Apple has introduced a new set of ear buds for its mobile devices - EarPods. The new buds feature both inline control and microphone for use with your iDevices, while its direct speaker port points forward into your ear canal for higher quality sound resonance. The new EarPods will be a stand alone accessory available today. However, they will also be included with the new iPhone 5 and iPod lineup.
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The iPhone wasn’t the only new piece of hardware that took the stage in San Francisco today – Apple was proud to also unveil its new collection of iPod’s – ranging from the new iPod Touch with Retina Display (4-inch display that is), to the newly redesigned and re-accessorized iPod Nanos.
7th Generation iPod Nano
The new iPod nano has been completely reinvented. Its thinner, yet has a larger touch screen. Big buttons for volume as well as play/pause and track advancing are on the side, while the multi-touch display gives fingertip controls for everything. Available in seven colors (aluminum, black, purple, green, blue, yellow and red), it has an FM tuner with Live Pause to go back and listen to something again (think of it as Tivo for your music). There’s a pedometer built-in as well as Bluetooth, photos, video, and wireless streaming. The new Nano features the lightning connector and works in both widescreen and landscape more. Available in 7 colors and arriving in October as a 16GB model, the new Nano will retail for $149.
5th Generation iPod Touch
Weighing in at just 88 grams and measuring a mere 6.1mm thick, the new iPod touch features the lightning connector, a 4-inch retina-display, embedded speaker, and a near 16:9 aspect ratio like the iPhone 5. It features Apple’s A5 processor (making it a dual core device) with up to 2x faster performance all around (while graphics performance increases 7x). Battery life gets a bump as well on the iPod Touch to 40 hours of music playback, 8 hours of video, and there’s also a new iSight camera with a 5mp sensor, LED flash, sapphire crystal lens cover, f/2.4 aperture, backside illumination, five-element lens, and Hybrid IR filter. It features the panorama mode from the iPhone 5 and a new wrist strap accessory that lets you strap it on for security (called the Loop). The front-facing camera is a 720p HD camera, while the new rear-facing camera records 1080p HD video. Finally the new Touch gets AirPlay mirroring and enhanced Wifi, making it ideal for controlling on-screen gaming; and Siri now works on the iPod touch as well. Available in five colors (aluminum, black, blue, yellow and red) and available this October, the 32GB Touch will sell for $299, while the 64GB model will retail for $399.
Alongside the iPhone 5 announcement comes changes to not only the iPod lineup, but iTunes itself and the AppStore. An AppStore redesign brings new features, all courtesty of a new version of iTunes–featuring an edge-to-edge design, clicking on albums or items to expand the workspace, and a new feature called “in the store” which lets you see top songs and albums while you browse your library by artist or title. Artists can also now share photos with users, while the new split-screen display lets you view your full library while managing songs and playlists. See upcoming songs with a convenient “coming soon” drop down; click “Play Next” from anywhere and it will automatically queue that item. Artist pages in the store now include concert tour information and other socially linked data, plus more.
The mini-player gives you complete iTunes control from a tiny little toolbar. Manage playlists, control upcoming songs and interact directly with iCloud.
iCloud plays a big role in the new iTunes; it now stores recently watched movies and TV shows in the cloud so that you can see what you were watching and continue viewing from any iCloud-enabled device.
The New iTunes will be available in late October.
Meanwhile the iPhone 4 will now be free on contract for an 8GB version, and the 4S drops to just $99 for the 16GB.
Although a lot of information about iOS 6has already been revealed, Apple has officially announced a September 19th release for its latest operation system, bringing a wealth of new features to the table–including turn by turn directions, newly designed maps with 3D flyover, Siri compatibility for sports, restaurants, movies and more, Facebook integration, shared Photo Streams, Passbook, and FaceTime over Cellular.
Enhancements also come to the Phone with quick reply options, Mail gets cleaner and lets you pick VIP’s, Safari now includes iCloud Tabs to pick up browsing where you left off on your other devices, full screen landscape mode, and an offline reading list.
Much akin to the rumors, Apple has introduced a new dock connector for the iPhone 5. The new 8 signal design is reversible, easier to use, and is 80% smaller. Dubbed the “Lightning Connector,” an adapter will be available leaving most accessories still viable – although you may want to hold off on those charging cases and clock radios
The new iPhone 5 comes with some major hardware upgrades – and the camera is a focal point (pardon the pun). Featuring an 8 megapixel 3264×2448 resolution, backside illumination, five element lens, there’s now also a dynamic low light mode, sapphire crystal lens cover, new filters, faster photo capture and a new Panorama mode which lets you take 28-megapixel images. 1080p HD video recording come standard with improved video stabalization, face detection, and the ability to capture stills while recording video.
Front-side FaceTime Camera
The frontside camera gets upgrades too. 720p video, backside illumination, face detection, and of course, Facetime over cellular (though we’re not quite sure about availability with all carriers).
Following months of speculation, leaks and comparisons Apple has officially taken the wraps off of the next iPhone. The iPhone 5 (yes, we are sticking with numbers) will feature LTE support for some of the fastest wireless speeds in the world, a 4” retina display (326ppi, with a resolution of 1136×640) rivaling most competitors, and much more–including:
- 7.6mm (18% thinner than the 4S)
- 112grams (20% lighter than the 4S)
- Closer to 16:9 Aspect Ratio (for better video viewing)
- Touch integrated into the display for more accuracy
- GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE
- 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless
- Apple’s A6 Chip (2x faster CPU and 2x faster Graphics)
All native iOS apps have been updated to support the new resolution including iPhoto,iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, etc. Existing apps will run letter boxed, with the exception of apps created developers who have had early access (CNN, OpenTable and others).
More as this develops.
Now that the iPad 2 has been revealed, rumors and chatter shift to the iPhone and iOS 5. By this time last year, we were about to get a glimpse at iOS 4, which was set to be released alongside the iPhone 4 – but it appears this year may be slightly different…and we think it makes perfect sense.
Earlier this year, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 for Verizon; not entirely unexpected, but it led to questions about Apple’s typical June refresh. If I’m a Verizon customer with my new iPhone, I wouldn’t be terribly happy if come less than six months later, a newer, better phone is released. So what is Apple to do? If history has anything to say about it, the next iPhone will not be a major overhaul; so where does this leave us in terms of a new product cycle?
Earlier this week we saw the announcement of WWDC, Apple’s Developer Conference and a key element is apparent – “Come see the future of iOS and Mac OS X”. We know that the next version of Mac OS X (Lion) is borrowing some of its UI from iOS, so it makes sense that an event unveiling the next iOS would happen alongside the next version of Mac OS X. BUT, in years past when Apple unveiles its latest operating system for mobile, it’s usually 3 months before they release their newest iPhone. Would Apple release or announce a new iPhone with the same Operating System? Maybe, but not likely.
Here’s how I see things unfolding in the next 12 months.
June 2011 – Apple unveils iOS 5.0 with great new features, tight cloud integration, enhanced voice-based services (courtesy of their Siri acquisition) and Maps enhancements tying in to more location-aware apps. This version will immediately be available for Developers to play and develop for, as it will be announced at WWDC.
September 2011 – Apple releases the iPhone 5 alongside iOS 5. Legacy iPhone customers won’t bee too upset about a 3 month delay, and Verizon iPhone users will have had the better part of 9-months alone-time with their VZ iPhone 4. The key here is that the new iPhone will be cross compatible; a single iPhone 5 that works on either Verizon’s CDMA network or the rest of the world’s GSM network. This allows Apple to pump out more phones without having to worry about individual supply demands; plus it lands just in time for the Holiday rush.
March 2012 – Apple stays on course for the launch of the next iPad, the iPad 3.
And there you have Apple’s new product cycle which satisfies legacy AT&T users, does not tick-off Verizon users and gives ample breathing room for Apple to focus marketing and product launches accordingly.
What do you think?
March 2nd is apparently the day we’re going to hear some big news from Apple. What will it be? High level sources from the New York Times report that it will be the next generation iPad – but we know better than to make assumptions when it comes to Apple. What we do know is that there is definitely going to be a media event next week, and we’ll have details straight from it the moment it happens. What are you hoping for?