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iPod, iPod, iPod, Apple TV, Ping…

If anything Apple should be rewarded for consistently updating their iPod range each year. It gives Apple blog something to write about each September. Not sure this year’s event brought any major surprises, everyone was expecting the new nano, the updated iPod Touch and after several “no shows” in recent years a long overdue update to the Apple TV.

 ipodshuffletouchrainbow

Apple TV

Underwhelming. The new tiny form factor is cool, as is the minimalistic black styling. Even the price is good at US$99 (AU$129). But I still wouldn’t buy one. And not just because of the lack of an included HDMI cable so that the device can be connected to your TV straight out of the box.

I want the ability to play everything I have - and that includes a lot of AVIs and MKVs two formats which iTunes and the Apple TV don’t even know exist. As it has no inbuilt storage it seems that you would have to keep all your TV shows and movies on or attached to your primary computer - and that computer would have to be on for you to watch said TV shows and movie on your TV. Silly.

Steve said “storage is no longer an issue because now you just rent things”. Ok, but the rented media still needs to be stored somewhere while you watch it, right? Again, the ‘parent’ computer still needs to be on. Silly. Or is there some tiny flash drive hidden in the black box that they aren’t telling us about?

Only rentals? Cheaper to rent multiple times than to buy? Well after you rent and watch the same episode for the 4th time that’s no longer true. Yes, have rentals, great, but don’t make them the only choice available via the Apple TV. Also, this rental thing is good if, you know, the show you want to watch is on one of the two networks that are support rentals. And it’s all good if you live in the US. Which the majority of the planet does not. We don’t care if you guys can use your Netflix account on it.

Yeah for what you get the price is good, but I bet a lot of people would happily pay a little more for an alternative device that will play all their media files.

iPod shuffle

Decent update even if its not a massive change. Apple saw the error in their ways and brought buttons back - shame they didn’t keep the teenyweeny form of the previous generation though, surely they could’ve got the buttons on there somewhere?

iPod nano

Ok, for starters it shouldn’t be called the nano, it should be called the “iPod shuffle touch” because that’s what it really is. See this mockup that I put together in October last year - sure I called it a shuffle and it doesn’t have a square screen but the general idea is there.

The addition of a touch screen is nice, even if it looks extremely fiddly to use, its a shame the screen isn’t just a bit bigger. As nice as the addition of touch is you can’t take the video camera off, remove video playback and make the screen smaller and still call it an update, oh wait, apparently you can. I’d be pretty surprised if next years update didn’t see the return of the ‘normal’ rectangular screen and video playback.

iPod touch

Plenty of good updates, most of which everyone was expecting. Retina display, FaceTime, VGA front facing camera and rear camera capable of shooting 720p HD video, shame they didn’t squeeze the 5MP (or even the old 3MP one from the 3GS) camera in, but I guess they need to keep a few things ‘exclusive’ to the iPhone for differentiation.

iTunes

I understand Apple decision to remove the CD from the iTunes icon as CDs are not as relevant as they once were, but the new icon is not good. Some of the early alternatives that people have been posting aren’t much better and if anything they are worse - there are a couple of exceptions, but I’m yet to see one which I’d rather see in my dock.

Personally I think the icon should have ‘featured’ purple, not blue, like iTunes store icon on iPhone. The whole glowing orb thing is a bit old too - looks too much like the play button in Windows Media Player (maybe that’s intentional?), if they wanted a ‘solid’ shape I would have preferred a rounded square like the iOS icons. Or at least something that fitted with the rest of the icons.

There is quite a lot of UI weirdness but iTunes seems to have a habit of being completely different to the rest of the OS. All the icons are now monochrome, and I don’t necessarily hate them but they make visually scanning the options much harder. I had associated colors with the different areas I clicked on, now I have to read the words to make sure. I’m undecided on the lack of vertical divider lines, its cleaner I guess, but it’ll take some getting used to.

And the some people don’t like the new ‘traffic light’ arrangement of the close, maximise, minimise buttons - I don’t mind them actually, but if you don’t like them this will apparently change them back to “normal”.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1

Oh and those checkboxes in the track listing. WTF is going on there?

Also read today that apparently you can’t create ringtones in iTunes 10 either. Well not the ‘official’ pay 99 cents to convert that song that you’ve already purchased way - the other way (make your own .m4r and import it) should still work (hopefully).

Ping

What exactly is the point? I’ve already got last.fm for this purpose. Its ‘in app’ only which I think is silly, it’s a social network (or at least it wants to be) and I want to view it in my web browser. On that point, do we need *another* social network? One where I have to manually go through and re-add all those people I’ve already friended/followed in other places. And the profile urls are stupid, typical iTunes crap eg. http://c.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZConnections.woa/wa/viewProfile?userId=188283711 (that’s my profile if you *really* want to add me)

And its got a silly name.

bingping