During a much anticipated media event, Apple yesterday announced a refresh of three of its iPod models and a new, low-cost version of its Apple TV device which will allow users to stream video rentals straight to their televisions.
iPod touch, nano and shuffle have all received an overhaul with the nano dramatically reduced in size and boasting a new touch screen instead of hard buttons and built-in clip and a claimed 24 hour playback battery life.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the new look was the “biggest reinvention of the iPod nano since its debut in 2005″.
In a ‘Back To The Future’ development, the fourth generation of the iPod shuffle has reverted to the square, clip-on form factor of earlier models and has regained the click-wheel removed from the third generation as well as the VoiceOver feature which speaks track and playlist names.
The iPod Touch, dubbed an ‘iPhone without the contract” by Jobs during his presentation, retains its iPhone 3G look but includes a Retina display, the latest version of iOS and the iPhone 4’s FaceTime video calling feature allowing Touch and iPhone users to communicate with one another.
Also unveiled was the much rumoured refresh to the Apple TV box which goes on sale later this year and has lost its hard drive to become a streaming, video rental device. Measuring just four inches square, the new £99 Apple TV can also access video and music stored on a Mac, iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad.
Although Jobs announced US consumers would benefit from 99cent TV rentals from ABC and Fox, Apple’s website and post event statement makes no mention of similar low priced deals for UK viewers and, to the disappointment of many social network and forum users, the new device supports HD content at just 720p rather than 1081.
There was also an addition to Apple’s iTunes software in the shape of a new ‘social network for music’ called Ping which allows bands and iTunes customers to share music recommendations and updates. The free opt-in service is available by upgrading to iTunes 10, available to download from Apple.com.
Jobs said Ping would allow iTunes users to “follow your favourite artists and friends and join a worldwide conversation with music’s most passionate fans.”