Apple and the New iPods
Well, the crowd has spoken, so I'll rise to the occasion, I guess. (Oh wait, that was only one person or 1/15th of my known audience.) Anyways, I'm posting her to cover the latest Apple announcement event because my sister thinks I need to cover it.
The iPods have gotten an overhaul for the holidays. The iPod shuffle is the most boring, as usual, as it now comes in a set of their new, rather muted colors. White and blacks are replaced with more gray-leaning tones, and the hot colors have given way to more bland colors.
The most popular iPod line ever, the iPod nano, has gotten the biggest overhaul. The new nano is a bunch wider, but that's to fit a gorgeous high-resolution 2" screen. With the higher-quality screen, they can now fit the controls snugly on the left side and give you more eye candy like album covers on the left side. Also, Steve Jobs seems to be the only one who actually browses by Cover Flow, so it's on here too. Another big step is this tiny thing that fits in the palm of your hand plays videos for hours. I don't know who wants to watch a movie on a 2" screen, but if you want to now, you can. These little guys are only $149 for 4GB and $199 for 8GB.
With very little fanfare they introduced the iPod classic, which used to be just called the iPod. I heard some Mac pundits say that they doubt the iPod classic will be around for long, but there's still some of us who like to carry all 15,000 songs in our picket for those road trips. And with 80GB for $249 and a whopping 160GB for $349, these things are even smaller and have more capacity than ever before. Plus, the bigger screen and all the new features of the iPod nano are in there too. Oh yeah, both the iPod nano and iPod classic have a couple new games included on the system, including a quiz game and a click wheel version of Breakout called Vortex.
We were all wondering when the iPod would become more like the iPhone, and today it happened. The iPod touch is an iPhone nano in an iPhone's body, basically. The beautiful, large touchscreen takes center stage with this product, of course. Also, for as low as $249, this new device is what Apple is turning into a PDA platform, because the iPod touch has wireless and Safari built in. It's quite impressive, but why leave out Mail and Google Maps? Also, I totally don't want YouTube on my iPhone or iPod touch, but . Why wants to watch all those crappy videos? The only ones I watch are behind the scenes videos of bands, really.
The last big product news was the quick mention of an iPhone price drop. Until this week, iPhones were $599, but now they're only $399. This is getting close to selling them with a small profit margin, and I guess Apple decided to go for market penetration instead of big profits faster than any of us expected. Hopefully the stockholders will figure out this is a good thing, honestly. A day after the announcement, Steve Jobs vowed in a letter that they'd be giving all the early adopters a $100 store credit, because apparently people don't know how early adoption of a technology product works. (Or, for that matter, any technology product.)
The final item is a nice upgrade to the iTunes Music Store that we've thought may be coming for a while: the ability to purchase songs on your iPod touch or iPhone anywhere with Wi-Fi. They call it the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, and songs downloaded directly to these devices are synced back up with your computer when you connect to iTunes. The interface looks pretty good, but what about the real good features? I want a podcast client that I can update at any Wi-Fi spot if I'm really gonna buy one of these things!
In the "crappy" department of the event, Steve Jobs announced that you can now get music ringtones for your iPhone. Sure, you can get a ringtone from over 500,000 songs in the iTunes store, and you can select any bit of the song via a handy ringtone maker. But, why not just make them from any song in my library? Of course, because some idiot actually pays $2.49 to listen to a song ring on their phone. Thankfully, Apple's gonna be slightly more civil, only charging you $2.00! Please, I'll stick with the beautiful ringers that come with the phone.
And, finally, the CEO of Starbucks came to announce that Apple and Starbucks are teaming up. When browsing the iTunes Store near a Starbucks, you will be able to browse a list of recently played songs as well as some special collections that Starbucks put together. The only thing good on their menu are the Izze's fruit drinks since there hasn't been a Jones Soda there the last couple times I've been in to the home of the $5.00 coffee.
All in all, the Apple event was interesting and I think Apple will sell well this Christmas season. Who knows when they'll start opening up their new iPod/iPhone platform.