What a difference a year makes. Apple’s special rock ‘n roll event was classic Steve Jobs. Gone was the frail look, replaced by the old Steve, a bit thinner, still with a sense of humor. Today’s announcements ranged from a brand new iTunes 9, easier to use and navigate, and with more features.
New iPod models were introduced, as was iPhone 3.1 (3.1.1 for iPod touch). Apple managed to drop a few bombs on Microsoft and Dell (the photo of a Dell user trying to put a Dell netbook in the back pocket was priceless). What was missing from all the announcements? Besides Steve Jobs old liver?
A Few Statistics
What’s an Apple special event without a few statistics to make the faithful feel good about themselves. The iTunes Store accounts for 25-percent of all music sold in the US; the country’s largest music retailer.
The iPod’s market share is almost 74-percent, compared to Microsoft Zune, which is 1.1-percent (no, that’s not a typo). To date, Apple has sold over 220-million iPods, over 20-million iPod touch models, and over 30-million iPhones.
Apple’s iTunes App Store has over 75,000 applications, utilities, games. Downloads to date exceed 1.8-billion. Oh, and iTunes is now the #1 music retailer on the planet, with over 8.5-billion songs sold. Do you feel better about yourself?
Apple introduced a fully revamped iTunes, now at version 9, for Mac and Windows. iTunes is easier to navigate, uses tabs and pop down menus throughout, and does not appear as visually cluttered. iTunes now has detailed music, artist, and movie pages. And, from what we can tell, the new iTunes probably is based on WebKit.
iTunes LP brings back liner notes, essays, and what made the original albums so great—the overall album experience. Of course, you bought LPs, then you bought CDs, now you get to buy it all over again in iTunes.
The biggest news for me is the ability to manage iPhone and iPod touch apps inside iTunes. No more dragging iPhone apps from screen page to screen page. Rearrange everything in iTunes, then sync with a click.
Home Sharing is a big deal, too. It lets a home with up to five Macs or PCs share music, TV shows, and movies, drag and drop fashion, between each Mac.
Apple’s iPods are changing. The iPod touch is the fastest growing model, now starting at $199 for the 8 gigabyte model, with a jump to 32 and 64 gigabyte models at $299 and $399, respectively.
The iPod touch models are faster and run OpenGL for enhanced graphics. The iPod classic is still around at $249 but gets a 160 gigabyte hard drive. That’s as much as 40,000 songs in your pocket. I have 3,500.
The teeny tiny iPod shuffle is still around, now sporting spiffy new neon colors. 2 gigabytes for $59, 4 gigabytes for $79.
One More Thing
If Steve Jobs is back on the job and making show and tell, it’s time for Apple’s famed, One More Thing™. This time it’s a camera. A video camera. And it’s free. Apple is competing with the little Kodak and Flip handheld pocket video cameras.
The 8 gigabyte camera is free. Free with every iPod nano. The new camera is built-in to the iPod nano line. It looks similar to the old iPod nano, still has the circular click wheel and wider screen. It all syncs with your Mac or PC.
Specifications? H.264 VGA video, 640×480, 30 frames per sec, so it’s not HD.
Lots more One More Thing™ includes a built-in FM radio in the iPod nano. And, a built-in pedometer. And voice recording. And speaker. And the greenest of all the iPods. Ever.
All the new iPods are available today.
No camera in the iPod touch. No Apple Mac touch or iPad. The lack of a camera in the iPod touch is a surprise and a disappointment, but Apple obviously doesn’t want to compete too strongly with the iPhone.
We’ll do a more detailed review of iTunes 9 once we’ve had a chance to download it and point and click through all the
clutter new features.
It’s really good to see Steve Jobs back on the job. He appeared thin, of course, but also energetic, composed, and happy to be back.