Apple unveils iTunes 7, iTunes Movie Store, new iPods, and previews iTV - Macenstein

Apple unveils iTunes 7, iTunes Movie Store, new iPods, and previews iTV

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

As widely rumored, Apple today unveiled their new iTunes Movie Store and iTunes 7 (available today), as well new colorful nanos, and an even smaller shuffle, but not the “true� video iPod many users have been begging for since the original video iPod debuted. However, there WERE a few surprises announced as well.

Rumors that most major studios had declined Apple’s invitation (and pricing model) to join the iTunes Movie Store proved to be true, with the only major studio at launch being the Steve Jobs “owned� Disney. A handful of smaller independent studios (owned by Disney) have also pledged their allegiance.

New Hardware

New nanos were annouced, and are available in 2 GB ($149), 4 GB (199), and 8 GB ($249) models. iPod mini fans have reason to rejoice, as Apple has brought back the best feature of the iPod minis of old; namely, colors. The new nanos are available in green, silver (aluminum), black, blue, and pink, although Apple chose to limit available colors depending on model. For instance, silver is the only available color for the 2 GB model, where all colors but black are available on the 4 GB model, and ONLY black is available on the big bad 8 GB model.

The iPod shuffle is now even smaller than before, coming in around the size of the Apple iPod remote. Apple has decided to go aluminum with the shuffle as well, dropping the white plastic look of its predecessor. Apple eliminated the 512 MB model, leaving only the 1 GB, priced at $79.

As for the video iPod, rumors of a 16×9 aspect ratio proved false, as well as the rumored virtual scroll wheel, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi compatibility. Available in sizes of 30GB and 80GB (in both black and white), the new 6G iPods are priced at $249 and $349 respectively. Additionally, the 5.5G iPods (no one seems to want to call these a true 6th generation) boast an impressive 3.5 hours of video playback time (up from 2 hours in the 5G) despite the new screens being 60% brighter. However aside from brighter screens, and better batteries, most 5G iPod owners won’t feel the need to rush out to buy a new 5.5G.

New Software

An announcement no one had predicted (although past rumors hinted at it) was the announcement of a new set of downloadable games for both the 5G and 5.5G iPods, including such favorites as Tetris, PacMan, Texas Holdem, and Bejeweled. Games will cost $4.99 and can be purchased via the iTMS.

iTunes 7 got a major overhaul today, perhaps its biggest since the Music store made its debut. New cover art features (both in obtaining and displaying), new viewing options, higher quality-encoded tv shows (up to 640×480 from 320×240), and iPod syncing between computers.

One More Thing…

But the big news was the movies.

As rumored, Apple managed only to convince Disney to come on board for the launch, but Apple remains optimistic others will follow. Under the Disney umbrella, Apple’s movie service will launch with 75 titles from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax.

Prices on the movies is as follows: New releases (which are available the same day as the physical DVD release) are $14.99, but for pre-orders and first week purchases, the price will be discounted to $12.99. Most other titles will be $9.99. The films are encoded at the same 640×480 resolution as the TV shows, at “nearâ€? DVD quality, and include Dolby Surround Sound. Apple hopes to have an international version of the movie store set to launch in 2007. All usage restrictions for purchased movies are similar to music and TV shows, and the parental controls in iTunes can take advantage of the MPAA ratings system.

One more “one more thing”… iTV

Perhaps even bigger than the news of the movie store was news that Apple is working on a new wireless set-top box to stream movies to the TV from the computer, code named iTV. And perhaps even bigger than this news is the fact that Apple actually pre-announced something. (realistically, they probably had to, as the technology needed to create such a device would involve the participation of movie studios, and the odds are its existence would have leaked out at some point anyway. But still, it’s nice to see).

The iTV will be about the size of a Mac mini, but flatter, and be able to stream “nearâ€? DVD quality movies from a computer to the TV wirelessly. The iTV will feature a built-in power supply, USB, Ethernet, an 802.11 “wireless component video”, optical audio and HDMI ports, plus RCA stereo audio ports. It will work with both Macs and PCs, and be priced at $299. It will be able to be controlled with the Apple Remote (which actually needs an extra button or 2 to be a full-fledged media remote, in my opinion).

All in all, some exciting news, assuming you are thinking of buying movies online. Personally, I feel Apple needed to release a 16×9 widescreen iPod to drive demand for downloadable, portable movies, but I’m sure I will be surprised to find out how many people have downloaded a movie when Apple proudly announces some numbers in a month or so. The good news is, folks who just bought a new 5G iPod don’t have to kick themselves, and sales of the colored nanos are likely to be out of this world. It also looks like Apple’s upcoming iTV may finally be the device that makes the digital living room a reality.

Looks like a good time to be an Apple stockholder once again!

2 Responses to “Apple unveils iTunes 7, iTunes Movie Store, new iPods, and previews iTV”
  1. Cry Baby says:

    no 16 x9 ipod = suckfest

  2. Sean says:

    Hey, there is free laser engraving on ALL iPod models!
    That is pretty sweet.
    Not as sweet as a 16x 9 screen with touch wheel, but sweet!

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