New iPods, TV from Apple

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As rumored, Apple overhauled its iPod lineup and launched a revised Apple TV which could finally make Apple a player in the fast growing Internet TV market.

In a press conference hosted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself, Apple introduced new iPods including a nano that now looks like a mini iPod Touch and a very slim iPod Touch that finally gets a camera–two actually–and some new gaming capability.

Apple said about 275 million iPods have sold to date and the iPod Touch is its best performing model. The iPod Touch outsells Nintendo and Sony portables combined. It’s won over 50 percent market share for portable gaming worldwide and over 1.5 billion games and entertainment apps have been downloaded to the device alone.

The new Touch gets some of the iPhone 4’s features when it becomes available next week (pre-orders start today). It gets a Retina display, a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat and rear facing camera with HD video. It can access a new game center and has a 3-axis gyro. Plus, it uses an A4 chip—the same one in the iPhone. The new Touch starts at $229 for 8GB, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB.

The new nano loses the click wheel and sports a multi-touch screen. It gets a clip like the shuffle so you can wear it. It’s 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the current nano with a 24 hour battery life at $149 for 8GB and $179 for 16 GB. Also the shuffle has been redesigned: the buttons are back. It now offers playlists and Genius playlists and can speak its playlists. It’s available in 5 colors with 2GB of memory and 15 hours of playback at $49.

Stating that Apple TV is no longer the “hobby” Jobs once called it, the company showed off the new downsized WiFi-n Apple TV that ships in a month at $99. There’s no storing of movies or TV shows. You rent them from iTunes or stream Netflix, or content from you PC. You can watch YouTube and access photo sites like Flickr. TV show rentals are irresistibly priced at 99 cents, but the only catch is that initially only ABC and Fox are participating. Jobs noted, “We think the rest of the studios will see the light.”

Apple TV offers HDMI, USB, optical audio and Ethernet plus a remote. The user interface gives you previews of movies plus movie reviews from Rotten Tomato.

iTunes 10 now includes Ping—a social network for music or ‘Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes.’ You can follow friends if they approve and then see the top 10 songs of your followees. You can see what concerts they are going to and preview the songs that they like and then buy them. Also concerts are listed in your area. It works for the iPod touch and iPhone, not just the computer.

Thankfully a new iOS 4.1 will also become available next week for the iPhone and iPod touch, which gets rid of some of the bugs in iOS4. It will be available as a free download in iTunes. So will a new iOS4.2 in November for the iPad and other devices. It will let you start watching a movie you rented on the iPad and switch to your Apple TV so you can see it on a widescreen, as part of a new AirPlay feature and it will include a new gaming center.

Shortly following Apple’s announcement research firm iSuppli said the new Apple TV gives the tech company an entry in one of the highest growth consumer electronics segments of Internet-enabled living room devices. Shipments of these products including game consoles and set-top boxes are could 430 million units in 2014, up from 99.3 million in 2009.

Source: Apple via Engadget

Photos via Engadget

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