Yesterdays Apple event was not quite what a lot of people expected. There was no AirPort video or updates to the MacBookPro, instead it was all about Apple’s flagship media products; iPods and iTunes.
The Nano has been totally updated. Now available with aluminum cases and a selection of colours and a maximum of 8gb flash memory. To me this is just following the Mini route and does not really bring a lot to the table.
The iPod has had an increase in capacity and screen quality, ready for movies and TV shows. The limited edition U2 iPod still sits in the range; not really all that limited if you ask me. But with a capacity of up to 80gb this little media device just turned all grown up.
For me this was the big (pardon the pun) star of the show. Just look at the size and design of the second generation of the Shuffle. It is stunning and in my mind completely what the Shuffle user requires. The Shuffle, which also uses a flash memory, is geared towards the active user and with the small size and clever clip design will fit in perfectly with this lifestyle. I do not know how many times I have wanted something smaller to just fit in my pocket when I’m out and about. Add to this the crazy price of £55 for a 1gb version and you have no reason not to get one. Even the included dock is a clever little piece of kit. I feel an impulse purchase coming on.
iTunes reaches the dizzy heights of version 7. Included in this version is the very popular CoverArt style of browsing your libary, a sleek device manager window and access to next big thing; iTunes Movies! Apple are now offering the chance to purchase and download movies straight from the iTunes store. Once again this is not a big deal for me but to those struggling commuters or student types this could be a welcome break from the music norm. At present this service is only available in the US but expect world wide movie domination soon. They have also added ‘gapless playback’, this is long overdue but don’t expect to feel the magic just yet, your entire library must be updated and corrected to feature this. It can take some time depending on the size of your music store. But then if you take the opportunity for iTunes to look for missing artwork at the same time you might as well boil a kettle and make a coffee. So everything was looking good for iTunes? Well not quite because Apple have gone and done it again, we now have another different styled user interface to contend with! I think Michael says it best, why can they not just get something consistent across the board. Apple are so proud to make everything work together, they are happy to put that ‘i’ in front of every application yet they can not just the software to look the same. Lets hope that Leopard can right some poorly looking wrongs. In all I was pleasantly surprised by the event, both good and bad I think. I would have preferred something on a iPhone (only because I want see what they offer) but the changes to the iPod and iTunes combo will ensure they remain market leaders in this field.