Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paying attention to Apple

I'm going to be reading a bunch of Apple-related news this afternoon during it's rock-themed event.

I always find it odd, that only tech blogs follow this stuff. Why not music blogs? This stuff affects music fans and musicians probably more than anybody else.

I'm mostly checking MacRumors' Twitter for updates, but I'm augmenting it with photos and updates from Engadget.

This stuff should be interesting. So far, they've talked about updates to the iTunes store, iTunes itself and features for iPods. Will we hear about more iPod stuff? Tablet? The Beatles???

We'll see...

Update (1:22 p.m.): Well, that was kind of underwhelming. There are some cool things happening with iTunes and iPods, but none of the huge Beatles-level announcements I think some were expecting.

The highlights:

New iTunes: iTunes 9 has some new features. One, Genius Mixes, is just an extension of the already-cool Genius Playlist. Basically, you pick a song and iTunes makes a continuous mix of related tunes.

Other thing is syncing. Now, you can sync more than just select playlists, you can sync by artist, genre or any number of other things. This is a big one for me, to be honest. I have a lot of music and not nearly all of it fits on my iPod. Now I can choose not to add No Use For a Name or Lou Barlow instead of scrolling through my entire library and unchecking each freaking song.

Third, they're offering up the iTunes LP. Basically, you buy a whole album and you get all the stuff that would come in a regular album (liner notes, lyrics, etc.) plus extras like videos and such.

iPhones and iPod Touch: They're putting a bunch of video games on them, but this time it's realy ones like Assassin's Creed and Madden '10. This would be cooler if I owned one.

For the Touch, they're also changing the price to be 8GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. Great, again, except the only one that makes sense to me is a 64GB because my 30 GB classic is beyond full. Looks like I need to save up some dough.

iPod Classic: 160GB for $249. That's more like it. That's the kind of space I need.

iPod Shuffle: Frankly, I don't care about this. I need something with much larger capacity.

iPod Nano: This seems to be the big one. They're getting cameras, speakers, microphone and a built-in FM radio. 8GB for $149, 16GB for $179.

My question is this: Why don't the other iPods get cameras and radios? Don't know why they wouldn't include that, but I suppose it's only a matter of time. And what kind of camera does the Nano get? Cuz if it's not better than the one that's in my phone, I certainly don't care. My phone's camera is more than 1 megapixel (that's better than the first digital camera I ever owned), but it still sucks.

All in all... Pretty underwhelming, as I said earlier. This just seems like functionality that was coming sooner or later. No new iPod formats, no revolutionary iTunes stuff, no Beatles.

The biggest news seems to be the iTunes LP. For my money, I'd still rather buy a physical item and then rip it into iTunes at the sound quality that I prefer. Then I have a real copy of the CD and the liner notes. Extra videos? Uh, who cares. I'll find it on YouTube if I really want to.

I think the only reason they announce all this stuff at once is to generate news stories from people like me (sadly, I took the bait), the tech websites and the Associated Press.

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