Apple Revamps iPod Line - iTunes 7 - Movies Added - Announces Future Set Top Box

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Sep
12

By: switchtoamac at: 1:30 PM on September 12, 2006 | Comments (2)

At its special media event on Tuesday September 12, 2006 termed "It's Showtime", Apple Computer's CEO Steve Jobs unveiled revamped iPods with new features and software, a new version of iTunes that lets users purchase music, music videos, television shows and at last, movies.  The company also announced that it will be releasing a Mac mini like set top box codenamed "iTV" that is slated for release in the first quarter of 2007.  The event was conducted at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.  The event marked the next step in Apple's Digital Lifestyle strategy and product roadmap.

Prior to today's event, most of Apple's events and product announcements this year were focused on the Mac as the company worked to transition it's Macintosh computers to Intel processors.  It should be noted that the iPod is a significant contributer to Apple's overall revenue.  Hence, today's iPod announcements are a welcome development as they will allow Apple to continue to capitalize on the portable music player market.  Not only because the iPod is the leader in the sector but also to take on Microsoft's upcoming Zune music player that is anticpated to hit shelves in advance of this year's holiday shopping season.

iPods

Apple continues to have three iPod models the iPod, iPod Nano, and iPod Shuffle.  The revisions however provide users with enhanced specifications and software functionality.

iPod (5.5G)

The new iPods, which come in black or white with a 2.5-inch screen, are available in a 60GB model for $249 and a 80GB version for $349. The new iPod can hold up to 20,000 songs, 25,000 photos, and up to 100 hours of video.

30 GB

  • 14 hrs music playback
  • 4 hr slideshow
  • 3.5 hrs video playback

80 GB

  • 20 hrs music playback
  • 6 hr slideshow
  • 6.5 hrs video playback

Enhanced Specifications:

  • 60 percent brighter with brighness control
  • New headphones
  • Gapless playback

Also added is the following software functionality:

  • Instant searching
  • Games are are available from iTunes for $4.99 each: Bejeweled, Cubis 2, Mahjong, Mini golf, Pac Man, Tetris, Texas Holdem, Vortex, and Zuma
  • Games will work on current 5G iPods

iPod Nano

The iPod nano also saw revisions as these models and are now available in aluminum and color; silver, black, green, blue, and pink.  The new models have similar software features found in the standard iPod but come at various price points and capacities.
  • 8GB is $249 - Black only
  • 4GB is $199 - Silver, Pink, Green, Blue
  • 2GB is $149 - Silver only 

Enhanced Specifications:

  • 40 percent brighter
  • Up to 24 hours of battery life

iPod Shuffle

At nearly half the size of the original, the new 1GB iPod shuffle comes in a aluminum design with a built-in clip.  At only $79, and weighing just half an ounce, the new model holds up to 240 songs.   It will ship in October.
 

iTunes 7

Apple also announced the next version of iTunes, version 7.  The following new features were added:

  • The source list now includes a Library with separate libraries for all forms of media
  • The store and devices have their own sections.
  • Album art view - Apple will provide art for any music in your library.
  • Cover flow view - Find music by album flipping.
  • NFL 2006 season coming to iTMS
  • New 640x480 video resolution (up from 320x240)
  • Gapless playback in iTunes 7
  • Can now sync iPod content to second computer

Apple has also added movies to iTunes with films from Disney (Walt Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, Miramax) owned studios now available.  New releases cost $12.99 as a preorder and during the first week, $14.99 thereafter.  Existing movies cost $9.99.  Other specifications of the movies are:

  • Near DVD quality at 640x480 resolution
  • Movies can be viewed as they are downloaded
  • Multiple movies can be downloaded at the same time
  • Dolby Surround audio
  • Parental controls - MPAA ratings
  • 75 films today, more every week and month
  • Available in the US today, international in 2007

New Product - iTV Set Top box

In an unusual move, Apple provided a sneak peek into a future product.  The company announced that they will be releasing a $299 Mac Mini like (but half the size) wireless set top box for televisions in the first quarter of 2007.  It's codenamed the "iTV" but it will most likely be renamed prior to release.  Steve Jobs stated that the device "Completes the story".  With a next generation Front Row interface the box will posses some of the following features:
  • Built-in power supply
  • USB
  • Ethernet
  • 802.11 wireless
  • Component video
  • optical audio
  • HDMI ports
  • RCA stereo audio ports
  • Will work with the Apple Remote
Many thanks to Brett Johnson for pointing out errors which have now been corrected. 

2 Reader Comments

Thanks for the great review and posts of the ipod. I found it very informative.

Just one question remains - can the iTV record broadcast TV like a TiVO? It sure seems likely that this would be the most attractive DVR in history.

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