First off, there's a whole slew of new iPods at new price points, with increased storage capacity. For example, the newest high-end iPod will have 80 gigabytes of memory for $349. New iPod-ready video games like Tetris, Pac-Man, and Bejeweled, available through iTunes, are kind of nice, but certainly nothing earth-shattering. (I already play Tetris on my cell phone all the time, even though it cramps up my hands.)
Additional storage space goes without saying, given consumers' increasing interest in downloadable video. And while Apple did make good on digital movie downloads, it hasn't gone the whole nine yards. Its first offerings are only from Disney
However, it's disappointing that more movie studios aren't involved yet. Although more studios will likely join -- Lions Gate
Another hurdle to consumer adoption has been the inability to burn downloaded movies to DVD, for easy viewing on a TV set. To circumvent that obstacle, Jobs previewed iTV, a device that will allow people to wirelessly view movies and TV shows they've downloaded to their Macs and PCs on their TVs. That device, expected to retail for $299, is probably the most exciting part of the announcement, but alas, iTV won't be available until the first quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, one of the longest running Apple iPod rumors of all time -- the mythical cell phone/iPod hybrid -- remained a no-show.
Apple needed to impress today, and I'm not quite sure it did. Competitors are encroaching more than ever, from Microsoft's
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.