While no one is surprised at the black Limited Edition U2 iPod, other Apple surprises abound. A new 4.7 version of iTunes. An impending update to QuickTime (leaked in iTunes, now available), and a new photoPod—an iPod that does photos and video.
Oh, there’s also new iTunes Music Stores (no Canada or Australia, though… or Japan, or Hong Kong, or China).
First, the photoPod, or as it’s officially known—the iPod Photo (remember, it’s not a “mini” iPod; it’s an iPod mini). The photoPod comes in two sizes; 40 gigs for $499, and 60 gigs for $599.
The form factor appears to be about the same; a shade thicker than the previous generation, but with a two inch color screen. The screen will display 65,000 colors and is 220×176 pixels with built-in backlighting.
The famous iPod Click Wheel is the same but the photoPod’s menu is new which allows you to scroll through your playlists, or photo albums.
The Apple Store says the iPod Photo (I’m trying hard to be correct) will store up to 25,000 photos (all dependent upon the size of your photo collection, of course—your mileage may vary.
The iPod Photo has a few surprises besides the color screen and larger hard drive. There’s also an iPod Photo Dock included in the package, an iPod Photo AV cable to hook your iPod to a TV or video device.
Battery life is improved, too. The iPod Photo now has up to 15-hours of battery life, even more than the previous generation iPod. Of course, the iPod Photo will also play your music.
Not enough news? There’s also a new iPod Updater; now version 3.0.4, also available from Apple. If your current iPod is up to date, this updater won’t add anything to it. If you already have the iPod Photo (drool), this would update the photo menu capability.
Wait. There’s more news. The iTunes Music Store was upgraded, too. Now there are more countries than ever. Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have been added to the mix, making the European market even larger than the US.
No mention of Australia or Canada, though.
Installing the new version of iTunes (now at 4.7) brings up a dialog box which says you need to upgrade to QuickTime 6.5.2 (6.5.1 is the latest, according to System Preferences and Software Update, though 6.5.2 is now available on the Apple web site).
Also introduced, to no one’s surprise, was the Special Edition iPod. It’s black. It’s also only 20 gigs in size. And the Click Wheel is totally red. Yes. Red.
Here’s how Apple describes this ultra cool, ultra sheik iPod Special Edition (no flames, please… groan with the rest of us non-U2 fans):
“Like no other, iPod U2 Special Edition stands out. Jet black, it bears a prominent red Apple Click Wheel and, on the flip side, the autographs of each U2 band member. Available for just $349, it comes with an exclusive U2 poster and, of course, the signature white iPod earbuds.
As an extra special treat, it includes an iTunes Music Store coupon you can use to get $50 off your purchase of “The Complete U2.” As unique as the iPod itself, this digital boxed set brings together an amazing 400 U2 tracks.”
This black beauty will set you back $349 for 20 gigabytes of storage. The back case of the iPod U2 Special Edition features laser-engraved signatures of each band member.
I’m certain you’ll want to hold on to this special edition iPod, like, ohmygosh, forever and ever. Like, really.
While rumors rumbled low about an iPod Photo, not many expected one to be introduced to overshadow the U2 Special Edition. Just between you and me, I’ll skip the U2 version, and go straight to the iPod Photo.
For you video lovers out there who don’t care much for standard composite video (read: poor quality, high compatibility), Apple doesn’t seem to have forgotten its quality roots.
The graphic to the left shows the dock and cables of the iPod Photo. There’s the standard (Apple’s) audio, video connector to the left, the iPod-to-Mac dock and iPod connector in the middle (the wide one), and what sure looks like an S-video connector on the right.
That’s good news. Most good TVs, VCRs, and good video devices have an S-video connector, which provides substantially improved quality over the standard compositve video connectors.
Apple appears to have paid attention to detail on the iPod Photo. What do you think? What’s missing? Is the price right? Will you buy one? We won’t know much more detail until the iPod Photos begin shipping in a couple of weeks. Share your thoughts and comments with other readers. Click the Comments link below.