Apple has posted a QuickTime video version of its new iPod nano commercial, which was first shown at today’s special event in San Francisco. The ad, similar to Apple’s well-known silhouette style spots, features dancers with iPod nanos streaming light. The ad features the song “The Audience Is Listening Theme Song” by Cut Chemist and ends with the words “The new iPod nano. Completely Remastered.”
Apple’s new Cover Flow feature was added to iTunes 7 after the company purchased the similarly named CoverFlow iTunes add-on from independent Mac software developer Steel Skies. “We are pleased to announce that all CoverFlow technology and intellectual property was recently sold to Apple,” says a posting on the developer’s website. “It has been incorporated into the latest version of iTunes.” Cover Flow allows you to flip between your music or video collection with an interface that mimics a real-life CD or DVD collection.
Apple today introduced its second-generation iPod nano. The all-new nano sports an iPod mini-like aluminum body, 24 hours of battery life, and increased storage capacity. The new nano, which is thinner and lighter than the original model, is available in silver, pink, green, blue and black in sizes from 2GB to 8GB. The new nano also has a brighter display and comes with redesigned earbuds. New software features include gapless playback and a new Search and Quick Scroll.
The new 2GB nano model is available only in silver for $149, the new 4GB model comes in in silver, pink, green and blue for $199, and the new 8GB model in available in black only for $249. Apple also announced new accessories designed for the second-generation nano, including lanyard headphones ($39), an armband ($29), a dock ($29), and an ultra-compact USB power adapter ($29).
Along with the new nano, Apple has also created new packaging. The second-generation nano will come in an all-new transparent plastic box, allowing customers to see which color nano is inside.
Apple today released iTunes 7, which, as widely expected, brings full-length movie downloads to the iTunes Store. (As noted earlier today, Apple has apparently dropped the word “Music” from the store’s name.) Apple is currently offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films.
Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and $14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for $9.99 every day. After purchased, movies can be watched on an iPod or computer, or on a TV with the company’s forthcoming “iTV” device. With iTunes 7, all videos purchased from the iTunes Store now come in “near-DVD quality” resolution of 640x480 (up from 320x240).
iTunes 7 also includes gapless music playback, expanded parental controls, an iTunes video playback window with on-screen controls, and new sorting features, including new album and Cover Flow views of music, TV shows and movies, “enabling users to quickly find titles in their library as well as casually browse through and re-discover titles they already own.”
Movies currently offered include “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “The Princess Diaries,” “The Incredibles,” “National Treasure,” “Toy Story,” “The Rock” and “The Rookie.” As previously noted, iTunes 7 also add video game downloads for fifth-generation iPods, including “Tetris,” “Mahjong” and “Mini Golf” from Electronic Arts; “Pac-Man” from Namco; “Cubis 2” from FreshGames; “Bejeweled” and “Zuma” from PopCap Games; and “Texas Hold’em” and “Vortex” developed by Apple, all available for $4.99 each.
Apple today introduced the new iPod shuffle, which the company now calls the world’s smallest digital music player. The new shuffle, which is nearly half the size of the original, weighs half an ounce and features a new aluminum design with built-in clip. The new shuffle offers 1GB of music storage, features up to 12 hours of battery life, and includes earbud headphones and an iPod shuffle Dock. The new iPod shuffle is expected to be available worldwide in October for $79. “It’s hard to believe the new iPod is a real music player when you first see it,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “But it is real, and holds up to 240 songs in an incredibly compact and wearable design that weighs just half an ounce.”
Apple today introduced an upgraded version of its fifth-generation iPod, bumping storage capacity and battery life while adding support video games. The new 30GB model features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback and up to three and a half hours of video playback, and the 80GB model provides up to 20 hours of battery life for music playback and five and a half hours of video playback. The new iPod also offers a 60% brighter display, gapless playback, and a new Search and Quick Scroll feature.
The new video games designed specifically for the fifth-generation iPod include: Bejeweled, Cubis 2, Mahjong, Mini Golf, Pac-Man, Tetris, Texas Hold’em, Vortex and Zuma, and are available for purchase on the iTunes Store for $4.99 each. The new 30GB iPod model is priced at $249, while the new 80GB model costs $349. Both models are available in white or black and include redesigned earbud headphones.
During today’s Showtime event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs offered an unexpected “sneak peek” at the company’s media router, tentatively titled iTV. The device, which is slightly larger than a Mac mini computer dimensionally, is planned for release in the first quarter of 2007 at a price of $299, and enables any iTunes 7-equipped Mac or PC to spool media content to a current-generation television set. iTV includes component video, HDMI, optical audio and RCA-style stereo audio ports, plus an Ethernet port, 802.11 wireless connectivity, and a power cable; the power supply is inside the unit. Videos, music, photos, podcasts, and movie trailers from Apple can all be performed on your home TV/AV system with the unit, which connects either directly to your TV or a set top box. Additional details to come.
The iLounge team has arrived at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco for Apple’s special event today. We will deliver live coverage if at all possible—a live update page and live IRC chat are planned. Closer to the beginning of Steve Jobs’ presentation we will switch the site over to a “lite version” to better handle heavy traffic loads. The special event begins at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET.
ViewSonic today announced a new line of desktop LCD displays with integrated iPod docks. The ViewDock displays allow users to easily dock an iPod to watch videos or listen to music without cables or a separate device. The widescreen displays will also feature several USB 2.0 ports, an 8-in-1 card reader, microphone, integrated stereo speakers and subwoofer. According to ViewSonic, the displays feature “excellent front-of-screen performance, including ultra-fast response times, high brightness and contrast ratios, as well as wide viewing angles for getting the most out of fast action games, and downloaded video content and full-length movies.” The ViewSonic ViewDock displays are expected later this year. Pricing is not yet available.
Harman Multimedia has announced several new iPod products that it will debut this week at Apple Expo in Paris. The new accessories include the JBL Micro Radial ($130), a smaller version of the hoop-like docking iPod speaker system with IR remote; JBL On Stage Micro ($100), a circular-shaped portable speaker system that can be battery or AC powered; JBL Spot ($300), a skinable speaker system that uses different colored shells; and JBL Spyro ($100), a 2.1 system with flower-shaped speakers.
Apple has taken the iTunes Music Store offline ahead of today’s special “Showtime” event in San Francisco. When connecting to the store, users are met with the message: “It’s Showtime. The iTunes Store is being updated.” Interestingly, the word “Music” has been omitted from the name. Apple is widely expected to announce full-length movie downloads today at the event.
Sound Leisure has announced the Xi Jukebox, a new full-size, hand-built jukebox made specifically for the iPod. The Xi features Sound Leisure’s classic jukebox design with color-changing LED lighting and chrome fittings, along with an iPod cradle, 6 speakers (2 bass, 2 midrange, 2 high range speakers), integrated LCD screen for video playback, and remote control. “The Xi’s impact is immediate with its iconic design, vibrant color and powerful sound delivered by a newly designed six speaker system custom configured to deliver the iPod output. Hypnotic presence that refuses to shy into the background, the Xi is meant to be seen and most definitely heard,” says the company. Pricing and availability were not announced.
Mustek today unveiled its new Paragon line of iPod-dockable speaker systems. Available in a compact table-top model and a larger tower design, the Paragon systems “make it easy to experience full-bodied, audiophile-quality stereo sound from an iPod in any home, office or dorm room,” according to the company. Both systems feature an Apple universal iPod dock, three-way shielded speakers, remote control, and audio inputs. The Paragon TW450 ($250) floor-standing tower system also features a 45W amplifier, 5.25-inch, dual-coil subwoofer and stands 37.8-inches high. The Mustek Paragon DT260 ($130) is a portable system (appearing to be similar to the top part of the TW450) featuring USB 2.0 and Firewire connectivity and touch controls. Both are available in white or black to match the current iPod colors.
iFixit, a company known for its do-it-yourself Mac computer repair guides, has posted a series of free iPod disassembly guides online. iFixit has also announced a large iPod parts store with over 100 parts and upgrades. iFixit has guides covering first through fifth generation iPods, the iPod mini, the iPod shuffle, and iPod nano.
After years of covering music on CDs, records and tapes, insurers are now beginning to accept claims for digital music downloaded to iPods and other gadgets. “Nationwide has been the trail-blazer, including music and other entertainment downloads as standard in its home contents cover,” reports The Independent. “The building society argues—and a lot of iPod users would agree—that these virtual music collections count as family valuables, just like CDs and old LPs. Other insurers are considering a similar addition to their home contents cover… Nationwide’s cover is for any download—ringtones, games, films or music—wherever it is held, be that a phone, PC, laptop or music player. The important point is that the owner will have to prove they have paid for the download.”
Cerventis has introduced the MusicJam portable iPod mixer. The $230 unit features a pro-quality microphone, microphone stand clamp, audio effects, AC adapter, and cables. The MusicJam also offers an electric guitar input with Tone and Distortion controls. “Turn your iPod into your own band,” says the company. “Play backing tracks or songs and sing along. We add an echo effect to your voice to make it sound like you are on stage… The MusicJam has a sophisticated circuit design with very low noise and superior sound quality that may be used for public performances and recording via standard RCA jacks on the side.”
While he doesn’t expect Apple to introduce a cell phone at tomorrow’s special event, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster continues to expect the company will ship an “iPhone” within the next 4-6 months. Despite admitting that his firm “has not seen any concrete evidence that the product is near completion or launch,” Munster says Apple could ship between 8-12 million phones next year. “Assuming Apple ships its iPhone early in 2007, at Macworld-07 or a special event, we expect the company will sell 8-12 million iPhones in the full calendar year,” Munster says. “We believe the most likely iPhone buyers would be those who have previously owned a higher average selling price HDD iPod.”
The iBreath is a new iPod accessory that purports to combine an alcohol breathalyzer and an FM transmitter. “Just fold out the BAC blow wand and exhale into it for a full 5 seconds. 5 seconds later, this jail-saving gizmo let’s you know if you’re safe to drive,” says David Steele, the company selling the product. “It even houses a timer that can be set from 1 minute up to 4 hours in order to remind you when it’s time for the next test. And if keeping you out of the pokey isn’t enough, this cool gadget doubles as a wireless FM transmitter to beam your tunes directly to any FM stereo.”
Apple is pursuing new ways—including prepaid iTunes cards and free downloads at concerts—to increase sales at the iTunes Music Store in Japan. The company is also targeting consumers who commonly purchase mobile phone downloads. “Apple dominates the market for music downloads in the United States, but its iTunes online music store has about a 5% share in Japan, where most fans download songs onto mobile phones and many people prefer not to buy music online with credit cards,” reports Reuters. In Apple’s favor is the popularity of the iPod. According to BCN, iPods dominate the top nine slots of the latest digital music player sales ranking in Japan.
Zenecom debuted a new Bluetooth iPod accessory with Caller ID functionality at this week’s IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany. When connected to an iPod and a call is received to a Bluetooth-compatible phone, the BluPod displays the caller’s number on the iPod’s screen and automatically turns down the music volume. The small, iPod shuffle-like device also functions as an FM radio and remote control. Pricing and availability for the BluPod were not announced. [via Gizmodo]