Apple launches iTunes 8, new iPods and iPhone 2.1 Software

A thin but healthy looking Steve Jobs on Tuesday unveils at Apple’s ‘Lets Rock’ event iTunes 8, iPod Classic update, new fourth generation iPod nano, new second generation iPod touch and iPhone 2.1 software. These announcements are ‘underwhelming’ as there are no real surprises, and the spy shots of the new iPod nano prior to the launch is spot on. Let’s summarize the highlights from what Jobs called a ‘music’ event:

  • Apple’s iTunes numbers: over 8.5 million songs, over 125,000 podcasts, over 30,000 TV shows, over 2600 movies, over 3,000 iPhone/iPod touch apps. And 65 million customers.
  • iTunes to have high-definition TV shows. HD content costs $2.99 per episode while the standard definition is $1.99.
  • NBC is coming back to iTunes, say hello to “The Office”, “Monk”, “Battlestar Galactica” etc. iTunes stopped selling NBC TV shows end Aug 2007 following NBC’s decision to not renew agreement with Apple then.

  • Apple releases iTunes 8. Introduced new “Genius” feature to automatically make playlists from songs in your library that tailor to your taste with just one click. Genius helps you rediscover music in your library and a Genius sidebar makes song recommendations from the iTunes store.
  • When you turn on Genuis, your taste in music and library info is send anonymously to iTunes. These info combines with those from other iTunes users make Genius smarter and smarter in tailoring to your music taste.
  • Apple’s iPod occupies 73.4% market share. 90% of US cars offer iPod integration.
  • iPod Classic was available in thin and thick model. Apple discontinues the thick model. The thin model iPod Classic is updated to 120GB at $249.
  • New fourth generation iPod nano. It is the thinnest iPod ever. New curved aluminum design with curved glass. Enhanced User Interface. Genius playlist creation. Accelerometer similar to iPhone, turn sideways and you are in Cover Flow, shake to shuffle song. 24 hour battery life for music, 4 hour for video. Calendar, stopwatch and voice recording functions with mic attached. Available in nine bright colors. $149 for 8GB and $199 for 16GB.
  • Fourth generation iPod nano is the most environment friendly iPod: built with arsenic-free glass, BFR-free, Mercury-free, PVC-free and highly recyclable.
  • Apple launching new in-ear headphones that ship with 3 earbuds, cost is $79.
  • New second generation iPod touch, the funnest iPod ever. Same display as first generation but is thinner with contoured stainless steel design. Built in integrated volume controls at the side, accelerometer, 802.11 b/g wireless networking, built-in speaker, Genius playlist creation, App Store built in, user interface enhancement and Nike+ support. Battery life is 36 hours for music and 6 hours for video. Three models to choose from: 8GB for $229, 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399.
  • iTunes App Store number after 60 days of operation: over 3000 apps, about 700 are games and over 100 million apps downloaded.
  • Apple announced 2.1 software update for iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod touch available this Friday. “This is a big update, it fixes lots of bugs. Fewer dropped calls, big battery life improvements. No crashes with Apps. Backing up is faster.”

Apple has posted the “Let’s Rock” event video streaming.