MP3 Players

Apple updates iPod lineup and iTunes


After wondering earlier in the week what surprises Apple would have for us today, it looks like only a few of the predictions came true. While an iPod refresh was expected for the entire lineup, it is the one exclusion that is the biggest surprise: the lack of a camera on the iPod touch. It had been widely assumed that the new touch would become even closer in specs to its iPhone 3GS sibling, but apparently Apple has decided to wait until the next generation.

I won't delve into each and every product announcement today, but for a very brief look at some of the important updates from this morning, continue reading past the break.

iPod touch


Even with the lack of a camera, the touch did receive a nice update today in the form of the faster processor from the iPhone 3GS. This allows it to run the OpenGL 2.0 platform. The rest of the specs and the physical format remained pretty much identical to the previous generation, with the biggest change being in available capacities and prices.

The available capacities are now 8GB/32GB/64GB, with the 32GB ($299) and 64GB ($399) models receiving the processor upgrade. The low-end 8GB model remains the same as before, with the new price being $199, or $30 less than even yesterday.

All new iPod touch models will ship with the latest iPhone OS 3.1, which in conjunction with iTunes 9 will bring new functions, including the ability to organize and arrange apps in iTunes with an identical representation of the screen.

iPod nano


The nano received the biggest upgrade today: a built-in video camera. That is not the only long-awaited feature because now the nano also includes an FM tuner with Live Pause. Think of it as "TiVo for radio." The screen is now larger at 2.2" and the VoiceOver feature found in the iPod shuffle has been carried over here as well.

Available in Apple's now-famous rainbow of colors, the 8GB ($149) and the 16GB ($179) are available immediately, and both versions include a new polished, anodized aluminum finish.

iPod classic


The last of the scroll-wheel iPods lives on for one more generation, with the 160GB ($249) version replacing the 120GB from last year while staying at the same price. It is available in black or silver, and the large capacity is still a necessity for many people who have not been able to make the transition to flash-based devices.


Overall, the announcements today were not as spectacular as expected, but they were very welcome changes. The iPod touch now has a 64GB model, which is more than any other small MID-like device I can think of. The nano appears to be one of the most feature-laden DAPs on the market now, with the new camera and FM tuner. I know there have been other devices that have had similar features, but none for the bargain price of $149 and with the ease and simplicity of iTunes running behind the scenes.

Look for more in the coming days on the new products, and maybe a mini review on the iPod nano because I find myself being slowly pulled towards the Apple Store to purchase one. The combination of price and features makes me think Apple has yet another hit on their hands.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

Avatar of Chris King

11 thoughts on “Apple updates iPod lineup and iTunes

  • I don’t know, that camera on the Nano seems like an afterthought to me, with the tiny lens and what seems to be awkward placement on the case. I’d have thought the top would be better.

    I’m sure it’ll work well, but I don’t expect anywhere near the quality of the Flip cameras that it was compared to in the presentation.

    Hell, I doubt it’ll even reach iPhone 3GS quality.

  • Avatar of Joseph G. Mitzen

    If this is all they have, they’re in trouble. The Zune HD, Samsung’s R1, and the Zii Egg (if Creative or a third party ever releases a consumer version) knock the Touch for a loop with their panoply of features and high-powered next-gen Tegra and Zii chips. The Nokia N900 is also a major threat to the iPhone. They’re going to be needing more than incremental updates once the Christmas shopping season is underway and their competitor’s next-gen products are out. Some of these features(e.g. FM) seem more like playing catch-up.

  • Avatar of Nate

    That’s a certainty. The camera is fixed focus, VGA.

    In short. It will, probably, be equal in quality to a generation 1 Flip.

  • Thanks for the round-up, Chris.

    I’m glad I didn’t wake up early to find out about everything as it happened (the event was at 7am here), as the “new” products seem kind of lackluster to me. The lower prices are nice, of course, and it’s good to see the higher capacity iPod touches getting the Cortex CPU, but I don’t think any of the updates really warranted a full-blown Apple event.

    Which color nano are you thinking of getting?

  • One thing Apple does have over all the others is price and easy availability. I can imagine the nano being an impulse buy for many people at $149, while they are wandering around their local Wal-Mart or Target.

    I know the ZuneHD will eventually also be in those same stores, but non-tech people don’t know what a Zune is, yet any one knows what an iPod is.

  • I’m not sure, but it will be either the silver or the orange. Of course, once I say that I’ll probably see some other color in person that I like better.

  • I think something is seriously wrong at Apple. No 16GB iPod Touch? Seriously? I can understand having the $200 8GB version but they could easily have fitted in a 16GB model in between. Over at macrumors several people are saying they are now waiting to see the Zune HD. I think Apple dropped the ball on this one. They could easily have made the 32GB and 64GB “premium” models with cameras. Steve Jobs said people don’t want camera’s on the iPod Touches because it’ll make them cost more. Yeah we prefer to have them on a 16GB nano, really Steve.

  • Avatar of Kitteh

    iPods still hold about 75% of the market share and with Apple pouring $$$ into advertising, the new products won’t have trouble flying off the shelves. Even though there are better players out there, the masses don’t know about them. And most are still tough sells because of the App Store, which really sets the touch apart from it’s competitors.

    Most people who buy iPods don’t care about sound quality or codec support. They just use the included earbuds and don’t know that iTunes isn’t the only way a person can use an MP3 player. I don’t understand why other companies don’t put any effort or capital into advertising. Apple has proven time and time again that it works wonders. Maybe smaller companies like Cowon don’t have the funds to blanket the media and streets with ads but Microsoft and Sony sure do! And Creative could put some of the cash they use to release stupid players like the new Zen and that idiotic Moo toward advertising instead. I’d rather see some great Zii Egg ads than another refresh of the Mozaic.

  • It was surprising to see a jump from 8GB to 32GB. They must have a ton of those 8GB models left in stock, because there is no reason they couldn’t have offered the 16GB model for $199.

    I was really looking forward to a 64GB model with the 3GS processor and camera module, along with a built-in microphone. At least the two high-end models come with the iPhone headset with inline mic, whereas the 8GB just has the iPod earbuds.

  • Avatar of jouster

    Other DAPs have been beating the various iPods in specs for as long as there have been iPods. Hasn’t helped any of them dethrone the iPod.

  • Avatar of DarkPotato

    Seriously, unless you really need FM radio, a .2″ bigger screen for videos, and a friggin* camera (that sucks), you should really buy the older version of the nano.
    What’s so good about Ipods anyways?


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