Apple Event: Rock and Roll

20090909_Apple_Music-7_610x406

Souce: Stephen Shankland, CNET

As we all know, today was Apple’s annual (well almost every year) music announcement –> new ipods, new itunes software, etc. Personally I followed Engadet’s and Cnet’s live blogs covering the event. I must say I was shockingly disappointed. The most exciting part of the keynote was Steve Job’s return, but I think everybody already knew that he was back.

There were four big announcements (all which are available today)

New iTunes 9, iPhone OS 3.1 (Upgrade is Free)
Lower Prices on iPod Touch/iPod Classic, Gaming on Touch
You can buy ringtones now for $1.29 each (but the whole song is $0.99?)
New iPod Nano (Now includes a video camera)

The new iTunes features doesn’t impress at all. The flagship product of version 9 seems to be the “Genius Mixes feature”, however after upgrading to iTunes 8 I have generally ignored the Genius features and this one doesn’t make it any more attractive.

The new music sharing feature (called Home Sharing) is cool, but Apple need to fix its software for Windows so it doesn’t crash every 15 minutes (Most of my personal music collection is on a Windows Box, and iTunes is almost unusable). There are UI improvements which seems to make the interface to look a bit cleaner and more streamlined.

Lower prices on iPod Touch to $199.99 was a good idea, but it would have made more sense to increase the capacity rather than the 20 dollars in price. There were no new hardware improvement to the iPod touch other than “Open CL Support” which is probably a software upgrade (OS 3.1). I was ready to dish out 300 bucks for an iPod touch if it had a camera, and a built-in mic; sadly none of those came true. I guess I can save the cash for a new EOS 5D Mark II.

The new iPod Nano looks almost identical to the previous generation, but it has a slightly bigger screen. The big story behind the new nano is the addition of a video camera to the back. Cleverly, Steve compared it to the ever popular Flip Cameras. He pointed out that the Flip Video is $149.99 whereas the new Nano has the camera addition for free. In addition to the camera, the nano also gets a speaker, mic, FM transmitter and Nike + support (It also will support the Genius Mixes feature).

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Source: Apple.com

Although I was disappointed with the lack of new features on the iPod Touch, it is not that surprising. More hardware features for the Touch would make it a direct competitor to the iPhone, and because ATT’s lack of a network, people will be more likely to ditch it. But all of that aside, is a camera really useful on a nano? Nano is a single purpose hardware, most people use it to listen to music, unlike the Touch. Without wireless support you can’t upload the video recorded unless connected to a computer. To be honest I rather use the Camera on my phone to record videos, and I rather use the 8gb on the nano all for music.

Despite all that, I will probably pick one up simply because I desperately need a new music player, and the mic addition is certainly useful to record lectures in the up coming term. Stay tuned, I will be doing a full review on the new iPod Nano once released.

EDIT: Now you can download iTunes 9.0 at http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

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