Apple held another of their many press conferences on Wednesday. And when they do something in September, the iPod and iTunes usually grabs the spotlight.
We have seen the pictures of iPod Touch cases with a hole in the back for quite a while, and several months later, Apple unveils an iPod Touch with both front and back cameras. The bigger thing is that it brings a lot of iPhone 4’s biggest sell points, like the Retina Display, the gyroscope and a built-in microphone. While the iPod Touch has been referred to in the past as an iPhone without the phone part, with Skype, Fring and other apps, the iPod Touch really only lacks 3G and a monthly contract. What’s most amazing is the fact that this Touch is actually slimmer than the previous model. I am typing this with a 3rd Gen Touch in front of me, and I can only imagine how next-to-invisible the 4th Gen model can be.
Speaking of next to invisible, I call this the Shuffle with a screen. Outside of its small size, I’ve never understood the Shuffle. Even if you’re just jogging or working out, wouldn’t you like to see what you pick? I shuffle a lot, and I skip a lot of those songs. Anyways, the new Nano is now the size of, well, a Shuffle. It comes in the 8-16 GB varieties, sports a 1.54″ screen, and nixes the video aspect of the previous Nano model (which I thought was kind of cool). If this sells well, I think it could bring an end to the Shuffle line.
It’s on! Apple reported the numbers in such a way that allows Apple to present themselves as #1. We talked about it before on the ‘cast, but the iPod Touch is a great device for gaming. You can get some great games for great prices, and while they may not have the depth of a DS or PSP game, they have a high level of replayability. And I’m just gonna say it right here, right now: Doodle Jump is a better game than Final Fantasy XIII.
Real quickly, 5 games to check out on the Touch: Mirror’s Edge, Zen Bound 2, Geo Defense, Real Racing & PAC-MAN CE.
Epic Games has a downloadable tech demo called Epic Citadel. You walk around this castle-like area, and on the iPhone 4, it looks stunning! I’m really anxious to see how Epic can bring the Unreal Engine to iOS.
The new version of Apple TV does away with hard drive space and is more about streaming as you can stream iTunes, Netflix & Youtube on the tiny box that might just fit in your back pocket. Netflix is the key, because without it, this box has no more value than the previous models did. Reports so far is that 720p streaming runs pretty smoothly thanks to the A4 processor, but still lacking in Divx or Xvid playback. Roku may still be a better internet TV box, but with the Apple TV for $99, it isn’t a bad option to consider for the Apple lover that doesn’t have a Netflix-enabled video game console already.
Also, $0.99 TV rentals are big for Apple, and we’re already seeing reaction to it at other places, as Amazon is now doing TV purchases of the same price.
iOS 4.1 & 4.2
4.1, due out next week, brings the proximity sensor fix, HDR photos and the much anticipated Game Center. GC will bring a new experience to gaming on the iPhone, with matchmaking, leaderboards and a way to discover new games. It’s not gonna rival Xbox Live or PSN, but it’s great to see a portable device (or should I just call the iTouch a game system at this point?) making a game networking platform for itself.
4.2, coming out in November (which brings the iPad up to iOS4 level), brings AirPlay to iOS. It allows streaming from iTunes to your iPad so you can enjoy downloaded movies without the long process of syncing. You could even have the iPhone act as a host for the new Apple TV. It’s actually pretty cool, and I’m looking forward to trying it out. Also included is the ability to print from your iOS device, which is a nice little convenience.
iTunes 10 & Ping
iTunes 10 only sports minor cosmetic changes and a new spiffy icon. Certainly beats the old compact disc icon. What I do hate is the loss of color for the category icons. I liked seeing the green/purple/yellow icons, and now they just made it look industrial-istic and boring.
Love you some social networking? Ping on iTunes is yet another place to get your follow on. Spam has already attacked Ping, as you’ll find plenty of posts letting you know where to get a free iPhone. It’s a concept that can work, but in its infant stage, Ping is pretty bare-bones. Look for me on there, follow me and my Iron Maiden-loving self, etc.
There weren’t any big shockwaves this time around, but it was a pretty sound press conference from Apple. The new iPod Touch is going to sell well, the new approach to Apple TV might be for the better, and 4.1/4.2 will be decent updates when they become available. Apple better look out, though: the Samsung Galaxy Tablet looks really hot right about now.