iOS 4.1 Releases Next Week, Includes Game Center
The first new announcement of the day was when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the latest version of iOS, 4.1. 4.1, on top of including bug fixes for the proximity sensor and slowness in the iPhone 3G also includes Game Center. Game Center releases next week with iOS 4.1 and includes matchmaking, achievements, leaderboards, friends lists and more. On top of being a new set of APIs that developers can work with in their games (such as adding in-game invitations), it’s also a separate app that will allow users to track their games and friends.
On top of Game Center features, iOS 4.1 includes a new HDR camera feature that will automatically take HDR photos with a touch of a button. This new feature is optional and works simply by turning it on. You will now also be able to upload HD videos (presumably to YouTube) straight from the phone with this update as well.
Apple also demoed a brand new game that utilizes Game Center called Project Sword (you can download a free tech demo of what was shown here). This game features impressive 3D visuals that really do showcase the power of the iPhone. The demo showed an impressive battle between massive warriors fighting to the death. Not much else was known about the game, beside it being in development from Epic and Chair. Project Sword is set to be released later this year. Also of note is that they are opening the doors for other developers to use the Unreal engine in their new games as well.
iOS 4.1 is available next week and will only release to iPhone and iPod Touch for free.
iOS 4.2 Previewed, Coming to iPad
The first iteration of iOS 4 to come to the iPad will be 4.2 and will include all previous improvements included in 4.0 and 4.1 with multitasking, folders, and the like. It will also include wireless printing and a renamed feature called “AirPlay” that allows you to stream music and video from your computer to your iPad from anywhere in your home.
Steve Jobs mentioned that iOS 4.2 will be available in November for all iDevices.
New iPods Announced, Smaller than Ever
Next, Jobs came out and announced the latest iterations of the iPod line, and they are certainly smaller than ever. The Shuffle was the first to be shown, and is remarkably even smaller than last year’s version but notably brings back the buttons that were missing from the 2009 model. As you can see in the picture to the right, the Shuffle is just larger than a US Quarter. This model is 2GB and will cost just $49.
Show next was the Nano, and how it has changed over the years going from skinny, to short and back. The new model is all touch-based and is smaller than ever, only being about double the size of the new iPod Shuffle. While it doesn’t appear to run the full version of iOS, it looks more like a streamlined version built just for the Nano. No App Store here, folks. These nanos will come in 2 models, 8GB for $149 and 16GB for $179.
Perhaps the most stunning was the new iPod Touch which looks to take the “iPhone without a Phone” persona even further with its new, even slimmer design, front and back facing cameras. Jobs proudly proclaimed that this is the number one iPod and therefore the most important when it came to updates. Also of note is that he put them directly in competition with Nintendo and Sony as they said it has 50+% marketshare and that they sell more iPod Touches than Nintendo and Sony combined. Them’s fightin’ words if I ever heard them.
The new iPod Touch also features the retina display found in the iPhone 4 along with the A4 chip and Gyroscope. FaceTime will be available with its new front-facing camera over WiFi and will work with both other iPod Touch devices and iPhone 4′s. The back camera also supports HD video recording much like the one in the iPhone 4.
3 versions of iPod Touch will be available with an 8GB model for $229, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. All very decently priced especially when you consider you’re getting an iPhone without the phone and basically the same exact features. All of these iPods will be available to pre-order today and will launch next week.
iTunes 10 Unveiled, Available Today
Immediately after the new iPods were announced, Jobs announced a new version of iTunes, iTunes 10. He started off with making a joke about CD’s and how not many likely use them anymore, and certainly not with iTunes. This meant that the logo is out of date, and there is now a new logo for iTunes (shown left).
Along with having a new logo, iTunes 10 comes with a new hybrid view of your music that automatically combines albums if there are five or more songs from that same album. Perhaps the largest iTunes announcement however is the addition of Ping, a new social network in the same vein as Last.fm.
Ping is a social network much like Facebook, but mainly for music. You can setup your profile, and make it so that your friends can see what music you like, are listening to and are buying from iTunes. Ping is integrated right into iTunes both on the computer and iPod/iPod Touch. It also shows you a personalized “Top 10″ based on what you and your friends like the most.
iTunes 10 is available now, here.
Apple TV Gets New Revamped, Cheaper Price, More Focused
Apple TV has been a product that’s been more of a labor of love at Apple than anything of blockbuster caliber, but has been chugging along nicely. However, Jobs basically said that Apple is not as happy as they’d like to be with Apple TV and this is why they are revamping the device.
First of all, it’s about a quarter the size of the original Apple TV, and fits in the palm of your hand. Not having an internal hard drive was likely a good reason behind that, and that is in large part due to its new focus on streaming and not just playing videos stored on the device itself.
The new Apple TV has new content deals, that allow you to stream and rent movies for $4.99 in HD directly when they come out. Considering it’s all instantly available, it doesn’t sound like such a bad deal. More importantly is that TV Show episodes will also be available in HD for just 99¢. All of this is done instantly, over the air with either WiFi or wired Ethernet.
Also, Apple TV also utilizes other services such as Netflix, YouTube and Flickr to allow you to stream content to the device if you have accounts with these services. Meaning, if you have a subscription to Netflix, you can instantly stream a large library of movies for free to your Apple TV.
Lastly, Apple TV uses “AirPlay” as well, meaning you can stream movies, photos or music off of your iPhone, iPad or computer. Apple TV will be available in around 4 weeks with pre-orders opening today. This new edition will cost just $99.
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