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SCIENCE

Apple takes on Facebook with iTunes social network

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-02

Apple has unveiled its latest line of high-tech gadgets and services, including a new miniature iPod Nano with a touch display and a potential rival to Facebook and MySpace – Ping, the company’s very own social network.

AP - Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced a new line of iPods on Wednesday, including a Nano model that has a touch screen and lacks buttons.

Like previous versions, the Nano has a built-in FM tuner and can display photos. But instead of buttons, controls for playing, pausing and selecting music are right on the screen. It will cost $149 for the 8 gigabyte version and $179 for 16 gigabytes.

In a refresh to the iPod Touch, Apple is adding video-chat features similar to the newest iPhone. It has a front-facing camera for conducting video chats with other iPod Touch and iPhone users over Wi-Fi using Apple’s FaceTime program. A camera on the back can be used for taking snapshots and recording video. Prices range from $229 to $399.
 
Jobs also introduced a new iPod Shuffle, the lowest-end music player in Apple’s line. Like the past generation, it can speak the names of playlists and songs. But unlike the most recent of the tiny music players, the new $49 device brings back the square shape and buttons of Apple’s second-generation Shuffle.
 
Apple, meanwhile, is adding social features to its iTunes software. Jobs said iTunes 10 brings new ways for people to learn what their friends are listening to. The feature, called Ping, is likely based on the technology Apple acquired with the purchase of Lala.com last year.
 
The Ping section in iTunes lets people “follow” friends, musicians and others, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. Ping builds custom top-10 lists based on what the people someone follows are listening to.
 
Earlier, Jobs also said iPhone users will be getting a software update that offers the ability to upload high-definition video over Wi-Fi. And when people take photos, the new software will save three slightly different copies that, when combined, make for a sharper image.
 
The new software is version 4.1 of the iOS system. It will be available next week for free, initially for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPod Touch.
 
The iPad currently runs an older version, though Jobs said an update coming in November will add such features as wireless printing to Apple’s tablet computer. Apple had been criticized for making a powerful device but hobbling it by not including any ports for USB devices such as printers or thumb drives.
 
Jobs appeared at a media event in a crew neck rather than his trademark mock turtleneck.

 

Date created : 2010-09-01

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