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Today's Apple Announcements
Wednesday, 2009 September 9 - 6:30 pm
Apple held a media event today, and despite the coincident timing with the Beatles Rock Band release, it had nothing to do with releasing Beatles music on iTunes.

Perhaps the biggest news was the fact that Steve Jobs himself gave the presentation, a sign to worried shareholders that Jobs was indeed back in charge. However, Steve is looking more and more Grand Moff Tarkin-esque every day... hopefully he'll start putting on some weight now that he's recovered from his transplant surgery.

The announcements in brief:

New iTunes 9, with Genius DJ for automatic playback of related songs, improved sync (except with the Palm Pre; they disabled sync with it again, ha), Home Sharing to share libraries between multiple computers in your house (that'll be extremely useful for me and Amy), and the ability to manage iPhone apps from the computer (using drag-and-drop, with the ability to organize each app screen).

iTunes LP is the predicted digital album format, providing album art, liner notes, lyrics, and other metadata, when users buy a complete album instead of singles. The record labels themselves were rumored to be cooking up a similar concept. It'll be interesting to see if this heralds the return of the "one good track, fourteen sucky tracks" album packaging... and if anyone actually falls for that.

iPhone/iPod Games. Not really an Apple announcement, but they took the opportunity to showcase some new games for the iPhone OS platform. There was a Halo-like first person shooter called Nova that drew a lot of attention. Madden NFL was also shown, with rather primitive graphics but a decent-looking gameplay interface.

New iPod Touch. The entry price has dropped to $199, and the new Touch comes with the same faster processor and graphics as the iPhone 3GS. Together with the game announcements, the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS are the clear targets here; they should be afraid.

New iPod Classic. Now thinner, and up to 160GB. Odd that this product still exists. I can only guess that this is for the guys with the monstrous multi-thousand CD collections that want to carry all their music around with them. (I know a guy like that, but I figured he was unique.)

New iPod Shuffle colors. And new headphones, to shut up all the anti-earbud whiners, I guess.

New iPod nano. This was the big "one more thing" announcement, and the key new feature is the built-in video camera. Apple is targeting the Flip market with this, and given the recent popularity of the Flip, I think it's a wise move. The lens is in an inconvenient place for portrait-mode shooting; that's probably why all of Apple's ads show videos in landscape mode.

The nano also now has an FM tuner, with DVR-like "pause live radio" capability. It's interesting that these features are in the nano and not the Touch. The nano suddenly regains some relevance in the product lineup, and some buyers are going to face a difficult choice. Do I want the video camera, or access to the gazillion apps from the app store? Maybe this is a sneaky way to get people to buy the iPhone, so they get the best of both worlds.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch


Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2009 Sep 9 - 10:19 pm : #
everyone can use more than one iPod!

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