Noel Rappin Writes Here

Obligatory Apple Post

Posted on September 14, 2006

Since what every tech blog reader needs is another round up of Apple’s Showtime event…

Overall, nice incremental stuff, perhaps a little disappointing to those who were expecting a radical new mainline iPod.

  • New Shuffle: This is getting close to being jewelry, actually is starting to look like a cufflink to me.

  • New Nano: Smaller, bigger drive, better battery life, colors. Solid incremental upgrade.

  • New iPod: A very small incremental upgrade. It’s very irritating that the new search function is not being backported to existing video iPods.

Here’s my bold prediction – the widescreen, touch panel iPod will never be released as it is currently rumored. My guess is that there will be practical troubles either keeping the screen clean and scratch free when people are putting their grubby mitts right on it and/or having a touch screen wheel UI that is actually usable. More likely the former, but I think the latter might be a problem too. Just wait for me to be wrong!

  • iTunes UI Enhancements: Mostly quite nice. The album art view and the cover flow view are both very pretty. They don’t really mesh with how I use iTunes, but I can see where they will be useful. Points to Apple for actually buying CoverFlow rather than just ripping it off. The library enhancements and the iPod view are nice (although the iPod prefs aren’t that much nicer than they were in the Preferences screen). As usual, the UI is in a state of flux, it’s a bit more subdued, but some elements (like the tabs in the iPod screen just look weird.

  • iTunes Movies: Best seen as the beginning of a long term strategy than a goal in itself. Although if I were the manufacturer of a portable DVD player, I’d start getting a little worried. Still, I can’t imaging genuinely sitting through a full-length widescreen movie on an iPod screen unless I was trapped on an airplane.

  • iTunes Games: Kind of underplayed, but in some ways the most interesting potential. If, that is, Apple releases an SDK such that the open source hackers of the world can get their hand on it. That could be very, very interesting… UPDATE: Looks like Apple has “no plans to offer an SDK". Bummer. Developers should be agitating for this.

  • iTV: I get where they are going with this, and I really want to like it, but absent DVR capability (even if it was on the networked Mac) I really can’t see this being a major player.
    Python tie-in (what with it being Python Week and all…): nothing really. I do have a pretty cool and obsessive Python script that creates fancy random playlists for iTunes/iPod, including things like, randomly pick albums, randomly play multiple songs in a row from the same artist, play songs in specific genres more often, etc., etc. I’ll post it here someday, but the code really needs a good sweep first.


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