For this weekâ€™s column, we took a little trip to San Francisco to cover Appleâ€™s annual fall press conference that took place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Wednesday.
Luckily, we didnâ€™t even have to buy plane tickets or gas. Thatâ€™s because, for this first time ever, Apple is streaming live video of the event over the Intertubez.
Thatâ€™s right, we can all be right up in CEO Steve Jobsâ€™ business while heâ€™s on his soapbox about there being an average of 200 apps being downloaded every second on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (thatâ€™s no exaggeration).
If you missed the live stream, donâ€™t worry. Weâ€™re gonna go over all the highlights. Sans Steveâ€™sâ€™ dramatic pauses.
All-new Apple TV
We subscribe to the cable-company-which-shall-not-be-named (or should we say, Xfinity). We share a sentiment with most of Fort Collins about them: Our lives would be better off without the scent of their dung permeating the apartment. And now we have the weapon to make a stand.
The new Apple TV â€“â€“ a tiny set-top box â€“â€“ is priced at $99, down from $229 â€“â€“ or little more than one monthâ€™s â€œXfinityâ€ bill. It allows you to stream media from your computer and now your iPad via Wi-Fi, access Netflix on demand and YouTube media, and rent movies and TV shows for streaming for $4.99 and 99 cents, respectively.
With Internet radio and music streaming through the Apple TV as well, all thatâ€™s missing is the keg (rumored to be included with next yearâ€™s Apple TV update).
But now, onto iPod updates, always in time for the holiday season.
The iPod Touch
FaceTime for everyone. Remember, FaceTime is the video chat feature on the iPhone, made possible by adding a second camera to the front. Freshmen beware: Donâ€™t let your parents use this. They might see you hung over when they call on Saturday morning at 8 (You should let that one go to voicemail regardless).
But wait … how do you â€œcallâ€ someone with FaceTime like the iPhone if your iPod has no phone number? Easy, Apple set it up to use an e-mail address instead.
The iPod Nano
Over the years, the Nano has changed its shape more times then we care to count. But this time, Apple decided itâ€™s hip to be square.
This pod contains the biggest change to the iPod line this year: The Nano will have a 1.5-inch touch screen covering its front side.
Surprisingly, it will no longer have a video camera. Itâ€™s a rare occasion that Apple takes a feature away, but they seem to have done so this time.
The iPod Shuffle
Ironically, it seems not being able to push buttons really pushes peopleâ€™s buttons. Last yearâ€™s Shuffle was entirely voice controlled, and people complained enough that Steve deferred to the customers … and added the traditional mini Apple button wheel back to the Shuffle.
Take note that the entire Shuffle is only big enough to accommodate these buttons. Itâ€™s tiny.
New iTunes update
The 10th iteration of the largest online media store in the world got some updates, available for download as of Wednesday. Steve said he expects the store to outsell physical CDs in America this year, so they decided to remove the CD from iTunesâ€™ logo.
They are also trying their hand at the social networking scene. With the new Ping feature, you can let people know what music youâ€™re buying, what concerts youâ€™re heading to and check your favorite musical artistâ€™s updates.
An iOS 4.1 update
A new software update for the iPhone and iPod Touch was announced, among the numerous changes and big fixes youâ€™ll now be able to upload your HD videos to the web uncompressed (if youâ€™re hooked up to Wi-Fi).
Just as cool, your iPhone pictures should start looking a little better thanks to a brand new chunk of code that involves the camera taking three pictures, one at a normal exposure and two more with tweaked exposures. The result: a hybrid photo that takes the best exposure from each of the three shots.
It will be available for download sometime this week.
Columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons want to go sleep. That jet lag back from San Fran is killing them. You can take some of their valuable sleep time by e-mailing email@example.com.