “iPod economy” isn’t simple, but it easily stretches into the hundreds of millions. Bart said the rule of thumb in the electronics industry is that with items like cameras or cell phones, people probably spend, on average, about 10 percent of the cost of a device on accessories. Apple has sold more than 10 million iPods, probably at an average price above $300, so the 10 percent rule would easily put the iPod add-on market in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Among the best-known companies offering iPod accessories are speaker makers such as Bose, JBL and Monster Cable, a company known for its stereo wiring. The rest of the accessory market is spread out among an array of companies, nearly all privately held and most quite small–companies such as Griffin Technologies and XtremeMac, which has 14 full-time staffers and maybe a dozen part-timers.

An entire site, iPod Hacks, is devoted to customizing the iPod in unsanctioned ways. A popular recent posting outlines a tactic for changing the graphics that the iPod displays at startup and when synching to a computer.

Quicklinks:
Bose
Griffin Technologies
iPod Hacks
JBL
Monster Cable
XtremeMac

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