Apple Launches All But The Queen Mary

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New iPods, an updated iTunes 7 complete with Movie Store, and a deal with Disney for full-length movies were all part of Apple’s Showtime event.

CEO Steve Jobs announced plenty of interesting new gadgets at this morning’s much-hyped press event in San Francisco. The National Football League even figured in the fun, as Apple disclosed episodes of the NFL Network’s NFL Gameday and team highlights produced by NFL Films will be available for download from iTunes.

The iTunes software received an update to version 7 to support the latest online content endeavor from Apple. The news of a movie store becoming available may have been one of the worst kept secrets ever in Silicon Valley:

Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and $14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for just $9.99 every day.

The Walt Disney Company, where Jobs is the company’s biggest shareholder, are the first to sign on to iTunes with movie content, just as they did with TV episodes last year at this time. The iTunes Store is now offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films.

Apple provided more details on iTunes and the movies:

With iTunes 7, all videos purchased from the iTunes Store are downloaded in near-DVD quality at a resolution of 640×480 (up to 480, depending on the aspect ratio), which is four times higher than before. Downloaded videos can be played on computers and iPods.

iTunes 7 also includes new features to better organize and enjoy digital music and video, including expanded parental controls, an iTunes video playback window with on-screen controls, and the new Cover Flow view that lets you visually browse your entire video collection by cover artwork.

New movie content means a new iPod, and Jobs presented the latest version of Apple’s iconic media player:

The new iPod features a 60 percent brighter and more vibrant 2.5-inch color display perfect for watching TV shows and now Hollywood movies right in the palm of your hand. It is available in a 30GB model at the new low price of $249 and an 80GB model, which holds up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video, for $349.

“The world’s best digital music player has evolved into the world’s most popular portable video player too,” said Jobs. “The new iPod’s brighter and more vibrant display and longer battery life make it perfect for watching Hollywood movies and TV shows right in the palm of your hand.”

That battery life would work out to five hours of video or 20 hours of music playback on the 80GB model iPod.

In other iPod news, the newest iPod Shuffle has been billed as the smallest digital music player in the world. It’s a 1GB device priced at $79, measures 1.62 inches, and holds about 240 songs.

The popular iPod Nano received a little makeover. It’s been slimmed down, finished in anodized aluminum with five different colors available, and can be purchased in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. Fans of the black Nano will have to shell out $249 for the 8GB model, as that is the only model that comes in that color.

Mac fans who want a closer look at Jobs and the presentation should take a look at Engadget’s coverage from the event.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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