New Apple iPods, iTunes and Apple TV

Apple has announced the new fall lineup for its iPod and Apple TV product lines.  The usual suspects are all there: iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Touch and the iPod Classic-which they did not talk about during the keynote.  The iPod gets its buttons back as well as the genius mix.  iPod Nano gets the most dramatic makeover: it lost its clickwheel and gained a multitouch screen and interface.  It resembles a tiny iPod Touch.  In fact, you use it just like the Touch.  It’s pretty cute.  The cost is a not-so cheap $149 for the 8gb version and $179 for the 16gb version.  iPod Touch gains an HD video camera and iOS 4.1.  Among the new software features are the ability to take HD photos.  Now, in this case, ‘HD’ does not mean high definition.  HD photos are really three photos: each one capturing a different version of the same image. One image is really dark, one is really bright and the middle photo is similar to the ‘normal’ photo you would take. The software then blends these three photos into one high dynamic range photo for a surreal and more detailed photo.

Apple also announced a new version of the Apple TV ‘hobby’.  This one is small, about a fourth the size of the old Apple TV and it does not have any on-board storage.  EVERYTHING is streamed to the device.  It also sports a new user interface and a new low price: $99.  
iOS 4.2 for the iPad was also previewed.  In addition to multitasking and all of the nice features of iOS 4.1 for iPhone/iPod Touch, it also gains wireless printing and streaming.  In fact, you can stream content from your iPad to the new Apple TV.
Perhaps the most interesting announcement was iTunes 10.  It gets a slight makeover to make it less ugly (well, on the Mac, the min, max and close buttons are really weirdly placed-you just have to see it) and it, of course, is updated to handle the new versions of the hardware and iOS 4.1/4.2. But, what’s really interesting is the new ‘Ping’ social network that Apple is trying to launch.  Ping is an amalgamation of Twitter and Facebook for music.  Or, as I prefer, it is an interesting copy of the Zune Social.  Apple took the best parts of the Zune Social:  friends, music discovery and recommendations.  Apple then added a touch of Twitter and Facebook to come up with a rather interesting result. Ping has possibilities.  I’m just not sure people will buy into it. There is a rather healthy Zune Social crowd, but then the Zune is a very small market.
All in all, the announcements were OK and the attending press was typically enthusiastic with the applause (they clap for anything, I bet if Jobs burped, they would applaud) but most of the stuff could have been put in a press release and saved a bunch of time.  
If you want to indulge in more Apple Keynotes, go here: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/
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