At the end of the year Apple digs into its archive of music, movies, TV shows, apps, books, and podcasts to share with its customers its top-selling content. Since the iTunes Store and the App Store are so prolific these days, I deem it appropriate to take a look at what we bought up from Apple’s widespread ecosystem in 2012.
In the music department, Apple lists the 20 top-selling songs and 25 top-selling albums of the year. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” lands at #1 on the song list and rounding out the top 5 are Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Fun.’s “We Are Young,” Maroon 5′s “Payphone,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” Maroon 5 managed to land on this chart twice; “One More Night” comes in at #17. Also, Flo Rida’s hit singles “Whistle” and “Wild Ones” show their staying power securing the #9 and #10 slots, respectively. For the second consecutive year in a row, Adele’s 21 sits high as the most purchased album of the year; what follows is Taylor Swift’s Red, Mumford & Sons’ Babel, One Direction’s debut Up All Night, and Fun.’s Some Nights. The only artist to show up twice on this chart is Mumford & Sons; their 2010 effort Sigh No More keeps selling and fell in the #6 position.
In addition to these charts, Apple handpicks their own selections in a section they call “Editor’s Choice.” They named Frank Ocean Best New Artist and they had this to say about his much buzzed about release Channel ORANGE: “Deftly original, the brooding R&B outcast and Odd Future cohort spilled a can of stinging venom and vulnerability that spread worldwide.” Grizzly Bear’s Shields was awarded Best Album, Fun.’s infectious single “We Are Young” nabbed Best Song, and they enjoyed the fusion of country and gospel from The Lumineers so much to label their self-titled debut release Breakthrough Album.
The Hunger Games, Downton Abbey, Fifty Shades of Grey, Angry Birds Space, and YouTube dominated the other content categories. Click here to browse Apple’s Best of 2012 charts (the link opens in iTunes).
At Apple’s October special event that introduced the world to iPad mini, Tim Cook and company also unveiled the eighth iteration of the all-in-one iMac. This week Apple made it official that the 21.5-inch model will ship Friday, November 30–that’s today! If you’ve been holding out for the 27-inch behemoth then your wait continues. Apple hasn’t pegged it with a release date; they’re only saying it will start selling in December. The redesigned iMac houses its miniturized tech inside an aluminum and glass enclosure that measures just 5mm thin at its edge. A new storage option called Fusion Drive allows customers to customize their computer with 128GB of flash storage and either a 1TB or 3TB HDD; the two are fused into a single volume to provide faster read and write speeds. The 21.5-incher starts at $1,299 and is available for purchase today.
In other Apple news, iTunes 11 was finally released on Thursday. The redesigned music player and device manager features a new look with new library views and an updated Store layout, Up Next allows you to queue up songs, playlist creation is simpler, the MiniPlayer is smaller but enhanced, and iCloud is built-in making content downloaded on any iOS device instantly accessible in your iTunes library, Mac or PC. Get your download on today.
On Wednesday Apple unveiled the next-generation iPhone and it’s called the iPhone 5. They also used their stage time to discuss iTunes+iPod, showing off a redesigned iTunes Store for iOS, a simplified version of iTunes for desktop, and showcasing the next-generation iPod nano and touch. We begin with the top story…
The iPhone 5 is a beautiful piece of hardware made entirely of glass and aluminum. It’s the thinnest and lightest iPhone to date, measuring at 7.6mm thin (that’s 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S) and weighing 112 grams (20% lighter than the 4S). Apple’s calling it “the world’s thinnest smartphone.” The screen has grown for the first time to 4-inches, boasting a Retina display with 326 pixels per inch and a resolution of 1136×640. The additional screen real estate allows for a fifth row of apps in the home screen, and all of Apple’s apps take advantage of it. Third party apps will see the letterbox effect, but developers can easily tweak their apps to also fill up the screen properly. The iPhone 5 also features 44% more color saturation than it’s predecessor and integrated touch sensors in the screen make it 30% thinner than before outputting a sharper image and less glare in sunlight.
The bigger screen is just the tip of the iceberg. The new iPhone packs ultrafast wireless with built-in GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and, yes, LTE. In the U.S., LTE will be provided by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. A single chip does voice and data; also inside is a single radio chip and a dynamic antenna. 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi is there as well.
The newly designed-by-Apple A6 chip features a CPU that’s 2x faster than before, with 2x faster graphics as well. The chip itself is 22% smaller than the previous A5 processor. Apple managed to make battery life better, too. It goes like this: 8 hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing, and LTE browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and video playback; 40 hours of music playback; and 225 hours of standby time.
Both the back-facing iSight camera and the front-facing FaceTime camera have been upgraded. The iSight cam features an 8 megapixel sensor (3264×2448) with backside illumination, hybrid IR filter, five-element lens, and fast f/2.4 aperture. The 25% smaller design also boasts a dynamic low light mode, spatial noise reduction, a smart filter for improved color matching, better low-light performance, and faster photo capture (40% faster than the 4S). 1080p HD video recording is still here with improved video stabilization, face detection, and the ability to take photos while recording video. The back-facing camera can also take panoramic shots now thanks to a simple enhancement in the Camera app in iOS 6. Moving to the front side, the FaceTime camera takes 1.2 megapixel photos, shoots 720p HD video, and features backside illumination, face detection, and FaceTime over cellular (with Verizon and Sprint only).
Audio is better with three built-in microphones located in the front, back, and bottom of the phone. The improved speaker design is 20% smaller than before and features a five magnet transducer, a noise-canceling earpiece, and wideband audio for better phone call performance.
Say goodbye to the nearly decade old 30-pin dock connector. Apple announced the new Lightning connector that is found in the iPhone 5. It’s 80% smaller than its predecessor, it’s all-digital with an 8-signal design and adaptive interface with improved durability and get this–it’s reversible, meaning you can plug it into the bottom of your device face up or down. Apple will sell a 30-pin to Lightning adapter for those who own accessories like sound docks that were strictly designed with the 30-pin connector in mind.
Apple spent time detailing the next version of their mobile OS, and you can read all about iOS 6 right here. It brings Apple-designed Maps, the new app Passbook, and enhancements to Notification Center, Safari, Mail, Photos, and Siri (among over 250 new features) to the iPhone and its brethren. It’s available as a free upgrade to iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, 3rd-gen iPad, iPad 2, and 4th-gen iPod touch owners on September 19.
Now it’s time to talk pricing and availability. The iPhone 5 features a two-tone exterior and will come in two hues: black/slate and white/silver. It’s priced exactly like the 4S was: $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB). It’s available for preorder starting Friday, September 14 and ships one week later on September 21 in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. A week after that it releases in 20 more countries, and by December it will ship in 100 countries with 240 carriers around the world. In other news, the iPhone 4 (8GB) is free and the iPhone 4S (16GB) is dropping to $99 effective immediately.
(Click here for more…)
Apple has released lists of its music store’s best-selling albums and songs of 2011. 23-year-old singer songwriter Adele has comes out as the clear winner, topping both the best-selling album and song charts with her sophomore release 21 and the track “Rolling in the Deep,” respectively. Following 21 is Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collaborative effort Watch the Throne, and Coldplay’s latest Mylo Xyloto. Drake’s Take Care impressively took the #8 spot on the list, having only been released last month. Moving over to the best-selling songs, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” landed at the #2 spot, followed by Katy Perry’s “Firework”, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”, and Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” This year Apple went so far as to award artists individual distinctions, too. For obvious reasons Adele was named Artist of the Year; Wasting Light by The Foo Fighters got Album of the Year, even though it didn’t land the in the best-selling top ten list; Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” is Song of the Year (#9 on the top ten list); and Breakthrough Artist of the Year is Nicki Minaj whose song “Super Bass” rests at #10 on the best-selling songs list. Jump after the break to see who else rounded out iTunes’ best-selling albums and songs of the year. Open iTunes to view their Rewind 2011 section for more year-end chart toppers.
As of yesterday, iTunes Match has been made available for use for iTunes users and iOS device owners. For $24.99 a year, you can sync your entire music collection to Apple’s iCloud. Chances are your music library consists of music purchased from iTunes and music ripped from your personal collection of CDs. Apple will automatically match all your purchased songs from iTunes and they will become immediately available to listen to on a compatible device. As for your ripped music, Apple will also attempt to match them to their music servers and upload them that way. If they can’t, they will still be uploaded and made available for streaming at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality. Apple limits iTunes Match subscribers to 25,000 songs, but keep in mind that music purchased from the iTunes Store does not count towards that ceiling. To get started, make sure you have downloaded the new iTunes 10.5.1 update, the iOS 5 update, and set up iCloud on your iOS device (and Mac and/or PC).
Last week Apple removed the ability to rent TV shows in iTunes. Customers are now left with two options: buy an episode or subscribe to a Season Pass. Why the abrupt change, especially after Apple fought with the networks to drop renting prices to a low 99 cents almost one year ago? According to Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, “iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows. iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.” This sudden change in philosophy may be part of an even grander scheme; according to the WSJ the company may be “working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service.” Whatever’s going on, newly appointed CEO Tim Cook will eventually have to lay out the future of iTunes and when that happens everything will be made clear. For now, though, I’m finding it hard to take in this news; when I happened to miss an episode of a show, turning on my Apple TV and renting it for cheap was always my favorite way of catching up. There was never a need to purchase a show (for $2.99) and keep it; why bother? But now that’s the only way to do it.
In mid-November, Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. put their differences aside and finally agreed to put the entire Beatles music collection onto iTunes, the #1 retailer of music. Now that some time has passed, it’s time to take a look at the sales figures, and boy are they mighty impressive. Let’s do some comparing. During its very first week on iTunes, record company EMI reported that 2 million songs and 450,000 albums were sold. And now about two months later, Apple says iTunes customers have purchased 5 million songs and 1 million albums in total. For music that’s over 40 years old, these numbers are certainly staggering but expected; Beatles music rocks and now people have an easily accessible way to get their hands on it. Can you guess what the most popular song and album is? Well here’s your answer: “Here Comes the Sun” and Abbey Road, respectively.
After many years of mediocre 30 second song previews, Apple now allows artists to upload 90 second previews. Two restrictions apply: for the preview length increase the song must be 2 minutes and 30 seconds or longer, and lengthier previews only exist in the U.S. iTunes Store (for now). The preview extension is very handy; purchasing decisions become easier when you have more time to demo a track. Open up iTunes, head to the Store, and see if your favorite artists are embracing the positive change.
At the end of the year, Apple likes to tally up all the singles and albums purchased by iTunes Store customers.; they call it iTunes Rewind. The 2010 Rewind best-sellers are Train and Eminem for single of the year (“Hey, Soul Sister”) and album of the year (“Recovery”), respectively. In addition to Train, the top ten best-selling singles include tracks from Katy Perry, Eminem (2), B.o.B, Taio Cruz (2), Usher, Ke$ha, and Lady Antebellum. The top ten best-selling albums include records from artists Ke$ha, Ladies Gaga and Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Drake, Mumford & Sons, The Black Eyed Peas, Jack Johnson, and Sade. Before you jump after the break to look at the top ten lists, make some predictions to test your wits; it shouldn’t be that hard to guess what two single Taio Cruz made uber-popular this year.
iTunes Rewind covers more than the music category. Apple also tallies up the best-selling TV shows, movies, podcasts, audiobooks, and apps. And yes, it is safe to assume that the app featuring unwieldy birds and idle, snorting green pigs took home the top prize of best-selling paid app. Click here to browse all the Rewind charts.
After years of legal disputes, including trademark infringements, originating in the ’70s (it was Apple Corps. vs Apple Computer), the band and the tech company decided to make peace in 2007, and just three years later the two are able to celebrate with the release of the entire Beatles music catalog on iTunes.
Apple threw up a teaser page last night that said, “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” This morning at 10AM ET the teaser disappeared to reveal an image of the Fab Four and it reads, “The Beatles. Now on iTunes.” iTunes now offers the band’s 13 studio albums, ranging from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970). Each remastered album comes with their respective tracks, a mini-documentary, and iTunes LP content (which includes liner notes and photos); they priced at $12.99 and individual tracks go for the standard $1.29. The mini-documentaries are “album only” purchases.
In addition to the 13 studio albums, iTunes also offers Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2, the 1988 release that bundles 33 Beatles songs that were not included on the original U.K. albums. The store also sells The Beatles (1962-1966) collection known as “The Red Album”; it includes 26 popular Beatles songs ranging from their debut up until the release of Revolver. The Beatles (1967-1970) or ”The Blue Album” includes 28 popular Beatles songs from their later years. The “Red” & “Blue” albums released simultaneously in 1973, three years after the band broke up. Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2 and the “Red” & “Blue” albums cost $19.99 each; like their studio album counterparts they come with iTunes LP content.
And finally there’s the Beatles-iTunes motherload. For $149 you can make your life easy and purchase The Beatles Box Set which includes all 13 studio albums, Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2, and a video of the band’s first U.S. concert–the 1964 show at Washington Coliseum. The box set comes with every mini-documentary from the individual albums, as well as a ton of iTunes LP content.
That about sums it up. The Beatles are on iTunes. Boom. Besides adding all this amazing content to iTunes, Apple has put together a new ad campaign featuring Beatles songs and black-and-white photos. Head over to Apple’s new Beatles page to watch all five ads. There you’ll also find a link to watch the 1964 show at Washington Coliseum; the 41 minute concert (which is a ”worldwide iTunes exclusive”) will be available to stream for free on the site for the remainder of the year.
Look after the break for the official PR. In it Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the two remaining Beatles Ringo and Paul, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, and EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon share their excitement and relief that the Beatles collection has finally arrived on iTunes.
I happened to purchase the physical Beatles box set when it released in limited quantities last year, but I’m glad the entire collection is available in the world’s largest online retailer of music. The ease of previewing and downloading tracks will give newcomers a healthy dose of some of the greatest music ever produced. With The Beatles: Rock Band and Beatles music on iTunes, the current generation of young people is pretty much golden.
Social network explosion! Apple has partnered with Twitter to bring Twitter integration to Ping, the “social network for music” built into iTunes 10. After linking your Twitter account to your Ping account inside iTunes, all of your Ping activity (whenever you Post, Like, Review, or tell your friends why you purchased a song or album) will show up in a tweet be seen by all your followers. And if you opted to preview the new Twitter redesign, Ping’d tweets will come complete with playable song previews and links to purchase and download music from iTunes. If you see a tweet that’s got Ping data in it (either a tweet sent within Ping or a tweet with an iTunes link attached), you can now click a new music button and this will superimpose the tweeted song or album on the right side details pane, allowing you to see album art, preview, and listen to songs. So watcha waiting for? Connect up and let the good times roll.
Today Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to announce a new lineup of iPods, the next version of iTunes, and a refreshed Apple TV. He also talked about the next two iOS4 software updates. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
iPod shuffle: The redesigned fourth generation iPod shuffle brings back the clickable front-facing ring buttons (play/pause, previous, next, volume up, volume down) and keeps VoiceOver control (it speaks artist and song name, multiple playlists, and battery status in 25 different languages) and the back clip. It now supports playlists and Genius Mixes. The tiny sqaure casing includes the on/off/play in order/shuffle switch, a VoiceOver button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio and USB charging. The battery holds up to 15 hours of audio playback. The shuffle will be available in 5 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, and pink). A 2GB model will start shipping in one week for $49.
iPod nano: The redesigned sixth generation iPod nano does away with the click wheel and adds a 1.54 inch (240×240) multitouch display. It adopts the tiny iPod shuffle aesthetic; it’s even got the built-in back clip. It is 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous nano model. To navigate around the iOS-like touch interface, swipe left and right to access different pages of icons, up and down to scroll through lists, double tap to zoom in on photos (there is no pinch-to-zoom), and tap to access other areas. Any time you want to go back to the home screen simply tap and hold anywhere on the screen (there is no home button). You can even rotate the screen using two fingers. You can customize the pages of icons by touching and holding an icon down until it jiggles then dragging it to the desired position. Everything here should be very familiar to iPhone and iPod touch users; it’s all just miniturized. The home screen gives you access to playlists, now playing, artists, and Genius Mixes. Also available is an FM radio, Nike+, a clock, Voice Memo, and access to Photos, Podcasts, Settings, and music categorized by song, album, genre, and composer. The small enclosure includes a sleep/wake switch and volume up and down buttons on top and the 30-pin dock connector and 3.5mm headphone jack on bottom. It also has a built-in accelerometer and supports VoiceOver in 29 different languages. The battery holds up to 24 hours of audio playback. The nano will be available in 7 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, pink, charcoal, and Product (RED)). 8GB ($149) and 16GB ($179) models will start shipping in one week.
iPod touch: The fourth generation iPod touch gets even closer in design and functionality to its iPhone cousin. The new touch features the same 3.5 inch (960×640) Retina Display, Apple A4 processor, back camera, and front-facing camera, and three-axis gyro sensor as the iPhone 4. The back camera shoots HD (720p, up to 30fps) video that can be edited on the device with simple trimming (included) or with more advanced editing (the $4.99 iMovie app now supports the iPod touch); it can also shoot stills. The front-facing camera can shoot stills and supports FaceTime chats over WiFi with other iPod touches and iPhone 4s. The external buttons and input/output holes remain the same: sleep/wake switch, volume up and volume down, the home button, 30-pin dock connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, build-in speaker and microphone. 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, Nike+, accelerometer, ambient light sensor are still there as well. The battery holds up to 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video playback. The touch will be available in polished aluminium on black only. 8GB ($229), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) will start shipping in one week.
iTunes 10, Apple TV, iOS4 after the break :: (Click here for more…)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs celebrated his 55th birthday yesterday. What also happened that day? iTunes sold its 10 billionth song. Greatest birthday gift ever? Yeah I think so. Congratulations, Apple. This is quite the achievement and deserves a top spot among the rest of them.
Fun fact #1: The 10 billionth song download was Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.” It was downloaded by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia who was granted a $10,000 iTunes gift card for being the one to hit the milestone number. Also tomorrow (2/26) is Cash’s birthday; he would have been 78 years old.
Fun fact #2: Click here to see the top 20 most downloaded songs on iTunes since its inception. They include songs from Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Kary Perry, and Miley Cyrus. Scary, I know.
That link above is my gift to you! Happy holidays. Oh ok, I’ll tell you what’s inside. For a limited time iTunes is offering the following Lost content for free: parts 1 & 2 of the season one pilot and all five season recap episodes. They include Destination: Lost (Season 1 recap), Lost: A Tale of Survival (Season 1 & 2 recap), Lost: Past, Present, & Future (Season 1, 2, & 3 recap), Destiny Calls (Season 1, 2, 3, & 4 recap), and A Journey in Time (Season 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 recap). So for all you Lost fans out there, get brushed up by re-watching the brilliant pilot episode and studying all the recaps in preperation for the Season 6 premiere. Lost: The Final Season begins February 2, 2010.
Let’s get right to it, shall we? The Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and Walt Disney Company (among other major TV networks) are “consideringparticipating in Apple’s plan to offer television subscriptions over the Internet.” CBS will offer shows from CBS and CW and Disney will offer selections from its ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family networks. Though details are being kept under wraps, word has it that Apple will offer its iTunes customers a $30/month subscription to choose from the TV networks’ selection of shows. This is all starting to make sense now that Apple has ate up streaming company Lala; they might just have a Hulu-esque TV streamingservice in the works. Whatever it may be, “sources” claim that Apple could finalize licensing deals and switch on the service sometime in 2010.
The Financial Times delves further into this matter and regurgitates the followinginformation: ”Apple has contacted other broadcast and cable networks, including Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System and Viacom, which have so far been unconvinced by Apple’s proposal. The computer maker has also courted the book publishing industry, sector executives say.” This is all very interesting, to say the least. Major publishers like the WSJ and the FT reporting on a potential iTunes subscription-based service can only mean that something is brewingat Apple HQ. Talks with CBS (Viacom), Time Warner, and ABC are vital if Apple plans on making such a TV show subscription plan work. And let’s not forget about their “court[ing] [of the] book publishing industry”…cue the Apple tablet/iPhone rumors.
Addional news comes from the Financial Times, and this time it’s about the impendingannouncement of the Apple tablet: “Apple is preparing an announcement next month that many anticipate will be the official unveiling of its tablet, but the company has so far declined to confirm the existence of the device. Wall Street analysts expect mass production of an Apple tablet to begin as early as February.”
To spread to the gaining hype around the tablet and the next-gen iPhone comes news today from a Silicon Alley Insider report: “Apple is preparing to show off a new, larger mobile device with a higher resolution display in January — probably a version of the Apple tablet we’ve been hearing about for months — according to a plugged-in source in the mobile industry.” This source says that Apple has asked a select group of app developers to prepare their apps to support a full-screen resolution (rather than the fixed 320×480 rez the iPhone currently uses) and to demo on a “new, larger mobile device.” In addition, the report says that the tablet will be demoed in January but not released into the market until a later date. This matches up with the FT news posted above; Apple will unveil it in January, ramp up production in February, and have it ready for the public by March 2010. And there’s more! DigiTimes reports that the next-gen iPhone will be packed with a 5 megapixel camera sensor.
And that’s it for now. Exhausting, huh? I think Apple just needs to come out with it already and unveil this coveted (albeit non-existent) tablet to calm our nerves and get us excited for something that we at least know is real. With Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster claiming that there’s a 75% chance that an Apple January event is coming and word that the tablet will be the main focus of the event I am waiting in much anticipation. An overhaul of iTunes, the next-gen iPhone, the tablet…so many potential topics to discuss! Here’s hoping that Apple hits at least one of them next month.
Guess who’s back, back again? Steve Jobs graciously owned the stage in San Fransisco on Thursday during the latest Apple keynote presentation. There was lots of discussion and reveals on the iTunes and iPod front. Let’s not waste any time and get right to it. Read on for all the juicy details of the keynote.
- iPhone OS 3.1
- Genius will now “automatically make recommendations from the App Store based on the applications you own.” Think of it as iTunes Genius for your music, but now for your purchased apps.
- Ringtones – over 30,000 ringtones available to purchase at $1.29 each. All four major record labels are on-board.
- 3.1 firmware update is a free download available now for iPhone and iPod touch owners (there is a $5 upgrade price for those iPod touch users who have not upgraded to 3.0)
- iTunes 9
- Features a cleaner, easier-to-navigate UI with a redesigned store
- Genius Mixes – Think of this as your own personal DJ spinning your favorite songs continuously. Genius Mixes takes your current music library and groups songs/artists/genres together for you to listen to; it’s like listening to your preferred radio station.
- Improved syncing – Now you have the option to manually sync exactly what you want (for example, you can sync specific artists, genres, albums, etc.)
- App organization – You can arrange your apps in iTunes. Plug in your iPhone or iPod touch and you get a visual copy of your home screen and your multiple pages; you simply drag and drop 1 or more apps at a time. This couldn’t be any simpler.
- Home Sharing – Allows you to “manage your family’s iTunes collection between computers in your home.” You can copy songs, movies, TV shows, etc. with up to 5 computers. For example, say you have 5 family members each with their own computer and iTunes accounts. Now you can all easily share your iTunes content by dragging and dropping other family members’ songs into your library. The files copy right over and viola–you now have songs in your library that originally resided in your brother’s music library.
- iTunes LP – Tools are now given to record labels and artists to create and distribute many album extras in their digital music albums. These extras include behind-the-scenes videos, photos, liner notes, lyrics, chronology of albums, credits, animations, and more. Although digital downloads will never be the same as buying a physical CD or record in a retail store, iTunes LP is a step in the right direction for those who have switched to digital music and who miss receiving the entire “album experience” you get when you purchase your favorite artist’s latest album.
- iTunes Extras (for movies) – Think of the extras you would find on a DVD; they will now be included when you purchase a movie from the iTunes Store
- Facebook and Twitter integration – You now have the option to share your favorite songs and artists with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. There is an embedded option that allows you to link a song, artist, or album information to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- iTunes 9 is available today as a free download
- iPod touch
- Lineup: $199 (8GB); $299 (32GB); $399 (64GB)
- cheaper and new storage capacity
- up to 50% faster; OpenGL|ES Version 2.0 (adds more realism in games)
- Publishers discuss upcoming games for the App Store – Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II Discovery; Tapulous’s Riddim Ribbon (an awesome music game that incorporates racing and DJ control); Gameloft’s Nova; EA’s Madden NFL 10
- iPod classic
- Lineup: $250 (160GB) (holds 40,000 songs)
- Same price, capacity upgrade from 120GB
- iPod shuffle
- Lineup: $59 (2GB); $79 (4GB); $99 (4GB Special Edition in stainless steel, Apple Store exclusive)
- all new shiny colors: black, silver, pink, green, blue
- expand range of headphones with an adapter that will allow you to change volume/tracks
- new VoiceOver features ( reads statuses, like battery level)
- iPod nano
- Lineup: $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB)
- all new colors in polished anodized aluminium: green, blue, purple, black, silver, pink, red, orange, yellow
- larger 2.2 inch display
- new included apps: FM radio, Voice Recorder, pedometer (syncs with Nike +)
- VIDEO CAMERA (the one more thing) – Integrated video camera; only shoots videos (no picture stills); VGA resolution (640×480); includes microphone and speaker
- iPod touch
Note: When asked why Apple did not include a video camera in the new iPod touch, Jobs responded: “Originally, we weren’t exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer? What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine. We started to market it that way, and it just took off. And now what we really see is it’s the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that’s the big draw. So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199. We don’t need to add new stuff. We need to get the price down where everyone can afford it.”
Check out the gallery below for some official press shots of the new products and services.
[Gallery images via Apple]
Let’s do this, bullet-point style.
- New iPods: It is very likely that new iPod touches and nanos will be announced. This is a “music event,” afterall. Both the touch and the nano will have 3.2MP cameras, and the touch will receive a built-in mic. Also, both devices will receive a storage upgrade, possibly to 64GB or higher. Overall design should remain the same. Due to the recent rumor that claims Apple is having technical difficultieswith the camera mechanisms with the iPod touch there is a chance the product release may not be instantaneous with the announcement. Also, the death of the iPod classic may be imminent.
- iTunes 9: Last we heard about iTunes 9 was a BGR source stirring up the rumor mill with these claims: Blu-Ray support; Facebook, Twitter, last.fm integration; and the ability to organize purchases apps. Blu-Ray support only makes sense if Apple plans on releasing iMacs and Macbooks with Blu-Ray drives. Also on the table is “Project Cocktail.” Sources say that albums sold in the iTunes Store will not only come with digital PDF booklets; they will also come with “interactive album material.” The point of this is to entice customers to purchase entire albums instead of only the 99 cent singles.
- THE BEATLES: According to Yoko Ono herself the entire Beatles collection will finally be digitally distributed on the iTunes Store. EMI, the record company, told The Financial Times that this will not be announced tomorrow, though. [Via Engadget]
- Apple TV: Ah yes, the “hobby” that is the Apple TV. Jobs announced this product three years ago, and not much has changed since its release (besides a UI upgrade via a software upgrade). The latest rumors predict a new Apple TV device that supports DVR and CableCARD functionality. Today, though, these exact rumors were shot down by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. He said such capability does not match Apple’s service scheme. And this makes sense; why would Apple allow its customers to freely record TV shows or movies when they have the iTunes Store for those needs. I do not see an upgrade to the aging Apple TV at this event. [Via Engadget]
- Apple tablet: The tablet will not be announced at this event. The most recent rumors point to a 2010 (or beyond) release.
- Steve Jobs appearance: It has been way too long since we’ve seen Jobs appear on stage at the helm of an Apple event. Now that his health has rebounded and he is back at work on the Apple campus in Cupertino, I expect him to at least make an appearence if not host the event.
Be sure to check back here for all the Apple news once it is announced. It takes place tomorrow at 10AM PDT (1PM ET). Get pumped!
Boy Genius Report has received information from “a pretty reliable source” spilling the beans on some of the upcoming iTunes 9 capabilities. First up is Blu-Ray support. Rumors spreading from Apple Insider are pointing to the next lineup of iMacs packing Blu-Ray disc drives, making this lastest tidbit of news all the more convincing. However, we cannot forget Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “bag of hurt” comment from the notebook event in 2008: “Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It’s great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we’re waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace.”
According to the same source, there were mentions of some sort of Facebook/Twitter/Last.fm integration with iTunes. No details about this were shared. Perhaps “…broadcasting what song you’re playing to your friends” is in the pipes. The last grain of news states that iTunes users will gain the ability to “visually orgainize and arrange” their purchased apps. It is likely we won’t have to wait long to find out if all of this is fact or fiction; Apple’s September iPod+iTunes event is right around the corner.
The Financial Times has joined the gang of rumors pointing to an Apple tablet device coming out in the near future. The FT is adding credibility to these rumors with the following information: the screen size “may be up to 10 inches diagonally;” it will run the iPhone OS; it will connect to the Interner via WiFi; it will have a book marketplace (think Amazon’s Kindle service). Here are some direct quotes taken from the article: “[The] tablet-sized computer [will ship] in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution.” “[The] touch-sensitive device… will have a screen that may be up to ten inches diagonally,” and while it will “connect to the internet like the iPod touch, it’ll probably [do so] without phone capabilities.” Apple is known is release updated iPods and Mac desktop/laptop revisions in September, after the back-to-school season. This tablet device could very well slip into the launch window between this time and the holiday season. According to the FT, Apple is apparently rushing to complete this device and have it on store shelves by Christmas.
In other Apple-related news, Apple has decided to join forces with major music label companies (namely EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group) to come up with a plan to make consumers want to buy entire albums rather than single tracks when shopping at the iTunes Music Store. In order to stimulate consumers to go beyond the single track and dive into the entire album of a particular artist, Apple and said music labels will soon include ”interactive booklets, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads.” Up to this point, users have only received PDF files with their album downloads that includes only album liner notes. According to an insider, “…it’s not just a bunch of PDFs; there’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.” Executives commented on this new initiative code-named “Project Cocktail:” Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting. Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software. Would you be enticed to pay for entire albums instead of single tracks if these kinds of additions were tagged with your purchase of the album? Both the Apple tablet device and Project Cocktail are rumored to be released side-by-side as soon as this September. Let’s cross our fingers and hope these rumors come to fruition; sounds like really cool stuff is on the way.