As widely expected, Apple today introduced the long-rumored new iPod with video playback capabilities. The new fifth-generation device, which is up to 30% thinner than the previous full-size iPod, features a larger 2.5-inch color screen (320 x 240 resolution, 260,000 colors) that can play videos, including music videos, video Podcasts, home movies and television shows, in addition to displaying album artwork and photos. It supports MPEG4 and H.264 video at 30 fps and also sports TV out. (See our report on iTunes 6 for further details on available video content). The new iPod is available in both white and black versions in 30GB ($299) and 60GB ($399) capacities. Both models will begin shipping next week.
“The new iPod is the best music player ever—it’s 30 percent thinner and has 50 percent more storage than its predecessor—yet it sells for the same price and plays stunning video on its 2.5-inch color screen,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Because millions of people around the world will buy this new iPod to play music, it will quickly become the most popular portable video player in history.”
The new iPod uses Apple’s well-known Click Wheel and Dock Connector, so the majority of third-party accessories will be compatible with the device. However, its extended headphone port has been removed, so while headphones will work, other top-mounting accessories such as remote controls and most FM transmitters will not. New products are forthcoming to fulfill anticipated demand. The 30GB model offers up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback, while the 60GB model features up to 20 hours. The 30GB iPod is good for two hours of video playback and the 60GB model is good for three hours of video watching.
Apple told iLounge that the fifth-generation iPod features greatly enhanced audio recording capabilities, and improved playback capabilities. The company said the new iPod sounds as good or better than the iPod shuffle, which Apple considers its prior gold standard in terms of sound quality. Good news for podcasters is the ability to record in either 22KHz mono or 44KHz stereo. The device still records in WAV format, which has to be converted to MP3 or AAC, however.
Both models come with earphones, a USB 2.0 cable and a case, but Apple has also introduced a new Universal Dock ($39) for the fifth-generation iPod that features IR support to work with a new wireless Apple Remote ($29). It also allows for USB 2.0 syncing, variable line out—confirmed by Apple representatives for certain on this Dock—and S-video connections.
You can view more live hands-on shots of the new iPod on iLounge’s flickr page and the event’s photo gallery with over 300 photos. iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will have his first reactions up shortly in the form of a special podcast.