Apple made a bunch of Podtastic music-related announcements today. The U2 iPod (U2pod, anyone?), the iPod Photo, iTunes 4.7, and (less headline-grabbing) expansion of the iTunes Music Store to nine more European countries.
No doubt when analysts at Merrill Lynch predicted new iPods soon, they didn’t anticipate their words becoming reality the same day (or maybe they were tipped off ;). Anyway, there’s been the usual flow of drooling coverage from gadget sites and weblogs, many of which reported the rumors about these devices in recent days and weeks.
If there’s anything that’s a surprise, it’s the choice to make the U2 iPod the lead story on the apple.com front page (see screenshot below).
apple.com, today. Can you see iPod Photo promo?
The iPod Photo is surely going to appeal to far more people than the U2 iPod, which will be a niche product even among keen U2 fans. The decision to make it the lead item on the company web site reflects, perhaps, the model’s reason for being. It’s a stunt, one designed to reflect good things on both parties. U2 gets to show that despite being in a position to offer a box set of 400 songs, it remains on the cutting edge of music and technology. Apple gets to show that despite the “Rip. Mix. Burn.” strategy when iTunes first appeared, it has the hearts and ears of smarter individuals within the music industry clamouring to join the digital music revolution.
So what’s there to notice about this overshadowed iPod Photo? The screen resolution is 220×176 pixels. That’s this big:
The size your pictures will appear on an iPod Photo — well, roughly, depending on your screen resolution. But you get the idea
Big enough to be useful? Possibly. As friends pointed out to me today, some users might decide that their money would be better spent on good quality framed prints of their best photos. Others might worry about sustaining decent battery life.
In the long term, though, there are far more important things that Apple needs to worry about. The new generation of pocket media devices, most of which play video as well as music, store photos, and lots more besides - these are the things likely to be competing with the iPod in buyers’ minds in the next 12 months or so.
Perhaps I’m being overly cynical. I can’t deny that if I had the spare cash, I’d probably be buying an iPod Photo and smiling about it.
Like the sound of the new iPods?