Apple put on quite a show today at their San Francisco-based "Rock and Roll" iPod event. The most exciting news of the day was definitely the presence of founder Steve Jobs. Steve looked very well, and it appears he has fully recovered from his operation. He opened up the conference by thanking the young person who donated his liver, and urging people across the U.S. to sign up to be organ donors.
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There were a lot of new announcements today. First off, the iPhone OS update 3.1 was launched today. It contained Genius mixes for apps, iTunes 9 support, allowed use of gift cards in the App Store, improved 3G performance in Bluetooth mode, and much more. iTunes 9 was also announced and made available for download today. This iTunes update contained Genius mixes, Home Sharing, iTunes extras and iTunes LPs, and a bunch of smaller updates.
Apple also announced updates to the iPod Classic line, and new colors for the iPod Shuffle. The Classic is now up from 120 GB of storage to 160. The Shuffle will now be available in 5 new colors, and can also be purchased in a stainless steel special edition. All Shuffles now come with a new controller that allows you to use the Shuffle in more ways via your headset.
The Classic wasn't the only iPod to get a size bump. Apple also announced the coming of a new 64 GB iPod Touch, as well as a price drop for the touch line. The 8 GB touch will now cost $199 (what Steve called the 'magic' price for iPods), while the 32 GB touch will cost $299 and the 64 GB touch will be $399. I think everyone was surprised to learn that the touch would not be getting a camera this time around. What WILL be getting a camera is the new iPod Nano. New versions of the nano will come stock with an incredibly tiny camcorder/camera. The nano's display has been increased to 2.2", and it has been given an external speaker to help you share video with friends. The nano also now has a built-in FM radio that features live pause and iTunes tagging. In addition, it sports Genius Mixes and a new pedometer to make your workout even easier. The nano brags 24 hours of music playback, or 5 hours of video playback. It comes in 8GB and 16 GB models for $149 and $199, respectively.
All in all, today's event was very well put together and featured more than a few surprises for all of us. We've known about the nano's camera for a while, but we were wrong about the touch having one, and we only heard faint rumors of the 64 GB version. Now, the question is; did tech bloggers get overexcited and jump the gun, or is Apple getting better and better at spreading disinformation?
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The event today was closed off by an unexpected live performance from Nora Jones. She seemed very happy to see Steve in good health, and Jobs himself gave the artist a kiss on the cheek before her set began. It was a sweet ending touch. (Pictures via the Ars Technica liveblog of the event.)