If you saw Noah’s video coverage, Apple’s recent music-oriented announcements may not come as news. (If you haven’t, the links are included at the bottom of the page.) As a companion guide, here’s the written round-up, summed up here for your reading pleasure (or pain).
First and foremost: The iPod Touch did not get a camera. Instead, it got a performance improvement. Adding insult to injury, its little brother, the Nano, got a revamp with a built-in camcorder instead. Other news includes the debut of the iPhone 3.1 software update, which is required for use with the new iTunes. Version 9 of the music management software sports a few tweaks, including improved syncing.
Frankly, I don’t find a whole lot of earth-shaking stuff here, but check out the list and judge for yourself.
iPhone-relevant matters first
App management gets a little better. Users equipped with the newly unveiled iTunes 9 (see below) and iPhone 3.1 will be able to organize their apps directly in iTunes. Once synced, they’ll appear with the same layout on the device. Syncing music, pics, and movies/shows got a little easier to handle too. It’s now possible to sync songs by artist and genre and photos by Events and Faces.
There’s also a new Genius feature for the App Store, which recommends apps based on previous purchases. For ringtone junkies, there’s now access to more than 20,000 pre-cut ringtones priced at $1.29.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s the rest of the scoop:
Features iTunes LP, iTunes Extras, Home Sharing, & Genius Mixes
•ITUNES LP: Remember buying CDs (or for really old people like me, tapes or even albums)? iTunes LP is trying to deliver the much-missed extras, like lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits, and even live performance vids. Select albums are available with this feature, including Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me," The Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" and Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King: iTunes Pass."
•ITUNES EXTRAS: Similar to DVD extras, this delivers additional content for movies, like documentaries, deleted scenes, interviews and interactive galleries. iTunes Extras is available for select movies, including "Twilight," "Batman Begins," "WALL-E," "Iron Man" and "The Da Vinci Code."
•HOME SHARING: The idea here is to make it easier for users to transfer songs, vids and shows between up to five computers in a home network. The feature also bypasses items already on a given library, to avoid multiple copies, as well as auto-add new content from a networked computer.
•GENIUS MIXES: The Genius feature in iTunes has gotten more refined. Using analysis results from 27 million music libraries and over 54 billion songs, the new Genius Mixes actually succeeds in picking songs that go well together. It auto-generates fairly cohesive playlists from your library, which is way more preferable than the musical dartboard that was iTunes DJ.
No camera, but better hardware and price cuts
Snap-happy iPod Touch users got no joy from Apple’s announcements. Instead, the company focused on boosting performance/capacity. Using the same ARM Cortex-A8 processor that’s in the iPhone 3G S, the 32GB and 64GB versions offer up to 50% faster performance and support for enhanced graphics with Open GL ES 2.0. Game freaks should also note the support for peer-to-peer connections via Wifi.
If that’s way more muscle than you need, the 8GB base model is going for $199, while the 32GB and 64GB versions cost $299 and $399.
The new iPod Touch comes with the latest iPhone 3.1 software and supports Genius Mixes. Current iPod Touch owners who already have the 3.0 software can get the 3.1 software update for free. Otherwise, it costs $4.95 (US).
New iPod Nano
Comes with video recorder and available in 9 different colors
The new version of the Nano now sports a built-in video camera, plus a larger color screen (for viewing those captures), without any added bulk or heft to its sleek physique. Here are a few more deets on the junior ’Pod:
Users can shoot vids and view it on their Nanos, but sharing them requires a desktop connection for uploading to YouTube or elsewhere.
iPod Shuffle and Classic
IPOD SHUFFLE: Polished stainless steel iPod Shuffle for $99, and holiday lineup will include iPod shuffle for $59 (2GB) and $79 (4GB) in silver, black, pink, blue and green.
IPOD CLASSIC: 160GB for $249
If you’re left feeling disappointed with this — well, join the club. Actually, why don’t you hit the link below and join the conversation?
If you haven’t already checked out the vids of this stuff in action, click the links below. Noah's got awesome coverage, including live event video and hands-on reviews.
For a look at the official video of the keynote, click here to go directly to the Apple site.