Steve Jobs announced today that Apple will be revamping Apple TV and its line of iPods, confirming a litany of rumours we so hoped were true.
Apple invited the public to watch today’s keynote by streaming the event live using a live open standard HTTP stream which broadcasted to iOS devices and/or Mac users running Snow Leopard. This was a treat for Apple fangirls and boys but it was likely only a response to the Wi-Fi problems that occurred when Apple revealed the iPhone 4 in June.
Steve began by boasting about three of Apple’s newly designed retail locations in Paris, London and China. One of the coolest stores is a 40-foot glass cylinder located in Shanghai. There’re now 300 retail stores in a total of 10 countries and, as Steve mentioned, the addition of Spain will make that 11.
– 120 million iPhones, iPods and iPads have shipped to date and Apple is seeing about 230,000 new activations per day.
– iOS has had 6.5 billion downloads in the app store, there are currently 250,000 apps, 200 apps are downloaded every second and 25,000 are for the iPad.
iOS 4.1 will be available next week and it will include…
Game Center will be the social network for gamers on idevices. The new feature will give gamers a way to invite friends into a game, discover new games friends are playing, add friends and compare and view scores. Epic Games gave us a quick demo of the game center funtionality within its new game code-named Project Sword.
Epic Games also pointed out to game developers that now the “social integration” of a game is now done for you.
Bug Fixes for the proximity sensor and bluetooth in the iPhone 4, and performance issues with iPhone 3G.
HDR (high dynamic range) photography will be built into iOS 4.1. The new feature will help users take better, richer photos with less wash out. As Steve explained, when you turn on the HDR feature the device will take 3 snapshots at different levels of exposure, the device will then save a copy of the combined shots (HDR) as well as a normal version so you can compare the difference.
We also got a sneak peek of iOS 4.2 which will be released sometime in November according to Jobs. As Steve puts it, it’s all about the iPad. Wireless printing, multi-tasking, folders and air tunes (or Air Play) will give users a way to stream audio and video over wifi to other devices from the iPad. We saw a demo of wireless printing working with multi-tasking, showing the smart and simple print process within a task bar.
Apple has finally launched a social network for media within iTunes. Users can follow people similar to Twitter and share music they’ve purchased, add circles of friends, comment, preview songs, post pictures & videos, review or “check-in” to a concert they’re attending.
This could be a really great tool for discovering new music. Ping launched today and is available to over 160 million users in over 23 countries. Users can additionally set privacy settings to control things like approvals before someone follows you. The new service will be available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
The hybrid view feature will save you some room within list view. If you have more than 5 songs within an album it will attach album art and compress the album down to just a few songs.
Apple has done some re-branding of the iTunes logo, taking off the out-dated image of the CD.
The New iPods –all available to ship next week.
-Apple has now sold 275 million iPods.
In the last fews days, pics of the next generation of iPods were said to have been leaked, exhibiting physical changes to the devices like a thinner iPod touch. The rumours were mostly true.
The iPod touch had some pretty exciting updates. It now has Facetime! This will work touch to touch or touch to iPhone. Just like the iPhone 4 the iPod touch now has Retina display, the A4 chip, 40 hours of music playback, gyroscope and both a front-facing and back-facing camera. It will be offered in 8, 32 and 64 GB models, costing $229, $299 and $399.
iPod Nano now has a touch screen and clip making it wearable without an armband. It sports both buttons and voice over and is half as small and half as light as other models. There’s 24 hours of battery life, genius shuffle, voice memos, clock, pedometer, FM radio and Nike +. As Jobs demonstrated the screen can be rotated using a pinch-twist gesture and it will come in a variety colours. You can grab one for $149 (8GB) or $179 (16GB)
The new smaller Shuffle will now have both buttons and voice controls, a much better mixture of controls. Users will get 15 hours of battery life, playlists speak back, and genius mixes. It will cost $49 for 2GB and it comes in 5 pretty colours.
Apple TV — not called iTV
Jobs revealed some exciting updates to Apple TV, including streaming from Netflix, new HD rental pricing, favourites, stunning slideshows and a serious price drop to $99, a savings of 130 bones.
The new Apple TV device is now in all black, is one-fourth of the previous size, and will stream content instead of using local storage. Music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and radio stations can all be streamed to the device. It will come with an aluminum remote and it has Wi-Fi, HDMI and Ethernet. Netflix subscribers will be pleased to know it will be possible to stream Netflix content as well as YouTube videos, Flickr images and MobileMe.
As we’d expected Steve Jobs has reached agreements with media companies to offer discounted pricing for rentals within iTunes. Earlier this morning it was reported that both News Corp’s FOX and Disney’s ABC had agreed to 99-cent rentals, Jobs confirmed this to be true. First-run HD movies, released the same days as DVD will now cost $4.99 a pop.
Apple didn’t announce an app store as I had anticipated, so Apple won’t be turning their app market model towards their set top device just yet. Steve also mentioned that Apple TV consumers want “hollywood not amateur hour” however it will support podcasts.
So there’s the scoop folks, I’d love to hear your thoughts.