At 10am PST this morning Steve Jobs began a presentation for a number of new Apple products. To start, there was a new and more refined version of iTunes, now 5.0. It offers the ability to group playlists in folders and offers greater control of iTunes random play feature.
Jobs stated that Apple was responding to customer feedback. As many of us have noted, iTunes has a problem coming up with a truly random mix of music. A new slider has been added to iTunes that lets the user adjust the scope of the random play feature. Specifically, the user can use the slider to allow iTunes to play more that one song from a given artist while still keeping a random selection of music.
Also added is support for Outlook and Outlooks Express. Now iTunes can sync calendar and contact info with the Windows based applications.
The most anticipated news was the release of the Motorola ROKR. It holds about 100 songs that are downloaded to the phone via USB. Service is offered exclusively through Cingular. The ROKR is more comparable to the iPod Shuffle in that it has more limited music capabilities that a iPod, though the phone’s display does allow the user to navigate the music collection.
And, to my surprise, Jobs announced the end of the iPod Shuffle. It has been replaced by the iPod Nano. The Nano is 62 percent smaller than the iPod Mini, weighs 1.5 ounces, and holds up to 1,000 songs. It has a color display that reportedly can display photos. Like the standard iPod, it sports a click wheel for navigation and uses a standard 30-pin dock connector.
The Nano also offers up to 14 hours of play on a single battery charge and comes in 2GB and 4GB models priced at $199 and $249 respectively. The Nano is available in 2 colors: traditional white, as well as black. According to Apple’s online store, the Nano will ship in 1-3 business days.