Apple Announces New iPods and Online Music Service

by Chuck Toporek


Editor's Note:

These are very rough, bullet-list style notes...please excuse any typos.



Strange Noises Coming From Cupertino




Well, it's Monday, April 28th. The day of Apple's big announcement regarding it's rumored music service. Not being in California for announcements like this was lessened a bit by the live simulcast available at the Apple Store, located in the CambridgeSide Mall in Cambridge, MA.




Some highlights from the announcement are as follows:




  • Songs played...Soak Up the Sun (Sheryl Crow), and "The Times Are Changin'" (Bob Dylan)

  • Jobs quotes from Mossburg's review of the 17-inch PB

  • Over 3 million downloads of Safari

  • Mentions iLife and Keynote

  • Announcements of FCP4



Innovate in Music




  • Replayed the advertisement called, "Rip, Mix, Burn" that aired in 2001

  • RMB ad was more of an announcement for iTunes, which then lead to the the release of the iPod

  • Apple received a Grammy in 2002, which was the first ever awarded to a computer company

  • Some people thought "Rip" meant "rip off", but it means to take the data from a CD and place the data (bits) on your machine.

  • Acquire, Manage and Listen are the new terms, replacing RMB

  • Sold 700K iPods since their release, and is the #1 MP3 player in the world.

  • In the digital age, the iPod is doing the same thing that the Sony Walkman did...



New iPods




  • Three new sizes 10/15/30 GB (30 holds 7500 songs)

  • New Slim line (0.62 inches) 5.6 ounces (less than the weight of 2 CDs in their jewel cases), and thinner too

  • All of the controls are touch-based.

  • Better display, buttons moved above the scroll wheel

  • Firewire connector is on the bottom, and it also has a Dock so it can connect to the computer (Sync, Charge, and Go)

  • The Dock has a line-out so you can hook it up to your stereo

  • Lighted buttons on the iPod

  • USB2 is added for Windows customers

  • Software for Windows still needs some testing

  • New software update in June

  • New cable for connecting. With USB, there's a dual-plug so it connects to your computer, and into the charger ($19 extra for the USB2 cable)

  • Mac and Windows iPods will ship in the same box

  • Auto-Sync (patents pending)

  • New Features:


    • AAC decoding (invented by Dolby)

    • On-the-Go playlist (build playlists on the iPod)

    • Personalize the Main Menu

    • Alarm clock (beep or play playlist)

    • New games (Solitaire and Airship)





  • Jobs then demo'd the new iPod...

  • On-The-Go playlist demo...


    • Select song

    • Hold button down

    • Title flashes, indicating that the song/playlist has been added to the OTG playlist

    • Settings --> Main Menu (all of the key things have on/off toggles so you can customize the main menu)





New iPods are thinner and lighter, include a dock, USB2 (if needed), auto-sync, and OTG playlists




The most popular iPod has been the 10GB iPod because of its price




  • 10 GB: 2500 songs ($299)

  • 15 GB: 3700 songs ($399)

  • 30 GB: 7500 songs ($499)




New iPods will be available this Friday, May 2 at Apple Stores throughout the US.



Manage




  • iTunes 4 is released...


    • Adding AAC encoding (standard of the MPEG-4 encoding)

    • MP3

    • Adding support for Rendezvous

    • iTunes will use Rendezvous so you can add access to playlists on other Macs and play them on your Mac

    • DVD archiving so you can backup your music library

    • Album Art for album/CD covers




Acquire




  • We acquire our music from CDs

  • Napster came along and was shut down in 2001

  • Near-instant gratification...but taking music from online sources is "stealing"

  • No legal alternative (but there is pressplay and Rhapsody, but they have thier own limitations)

  • Subscriptions are the wrong path...

  • People have bought their music for as long as can be remembered...

  • People want to buy downloads, just as they have in the past...

  • Apple created the "Music Store"



  • Quoted Hunter S. Thompson about the music business...

  • 200,000 tracks are currently available in the Music Store, and will continue to load them

  • Rights for users:


    • Unlimited CD burns for personal use

    • A "governor" has been placed, restricting you from burning a playlist more than 10 times without modifying that playlist

    • Can put the music on an unlimited number of iPods

    • Play on up to three Macs

    • Authorization can be transferred to new systems

    • Use music in any of the applications

    • Purchase for $0.99/song with no subscription fee





  • Songs are encoded in 128 Kbps

  • Free 30-second previews in 128 Kbps

  • Album cover art is included with the downloads




Jobs: "It's not stealing any more, it's good karma."



Beyond...




  • Online Apple Store does $1.2B in sales/year

  • Songs can be purchased with one-click via the online Apple Store

  • Browse mode in iTunes

  • Exclusive tracks that no other source has

  • iTunes Music Store is built into iTunes 4

  • Steve demos iTunes 4 and the iTunes Music Store...

  • One of the coolest features of the new version of iTunes is the ability to view music videos right within iTunes' interface as a QuickTime stream.

  • Played videos from Sum 41 and Bob Dylan



And the clincher....(dum-dum-dum....)



  • Only Apple could have created this online Music Store...

  • Initially only available in the US...available starting today...requires a credit card with a US billing address (there's your loop around if you're overseas)

  • iTunes 4 is a free download from apple.com

  • Free software upgrade for your iPod is available today...




iTunes and the Music Store will be available for Windows users by the end of the year...



What do you think of Apple's new music service?


6 Comments

anonymous2
2003-04-28 15:15:09
Cover Art
You can also add your own cover art. Go to Amazon, look up the album and drag the album cover image to iTunes.


You have to select all of the songs on the album to register the image with each track but this is trivial.


anonymous2
2003-04-28 15:19:37
International users
I understand that there may be difficulties for Apple to roll-out this service Worldwide on day one, but there's no mention of 'Why' or 'When' on their web-site, which is disapointing.
anonymous2
2003-04-28 18:52:38
Availability in internatiional markets
I've read abut three different articles on the Apple Music Store, but this was the first that mentioned that sales were not available in foreign markets.


I imagine this will be changed in the future, agreements are worked out with international subsidiaries, but it is still striking on two counts:


1) how slowly the music industry is prepared to accept new technology. It would cost nothing to 'switch on' sales to international customers, but the industry isn't ready to fully accepts a sales channel without geogrphical boundaries


2) how American-centric most news sites are.

anonymous2
2003-04-28 19:47:48
Music Selection is Awful...
I've officially struck out on every search for the classical music, and concert music that I've looked for. Electronic or Avante-Garde? Forget it.


I thought I would go a bit more rock-n-roll. King Crimson? They only have 1 album!


This needs to improve dramatically before people starting thinking of Apple as a solution. Well, now I'm off to barnes & noble to buy my discs and rip 'em...

elness1
2003-04-29 11:58:58
Music Selection is Awful...
>This needs to improve dramatically before people starting thinking of Apple as a solution.
I would have to agree that the classical genre is definitely lacking. However, I've found that the Apple Music Store does have a large percentage (but not all) of the music in which I'm interested. I've heard lots of similar complaints about the overall music selection, though. Geez, maybe I'm just too mainstream... ;-)


> Well, now I'm off to barnes & noble to buy my discs and rip 'em...
I'm glad some people still do it the right (legal) way. There's far too many LimeWire/Kazaa users out there stealing music, adding fuel to the RIAA's fire.

anonymous2
2003-04-29 16:48:14
Availability in internatiional markets
I agree with the latter, and not just news sites. I realise there are sometimes legal issues, but it is amazing how inward looking American websites can be. And the legal issues are, at least in part, because of the American legal scene, esp. w.r.t suing...


There are plenty of other examples. Amazon's free shipping if you rack up enough $$ won't extend outside the USA. They have similar restrictions on other specials too. Some sites don't think about shipping costs outside the USA and think "courier everywhere" which is fine within the USA, but outside it??? Competitions being valid only for USA entrants (reminds me of the recent Mac software contest - did that ever get resolved?). And you could count in the fact the USA is the only country that excepts itself from using a standard country code in URLs. This also extends to other things besides business and the 'net, but I'll stop there in case someone thinks I'm trolling...!