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New Apple TV, iPod Lineup, Social Networking for iTunes Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 September 2010

ImageToday, Apple held their music keynote complete with Chris Martin from Coldplay finishing out Steve Jobs announcements of their fall lineup of Apple products with a couple popular Coldplay hits.  Apple rolled out a variety of new announcements, the most exciting being a simplified version of the Apple TV, a sleeker, smaller version of the iPod Nano complete with a touchscreen like the iPhone and a new social network called Ping for iTunes users.

4 years since the last version of the Apple TV hit store shelves, Steve admitted that it really wasn’t a bit hit in their product lineup.  Their research indicated that consumers were less than impressed with the similarities to the computer, didn’t want to manage storage and didn’t want to sync content from device to device.   The second generation of the Apple TV solves these problems by moving to a streaming version of the device, which is about a 1/4th the size of the original.  The unit only has a power cord, port, HDMI port, Optical port for a seperate audio system and wired Ethernet port on the back of the unit.  It also has built in 802.11N Wi-Fi for consumers without wired ports near their televisions.  It comes with a sleek, aluminum remote, but the actual unit comes in matte black.

Back of Apple TV
The device goes to a rental platform for watching brand new Hollywood movies or TV shows, all in high-definition.  New, first-run movies are priced at $4.99 and new television shows are prices at 99 cents.  In the menu, you can browse through the content as well as critial reviews of the movies via Rotten Tomatoes content.   There’s no storage within the device so all content is streamed to the device.  You can also stream video, audio and photos from your home network (Mac or PC).   In addition to the rental store, Apple has included Netflix capability.  If you have a Netflix subscription, you can stream their content through the device as well as Youtube and Flickr.

You can also stream video directly from iOs devices (iPads, iPhones) right to your Apple TV with an update to the OS called Airplay.  If you are watching a movie on your iPad, transferring the stream to your TV is very simple.  Priced considerably lower than the last Apple TV ($229), the second gen of the Apple TV will go on sale for $99 within the next 4 weeks.  Only two television networks are on board for TV rentals (ABC and FOX), but several movie studios are providing new release movies on the same day that the DVD  / Blu-ray will be released.  Look for complete coverage of the unit here on AVRev after our review unit arrives.

Apple TV GUI

Apple also announced 3 new devices in their portable audio lineup, a new Shuffle, Nano and iPod Touch.  The new version of the Shuffle brings the buttons back onto the player, but includes the voice over feature of the last unit which tells you song / artist information as well as when the battery needs charging.  The Shuffle also uses the play lists feature and has genius mixes.  It’s about the size of a quarter, has a clip on the back for attaching to your clothing and a 15 hour battery life for music playback.  It comes in 5 different colors, has a 2GB capacity and will sell for $49 next week.

Frankly, the new iPod Nano was the most inventive of the new releases.  Slightly larger than the new Shuffle, the Nano adopts the touchscreen technology from the iPhone / iPod Touch and makes it small enough for the Nano.  It has a clip on the back for clothing, hard volume buttons on the side of the unit and includes an FM Radio, Nike+ tech and a pedometer.  The screen can be rotated based on how you are wearing the device on your clothing.  You can scroll through the apps on the screen, but there’s no Wi-Fi connectivity for downloading apps from the app store.   It’s available in 7 colors and is priced at $149 for the 8GB, $179 for the 16GB.

New Shuffle

The new version of the iPod Touch brings the Retina display on the iPhone 4 to the iPod Touch.  It’s also been upgraded to the Apple A4 chip, 3 axis gyro, front and rear facing cameras similar to the iPhone 4.  The cameras have the capability to use Facetime over Wi-Fi either on other iPods or iPhones.  It’s going to ship with the iOS 4.1 update and will have 40 hours of audio playback.  The Touch comes in 8GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes, $229, $299 and $399 respectively.

iTunes is getting an update today with iTunes 10.  Apple has ditched the CD in their old iTunes logo since they will soon be responsibly for selling more songs than CDs.  iTunes 10 is shipping with a social networking feature called Ping, a way to share what music you are listening to or what concerts you are attending with friends.  Ping also works on the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms for music sharing.

Beyond the iTunes update, iOS 4.1 is rolling out for the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms nest week.  It’s going to include a variety of bug fixes for bluetooth / proximity sensor as well as HDR for the photo app.  HDR takes multiple exposures of photos and combines them to create more lifelike, detailed photos with the iPhone 4 camera.  4.1 also brings TV show rentals and HD video uploading over Wi-Fi as well.  Finally, iOS 4.1 marks the launch of Apple’s version of Xbox Live for mobile gamers, GameCenter.  This gaming network comes with achievements, leaderboards, multi-player gaming, auto-matching and friend lists.  You will have the ability to challenge friends to games through the notification feature on the iPhone / iPod Touch. 

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