Apple and Microsoft Make Big Announcements

iPod Nano 4th Gen

Today was the big Apple disappointment event and like many people predicted, a refresh to the iPod lineup was announced (among other things). As for the details, I think, summarized it all pretty well over here:

  • iTunes gets HD content for $2.99 a show (SD for $1.99)
  • NBC is back on iTunes
  • iTunes 8 is here, today. It has a “Genius” feature that makes smart playlists with songs that go well together. You have to send information to the iTunes cloud for this, but it’s anonymous.
  • The 160GB iPod Classic is discontinued (the thick one), the 120GB is now $249
  • The 4th generation iPod nano is official. It’s oval-shaped, just like the leaked pictures, and it is the thinnest iPod ever. It’s taller than the third gen nano and has an accelerometer like the Classic and Touch, so it is aware of whether you are holding it vertically or horizontally. There is an updated UI and you get landscape video by holding the device sideways. Also, it has shake-to-shuffle which will change the songs quickly and easily. $149 for 8GB (entry model), $199 for 16GB. Multiple colors will be available, and the players should be for sale soon, possibly this weekend.
  • There are new accessories as well, including earbuds. They have in-line controls for play/pause as well as next/previous song and a microphone for voice recording ($29). There are also new in-ear headphones for $79 with dual drivers.
  • There is an improved iPod touch. The 2G model gets the same display, but thinner profile, improved UI, and integrated Nike+. It now has built-in volume controls. The 8GB is $229, 16GB is $299, and the 32GB comes it at $399″¦ it’s the “funnest iPod ever”!
  • iPhone 2.1 software means less dropped calls, improved battery life, faster backups to iTunes, and so on. iPod Touch 2.1 is a free upgrade from 2.0, but still is $9.95 from 1.x. These arrive on Friday.

Just one day earlier, Microsoft was busy making some rumblings of its own with an announcement about the newly revamped Zune lineup (including the snazzy new blue 16GB flash model pictured below). Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do with the new Zunes:

  • Buy from FM feature – allows users to tag and buy music directly from their device from virtually anywhere. If using the radio waves, you can tag the track to buy later when connected online. If you’re in a wi-fi hot spot, buy the track directly to the device.
  • Zune Marketplace on the Zune device: browse, discover and buy through the store in the palm of your hand
  • Channels and Picks – New Music Discovery tools through the Zune Marketplace
  • New colors and sizes – 16gb and 120gb
  • Video games – Two games (“Hexic” and “Texas Hold ‘Em”) come free with the latest software update

Device Pricing Information Effective Sept. 16
120 GB: $249.99
80 GB: $229.99
16 GB: $199.00
8 GB: $149.99
4 GB: $129.99

For more info on the Zune, check out the full press release over here.

Zune 16GB