Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Apple's Special Event: iTunes 7 + iTV = Joy

Click to enlargeIf you didn't catch today's special Apple press event, you can see it over here, and it's back to the quality that we've come to expect from Steve Jobs. Of course not everyone has an hour to watch that thing, nor do most people want to, so you can get the full recap over here. After spewing out their normal figures, he revealed new iPods all around. The 30 GB one is down to $250 and there's an 80 GB for $350, and both have feature upgrades including longer battery life, brighter screens, new earbuds, gapless playback (tracks that shouldn't have dead space between them don't) and UI improvements (like searching). Oh, and you can get games for $5 also. That's pretty much what was expected, and it's all great stuff to tide us over until the touchscreen iPod. What's really nice are the new 2G Nanos, from $150 to $250, with aluminum bodies (goodbye scratchability), multiple colors, brighter display, full day battery life, gapless playback, thinner design, and also the newer earbuds. Even nicer though is the $79 2G Shuffle, which is like a third of its old length, has aluminum casing, dock, new earbuds, and comes with a built-in clip. What does this mean? Apple is going to start bathing in money because now they've hit all the price points with better products than before answering some of the biggest concerns from people: better casing, longer life, better brightness, and gapless playback.

But wait, that's not all, we have iTunes 7! You're going to want to download it over here because it is freaking sweet. The new features include better library organization, fancy new views, hidden controls for video playback, more intuitive iPod preference changing, more automated video updates for your iPod, nicer left sidebar, free album art for all your songs (not just those purchased through iTunes), games, and now the store has 640x480 resolution for all its videos. We also have movies on iTunes now in that same resolution in almost DVD quality with Dolby surround sound, and you can start watching it as it downloads. Click to enlargeWhy is this better than Amazon Unbox? Well, first of all, all old movies are $10 and all new movies are just $13, and then there's this little box on the right side here. This thing, codenamed iTV, is going to cause Apple to really lead the digital multimedia revolution with an easy, wireless, solution (without a power brick, by the way) to streaming video (including HDMI outputs), and it's just $300. Plus, it looks nice, and is even smaller than the Mac Mini. It won't be released until early next year, but I'm sure they'll have more studios signed on for the movie store by then. He even demoed it, and it looked pretty sweet. How much cooler would this be than doing Pay-Per-View with movies and only watching them within a day? Or having to go out and battle the elements to get a new release. And I'm sure it'll have movies you can't find in stores as well.

How has Apple become such a media mongul? This tech blog has a great explanation of how they're doing so well on all facets including barriers to entry, selling nothing more than what consumers want, and not being concerned with profits for media downloads thanks to their iPod sales. Have I mentioned how bad I want to work for them and be a part of all the cool new, innovative stuff they've been doing? Oh, and if you want to check out commercials and stuff from the past few years, you can get your fix over here. There's a new version of FoxIt Reader out now, and the coolest part of it is the ability to view your pdfs as text files so you can easily copy and paste text from them. Lastly, BMW will be making series 7 cars that run off of just hydrogen, but can take gas should you not be near a hydrogen station. It sounds pretty cool, and I applaud BMW for being a responsible luxury car maker.

Just a couple of movie items real quick. I think Michelle Yeoh is really pretty, so I'm obligated to break the news that she's signed on with Vin Diesel for an action flick called Babylon AD where she'll play a nun helping merc Diesel protect a young women victimized by a cult. I'm really just interested in seeing her though. The other thing is Latino Review's review of the spec script for Kashmir, an action drama about three ex-soldiers off on a bounty hunt, and they really loved it, which is why I mention it. I now really hope that WB does well with this script.

Now for some TMI Tuesday action:

1. Do you leave a tip at a restaurant? If so, how much? Do you double the tax?
I go for 10-20% depending on how good the service really was. Any less than 10% and I was actually insulted by how bad the service was.
2. What celebrity did you have a crush on growing up?
Definitely Katie Holmes. She was the reason I watched Dawson's Creek, as sad as that is.
3. Do you excuse yourself to “fart” or let it rip and blame the guy next to you?
The latter.
4. When entering or exiting a store, do you hold the door open for the person behind you, if they're relatively closeÂ… if they're more than 10 steps away do you pause and hold the door open?
I always leave it open, but more than 10 steps and it's not worth it. In that situation, you're creating tension and making them feel like they need to rush so that you don't have to keep waiting for them.
5. Ever had mono?
I don't think I do much that would make me susceptible to it though. I only share glasses and stuff with immediate family, but I definitely don't swap blood or spit with them.

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