Archive | iTunes

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New iPod Lineup; 4G Nano and improved Touch

Posted on 09 September 2008

iTunes 8, plus new iPod Nano and updates to the Touch and Classic with more storage starting at $149!

At today’s special Let’s Rock event, Apple Inc. refreshed it’s iPod lineup with a new longer shaped 4th generation iPod Nano and updates to the Touch and Classic iPod. The new iPod Nano has a curved aluminum design. Apple says it is the thinnest Nano yet. The Nano gets a new user interface (UI) and the Accelerometer from iPhone. Shake the iPod Nano and it shuffles your songs! The Nano now comes in eight new colors: silver, purple, bue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink. Apple also lowered the price on the Nano; 8 GB model is $149 with a 16 GB for $199.

The iPod Touch is now even thinner than before. The Touch now borrows its shape from the IPhone 3G but with a polished steel back. Improved UI, Genius creation on the fly like the Nano, a speaker and Nike + iPod software built in. The Touch comes in three models; 8GB for $229, 16GB $299 and 32GB model for $399. The Touch comes with the new 2.1 software update. iPhone users will get the update beginning Friday. The iPod Classic now becomes one 120 GB model for $249, while the Shuffle appears to be unchanged.

iTunes 8 adds some new features such as HD TV shows and a new “grid” mode that lets you pick albums, artists, genres, similar to Apple’s iPhoto application. iTunes 8 also introduces a new type of smart playlist called “Genius.” Genius auto creates playlists from songs in your library that go good together, with just one click. After selecting a song you press the Genius button in bottom right corner to create a new genius list. A Genius sidebar can also recommend items to purchase from the iTunes Store. iTunes sends the information anonymously, so there is no big brother at work here.

Apple also announce today that NBC will be binging back TV shows like The Office, Heroes, Monk, Battlestar Galactica and 30 Rock to iTunes.

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iTunes is Now the Number Two Music Retailer

Posted on 27 February 2008

iTunesApple’s iTunes music store is now the number two music retailer in the U.S. trailing only Wal-Mart. With over six million songs from all the major labels, iTunes has sold over four billion songs since it started. I’m sure the record labels never imagined when Steve Jobs came to them with the idea to sell digital music online that it would grow into the juggernaut it is today.

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iTunes Movie Rentals Available in HD

Posted on 15 January 2008

iTunes rentals
At Macworld today, Apple, Inc. unveiled the much rumored iTunes movie rental service. All of the major studios are on board, including Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, FOX, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony. The initial library will include over 1,000 movies and will be available 30 days after the DVD release. You can watch the movies anywhere (on Macs, PCs, all current iPods and iPhones) and have 30 days to begin watching the movie and 24 hours to finish. At $2.99 for older titles and $3.99 for new releases and $4.99 for a limited set of HD movies, the prices are in line with other on demand services.

With the release of the rental service Apple has updated their Apple TV, calling it Take 2. The quality of the movies is said to be comparable to DVD for the standard rentals with HD movies now featuring Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The Apple TV also received a software update and is now a stand-alone product and can be used independent of iTunes. This with the new HD capabilities should make the Apple TV more appealing to home theater buffs. On aspect that was only briefly touched on is iTunes Digital Copy. On select DVD’s a free iTunes Digital Copy will be provided for personal use. When you insert a compatible DVD into your computer, the iTunes version transfers to your iTunes library, ready to watch or sync to your iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV.

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Movie Rentals Come to iTunes, Wal-Mart Shuts Down Video Downloads

Posted on 27 December 2007

The face of online video is evolving almost daily. New sites, new deals – no wonder the writers are on strike. It was announced today that Wal-Mart has shut down their online video download service after just a year. Engadget sites abandoned support from HP which put an end to their back-end. Users will still be able to watch the videos they purchased on Wal-Mart’s site but only on the machine originally used to download them. Without continued technology support the DRM makes the flicks unmovable. So one more try by one of the big guys, and one more down (who the hell buys movies from Wal-Mart’s site anyway).

Now on to Apple. It’s rumored Apple will make an official announcement at January’s Macworld that they have partnered with Fox to bring users online video rental downloads through iTunes. The deal is also said to include new physical DVDs from Fox that will include a pre-ripped format for transfer right into iTunes. Apple has been reluctant to venture into the rental model with music, but video is a different animal all together. Until now, Apple has been unable to convince many of the major movie studios to offer their content for download. There may be a similiar deal in the works with Steve Job’s bed buddy Disney.

Netflix added had a similar download rental component to their mail order rentals some time ago, but needless to say no support for iPods and iTunes integration.

So perhaps another big step for Apple taking the bull by the horns in a market with no clear leader, no clear technology and an unclear customer base. It would seem to be a good move for Apple to leverage the massive iPod / iTunes culture and take another stab at the home entertainment market they failed to capture with the first generation of Apple TV. But of course that’s like to evolve in January as well. Stay tuned.

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