Ipod Event- The future of the Ipod Nano is shaky
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10:10 a.m.: Steve Jobs has taken the stage at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and he looks about as thin as he did at the Worldwide Developers Conference. But he acknowledged the controversy swirling around his health by pointing to a sentence on the screen that read, ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’
The big news so far has been that NBC is coming back to iTunes after being away for more than a year. The two had faced differences over pricing.
And Apple will upgrade iTunes. iTunes 8 will come with a service called Genius, which will create playlists of similar music from one’s music. The feature also makes suggestions of songs and albums missing from one’s library. ‘We really think you are going to like the Genius playlist feature,’ he said.
The Genius feature is available today at Apple.com, he said.
10:22 a.m.: The company has a new iPod Nano - portrait size screen, moving away from the squat format of the last iPod Nano. ‘It’s the thinnest iPod we’ve ever made,’ said Jobs, who is demonstrating the iPod now. The Genius playlist feature announced a few minutes ago that will come with iTunes also works on the iPod. ‘It makes a playlist on the go, not connected to iTunes or anything else,’ he said.
And this will be a popular new feature - Shake the iPod and a new song comes up.
10:25: The new iPod Nano comes in eight colors. The 8-gigabyte version will cost $149 and should be in stock in the next few days. The 16-gigabyte model will cost $199 and be available by the weekend, Jobs said.
The company will sell new headphones for $29 that allows a user to control the volume or ...
... skip songs from the wire hanging down from headphones.
10:48: Jobs introduced what he is calling the iPod Touch but what’s new about it isn’t readily apparent, except that it too will have the Genius playlist creation that the new iPod Nano has. Although this is already well-known, the iPod Touch users can download programs from the App Store, so that it has become a game platform.
In the past 60 days since the App Store has been open, 100 million software programs, which can work on the iPhone or iPod Touch, have been downloaded. The App Store is available in 62 countries.
The battery life of the iPod Touch will have 36 hours of music and 6 hours of video. ‘This is the funnest iPod ever,’ Jobs said.
Available today, the 8-gigabyte model will cost $229; 16-gigabyte will be $299 and a 32-gigabyte for $399.
10:49: This Friday, an iPhone software update will go out, which should fix some of the bugs the iPhone 3G has experienced such as dropped calls, Jobs said.
10:52: Jack Johnson takes the stage. He is the No. 1 best selling male artist on iTunes, Jobs said.
11:00: Jack Johnson, who said he usually plays to 20something women, questioned whether he is really the NO. 1 best selling male artist. U2? I guess they don’t count because they are a band, he joked. He thanked iTunes. ‘They are a huge reason I get to keep playing music,’ he said.
Next to me is Van Baker, an analyst with Gartner, who said what is news is how the company keeps refreshing and revamping its product line at new prices. The Genius playlist creation appears to the most important news of the event, assuming that the event is nearly over.
11:03: Steve Wozniak is here, the only soul nodding his head with the music.
11:04: Apple’s shares are down 3%. Were people expecting more?
11:08: All over. The fact that NBC came back is evidence that they were pushing on a rope, said Van Baker. Perhaps the announcement that HD versions of shows will cost $1 more addressed a concern NBC had expressed that there was no variation of pricing, Baker said. ‘It’s really hard to challenge the dominance that iTunes and iPods have in the market,’ he said.
-- Michelle Quinn
Top photo by Daniel Acker / Bloomberg News
Bottom photo by Paul Sakuma / Associated Press