Apple also announced a new version of iTunes, namely version 7 and mentioned a new product code-named the iTV player which is the long awaited Apple media centre. Add new iPod games into the mix and the whole things gets pretty exciting.
The big announcements, certainly from my perspective, were that Apple has launched a new iPod shuffle, a new iPod nano and a revised fifth generation iPod. The iPod shuffle has a new form factor and a 1GB capacity.
The new iPod nano is particularly exciting and looks a lot like the old iPod minis. It has a metallic finish, is thinner than the existing iPod nano and now boasts a top capacity of 8GB (that works out to about 2 000 songs). The screen is brighter and the battery should go for as long as 24 hours. The iPod nano will play audiobooks and podcasts (although I think the outgoing model will do that too).
Not to be outdone, the fifth generation iPod has been updated with an 80GB drive and a brighter screen for all those movies you can now buy from the iTunes Music Store. These movies are are near DVD quality and have a resolution of 640×480 which is higher than before. As with the nano, the updated iPod has a brighter screen and all the goodness that you may be accustomed to in your older iPod. In addition, it now supports downloadable games from the iTunes Music Store. You can also download all that missing album art from the iTunes Music Store although this is still dependent on you having a valid account on the iTunes Music Store and on the store being available in your country. This still poses a problem for us South Africans and we are still unable to benefit from the wealth of media available for sale on the iTunes Music Store. I did notice that the store accepts PayPal payments although this is also tied into your stated home country.
The interface of the new version of iTunes is much sleeker and user friendly. There is a screen that gives more information on what is on your iPod and allows you to look at the different types of content on your iPod using familiar looking tabs. Downloads of any description (including the software updates for the iPod) are displayed on a dedicated downloads screen in iTunes. It looks like a fair amount of Safari was added to iTunes so if you are familiar with Safari, you will be pretty comfortable with elements of iTunes. On the whole I really like this update and am pretty excited to explore it some more.