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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Did Apple "Rock" today? Not really...

Gizmodo has the full rundown of what went on at Apple's "Let's Rock" keynote address by Steve Jobs in San Francisco today. In what has become an annual event - and perhaps the most-watched PowerPoint presentation in history - Jobs unveiled the coming year's new iPod models and whatever features that die-hard Appleholics should be lusting after.

So what new ubercoolness has the Jobs Mob for us this time? Frankly: not much. Jobs officially unveiled the new iPod nano, but if you've been paying attention to the rumors over the past few weeks this wasn't unexpected at all. The new iPod nano goes back to the "tall" design that existed before the "fat" one last year, and displaying a widescreen movie means watching it with the iPod nano sideways. It also features an accelerometer, which among other things lets you violently shake the iPod nano and it automatically goes into shuffle mode. And it'll be coming in a psychodelic array of new colors.

But that seems to have been it for any innovation that Apple followers might have been hoping for this year. Jobs also showed off the second generation of the iPod touch: basically the same but with the same tapered re-design as the nano, bigger storage (now all the way up to 32 gigs of flash memory) and an accelerometer (oh yeah and Niki+ built-in). The 80 gigabyte iPod classic (which is what I'm a proud owner of) is getting an "update" to 120 gigs and the 160GB model is being discontinued. iTunes 8 is coming out today (and is probably available even now) that has a new "Genius" feature which somehow figures out the kind of music that you like to listen to. NBC is making its shows available on iTunes and for $2.99 you can buy television episodes in high definition.

Not really all that much to get excited about, if you ask me. I still don't understand why Apple can't or won't engineer user-replaceable batteries into at least the classic and touch iPod (and the iPhone for that matter): they would make a huge amount of money from people who would gladly pay to have a spare battery or two in their pocket or purse or backpack for their iPod. I can think of at least two or three ways that Apple could engineer their appliances for replaceable batteries without sacrificing the products' aesthetic. So why isn't Jobs and crew taking up that challenge? It's the only real innovation left to pursue for the iPod/iPhone (in addition to beefier flash storage, and that's coming in the next few years anyway). There wasn't anything during today's product reveal that would compel me to upgrade to a newer iPod from the one I already own.

But I probably will be getting Lisa one of those new iPod nanos, if she can decide which color she wants :-)


Anonymous said...

Whatever you say. Today's keynote had one mission and it did it well.

It showed Wall Street that Steve Jobs still has a pulse.

Chris Knight said...

Apple's shares have dropped almost six and a half bucks today. It went down by $4 just during the presentation.

I think they fumbled bigtime this year.

Geoff Gentry (aka xforce11) said...

still waiting on new MacBooks :( (been waiting since June 1)