Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Annual iPod Announcement Day

School is back in session and once again Apple is hosting an event today to presumably announce some changes to the iPod lineup. The almost sure thing for today is a new generation of iPod Touch with a Retina Display, front facing camera and support for FaceTime. The less sure thing, but also highly likely announcement is a new generation of iPod Nano, with a completely new form factor (think half the size of the original). All signs so far point to a new touch screen display and the elimination of the current click wheel. I have seen varying rumors about the iPod Nano getting WiFi, but that seems less likely.

Now all of the above doesn't really interest me, because I have the iPhone 4 and also a 3rd generation Shuffle (which I rarely use anymore because I never go to the gym). However, I will definitely be keeping tabs on today's event because of the alleged iTV (aka Apple TV Take 3). The biggest rumor floating around seems to be the announcement of a brand new AppleTV. The alleged features include: no internal hard drive, NetFlix streaming, support for iOS apps, the size of an iPhone and a $99 price point.

I am an avid fan of the AppleTV, but still think it is very limited in its functionality right now when compared to things like Boxee that support all sorts of web video besides just YouTube. Apple is rumored to be securing TV Show rentals for 99 cents, which is intriguing, but with a TiVO I am going to catch most shows anyway. As for the iOS support I don't think its going to happen for a couple reasons, first and foremost the touch input just wouldn't work the same because you aren't touching the TV and iOS doesn't have a cursor. I think it is possible for it to use a controller much like the Magic Trackpad instead of the annoying teeny tiny white controller. Also Apple has been very good about ensuring iOS apps only appear on very specific screen sizes (iPhone4 Retina Display, iPad, and all other iPhones and iPod Touch devices), I don't seem them adding another screen size to the mix. One possibility for the iTV might be to allow people to mirror their iPhone display on the TV. This would be great for playing games and other apps that don't require precise tapping.

In closing it is hard to say what is going to happen today. Apple has always classified the Apple TV as an iPod, so today would be a logical day for making an announcement about it. At the same time the invite had a picture of a guitar on it and there is likely to be an iLife update soon, which might be a more appropriate tie in with the Apple TV. Either way for the first time in five years Apple will be streaming video from the Keynote to any Mac with Snow Leopard or any iOS devices.

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