The new iPod Touch and iPod Nano versions unveiled today were more evolution than revolution, and the software upgrade from iTunes 7 to iTunes 8, while adding some interesting features, such as the frequently mentioned "Genius" music-choice system, offered nothing as exciting as the iPhone.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn't even bother to offer "one more thing" -- his standard refrain used at the end of many of his speeches to launch an Apple product or service. However, he did make a reference to the widespread speculation surrounding the state of his health. He opened the conference with a slide and a joke, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," alluding to Mr. Jobs' obituary accidental published online by Bloomberg News.
While there wasn't a lot of new technological bells and whistles, the ready-for-holiday next-generation iPod Nano impressed many with its redesign, which is the fourth in as many years. The video screen that debuted on last year's squatty version stays, but this model is much taller and thinner, with an oval-shaped silhouette. The device comes in seven ultra-bright colors, and was featured in an ad previewed by Mr. Jobs during the conference.
The new Nanos will available this week in 8- and 16-gigabyte versions priced at $149 and $199, respectively. The devices will also include a feature found on the iPhone that allows users to turn the phone -- and the image onscreen -- on its side. Additionally, users can "shake" the new Nano to shuffle songs.
The announced iPod Touch, just the second generation of the device, is thinner, more feature-rich and a bit cheaper. Apple is touting the device as the "funnest iPod ever," and previewed an ad for the device that centered on gaming. Some interpreted Mr. Jobs' claim during the speech that Touch is the "best portable device for gaming" as a challenge to Nintendo, which dominates handheld gaming with its Nintendo DS. The new iPod will be priced from $229, down from the current starting point of $299.
And there was also one small iPhone mention -- a 2.1 firmware update that promises to fix many current bugs and will be available free to phone owners Sept. 12.