Apple Press Briefing: New iPods (nano, Classic, touch)
While many customers were happy with the iPod nano, a significant number asked for video capability. This has now been added. The shape has changed from its thin profile to a more squat definition to accommodate the 2-inch screen. Images are sharper, with a resolution of 204 pixels per inch on the 420 x 240 display. The nano is 6.5mm thick.
A significant change, which carries over to other new iPods, is a new screen display. The screen is split, with a menu to the left and a preview image on the right. The screen also has Coverflow, a feature of iTunes and the iPhone.
iTunes is used to synchronise the iPod with the computer. As before, the nano also works with the Nike+ system. There is also a new armband for sports use. Like early iPods, there are games installed: Klondike, Vortex and iQuiz.
There are two versions of the nano: 4G at 6490 and 8G 8690 baht. Better battery performance gives play back of 24 hours audio or 5 hours video.
The iPod Classic is the basic, familiar iPod. It just got bigger. There are now two versions: 80G and 160G, both available in black or silver. The back is of polished steel while the front is anodised aluminium.
These also have the split menu system, Coverflow and installed games. Battery life is improved, providing some 30 hours audio and 5 hours video on the smaller of the two. The 160G will play audio for up to 40 hours, or 7 hours of video. They hold some 20,000 or 40,000 songs respectively. Apple prices them at 10790 and 14990 baht. My 3rd generation 15G iPod cost me 15,000 baht three years ago.
As it had only begun shipping in the US a few days before, I was surprised to see the iPod touch on hand. We were told that this was the first press briefing in Asia where it had been available.
The touch has been likened to an iPhone without the phone, so does not need any unlocking. It also means that many people are familiar with the basics of its appearance.
Most important, of course, is that this iPod has a wide touch-screen: all of the innovations that found their way into the iPhone are now available on this iPod. The screen is 3.5 inches wide, but this device is slightly thinner than the iPhone, at 8mm: slightly more than the nano.
The multi-touch interface provides the same scrolling as the phone, including the rubber-banding in lists. When tilted by 90 degrees, an accelerometer turns the screen from portrait to landscape (or back), providing a different view for album covers, synchronised video or photographs; or for the browser.
Photograph displays are particularly effective. Like iPhoto, the images are grouped, and clicking a group displays a page of thumbnails. Clicking on one of these, shows it full screen. We can scroll through all pictures and each can be enlarged using the "pinch": a two-finger gesture. The fingers are spread to enlarge, or closed to reduce the size.
At top left of this iPod is a WiFi antenna and the touch is Internet ready. I had a close look at how this may be set up to link with a service and, even with manual settings, this is going to be easy.
The main screen shows a number of icons that are pressed to access a service. Included is one for YouTube: the iPod will connect directly to that source and display videos ready to roll. Safari is the browser (Apple's OS X is the operating system) and this loads a full page, not the mini version that a mobile phone will offer. Clicking on the page, or using the "pinch" will enlarge a section. I noticed that in landscape mode the keyboard for entering a URL was really easy to use.
The two versions of the iPod touch (8G and 16G) are priced at 12990 and 16690 baht and are expected to arrive within a couple of weeks.
Questions at the end touched on the lack of Thai language capability for the iPods. Later an open letter to Apple's Tony Li was circulated with a URL to an online petition . With sales increasing here, such localisation, both for the iPod and OS X, should not be left to 3rd party developers.
I am looking forward to getting my hands on all of these new models soon.
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