Wooooo, what an event, huh? Jobs at the top of his form, a slew of incredible new music-related products and services, a sequined Phil Schiller on a pony... was that just amazing, or what?
No, seriously, was it? We didn't see it. Or, more accurately, we're not going to see it-- truth be told, we're writing this ten minutes before the show's supposed to start. But we figured we might as well get a head start, since at least some announcements are foregone conclusions thanks to the ever-accommodating Apple web staff. As faithful viewer Troy pointed out, even the gnomes who handle Apple's UK site are starting to get sloppy with the secrets; The Register reports that the UK Apple Store kindasorta accidentally posted a graphic to its front page touting the iPod's "Hot accessories" and verifying that the device "now records your voice and stores more than tunes."
Attention, students: today's hot lunch will be "British Web Gnome on a Stick," with a side order of "No, No, Please, Not the Flamethrower AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE." Dessert will be JELL-O with bananas in it.
Okay, head start's over, and now we're all up to date on today's nifty new announcements. Quite a haul, eh? Let's get the leaked stuff out of the way, first: as expected, voice recording and in-the-field photo storage are now possible-- with inexpensive accessories made by Belkin. The iPod Voice Recorder has a microphone and speaker and costs $49.95; the iPod Media Reader accepts CompactFlash, Secure Digital, Smart Media, Memory Stick, and MMC storage cards, preserves "film rolls" when you transfer in your photos, syncs with iPhoto, and costs $99. Pair either of 'em up with a 40 GB iPod and you can store up to 670 hours of recorded audio or 20,000 digital photos in your pocket. (Provided you don't care about anything as frivolous as listening to actual music, of course.)
Next, let's tackle iTMS: The Next Generation, which has so many new features that if you're not really careful, your braincase may melt. Audiobooks from Audible.com. Gift certificates. Music purchase allowances, so you don't have to give your kids the family credit card number. Artist playlists. New sorting options. And, of course, full Windows compatibility. Oh, and did we mention an exclusive partnership with AOL, as rumored long ago in an episode far, far away? Talk about an instant customer base. No, really-- talk about an instant customer base! Do it! NOW!!
Okay, that's enough. Hey, how about some numbers? Everybody likes numbers! Here are some neat ones:
- Market share of the iPod: 31%
- Rank of the iPod in unit sales: 1
- Rank of the iPod in revenue sales: 1
- Market share of the iTMS among legal music downloads last week: 70%
- Number of iTMS songs sold per week: 600,000
- Number of indie labels selling music via the iTMS: over 200
- Number of audio books now available via the iTMS: 5,000
- Smallest iTMS gift certificate available: $10
- Largest iTMS gift certificate available: $200
- Number of songs available in the iTMS at launch: 200,000
- Number of songs available since Apple has been adding music like a Meatloaf album every frickin' week: 400,000
- Number of songs Apple wants to sell by April, 2004: 100,000,000
- Number of AOL subscribers who will soon be able to help with that: 25,000,000
- Number of minutes before Harper's Index sues our butts into oblivion: about 30
And then, of course, there's the news that Apple is teaming with Pepsi on a promotion by which Pepsi drinkers will get free song downloads at the iTunes Music Store. (Is that enough to get the AtAT compound to switch from our usual Coke products? Nnnnyyyaybe.) Apparently 100 million bottle caps will be imprinted with a claim code that allows a free song download. The irony is not lost on faithful viewer Ryan Schroeder, who notes that, despite having ridiculed Sculley's PepsiCo gig back in the '80s, Jobs has now apparently taken over the guy's old gig of selling sugared water. You can't make up stuff like that!
Well, actually, yes, you can. In fact, it's pretty easy-- we do it all the time. But still, Jobs selling Pepsi, right? Ha ha! Great stuff!
Anyway, that's all she wrote, other than several recording artists appearing live via iChat AV to add to the hype (in particular, Bono showed up to claim that he doesn't always "kiss corporate ass," which is technically true because we think there was one time back in the early '80s when he blacked out and his lips came off for about twenty seconds or so), and a live-on-stage performance by Sarah McLachlan. But that's all just window dressing for what amounts to one simple truth: Apple is so going to totally smoke every other music download service out there. Seriously, it's going to be a bloodbath. Quick, roll up your pant cuffs!