First off, Apple Nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Armageddon is not approaching: Steve Jobs is alive and well. The Apple chief made a much anticipated appearance at the company's fall iPod rollout event in San Francisco, thanking the Apple leadership for steering the ship during his absence, and declaring "I'm vertical again." He looked particularly animated when introducing Norah Jones for a surprise performance to close the proceedings.
Now, on to the technology.
Most of what Apple introduced at its Gala in San Francisco today was pretty ho-hum — some additional capacity and lower pricing for the iPod Classic and Touch and a slightly tweaked iTunes interface that allows you to manage your apps and enjoy a lot more interactivity with music extras, such as videos, photos and album artwork. All nice, but hardly worth the hoopla.
Still, there were a few things worth a bit of analysis. Follow the link below for more…
Starting with the Nano, which was the recipient of the biggest "advance" — a new integrated video camera. And even though I have yet to own a single Apple device myself, I have to admit the look and feel of the Nano is intoxicating. It's sleeker and slimmer than ever, and the screen resolution is impressive.
But as for the camera, I know Jobs made it clear during his comments that he has a Jones to attack Flip and any other small-form video camera in his way, but I have to question the approach Apple has taken. The Nano's video camera lens is located in a surprisingly silly place — right where your thumb would normally be while holding the device upright. Sure, if you rotate the Nano to switch to the more logical horizontal view, and hold the thing with your left hand, you're fine. But millions of people — especially the preponderance of righties — are going to struggle to find a comfortable position for shooting video.
The iPod Touch pretty much looks and feels the same as previous incarnations, but now it has beefed-up storage and more reasonable pricing, and it really benefits from the new capability in iTunes 9 to manage your apps on the desktop. Anyone who tends toward downloading lots of apps knows that fumbling about as you try to position the icons logically for quick access is a constant hassle.
What's Not Here
Biggest pet peeve of those in attendance wanting to check out the new devices? No iPod Classics. Apparently, since the only thing to change was the size of the hard drive, the Apple folks deemed it unnecessary to create a display for the Classic at the event. Only problem — people wanted photos of the new device anyway. Too bad for them.
As for disappointments, the much-rumored news that a healthy Jobs would announce the availability of The Beatles' catalog on iTunes never materialized. With the Beatles version of Rock Band hitting stores today, that was a golden opportunity that Jobs is no doubt currently berating someone for missing.
In all, I saw nothing today that will cause me to run out and buy the latest iDevice. I'll stick with the BlackBerry and my clunky, huge (by MP3 player standards), old-school Dell DJ. It works just fine, and it's not cluttered with features I don't need. Then again, if I ever want a music player that can shoot videos of my thumb, I know just where to go.