We're now sitting in the auditorium at BBC Television Centre, having watched Steve Jobs live on stage in California via a satellite link-up. He's got a new iMac, a new video iPod and a new iTunes with music video and TV downloads...
Act One is the iMac. The all-new iMac has three new features: it's thinner, it's got an iSight videocamera built in and new app called Photobooth. Finally, there's a new app called Front Row (see below for more).
Act Two: the iPod. Apple has shipped over a million Nanos in less than five weeks. Now, it's the NEW white iPod - and, yes, it does video! The format is similar to the old pod but with a bigger screen - a 2.5in TFT display with 320x240 pixels with realtime decoding of MPEG 4 and H.264 video. It only has 260,000 colours but it does have video output to connect to TV.
- This new iPod is available in 30 and 60 GB capacities - and both are thinner than the current 20GB Pod. 30GB will be $299, 60GB will be $399. UK prices are £220 and £300. And did we mention it was available in black? Oh yes, and it comes with a case, so don't worry about scratches!
- Steve has demonstrated the quality of the iPod screen playing back vdeo and it really is impressive - although it's a bit of a surprise to see the Pod still has a 4:3 screen. I guess movies are a way off...
- There are two ads for the video iPod being previewed, one featuring U2 and one with Eminem (who's obviously settled his dispute with Apple).
Act three: iTunes. iTunes has an 84% market share in the US. Five weeks after the launch of iTunes 5, here's iTunes 6. Surely video downloads are the order of the day? Hell yes.
- Here are the big changes: firstly, 'gifting' - you can buy music for other people, who get an email telling them to download. Next: customer reviews - Amazon-style peer reviews of music. Third: Just For You (beta) - a recommendation service, again similar to what Amazon offers.
- and finally for iTunes... music videos. Currently there are 2000 available to buy. But they're gonna cost $1.99, or £1.89 in the UK. And Pixar are offering 6 short films, also for $1.99. The price seems a bit high, and didn't get a cheer from the audience. The videos take the space of six songs (so about 20MB) and have the same rights management as music tracks.
iTunes 6 will be available today for free download.
AND ONE MORE THING...
You'll be able to buy TV shows from the iTunes Music Store from ABC and Disney – but only in the US for now. Five shows will be available to watch on iPod or computer: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Nightstalker, The Suite Life and some other Disney thang. $1.99 an episode.
Front Row - which comes with all new iMacs - gives people a new way to enjoy your music, video and pictures from the sofa - with an iPod style remote control. It still uses the iMac's screen, but text is big and control is simple, so you don't have to be hunched up in front of the screen. He's comparing the simple, small remote for Front Row with the bloated remotes from Microsoft Media Center - Apple's 6 buttons compared to Media Center's 40-plus.