New Video iPod from Apple

Apple announced today that their new line of iPods will have the ability to store and playback video. Officially they’re still just calling them iPods, but I’ve been talking/blogging/dreaming about the advent of a “video iPod” for a while.

For some time Apple has been outpaced by the likes of iRiver and Archos in the portable video player/portable media player (PMP) department. Sure, the iPod photo could do pictures, but the vast majority of iPod users couldn’t even see their screens in color because of the glut of new models.

Plus, if you’ve been using the latest and greatest version of iTunes, the one with Podcasting support, you know that it’s just as easy to subscribe to an RSS feed that contains video enclosures as it is to subscribe to an RSS feed that contains audio (mp3) enclosures. iTunes will playback the video, so most reasonable thinkers speculated we’d see a video iPod before the year was out. And Apple has already made an entire guide for optimizing video output for iPods.

Honestly, I was thrown off by the iPod Nano, but now I realize it’s just a clever replacement for the iPod Mini segment. Smaller and without video, because, honestly, no one wants to see video that tiny.

All these clues lead directly to the new video iPod. Some other folks have more up-to-the-minute coverage:

Engadget
TUAW
Stuff Magazine

Here are my own quick thoughts:

Likes:

  1. No name change.
    It’s still just an iPod (unlike those terrible iPod photos).
  2. It leverages the software current iPod users know and love.
  3. It has a smaller footprint than the existing models.
    iPods just keep getting smaller and thinner.
  4. It comes in black.

Dislikes:

  1. The screen is formatted for 4×3 video.
    Standard resolution TV is cool and probably will account for a big chunk of “viewership”, but I would have liked to see a wider screen for 16:9 DVD rips and the like.
  2. I just bought my wife an iPod 6 months ago.
    Not a real complaint against the new model, I just hate being behind the times

Questions:

  1. Will the ABC-offered TV episodes (Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc.) contain DRM?
    My guess is yes. How long until someone breaks it?
  2. How much video will be offered through iTunes and how will it be associated with the songs I’m already purchasings?
    Buy a U2 track, get a video clip (or get a cross-sell message)?

All I know is that Oliver Willis is right, media companies should start thinking about providing their current content through iTunes for video iPods. I’m already thinking about new, original content I can make myself or for my employer.

Viva iPod!

UPDATE: Both Sean Bonner and Steve Rubel are predicting a deluge of video content for iPods on the way. The only problem: what to call this new phenomenon? Vlogging? Vlogcasting? Videocasting? Vidcasting?

UPDATE II: TUAW has a review of the video (an episode of Lost) that they bought via iTunes.

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