Apple rolls out new iPod touch, iPod shuffle, iPod Nano, iTunes 10 and Apple TV (enough?)
At its Sept. 1 event, Apple trotted out a new iPod touch, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, a rekindled Apple TV, and even a brand new social network in iTunes 10.
This annual fall bash held surprises for almost every device that Apple sells – with one notable exception.
“It’s the biggest change in the iPod lineup ever,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the event.
With updates for iTunes, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, iPod Touch, iOS, iPad, and Apple TV – phew! – Apple gave a nice polish to practically its entire line of gadgets. But what happened to the iPod Classic? The bulkier, bigger-hard-drived device is still for sale. But no annual refresh is often Apple code for “we’ve lost confidence in that product.”
Then again, we all thought the same thing about the Apple TV before today.
On first glance, the new iPod touch changed the least this year. No exciting new shell. No Weight Watchers-style heft reduction. But Apple crammed in an HD video camera on the back, a front-facing camera for video chat, and four-times the number of screen pixels. The Touch’s innards also gets an A4 processor, the same kind Apple uses to power the iPhone 4 and iPad.
The new iPod nano slimmed way down this year. It’s 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous model – making it almost Shuffle size. But the biggest change is the Nano’s new touch screen. It will run an OS similar to the iPhone’s, with square icons representing each feature. The Nano loses the video camera it had in its last iteration, but gets VoiceOver, FM radio, and a pedometer.
The new design, which includes a clothing clip, will come with 8 gigabytes of memory for $149 or 16 gigs for $179.
Ping is today’s most unexpected Apple announcement.
The social network will come baked into iTunes 10 and allow users to connect with friends and musicians. Apple describes the service as a music discovery program. “Follow” people to discover what they’re listening to, watch their favorite music videos, find custom top-ten lists, suggest songs to others, and learn when musicians will tour in your area. Ping is free, but Apple hopes all this sharing will lead to a bunch of new 99-cent sales.
After years of disappointing sales, Apple TV has returned. And it’s itty-bitty. The new set-top box not only comes with a new frame, but also comes with a new philosophy. Apple tossed out the notion of buying TV shows, syncing them to the device, and then watching everything on your TV. Now, Apple TV is all about streaming. You can rent shows and movies through iTunes for as little as 99 cents – or cue up Netflix if you want. The Apple TV then projects these streaming shows to your TV in HD or to an iPad wirelessly.
The new box will cost $99.
After rolling out multitasking and printing features for the iPad and a new video game service (Game Center) for all iOS devices, Apple CEO Steve Jobs dived into the company’s new lineup.
First up was a refreshed iPod shuffle.
Last year, Apple forced an uber-radical redesign upon the littlest iPod. It stripped away the classic click wheel, replacing it with special headphones and VoiceOver, which allows the device to read aloud song titles and playlist information. Today, Apple backpedaled.
“People clearly miss the buttons,” Jobs said about the restored click wheel. “They love the buttons from the second generation, but love the VoiceOver on the third generation.” Now the Shuffle has both.
The two-gigabyte music players will cost $49 each.