SAN FRANCISCO—Apple’s Steve Jobs took the stage in San Francisco this morning with a blaring quote overhead that read: “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Then he broke into the task at hand. In addition to bringing NBC content back to the iTunes store, Apple is also adding high-definition TV shows for $2.99 each, including shows from NBC.
—iTunes 8: A new version was released today that includes new browsing capabilities and a Genius recommendation feature that automatically creates playlists from songs in the iTunes library. Jobs: “It helps you rediscover music in your music library.” The Genius algorithms, which were developed internally, will pull up results instantly after users opt in to share their library’s information with Apple. Once users opt in, iTunes will upload information about users’ libraries anonymously and combine the knowledge from other iTunes users that do the same. Genius playlists range from 25, 50, 75 or 100 tracks and includes a Genius Sidebar that pulls up recommended tracks from the iTunes store. Results are automatically updated once a week.
—iPod Classic: Apple is discontinuing the thick version of the device and upping the storage from 80 GB to 120 GB at the same $249 price point.
—iPod Nano: A new version of the device, which was first introduced in 2005, features curved aluminum, curved glass over the display, an enhanced user interface, and the Genius playlist feature. Even bigger news, however, is that Apple is now including the accelerometer of the iPod Nano to put the display into cover flow and landscape mode for photos and video. A new “shake to shuffle” feature, which shuffles tracks with a quick shake, also makes use of the accelerometer. The iPod Nano’s battery will run for 24 hours on music and 4 hours on video, Jobs said. Apple is selling an 8 GB version of the device for $149 and a 16 GB model for $199. It will come in 8 colors.
—Environmental Concerns: Jobs: “We want to be just really environmentally sensitive with these products… The biggest things we worry about are the toxins.” Apple’s iPods are now free of mercury, PVC and BFR and feature arsenic-free glass.
—iPod Touch: A new iPod Touch features the same display, a stainless steel design in a much thinner package. Battery life ranges from 36 hours for music and 6 hours for video. Three versions of the device available today: 8 GB model for $229, 16 GB for $299 and 32 GB for $399.
—iPhone update: This Friday Apple is releasing a 2.1 software update for iPhones that “fixes lots of bugs,” Jobs said, such as fewer dropped calls, longer battery life, fewer crashes due to application use and a speedier backup on iTunes.
—App Store: Users have downloaded more than 100 million applications in the 60 days since the storefront launched.
—Jack Johnson performs: Jack Johnson, the No. 1 selling artist in iTunes history, was introduced and brought on stage to perform a couple songs for the audience.