Next generation of iPods follows closely to the last

Jason Gallagher

Apple Computer released a new iPod with video playback capabilities at a special event in California yesterday.

The new device will play downloadable music videos and television shows from Apple’s iTunes music store. Consumers also can upload and play their own movies on the device in either MPEG-4 or H.264 format. H.264 is Apple’s new high-definition codec.

At the event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said individual episodes of shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” will be downloadable for $1.99 each.

Robert Iger, Disney’s chief executive, stated in a press release that shows will be available for download the day after the television broadcast.

Jason Staten, freshman justice studies major, said he was intrigued by the idea behind the new iPod but will take a wait-and-see approach before purchasing the product.

“As far as watching TV shows, that sounds pretty good, but they’d have to get more (stations) than just ABC,” he said.

Apple media representatives did not return a phone call seeking comment about possible future television deals.

In addition to the television shows, more than 2,000 music videos will be available for $1.99 each, Jobs said. Artists such as Kanye West, Madonna, Coldplay and U2 have signed on to release their videos in the iTunes music store.

Sophomore accounting major Derek Desko was listening to his brand new Creative Zen MP3 player in the University Bookstore when informed of the iPod announcement yesterday.

“I just took back my iPod mini (which was broken) and got this as a replacement,” Desko said of the MP3 player.

Consumers must download iTunes 6, the latest version of Apple’s music jukebox application, in order to download and play the videos.

Jobs said the videos will have the same copyright protection as songs downloaded from the music store. Each video can be played on up to five different computers and any iPod with the new video capability.

In an added twist, consumers will not be able to burn the purchased videos to DVD or CD as they can with purchased songs.

Despite the dramatic changes, the new iPod remains very similar in style to its predecessors. Its 2.5- inch screen is one-half inch wider than the music iPod. It still retains a 4-3 screen ratio, unlike the widescreen Sony PSP, another popular multimedia device.

The new iPod is available at two price points. The 30 gigabyte version runs for $299, and the 60 gigabyte model will sell for $399, according to Apple.

Jobs said both models are available in either white or black and will begin being shipped next week.

The video iPod is the second major addition to the iPod line in the past month. Apple recently released the iPod nano, a tiny music player available in two and four gigabyte versions. Some industry analysts have expressed surprise that Apple would release another iPod so soon after the nano’s debut.

Senior finance major Adam Eskridge said he was planning on purchasing a nano in the near future, but today’s announcement caused him to hesitate.

“I think I’m still gonna get the nano,” he said. “But I’ll have to go check this out and make sure. It sounds hot.”

Contact news correspondent Jason Gallagher at [email protected].