Apple’s September News

Apple had one of their product announcement events today at Yerba Buena here in SF. You can see the archived live stream here.

  • iOS updates 4.1 and 4.2, which will bring all iOS 4 features to the iPad. New features include wireless printing and AirPlay (formerly AirTunes) which allows you to stream music, photos and videos from your mobile to devices enabled with AirPlay. iOS 4.2 coming in November
  • New iPods. My favorite is the new nano pictured above. It’s square, tiny, and is a touch screen. Love it.
  • iTunes 10: in addition to some interface adjustments, there’s a new “social network” called Ping. Billed as iTunes meets Twitter/Facebook, it’s supposed to be a good way to discover new music. We’ll see. Right now, the social aspect includes following friends or famous artists (Yo Yo Ma, Lady Gaga, etc), posting comments and updates. But the drawback is that all interaction takes place within iTunes, not online or in the cloud as one would expect. To my disappointment, it also doesn’t show your friends’ listening activity, just their purchasing activity. Updates are made manually with no integration with other networks. Nor is there friends’ integration. There’s a long story about Facebook being pulled at the last minute. So far, the reaction on Twitter has been fairly negative regarding the so-called social features of Ping. However, my guess is that it’ll help some artists gain a following and make some sales based on music you might not have seen otherwise. Nonetheless, another weakness is that recommendations aren’t personalized. At least with iTunes Genius, the music suggested is based on what I listen to. But at first glance, Ping’s “artists we recommend you follow” and “people we recommend you follow” aren’t personalized whatsoever. In terms of user experience, it’s odd to not be able to post updates within Ping, but rather as you’re browsing the public/store side of iTunes. I just don’t have any desire to spend more time inside of iTunes.
  • Apple TV: all new smaller, flatter, black box for $99. Wi-fi and ethernet, HDMI. Apple has negotiated a $.99 rental of commercial free shows. HD movie rentals will cost $4.99. The new Apple TV streams content from your computer, allows viewing of Netflix and connects to Flickr and MobileMe.