2010 brought us a totally revamped Apple TV, a new crop of iPods, iTunes 10, and much more. Here’s a quick wrap-up of some of the big events of the past 12 months in the world of Apple and entertainment.
Apple TV gets small
In September, Apple unveiled a new, smaller Apple TV model (). The second-generation Apple TV allowed Apple to finally shed the “hobby” label from its video playing device (well, depending on whom you ask), adding Netflix streaming, beefing up the performance, removing the hard drive, and changing the focus to streaming only.
How successful has the new Apple TV been? Well, it’s a little hard to tell because Apple has never broken out Apple TV sales numbers in the past, but things must be going pretty well because Steve Jobs touted 250,000 units sold during during Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call in October, and then the company announced the Apple TV would hit 1 million sales around Christmas.
Another thing to happen as part of the Apple TV/iTunes 10 updates was Apple adding TV show rentals to the iTunes Store. For $1, you can now rent a TV show on your iTunes 10-powered Mac or PC, or your new Apple TV. As with movies, which the iTunes Store has been offering for rent for some time, you have 30 days to start watching a rental. But unlike the 24-hour window once you start watching for movies, TV shows give you 48 hours to complete your viewing experience. (Odd, I know, since movies are longer than TV shows, but that’s Hollywood for you.).
At the same September event that saw the new Apple TV and iTunes announced, Apple also performed its annual iPod refresh to try and convince the billions of people who already have one (or several) to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
The fourth-generation iPod touch () gained a high-quality Retina display, dual cameras with FaceTime support, and a built-in mic and speaker.
The sixth-generation iPod nano () got a major facelift (but lost a lot of features in the process), turning into a tiny Multi-Touch-enabled device with no physical playback controls.
And what of the iPod classic (), you may ask? Apple still sells it, and it’s still the highest-capacity iPod available. But during the iPod event, Jobs made no mention of the classic, which makes us think that it’s just keeping the seat warm until Apple can manage to offer an iPod touch model with more storage (128GB should be enough to kill the classic once and for all).
Our iPod buying guide will help you sort out which model is right for you or your loved ones.
How pent up has the demand been? Apparently, very. EMI said that in the first week of sales, it moved 450,000 albums and 2 million tracks. Not bad considering everybody over the age of 35 likely owns the same music on CD.
Apps for Apple TV The new Apple TV runs a version of iOS (instead of a modified version of OS X 10.4, as the previous Apple TV did). So does that mean we might see the ability to download and run apps? Apple already did what many of us thought would never happen—provide competition to the iTunes Store on the Apple TV in the form of Netflix streaming support—so might we see additional content sources as apps in the future? The Roku players support a huge variety of content, including Netflix, NHL Game Center Live, Amazon Video on Demand, MLB.TV, and soon Hulu Plus. The Apple TV would be an even better set-top box with more ways to get content. And what about other things, like weather apps or games?