Another beginning to the fall season, and another Apple Music/iPod event. Although everyone fully expected a revamped iPod Touch to keep up with the iPhone 4, I was surprised with the number of changes to the iPod lineup. An update to iOS4 was inevitable, but hearing about what the iPad will be able to do with iOS 4.2 has gotten me all giddy.
I do not own an iPhone 4 (yet), so I do not have the proximity sensor glitches and other issues that some owners experience. For me personally, the most exciting thing software-wise is the iPad functionality. Multitasking on a device that large, and seemingly made for such things, is long overdue.
Many a time have I closed Pandora, expecting the same result that my iOS 4–packing iPhone 3GS gives me, which is continued playback. But I am left with silence. Frustrating, frustrating silence. Thankfully, we finally have an actual timeframe when we can expect to see iOS arrive on our tablets.
For me, what was even more exciting than iPad multitasking is the ability to stream from the iPad directly to the new Apple TV over Wi-fi. Now, I have never owned an Apple TV. It was always too expensive, too limited, and just seemed like an extra couple hundred dollars to line Steve Jobs’ pocket, just to be able to look at a beautiful piece of hardware I wouldn’t actually use.
When a full-fledged computer, like an older, but more functional Mac Mini, can be spotted on eBay, Craigslist (or occasionally even Apple.com, for that matter) for little more than Apple TV’s original $229 asking price, the device made no sense.
For an extra $100 or so, viola! — your 55″ HDTV could instantly become your new ginormous monitor. But the gadget’s new price ($99) and the increased abilities (can you say Netflix?) are making it much more appealing to me.
This is a bit of a sore spot for me. Just being up front. The iPod is an iconic device. The clickwheel has been a staple of society for the last decade. But alas, it’s mostly gone (with the exception of the mega-storage iPod Classic, of course. Just guessing here, but I bet it will be discontinued as soon as they figure out how to squeeze 120 GB in a Touch).
Apple’s improvements to the iPod Touch are more than welcome, with the new cameras and Retina Display. The ability to FaceTime between devices is great, except perhaps for the inherent parental worry that teens will take this in an unseamly direction. (Lucky for me, my boys are both under three years old.
Still, a haunting thought from the future keeps me up some nights: “What are you doing in there Charlie? – “Oh, just on the ‘phone’ with Stacie.” Yikes.) With that said, it’s great to see more iPhone technology being ported to the iPod line.
The iPod Shuffle, thankfully, gets its buttons back. Having to buy specific headphones with volume and track control is very limiting to consumers, and this solves all those issues. And you gotta admit, $49.99 is a pretty darn good price.
Finally, there’s the iPod Nano. Here is a pic of my beloved second-gen model.
When the Nano launched, it replaced the most popular iPod at the time, the Mini. Each successive iteration gained increasing popularity, with one glaring exception — the third generation, often referred to as the “square one.”
Call me a purist, but like I said, I’m attached to the click wheel, and it was a shock to see this new completely touch-enabled Nano without it. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m lamenting the state of a technology I’ve grown to love, but I missed the ‘wheel. Luckily, I still have my old 2GB Nano, with a battery that lasts about week.
The new tiny touchscreen model just doesn’t have anything resembling a Nano-esque sensibility. Not that it won’t be a breeze to use, and I’m sure the size will make it extremely popular among certain customers. But I don’t think I’ll be buying into this one. (A camera could’ve made me change my mind, but how to squeeze one into that, I can’t even guess.)
So overall, the Apple event was a mixed bag for me. I think some changes approached greatness, but others felt like maybe Cupertino took its redesigns a bit too far.
What did you think of the announcements? Are you thrilled with what Apple has come up with, or did the event have you shaking your head at some points? Weigh in at the comments below.