Apple announcement not just about music
First, Apple CEO Steve Jobs did the normal back-slapping preview, where Apple showed off its latest store designs. They also noted that some days their retail stores get as many as 1 million visitors.
Additionally, Jobs said that they were activating 230,000 iOS devices a day. Some might compare that to the recent Android numbers of 160,000 devices a day, but it should be remembered that Apple's numbers include the iPad and iPod touch. Still, it's huge.
In terms of the meat of the Apple announcement, Apple then announced iOS 4.1. In addition to having a number of bug fixes, including fixing the well-known proximity sensor bug and some 3G bugs, it will also have a few new features. One such feature is HDR - High Dynamic Range - photos.
HDR photos work by taking 3 photos for each picture you take. One is underexposed, one is overexposed, and one is exposed normally. It combines them together to make HDR photos. The images that were "exposed," so to speak at the Apple event were in fact pretty amazing.
Also amazing is GameCenter. Added to iOS 4.1, it's called GameCenter. GameCenter is a multiplayer initiative, with Jobs saying that you "can challenge your friends or they can challenge you, and if you don't have any friends we'll match you with someone." That got a big laugh from the crowd, and after that Epic Games came out to preview a game codenamed "Project Sword." It was a fairly impressive RPG adventure game.
Other features added to iOS 4.1 are HD uploads over WiFi, and TV rentals, but Jobs didn't go into detail on these. iOS 4.1 will be available next week as a free download.
When will all these iOS 4 features come the iPad? November, that's when. That's when iOS 4.2 will be released. It will come with one big thing that all iPad users have been asking for: wireless printing for iOS. Indeed, you'll have to hold off printing anything from your iPad until November.
In addition, another big feature will be AirPlay. Think of it as AirTunes on steroids. Not only will you be able to stream iTunes music, but also video and audio over WiFi to your devices. iOS 4.2 will be available for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, but not all models (of course).
However, Apple's September event has always been about music. September 2010 was no different. Apple announced a complete revamp of its entire iPod line.
iPod Shuffle: they've added buttons. Yep, by popular demand, it's got buttons. The Shuffle is revamped to have 15 hours of music, 5 colors and sells for $49.
iPod nano: Apple wanted to make it smaller, but how could they do that with the clickwheel? they couldn't, so they removed it. They could only do so if the nano became touch-screen, which it did. It's now like a mini iPod touch. It will sell for $149 for the 8GB version, $179 for the 16GB version.
iPod touch: as expected, the iPod touch is the iPhone 4 without the phone. That's basically what you could summarize the changes as. The iPod touch gets the retina display, the Apple A4 processor, 8GB for $229, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399.
All these new iPods are available next week, but available for pre-order today.
iTunes 10 was launched. They removed the CD from the iTunes logo, which makes a ton of sense. The new logo excludes the CD, but looks pretty much the same. As many believe that it was iTunes that killed the CD, a hatchet inflicting damage on a CD might have been appropriate, but such was not to be.
What was changed aside from the logo? It's called Ping, a social network focused on music, built right into iTunes. You can follow and be followed. It's all about music discovery, which is something you gotta know that record labels and artists will love.
You can follow, for example, iTunes fave Jack Johnson and see updates from Johnson (sort of like Twitter). Those who follow you can see if you comment in someone's feed. Of course, buying is integrated into Ping. Oh, and of course, Ping is available on iOS devices, as well, as you might expect. iTunes 10 will be downloadable today, as well as the iOS releases.
An updated Apple TV was expected to be announced, and Apple didn't disappoint. Notably, Jobs took a big swing at YouTube, saying that users don't want "amateur hour." He also noted that people didn't want to manage storage (which is an obvious reference to streaming).
While Apple admitted the prior Apple TV hasn't been a large hit, the new Apple TV box is considerably smaller. It can be held in the palm of your hand. It also includes HDMI, wi-fi (as well as cabled Ethernet), but as we expected, it's all about streaming: music, video, TV shows, movies.
It's all about rentals, and Apple said first run movies will be $4.99. As they age, prices will drop. Rentals of TV shows will be 99 cents. They will be commercial free (are you listening, Hulu Plus?). Only ABC and Fox have signed on.
As expected, Netflix streaming will be a component of Apple TV as well, though you will need your own Netflix account, natch. Content can be from Flickr, MobileMe and even streamed from your own computer.
At the same time, you'll have access to Rotten Tomatoes reviews, as who wants to rent something that in the end stinks. As Jobs demoed the Apple TV rental experience, it took seconds to rent "Iron Man 2."
The old Apple TV was $299. The new Apple TV is $99, which is a magic price point in some people's minds. Apple TV can be pre-ordered today, and will be available in about four weeks.
That was pretty much it, although Chris Martin of Coldplay came out to play, and you could consider that a sort of "one more thing." However, isn't that enough?