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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The all new Apple Show... iPods, iOS & Apple TV 2.0

Finally the news is out there and good old Mr Jobs has announced the successor to Apple TV in the form of Apple TV 2.0 (for want of a better description).  Apple held one of their now legendary press conferences in the YBCA Theatre, San Francisco, California at 6pm UK (10am local) time with a whole bunch of new product announcements and for the first time the video of it was streamed live across the internet to apple devices. I experienced crystal clear video and no lag, most definitely NOT like watching YouTube. All very apt given the content of the presentation. In particular and of great interest to me is the future of Apple TV.

I've been an Apple TV user for around 3 and half years now and I love it. It streams media from my iTunes library wirelessly into my living room onto my HD TV. I get full 5.1 surround audio and an HD picture (assuming that the source contains both or either of these). It's a great way to share photos with the family, watch Movies, listen to music and even stream the odd YouTube video. It's like an iPod for your TV. Awesome.

So here's a quick list of the new stuff:

  • Some new retail stores in Paris, China (Shang-Hai) and London (Covent Garden) all looking beautiful as usual. They now have 300 stores across 10 countries with around 1million visitors per day.
  • iOS 
    • Now exists on 120 million devices
    • 230,000 new activations per day
    • 6.5 Billion apps downloaded from the app store
    • 200 apps downloaded per second
    • 25,000 iPad apps
    • New release: iOS 4.1 free upgrade next week
      • Bug Fixes
      • High Dynamic Range Photos (Improved Photos)
      • HD Video over wiFi
      • TV Show rentals
      • Game Centre (Multiplayer Games) 
        • Epic Games release: "Project Sword" (which looks amazing on a phone!!!)
    • iOS 4.2 in November for iPad will a be free upgrade
      • All the Multitasking/Folders & current 4.01 features
      • Wireless printing (via Print Center)
      • AirPlay is the new name for AirTunes
  • iPods
    • 275 million iPods have now been sold
    • Every model redesigned
      • Shuffle: has buttons again, Playlists ($49)
      • Nano: has multi-touch display, FM radio, 24hour battery life, no click wheel (8Gb $149, 16Gb $179)
      • Touch: Even thinner! Retina Display, A4 Chip, Gyro, FaceTime & HD Video (front & rear cameras), 40hours playback time (8Gb $229, 32Gb $299, 64Gb $399)
    • All shipping next week
  • iTunes
    • 11.7 Billion Songs downloaded, 450 million TV episode, 100 million Movies, 35 million books, 160 million users with valid accounts
    • iTunes 10
      • New Logo (Ditched the CD)
      • Clearer views
      • New music discovery system "PING"
        • Social network for music built into iTunes
        • Follow Artists/friends 
        • See what they're listening to
        • See which concerts they're performing at/going to
        • Top 10 Chart based on the people you follow
        • Post your thoughts & opinions
        • Emphasis on privacy
        • It's open and available today: Get it here iTunes 10
  • One more thing....Apple TV
    • Users love apple TV (I do, that's a fact!). They want professional movies & TV shows, everything in HD, low prices, not a computer, not having to manage storage, not syncing (too complex), silent, cool and small.  That's the requirement.
      • Apple TV 2.0 is a quarter of the size. Palm sized black box. Power, HDMI, Optical Audio, Ethernet and 802.11n WiFi.
      • New Aluminium remote
      • Movies, TV & Music
      • No Purchases - all rental
      • No Storage any longer - all streamed
      • New Movie rentals $4.99 the day they're released on DVD
      • HD TV Show rental: 99 cents (ABC & FOX to start with)
      • Netflix streaming if you're a subscriber ($8.99/Month)
      • YouTube, Flickr Photos, Video & Photos from MobileMe
      • Airplay - allows you to send video or music from your iOS device straight to apple TV with a single click.
      • $99 available in 4 weeks time.


So now we have something new to look forward to and at a fab price. A mere $99 (£65). Of course we all know of old that what this actually means is when it's available in the UK (3 months after the US) it will actually cost us £99 or $152 (almost double) thanks to the ridiculous import duty and taxes that we pay in the UK. The problem for me though, is that as an avid user of Apple TV already, I won't be able to resist and I'm likely to be quite near the front of the queue come release day.

It also includes Netflix.  You may not be aware of it if you're a european reader, but Netflix is an online streaming service for movie rental. Today, it's only available in the US and Canada, but I have made noises at them in the past about a UK/EU service with fairly positive results.  I'm not on the alpha program yet, but I am on the list. Watch this space.

And where apple go, everyone else is sure to follow. So you can expect to see online streaming services appearing from every nook and cranny available, including: beefed up services from Amazon, Sony and a more defined service from Hulu (if it makes it across the pond)
 

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