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.
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.
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.
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.