Steve Jobs on stage...
He's on stage, talking about iPods today. Carkits, iPod + Nike etc. Of course, this is all not _really_ interesting for us... ->
Updating the iPod... New features: Instand searching and new games. Screens are much brighter now (60%!). The games feature also comes to the old 5G iPod. (The new one seems to be an updated version, so still 5G.) Games can be bought on iTMS for 4.99 USD. It's no PSP or Gameboy, but the games are fun - and cheap. 30 and 80 GB versions. 249 and 349 USD. Battery life has much improved. At least the 80 GB version has 6.5h video playback (640*480 videos at 1.5 Mbps). The 30 GB version has 3.5h of video playback. New iPod nano now in metal and in colours (silver, green, blue, pink and black). 52% less volume (size) for package, iPod nano is the size of the Apple remote. 2 GB version for 149 USD (silver only), 4 GB version for 199 USD (all colours except black), 8 GB version (black only) for 249 USD. New iPod shuffle (size of radio remote), 1 GB, 79 USD. (One model only.)
iTunes 7 released today. Each category now has its own library. Much faster. Gives you album art for self-ripped albums for free. If you have an iTunes Music Store account, that is. (Bleh...)
Videos are now encoded in H.264 at 640*480 pixels. (That's more like it.)
And: Movies. Apple starts with Disney. (Including Miramax, Pixar etc.) - Movies have the same DRM as TV shows. Apple hopes to take this international in 2007. (Well, "hope" is probably a very optimistic view. We're still waiting here in Switzerland for any TV shows other than those who took matters in their own hands by giving us video podcasts for free...) Pricing is 9.99 USD for older movies, 12.99 for preorders and first week buys, 14.99 USD for new movies after the 12.99 period. Starts with Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (preorder now). Overall, this is certainly good news for US citizens. For everyone else, the most important stuff is the new, updated iPods.
Q1/2007, though, will bring the long-awaited Apple SetTop Box! Codename: "iTV". Half the size of a Mac mini, wireless, works with the Apple Remote. Has HDMI and classic output options. No harddrive. So this is actually just streaming from your Mac, of course. Will cost 299 USD (a bit much for a "streamer" without harddrive, I'll use my MacBook directly, thank you...). I'm personally not so sure, whether this will be enough for entering the consumer electronics market largely. You still need to use a computer, and your computer will still have to *run* in order to stream the videos (and music etc.) to the TV set. Maybe Apple is too focused on keeping the Mac the digital hub? On the other hand, it's not like Media Center PCs made it big so far.