So, Apple brought out new iPods…

It’s like the surprise party You always forget about. You wake up in the morning and You remember reading on ilounge.com or AppAdvice.com that Apple are doing their traditional spring/autumn (I refuse to call it ‘fall’) music event. to introduce all the new iPods that all the tweenagers will be begging their parents for at Christmas time. I completely forogt about it until this morning until I remembered what I’d read online last night. I was immediately filled with the kind of excitement a 5-year old gets when they go to Disneyland, before I slapped myself accross the face and said “Keep it together, man. Apart from the new iOS updates, it’s just going to be the same old thing.” Little did I know that I was in for a surprise or two.

I did see the reports about the tiny touchscreen that apple was buying in bulk, but it still didn’t prepare me for something that looks like a brushed aluminium version of Philips’ GoGear Spark (http://www.dse.co.nz/dse.shop/4c7f068103a8c2a22741c0a87f3b06fc/Product/View/A… To me that was the biggest surprise of the whole show. Thinking about it, it’s a very strange device. I assume that the operating system is caught in the mutant hybrid stage of transition between the original iPod OS and the iOS we have on all Apple’s touch screen devices. It doesn’t appear to support app store apps yet, and because ofthe relatively limited connectivity of the device, I’m not entirely sure what apps would be suited to it. Thinking through my list of apps, I can’t think of any that would be useful on a device that has almost no interconnectivity, save it’s headphone socket and it’s USB plug.

The next thing that caught my eye was AirPlay. I’ve wanted to be able to have interoperable A/V streaming at my place for a while. I have been playing with it ever since I first got an iOS device back at the start of last year, and it looks like AirPlay will do pretty much exactly what I want it to do, with one little flaw.

I don’t use iTunes for media.

I try to keep a little music as possible in my iTunes library, instead preferring audio powerhouse MediaMonkey to look after all my Musical needs. I’ve got a nice setup going for controlling MediaMonkey from my iPhone, and a passable one for streaming media to my iOS devices over the internet, but I’d much prefer to do it over Wi-Fi, and I haven’t quite found the app to do that just yet. Granted I still use iTunes for app management, device backups, and buying most of my music, but when it comes to sending all our content around our house. I think I’ll be looking elsewhere. I did have a bit of a chuckle at the fact that Apple are partnering with several Hi-Fi houses to integrate this new feature, including the manufacturer of a certain ovoid-shaped iPod speaker that I had a love/hate relationship with when I first made the switch to Apple. Ah, Zep. Some days I do still miss You…

The third thing that got my attention was somehting that wasn’t mentioned at all. Another stalwart in my musical arsenal, the iPod Classic. As You may have gathered from my previous posts I have a hard time trusting corporations to truly be in the best interests of the average joe, so I don’t like the idea of shifting all my music to the cloud. That’s one of the reasons I still have a Classic. I can keep all of my music on it everywhere I go without being connected to the internet. In a country where cell coverage is a bit patchy and the costs of data are through the freaking roof a big ol’ HDD still makes sense. The problem is that while Apple don’t appear to be discontinuing the iPod Classic, it looks like they don’t care about it anymore, and if they discontinue the Classic before they have devices that can take over from it in terms of capacity then there are a lot of people who are going to be a bit stuck.

What to do there? Well it looks as if our dear old clickwheeled friend isn’t going away, it just isn’t changing at all, so Aple still have time to make a 128GB iOS device. While that doesn’t solve the Big Brother problem, it would definitely solve the storage problem. A 128GB iPhone would be quite the device, as would an iPad with that level of capacity. It took Apple two iterations to get to 64GB, and this is their second iteration of the 64GB iOS devices, so we may see some kind of shocking development next year.

Now, those new iOS’ I mentioned. I still have an iPhone 3G, and I’ve done everything I could to make it faster under iOS 4, and it’s still not great. I also have an iPad, for which I could really really use iOS4. What I got from the announcement was both good news, and slightly annoying news. The good news is what we laready knew. iOS4.1 will fix the speed bugs in the iPhone 3G. Best news I have heard all September. I’m not overly concerned at the news that iOS 4.2, coming out in November for the iPad, phone, and touch is probably not going to be compatible with my 3G, as long as it works with my iPad. Now, the slightly annoying news. Remember that AirPlay feature I talked about? It’s also going to support wireless printing. As someone who spent a relatively considerable amount of money on a printing app for my iPad, I’m just a little bit grumpy, but it remains to be seen if this new feature will integrate into my setup as well as the current one does.

So, Apple are trying to move everything to the iOS platform, they are trying to push the idea of streaming media rather than owning a copy (not good) and they’re still trying to beat developers at their own games. Unless You live in South Korea there aren’t many, if any media devices that can outdo the iPods right now, so as an observer it looks like I can sit back in my chair with a (currently imaginary) glass of lemon, lime and bitters and say “Steve, You’ve done it again.”

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