There was no iPhone 3G or European launch tonight. That's a bit of a disappointment for those at the UK press launch, even if it was a bit of a longshot on the rumour mill-ometer.
Is iPhone v2.0 coming?
But Apple certainly caused mass jaw-dropping by slashing $200 price off the price of the 8GB iPhone and by dumping the 4GB model. Our immediate reaction is this: "the iPhone 2.0 is coming real soon".
With the whole of the Apple iPod lineup refreshed (the shuffles got new colours), the new video-enabled iPod nano and iPod touch models are the obvious headline grabbers - in particular the iPod touch.
Apple's touchscreen audio player was certainly expected by the press corps. It's an ultra slim (8mm thin) device incorporating Apple's multi-touch interface and, while it's effectively an iPhone stripped of its mobile phone capacity, it retains the iPhone's Wi-Fi connectivity. Apple announced 8GB and 16GB versions, so logic suggests that any iPhone 2.0 could upgrade similarly for a Euro launch.
Using the same Mac OS X-based interface and control system as the iPhone, it's a joy to use for breezing through music, photos, videos and for surfing the web using the Safari browser. As Steve Jobs explained during the launch, the iPod touch will be very familiar to the near-million folk who have already bought an iPhone.
iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store
Another announcement, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store application, is one of those obvious enhancements that was surprisingly omitted from the original iPhone launch. But wireless song-buying is now served up with the iPod touch (and later this month, on the latest iPhone software upgrade).
Meanwhile, the much-touted Ringtones offering on iTunes looks to be well implemented, but it's a bit of a cash-in when many alternative mobile phones now allow users to simply use their own tracks for free.
Internet rumours about (and "leaked" pics of) the new iPod nano proved spot on. The revamped look, with a 2-inch widescreen, does make the nano a visibly squatter device - even if it's a bit thinner than before. But any aesthetic qualms are soothed by playing with the new nano for a few minutes.
Despite its small size, Apple has packed in the same pixel count as the larger screen video iPod (a 320x240 resolution) and the video playback is astonishing. It's really smooth, detailed, crisp and bright. A very pleasant surprise.
And the new user interface of the iPod nano rocks. The enhanced UI includes Apple's Cover Flow as part of a rejigged interface that feels far more visually attractive and sophisticated. And it has some great photo presentation software onboard too.
That same UI has also made its way into the new iPod classic - the daddy iPod of them all. Beefed up with an astonishing 160GB of memory (in the top of the range model), and with 80GB as the entry-level, the iPod classic is much, much more of the same. And we don't mean that disparagingly. That capacity, and at that price (and in a slimmer casing than the previous 80GB model), really lays the gauntlet down for anyone with "iPod killing" pretensions.
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