Apple forced a reality check on Apple watchers today. The “Let’s Rock” special event was exactly as Apple hinted. Music. iPods. iTunes. All added to the razzle dazzle of color and features.
If you had no expectations at all then you were not disappointed by Apple’s updated iPod line. For the rest of us, it’s another bite of humble pie to nourish our patience for yet another day.
What Apple provided was pretty much routine for the annual iPod line update. New iPods, new colors, new features, new iTunes, more music, Jack Johnson. Who knew that Jack was a rocker?
What? No new Macs? Of course not. The event was titled “Let’s Rock” for a reason. Music. iPods. iTunes. Print money for Apple to sit on.
Apple has reached a level of maturity unheard of in the company’s storied and gloried history. No longer full of hubris and revolution, Apple shakes up their sandboxes one bucket at a time.
Briefly, new iPods, new cosmetic designs for shuffle, iPod nano, iPod classic (with larger storage capacity in the base model), slightly lower price tag on the re-designed iPod touch.
Apple is as much about software as hardware so the iPod touch will get OS X version 2.1 later this week.
So will iPhone users. What are the new features? Fewer bugs, apparently.
Apple trotted out the latest facts and figures to support their dominance of digital music. Almost 75-percent market share for the iPod in the US. 8.5 million songs available in iTunes Store. Up to 30,000 songs in your pocket.
Over 100-million apps downloaded from the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. New games available today. The iPhone and iPod touch are officially a game platform.
What’s old is new again. The new iPod shuffle looks like the old iPod shuffle. $49 for 1GB and 240 songs, $69 for 2GB and 500 songs.
The iPod nano goes backwards to a previous design, no longer short and stout, but long and slim. Same size screen, many, many new chromatic colors. 8GB for $149, double that for $199.
No real facelift for the iPod classic, but $249 now gets you 120GB of music and movie storage power. The iPod touch gets a modest re-design and lower prices, and bug fixes later this week.
Just for grins, Apple added a few more items in their ever obvious quest to become the 21st century Sony. New ear buds. $79.
What did we NOT see that we’re still waiting for? Start with new MacBooks in aluminum to match the MacBook Air design. Then move to AppleTV 3.0 with a digital video recorder. Still on the list of wants and needs is an iPad Mac-like, iPhone-like wireless tablet.
Ditto for new Cinema displays, a mini-tower MacPro, or a revamped Mac mini, all nowhere to be seen.
Is it possible that Macworld in January will finally be about the Mac? After all, why should Apple spring a new line of Mac notebooks when the current line is selling in record numbers. What will people upgrade to if they have something newer than new?
Apple has matured, gained muscle, and is well disciplined. We’ll get what Apple wants us to get and when Apple wants us to get it.
What Apple did not announce speaks volumes about the company’s discipline, the art of sleight of hand and a melange of evolutionary features and design. It all started with music and ended with music (“Let’s Rock” started with rockers and ended with Jack Johnson and an acoustic guitar).
iPods represent a big chunk of Apple’s business, customer base, current and future revenue and profits, and mindshare. There are far more iPod customers than Mac customers today. By the end of 2009 Apple may have more iPhone customers than Mac customers.
Since the Mac is selling so well, maybe Apple will become even more disciplined and give Mac users something to rejoice about at Macworld in January.