Cover of The Lorax (Classic Seuss)
Oh Steve Jobs, that old Once-ler, is at it again with several new thneeds surrounding multimedia entertainment. New for 2010 is an all new version of iOS (dont get me started on that one Cisco fans), an all new revamped lineup of iPods (sans the classic), an all new iTunes 10, and a revamped Apple TV. It seems that even the lowly Lorax wants one of these thneeds. Let’s have a look.
First up is iOS 4.1 featuring Game Center, Ping, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos.
Game Center allows iphone, ipod, and ipad users to play online games even with friends and not just farmville games. We’re talking Unreal and other first person shooter style games.
Next there’s the new iTunes add on called Ping. Think of it as a music focused version of Facebook and you’ll be on the right track. You can share what kind of music you’re listening to with your friends, keep up with their music tastes as well, and even follow your favorite artists feeds. Ping will be available in the all new iTunes 10 for Mac and PC as well as any new iOS devices running 4.1
With the introduction of front and rear facing cameras on the iPhone 4, and the new retinal display, Apple wanted to make sure that pictures taken on an iOS device looked their best as well and introduced a new way of taking photos called HDR photos. HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. This is fancy talk for taking three photos simultaneously–one under exposed, one normal, and one over exposed–and combining them into one richly colored image. This reduces the effects of bad lighting when you take photos with your Apple mobile devices.
To rev up the excitement a bit for those iPad owners that are feeling a bit left out, the Once-ler gave everyone a sneak peek at the upcoming iOS 4.2–due in November. It will add wireless printing to the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Speaking of iPod Touch, Apple has also announced a complete overhaul of the iPod lineup starting with the shuffle.
That Once-ler, that clever old Once-ler, is well known for his distaste of buttons. This is perhaps the biggest reason for the minimal set of buttons on all the designs of iPhones made to date. This may also be the biggest reason why there were no buttons on the iPod shuffle. It literally looked like a Bic lighter without a striker wheel. Well, apparently people like buttons, and the Once-ler even conceded that people wanted buttons. So the new iPod shuffle brings back the click wheel that was present on the original iPod shuffle, but it also keeps voice over function of the buttonless model. This all mushed into the form factor that we saw the 2nd gen Shuffle in previously. Available in 4 colors and in one capacity of 2GB for $49.
Next we have the Nano. Next to the Touch, it was the most popular model of iPod, and in my opinion, the most feature rich music player of the bunch. (Hey, let’s face it the Touch does more than just play music). The Nano too has received a mushing and has been squished down to nearly the same size as the shuffle, only with a full color, multi-touch screen. It will be available in 5 colors and in 8GB or 16GB capacities for $149 and $179 respectively.
Last, but not least, is the Touch. It looses a bit of weight, though not as much as the Nano or Shuffle. It gets the retinal display, front facing and rear facing cameras, and all the gooness that made the iPhone 4 so popular without the cellular service or a contract, as the Once-ler points out.
But what good are these new iPods with out some great software to allow you to sync them to your computer right? That’s where iTunes 10 comes in.
That boastful old Once-ler proudly announced that iTunes is on the verge of selling more music from their store than has been sold on CD, so Apple is dropping the current logo with the music note over the CD in favor of a blue circle with the same note inside. Earth shattering I know. But iTunes does come with Ping, as stated before. It also does away with one annoyance of mine with most music players. When you have an album of songs from the same artist and it lists the album again and again down the list of songs, it’s annoying and a waste. Apple has fixed that by removing the multiple entries and adding in the album cover art. It only does this with 5 or more of the same album name entries however, so if you have a stockpile of singles, you’re out of luck. The most bizarre thing of note for iTunes is the close, minimize, and maximize buttons. Rather than a horizontal configuration that we see with all Mac OS X interfaces, they are positioned vertical. Don’t ask me why. I have no clue.
Then there’s one more thing: Apple TV
Yes, that largely unsuccessful, over priced boat anchor that only the die hard fanbois purchased and continue to use. It seems that Apple has not given up on their flop. (Hey, if Microsoft gets multiple do overs, so can Apple. Right?). It appears that this time, they may have gotten it right however. First off, it’s tiny. It’s less than a forth the size of the original. The power supply is built into the unit (think the new mac mini as an example), has a HDMI port that can push 1080p and 5.1 surround, a 1 gigabit Ethernet port, and 802.11 N wireless.
With the smaller package, you would expect a smaller price. Am I right? The Once-ler, never one to shy away from a sale has heard your request and has lowered the price from $229 to the low price of $99. Content is cheap too. First run HD movies are $4.99 to rent, HD TV programing from ABC and Fox is $.99 to rent, and it can stream Netflix content as well. In addition to this, you can stream Youtube, Flickr, and mobile me content. With the newly renamed Airplay (formally Airtunes) you can even play a movie from your iPad/iPhone/iPod device and pick up where you left off on your TV with the Apple TV box.
Enough of this typing though. I’m off to the Apple store to pick up my thneeds before that pesky Lorax beats me to it.
UPDATED: Corrected Oncler to Once-ler