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Apple releases iTunes 7, goes Hollywood

Whew. After spending an hour rapid-fire reloading the Engadget live blog coverage of Apple's "It's Showtime" special event, my fingers are tired, my eyeballs are fried and I'm full of Apple vitriol.

For starters, Apple announced iTunes 7. It's not just a little facelift, there are some seriously cool new features that are useful even to those of us who aren't into movies. Yep, movies. Did I mention that iTunes will now sell movies online from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Miramax? Seventy-five titles to kick things off, with prices ranging from $9.99 to $12.99. Our buddies at TUAW have already rolled up their sleeves and written a complete walk-through of the new iTunes version 7.

Who wants to watch movies at a dinky 320x240 resolution? No one, and definitely not Jobs... So they've upgraded resolution on iTunes video downloads from that dinky 320x240 to a really respectable 640x480. Hi-res is the new black.
Speaking of black; The Nano got a facelift. It's thinner (Is that possible?), brighter(40%) and has better battery life(24 hours!). The 2GB and 4GB models are still available, but Apple added an 8GB to the lineup (available only in black). All models get an aluminum case, so no more scratched Nano blues. The 2GB is available only in "naked" aluminum, but the 4GB gets a dash of whimsy with green, pink and blue models available.

Watch the super sharp new Nano ad campaign here.

The standard from factor iPod got a bit of lovin' too. An 80GB Video model was announced, along with price drops across the line. And, not to be forgotten, the Shuffle gets a complete facelift. An all aluminum case and ultra tiny new form make the new shuffle a pretty hot little ticket at it's new price of $79.

What else could you want? Games. Everyone loves a good time-waster. Games are coming to the iPod with Bejeweled, Tetris, Pac-Man, Zuma, Texas Holden, Mini Golf, Cubis 2 and more. They'll set you back $4.99 a pop at the iTunes Music Video Game Everything Store. Not too shabby, and extremely competitive with similar titles on the Palm or Windows Mobile platform.

Jobs is famous for, "Oh, and one more thing" and this time it's a yet to be released product due in 2007. Codenamed iTV, this little box will allow you to browse and watch your iTunes Movies on your TV. It's a slick little toy, with the clean menus and interface you'd expect from the Cupertino kids packed into a form factor that's roughly a Mac mini at half-height. The iTV will include built in 802.11 wireless, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, Component video and analog audio jacks. Suspiciously (or not so) absent is any sort of analog video out.

It's a solid shake-up to the Apple line, but notable pundit misses include the non-existent iPhone, and 16:9 video iPod. No dice for the future watchers. However, what Apple delivered are solid products that update their core entertainment business and functionality.

[Thanks to Engadget and Apple for the great images!]

Update: Keen eyed reader Graham points out that a component video output is analog. Oops. Thanks Graham!

Tags: games on ipod, GamesOnIpod, iPod, iTMS, iTunes, news