Apple's unloaded an assortment of shining new gadgets and news overnight - nothing unusual there. The swag includes the new touchscreen iPod Nano, a $69 iPod Shuffle, and a new pint sized Apple TV.
If you're wading through the news, here are several things that stand out:
The concept of getting movies and music over the Internet, directly to your TV screen, has been around for years. But even devices like Apple TV haven't exactly set the world alight for coach potatoes. Apple's decision to move to movie and TV rentals-only makes sense, in that you shouldn't have to pay as much, though prices for new release movies will still be $6.99, which doesn't strike us as particularly cheap. Also, as some have already pointed out, it's only the movies you'll have access to with an Australian iTunes account, not TV shows.
This was really overdue - the ability to stream video (not just music) from your Mac to the Apple TV so you can watch on your TV. One the one hand, we love the idea of the cable-free home media network. On the other, the lack of onboard storage on the new Apple TV means you can no longer use the box as a vault for all your video files.
There's no doubt that video chat is useful - thousands of Skype users can attest to that. On your iPhone the experience is extremely limited but the news that new iPod Touch will have Facetime ability at least widens the potential user base a bit. We'll give it at least a year before the stars all align to make video calling finally worth a must-have.
Remember scrobbling? Maybe not. It's the name given to Last.FM's music tracking system, which tracks what users are listening to, along with various social networking function and recommendations. Some users report sticking with the site for years because they found it so useful. In iTunes 10, Apple is introducing Ping, a "social networking" feature which sounds like it leans further in the direction of Facebook. You can see what others are listening to, and get photos and news about favorite artists.