It’s Showtime

I’m in the front row at Yerba Buena Center to see what spectacle Apple has whipped up. (Sometimes it pays to be late. I arrived five minutes before the start and Apple PR found me a seat up front!) It’s a very full house with lots of network cameras crews and the usual giant screen. They’re playing the Bob Dylan iTunes ad and here comes Steve, dressed in his usual blue jeans. This time a gray button down shirt has replaced the black turtle neck. He seems his usual relaxed self.

Here are my notes, typed during the presentation.

1. iPod update

  • 70 percent market share, 60 million shipped. Accessories include ipod toilet paper holder. Joke?
  • 70 percent of cars in US offer iPod connectvity.
  • IPod shoe has sold 450.000 units in 90 days.

2. The iPod enhnacements

  • Screen 60% brighter
  • Battery 75% longer: 6.5 hours on the 80GB model
  • New headphones … Still ear buds though – we’ll see if they sound better
  • Now gapless song playback available on iPod
  • Alphabetic searches – that’s a nice feature
  • Games will now be sold for all 5th generation and later iPods, including Bejeweled, Cubis, Mah Jong, Mini Golf, Zuma, Tetris, Pac-Man, and Texas Hold ’em. Support from EA and others. $4.99 each. They look (and sound) pretty good
  • New lower prices; $249 for the 30GB model, $349 for 80GB
  • Shipping today

3. Second Generation Nano

  • Aluminium and thinner – looks like a tiny iPod mini
  • Colors include blue, pink, green, silver, and black. 24 hour battery life, gapless playback, new headphones
  • Price/capacity: $149/2GB, $199/4, $249/8GB (8GB in black only)
  • New smaller charger for all iPods (extra)

4. New Shuffle…

  • 10 million Shuffles sold
  • 2nd generation. It’s the picayno! About the size of a quarter. Aluminium. Clip built-in. This IS the SNL skit!
  • Mini dock with USB 2
  • 1GB world’s smallest MP3 player. $79. Ships in October.

5. ITunes 7
  • 88% market share. 1.5 billion songs sold.
  • #5 music store after Walmart. Best Buy, Target, and Amazon. And on track to pass Amazon early next year.
  • New views: Standard List, Album, and cover flow. Cover flow is like flipping through CDs, playlists, and videos.
  • Album cover art for all albums will be available free even if you rip your own as long as you have an iTunes account.
  • 45 million TV shows purchased. 220 shows available from over 40 networks. Adding NFL highlights.
  • New video resolution 640 x 480 for all videos!
  • Built-in iPod management including firmware updates and configuration.
  • IPod will be able to move purchases to other computers authorized to same account.

Demoing cover flow now. Very nice way to see your stuff.

Gapless playback means symphonies, Pink Floyd, etc will all now playback seamlessly. Hallelujah!

OK time for one more thing…

6. Movies

  • Adding movies to iTune store
  • Walt Disney, Pixar, Touchstone. Miramax only
  • 75 films at launch
  • Released same day as DVD release
  • $12.99 for pre-order and first day sale. $14.99 afterward
  • $9.99 for catalog films
  • All video downloads are 640×480. “Near DVD quality” You can start watching as it downloads. Same usage rights as TV. International sales next year.

7. Sneak peak of a product for Q1 2007

iTV Media Center!

  • Wireless interconnect between computer and TV. Looks like a half height Mac mini. Code name iTV
  • Built in power supply. WiFi. USB 2. Ethernet. HDMI. Component. Stereo analog and TOS link digital audio
  • No internal storage. It’s essentially a WiFi/network interface to audio and video.
  • Enhanced Front Row interface to iTunes. Podcast support. MacBreak should look very nice on this. He’s showing Rocketboom.
  • Works with iTunes Macs or PCs. iPhoto on Mac.
  • $299 Available Q1 2007

“We think it completes the picture.”

8. John Legend performs two songs and good night.