One things we’ve been wondering today, admidst all of the Apple It’s Only Rock and Roll event news, is how Microsoft was feeling, especially as it pertains to their Zune business, which is set for a major overhaul in six days. We got in contact with a Microsoft spokesperson, and asked them about what they thought of the new iPod and iTunes announcements. Here’s what they had to say:
Since our debut, Zune has offered a different kind of end-to-end digital entertainment experience that includes wireless MP3 players, a robust online store, music community and innovative software features that help users easily find the music and videos they love.
The entertainment experience for consumers hasn’t changed that much after Apple’s announcement today. Our point of view has always been that people want to be entertained, and they want a better way to watch and listen to the digital entertainment they love. We’re interested in getting you your content where you want it in rich, exciting ways. We look forward to sharing more on September 15th.
Okay, so Zune is all about music and videos - not games, video recording, and all that other stuff. We get it, and we like the focus. What we don’t like, though, is how Microsoft allowed Apple to steal their thunder by announcing the new line-up way after Microsoft announced the Zune HD, followed up by Apple launching the new iPods a week before the Zune HD hits stores.
In the meantime, if you’re a music fan looking for a new music player, we say wait until the fifteenth. What you see come out of the Zune camp may surprise you. All of you. I’ve already said too much.
Amidst all the other Apple news from today’s “It’s Only Rock and Roll” music event is the fact that iPhone OS 3.1 (or, technically, 3.1.1) is now available. With it comes things like support for Genius Mixes, pre-cut ringtone downloads at $1.29 a pop, app organization support in iTunes 9, and Genius recommendations for apps. There’s also a bunch of polish, bug fixes, and ease of use features as well. Just connect your iPhone or iPod touch and check for an update.
Apple has just announced the third generation of the iPod touch at their “It’s only Rock and Roll” event this morning. The first order of business is that the 8GB iPod touch is now just $199. In addition, the 32GB model will now sell for $299, and the newly announced 64GB model (which I am drooling over) will sell for $399. The iPod touch has hit that magical $199 price point, and based on that, we think Apple can expect sales to shoot even higher.
The new touches also have iPhone 3GS innards, since they support OpenGL 2.0, which means games will look and perform even better.
The negative? No camera. That is the one thing we were hoping to see added to the touch, and it didn’t happen. Oh well, there’s always next year.
Yup, we’ve suspected that September 9th was going to be the day that we’d see a bunch of new hotness from Apple as it pertains to music, namely iTunes and iPod-related announcements. Well, it’s been confirmed, as Apple has started sending out invitations to a rock and roll themed event on the 9th, to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. Expect the entire iPod line to be refreshed, with the exception of the shuffle, and with the focus being on the iPod touch and iTunes 9.
What do you hope we see next Wednesday?
My pal Robert Scoble announced that the Yelp iPhone and iPod touch app that was recently updated included a hidden Augmented Reality feature. Obviously, as soon as we saw, we had to give it a shot, and we figured we’d do it on video. Augmented Reality apps use the camera on the iPhone, along with overlaid information, to present location data while looking at the “real world” - it’s very cool, and you can expect a bunch more of these types of apps to make an appearance on the App Store very shortly upon the release of iPhone OS 3.1.
In this demo, we show you how to unlock the Monocle mode in the Yelp app, and also give you a look at what exactly it does. For now, our early opinion is that it’s a cool idea…it just needs to be refined a bit to be truly useful.
Hey, streaming subscription music fans, it looks like Spotify has finally been approved by Apple, and it will be appearing in the App Store shortly. You may not realize how big a deal this is at first glance, but trust me, this is huge. Spotify is a service that gives you all-you-can-eat access to music for a set fee each month. The app appearing on the iPhone and iPod touch means that you can use another store besides iTunes to listen to, and download, music. Yes, Spotify even lets you listen to downloaded tracks if you are offline. This is a game-changer, and we look forward to getting our hands on Spotify once it is released!
We were able to spend some quality time with the Zune HD a couple of days ago, and we put together this video walkthrough of the interface on the device. Unfortunately, we weren’t connected to Wi-Fi, so we weren;t able to show web browsing, downloading from the Marketplace, or Social, but this gives you a really good idea of what to expect when you get pick up your Zune HD (available for pre-order now) come September 15th.
Our favorite feature? I’ll probably be using the pinned items on the side quite a bit, especially for the recently synched stuff. Quick access to things like that have been much needed on touch devices. A runner up would have to be the quick scroll in the music browser. Again, it saves you on just quickly swiping a bunch of times, hoping to get to the right spot.
All in all, we’re impressed. Of course, we will have a full Zune HD review when we get our own device. For now, be sure to read up on everything we know about the Zune HD.
We’ve been beta testing the Shoot It! app for the past couple of months, and we are excited to let you guys know that it is now available for purchase in the App Store for $0.99. Why the excitement? Well, Shoot It! is one of the apps we use very regularly, and it’s one of our favorite apps that we’ve ever used on the iPhone. So, What is Shoot It?
Shoot It! allows you to send high quality postcards to anyone in your iPhone or iPod touch Address Book, using images in your Camera Roll, or an image that you take from within the app using the iPhone camera. You can send a postcard to as many people as you like, and you also fill in a message that would be printed on the back of the photo. The end result is, as we said, a high quality 4x6 glossy postcard that has the image of your choice on the front, and your message on the back. Since you can send the message to any number of contacts, you end up with the ability to send one message to, say, twenty people, in just a minute or two.
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Popcap Games’ popular word puzzler, Bookworm, is now available on iPhone and iPod touch for the low price of $.99. The game, previously set at $4.99, is at a reduced priced due to the release of the new Bookworm game—Bookworm Adventures Volume 2. Bookworm is also available for Mac, PC, and other smartphones.
Tom Cullen of Sonos stopped by to give us a first-hand look at the new Sonos Controller 200 CR200 remote control. A marked improvement over the original Sonos Controller 100, the CR200 is a full touchscreen device that allows you to interact with music from a vast amount of sources and services, both on your network and from the Internet, with relative ease. We give you a look at how it all comes together in this episode.