Once the reality distortion field disappears and the Apple hype fades off, proper judgment sets in and I must say that the event was nothing fantastic or revolutionary. All the announcements were evolutionary updates to already very good products. And Apple's appetite for smaller thinner iPods continue to drastic levels - it's the whole form over function thing.
|Image from Apple|
The new 4th gen shuffle looks almost exactly like the 2nd gen, except that it is now smaller. Clearly the button-less design of the 3rd gen wasn't well-received. The new shuffle also gains the voiceover technology from the 3rd gen, plus genius mixes.
The nice thing to note though is how unbelievably cheap the shuffle is - S$78 for 2GB. Nice, but uh - nothing to get wild over.
|Image from Apple|
This is perhaps the most interesting release. Apple has repositioned this product slightly, making it solely a music player. The video capabilities and video camera have been removed - Apple has moved it up to the iPod touch (more on that later.) Firstly, the click wheel has disappeared, making way for a 240px 1.5-inch square multi-touch screen with a UI similar to iOS. Because it is so crazily minute now, it also gains a clip like the shuffle. Gone also are notes, calendar, contacts and games that were present in other generations.
Some people will make noise that video function is gone, but I think it isn't that big a loss anyway. Who really did enjoy watching video on the small screen of the previous nanos? Apple is clearly pushing consumers who want video over to the iPod touch, and the nano now just does what it does best - music. The loss of calendaring, notes and contacts is also no biggie - we all have our phones to handle that. To replace the loss functionality, Apple has included an FM radio with live pause, a pedometer, Nike+ and a whopping 24 hour battery life. Pricing is also very attractive, but the storage still caps at 16GB.
|Image from Apple|
Uh, nothing much to say here as well. Basically, the iPod touch gains most of the new features of the iPhone 4 to keep it up-to-date. Yes retina display, FaceTime, HD video recording, A4 processor, 3 axis gyro.. yada yada, all the good stuff the iPhone 4 has basically. The concept of the iPod touch remains the same - it is still an iPhone without the phone. And Apple is also marketing its gaming prowess by adding Game Centre, a social gaming network. All in all, the best iPod touch so far.
But I'm sad!!! Because of the addition of TWO cameras, I can't bring it to camp! Bad news for all army people. But I'm happy with my current iPod touch, it's good enough.
|iTunes 10 sidepane - Apple likes it grey.|
Ahh this is where I have to bitch a little. I don't like the new UI changes to iTunes! As usual, to visually separate version 10 from other versions, Apple gave the UI a spit shine. Firstly, there's a new blue-ish iTunes icon (do we really need a new icon apple?) which still looks fine. But launch iTunes and EEKS! Why is everything so dull, muted and grey now! The coloured icons on the left navigation pane have been replaced with greyscale versions, the volume slider has changed again, and on the mac the three window buttons (expand, min and maximise) has been weirdly placed into a vertical column. I just don't get it... it's so clear these changes are done just because it's a new version.
Apart from the UI nonsense, iTunes 10 adds a new social network platform called ping. I see this as playing catch-up to the zune social. I don't care too much about it frankly. Overall, iTunes still remains largely as it is - don't let the new icon fool you it's still the same old program.
To sum it all up, still the same one word - evolutionary. But I don't think that's bad, it just means the iPod line-up is near perfect. (Apple, why don't you focus on the Apple TV and make it something more than "another hobby"?)