Apple has announced that its new Ping music-focused social network has reached the one million user mark, and did so in less than 48 hours after the service’s launch. Announced by Apple last week, Ping ties into the iTunes Store to let people follow favorite artists and share their musical tastes with friends. “One-third of the people who have downloaded iTunes 10 have joined Ping,“ said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “As many more people download iTunes 10 in the coming weeks, we expect the Ping community to continue growing.“ Ping requires iTunes 10 and iOS 4 or later.
- September 7, 2010
Apple has revealed its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at its recent media event, along with a new Apple TV, and a new version of iTunes—plus information on iOS versions 4.1 and 4.2. Here’s a quick summary of the key announcements, with a convenient gallery of photographs.
Fourth-Generation iPod shuffle: Physical buttons return in this $49, 2GB screenless music player.
Sixth-Generation iPod nano: The Click Wheel disappears, giving way to a touch-based interface and an iPod shuffle 2G-like body; $149 for 8GB or $179 for 16GB.
Fourth-Generation iPod touch: iPod touch meets iPhone 4, with dual cameras, FaceTime, a retina display, and the powerful A4 processor. 8GB/$229, 32GB/$299, 64GB/$399.
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According to a support FAQ from Apple, rented TV Shows are limited to being played on devices running iOS 4.1 or later. Specifically, the FAQ indicates that rented TV shows downloaded via iTunes 10 can be played only on the computer, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS or iPod touch and HD TV rentals can only be played on the computer, iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation) and that iOS 4.1 or later is required. This restriction not only prevents rented TV Shows from being played on Click Wheel iPods and the first-generation Apple TV but also rules out iPad compatibility at least until such time as iOS 4.2 ships in November. It is also uncertain at this time if TV Shows rented in iTunes 10 can be streamed to the second-generation Apple TV or whether users will need to rent TV shows directly on the device. Further, as with the movie rental restrictions discovered earlier this month, the FAQ also indicates that TV Shows rented on the iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch are “not transferable to any other device or computer” meaning that they must be watched only on the device used to rent them.
Apple has confirmed to Ars Technica that it will not be releasing an update to bring the new second-generation Apple TV features such as Netflix streaming to the older device. As with other products Apple has discontinued, the first-generation Apple TV will continue to work in the same way as it already has: users will continue to be able to purchase movies and TV shows directly from the first-generation Apple TV and download new content to the device’s internal hard drive. Notably, however, the first-generation Apple TV will not provide any support for TV Show Rentals, even those rented directly within iTunes 10.
- September 2, 2010
In an unexpected change to its “Buy a Mac, get a free iPod” promotion for educational customers, which runs through September 7 of this year, Apple will not offer students rebates on iPod models announced yesterday, a limitation snuck into a just-updated Terms and Conditions PDF on its Apple Store web site. Since late May, Apple’s web site has promised students and educators a free 8GB iPod touch or less expensive iPod model with the purchase of a new Mac computer, issuing up to $199 as a rebate after the combined purchase. Now, however, the new Terms and Conditions claim that the “new models are NOT ELIGIBLE for the Back to School promotion, and rebate “claims submitted in conjunction with these new products will not be honored.”
As noted by Macworld UK, neither the change in terms nor the way to take advantage of the promotion to order old models is obvious when viewing Apple’s web site. “Because the promotion says that you have to pay for the iPod first, then reclaim the money later,” a reader pointed out, “I suspect there might be quite a lot of disgruntled students in a few weeks time, when they discover that they’ve bought an iPod they really couldn’t afford and that they’re now not going to get the money back for it.”
iLounge has confirmed that this change is impacting U.S. customers who placed orders yesterday for new Macs and iPods, as the company’s telephone representatives are claiming that rebates—despite the lack of conspicuous notice during the ordering process yesterday—will be denied.
Apple has posted its first TV advertisements for the fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano online. The fourth-generation touch commercial is similar to past spots for the device, showing off its video-recording, gaming, and FaceTime features against a white background, set the to song “Come Home” by Chappo. The sixth-generation iPod nano commercial is also shot against a white background, and is shown being clipped to various people’s clothing while they manipulate the touch-based controls; the song “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake is played in the background. Apple’s new iPod commercials are available for viewing now on the company’s website.
In separate interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek and AllThingsD, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has provided some insight into yesterday’s announcements. Jobs told Bloomberg that Apple could open an App Store for the TV when the time is right. When asked if the iPad could evolve into the TV of the future, Jobs said, “That’s how I do most of my TV watching today.” Discussing Apple’s new Ping social networking service, Jobs told AllThingsD that the company had held talks with Facebook about a variety of potential partnerships, but that the talks went nowhere, due to “onerous terms that [Apple] could not agree to.” Jobs did say that the service could incorporate Facebook Connect, making it easier to find friends, but said that users can still find friends by typing their names into search or sending them email invitations. Curiously, several reports—which have been confirmed by iLounge editors—indicate that a Facebook Connect option was seen for a brief time on Apple’s Ping service before being removed for unspecified reasons.
Apple has posted a stream of yesterday’s Fall 2010 iPod event on its website, as well as a downloadable version on its Apple Keynotes podcast. During the event, Apple announced iOS 4.1 and 4.2, new models of the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod touch, iTunes 10 with the new Ping social networking service, and a new cheaper streaming-based Apple TV. For more information on the event, see our summary article, our complete transcript, and our image gallery of the new products.
Apple has released to developers a pre-release version of the Gold Master of iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch. The release is likely the last prior to next week’s public release of the software; it is currently unknown what changes have been made in this version, although Apple did highlight some new features that will be present in the final release during today’s iPod media event. Apple’s iOS 4.1 GM seeds for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, second-, and third-generation iPod touch are available now to paid iPhone developers from the iOS Dev Center.
iLounge has posted a gallery of Apple’s official photography for the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod touch, second-generation Apple TV, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle, all of which were announced today during the company’s annual fall music event; a full transcript of the event is available here, while the photo gallery can be viewed below.
The online Apple Store has now been updated with the new iPod and Apple TV announced today at Apple’s special event. The new iPod shuffle is now sold only in a 2GB capacity for $49 and available in five colors. The new iPod nano is available in 8GB and 16GB capacities for $149 and $179, respectively, and comes in seven colors including a (PRODUCT) RED special edition. The new iPod touch is available in 8GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities for $229, $299 and $399 respectively. Unlike last year, Apple is also no longer selling a previous-generation iPod touch in the 8GB capacity; all of the three available iPod touch models are now the fourth-generation. All iPod models can be ordered today with expected shipping times of one week. The new Apple TV is also available for pre-order today for $99 with an expected ship date of September. Notably, the iPod classic did not receive an update today however it still remains on sale on the Apple Store in a 160GB capacity for $249.
- September 1, 2010
Apple’s 2010 Music Event is over, and as expected, it brought new iPod models, a new Apple TV, and a new version of iTunes—plus information on iOS versions 4.1 and 4.2. Here’s a quick summary of the key announcements, with a convenient gallery of photographs.
Fourth-Generation iPod shuffle: $49 (2GB). After the huge flop of the third-generation shuffle, Apple has switched the body completely, with a new design that preserves all of the buttons on the face like the iPod shuffle 1G and 2G. It’s now available in five colors, all polished aluminum. Has VoiceOver and a tiny microphone-sized dot on the top.
Second-Generation Apple TV: Now $99. Loses hard drive and “syncing” capability, loses component outputs, gains more powerful streaming from iOS devices with 802.11n wireless, retains seven-button metal Apple Remote design that was introduced last year but not packaged with Apple TV. Plasticy black shell, 1/4 the size of prior Apple TV. Netflix streaming for Netflix subscribers is included as a new feature.
Sixth-Generation iPod nano: $149 (8GB) - $179 (16GB). Over 40% smaller and lighter than before. Seemingly loses video and camera capabilities while becoming a screened, more expensive alternative to the iPod shuffle with greater capacity. iOS-style multi-touch icon interface with four icons on screen at once, toggling from color home screens back to white backgrounds with black text for menus. Clip on back, available in seven colors, all anodized aluminum.
Fourth-Generation iPod touch: $229 (8GB), $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB). All three versions gain a Retina Display (960x640 resolution), front and rear video cameras, a rear microphone, and a bottom speaker vent, with a redesigned rear shell that makes the latest version slightly thinner than before. Contains an Apple A4 chip for faster/more efficient processing, and runs iOS 4.1 out of the box. Note that the rear still photo camera is considerably more limited than the ones on any iPhone to date, with 0.7-Megapixel resolution that falls short of even the original iPhone’s camera.
iOS 4.1 and 4.2: iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 users, plus iPod touch 2G, 3G and 4G users get iOS 4.1, which has bug fixes and a HDR photo mode for devices with cameras. iOS 4.2 is coming in November to add all new iOS 4 features to the iPad as well, including streaming to the Apple TV, multitasking, folders, threaded mail, and the like. It’s unclear whether some prior iPhone and iPod touch models (3G and 2G respectively) will be able to run iOS 4.2.
New! Editorial: How Apple Killed $99 and $199 iPods + More. Details on subtle and not-subtle changes to the iPod lineup that may affect your holiday shopping.
In addition to the story links above, the transcript of our live event play-by-play is available here if you want to dive into the nitty gritty of the event, which ended with a live performance by Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
- September 1, 2010
Below is a complete transcript of iLounge’s play-by-play coverage of Apple’s Fall 2010 iPod media event, held on September 1, 2010, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. Updates are presented in chronological order; photos from the event can be seen on iLounge’s Flickr account.
9:48AM PT: Apple is now streaming live from the theater. The acoustic guitar on the screen at the stage is matched with the music they’re playing, which has frequently in the past been tunes from Coldplay and other artists Apple’s execs love. This appears to be a recent live Paul McCartney performance. Now it’s Alanis. Last year, Rolling Stones music was playing.
9:53AM PT: You may recall that Apple’s FaceTime demonstration for the iPhone 4, as well as Safari on the Retina Display, had technical issues that wound up delaying the iPhone 4 unveiling event. We’ll see if they repeat today. Eric Clapton’s Layla is playing.
9:56AM PT: Apple’s iPod events have most frequently been held in this theater, very close to San Francisco’s Moscone Center, but with less seating capacity. By choosing its unveiling locations carefully (and packing remaining seats with Apple employees who sometimes let out surprising cheers during events), the company gives the impression of a packed crowd no matter how big or small the announcement may be.
Apple today introduced a revamped version of its AirTunes technology. Dubbed AirPlay, the new streaming technology allows not only audio, but also video and photos to be streamed from any iOS device to another iOS device or the new Apple TV. The new AirPlay technology, slated to be included in iOS 4.2, will allow iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to instantly stream content from their device directly to their Apple TV, while controlling playback and storing the content on the iOS device. Apple has also also announced plans to license its AirPlay technology for inclusion in speaker docks, AV receivers and stereo systems from companies such as Bowers & Wilkins and Denon. The new AirPlay technology will not only stream music and other media content but can also transmit information about the content allowing song titles, artists, album names, elapsed time and album artwork to be displayed on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays.
With today’s introduction of the new Apple TV, Apple has also announced the addition of Netflix support to the Apple TV, allowing Netflix subscribers in the U.S. to access movie rentals from Netflix, including access to users’ Instant Queues and synchronization of playback positions with Netflix on the web and other devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Apple today announced a long-awaited update to its Apple TV home entertainment device, significantly reducing the size of the device and shifting the focus to a streaming rather than syncing model. Almost entirely preserving the interface of the Apple TV 3.0 software update, the new Apple TV device will now include the aluminum seven-button Apple Remote that was previously released but not included with the device, while dropping the component video and stereo audio ports in favor of one HDMI port and an optical audio port. The new Apple TV measures 0.9” by 3.9” by 3.9”, and weighs 0.6 pounds. Its black plastic shell is flat and mostly matte on top with a glossy Apple TV logo, tapering on the sides from glossy straight sides to a gentle secondary flat surface on the bottom, elevating the bulk of its body off of the table it’s on. Now powered by the Apple A4 chip, the system supports full 802.11n networking—2.4GHz and 5GHz—as well as 802.11a/b/g standards, and continues to have 720p H.264 and M-JPEG support, with 640x480 MPEG-4 support—like the prior Apple TV.
At Apple’s event today, Steve Jobs reiterated that the goals of the new Apple TV design were to provide Hollywood movies & TV shows, all content in HD, lower content prices and reduce the dependency on computer and storage management. As part of the new design and goal of reducing storage requirements, the new Apple TV will move to an entirely rental-based model with no purchases available on the device. First-run movies will be released as HD Rentals for $5 on the same day as the DVD release, and HD TV Shows will now be available for rent for $1, commercial free, as opposed to the prior $3 per episode price. Content will be initially be available from the ABC and FOX networks, with other networks hopefully coming on board in the future. The new Apple TV will also provide support for Netflix streaming in the U.S. in addition to its current support for streaming videos from YouTube and photos from Flickr and MobileMe. The new Apple TV will also continue to include support for streaming content from an iTunes library. The new Apple TV will be priced at $99 and will be available from Apple Stores and online in about four weeks, with pre-orders starting today.
- September 1, 2010
Apple today introduced a new social music network today, Ping. Integrated with iTunes 10, the Ping social network provides a Twitter-like social media network all about music where users can share their favorite songs, what they are listening to, commentary, album & song reviews, and view over 17,000 concert listings. Ping will provide a customized social chart to show what users are listening to and their favorite albums and artists as well as comments and reviews by other users. Privacy controls allow users to choose to share their information openly on the Ping network or choose to share their content only with smaller circles of friends. Ping is also being introduced to the iPhone and iPod touch and will be integrated into the iTunes Store application on these devices.
Apple today announced the release of iTunes 10, the latest version of its popular media management software. The new version boasts a more simple and elegant interface, with a new hybrid view that adds album artwork to text lists of song titles, and provides a more streamlined library. iTunes 10 also adds Ping, a new social network focused on music discovery, letting you easily find out what your friends and favorite bands are listening to. Ping provides a customized social chart showing what contacts are highlighting as favorites, plus linked messages in a Twitter-like online stream. The Ping network provides privacy controls that allow users to control who follows them, post thoughts and opinions, view custom song and album charts, and over 17,000 concert listings. iTunes 10 is being released today as a free download from http://www.itunes.com.
Apple today introduced its fourth-generation iPod touch, featuring a FaceTime-capable front-facing camera. The new touch also sports a new HD video recording rear-facing camera and microphone, the same Apple A4 chip that powers the iPhone 4, a 960x640 retina display, and a 3-axis gyroscope. Physically, the new iPod touch is thinner than its predecessors and features a slightly curved, flatter back, and a new speaker port near the Dock Connector. Notably, both the front- and rear-facing cameras will be capable of still photography, with the former capped at 640x480 resolution and the latter capped at 960x720. The devices will be available next week and will be priced at $229 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB version, and $399 for the 64GB model.
Note that the fourth-generation iPod touch gains limited 802.11n support (2.4GHz only), like the iPhone 4, joining Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and has a promised audio run time of 40 hours, versus 7 hours of video. H.264 and M-JPEG video codecs now support 1280x720-resolution 720p HD videos, as well as 1024x768 output via Apple’s previously-released iPad VGA to Dock Connector Adapter. The device does not have GPS hardware and thus supports geo-tagging only when connected to a Wi-Fi network. FaceTime video calling is handled via a dedicated FaceTime application, with an icon that looks like a white camera on a green background.
Apple today gave several updates on its iOS, App Store, and retail store businesses. It said it has now shipped over 120 million iOS devices, and is handling 230,000 new activations each day. Over 6.5 billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store, resulting in an average of 200 apps every second, and the App Store now offers over 250,000 apps, 25,000 of which are made for the iPad. The company now has 300 retail stores in 10 countries—the Covent Garden store in London was the 300th opening—and has over one million customers coming through the stores on several days each month. It will soon open a store in Spain, marking the 11th country in which it has retail stores.
It also revealed that it has sold 275 million iPods, and that the iPod touch is now the best-selling portable gaming device in the world, outselling Nintendo’s and Sony’s portable devices combined. In enjoys over 50% market share in the portable gaming device category both in the U.S. and worldwide, and iPod touch users have downloaded over 1.5 billion game and entertainment apps.