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Apple Watch: iPod Announcements
Wednesday, 2007 September 5 - 10:00 pm
Here's the big news from today's Apple media event.

Well, we all knew they were coming. Apple announced a whole spread of new iPods today, in time for the holiday shopping season.

The iPod shuffle received only a cosmetic makeover; it's now available in several new colors. Otherwise, it's the exact same $79 1GB model that we've had since last year.

The iPod nano is all-new. It comes in the short-and-chubby form factor that was leaked/rumored for several weeks. The big news is that it now supports video playback, with a 2" 320x240 screen. The 4GB model is $149, and the 8GB model is $199; that's compared to $199 and $249 for the previous models.

The full-sized video iPod is now called the iPod classic. It's got a slightly sleeker form factor, improved battery life... and most importantly, it now comes in 80GB and 160GB sizes (at the same prices as the previous 30GB and 80GB models).

As many speculated, there's also a touchscreen iPod called the iPod touch. It's essentially an iPhone without the phone functionality. It still supports WiFi, with Safari and YouTube on it. (I don't see Google Maps or Mail on it, though.) And now, you can make iTunes Store purchases directly on the iPod touch (as well as the iPhone). It's $299 for the 8GB model and $399 for the 16GB model. It'll be interesting to see how this competes against the iPhone and the iPod classic; it seems like it overlaps the target market for both of those other devices. Obviously, fans of portable video would love to have the iPhone form factor combined with the classic's 160GB capacity... which is the more important feature?

And speaking of the iPhone, the price has been cut drastically, from $599 to $399 for the 8GB model. (The 4GB model is being discontinued, but it's selling for $299 while supplies last.) A $200 price cut is huge, and I expect that sales will jump noticeably. The fact that Apple can afford to do this suggests that the whisperings about the iPhone's high margins were probably correct.

And ringtones? You can now make custom musical ringtones out of music that you've bought from the store... if you're willing to pony up an extra 99 cents on top of the price of the song. I can't tell if you can make ringtones out of music that you've ripped from CDs, or if it's restricted to songs originally purchased from the store. I will say that it's probably only a matter of weeks before someone figures out how to make custom ringtones for free (in a way that doesn't require a bunch of hackery).

Finally, there was a somewhat peculiar announcement about a partnership with Starbucks. Apparently, there'll be a button to purchase whatever song you're currently hearing over the speakers at any Starbucks location... and WiFi access to the iTunes store will be free. This doesn't seem like an earth-shattering announcement, but here's a thought: Apple plus Starbucks could equal a new model for music production and distribution. Starbucks promotes the artist (unshackled from a traditional recording label), and Apple provides the means to purchase the song. This might be another step in Apple's plans to wrest control of the music industry away from the labels.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch


Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2007 Sep 6 - 7:02 am : #
Some one already figured it out
and has been farked by apple
iPhone users could alternatively use shareware utilities such as iToner (Mac) or iPhoneRingToneMaker (PC) or freeware tools such as iFuntastic, however at present it appears ringtones added by 3rd party tools are deleted when you sync with iTunes 7.4.

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