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Articles: Apple TV 2.0 and an all new iPod lineup

Holy Cow, as Harry Caray used to say, Apple hit one out of the park with their September 1st music event. They took the #1 lineup of media devices in the world and basically changed them all again. While most companies would be happy to rest on their laurels, Apple seems to always have a knack for wanting to push us all into the next level... for better or worse. With these announcements, it seems for the better

iTunes 10 - or is it X - is out now

Taking the same great media software you have known for the past ten years and adding a new social component called Ping. With Ping you will be able to follow all your favorite artists to keep up with what theyre doing on the road: what music inspires them, even pictures and special tracks released only through iTunes.

It doesn't stop there though, you will also be able to create a Ping page and your friends will be able to follow you. You will be able to share your latest find in the store with friends, whether it be a Miles Davis track from 1968 or the latest release from Weezer, it will all be right there for your friends to listen to and enjoy. They will even be able to add comments and tell you how much of a loser you are for purchasing that new Justin Bieber album.

ITunes 10 also has a refined the look and feel, even changing the icon from the image of a CD with music notes on it to a new colorful image of just music notes, removing the CD. It also adds TV show rentals for just 99 cents. This will allow you to catch up with your favorite shows without having to purchase and store the files on your computer. Just rent it, watch it, and it takes care of itself, all for just 99 cents.

Apple also changed the name of Airtunes to Airplay; they have also expanded the range of devices this works with. Apple will now allow third party manufactures to add this feature directly into speakers and docks so you will be able to just stream music straight to them without having to purchase an Airport Express as the middle man.

All in all, a solid upgrade with some cool new refinements, and a very neat new way to stay connected with your favorite artists and friends to explore new music.
Max's upgrade grade-B

All. New. iPods. Awesome.

With new software, Apple also has refreshed the entire iPod lineup, here are the highlights

The new iPod nano

The iPod shuffle has come full circle

Apple has taken the best bits of all the previous version and combined them into the best iPod shuffle they have ever released.

Taking the buttons and clip of the 2G with the VoiceOver capabilities of the 3G gives us the ability to control it with out having to look at the iPod, while still being able to choose playlist and songs we want to hear.

All in all, it looks like I can finally replace my old trusty 2G shuffle that goes to the gym with me.

Max's upgrade grade-A

The iPod nano has received the biggest makeover.

Shrinking in size to be just a little larger than the new iPod shuffle, Apple added a fantastic new way to control it through a touch screen. It truly is living up to its name "nano."

Its focus is now all on the music, as Apple has taken away the ability to watch videos on the nano. Of course, how many people actually were taking out a magnifying glass and watching movies and TV shows on an iPod nano anyway?

The one big change that may make you think about picking up the older nano before they are gone is the loss of the video camera. If you were looking for a device to take videos and play music in a really small package the 5G nano was it.

Apple has removed the camera from the 6G touch nano so if you need a camera in your nano get an older one today, while they are still in stock.
Max's upgrade grade-A (if you don't care about video) D (if video is your thing)

The iPod touch has finally become the equivalent of the iPhone.

Since the iPhone has been released, the touch has always seemed like last year's iPhone. With no camera and an inferior display, it just seemed not to be in the same class. That has finally changed.

Apple released the iPod touch with the same retina display as the iPhone, a forward-facing camera for FaceTime calls, and a rear camera for stills and video. You will now be able to do all the same things on your iPod touch that you can do with your iPhone, except with out that pesky phone contract.

Of course you also do not get 3G coverage nor can you make cellular phone calls with the touch. However, with the App store, you can easily overcome this with the download of any number of VOIP applications such as Skype, so you could be making calls anywhere you have wifi coverage.

Team that up with a Verizon mifi, and all of a sudden you have wifi access wherever you go. Neat trick eh? All in all, the new touch is a sleeker, more sexy version of the worlds #1 internet/media/game player. Max's upgrade grade-A

The last announcement was the long-awaited update to Apple's little hobby the ?TV.

While many were expecting a full-fledged iOS device (myself included), one that would run games and any other app from the App store, we did not get that.

What we did get was a new Apple TV that starts us on the road to that device. One that is now just 1/4 the size of the old ?TV, but does so much more. The new version streams from any Mac, iPad, iPod touch or iPhone you have on your network. It allows you to rent both Movies and TV shows now, as well as the big addition of linking up to your Netflix account.

So while it is still lacking a web browser and a HULU Plus, it does get you a very large library of entertainment at your fingertips. The update isn't as exciting as I was hoping, but the price sure is. At $99, it is a no brainer if you have a lot of other Apple equipment in your home. If you want an easy way to share those pictures on your iPhone that you took on your last vacation, you can now just stream them to the ?TV and BOOM! instant slideshow without even having to sync to a computer.

If you have a movie on your iPad, and you want to continue watching it on your ?TV this is it. For $99 this is truly the must-have for any family with iTunes content in the house that they want to get to the big screen.

Again, while I would loved to see the ability to shop the App store, add games to play on my TV along with HULU and any other video App, this is a strong update to what Apple considers just a hobby. Max's upgrade grade-A (did I mention it was only $99)
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