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In short: Germans crave iPhone, iPod pricing, lightning strikes

The frontrunner for carrying Apple's iPhone in Germany has been overwhelmed with inquiries about the device. Also, Best Buy has launched a rare promotional deal for the iPod, and the latest QuickTime update reveals an iPhone export option.

German reseller besieged with iPhone demand

Although Apple has yet to announce a release date or price for the iPhone in any European country, the anticipation for the device is said to have already flooded Germany's primary Apple reseller.

Gravis chief Archibald Horlitz has told Reuters that over 57,000 customers of the store have already signed up to be notified about the cellphone, and that the number was growing rapidly. About 1,000 extra people join the list "every day," Horlitz said.

The lack of an Apple-run store also signified to the retail chain operator that Gravis would have to step in as the alternative sales outlet for the iPhone beyond any local cellphone carrier stores in the country.

"I assume that we'll be part of it," Horlitz speculated.

Apple plans to open its first German store in Munich by the end of 2008, but has also said that it will ship the iPhone to Europe by late 2007, creating a several-month gap.

Best Buy offering unusual iPod discounts

Members of Best Buy's Reward Zone program have received coupons offering discounts on fifth-generation iPods, according to tips provided to AppleInsider.

Customers using the coupons can drop $10 from the $249 price of a 30GB iPod, or $14 from the premium 80GB version. The program began on the iPhone's June 29th launch day and runs until July 23rd, the report notes.

The retail chain's practice is uncommon for the music players, which in the past have remained locked to Apple's official prices for their entire lifespans.

"This is the first time they have ever in the 2 1/2 years I have been a member [that] they have offered a rebate on the iPods themselves instead of accessories," said one shopper.

New QuickTime adds iPhone export option

The recent QuickTime 7.2 update has revealed a new export option to accommodate its latest media players.

Users of the Pro version of the software now have access to an "Export for iPhone" function that will convert any video with codec support in QuickTime to one of two formats, depending on the user's preferences. The standard choice will encode videos in the higher-quality H.264 form used for the Apple TV and fifth-generation iPod.

A second option, "Export for iPhone (cellular)," is the first preset for an Apple device to encode in the 3GPP video format with lower visual quality but a smaller drive footprint.

Lightning strikes twice for iPod, gadget owners

Recent incidents with Apple's music player represents the danger of traveling outside with wearable electronics, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

In a recent case, a Vancouver, Canada-based dentist jogging outside was struck with a bolt of lightning that amplified the damage he would otherwise have suffered from the shock. Besides the torn eardrums and broken jaw more common to lightning strikes, the unnamed man also suffered from Y-shaped burns around his chest and neck —mirroring the location of his iPod's earbuds on his body.

Such extra injuries are frequent for anyone caught using a portable device during a lightning storm, but have been highlighted by the number of people now using iPods even in poor weather. It's untrue that electronics serve as a magnet, said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper of the American College of Emergency Physicians, but any circuits or wiring are likely to catch fire and scorch the victim.

Apple has chosen not to comment on the matter, but already recommends that iPods stay at home when it rains.