John Paczkowski

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Live from Apple's "Let's Rock" Event: iPod Updates, Games, Nano Video Cameras


Apple has sold some 225 million iPods to date, making it one of the most popular electronic devices ever. And it’s sure to sell even more after the updates the company announced at this morning’s event. Among them: Larger, cheaper iPod touches and nanos with cameras and FM radios.

Following introductory remarks by Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller offers details, noting that “the iPod has 73.8 percent market share. The next biggest category is ‘other,’ and after that, SanDisk and then Microsoft pulling up the rear.”

Schiller adds that Apple has sold 20 million iPod touches since the device debuted. He runs through a lengthy sales pitch for the iPod touch, touting it as a killer pocket computer and taking potshots at rivals like Dell (DELL) along the way.

Moving on to games, Schiller notes the discrepancy between the number of games on gaming platforms like the Nintendo DS and the iPod touch. The iPhone OS, he notes, has 21,178 games. The DS has just 3,680. Point taken.

Gaming titles across the iPhone, Sony PSP, and Ninendo DS

Moving on to some new game demos now. First up: Ubisoft with Assassin’s Creed 2, which, we are told, is “all about visceral combat, brutal hand-to-hand combat and one-shot kills.” Behind the presenter, a warrior is mercilessly beaten into submission.

Schiller returns to the stage, “Boy, that looks like fun.”

Tapulous' new game, Riddim Ribbon

Tapulous, the developer of Tap Tap Revenge, and Gameloft, follow, both introducing new games. Gameloft’s Nova–a first-person shooter with multiplayer option–seems a far more compelling effort than Tapulous’s Riddim Ribbon, which appears to be a Black Eyed Peas-heavy variation of Tap-Tap.

Up next, Electronic Arts, which is apparently headlining the games section of today’s event. EA’s Travis Boatman takes the stage to introduce Madden NFL 10. The game boasts both custom-kick and draw-a-play-on-screen features developed specifically for the iPhone OS. Madden NFL 10 is available today.

Madden NFL comes to the iPhone and iPod touch

Schiller again returns to the stage. “The iPod touch is the most affordable gateway to the App Store,” he says, adding that $199 is a “magic price point” in the iPod market.

With that, he announces the iPod touch price cuts we heard about earlier this morning: An 8GB model for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. All three devices are significantly faster, says Schiller. Interestingly, none seem to feature that rumored camera.

New prices and storage capacities for the iPod touch lineup.

Price drops as well for the nano, but we knew about these. Apple has dropped the price of the iPod shuffle as well: $59 and $79. And the company is offering them in a new selection of colors. Plus, there’s a special edition of the shuffle crafted from stainless steel.

Steve Jobs returns to the stage. So those are the iPods, but there is one more thing: A video camera. He talks about the exploding video market, mentions the Flip, etc. “We want to get in on this market as well and we’re doing it for free….Boy, this really is the new Apple,” he quips.

iPod nano, now with a video camera, FM tuner, pedometer and brilliant colors.

Yes, the iPod nano does indeed now feature a video camera. The video quality looks impressive. Whoa: Apple has also added FM radio, a voice recorder and a pedometer to the nano. New polished anodized aluminum colors. 8GB model for $149, 16GB model for $179.

After a few concluding remarks about the new iPod lineup, Jobs announces what has become an annual tradition at these events: A live performance. Today’s artist: Norah Jones.

The end of her set concludes today’s event. No iPlatform. No Beatles on iTunes. But lots of product refreshes, software intros, and price cuts. Plus: Steve Jobs is definitely back.

Norah Jones concludes the Let's Rock Apple Music Event.

Live from Apple’s “Let’s Rock” Event

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google