For more than a year, many people have said it was only a matter of time before Apple released an iPod capable of playing video, despite the fact that CEO Steve Jobs himself claimed doing so would be a move in the "wrong direction." But for all the speculation about when Jobs might reverse his opinion about the importance of adding a video iPod to Apple's lineup, the final product met with a relatively underwhelmed crowd.
While many Apple fans praised the new iPod's thin design and reasonable pricing, the prevailing sentiment online was that the video quality, show pricing and lineup of available shows offered on the iPod aren't good enough to move people to adopt the device as their new medium for TV consumption. And the fact that videos can be downloaded only at a size that fits the iPod's screen means few people will be buying them to view on their PCs.
The new version of iTunes came as a surprise to most people who blogged about or mentioned it in online discussion forums, primarily because Apple just released iTunes 5 a few short weeks ago. While many thought the addition of video to iTunes was a good move, the fact that videos are shown at such a small size diminished excitement for this new feature.
The iMac got a warmer greeting than perhaps either of the other products Apple unveiled Wednesday. Many blogs showed that the company's move to bring the PC to the center of the living room piqued users' interest--especially given that many analysts presumed the Mac Mini would take that role. But again, Apple seems to have fallen just short of making a slam dunk with the new product. More than a few bloggers who were excited about the iMac's Front Row software also lamented that they wouldn't move to an entertainment system centered on their computer until Apple offers more integration with television.
The word from the Web...
Is it just me, or is the new iPod really not that exciting? Apple are trying to make it sound exciting, yes, but a large part of me (the part that would usually be reaching for the credit card about now) really couldn't care less. Are the magic reserves starting to run a little dry at Apple?
Is there food?
In terms of downsides, I see one major one: 320x240 would look ridiculously bad on my TV, and unlike the world of music where plenty of people can't tell the difference between lossy and lossless codecs, everyone will be able to see the difference here between standard definition and QVGA. I can't really see this being something I'm interested in until we cross beyond the SD barrier and up into HD, but then we're talking about 350MB or so for an hour of TV, and that's obviously not possible. Some middle ground is needed, but QVGA is just too poor for my taste. I can't see too many people abandoning BitTorrent for this.
i don't care about price. i care about quality. if it was 1080p-5.1, i'd slam down my credit card right away. but LOWER than BT (BitTorrent) resolution? this is an insult.
JediFonger on Ars Technica discussion forum
Only two hours of video playback per charge? Come on, Apple! My 2 year-old RCA PMP gets better battery life than that.
Kevin Robinson on Engadget discussion forum
iMac = sweet, iTunes 6 = whatever, 5th Gen iPod = dissapointing and somewhat useless.
ones and zeros
integrated camera - it's about time, hopefully this'll make it into displays and laptops in the foreseeable future. No integrated dial-up modem - i was expecting to see this happen sooner than later, i wonder if their laptops are next. Front row - interesting to see the imac take center-stage as apple's media center where everyone expected the mac mini to take on this roll six months ago. Kinda bold to create a living room media hub without integrated tv-tuner - either they're really confident in their itunes video store or Steve Jobs really hates tv.
The full-screen UI of Front Row is just begging to be hooked up to a TV. Begging. Now that there exists a "video iPod", the next new "Apple has to be working on this" mega-rumor is going to revolve around how Apple plans to bring this Front Row UI to your TV...PhotoBooth is not available for download; I wish it were available to anyone with an iSight. I hope it's not something they're reserving for new machines with built-in cameras.