Apple puts wi-fi in iPod Touch

Apple puts wi-fi in iPod Touch

"Today we're here to talk about music," Steve Jobs said as he took the stage at San Francisco's Moscone West expo centre at 10:00am Wednesday.

"We've distributed 600 million copies of iTunes so far, and customers have bought and downloaded over three billion songs from iTunes. iTunes is the number one online music store in every single one of the 22 countries it operates in," he explained. "We started with just 200,000 songs and we have over six million songs in every single one of those stores."

Jobs revealed that Apple plans to release a new version of iTunes on Wednesday evening that will support the products that are being announced Wednesday--the biggest new feature in iTunes will be ringtone support for the iPhone.

Jobs played "Give peace a chance," and then added, "That's [for] when NBC calls," referring to Apple's recent dispute with the TV network, which said it will end its partnership to publish shows on the iTunes Store in December.

iPod news

New features of the redesigned iPod nano include the ability to watch video on a larger, brighter display. The new iPod nano also features Cover Flow, the ability to scroll through album artwork visually. What's more, the new nano also has games support, more storage features and a full metal design.

The redesigned iPod nano comes in five colours--red, black, silver, blue and green. "It's incredibly tiny, it's incredibly thin," said Jobs.

The iPod nano now features a 2.0-inch display that features the same resolution as the previous-generation full-sized iPod: 320 x 240 pixels. "We've achieved this with a screen with the highest pixel density we've ever shipped: 204 ppi," explained Jobs. "And the screen is just gorgeous. We you see it you're going to really love it."

The user interface has been enhanced on the iPod nano--the left side has the traditional iPod menu, and on the right, a preview of what you're selecting. Jobs also indicated that the new iPod nano ships with three games--Vortex and Sudoku were both named specifically.

Jobs demonstrated the iPod nano playing video by watching an episode of The Daily Show featuring John Hodgman, the actor who appears as the PC in Apple's "Mac and PC" television ads.

Jobs said the new iPod nano provides 24 hours of audio and five hours of video playback on a single battery charge.

The redesigned iPod nano comes in two versions--a 4GB version in silver, for $149, and 8GB version in colours, for US$199.

"These new nanos have left our factories already. They shipped Wednesday, they're on planes, they should be in stores by this weekend," said Jobs. "'A little video for everyone'" is our new line.

The 'classic' iPod

The new iPod still features a click wheel, and it's now in a full metal design in silver and black. The low-end iPod classic (at 80GB) is now thinner than the 30GB thin model that preceded it. Jobs claims the new iPod gets 30 hours of audio playback and five hours of video playback on a single charge.

Like the iPod nano, the new iPod classic features an enhanced user interface.

Apple is also offering a model that features 160GB of storage.

"This boggles the mind," said Jobs for emphasis. "The first iPod put 1000 songs in your pocket. This new iPod puts 40,000 songs in your pocket. It's amazing."

The new 80GB model costs $249, while the 160GB model costs $349, with availability next week.

The iPod Touch

Jobs revealed a new iPod model that looks exactly like the iPhone, but without the ear speaker slit. It's the same size as the iPhone, but 8mm thinner, according to Jobs, who said, "We think it's one of the Seven Wonders of the World."

The iPod Touch sports a 3.5-inch wide-screen display, and along its bottom run music, video and photo icons. "Just like the iPhone, this is the best way to share photos on a portable device ever," said Jobs proudly.

The iPod Touch's button-driven interface also showed icons for a calculator, contacts, clock, calendar and settings icons. What's more, the new device has Wi-Fi--the iPod Touch is the first iPod to feature wireless networking capabilities, with support for 802.11 b and g networks.

"Others have done this and have failed," said Jobs, referring to wireless networking--and perhaps making a casual swipe at Microsoft's 'iPod killer,' the Zune. "We think we know why it's failed. What's the problem with adding Wi-Fi? Part is getting on Wi-Fi itself."

The iPod touch's battery lasts for 22 hours of audio playback and five hours of video playback per charge, according to Apple.

The iPod touch is a worldwide product launch, said Jobs. It's the first touch product Apple has shipped outside the United States, and it's been localized into many languages.

The iPod touch is coming in two configurations--8GB and 16GB, for $299 and $399 respectively. Both models are expected to be available "in just a few weeks," according to Jobs, who said that Apple will ship them in September, "in plenty of time for the holiday season."

One More Thing

"But there is one more thing, if you'll bear with us," said Jobs.

"You might have noticed that there's an empty spot on that dock of the new iPod touch," said Jobs. "What could that possibly be for? Well, it's for a new app we've written called the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store."

"'Finally,' some of you are saying," said Jobs. "It's so cool. So let's take a look at what it is."

Opening the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store displays four buttons: Features, Top Tens, Search and Downloads. You can pick Top 10 songs from all of iTunes or only from specific genres. If you see a song you like, you can preview it, and if you like it, you can tap it to buy it using a Buy Now button. You'll download the song, and the next time you dock your iPod touch to your computer, it will sync back to iTunes.

The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is available internationally in every country where Apple operates an iTunes Store, said Jobs.

"And we're going to bring it to the iPhone," he added. Jobs said the new software will be delivered to iPhone users via an iPhone software update later this month.

iPhone price break

"But we want to get even more aggressive than this," said Jobs. He explained that the iPhone's customer satisfaction numbers are off the charts--higher for iPhone owners than for any Apple product in the history of the company.

"And so we want to make iPhone even more affordable for even more people this holiday season and so we're going to do something about that today. We're on track to ship our millionth iPhone by the end of this month, and so to get ready for the holiday season, here's what we're going to do: The vast majority of customers want the 8GB iPhone. So today, we're going to focus on just the 8GB model."

"The 8GB isn't going to sell for $599, it's going to sell starting today for $399. We want to put iPhones in a lot of stockings this holiday season," said Jobs.

Jobs then asked the crowd to give a round of applause to the Apple employees present who worked on the new products. They stood, and the crowd cheered its approval.

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