Today at 10AM PST Apple held a special event called “The Beat Goes On” in which a whole slew of new iPod and iTunes announcements were made. The entire iPod line was “refreshed” including the addition of a new iPod Touch model that is similar to the iPhone. Here’s an overview of the new products (many of which are available today).
The first announcement was in regards to a new Ringtones feature being made available to iPhone users. Some 500,000 songs will be available to use in the custom Ringtones builder application. To create a ringtone out of one of the 500k available songs will cost an additional 99 cents on top of the 99 cents it costs for the song itself.
You can assign different custom rings to different people. Steve assigned Aretha Franklin’s Respect to his wife. Cute.
The Ringtones builder will be available in a new version of iTunes releasing today.
The refreshed iPod Shuffles were probably the most unexciting update of the day.
All the colors were given a makeover with more pastel tints to the colors as well as the addition of a (RED) shuffle.
Cost is the same as before at $79 for 1GB.
The rumors about a short, squashed iPod Nano turned out to be true.
The new Nano has a 2-inch diagonal measurement and a 320×240 pixel screen. It comes in black, silver, blue, green, and (RED). The colored versions are only available at the more expensive price point.
It has a battery life of 25 hours for audio 5 hours for video playback…yes, video.
$149 for 4GB and $199 for 8GB and wider range of colors. Ships today.
The original iPod is now called “iPod Classic,” which makes sense considering there are so many different iPod versions available.
They’ve jacked the storage up significantly with the starting storage amount being 80GB. They’ve also added a massive 160GB version to the mix. Both are thinner that the previous full-size iPod.
The battery life of the 80GB model is 25 hours of music and 5 hours of video while the 160GB is 40 hours of music and 7 hours of video.
The 80GB is now $249 and the 160GB is $349. It is shipping today.
The biggest announcement of the day is the new addition to the iPod line called iPod Touch.
The iPod Touch is almost identical in design to the iPhone and has many of the features that the iPhone does (minus the obvious calling capability).
Yes, the iPod Touch has ditched the clickwheel in favor of a touch screen. Major features of the iPod Touch are Calendar, Contacts, Safari, and YouTube integration. Which brings us to the next point. To run Safari and YouTube you’d need some sort of connection capability. The iPod Touch has Wi-Fi making it the first iPod with wireless technology.
The iPod Touch has a battery life of 22 hours for music and 5 hours for video.
There will be an 8GB ($299) and 16GB ($399) version available and shipping by the end of the month.
iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store
Apple has now created an iTunes Wi-Fi music store for the iPod Touch and iPhone that lets you browse and purchase music through an iTunes interface optimized for smaller screens. It has the same features and songs available in the regular iTunes store…just a slimmer interface.
Mixed in with this announcement was a new partnership with Starbucks.
When you’re in or near a participating Starbucks store you’ll be able to find out what the song playing in the shop is and purchase it on the spot including the previous 10 songs played in the store.
The feature is rolling out in Seattle and NY in October with other stores being adding over the next 2 years (assuming this is successful).
iPhone Price Changes
Steve commented about how Apple wants to be even more aggressive with their iPhone sales to which he announced that the 8GB iPhone has been given a $200 price drop and is now available for $399.
Even more surprising was that the 4GB iPhone has now been completely dropped from Apple’s product line. Shortest. Life span. Ever.