I had a choice last night to listen to an influential orator who in the past has announced great products and has influenced millions around the world, but whose tragic flaw is his ego and arrogance – which will inevitably be his downfall. But enough about Tony Blair. I chose instead to watch the streamed Apple fall press conference.
Apple announced the immediate availability of a new iPod Touch and Nano; and the imminent availability of a new version of Apple TV – the company’s hobby.
The nano multitouch interface looks like a welcome advance and consigns the original track wheel to the dustbin of history. Some fans will no doubt lament its passing.
The iPod Touch with its retina display, front facing and back camera was widely expected and reaffirms the theory that it is an iPhone with trainer wheels. Clearly, it will still be popular with those who want the functionality of an iPhone, but don’t want to give up on their Blackberries just yet. I’ve never seen the iPod Touch as being a device for the Apple pure-at-heart.
Whether these new features will prevent iPod Touch sales being eroded by the sales cannibalisation since the introduction of the iPad. The product finds itself in a strange niche.
Apple TV gets the biggest overhaul. Now its UI is based on Apple’s mobile UI rather than its desktop version. In this respect, it is little more than iPad without a multitouch screen. No wonder Apple has managed to reduce the price so much. Its basically an iPad without a screen or storage!
At £99 its an attractive price for a set top box, but there is already plenty of competition out there. For example, DLink has partnered with Boxee to deliver a set top box that does everything that Apple TV does and can play absolutely any codec or format you can throw at it – no file conversion needed.
Another thing that Boxee has is social networking capability. It is built from the ground-up with social networking in mind. Something that iTunes 10 has recently added. Not new or innovative, but it will succeed where the likes of MySpace and Napster 2.0 have failed because the muscle it has in the market and the fact that iTunes already boasts hundreds of millions of paid subscribers.