5 things you need to know – Apple's new iPods and iTunes 9
iPod Nano 5G – video camera now, apps and WiFi next?
Apple's iPod event found the firm coming out swinging with attacks on its competitors and the iPod Nano 5G put it in to battle with some new foes. Flip were firmly in Steve Jobs's sights with a direct and aggressive comparison between the new iPod Nano and Flip's video cameras. Jobs's conclusion? Flip's are fat and expensive. A tad harsh but it'll need to step up its game.
Adding a video camera, pedometer and voice recorder to the iPod Nano, as well as voice control makes it the little iPod that can. However, although the iPod Nano 5G was given the exalted status of a “one more thing”, it's actually more of an evolution than a revolution in iPod design and functionality.
??The next step could be the most revolutionary one – with video now on the Nano, expect WiFi and Nano-based apps to be the next step in its development.
Don't be surprised if a still camera and video does come to the iPod Touch soon. Jobs says the iPod Touch is focused on gaming right now but the lack of camera is down to price rather than a problem with the concept
iPod Touch: now with more space and better graphics
Apple has made it clear that it means business about making the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch killer mobile gaming devices. During the iPod event, there were some serious attacks on the portable gaming experience offered by Nintendo and Sony but Apple clearly plans to go further.
Steve Jobs has told Walt Mossberg that the iPod Touch didn't get a camera because it's “an awesome gaming machine” and while we're sure a camera-toting Touch is coming, he's pretty on the money.
Assassin's Creed 2 and Rhythm Ribbon, both demonstrated at the event, showed the further potential for genuinely graphically impressive gaming on iPhone and iPod Touch. ??
It makes sense that Apple has given the iPod Touch a speed boost and a new processor – the games are getting more graphically intensive so more power's a must.
The massive increase in app use is also bound to be partially responsible for the iPod Touch's new 64GB version. However, that new capacious size is also the next step in the iPod Touch's quest to kill off the iPod Classic. Once the iPod Touch crawls up to 120GB, it could be curtains for the iPod Classic…??
The iPod Classic 160GB is back but it could be the last
For voracious music hoarders, the return of the iPod Classic 160GB will be really welcome but rumours of the iPod Classic's demise are likely to be true next time around.
It's likely that Apple hasn't killed off the iPod Classic this time because it's not yet able to make an iPod Touch or iPod Nano with high enough capacity to end the venerable iPod's life.
However, Apple killed of the iPod Classic 160GB in 2008, its return makes it clear that there remains demand for a big capacity iPod.
iTunes 9 is a Blu-ray and DVD fighting, album art reviving beast
The much whispered about “Cocktail” packages of extra content for albums has arrived. It's got the snappier, more nostalgia heavy name of iTunes LPs and Steve Jobs said the idea is to bring the visual element back to buying music. For those of us who still go to record stores from time to time, it had never gone away!
iTunes LPs bundle together exclusive videos, artwork, liner notes and more. It's a smart idea for bringing fans to iTunes specifically to grab interesting content about their favourite artists. However, we really hope that the selection of featured musicians goes further than soft rock (Dave Matthews), easy listening (Nora Jones) and oldsters (The Grateful Dead).
iTunes Extras are all about fighting the special features available on Blu-ray and DVD discs. Up until now, movies from iTunes have been a very basic proposition – the film and just the film. Extras will bring additional content to iTunes purchases and put them on a par with the packages offered with traditional physical releases.
The iPod Shuffle has finally got enough headphones to choose from
Sometimes Apple can be pretty cheeky. Talking about the expansion of compatible headphones for the iPod Shuffle, Phil Schiller said: “It's so easy, customer have asked us to offer more headphones and…we have!” Launching the updated Shuffle last year with proprietary headphones was a mistake and Apple has rectified that by approving more alternatives. That's not really a move that deserves plaudits.
The Shuffle has also gained a brand new (and cheaper) 2GB model and now comes in a wider range of colours (no less than 5). The special edition, polished steel model seems like a little exercise in industrial design but it's very nice to look at nonetheless. Like the iPod Nano, the Shuffle is on the cusp of another leap in its evolution and it'll be worth watching closely to see where the iPod family's littlest member goes next.
Let us know what you think of the new iPods and what you want Apple to do next.