Apple Music Event Sep 1st 2010

Stats – Apple Store in 10 countries with as much as 1 million visitors a day. There are now 120 million iOS devices and 230,000 new iOS activations per day. The App Store has 250,000 iOS apps and 25,000 for the iPad. 200 apps downloaded every second.

iPod Shuffle – Much improved over last generation, physical controls are back with all the voice capability of the last generation model. You get 15 hours of music playback for $59 with 2GB. Personally I would get the SanDisk Sansa Clip with 8GB for that price and you even get a screen but I’m no Apple lover.

iPod Nano – Smaller square design, no physical buttons on the face, multi-touch display with a clip on the back so you can wear it. No more camera capability, it never really made sense to add it to the last generation but if you liked it, too bad it’s gone. Also gone is video playback, I guess they really want you to spend that extra $80 and just get an iPod Touch. That way you can give them even more money with the addition of apps and games. You can see 4 buttons on a screen at one time and you can rearrange the icons as you see fit. No physical control means you must be looking at the device to use it. The commercial showed it clipped to your clothing while using it which would be pretty hard to do with a touch screen. It’s small and pretty but I don’t see it selling near as well as the iPod Touch, which has a funny name considering that the Nano now does touch but I digress. You get 24 hours of music playback for $159 with 8GB and $189 with 16GB. I still can’t believe they haven’t added Bluetooth stereo support, I can’t go back to wires. For that price it should really have that capability. I think the old Nano is a more compelling product but at this time I don’t see any reason investing almost $200 in a music only player. If you like Apple, get the Nano or go all out and get the iPod Touch which offers so much more.

iPod Touch – It’s just what everyone expected, an iPhone 4 without the phone. Finally it has a camera on the front and back for FaceTime and HD Recording. The very high res retina display, Apple A4 processor and Gyroscope for more precise control. It brings Face Time calling to those who don’t want a contract and a monthly fee. You get 40 hours of music playback for $249 with 8GB, $319 with 32GB and $429 with 64GB.

iPod Classic – No mention of it at the event but I have confirmation that it will still be available and nothing has changed. I thought this was going to bend of the iPod Classic but alas it’s still alive and kicking for at least another year. You get 36 hours of music playback for $279 with 160GB. I suspect we will see a 128GB iPod Touch next year and the Classic will be put to pasture.

iOS 4.1 – Will be available next week for iPhone 3, 3GS and 4. Many bug fixes and performance improvements especially to iPhone 3. A new addition to the camera app is the ability to take High Dynamic Range photos. It takes 3 photos at once at different exposures and combines them into one image. It brings out detail in overblown areas of the photo as well as in the shadows. A great addition if it actually works as well as it demoed. Game Centre finally makes an appearance. It creates a social gaming network, allowing you to add your friends and see what they are playing and what achievements they recently acquired. It allows you to invite a friend into a multiplayer game and should provide a great experience as long as you don’t add to many friends and get bombarded with game invites. The notification system in iOS is so pathetic that adding more to it will probably get annoying real fast.

iOS 4.2 – Will be available in November and is geared towards the iPad and will bring all of the features the iPhone got with 4.0 and 4.1 like multi-tasking and gamer center finally to the iPad. The so called computer replacement will finally get multitasking this November.

iPad – No new iPad mentioned. Rumors were that they were going to announce a smaller iPad but I guess we will have to wait for January for that. Personally my usage scenario for a pad like device makes me want something smaller like a 7″ device. Reading for any extended amount of time can be tiring. Not to mention how ridiculous people look walking around in public using a 10″ iPad, i just don’t get it.

iTunes 10 – A slight refinement to iTunes with the addition of Ping a social network for music. A change to the icon removes the cd in the background and it ss available now.

AppleTV – It’s 1/4 the size of the original AppleTV. It uses the same processor and graphics chip used in the latest iPod Touch and iPhone 4. No built in storage, it’s just a streaming device. Built in HDMI, 100 Mb Ethernet, optical ports as well as Wi-Fi 802.11n with both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequencies. You cannot buy any movies or TV, rental and streaming only. You can buy from iTunes on your computer and stream it to the device. It’s only $119 which some might say is amazing but considering what it has built in and what it does it’s not that special it’s just par for the course. It includes the basic Apple Remote and can be controlled by an iOS device with the remote application. HD TV rentals are $0.99 and brand new HD Movie Rentals start at $4.99 and drop over time. They never mentioned this in the press conference but it is confirmed to only do 720P so it won’t fully take advantage of your 1080p display. Apple never even bothered to mention and it and probably never will. Apple users probably won’t even know the difference and if they do will probably try to sidestep the issue with an argument about bit rate. Yeah you know the type. You can also access YouTube, Netflix, Flickr and Mobile Me content. Unfortunately this is no Google TV or Xbox competitor. It does not run iOS apps and games. It has a web browser but obviously no flash and no Hulu. Google TV with its app support and full flash capability make it a far more desirable product as far as I’m concerned but anyone living in the closed world of Apple will love the AppleTV. I guess Apple hasn’t learned anything from the success of the iPod Touch and iPhone. Gaming was a big part of that platform and could have made this platform that much more desirable. But I suppose they could just release a software update next year enabling just that capability, we shall see. If you’re looking for a basic streaming device like AppleTV but want more codec capability and app support, I recommend the WD TV or the Roku video player.

Dave Loft

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