updated 01:50 pm EDT, Tue September 12, 2006
Apple adds movies to iTMS
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today unveiled revamped video iPods as well as iPod nanos, brought back the iPod shuffle in an aluminum case, re-introduced colors to the iPod family, unveiled new earbuds for iPods, introduced iTunes 7 with support for full-length movies, and added full-length feature films to the iTunes Music Store. All new products are available from the Apple Store, and iTunes 7 is featured as a free download. Apple will kick off the revamped iTunes Music Store with movies from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax. The company is making more than 70 films available online today, including Pirates of the Caribbean. New movies will be released the same day they come out on DVD, according to Jobs, and are priced at $13 if pre-ordered or purchased during the first week. Other movies are available for $10, and the movie store is integrated into iTunes allowing users to preview new releases in the software's new album cover flow mode. Movies are also available at 640x480 resolution, and the average download time for movies will span roughly 30 minutes with a broadband connection, according to Jobs.
Usage rights for movies purchased from the iTunes Music Store are the same as those of TV shows, and parental controls are extended to include MPAA ratings.
Apple's chief also announced that 70 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. offer iPod connectivity as an option, and that the company has shipped more than 65 million iPods as of June. Apple also sold more than 450,000 Nike+iPod Sport Kits in less than 90 days, according to Jobs.
The new iPod models support gapless playback for songs encoded with MP3, AAC, and Apple Lossless compression. The new models feature instant searching similar to Mac OS X's Spotlight technology, incorporating faster scrolling while displaying the alphabetical section as an overlay on the screen.
New iPods support games designed specifically for the clickwheel priced at $4.99 each from the iTunes Music Store, which include Zuma, Texas Holden, Mini Golf, Cubis 2, PacMan, Tetris!, Mah-jong, and more.
New video iPod models feature 75 percent longer battery life, and are capable of playing back six and a half hours of video on one charge. The company has lowered the price of its 30GB video iPod model to $249, and introduced a whopping 80GB model capable of storing 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video for $349.
Revamped iPod nano
The revamped iPod nano is constructed from aluminum, is thinner than the previous Nano, and is available in blue, pink, green, silver, and black. The new Nano boasts 24 hours of battery life, and ships in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities (8GB model is available in black only). Apple also mentioned new packaging for its iPod nanos, resulting in 52 percent less volume which reduces the amount of fuel burned to ship the devices to customers. Apple also introduced a new charger for its iPod players that is 40 percent smaller than the company's previous charger.
iPod shuffle makes a comeback
The new second-generation iPod shuffle features an aluminum housing, offering a built-in clip and switches on the bottom to turn the device off and on as well as shuffle linearly. The new Shuffle comes with a small dock, plugs into Macs as well as PCs, and is the smallest MP3 player in the world, according to Jobs. Apple's new low-end iPod is available in just one model with 1GB of storage and new packaging.
Apple's iTunes software has an 88 percent share for legal U.S. downloads, and has sold more than 1.5 billion songs. This ranks iTunes as the fifth largest legal reseller of music in the U.S., and Apple expects to surpass Amazon to become no. 4 in January of 2007. Outside the U.S., iTunes claims the no. 1 spot in all 21 countries.
iTunes 7 features "Album Cover Flow," which merges the effect of the size-changing Dock icons with iChat's black reflective surface, according to Engadget.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger took the stage at Apple's special event in San Francisco, speaking on the addition of its full-length movies to the iTunes Music Store.
"Deep down we knew the marriage of great content with great technology is truly a killer application. Today we're going to take the next step in moving movies to new media platforms," Iger said. "People love to watch movies at theaters, when the curtain comes up and there's pirates or cars. People also like to watch movies at home, with their wife or a date. Now, we're provding a way to watch movies on this new platform."
"We're confident that movies are going to work as well as TV on iTunes."