Apple Introduces Updated iPod nano, touch

Apple and Steve Jobs have wrapped up the event held today for press; as expected new iPods were the topic of the day. Apple revealed several updated iPods and made a few other significant announcements.

Two of the iPods in the Apple line were significantly updated — the iPod Nano and the iPod touch. The new nano looks exactly as the images that have been leaked over the last few weeks showed. The 4G nano will be available in 8GB or 16GB capacities for $149 and $199 respectively. As expected Apple abandoned the much maligned short, fat 3G nano and went back to the tall, thin look of the original nano.

The 4G device has a design that is rounded at the edges and is billed as the thinnest iPod ever. The enclosure is made from curved aluminum and it features glass over the LCD. The new nano fully supports iTunes 8 including the new Genius feature and now has an accelerometer. The 4G nano will be available in silver, blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, pink, red and black and is available now for purchase.

The iPod touch was also significantly updated with a new, thin contoured metal case and the same 3.5-inch widescreen LCD. Wi-Fi connectivity is via 802.11b/g and the device now has integrated volume control buttons and a built-in speaker.

The 8GB iPod touch will now retail for $229 and can play games. Apple is positioning the iPod touch as a major portable gaming platform. The iPod touch also now features built-in Nike+ connectivity. The iPod touch is also available in a 16GB version for $299 and a 32GB version retails for $399.

One major announcement at the press event was that NBC has come back to iTunes meaning that NBC TV programs will be available to purchase in SD and HD resolutions at $1.99 and $2.99 per episode respectively. NBC and Apple parted ways after NBC wanted a cut of iPod revenue.

NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker said in a statement, “The return of our shows to iTunes is terrific news for everyone who loves television and the ease and convenience of Apple’s iTunes. And now, by offering consumers a variety of new options, our fans have even more ways to enjoy our content.”

NBC is also going to be offering the premier episodes of their new shows Knight Rider, My Own Worst Enemy, and Kath & Kim a week before the programs premier on TV. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit is that NBC will be offering vintage programs via iTunes for $.99 per episode. Programs include The A-Team, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Miami Vice, Kojak, and the original Battlestar Galactica.

Apple announced iTunes 8 that will offer a new feature called Genius. The feature allows you to select any song in your library and get a playlist of songs that go together created from your personal library. The feature does require anonymous information about your music library to be sent to Apple to function. The new iTunes 8 will be offered as a free download. Software update 2.1 for the iPhone is also coming soon as a free download introducing bug fixes and other improvements.

The final announcement from Apple was that App Store downloads have topped 100 million worldwide. Right now, Apple says there are over 3000 applications in the store with over 600 of them free. Apple says 90% of the applications are priced at under $10. Apple announced in August 2008 that it had sold $30 million in App Store applications in the first month the store was open.