We have collected all the information you need to know about today’s Apple music event in a series of individual product articles. We just added the first hands-on impressions from the people who played with them in California.
The new iPod touch is almost like an iPhone 4, without the phone. Even thinner than the original, it has a Retina display, Apple A4 processor, gyroscope, and a digital camera, both on the back and for FaceTime.
The official presentation
Watch Steve Jobs on stage presenting the new iPod touch:
The main features
Here are the main features of the new iPod touch:
• It has the iPhone’s Retina Display, a 3.5-inch IPS-based that has a razor-sharp 326ppi resolution. That’s 960 x 640 pixels.
• It can record 720p high definition video and take photos with its back camera.
• It can FaceTime with other iPod touches and iPhone 4s, using its front camera.
• It runs at the same speed of the iPhone 4, using the same Apple A4 chip.
• It incorporates the same 3-axis gyroscope of the iPhone 4, which makes motion tracking more precise than just the accelerometer.
• It will have iOS 4.1 built-in.
• It has a built-in speaker and microphone.
The differences with the previous generation and the iPhone 4
The most obvious differences with the previous generation are the two cameras, a very welcomed—nd demanded—addition to the iPod touch. However, while the back camera can record H.264 video at 720 lines of resolution (720p) and 30 frames per second, the resolution for photography is not as high as the iPhone 4. Just the same 960 x 720 pixels of the video, far from the gorgeous sensor of the iPhone.
It also has the front camera, which is identical to the iPhone 4, capturing VGA at 30 frames per second for videoconferencing action.
A not-so-obvious change is the microphone. The new iPhone is there for FaceTime, but it will have other users as well, like Skype. This new feature may turn the iPod touch into an phone replacement, for those people who don’t need to be in constant voice contact—a collective that is increasing quickly, as younger generations move from voice to text-based communication, either via chat, Twitter, or Facebook.
Apple also claims they have increased the amount of playback time to 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video, all while making the package smaller than the previous generation: Just 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.28 inches. For comparison, the previous generation iPod touch was 0.33 inches thick. The weigh is also down to 3.56 ounces (101 grams), from the previous 8 ounces.
What’s cool, what’s not
Almost everything about the new iPod touch seems quite better than the original. Having cameras is a big plus, as well as the speedy A4 processor—a must-have upgrade for gamers. Along with the new physical dimensions, the iPod touch 4th generation seems like a good upgrade for most users, if it lives up to the real world test. The only disappointment: The low resolution back camera. You will still need to pay the iPhone 4 premium to get a good camera sensor.
The device gains FaceTime support, which works with an e-mail address (as you can see from the photo above).
I had a chance to test FaceTime and it felt even faster than FaceTime on the iPhone 4, though this time around Apple might have just had a better Wi-Fi connection.
So we just got our hands on the new iPod touch… and boy is it small.
The new iPod Nano hardly bigger than an oversized stamp. It does away with the click wheel (and the video camera) in favor of a multitouch screen. But how do you use it?
The official presentation
The tiny, 1.54″ touchscreen iPod Nano is 46% smaller and 42% lighter than its predecessor, and scarcely larger than the new iPod Shuffle. It has hard volume buttons, Voiceover (with 29 languages), FM radio, NIke+ support, and a pedometer, and Apple’s saying it has 24 hour battery life. There’s a clip, too, so you can attach it right to your clothes.
It comes in the same four colors as the new Shuffle, as well as graphite red and a Global Fund-sponsored red. $149 for 8GB; $179 for the 16GB version.
What’s different from older iPod Nanos?
The revamped OS—which is not iOS, sez Apple—doesn’t offer much in the way of new capabilities over the old Nano, since it’s focused on a streamlined control scheme. You navigate just the way you’d expect, by poking around with your finger, and twisting two fingers rotates the screen (if you happen to have it upsidedown?). There’s a home screen which you can populate with your most-used items, rearranged by tapping and holding, just like on iOS devices.
But, alas, gone are the older Nano’s video camera and video playback capabilities—the true multimedia iPod now is the iPod Touch—but the new Nano does photos, which you can manipulate with multitouch.
What’s cool, what’s not?
Nixing video altogether is a bummer, and you have to wonder how easy it will be to scroll through your music when your thumb is, you know, covering the whole screen. It’s hard to shit on multitouch, but it’s also hard to imagine what it could be useful for on such a tiny display. Rotating the screen? Why not just, you know, turn the tiny iPod?.
Still, I find the little guy irrationally adorable. That fake bezel makes it look like a tiny little iPad. The nanoest iPad in all the land. And rearrangeable icons for quick access to the stuff you use most is pretty neat, too.
Super thin, super light, and really, the capacitive multitouch works very well. The screen is crisp and top menu navigation is smooth
The new nano is indeed cool. It’s just a bit bigger than the new iPod shuffle and the clip mechanism is the same. An Apple spokesperson told me that the new iPod nano does not run iOS and that you can’t sync apps to it-it only looks like iOS. Indeed, you can swipe around the screen and tap on icons just like you would on an iPhone, and if you press and hold on the screen while it’s playing a song, the main screen will come back.
One screen on the Nano shows ‘Artists’, ‘Playlists’, ‘Genius Mixes’ and ‘Now playing.’ Swipe your finger and you get a few more apps: radio, photo, podcasts and settings. There’s no home button, so you have to hold your finger down on the screen to exit an app, which is simple enough. You can also rearrange the icons by holding your finger on an app until it jiggles, then move it to wherever you’d like–just like on the iPhone.
The question remains as to whether or not the iPod Nano is running iOS and if we’ll be able to jailbreak it to run different apps. Apple hasn’t disclosed whether the operating system was iOS but it sure looks like it.
It’s really sweet, so small. I wanna eat it. It’s as big as maybe four keyboard keys. It’s like a pill you might swallow. The clip’s snug.
The official presentation
The main features
The new Apple TV will stream rental movies directly from iTunes, or beam videos from your own computer, bypassing local storage—and the possibility of buying anything. Some memory buffer will be available, however, to pause and navigate streamed movies while viewing. Content-wise, Apple is now offering $0.99 rentals from ABC and Fox, as well as (and more excitingly) full Netflix streaming support. First-run movies will be available in HD (720p only, alas) for $4.99 the same day they’re released on DVD. Visually, there doesn’t appear to be much of a change here—the UI is mostly the same, though the integration of Rotten Tomatoes scores is a neat inclusion, and might help avoid ruining your evening with a sour rental.
What’s different from the old Apple TV?
Beyond eschewing buying and storing media—though this is a significant shift—not very much. Despite the beefy new A4 processor, the UI looks and works virtually the same, and it’ll support the same formats as before (meaning still no DivX or Xvid playback). The new diminutive size and matte black design will be more eye-catching than the predecessor, but really—you’re probably sticking this thing under your TV, so size shouldn’t matter so much.
What’s cool, and what isn’t?
A $99 Netflix box with iTunes rentals is definitely a sweet setup (Roku, be advised), and unlike its predecessor, might actually attract attention. But other than more content and less cost, which by all means could have been accomplished with the old hardware, this isn’t anything close to revolutionary. Think of it as the well-designed movie box the original Apple TV should (and could) have been.
We like what we see. The streaming was speedy and extremely clear during our demo, and the overall speed of the interface seemed really solid. We also learned that the box is indeed 720p (just as we’d reported earlier). Apple told us that they felt that using 720p allowed them to strike a balance between quality and bandwidth.
Wired is pleased:
TV and movie rentals are really snappy and fast. After choosing to rent a movie or show, the Apple TV takes a few seconds to prepare a buffer and begins streaming right away. Also particularly cool was internet integration. I enjoyed searching through Flickr streams. Select a photo and hit the Play button and it immediately plays a slideshow with music and fancy transitions. I’m too lazy to check my friends’ Flickr streams the normal way on Flickr.com, aren’t you? Plus, the photos look great on a big screen through the Apple TV’s HDMI connection.
The new Apple TV is incredibly small compared to its predecessor. We confirmed with an Apple spokesperson that the maximum HD resolution of the Apple TV is 720p, consistent with recent rumors. Additionally, there will be no software update to bring the new features to older Apple TVs. Older Apple TVs will continue to work as they have been working up to this point, and they will continue to be able to purchase movies and TV shows even though the new Apple TV is rental-only.
Boing Boing has this to say:
The UI is improved, and so is the ability to bounce back and forth from YouTube to your own local video collection, to NetFlix and iTunes…Cloud rental is being pitched as freedom from having to store, but I think there’ll be a lot of grumbling because people like owning things.”
• Click here to read all about the new iPod touch, including the hands-on.
• For the new all-touchscreen iPod nano, click here.
• For the new buttons-are-back iPod shuffle, click here.
• And finally, to learn all about the Apple TV, click here.