iPod refresh and ring-tones
New colours. Zzzz.
iPod nano really is just a smaller version of the iPod now, full video and games (Vortex and two others included plus others available to buy) on a full metal stubby device that has a large 200ppi 2.0″ display. Now available in $149 4gb and $199 8gb models. Yummy.
Thinner than the old video iPod but with new UI, full metal enclosure, 80gb and 160gb models and with 30 and 40 hour music playback battery life respectively. Nice, would probably make a great backup device in that 160gb format in fact has more storage than my laptop…
Essentially a cut-down iPhone that retains WiFi and the Safari browser (including “made for iPhone” sites), YouTube videos and iCal on top of the traditional iPod music, video and photos and unlike the iPhone is available worldwide with a 22 hour battery life.
The real new feature here is the buy directly from iTunes music store over WiFi without a computer. The clever bit is next time you dock it the sync will add it to your computer – bi-directional music sync!
Curiously they have partnered with Starbucks so that when you walk into a store you get an extra tab showing you what they are playing in-store and the last few tracks and then directly buy-it… It’s a little odd but will probably extend to other stores especially if they are getting a commission. Shame you can’t order coffee with a couple of taps and bill it to your iTunes account ;-)
There are a few disappointments – the storage options are $299 8GB and $399 16GB which prevent it from being a real high-end music or video player. The other disappointments are the stripping back of the notes, maps, stocks and weather applications and the complete removal of the built-in camera.
Dropping the 4GB model and cutting the 8GB model from $599 to $399 and adding the iTunes WiFi store. I guess they managed to persuade AT&T and other forthcoming providers that buying music has nothing to do with the mobile provider (or perhaps are giving them a cut?)
With the iPhone being so much richer in functionality and only costing $100 more than the equivalent iPod touch 8GB you have to wonder who will be buying the 8GB touch at least within the USA.
Those who already paid $599 may be lucky – Apple offer a 10 day price match so you can get a credit to the tune of $200 if you bought one within that time frame. Failing that there is a 14 day returns policy that would net you a $160 credit after the $40 restocking fee. Some people at TUAW are having luck with Amex price matches and AT&T offering line credits.
Quite how a seemingly endless number of people are prepared to pay 2-3 times the original cost of a song for a few seconds of it when they own the original has always amazed me.
With Apple moving away from DRM with iTunes+ and now producing a mobile phone this was always going to be an interesting development but sadly Apple believe the “your music how you want where you want” doesn’t extend to using a song as a ring tone and instead will charge you another 99 cents on top of the original price of the song to use it as a ring tone.
Sadly the music selection seems to be limited to specific songs and they don’t seem to want to let you use any music you required elsewhere, e.g. your own CD’s and legally acquired MP3’s. Thankfully there are charge-less ring tone makers available for the iPhone.
Sadly I find that there is nothing in the line-up for me and it seems I’m not alone.
If the iPhone had GPS, 3G, 16GB flash and was available here in Guernsey (fat chance) I’d buy one. If I’m going to carry a second device alongside my phone it better have great storage (32gb+) but the iPod touch doesn’t. This leaves me with a choice of iPod nano or iPod classic and as my current iPod photo has just died what now but neither has a screen suitable for wide-screen movie viewing.
It is strange how the devices in Apple’s line-up with large wide-screen displays that would make them great portable video players don’t have the capacity to match.