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Apple releases iPod Video

Wed, 10/12/2005 - 13:13 -- rprice

People have been saying this was coming for years, and now it has arrived. The iPod Video is no longer an iPod with a color display, but a full-blown video player. The new iPod is thinner with a larger screen; 320 x 240 vs. the old 220 x 176 pixel screen. The physical device has actually grown in height and width, but shrunk in thickness. iPod Video also comes in two sizes in every sense of the word: the standard 30GB model ($299) claims 14 hours of music playback, 3 hours of photo slideshow playback, and 2 hours of video playback, while the fatter 60GB model ($399) has 20 hours of music playback, 4 hours of slideshow playback, and 3 hours of video playback.

Even though we all knew this was coming, what will now happen to the thousands of existing iPods with color screen? Will they be marked down for quick selling? Apple has pretty much cut them out of the store and all the advertising as though they no longer existed. Sure, this happens every time they release a new device, but geez... At least the higher capacity video models are priced the same as their older cousins. That will help them sell ten thousand units before the christmas season.

H.264 video: up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats

MPEG-4 video: up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Simple Profile with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats

Also announced are two new official Apple accessories: the Universal Dock and the Apple Remote. The Universal Dock fits all shapes and sizes of iPods with Dock Connectors, has A/V and S-Video output, and the most interesting feature, the IR port for the Apple Remote, which looks a lot like a Shuffle, with just 6 simple buttons for play/pause, menu, forward/backward, and volume control buttons. The cool thing is your Apple Remote can also control your iMac home-theater style.

That was another announcement from today: the new iMac. The iMac is slimmer with a faster processor, more memory standard, a SuperDrive (now burns DVDs instead of just reading them), and a built in iSight webcam. The Apple remote is intended mostly as a control for the iMac, which is Apple's version of a Media Center PC. I guess this could be OK if you have a desk near your entertainment center, but an iMac is not the kind of toy I would want to use just for music, photos, home movies and DVDs. It is a full-fledged PC with a 64-bit processor, not an appliance. It would be a shame to hook it up to an HDTV and waste the built-in display. A crying shame. Still, I like the direction you're going in. Give me the entire digital lifestyle in a one-stop shop. Now that Sony is starting to open retail stores, Apple may have some competition in that market.

Pretty cool Apple: you finally caught up with the rest of the market by offering video. Now what kind of content will you have? What will it cost? Who will be the first company to sell me a movie to play back at tiny resolutions? Wait and see.

Some facts taken from Wikipedia's iPod listing.

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