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Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) fans likely found today’s announcements a bit disappointing.
While CEO Steve Jobs did make an appearance at the company’s event in San Francisco to detail Apple’s product lineup for the holidays, there was no mention of a Tablet device, or of any resolution with the Beatles on getting the band’s valuable music catalog into iTunes (despite many hints that it may be coming).
Mostly, the announcements were incremental upgrades to its most-popular products, including iTunes and iPods. But also what the company signaled was its intentions to enter the video-camera market and take on competitors such as Flip, which was recently acquired by Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO). Jobs: “This market is really exploding and we really want to get in on this.”
During the roughly 75-minute event, we heard about iTunes, an entire new iPod lineup, including a video iPod and a cheaper iPod Touch, and were treated to a performance by Norah Jones. A full run-down of the announcements after the jump…
— Video iPods: Perhaps the most exciting part of the announcements today was the addition of video capabilities to the iPod Nano, the best-selling music device by Apple which has sold 100 million to date. Now it’s adding a video camera, mic and speaker to the device to compete against the digital cameras of the world. The new iPod nano will have a larger 2.2-inch color display and a polished aluminum finish. It will also have a built-in FM radio and pedometer. The new iPod nano is available for sale today. The 8GB model is $149 and a 16GB model is $179.
— New iPod Touch: Apple announced the new iPod touch lineup, which lowers the price to $199 from $229, providing the same price point as the cheapest iPhone, however, without the wireless contract. Apple SVP Phil Schiller said they have a lot of experience with pricing iPods, and when they lowered the price of the Nano to $199, sales doubled. “The really important thing is the power of that price. $199 allows for an even more affordable gateway to the App Store for our customers.” The 8GB iPod touch is $199, and the iPod touch 32GB model will be $299 and 64GB model for $399. No camera or video-recording capabilities were added to the device, making this a clearer competitive to the Nintendo DS and *Sony* PSP.
— The new iTunes 9: Apple launched iTunes 9 today, which adds a lot of music features and updates for the iPhone and iPod Touch, including iTunes LP, Home Sharing and updated Genius technology. The iTunes LP feature allows artists to upload album art, videos and lyrics to enhance the music-buying experience. Home Sharing allows users to transfer music, movies and TV shows to up to five authorized computers in the home. The Genius feature gets an update too with new mixes, which are created using a music library of 54 billion songs, making it sound a lot like Pandora. The new iTunes also improves the iPhone experience, by allowing you to organize your iPhone apps right on your computer screen in iTunes. The experience on the phone itself can be very tedious, especially as people add hundreds of apps. Ringtones were also added to iTunes for $1.29 apiece.
— New iPod shuffle: The tiny iPod that clips to clothes is now cheaper. Priced as low as $59 for 2GB, it now comes in five colors. The 4GB model is $79, and a stainless steel special edition is $99.