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Apple’s New Toys for the 2010 Holliday Season

Steve Jobs made quite a few announcements about newer smaller  iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, iPod touches, a new iTunes and a new Apple TV along with many more updates on September 1st. You can watch the whole 90min conference here (subscribe to their keynote podcast here) including a performance at the end from the lead of Coldplay, Chris Martin. You can watch the musical performance here:

Of all the announcements, I thought the most interesting were the new social network Ping that is built into the new iTunes store, also accessible on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. They made a big deal about having over 160 million customers already with access to the store itself who now have access to this music social network. Considering that you’ll now be able to follow your favorite artists and friends, get local concert information, post videos, music and photos and get customized music suggestions based on who you follow, the facebooks, myspaces and twitters of the world should be wary, especially since Apple has a clear business model already tied into this network since it’s another way to open up people to new songs, albums and artists. It’s only a matter of time before this expands to include TV shows and movies. Facebook’s 500+ million worldwide active users still seems to top the charts, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg‘s ears perked up when he heard this news.

The other interesting story from the conference I felt was the new Apple TV. Jobs admitted that since 2006, when the original Apple TV launched it wasn’t the biggest hit, but now they have added a lot of new features to integrate it with all the other products, with the ability to stream content (movies, TV shows and photos) from their computers, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.¬† They added Netflix streaming support for Netflix subscribers along with TV show and movie rentals ranging from 99cents up to $4.99 for new movies being released on the same date as their dvd, there is also the ability to listen to and watch all the podcasts you subscribe to, which brings online content almost onto an equal playing field as movies and TV shows for access to your HD TV. The new Apple TV box is a lot smaller than before (the box almost fits in the palm of Steve Jobs’ hand),¬† probably because there’s no storage space on the device (everything works via streaming internet), the menu system seems easy to use. You’ll need a TV with an HDMI port since that’s the only output port, but it has built in WiFi and an Ethernet port for faster connections. I think with the new $99 price point for the Apple TV, they will basically put Roku‘s streaming box and anyone else like them right out of the market.

The photographer in me was very impressed with the demo of the new camera feature that was added to the iPod touch camera, high dynamic range (HDR) option. Using this, you can take a picture in bright light and the camera will take 3 quick pictures in succession, one at normal exposure, another underexposed one to bring out the colors from a bright sky and a third picture that is overexposed to bring out the dark sections of the picture and then blending the three pictures together to have a final photo with an enormous dynamic range of color and detail in the shot. Here is one example Apple has up on their site:

and here is an example that the great folks at AppleInsider created with their iPod touch with the original on the left and the HDR image on the right:

Thanks to Apple and AppleInsider for the above pictures. Also, if you want to see some professional HDR images from higher-end cameras check out this Flickr page and SmashingMagazine.



September 2, 2010 9:26 pm Posted by | apple, art, clips, HD, movies, music, music videos, photography, podcasts, software, technology, tv | 2 Comments