Steve Jobs has unveiled Apple’s revamped media player range for the crucial Christmas sales period and announced a major software update for the iPhone..Speaking to a packed press conference Jobs announced that the iPhone would get a major software upgrade on Friday, which he promised would deal with many of the issues plaguing the device, including reducing dropped calls, extending the battery life and making backing up to iTunes much easier.
“It fixes a lot of bugs,” he said.
“It’s a big one for the iPhone.”
Application sales for the iPhone have also been a massive success he said. So far 100 million applications have been downloaded for the iPhone and Touch, which is remarkable as the applications store has only been open for 60 days.
The iPod range is also getting a revamp. The thicker version of the iPod Classic is being dropped due to poor demand Jobs said and the updated slim version would hold 120GB and cost $339.
The Nano has been completely redesigned and is the thinnest Nano yet, with an oval rather than a rectangular design. It has an accelerometer attached and has a larger screen.
New applications have been added, including shuffling songs by shaking the device and automatic reimaging of the screen when the device is turned.
Battery life has been improved, so that it gives 24 hours of music playback or four hours of video. It will come in eight colours and models available include an 8GB player for $199 or $279 for 16GB.
The Touch device has also been made slimmer and has improved battery life to give 36 hours of music and six hours of video playback. It now also has external volume controls and an external speaker.
The new Touch will come in three versions: 8GB for $329, $419 for 16GB and $549 for 32GB.
Jobs also made it clear that the Touch is being repositioned as a mobile gaming platform. A special version of the Spore game has been created for it and other games are in development.
The iTunes software has also been upgraded, with a tweaked user interface and a new application called Genius, which automatically generates playlists of similar music. These playlists are also uploaded anonymously to iTunes to improve the Genius algorithm.
Jobs also announced that the iTunes store would begin to sell high definition (HD) content from today and that NBC had returned to selling its programs on the service (HD programs cost $2.99 per program on iTunes 8).
To date the iTunes store has 65 million customer accounts, 8.5 million songs, 30,00 TV shows and 2,600 movies (overseas) he said, making it the number one music distributor in the US.
Jobs also addressed concerns expressed by environmental groups over the environmental safety of its consumer products line.
“We want to be very environmentally concerned with these products,” he said.
“We want to reduce the amount of packaging but the biggest thing we worry about are toxins.”
The new range will contain no PVCs, non-arsenic glass and BFRs. The bodies will be totally recyclable.
After much speculation about his health one of the first slides he presented was a quote from Mark Twain:
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
“Enough said,” he commented to applause.
Steve Wozniak was at the launch and while he wasn’t talking to the press seemed well satisfied with the new product line.