Like many, I was thrilled with Apple’s announcements at yesterday’s special event. New iPods, a new Apple TV and iTunes 10. It all sounded great. But then as the day went on, I began to see problems. By this morning, I’ve identified six issues that will hurt the products announced yesterday.
I Guess Video Was a Fad
The new iPod Nano sounds great. It has a touch screen and is smaller than ever. And that color screen displays video, right? Wrong. According to the specs on the Apple site, the new Nano doesn’t support video. But the last two generations of iPod Nano did. That’s a pretty big feature to remove. I mean, it isn’t like watching video on a tiny little screen was that great, but for video podcasts or watching TV shows on a commute or airplane it was a killer feature. It is like someone took your TV away and replaced it with a radio.
What Happened To the Camera?
The previous iPod Nano was great because it had a video camera. For $149 you had the equivalent to the original Flip video camera, but with massive storage in comparison. It was the lightest, smallest video camera out there. But no camera on the new Nano. Another downgrade.
So the new Nano is the same price, but what new features does it have? None. Well, it has a touch screen, but that doesn’t let you DO anything you couldn’t do before. It is just a change to the interface. So the new Nano is missing a camera and video playback, and really adds no new features.
The iPod Touch Still Doesn’t Have a Camera
Well, technically, it has two: front and back. But these are both video cameras, not still image cameras. You can use them to take still images, but you only get very low resolution pictures. The back camera is the better one, and that only goes to 960×720 — less than 1 megapixel. OK for posting to Facebook, I guess. But you won’ want to print those or use it for anything remotely important. And there’s no flash like on the new iPhone either.
Another Salesperson In Your Pocket
So iTunes 10’s big new feature is Ping, a “social network for music.” But if you are that into music and want to share with your friends, then wouldn’t you already be doing that on Facebook? Are you going to make all your friends join Ping?
Ping is really just an extension of the last big new feature of iTunes, Genius. The latter had Apple recommending music to you. The former now has your friends doing it. And both are designed to get you to buy more music on iTunes.
No One Likes the Beatles
So you sign up for Ping anyway. One of the first things it does is to ask you to specify your favorites. But they must be artists on iTunes. Like the Beatles? Tough. They aren’t on iTunes so you can’t possibly like them. So tell me why I would use Ping over Facebook to share my thoughts on music?
Apple TV Still Behind the Curve
There are really only three new things about the new Apple TV: price, lack of storage, and Netflix. The first is great, sure. The second is a good move, I believe. And even if you don’t use Netflix, it is nice to know the option is there.
But that’s it. Nothing really new. The old Apple TV could run Netflix if Apple wanted to put it there. Heck, the Wii and XBox run Netflix. So does the iPad.
But what about streaming video services like Hulu? Everyone knows that is what needs to be on Apple TV. Now I know why Hulu isn’t there. The powers that control Hulu don’t want Hulu to be on TV-targeted devices. Hulu is for computers. They don’t want it to compete with cable. And Apple would probably rather sell you TV shows, even at 99 cents, than give you the chance to watch them for free with commercials. But these reasons have nothing to do with the end-user. In order for Apple TV to really take off, it needs to tap into the free with-commercials video streams. Apple just needs to figure out how to get this done. What would work is a small subscription fee to use Hulu on Apple TV. That’s how Netflix works, so the stage has been set.