For Apple watchers, the latest round of speculation is over. At Wednesday's annual fall product announcement, CEO Steve Jobs unveiled refreshed versions of the entire iPod line, including an iPod Touch with a "Retina" touch-screen, two cameras and FaceTime video chat functionality. The other big developments? A new version of iTunes that offers its own social network service called Ping (which some see as a Facebook rival), and a smaller, second generation $99 Apple TV that allows users to stream movies and TV shows from Apple's library and services like Netflix in high definition over a WiFi connection. Commentators weigh in:
iPod Touch 4G
The new iPod Touch isn't perfect, says Chad Skelton in the Vancouver Sun, but it's close. With two cameras, a "faster processor," better display and a "longer battery life," this is by far the best iPod yet. It's true, says Jonny Evans in Computerworld, the new iPod Touch works "beautifully." How far this product has come since "the black-and-white-screened iPod Classic of 2001"!
A new version of iTunes didn't "come as a surprise," says Tina Chubb in Only Kent. But the Ping social networking service certainly did. This "impressive" new music-centric feature allows iTunes users to post songs, pictures, and comments, and follow friends and artists they like. Some techies might recall, says Matt Rosoff in CNet, that Microsoft tried (and failed) to popularize a similar service in 2006 when it debuted the Zune. Ping, with an iTunes "user base of more than 100 million," has far better odds.
Apple TV 2
After some hands-on time with "the new and improved (and dirt cheap) Apple TV," says Joshua Topolsky in Engadget, "we like what we see." The interface is "really solid," and the streaming "was speedy and extremely clear." Sorry, says Matt Burns in CrunchGear, but I'm not impressed. The "boring" new Apple TV offers nothing you can't get with the venerable Roku box, which, at $69, is thirty dollars cheaper. One caveat: If you've already invested heavily in Apple product, the Apple TV will likely offer smoother compatibility.