So it's touchdown at ‘The Brewery', Apple's choice of location for its UK iPods with cameras secret announcement and there was no alcohol on offer. Make up your own jokes...
More to the point today is all about iPods, not the iPhone, not iTablets, not The Beatles, but first iTunes and some new firmware.
Firmware 3.1 appears today with bug fixes, some performance updates and Genius functionality is now integrated into the App Store so it will be able to recommend apps based on what you have installed. It's free for iPhone owners and as usual iPod touch owners get ever so slightly stiffed, this time to the tune of £2.99. Ringtones also launch with 30,000 available for $1.29 apiece. This hits today.
As for iTunes, Jobs tells us 8.5 billion tracks have been downloaded by over 100,000,000 customers. Feeling suitably smug then we get iTunes 9 which features a cleaned up UI and ‘Genius Mixes', an extension of the Genius feature to ‘DJ' together suitable tracks from your library. Syncing gets revamped too with more advanced sync options for iPods and iPhones that allow users to sync music by artist or album, photos by name and videos by title or genre. App management appears too so homescreens can be organised via iTunes - long overdue.
‘Home Streaming' is another biggie with iTunes now allowing copying of content between up to five computers on the same network - we've been able to do that with iTunes supporting NAS boxes, but this is welcome. Lastly is ‘iTunes LP' which aims to bring back some of the classic features of vinyl such as liner notes, internal artwork and lyrics combined with newer content like video. It works for video downloads too, making it rather like DVD extras. Another nice move, but it will be interesting to see how compatibility works across legacy iPod and iPhone models. Social networking fans will also be able to right click on iTunes content and send it to Facebook or Twitter.
Update: As could probably be expected, iTunes 9 breaks the Palm Pre sync. Expect Palm to fix that quick sharp and the whole cat and mouse game to roll drearily on.
Update 2: Here is the full iPhone OS 3.1 feature list:
- Genius recommendations for Applications
- iTunes 9 support
- Genius Mixes
- Organize your apps directly in iTunes
- Improved syncing options for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and photos
- iTunes U content organization
- Redeem iTunes Gift cards, codes and certificates in the App Store
- Display available iTunes account credits in the App Store and iTunes Store
- Browse and download ringtones wirelessly from the iTunes Store*
- Save video from Mail and MMS into Camera Roll
- Option to "Save as new clip" when trimming a video on iPhone 3GS
- Better iPhone 3G Wi-Fi performance when Bluetooth is turned on
- Remotely lock iPhone with a passcode via MobileMe
- Use Voice Control on iPhone 3GS with Bluetooth headsets
- Paste phone numbers into the Keypad
- Option to use Home button to turn on Accessibility features on iPhone 3GS
- Warn when visiting fraudulent websites in Safari (anti-phishing)
- Improved Exchange calendar syncing and invitation handling
- Fixes issue that caused some app icons to display incorrectly