infoTECH Feature

September 01, 2010

Apple Launches New Set-Top Box, Updated iTunes Program

Apple (News - Alert) CEO Steve Jobs confirmed widespread Internet rumors on Wednesday by introducing an overhauled version of its set-top box, the Apple TV. While the device has failed to garner the acclaim of the company’s more popular products, Jobs believes the revamped version will be a hit with today’s consumer.

Through extensive market research, Apple discovered several flaws with the first generation Apple TV, which Jobs referred to in the media briefing as his “hobby.” The company’s leader explained to the press – and the millions of individuals who were streaming the presentation in real-time – that the average shopper is looking for innovations that are uncomplicated and intuitive. In order to achieve this goal in the entertainment realm, the technology giant modified the Apple TV substantially.

The new version of Apple’s set-top box is approximately one-fourth the size of the previous model, and follows Jobs’ creed that consumers “don’t want amateur hour, they don’t want to manage computer storage and they don’t want to be forced to sync to other devices.” The Apple TV offers only high-definition Hollywood-caliber movies and television shows. Users no longer need to concern themselves with storage issues as all programming is acquired on a rental basis.

Apple TV owners can watch first-run HD movies for $4.99 a piece and commercial-free television programs for $0.99 each. Movies that are not considered to be new releases are available at a discounted price. Unfortunately for TV junkies, Jobs announced that only ABC and Fox have jumped on board with Apple, meaning that the majority of television content will not be available for purchase. He believes other networks will admit their error and join in soon.

However, Jobs also noted that users who happen to be Netflix subscribers can stream content at no additional charge. Furthermore, owners can watch YouTube (News - Alert) videos, read movie reviews as well as access audio and video podcasts for free. Consumers can preorder the Apple TV for $99 and receive the product in approximately four weeks.

Soon after unveiling the company’s new set-top box, Jobs concluded the event by announcing a redesign of Apple’s iTunes software. The most major change to the 10th generation of iTunes is the integration of a social network for music, known as Ping.

"Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter meet iTunes,” said Jobs in his description of the new service. Ping enables users to follow their friend and favorite artists, post comments on other people’s pages and share information with fellow iTunes customers. Ping also includes nearly 20,000 concert listings. It is available for download immediately.

Jobs also used the event to announce and promote the company’s new line of iPod’s, which will be in stock in Apple stores on Monday.  

Beecher Tuttle is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. He received his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Colorado.

Edited by Beecher Tuttle

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