The annual Apple iPod event, which was held some times ago (I am so late!) is finally over and the question remains on what are the new products which is getting updated?
First off, Steve Jobs is back again after a 6 month hiatus due to illness. His return is great news for Apple and it’s also a great pleasure to see him getting back into the groove and delivering the presentation for new products. First off, there are some great features in iTunes which will be updated to version 9.0. Apple promised a more intelligent ‘Genius’ music recommendation feature which is now expanded to incorporate a Genius DJ. The Genius DJ feature is more or less same as the standard Genius, but offering a single click to generate playlist of songs that work great together. I am still a bit skeptical of Genius, so I leave all my song recommendation to Mufin, which has worked very well for me thus far.
Some other updates are specific to the App Store such as offering Genius for applications, enhanced Movie Store, etc. One important update for iPod Touch owners is that you can finally arrange your apps directly in iTunes instead of doing it manually on the device itself. It’s immensely helpful with the amount of apps that are installed on average on a typical iPod Touch, making organization much easier.
Of course, all the devices got a refresh. The Classic iPod got a bump to its hard disk size with the same price while the Shuffle gets new colors, not a big surprise there. The iPod Touch is apparently going to sport the same processor as the iPhone 3GS making it able to run OpenGL 2.0 providing higher graphical power for the games that are inevitably coming out for it. Apple very clearly makes a stand of positioning the Touch as a viable alternative to gaming devices such as the PSP. Expect to see more focus on this section of the market from Apple. The 16GB model is discontinued while the 8GB model has a price drop to $199, meaning you can get one for about RM700, which is good news if you’ve been holding back on your purchase until the price drops.
The new 32 and 64GB versions are the ones with the faster processor. Other than that, everything remains the same. Finally, the iPod Nano gets the mystery camera that everybody’s hearing about. It is capable of recording ONLY videos, and also has built in microphone for recording voice. The screen also expanded by 0.2 inches. Currently its very hard to get specifications on the camera, but it’s capable of shooting 640×480 VGA resolution videos, putting it somewhere between 2 to 3 MP. It’s very strange that Apple disallows taking pictures with the Nano camera, and I hope someone finds a way to activate the feature.
The biggest surprise is of course, no camera module for the iPod Touch! It’s a big shame, but Apple probably figured that at this stage, the inclusion of a camera into the Touch would make it one step closer to the iPhone, possibly cannibalizing sales from the more expensive device. The good news is that the older iPhone 3G prices are coming down fast in the resale market. There’s probably going to be some confusion too due to the 8GB iPod Touch which is still running on the same platform as the second generation iPod Touch, while the 32 and 64GB version is actually the ‘real’ new iPod Touch with the faster processor. Just be wary of that, as newer App store titles coming out will definitely be taking advantage of the faster processor to create better looking games.
The good news is that the 32GB version will be priced the same as the older generation 16GB Touch (somewhere around RM1000). This will be the one to get if you are considering a new Touch. How much longer do we have to wait for a Touch with camera is anybody’s guess, but I sure hope it’s not another long 1 year wait.