After last year's iPod announcement it seemed clear that they had given up. It was a pretty good decision considering their primary product, the iPhone, was an iPod as well. Microsoft recognized that the portable music player market was over,
discontinuing their Zune player. I had suggested that last year would be their last year for the iPod, wanting to see it through its 10th birthday. This week, however, brought a surprising announcement: a new line of iPods.
We'll start with the redesigned iPod Nano. The last generation, which was a design nightmare, looked like a touchscreen version of the Shuffle. This year, the Nano has returned to its former shape, but retained the touchscreen. In fact, at first glance, you might think it was an iPod Touch Nano. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. The biggest difference between an iPod Touch and an iPod Nano is the lack of iOS. Despite owning the operating system, and the device name starting with the letter i, the Nano runs another operating system. This means, even with a nice touchscreen and an interface that mimics iOS, there is no way to install standard iOS apps. Other than that, it is a nice change for the Nano family, especially after the last version.
The iPod Touch 5th Generation has also had a nice upgrade. Similar to the
iPhone 5, the new iPod Touch has a 4" Retina display, 5MP iSight camera and Siri. Of course, it will run iOS 6, meaning it gets all the new features, like a series of applications that support a longer screen. Along with the new camera comes the ability to record 1080p video and take lower light photos. Also, for the first time, the iPod Touch will come in a large collection of colors, just like the Nano. All-in-all, it is a nice upgrade to the iPod Touch family.
Speaking of family, the 4th Generation Touch is not going anywhere. It will remain on the line-up as the low-cost alternative, similar to how Apple treats their previous model iPhones. It will, however, get the upgrade to iOS 6 to allow Siri, among other new features. This upgrade will also be available to existing iPod Touch 4th Generation models. The iPod Shuffle and Classic will also remain on the line-up, mostly unchanged. As the odd-balls of the family, however, these models do not need to be reworked often.
While it is a bit of a surprise that they did not retire the iPod line-up, it is nice to see that are at least trying again. If the devices are going to exist, they might as well be something people want, and this time they seem to have nailed it. I know, I said Apple nailed it - it is surprising. While the target market is shrinking fast, they are making the best of what is left.
stock price has been dipping, so that means it is mandatory "milk the sheep" time. Since the New iPad, whose name will be a lot more fun in 6 months or so when the next one comes out, is already on store shelves, that must mean it is iPhone time. In proper Apple tradition, the CEO, currently Tim Cook, spent time on a mostly empty stage in a fairly nondescript theatre to show off the next small, shiny box from Cupertino.
The new iPhone lives up to many of the expectations, both good and bad. First, the name is the iPhone 5, not the New iPhone. They do seem to have at least learned something from that very odd decision. The device is, as expected from leaked photos of the chassis, longer than the previous models. Steve Jobs cited the smaller screen size in all previous models as a good thing. The reasoning was always that holding the phone in one hand could give you access to all parts of the screen. He also stated that his company would never consider launching a larger screen because of this reason. Apparently Apple has discovered that people's hands have grown in the year since Jobs' death.
The iPhone 5 has taken a page out of
Boost Mobile's phone lineup and added true 4G data to their handset. Of course, this isn't the first time Apple has included a feature from a cheap Boost Mobile phone; in the iPhone 3G they added picture messaging. Apple's implementation is a little better than Boost, though, as it implements 4G LTE, not WiMax. To accomplish this, they touted their dual-antenna technology, which they also talked about last year. My guess is that this is all in reaction to the antenna blocking problem from the iPhone 4. I say that because all modern phones have the ability to switch antennas, and you never hear Samsung talk about it.
Not all of the new features are in direct violation of the founder's wishes or rip-offs of 5-year-old technology, however. Some are downright terrible ideas. Hit the break for the details.
Following up from last week's
potential price and availability of the Wii U, Nintendo's Wii U press conference in New York City finally confirmed the details that we've been waiting to hear about since E3 of last year. One of our favorite company heads, Reggie Fils-Aime, took the stage and started off by addressing the three biggest aspects of the Wii U we wanted to know about: pricing, availability and specs. We now know that Nintendo's next flagship console will be available in the US on November 18th and will start at $299.
There will be two versions available for purchase, a Basic Set (in white) will run you $299 and a Deluxe Set (in black) will cost $349. Contrary to our speculation last week, neither will come with two GamePads. Instead, the Basic Set will include the 8GB console, one GamePad, a sensor bar and an HDMI cable, while the Deluxe Set will feature the 32GB console, one GamePad, sensor bar, HDMI cable and the addition of a charging and console stand for the GamePad and console, respectively. It will also include a copy of
Nintendo Land so you can start to figure out the confusion that appears to be a kid carnival with your favorite game characters.
What else is there to know about the Wii U? A lot! We go into more specs, along with game announcements and the addition of Nintendo's TVii after the break.