Saturday, September 15, 2012

New iTunes and iPods

The new iTunes and iPods were announced this week (watch it here at 63 minutes in).  New iTunes looks really, really great!  New iPod Nano:  I want to see it up close to get a better feel for the design, but it looks like the black one, at least, looks slick.  The previous generation of the Nano looked pretty awful.  (The screen went out to the edge with not enough margin, making it seem like some sticker clumsily placed on the body of the device.  The device was too small for its own good.)  I like how the Nano is now clearly in its own tier, by the way, which has a bonus of giving some credence to my belief that the iPod Shuffle is awesome (and not just a cheaper iPod Nano).  On the other hand, one of the reasons why I think the iPod Shuffle is awesome is physical buttons, and the new iPod Nano, I was delighted to hear, adds physical-button control over forward/back and play/pause (as well as volume).  Now you can have the iPod on your belt and not be fiddling with the touch screen when you want to control your music/audio.  I would love to try that out and see how it feels.

New iPod Touch too.

UPDATE (September 22, 2012):  I need to further explain my iPod Nano claim, as that 6th generation Nano, I have been reminded, served some utility.  I can explain why the new Nano is better than the previous Nano, but I can't come up with any explanation for why the "smart watch" idea should go by the wayside.  It shouldn't.  More on this later.

There are some other notable things to mention:

  • Unlike in iOS 6, Podcasts have not been broken out into a separate app in the upcoming iTunes release.  My only opinion on this is that I just want podcasts to be given their fair share of love; wherever they are displayed, they should be displayed and otherwise promoted prominently.  That goes for iTunes U too.
  • It looks like Radio is more prominent in this upcoming version of iTunes than it was previously (see image:  Song, Albums, Artists, Genres, Playlists, Radio).  This could just be how this version of iTunes is laid out, but somehow I don't think so.  It seems deliberate, and I'm only reaffirmed in my belief (shared by others) by word that Apple is going to launch a Pandora competitor.
  • Ping is shutting down, so it goes.  Even though Ping wasn't a success, I think if Apple ever has a success in social in the next decade (independent of partnerships), it will be tied either to music or to location.  With partnerships, Apple's reach is much more broad, and social is fertile ground for them.