‘Genius’ iTunes 8 Brings HD As iPhone Lays Low

It's a little more interesting than the iPod news. Well, slightly...

For an event called ‘Let’s Rock!’ the iPod announcements were more Let’s Lullaby so did iTunes or the iPhone get any better treatment? Not really…

iTunes 8 – a seemingly major release – does carry one distinct feature: it finally offers High Definition downloadable content. Naturally this applies primarily to the US and UK or in fact global significance has yet to be established but for the Yanks HD versions of shows will cost an extra $1 over their SD counterparts. And yes, HD movies were off the list, for now. What type of HD? It wasn’t expanded upon but 720p seems the obvious choice.

The other major new feature of iTunes 8 is ‘Genius’ – essentially Pandora – it uses algorithms to work out and suggest music you may like based on the content of your iTunes music library and also the songs/albums/artists you play most. Conveniently its results all link to artists available through the iTunes store with the option to buy. Jobs also admitted library information will be sent to Apple for Genius to work with but it will be anonymous. Privacy and conspiracy theorists on your marks, get set… go!

Lastly, an additional viewing mode – the ‘Visual Browsing Interface’ (above) – is being integrated into iTunes 8 which lays out album and video covers as well as podcasts, apps and audiobooks if so chosen. It’s basically tiled Coverflow. Oh and for an American Audience, NBC is back. That must be nice for you.

As for the iPhone, Jobs confirmed firmware 2.1 will hit it this Friday and only skated over the main points: bugs fixes, less dropped calls, better battery life and improved sync times. No specifics were mentioned. Obviously copy and paste was ignored, ditto push notifications (that must be causing Apple so much trouble), ditto turn-by-turn spoken GPS instructions, ditto MMS and ditto video recording. Anyone given up on some of these yet?

Will these improvements apply to the original iPhone as well? As became typical for the event: it wasn’t discussed.

Jobs did then fill in with chat of accessories (apparently we’ll at last be getting some ”’decent”’ Apple earphones, but we’ll believe it when we hear it) and signed off with the once-interesting-now-endlessly-self-repeating Jack Johnson and he couldn’t help but reference John Mayer.

So two Apple stories and that’s your lot. No need for a bloggish, self indulgent 10/12 articles here because, quite frankly, ”not much happened”…

iTunes 8
iPhone 3G

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor