Apple hasn’t forgotten about the iPod or iTunes, announcing Wednesday a new iPod touch and a new iPod nano.
After the iPhone’s introduction, Tim Cook brought on Eddy Cue to talk about iTunes, introducing it as the #1 music store in the world, with over 200 million customers using iTunes, worldwide availability in 63 countries, and over 26 million songs available. “Two thirds of our downloads come from iOS,” Cue said on stage, while showing off brand new iTunes and App Store designs on the iPad, then on the iPhone 5. Launching September 19th, the visual refresh brings better performance when browsing through the store, and also includes the ability to preview music browsing and share store links with friends.
Apple also showcased an updated iTunes application for OS X, which features a new edge-to-edge design that looks similar to the iPad’s refreshed music app as of iOS 5. Album art flows across the display — clicking on an album expands album info as opening a folders does on iOS. iTunes also brings popovers that present a drop down of upcoming songs, and improved search results as you filter through music in your library. Cue also showed off a brand new mini-player design, which unlike previous designs, shows album artwork and gives the option to manage playlists and see upcoming songs as well.
Earlier today, Apple announced a new iPod nano model, which will ship with an updated version of its software pre-installed. This new iPod nano software will include new clock faces, new fitness features, and a refreshed user interface with bigger icon navigation. From Apple’s press release:
iPod nano now features larger icons for even easier navigation of its intuitive Multi-Touch™ user interface, and you can choose from 16 new digital clock faces, ranging from classic analog looks to your favorite Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. iPod nano now tracks your runs and walks right out of the box with no accessory required, making it even easier to get your fitness program up and running. iPod nano can track the time, pace and distance of your run, the calories you burn, and the number of steps you walk. iPod nano encourages you with motivational real-time voice feedback during your run, available in seven languages, while listening to your favorite music or FM radio station. You can also easily upload workouts to the Nike+ website to set goals, track your progress and challenge friends. The ultra portable iPod nano is available in seven colors including silver, graphite, blue, green, orange, pink and (PRODUCT) RED.
Whereas many had initially claimed the new iPod nano software would be exclusive to the latest nano model, Apple has made available a software update in iTunes that enables the latest functionalities on the 2010 iPod nano. The update can be installed now by iPod nano 2010 owners by checking for updates in iTunes, as shown below. Interestingly enough, the new navigation UI is optional and users can revert back to the old grid interface in the iPod’s settings.
Phil Schiller just announced an updated version of the iPod nano. The new model allows users to swipe between much larger icons instead of the previous grid layout with Apple’s Multi-Touch™ user interface. Other notable features include the ability to track walks and runs using the built in Nike+ fitness app without the need for the Nike+ adapter.
Apple has also added 16 new clock faces for customers that enjoy wearing the iPod nano as a wrist watch. The clock faces have a large variety including classic analog clocks as well as Disney characters that will surely be popular among young children.
The iPod nano models:
8GB for $129
16GB for $149
The iPod touch have some exciting new software features that ship with iOS 5 including iMessage, Game Center, Notifications and Wi-Fi Syncing to iTunes.
The iPod touch now comes in a Black and White model, and it will be available starting October 12th.
Apple could be about retire the iPod classic and iPod shuffle as part of a “product transition” that was hinted at by Apple in their last earnings call. The news comes from TUAW who seem reasonably confident that at some point this year Apple will axe the two devices — likely keeping the iPod nano and iPod touch, for now.
To back up their source’s information they cite a recent report from CNet in which it was noted that the iPods now only make up for 8% of Apple’s total revenue. As the above graph shows, iPod sales have also been stagnant or falling over the last few quarters and although Apple doesn’t break these figures down model by model, its believed the iPod touch is what has held iPod sales up. Interestingly the iPod’s 10 year anniversary is coming up soon on October 24th and as CNet said it would be a nice for Apple to say “It had a great run, now go buy an iPhone”.
The shuffle is basically the same form factor as the nano, minus a screen. The classic uses a platter-based hard drive, while Apple is largely transitioning to flash-based memory solutions. The shuffle’s lack of a screen has been an issue since it first appeared as a memory stick with music playback functions. If Apple killed these off, all of its iPods would have touchscreens, and something tells me it wants it that way.
Concluding their report, TUAW notes that their source is “NOT an analyst” and that Apple’s plans are to consolidate the iPod line into just the nano (which would become Apple’s lowest-end iPod) and the touch. The iPod touch would become the premium iPod, with few changes except the availability of a white version.
MacRumors points to a photo posted by Taiwanese website Apple.pro [Google Translation] of what they claim to be a seventh generation iPod nano featuring a 1.3 megapixel rear camera. The website, often a reliable source of Apple rumors and product leaks, posted a similar picture of the iPod nano’s case back in early April, but the photo detailed the internals of the device showing a hole for the alleged camera, failing to explain,however, how the camera would be placed externally considering the clip Apple places on the iPod nano’s back. Today’s photo seems to confirm previous speculation that, in order to make room for the camera, Apple would have to ditch the clip entirely, although it doesn’t make much sense considering Apple has been heavily touting the iPod nano as a sport accessory that can easily clip to your shirt or trousers — it’d be a curious choice for the company to revert to a clipless design to make room for a camera on such a small screen.
It’s unclear whether this new photo belongs to an iPod nano prototype Apple has been testing, or the final version of the next-generation model as Apple.pro claims. A 1.3MP lens would make for some decent photography on the nano’s screen, and indeed previous generation models featured a camera for shooting flicks and applying effects — although on a bigger screen and different case design. Since its introduction last year the 6th generation iPod nano has become an incredibly popular accessory thanks to the inclusion of a clip by default, and it’ll be interesting to see if Apple is really going to change the design for a rear camera. An announcement will likely be made in September at Apple’s usual music event, leaving plenty of room to speculation and rumors in the next months.
We really haven’t heard of any exciting iPod Nano watch kits in a while since the TikTok & LunaTik last year. They’re having huge success but there’s still plenty of room for new ones. Enter The Paradox – a contemporary/industrial designed conversion kit for the iPod Nano made from high-grade stainless steel with a patent pending enclosure design.
Earlier today Apple issued a software update for the iPod Nano 6th generation, which brings a useful feature to the device: you can now control music and radio playback using the Sleep / Wake button without looking at the screen.
With iPod software update version 1.1 for iPod nano (6th generation), you will be able to:
Completely turn off the iPod, rather than just put the device to sleep.
Control music or radio playback using the Sleep/Wake button without having to look at the device.
Another notes provided by Apple on the iPod Nano 1.1 update:
When the iPod nano is off, you will not hear or be alerted to any alarm or reminder set on the iPod. When you turn iPod nano back on, alarms or reminders that haven’t yet expired will occur as scheduled.
If you turn iPod nano back on within five minutes of when it was turned off, it will remember your music playlist and what was playing. However, if you turn iPod nano back on more than five minutes after it was turned off, the device will not remember what you were doing on the device or which application was active.
Following James Whelton’s discovery of the possibility to bypass the iPod Nano 6G cache comparison to install blank spaces on the device and remove apps from its Springboard, well-known developer Steven Troughton-Smith has figured out a way to put the Nano in DFU mode (which, in iTunes, will return the device to its default factory settings) and send custom firmware files to it. This is the same method of installing custom firmware on jailbroken iPhones and iPads and make those devices recognize the files as signed and valid, although the Nano method is still a concept and needs some more hacking and work before it becomes a real “jailbreak”.
Troughton-Smith, however, managed to get two encrypted files, send them to the device and have them executed on the unit’s reboot. Using a modified version of popular jailbreak utility iRecovery and the extract2g tool to get the files from Nano’s OS, he believes this will certainly inspire other devs to start tinkering with the Nano 6G and start creating proof-of-concept apps.
Check out the demo video below. I don’t know what kind of “apps” it’d be cool to have on the Nano, but a mini Instapaper would be great. I think. Or Angry Birds. [9to5 via Steven Troughton-Smith] (more…)