Big accessories for mini music machine

For those who caved in to the iPod-buying frenzy and wish to make their iPods distinct from everyone else’s, you’re in luck. Apple Computers, along with a group of third party designers, has put out an enormous line of iPod accessories for a variety of purposes. From simple protection to radio transmission, the iPod’s possibilities have been pushed further than ever before.

To spice up the iPod’s bland exterior, Apple has come out with a series of cases serving a functional and fashionable purpose. Cases range in style from Mac’s basic leather protector ($19.95, www.apple.com ) to DLO’s colorful array of Jam Jackets, made from injected molded rubber ($34.99, www.everythingipod.com ). Or, for a case that’s a little cozier than the rest, Apple has made a set of iPod socks — “six vibrant colorful socks that provide a stylish, fun and practical way to protect your iPod” according to www.apple.com.

The iPod is also host to a number of radio transmitters, both corded and wireless, which enable users to play their favorite tunes through a car radio. A cost-efficient product that will get the job done is the Sony car-cassette adapter ($19.95, www.apple.com ). It plays through a car’s cassette player via a plug into the iPod. Griffin and XtremeMac provide wireless FM transmitters ($35 to $40, www.apple.com) that plug directly into the top of the iPod. These program devices have the ability to store stations with the best reception. While these wireless devices are quite convenient, they are susceptible to radio interference, whereas the corded transmitter is not. DenisonUSA has created an ice>Link Plus ($199, www.denisonusa.com) that can be connected to a CD changer, allowing the car’s stereo controls to manipulate the iPod, integrating it into the car’s system. This most-complete solution comes with a hefty price tag and isn’t available for all autos.

A home stereo alternative to wearing headphones around the house is available from companies such as Altec Lansing, Creative Sound and Bose, which all manufacture portable home stereo systems designed specifically for the iPod. Seated in a dock, the iPod plays through one or two fixed speakers controlled by remote. While the iPod is seated in the dock (and the speakers are plugged in), the iPod battery is charged, ready to grab on the go.

To download radio content to an iPod, owners should check out iTunes Music Store’s latest release, Podcast. Through iTunes, you can purchase radio shows individually or subscribe to them so they are automatically downloaded to an iPod. And unlike streaming Internet radio stations, Podcasts can be saved to the hard drive for later listening.

Whether you want to stylize it, transmit it or impress friends with it, the iPod has an overwhelming number of accessories to increase its potential. One or two moderately priced gizmos can turn that little white jukebox into an all-encompassing audio system.

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