If you’re reading this, you probably were too cool to watch the live feed of today’s Apple Music event in San Francisco. Nevertheless, here’s a full onslaught of all the big announcements and highlights condensed to a single blog post. Enjoy!
Update: You can watch the full broadcast of the Apple Keynote here.
New iPods: Getting thinner every year
It appears that at this rate, the iPads will become the size of iPhones next year, the iPhone/iPod Touch will shrink to the size of the Shuffle, and the Nanos? It’ll probably be a small chip hardly bigger than a penny.
All of the new iPods are available to preorder from the Apple Store starting today, and will be shipped next week.
Starting at $49, the new 2GB iPod Shuffles has been updated with new buttons, Voice Over, and over 15 hours of audio playback. They come in 5 colors: black, blue, green, yellow, and red.
Once again, the rumors are indeed spot-on. The new iPod Nanos will feature a multitouch display and is barely larger than the new Shuffle. It will also come with a new built-on clip like the Shuffle so you can clip it to your shirt and make other mere mortals feel inferior with their Zunes. I guess the new touchscreen will help distinguish the two.
There will be two models: a 8GB model for $149 and a 16 GB model for $179.
The iPod Touch got the biggest upgrade of the day. Then again, it is Apple’s best selling iPod ever. Not since the second-generation iPod Touch has the new features looked this good. It essentially got the iPhone 4 makeover, sporting new Retina display, two camera(one for taking pictures and recording HD videos, and the other for Facetime). Also, the new iPod Touch comes with the iPhone 4′s powerful A4 chip, boosting its battery to 40 hours of audio playback and 7 hours of video.
The new iPod Touch will come with 3 versions: a 8GB model for $229, a 32 GB model for $299, and a 64 GB model for $399.
Apple TV: The Makeover
When Apple TV was first introduced, no one paid much attention. It was priced over $200, it wasn’t easy to stream movies and tv shows like Netflix. But with the revamped, and yes, thinner Apple TV, consumers may have to take a second look at what Apple has to offer this time around.
Built at about 1/4 of the size of the original Apple TV, the device will feature the following:
- HD movie and TV show rentals
- Netflix and YouTube streaming
- iTunes music and photos from your computer
- 802.11n Wi-Fi
- Apple Remote
- Built-in power supply, HDMI, and ethernet
Apple TV will now offer streaming movies and TV shows straight from iTunes or your computer. Currently, you can rent TV shows for 99 cents and HD movies for $4.99 from ABC and Fox. With streaming video straight to your television via Apple TV, Netflix will still hold an advantage with its fixed monthly fee along with unlimited movies and shows.
The Apple TV will start at a cool $99 and is available to pre-order starting immediately.
Next week, Apple will release its update to iOS 4, which includes HDR photo capture, iPhone 3G performance enhancements, and Game Center integration. The update will be available for free for some iPhones and iPod Touches. I’m guessing it excludes the first generation models.
Ping: Apple’s Version on a Social Network
The most surprising announcement of the day was Apple’s social network for music called Ping. Steve Jobs described it as similar to Facebook and Twitter, but for music.
For example, you can post videos, photos, comments, opinions or songs. Sounds a lot like Facebook. And just like Twitter, you can follow your friends and even music artists. Ping is integrated into iTunes, so don’t go searching for any website.
In essence, Ping helps you discover new songs to buy, furthering iTunes ever-growing dominance in the music industry.
New iTunes 10 logo: Even I could make that!
Seriously, Apple? Is that the best you can do? It looks like something produced with Microsoft Paint or downloaded from some clipart. It makes sense that it was time to move beyond the CD in the logo since iTunes sells only digital content, but this revision is nowhere close to being a finished product.
Speaking of iTunes 10, you can update iTunes to the latest version which includes the aforementioned Ping.
Overall, I think Apple did a fine job. No one expected anything ground-breaking like the iPad. The new iPod Touch is suddenly worth upgrading for or buying for the first time. The third generation iPod Touch was just pathetic and wasn’t really any improvement over its predecessor. Apple TV had its highs and lows. I think the $99 price-tag will attract a lot more buyers than before. The downside is the overall model Apple is proposing. I think people will be reluctant to switch from the all-you-can-eat buffet otherwise known as Netflix, and jump over to the pay/rent what you want to watch model. Especially with a lot of shows being available on the Internet(Hulu and Youtube), it will be a tough challenge to convince people to pay for tv shows and movies.
Ping has a lot of upside with its social networking aspect. It almost resembles how Facebook introduced Facebook Places, offering a product that is already available(Foursquare) and differs in that it is branded with their name. Myspace is definitely the biggest loser of the day since Ping will allow people to follow their favorite musicians. With over close to 12 billion song downloads to date, iTunes will have enough merit to convince musicians to not hesitate one bit to join Ping.
So, that’s my overall take of the biggest highlights of the day. Let me know how you reacted to some of the announcements today in the comments section below.