Elton John’s Big Head

Elton John’s Big Head
I dunno what’s my obsession with this AirTran / XM deal, whether it’s the big news of free Satellite Radio being available on flights, or just Elton John’s big head plastered along the side of a perfectly good plane.
Either way, AirTran recently published the announcement page on their site featuring this lovely shot of Elton holding a big replica of a Boeing 717.
Surprisingly enough, upon seeing the design featuring his image, Elton John commented, “This plane looks fantastic.”
At least we now know some numbers. AirTran Airways currently has three planes with XM Satellite Radio service and plans to have XM installed on 20 planes by the end of February. While the remainder of the fleet will get XM installed through summer 2005.
But nevermind all that! Did you know that Elton John’s head on the 717 is comparable in dimensions to the head of the Statue of Liberty? Isn’t that fantastic?

XM: Apple is “happy where they are”

XM: Apple is “happy where they are”
At today’s Conference Call, XM was asked about Mel’s announcement on not having a Sirius / iPod partnership, and apparently XM has been in talks with Apple as well.
To paraphrase, Apple is focused on driving down the costs of the iPod and fighting off growing competition in that market, and they’re “happy where they are” as of now. Steve Jobs supposedly said that he’ll be happy to be wrong, and isn’t ruling anything out, but the announcement of an iPod Satellite won’t happen anytime soon.
The question still remains about the XM SkyPod trademark, but my personal hunch is that XM is preparing an iPod Accessory that will enable satellite radio reception on the iPod using XM’s Connect-and-Play technology.

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XM’s “official” word is that the Pioneer AirWare XM2go unit will be released in “Spring” of this year. But rumors have been flying around that the new AirWare XM2go unit will be out in late-March. This is probably fueled by CNET’s coverage of the AirWare (see video for the mention of March). Incidently, CNET can’t seem to decide whether to call it the “AirWare” or “AirWave” – just to set the record straight, it’s the Pioneer AirWare XM2go unit. See the word mark recently filed a few weeks ago here:
Word Mark: AIRWARE
Goods and Services: Satellite radio receivers, and parts and accessories thereof, namely headphones, batteries, adapter kits connecting to car audio apparatus and/or home audio apparatus, hard drives for audio and video data storages, and computer software for converting and editing audio and video data
Serial Number: 78554974
Filing Date: January 27, 2005
Now, the fact that Pioneer added ‘video data’ to the Word Mark brings up a lot of speculation, but I wouldn’t get alarmed over it just yet. Just lawyers preparing for all scenarios in my opinion.
Our guess is that if the AirWare was going to be released in March, XM would’ve said so. When a company sets a “Spring” release date, it almost always means April, so you still have time to save your lunch money.
In case you needed to know, the Pioneer AirWare is in fact based off the innards of the MyFi, or more precisely all XM2go units will share the same platform. User interface and form factor will vary from unit to unit.
The main question people have been asking is whether the black-stuff around the unit is an exposed antenna. To be honest, we don’t know yet. Once we get our anxious hands on an AirWare unit, a full dissection will be done and we’ll document the gory procedure for everyone to observe. For now, you can just oogle over the hi-res picture we have here:
[Pioneer AirWare XM2go Hi-Res Image]