Mad Dog’s Big Announcement

This just in! Apple updates its 5G iPod by having a brighter screen, better battery life, gapless playback, better search functionality, and more! Plus the 30GB iPod’s price has been dropped to $249 and an 80GB one can be had for just 100 dollars more. Whoa, that is one heck of a deal.

The Nano has been updated also by replacing the easily scratched plastic and polished steel backing with COLORED anodized aluminum. It’s just like the iPod Mini all over again but even smaller. To be honest, I think the new Nanos look a little…wonky. It doesn’t have that elegant look of the first generation Nano. It looks a lot more toy-like now. But I am impressed by the increase in battery life (from 18 to 24 hrs) and the improved screen. And since it’s made of aluminum now, it should be indestructible like the old iPod Mini. The 2GB model will cost $149, the 4GB $199, and the 8GB $249. Flash MP3 players are still ridiculously expensive. For the same price of the 8GB Nano, you can get the 30GB iPod.

The last update to the iPod family is the Shuffle, which I have never really been a fan of. Updates include an anodized aluminum case and EVEN SMALLER foot print. To be honest, I’m getting sick of gadgets getting slimmer and more microscopic. Is it really ergonomic? I mean my hand gets a little fatigued from holding my Razr to my ear for extended periods of time and now they’re coming out with phones that make my Razr look as if it needs to enroll in Weight Watchers. Anyway, the Shuffle is meant to be worn and there is a built in clip and should probably be light enough to dangle from your headphones. There will only be one version of the Shuffle which is 1GB for $79. Not to shabby seeing as it comes with a dock.

Speaking of headphones, Apple has redesigned their headphones and made them look even more ugly. Hopefully they’ll sound better than they look.

Also, iTunes 7 has just launched with a ton of better features. Mad Dog made a big point to introduce free album art for all your previous tracks if you have an iTunes account. I was unaware that album art was ever charged for… Also, if you look at the screen shots you’ll see that browsing for your songs is now more visually appealing due to the album art on the side. Something that WMP11 has been doing for a while now. The Beta 2 was released recently so check it out if you haven’t already. It works a lot better than the first beta.

You can browse through your albums through this view which is pretty cool, thought a little disorienting and less efficient than the traditional view.

The iTunes Store has been overhauled and will provide you with movies from only Disney so far. They claim most movies will cost $9.99 and $12.99 when you preorder a movie and will be available for download when the DVD is released. All movies and shows will now be encoded at 640×480 instead of the lowly 320×240. I think I’m going to stick with buying DVDs because I know Apple will load up their downloads with a bunch of DRM that will stop me from doing what I want with the stuff I PAID FOR.

And last but not least, Mad Dog showed off the iTV which is a hub that streams your video and music to your television through 802.11 wireless or eithernet. It’s nothing revolutionary since Media Center has been doing that for quite a while now. Good news is that it’ll work on both PCs and Macs. It will go on sale at the beginning of 2007 for $299.

Sources:
Cnet.com
Engadet.com
Apple.com

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