As previously rumoured, Apple announced two music-related products yesterday – the new iPod‘s and their iTunes Music Store service. The iPod is essentially an upgraded, thinner version of the current machine that holds up to 30GB. It comes with a new docking cradle and the same unit will work on both Mac and Windows (later in the year).
The iTunes Music Store is the really exciting part. It sounds like it’s simplicity itself, as they provide 30 second, full quality previews of each track and buying is easy as they’ve licenced the Amazon 1-click system. The initially 200,000 tracks available provided by the big five record companies (BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner) and are individually purchasable prices at 99 cents a track. They’re stored in AAC format but users will be able to burn unlimited CD’s for personal use and will be able to copy to unlimited iPods Old and New, and to three different Macs. Interestingly downloaded music is sharable between machines on the same wired or wireless network – and by using streaming rather than copying they will placate the music industry. Sadly, due to the licencing restrictions from the music companies, the service will only be available in the US – at least initially.
Video: Steve Jobs launches new iPod’s and Music Store service – watch it
Apple secrecy on unreleased products is legendary, so it was amazing to see that all of the details of todays announcements were disclosed on slashdot back in December. I wonder if the poster is still working at Apple?