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Wednesday, 10 September 2008 05:58

Apple launches new iPods and more

Written by David Stellmack

Image

Steve says rumors of his demise exaggerated

It is finally here! The day that all Apple fan boys have been waiting for arrive in the form of the “Let’s Rock” media event. While we were on target with most of our predictions prior to the event, let’s recap the big announcements.

Steve Jobs started off the event by letting everyone know that there was no reason to worry, and “reports of his death are greatly exaggerated.” This did not seem to calm Wall Street, as Apple’s stock price was down after the conference.

iTunes 8 was launched, as we expected. The big news with iTunes 8 is the support for HD TV shows, $1.99 USD for SD TV episodes, $2.99 USD for HD TV episodes, and Genius playlist technology. The Genius Playlist technology has the ability to find similar songs within your music collection. Content from NBC will once again be available via iTunes so you will be able to get your fill of Heroes and The Office. iTunes 8 also features a new iTunes visualizer and QuickTime 7.5.5. iTunes 8 will be available for both the Mac and PC platforms for download starting today.

As for the unexpected… we did not suspect that Apple would be doing anything with the iPod Classic, but much to our surprise, Apple announced that they will be discontinuing both the 80GB and 160GB versions of the iPod Classic. The iPod Classic will continue, but will only be available in a 120GB configuration.

As far as we could tell, the form factor will be the same as the 80GB version and everything else will stay the same with the iPod Classic other than the 120GB hard drive. If you want a 160GB iPod Classic, we suggest that you move quickly to find one before they are gone. With Toshiba’s recent announcement of a new 1.8” 240GB hard drive we suspect that Apple might yet upgrade the iPod Classic to 240GB at a later time.

The new fourth generation iPod Nano was also launched. It features an aluminum and glass curved body in a tall rectangular format with a larger screen, as we have been telling you about for a couple of weeks. It will feature an accelerometer that will allow the screen to automatically change from portrait to landscape mode by turning the Nano.

The 16GB version was announced and it will sell for a reasonable $199 (although Europe gets screwed once again as we're looking at €199/£149) and will be available in nine color choices. It is the thinnest version of the iPod ever and it will feature a novel shake to activate shuffle play mode that is new. The battery life was pegged at 24 hours for music and 4 hours for video.

The second generation version of the iPod Touch was pretty much what we expected with the exception that Apple did not launch the widely expected 64GB version. The new version of the iPod Touch will come with version 2.1 firmware. The 2.1 firmware will be available for free to current first generation iPod Touch owners.

It offers both a built-in speaker and volume control which is a departure from the previous version of the iPod Touch, but not the expected GPS support that had been widely rumored as a last minute addition, although Apple did add Nike+ integration which means you only need the receiver for your shoes to make it work. Apple seems to want to focus on the development of the iPod Touch as a gaming platform and they seem to have a lot of support for this concept. Price wise you're looking at a much better deal than the old iPod Touch, as the 8GB model is $229 (€219/£169), the 16GB model $299 (€279/£219) and the 32GB model $399 (€379/£289).

Beyond these announcements above, Apple launched a set of new $79 (€79/£55) in-ear headphones with a control unit and a mic built into the cord for the new iPods. The iPod Shuffle received a refresh with new colors, but abilities and storage stay the same. New iPods will NOT be eligible for the current Back-to-school promotion that Apple is running through September 15th.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 14:43

David Stellmack

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