Apple’s Special September Announcements
The event is still continuing as I write this, but today’s Apple Special Event has already brought a ton of great announcements for music lovers. Special thanks to Apple for streaming the event live for the first time. My co-workers and I enjoyed it over lunch.
iPods – A complete revamp of the iPod lineup.
- iPod Shuffle – Even smaller than the previous generation, but the click wheel is back by popular demand. Voiceover function is still there though and the 2GB device is just $49.
- iPod Nano – Smaller form factor again, this time by removing the click wheel and giving the display a multi-touch treatment. The device is now square instead of oblong and the user interface is very similar to iOS with rearrangeable app icons.
- iPod Touch – The iPod touch is now even thinner than before and now boasts the same Retina display as the iPhone 4. Also carried over from the iPhone are both forward and rear facing cameras. The rear facing camera is capable of recording HD video and the forward facing camera means that FaceTime conversations can now be conducted between iPod Touches or between an iPod and an iPhone. Very cool… The same A4 processor found on the iPad and iPhone 4 brings serious processing power and means that you can record and edit HD video right on the iPod just like on the iPhone 4.
iOS 4.1 Update
- iOS 4.1 will be available as a free update for iPhones and compatible iPod Touches sometime next week.
- The update will fix a number of issues, such as the proximity sensor bluetooth and 3G performance.
- You’ll be able to upload HD video over Wi-Fi networks.
- TV shows can be rented or purchased via iTunes.
- Introduction of new GameCenter multi-player network.
- And probably one of the coolest new features is that you’ll be able to take HDR photos right within the built-in camera app. HDR photos work by taking two images in short succession. One image is over exposed and the other is underexposed. Software blends the two images and you get a really nicely balanced photo devoid of the normal bright and dark spots you’d find in a regular picture. I’ve been playing with an HDR app that’s already available on the iPhone and have been very pleased with the results. Glad to see this feature built-in, although I’m sure the developers of apps like Pro HDR would probably prefer it wasn’t just yet.
iOS 4.2 Update
- Coming in November will be another iOS update that is all about the iPad.
- 4.2 brings multi-tasking and folder capabilities to the iPad that iPhone users are already enjoying.
- I didn’t hear any mention of a unified inbox, but I’m hoping that makes it in too.
- The update will be free, just like 4.1.
- The latest version of iTunes will be available online sometime today.
- iTunes 10 now sports a new logo that dumps the CD image that has been present since the introduction of iTunes and acknowledging that digital downloads now surpass CD sales.
- Big focus of iTunes 10 is a new social discovery network called Ping. It seems a lot like Facebook and Twitter in that you can follow friends and your favorite artists to find out what your friends are listening to. Artists can share information about new releases and concert dates. Steve Jobs promises that privacy is protected by the system and you can choose to share as much or as little information as you like.
- Other enhancements in the new software include a general cleanup of album listings so that multiple tracks from a single album will only display the album artwork once, etc.
- Once considered a hobby platform by Apple, the AppleTV has been completely redesigned, both in terms of hardware and software.
- The hardware is now 1/4 the size of the original device and features full HD output.
- The User Interface is simple and clean.
- All content streams to the device now, so there is no more storage management to be concerned with.
- Movies and TV will only be available as rentals, but the price has been dropped. First run movies are available for $4.99 and TV shows can be rented for .99.
- You can still stream content from your own computer, but now you can also access your Netflix queue, as well as YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe.
- A new feature called AirPlay will allow you to stream content directly from an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to your AppleTV.
- Best of all, the price of the device has been slashed from $249 to only $99.
- The new AppleTV will be available in stores four weeks from now, but pre-orders are available now.
So those are the biggies from today’s event. The one big rumor that I’m sorry to see didn’t pan out was that the iLife Suite might have been given an update today. There were very specific rumors floating around about how iDVD would be dropped from the lineup, iWeb completely revamped and a completely new “mystery application.” On the music front, I would appreciate some new features in GarageBand. Heck, at this point, I’d appreciate it if they would just add some new artist lessons. Nothing yet though… Maybe in November.
Pardon me, but I’m off to try and download iTunes 10. I’ll see you on Ping!
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