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Apple Announces iTunes 9, "LPs," Video Camera For the iPod Nano 521

Apple just finished their latest press event, and they revealed a number of new services and features for their products. They kicked things off by saying that iPhone OS 3.1 is now available. It will add the Genius recommendation technology to the App store, giving users suggestions on which apps they might find useful based on what others with similar needs use. They're also adding 30,000 ringtones that users can purchase. Next, they announced iTunes 9, which will use Genius to make mixes by analyzing songs in your library to see which go well together. iTunes is also seeing UI improvements for things like app management, and syncing utilities. You'll be able to easily transfer apps, music, and videos from one of your local devices to another, and there is integrated support for Twitter and Facebook if you want to send music as a gift. Another big new feature: iTunes LPs. These LPs will be a digital album with cover art, lyrics, videos, and other customized content created by the artists themselves. Moving on, they showed off a few new games: an Assassin's Creed sequel, an FPS called Nova that had impressive graphics and multiplayer capability, Riddim Ribbon, a futuristic driving/music game that lets you remix your songs by how you navigate the course, and Madden NFL 2010. Next, Apple announced a price cut for the 8GB iPod Touch and a doubling of available storage for the other models. It's also getting OpenGL 2.0. The iPod Classic is getting a storage upgrade from 120GB to 160GB. In addition, there are headphones that have a controller for the Shuffle. Finally, Jobs got down to his "one more thing": Apple will now be building a video camera into the back of every iPod Nano. Apparently it will be a simple matter to sync videos to your computer or put them up on YouTube, and they're building in an FM radio as well. A detailed liveblog of the event with a ton of screenshots is available at Engadget.
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Apple Announces iTunes 9, "LPs," Video Camera for the iPod Nano

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  • by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:27PM (#29369139) Journal

    It seems that Apple has made a well-timed and completely innovative and ground-breaking price-cut on their products, plus a brand new low-end iPod. Perhaps they are trying to throw a wrench into the machinations of the massive unstoppable juggernaut that is the Zune.

    The iPod Touch is a solid product, but its hardware is a bit lackluster. I wish Creative Labs would just productize the Zii Egg already.

    • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
      I'm curious, what about the iPod touch's hardware do you consider 'lackluster'?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I just can't legitimize spending that sort of money on something like that with the Zii Egg and the Zune HD around the corner. They're a lot more powerful... and for some reason I can't get past the hardware of handheld devices.

        This may sound silly on slashdot, but I am actually comparing it to the Zune HD.

        • I'm not seeing what the Zune HD has that the latest iPod touch doesn't, except fewer pixels and WinMo.

          • by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:43PM (#29369447) Journal

            Well, it's got a pretty hardcore Nvidia Tegra APX, which really slaps the iPod's solution sideways... plus it does have a pretty nice .NET development environment. I develop games... so I do care about this sort of thing.

            Aside from that, it does 720p video out... but I don't have an HDTV so I don't care.

            I am not going to bother defending this device. It's quite speculative since I don't know how Microsoft will position their App market on it. If the device can be App-centric, it has great potential. If it remains media-centric, then it will likely just be a flashy alternative to lower end iPods.

            • I'll give you the Tegra, but if you're a game developer, chances are, sandboxed semi-interpreted apps seem... less ideal than native apps.

              • XNA is quite native at the bottom. It's just abstracted at a high level... I think you could get near-native power on it, which should still outstrip what can be done on an ipod. besides this, I don't have a mac and don't care to buy one in order to develop for my handheld.

        • by pohl ( 872 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:43PM (#29369449) Homepage

          I just can't legitimize spending that sort of money on something like that with [vaporware] around the corner.

          Fixed for brevity

        • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#29369529) Homepage Journal

          What are you honestly going to use the extra "power" for? Wouldn't you rather just have something that does its thing really well? And has a gazillion apps available? If you're going to go purely on features for the dollar instead of "brand", you're probably going to buy a SanDisk anyway. Microsoft is in the worst of both worlds here-- they can't compete with Apple in apps, games, usability, or utility, and they can't compete with the smaller Asian manufactures on pure feature checklist length. Unless you put a LOT of extra value in the "Microsoft" label why buy a Zune? (Which is probably why market share goes roughly 74% Apple, 18% "Other", 7% SanDisk, 1% Microsoft.)

          • Yeah. Yeah. That's rational and all. I think the Zune HD will be a more turn-around product for them.

            Really, I fanatically hate Apple and it seems like the strongest competition so far at a decent pricepoint. I like their development tools, too. I care about that.

            • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:42PM (#29371375)

              I doubt it. For the Zune to be a turn-around product will need to be one of the following.

              1. A LOT better then Apples products (not a little bit better) and about the same price as apples products.

              2. A LOT cheaper then Apples Products (not a little bit cheaper) and the same quality as the apple products.

              Right now the Zune is relegated to Ripoff iPod Wannabe status. Any advantages is replaced by Apple larger market share advantages (more apps, more music).
              Apple as far as product quality hasn't done much to waver most people trust. Microsoft record is much more shaky.

          • I don't know if you realize it or not, but Windows Mobile is a 10+ year old platform. The number of apps available for it dwarf the number of apps for the iPhone, and that is before you subtract the over 90% of iPhone apps that are useless sound makers and/or trial versions of software.

            On top of that I can write my own app and have it published on my website without getting Apple, or Microsoft, or anyone else involved or approving it, and people can install it on their phone as simply as a double click on

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The anemic amount of storage would be the main thing.

    • ...the massive unstoppable juggernaut that is the Zune...

      Thanks, you made me spit up my coffee. Mod parent +5 funny!

    • It seems that Apple has made a well-timed and completely innovative and ground-breaking...

      These aren't features that are somehow innovative, since they were around five years ago on competing products. In other news, were you paid to make that post?

  • App Store Games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you look at one of the graphs that was shown, this is the first time I can remember that Apple has made a direct comparison to the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, or even to those companies in general. I think this is the opening shot of a new gaming war.

    It will be interesting to see if the app developers can keep up with the DS and PSP developers.

    • Re:App Store Games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Steve Max ( 1235710 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:36PM (#29369323) Journal
      Yes, but they seem to ignore a simple fact: quantity != quality. You can have 21000 games, but only three or four worth playing; this low signal-to-noise ratio is a problem for the DS, and a much bigger one for the iPhone/iPod. Besides, the lack of a conventional input system makes some types of games much less attractive. Imagine FIFA on the iPhone, for example. The iPhone, like all phones, is an alternative casual gaming platform. It's not in the same market as the PSP, or even the DS; just like the Wii didn't stop PS3 or Xbox360 sales. It brings more diversity, but doesn't make a "war" with the other, traditional platforms.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by samkass ( 174571 )

        Not sure about FIFA, but Madden '10 is now for sale for the iPhone, so I suspect it will work just fine for that sort of game. Also available is Civilization Revolution, SimCity 3K, and other major titles. Assassin's Creed was demoed at today's event and the Command and Conquer franchise is coming over, as well as NBA Live. The myth that all the games for the iPhone are homebrew, low-budget Flash-like one-offs is long gone.

        With over 50M devices sold to date that can play iPhone games (iPhone + iPod Touch

      • Re:App Store Games (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:13PM (#29369953) Journal
        Besides, the lack of a conventional input system makes some types of games much less attractive.

        One word/acronym: "USB".

        Not that I would buy any iToys just for gaming, but as a (reasonably fair) comparison, my netbook sucks for gaming input as well. One $15 USB gamepad later, though, and I have the entire library of emulated SNES games at my fingertips for some serious wasting of time, without making my shoulders and neck feel like I spent the last week sleeping in a bookcase.

        It actually surprises me that Nintendo and Sony haven't already take the approach of separate display and input devices for portable gaming... Although a little more awkward to carry, most people don't find it comfortable to put their hands together, at arms' length, and stare at that same spot for hours on end.
  • Wireless sync? Yes? Please?

  • Goodbye Flip? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cheefachi ( 970662 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:29PM (#29369187)
    I wonder how much the Flip's marketshare will be affected by the Nano getting a camera. Sure its not HD, but the original Flip was a huge seller and the Nano has that and a lot more while still retaining ease of use (though a single button to record is still probably a bit easier). I know if I were the founders of Pure Digital I am psyched Cisco acquired the company for $600 million a few months *before* this announcement! I wonder how much Cisco would acquire them for now?
  • Personally I'm not in the market for a touch, but it is interesting to see the camera rumors didn't pan out. Instead we see it only on the Nano. Another great surprise was the survival of the Classic, my personal favorite of the line-up. Too bad Apple doesn't give it a well needed price cut.
  • Disappointed... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:33PM (#29369257)
    I'm a big Apple fan and love the iPod. I have a classic and a Touch and I was really looking forward to today's announcements. I was hopeful for things like a tablet (iPod Touch but bigger) or a netbook (unlikely to be announced at an iPod-focused show but I could hope) or an iPod Touch with a camera or some similarly cool announcement, after seeing that there was actually very little in the way of new stuff being announced, I must confess, I'm kinda disappointed. Actually, not kinda - I am disappointed.

    Yes, the nano with a camera is cool and all but, if I'm going to buy a new iPod, it'll be a newer, better Touch, not something "less." Ah well...
    • by Knara ( 9377 )

      Tablet is probably still quite a while off, given the small market segment of Apple's already small market segment that would be interested in it. I'd like a good one for mobile sketching/art, but I'm not holding my breath that Apple will be the vendor that gets me that piece of technology (Motion Computing seems to be the manuf with the closest device to what I want).

  • I understand why it is a big deal to share videos across the local network, but songs? Songs are already DRM free, what prevents people from simply copying the song and adding it to their nth machine when they hit the 5 computer limit? Also, a separate store for ringtones that cost as much as the songs themselves, lame, should be bundled in with the song for like .01 cent.
    • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
      The new feature is that you will be able to copy the songs within iTunes. The 5 computer limit is probably because Apple don't want to piss off the industry.
  • by kelzer ( 83087 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:33PM (#29369269) Homepage
    FM Radio in the Nano. Checking date - nope, it's not April 1.
  • LPs eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:33PM (#29369273)

    Now if only they would make the ipod out of vinyl, then it would sound warmer and more natural.

  • LPs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hardburn ( 141468 ) <[hardburn] [at] []> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#29369293)

    Another big new feature: iTunes LPs. These LPs will be a digital album with cover art, lyrics, videos, and other customized content created by the artists themselves

    I read that as "we're giving into the RIAA, who wants people to buy 12 songs at a time, only 2 of which are worth a listen, and which you will be sick of already from being played endlessly on Top 40 radio in between 10 minute commercial breaks and 5 minutes of the DJ talking about their dog."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 )

      That would be a silly way of reading it, since you can continue to purchase individual tracks. And why are you listening to top 40 radio?

      You don't always have to be contrarian, you know.

    • Re:LPs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:07PM (#29369841)

      You know that they've been selling music by the album for quite some time, right?

      Some albums have a pdf "booklet". LP is probably just a way of getting all the extras packaged together so that the devices (and not just a computer) can handle them.

  • by erac3rx ( 832099 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#29369299)
    I never would have believed they would add a video camera to the Nano and not the Touch. That's just dumb. The mid-range model has more functionality than the premium model now.
  • Really? They can fit one into the Nano, but not the Touch?

  • by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#29369309)
    Supposedly, the new touch should have had a camera in, but it was delayed because of technical issues [] with the camera module.
  • I so much would have liked a GPS Receiver with that. So sad. I do not need another phone but a PDA (and the iPod Touch is that as well) with GPS would have really have made my day today. Well, there's always "one more thing"....
  • 30k Ringtones (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sou11ess ( 942999 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:40PM (#29369403)

    $1.29 Ringtones! It still boggles my mind that people accept this.

    $1.29 for a 30 second sound clip compared to $.99 for the full 2-3 minute song. Insane. You know what would've been nice to have in the 3.1 OS update? The ability to choose a song on your phone and then making it your ringtone.

    • Re:30k Ringtones (Score:5, Informative)

      by FlyingSquidStudios ( 1031284 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#29369525) Homepage
      It is a relatively simple matter to make your own ringtones for the iPhone with no need for jailbreaking or even much knowledge. It is literally a matter of changing the .m4a extension to .m4r and iTunes will automatically convert audio to m4a. You don't ever have to buy a ringtone for the iPhone if you don't want to and still have your own custom rings.
      • Re:30k Ringtones (Score:5, Informative)

        by slyn ( 1111419 ) <> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:08PM (#29369851)

        To add to your comment, you can customize to any point in the songs by right clicking them in itunes, selecting get info, going to the options tab, and setting the start and stop time to whatever you want. Once you have the section of the song you wish to have as your ringtone, hit ok to save the changes, right click the song and select convert to AAC this time. Doing so will make a new .m4a of the section you defined with the start and stop times, and then you can just right click the new song in itunes, select show in finder (show in explorer on windows?), and change the file extension to .m4r instead of .m4a, and double click to open the new m4r file. It will add the new file to itunes under the ringtones section and sync up with your iphone automatically then (and don't forget to uncheck the start and stop times in the original file then).

        If you have a razr or any other phone with bluetooth and bluetooth on your computer, you can do the same thing to make ringtones for those also, you just have to use whatever bluetooth sync program your phone uses (and you probably have to convert to mp3 instead of AAC, which is changeable in itunes preferences, and skip the m4a -> m4r section).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Knara ( 9377 )
      It's trivial to make a ring tone from an arbitrary song [] in iTunes.
    • by anegg ( 1390659 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:26PM (#29371129)
      Ring tones are purposefully kept expensive by the secret cabal of old men who hate hearing 30 second extra-loud renditions of heinous noise whenever some feeble-minded proletariat with whom they are forced to keep company is contacted by their friends so that they can chat aimlessly about their meaningless social lives. Now get off my lawn.
    • by elcid73 ( 599126 )

      What I found most annoying with my iPhone when I got it was the number of steps it took to get just a normal, modern (ie- not the old-school-rotary) sounding telephone ring.

      They didn't even have anything like that available to buy, as ridiculous as the notion was to me. Nope, I had to go get an MP3 of a phone ringing, get it in iTunes and then do some tom-foolery with file name extensions or some such and then get it put on the phone.

      am I the only one in the world that doesn't want "Ridin' dirty" or some C

  • ... when all these folks bring new ipods to jury duty or other federal/state buildings that prohibit cameras. That's gonna be a fun time for someone who expected to while away the hours sitting there by listening to music...

  • Apple ALREADY had a 160 GB IPod Classic. How about a 250GB?! Cause this is really stupid to remove it from the market and then bring it back again, because nobody wants the 120 GB. Of course they don't want the 120GB. As much as I like and respect Apple, this particular move just seems like a throwback to me.
    • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
      Apple removed the old 160 GB classic because they didn't want to have a dual platter iPod anymore. It was expensive for them to make two models, especially given the declining popularity of the classic. As hard drive capacity has increased, a 160 GB single platter iPod is now possible.
  • Double standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:49PM (#29369537)
    Why is Apple's PR effluence tagged as "announcement" while the equivalent from Redmond is tagged slashvertisement/astroturfing?
    No, I'm not new here, I'm just dense.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
      The announcement tag comes from the category that the story is placed in. It is not a user generated tag. The astroturf tag is user generated.
  • Has Apple finally put FLAC capability into the iTunes infrastructure?
  • by BigT ( 70780 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:22PM (#29370109)

    Do they have to put a camera in everything? And will I be able to get a nano without a camera? When almost all cell phones have cameras, does my mp3 player need one, too?

    This is a problem only because I work someplace that I can't bring any sort of camera into for security reasons. It's already almost impossible to find a decent cell phone that doesn't have a camera. Now, they're going to make it so I can't get a good music player, also.

  • Ticked off (Score:3, Interesting)

    by InklingBooks ( 687623 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:27PM (#29370163)
    Apple has got me so ticked off, I'll probably put my energy into getting a 1-G iPhone cheap and forget buying these ho-hum iPod touches. That way, Apple won't get a penny and I'll probably save money.
    I need a camera, and I need a mike and I don't want to pay AT&T fees. I also need them soon. I thought I would get that in the new touches. Instead, Apple is giving the tiny Nano more features but not the iPod touch. Why? With that tiny 2.2-inch Nano screen you can't see much of what you've taken and the equally tiny battery isn't likely to last long in video mode.
    What's going on? If Apple has production problems with camera-equipped touches, they should say so, give us the details of new touch, and a release date. This cult of secrecy is such a pain. You'd think they were the Kremlin circa 1935. Both have a cult-like obsession with not admitting mistakes.
    Still worse is the possibility that Apple wants to build high walls between its products, doling out features in odd ways to fit a marketing straight-jacket. The iPhone would be for work and business for those with the money. The touch is for games but not recreation, hence the lack of a camera and the boring length of game promotion today. Color touch users fat and flabby couch potatoes. The Nano is for mostly outdoor recreation (camera and Nike added), but has nothing that lets you get work done. If so, it's stupid move.
    To add insult to injury, I just checked the specs on the new touches. The 8 gig model ships with the old-style earphones not the remote earphones and without a plastic dock adapter. Total saving for Apple? Probably about 25 to 50 cents. Cost to customers who don't want to pull their touch out of their pocket every time they pause music: $30 That stinks. Heck, even the cheap little $59 Shuttle ships with remote earphones. While Jobs was gone, the niggling little bean counters seem to have been running Apple. This is the unfortunate result.
    I hate companies that treat their customers as if they were stupid, and that's precisely how I feel Apple is treating its customers now.
  • Screenshots? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:15PM (#29371855)

    A detailed liveblog of the event with a ton of screenshots is available at Engadget.

    You know, you don't really take "screenshots" of real life. Most people just call them "photos".

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:19PM (#29373195) Homepage

    OK, the FM radio is "pausable", which means the data goes into storage. And there's automatic song identification for stations sending that info on a subcarrier.

    Now, what is Apple forbidding you from doing? Can you load songs from the FM radio into your song library? Automatically? Can you fast forward through commercials? If not, will Apple complain when third party applications add those features? Apple wouldn't like "Turn it on, and watch it fill up with the latest music. For free.".

    That's legal, by the way, under the Audio Home Recording Act, [] as long as you don't redistribute the files.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.