Steve Jobs took the stage today to talk about about all things iPod+iTunes. Without futher ado, here are the highlights:
- Entire line-up of iPods is refreshed
- iPod shuffle comes in new colours including a new (RED) model. Price and storage remain the same
- Owners of iPhones can now create their own custom ringtones from songs that are available on iTunes. Users can select any 30-second segment of any participating track to create the ringtone. Unfortunately, even if you own the full song, you’ll have to pay $.99 to buy/create the ringtone.
- New iPod Nano gets a 2" QVGA screen, handles video, uses a new user interface that matches the iPhone’s wildly popular "Cover Flow" flip-book-like effect, comes preloaded with 3 games including an Arkanoid-style game that will presumably make good use of the iPod’s click wheel, has improved battery life: 24 hours audio / 5 hours video playback. Sadly, storage remains the same at 4 and 8GB which will not satisfy heavy video users at all.
- The iPod itself gets renamed to "iPod Classic" and now comes with the Cover Flow interface and a whopping 160GB optional hard drive size.
- The biggy: the iPod Touch. Essentially an iPhone without the phone capability but everything else remains: touch screen, wi-fi, Safari browser etc. Strangely, storage is 8 and 16GB, which seems small for such a versatile device.
- iTunes Wi-Fi store. This combines the iPhone and iPod Touch’s Wi-Fi capabilities with Apple’s online music behemoth. Users can stream and buy music wirelessly and their purchases sync with iTunes when they reconnect their devices to their PC’s (or Macs).
- Music partnership with Starbucks. Out of left field but significant simply due to the Seattle coffee giant’s immense international footprint. Their CEO is quoted as saying that 7 new Starbucks open every day. Users will be able to walk into any participating Starbucks (roll out plans to be announced), and upon hearing a song they like over the store’s music system, can pull out their iPhone or iPod Touch and buy the song immediately, or search back over the store’s playlist to find other music.
- iPhone price drop: For those in the US of course, the price of an 8GB iPhone goes from $599 to $399. 4GB model seems to have left the line up.