So Appleâ€™s event is over now, and Apple fanboys across the globe can begin debating weather or not they like the changes or what Apple should have done instead or how they already placed their orders or whatever Apple fanboys talk about after these things. The big news: new movies, new games, new earbuds, new iTunes, new Shuffle, new Nanos, new iPod, and a sneak peak at the new iTV. Thatâ€™s a lot of new for one event, and it closely follows Appleâ€™s announcement last week of new iMacs and new Minis. Hereâ€™s what I like about Apple: They can keep a secret really, really well. Despite all of the rumors and guessing that everyone was doing, they managed to introduce things that were never even considered a possibility (games/iBuds/Shuffle), and unleash features that no one expects (CoverFlow/Resolution bump). The following is a summary of all that Apple did today:
- They updated iTunes to version 7.0, which was pretty much expected, since everyone figured they would have to add movie functionality, and no better way than with a complete redesign. Version 7.0 includes a new UI design, three different views, including by cover, and an integrated CoverFlow view after Apple bought out the company. With the need for cover information, Apple can now add cover information to any song in your library, even if it wasnâ€™t purchased through iTunes. Very sweet and convenient.
- Also, the library is split up between music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks and radio. This may seem like a small change, but it is one of my favorites and also one that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. Now, podcasts are separate from my music library. I hated when I would put my music on shuffle, and I would come back to find it was halfway through a 30 minute podcast. No more. When I want to shuffle through my music and just let it play, I hear music and only music.
- How about a feature that blindsided everybody? Games. No one expected Apple to add games to their lineup, but they did. You can now use your new iPod to play games, and not just boring games like solitaire, but fun games that actually might hold your interest for more than five minutes.
- Speaking of the iPod, Apple updated the entire lineup today.
- The Shuffle? Totally redesigned. Now, there is only one version, the 1GB model. Itâ€™s billed by Apple as the smallest MP3 player in the world, and I believe them. Almost no bigger than the control buttons themselves, it features a smooth aluminum finish, a clip to attach the thing to your clothes (itâ€™s that small), and itâ€™s only going to cost $79. That just screams deal to me.
- The Nano? Partially redesigned. There are now five colors, all with rounded edges ala iPod Mini, a 2GB, a 4GB and an 8GB model, itâ€™s thinner, lighter, brighter, has longer battery life, and is made of aluminum.
- The iPod? Kinda redesigned. Itâ€™s now available in 30GB and 80GB sizes, has a brighter screen (though sadly, still the same size), better battery life, new interface, and costs less.
- Also, the entire iPod lineup now ships with improved iBuds, responding to consumer complains about the crap-tastic-ness of the current earbuds.
- But wait, thereâ€™s more. In a surprising move by Apple, they previewed what is tentatively called the iTV. To be released some time next year, it is a box about half the size of a Mac Mini, designed to stream content from your computer to your TV. Featuring HDMI, component video, optical audio, an integrated power supply, and 802.11 wireless networking, all controlled by Appleâ€™s remote via an interface similar to FrontRow, it looks to be the perfect way to get Appleâ€™s new movies from you computer to your TV.
- Speaking of new movies, Apple has also bumped up the resolution to 640×480, four times the size it distributed movies in the past.
There were a few more minor changes, but as you can tell Apple has been busy lately. Sadly, they didnâ€™t introduce an entirely new iPod, but I guess I can wait while they iron out details for what should be an impressive next generation for their uber-popular music player. So how did I do with my predictions? Not bad.
- New iTunes? Yup.
- New iPod? Kinda, but not how I predicted it to be.
- New AirPort? Basically.
2.5 out of 3 isnâ€™t too bad, especially when betting against Apple, king of secrecy. I did miss the new Shuffle and revamp of the Nano, and I along with everyone else missed the boat on games, but overall I donâ€™t think I did half bad. Tune in next week, when I predict who will win this yearâ€™s Superbowl (ok, not really).