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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Advances in iPod Accessory Market at CES


At the CES 2009 event, earlier this year, there was no shortage of iPod accessory makers, cell phone case manufactures and companies making add-on solutions for every gadget you can imagine.

As the proud owner of a new 4th generation Apple iPod nano -- a gift from a family member -- I was on the lookout for useful accessories that would improve my mp-3 player usage experience.

That said, two products caught my attention. The nano player is small and thin, and it looks really delicate -- it's the kind of item that would be easy to damage, especially if dropped on a hard surface. Clearly, there's lots of ways to protect this little device from harm, and I chose the Impact Series case from OtterBox.

This thin, skin-like design that's made from silicon rubber provides protection against bump and shock to your device. The nano controls and connector slot are all accessible through the case, and the inner corners are designed to dissipate impact away from your music player.

I recommend this type of defensive cover for anyone who is looking for something that protects a delicate electronic device, without adding unnecessary bulk to the design.

The earphones that are included with the iPod nano sound fine to most people, myself included, while some audiophiles believe they sound cheap and nasty. In fact, there's a lot of replacement earphones on the market, with some costing more than the actual nano player.

The smooth plastic design of the Apple earphones makes it difficult to keep them sitting on your ear canal, and as a result the sound often suffers -- plus there's the frustration of them falling off as you move around. Earphone adaptors, that slip over the plastic buds, are one solution.

I've been using the Acoustibuds earphone adaptors, from Burton Technologies, with excellent results. The extra soft silicon rubber adaptor slips over the iPod earphones and enables them to stay in place, and it feels much better as well. One big benefit I didn’t anticipate is the improved quality of the sound.

The Acoustibuds also, as I’ve discovered, enable you to lower the volume on the iPod, which in turn will help to conserve battery power for longer listening pleasure. Instead of putting your Apple earphones aside, and buying expensive replacements, try a pair of adaptors. You’ll be pleased with the improvement, and affordable price.