As of today, iTunes Music Store users have 75 films for sale from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Mirimax to choose from. These studios are all owned by Disney, reminding one of how the iTMS started with only ABC TV shows and grew from there. Jobs promises more to come every week and month. Movies are for sale at $9.99 for backlist titles and $12.99 pre-orders/first week of release. Normal pricing for new releases will be $14.99.
The movies store will work in a simlar fashion to the TV store. Pick the movie or movies you want to download, add them to your cart and purchase them. You can watch the movies as they download. The new 640×480 resolution applies to all movies, which is much higher than the resolution of standard TV and near-DVD quality for HDTV. Expect a movie to take about a half hour to download on a 5Mb/s broadband connection. (Note that 640×480 movies are four times the resolution of the existing 320×240 TV shows and twice or more the length.) Standard movie feature will include Dolby surround audio, Parental controls, and MPAA ratings. As an example of movie lengths, Grosse Pointe Blank at 107 minutes occupes 1.12 gigabytes.
Expect movies to be releasedthe same day as DVDs. Digital rights management are identical to those of the TV shows. And while video content remains US only now, Jobs hints that international video content may debut in 2007…maybe.
Apple will release a $299 wireless, set-top home entertainment unit in Q1 2007 named iTV–although the name is not final. Features include USB, Ethernet, 802.11 video, optical audio and HDMI ports, RCA stereo audio–not to mention iTunes integration. You can play back your iTunes movies on your TV. It will work with the Apple Remote (and the next generation of Front Row) and be about half the size of the Mac Mini. Expect fast, near-DVD quality video on your TV and when using video projectors. The software promises a usable interface with high-resolution scrolling menus and 3D artwork. The iTV (or whatever it gets called) works with both Mac and Windows.
Jobs: “Apple is in your den now. Apple is in your living room. Apple is in your car. Apple is in your pocket. Apple is in your refrigerator. Apple is in your basement. Apple is in tinfoil. You’re watching Apple. Apple is watching you.” [Well, maybe not…]
Building on the success of recent iPod hardware sales (for example, 450,000 Nike/iPod sports kit have sold in just 90 days), Apple is introducing several new iPod units with many enhancements.
The standard video iPod will have a 60% brighter display (with brightness control). 3.5 hour video playback (or up to 6.5 hours with the super battery), new headphones, games and advanced searching. (Quick scrolling feature uses letters of the alphabet–yay!). New pricing: 30GB is $249. 80GB is $349. On sale now. (Is it me or did Educational pricing seem to have disappeared?)
The new 2nd Generation Nano is thinner and looks like a small iPod mini. Available styles include green, silver, pink, black, blue, and aluminum. Expect a 24 hour battery life and updated software features (like the standard iPod). 2GB, $149 (aluminum only), 4GB $199 (all colors), 8GB $249 (black only). With a new charger, armband, and lanyard headphones. On sale now. (And yes, it should work with the Nike/iPod sports kit.)
The new 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle debuts in October with a completely new look (it’s smaller, squarer and clip-on), a 12 hour battery life, brushed metal coloring, and a white click wheel. 10 million shuffles have already been sold. 1GB - $79.
Games are for sale starting to day at the music store: $4.99 each (5G iPods and up). Bejeweled, Cubis2, Mahjong, miniGolf, PacMan, Tetris, etc.
iTunes 7 debuts with separate libraries for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and radio for both your computer and your iPod. I hope there are library folders too, but that might be too much to hope for to separate my spoken audio from my music.
Cover art is now FREE! iTunes will supply you with your missing cover art. Two new iTunes features take advantage of album cover art. First, you can “flip” through your albums to find your music. Second, new “album view” shows the cover and the tracks by album.
Finally, iTunes 7 has gapless playback (as does the new iPod software update).
The big TV show news is that video resolution is up from 320×240 up to 640×480. The new 2006-2007 NFL season will be available at the store.
iTunes 7 introduces better syncronization options, without having to use preferences. Engadget notes that you can sync the 10 most recent unwatched eps of your TV shows. iLounge mentions that you can sync between multiple computers using the same iPod, so long as both computers are authorized on the same account.
[Sources: iLounge, Engadget, MacRumorsLive, MacWorld]