Our woman in the field, Nicole, offers this pithy review:
The screen is gorgeous. Its wider than previous models and overall it feels slim and lightweight. Quicktime 7.03 is necessary to view video, which is great, along with response time. It's good enough to watch an entire movie on it.
Battery life: 20 hours for music, 5 hours for photos, and 2-3 hours for video, more or less—depending on model.
So, we've got ourselves a new iPod. It's not quite the iPod Video, but it's pretty close. Let's look at the specs:
The new iPod is has 4x3 screen, 320x240 pixels and 260,000 colors and does realtime decoding of MPEG4 and H.264 at 30fps. It has video out.
VGA is 480x720, but this is widescreen, which makes it better for video. The resolution is just about half-VGA, which is just about what all the other players in this market are hitting, so we're not entering any new territory here. However, what we have here is a MASSIVE install base. Apple currently has over 84% market share in the MP3 player space. Everyone wants a piece of that pie, and as we well know, millions of OEMs have already attacked the idea of a portable video player with reckless abandon, creating a wasteland of formats, sizes, and devices. Hell, the PSP can play video.
What's going to happen now? You're going to go buy one. Your mom is going to buy one. Your grandma is getting one. And downloadable video will become as commonplace as downloadable music. And Apple will win in this space, as well.
So let's see what we're up against: $399 for a 60GB iPod to update the 40GB we already own. The uptake on this new device will be rather slow. There will be an attack, at first, with millions of units sold. Then Joe Sixpack will drop his iPod on the treadmill and get a new one and be amazed that he can now watch lost. Then Jane WineCooler will look at the Nano and then iPod and figure that maybe she can download some movies from ThePirateBay. Then Creative and Microsoft and all the other boys who ALREADY HAVE MEDIA PLAYERS will try to corner a few studios, much to their folly.
Expect a massive shake-up in the DVD world, as well. Downloadable content with easy video out, a hot little remote control, and a sense of moral superiority will hit NetFlix in the nuts, not even mentioning the deathblow this delivers to Blockbuster.