iPods. Love or hate them Apple claims market share in the US is currently a whopping 73 per cent with 20m units shipped of the iPod touch (iPhone sales are at 30m) - scary. Will it stay the same after a distinctly underwhelming series of announcements?
Despite all the marketing spiel what we got was a larger, faster iPod touch, larger iPod Classic, a basic video camera strapped to the iPod nano and some new iPod shuffle colours with a smaller capacity option! Consider us bored.
So let's break this lot down. The iPod touch isn't getting a camera, unless that is to avoid cannibalising iPhone sales this is an utterly ridiculous decision for a platform with such rich social networking applications. What is welcome are price cuts with the 8GB entry level model now priced at a wallet friendly $199, then a nice jump to 32GB and new 64GB models at $299 and $399 respectively. Inside we also get the newer A8-Cortex chipset with OpenGL ES support (but no GPS or digital compass) so general operation is inline with the iPhone 3GS.
The iPod Classic has a stay of execution with the capacity bumped to 160GB for the same $249 RRP (we're still waiting on all UK pricing). With such an incremental change don't expect to see the Classic survive next time around. It looks the same too, so Apple didn't even bring one out for us to play with.
Surprisingly then the iPod nano gets the day's most significant changes with a marginally larger 2.2in screen and the addition of a 30fps VGA video camera. There is no still capture, but it does keep the nano relatively interesting when $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB) prices place it dangerously close to the $199 8GB iPod touch. On top of the video camera we finally get an integrated FM tuner plus mic and a pedometer which can sync with Nike+.
Lastly we have the iPod shuffle and this really was dull. We get a new size, but not the long awaited 8GB edition. Instead the ($79) 4GB shuffle will be augmented by a $59 2GB model and a ‘special edition' with stainless steel finish (it's a finger print magnet) for $99. If this doesn't make the iPod shuffle the most ridiculous and overpriced MP3 player on the market, I don't know what does. We'll take a $70 8GB SanDisk Sansa Clip+ any day.
All in all a great disappointment and as I theorised this morning, the Palm Pixi has indeed turned out to be the most interesting announcement of the day...