As expected, today's Apple event at Moscone Center here in San Francisco was all about music--iPods to be exact, and lots of them. The least exciting of the bunch is the <a href="http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9771562-1.html">Shuffle</a>, for which there is a simple color refresh, while the most dramatic is the new Nano, which is shorter and squatter than its predecessor and now supports video. On the full-size iPod side, the video version has been rechristened the Classic and comes with up to 160GB of space on board. And, last but not least, there's a phone-less iPhone, dubbed the Touch. Yep, that's right--<i>four</i> new iPods. Now excuse me while I catch my breath.
The full-size iPod is still hard drive-based and it has been rechristened the Classic.
The new Nano, which is just as slender as its predecessor but shorter and squatter, has a two-inch display with 320x240 resolution for video. It also supports Cover Flow and video games (three are included--Vortex, sudoku, and a mystery game).
The newest version of the tiny, clip-on flash player offers the same 1GB capacity, the same $79 price tag, and probably the same unimpressive sound quality. But the new array of colors is nice: Apple added periwinkle, jade, and turquoise ... or what the company much more dully refers to as blue, green, and purple.
At 8mm thin, the Touch is even thinner than the iPhone. The display uses the iPhone's multitouch interface and takes advantage of accelerometer technology that will trigger a landscape mode when turned on its side.
Cover Flow on the Nano shows albums against a white background, differentiating itself from the iPhone's Cover Flow. The Now Playing screen now shows cover artwork, artist, title, and rating information all in one view. Browsing music, videos, and photos now takes advantage of a split screen view that offers a visual preview of the selection on the right half of the screen.
... but it is. The iPod Classic now comes with up to 160GB of memory, and yet that version is thinner than its 80GB, fifth-generation predecessor. This player comes in silver or black, and the 160GB version will set you back $349. There's also an 80GB for $249.