New iPods, new iTunes--those were the major items announced
at the 10 AM., 90-minute long September 5th press conference held by Apple at
the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
The event began with Steve Jobs taking the stage at 10:01 AM. He first
turned his attention to iTunes. He touted that six million copies of
iTunes are in use, with 3 billion songs sold over iTunes. The current iTunes
catalog has six million songs, from many countries around the world, and
Apple's is the third largest music retailer in the US. On the video
front, 550 shows are available, and 950,000 shows have been sold.
His first announcement is that a new version of iTunes will be released tonight
(Sept 5), with new support for iPhone ringtone creation among others. The
new feature will be turned on next week and will allow you to create a ringtone
from any portion of a song you have purchased through iTunes. The
ringtone will cost an addition $0.99 to the $0.99 price of the song purchase
(so a custom ring tone really costs $1.98). Jobs said he was using Aretha
Franklin's "Respect" for when his wife calls, then quipped that he
was going to use John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", for "when
NBC calls" (The joke refers to NBC terminating its contract with
iTunes--read the developments at DailyTech!
Then came the big announcement which confirmed the deluge
of internet rumors over the previous weeks to be partially true -- every
iPod in Apple's current line was either refreshed or replaced for the 2007
The iPod Shuffle is only undergoing minor updates including new colors.
The new colors are red, silver, lavender, blue, and green. A special red
colored Shuffle, dubbed Product Red Shuffle, as
rumored, will donate money from its sales to charities in Africa.
The iPod Nano is the first major redesign. As rumored, it will be smaller,
shorter and thinner. The new compact Nano will also support video for the
first time, with a new 2” 320x240 resolution screen. The Nano does keep
the traditional click wheel, but it splits the display in two for selection: the
left side features the old file tree while the right side contains album covers
in Apple's "Cover Flow" format. The "Cover Flow"
discussion included an obligatory Mac vs. PC commercial. The new Nano
also comes bundled with free games: a Sudoku game, Vortex and another game that
was not specified.
Jobs reports the new iPod Nano to have a battery life of 24 hours for audio
playback and 5 hours for video playback. The metal-shelled Nano comes in a 4GB
and 8GB variety. The price for the 4GB Nano is $149, and the 8GB version
will cost $199.
There will be a new thinner iPod Classic, which is will be
the sixth generation of the device. It will have 160GB of storage,
which by Jobs' estimates holds 40,000 songs. It has improved battery life
of 40 hours of audio.
The new 160GB classic will be $349; the revised 80GB classic will be $249.
Both have a full metal case design.
And there is a brand new iPod, the iPod Touch (pictured). It has a 3.5”
screen like the iPhone, but it thinner. It uses the same touch screen
interface as the iPhone and has 802.11b/g capabilities (but no support for the
faster 802.11n). Apple's explanation for why it has taken so long to get
Wi-Fi on the iPod is that until recently there were not enough secure public
The iPod Touch uses the Safari browser and has the same tactile browsing
controls as the iPhone. The battery life for the iPod Touch is 22 hours of
audio playback and 5 hours of video playback.
The iPod Touch will come in an 8GB and a 16GB variety, with the 8GB being
priced at $299 and the 16GB at $399.
The iPod Touch has the ability to wirelessly access iTunes and download
songs. The iPod Touch will then sync the purchased songs upon the next
time you connect it to your computer. The software will be available via
a software update to the phone, later this month.
Apple has a new partnership with Starbucks that causes a Starbucks button to
pop up on the iPod Touch whenever you walk into a Starbucks store. The
button will allow you download a featured artist of the month on your iPod
Touch or iPhone.
Starbucks will also provide free Wi-Fi access to the iTunes store.
Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, made a guest appearance
with Jobs on stage at the conference.
The only catch is that the service is only coming soon to limited, urban
Starbucks locations--the service will go online in Seattle and New York on
October 2 -- San Francisco will get the service in November. Los Angeles and
Chicago will follow in 2008, and from there it is intended to spread across the
Then came another big new item. The price of the 8GB iPhone was being
cut to $399, down $200 from $599, which places the phone at $100 more than the
new iPod Touch.
The conference concluded with musical guest KT