Are all things tech drawn to Apple's orbit? With all the buzz around Steve Jobs' return to the Apple stage and the features upgrades to the iPod Nano and iPod Touch unveiled by Apple this week, Jobs actually offered significant insight into how he sees the various planets in Apple's solar system aligning. From Nano upgrades to Rhapsody approval to Kindle bashing, here are five things we learned about Jobs and Apple this week:
1. Apple Happy To Conquer Video, Too
There wasn't much question of that already, but with the iPod Nano's new video capabilities, Jobs and Apple have continued to strike deep into the market territory of Flip video and other dedicated, handheld video devices. How long before iPod rolls over all contenders in this regard?
2. iPod Touch Is Meant To Be a "Gaming Machine"
While carpers pointed out that Apple announced no major hardware upgrades -- such as a camera -- for the iPod Touch, the reason, said Jobs in an interview with The New York Times' David Pogue is that the iPod Touch is intended as a gaming device. Jobs told Pogue that many customers saw the iPod Touch as one of the easiest and lowest-cost ways to access Apple's wildly successful App Store, and to add a camera would have driven the price of iPod Touch up past what Apple perceives most customers are comfortable paying.
3. Home Sharing For iTunes Is Here, Though Don't Get Crazy
A new feature of iTunes 9 enables up to five computers in a single household to more easily share movies and music files by synchronizing libraries, and manage purchases from iTunes accounts. But why only five, Apple? And why don't the automatic transfer features work with music files that have come from places other than iTunes? Every new Apple feature seems to come with an implicit "there's a limit to our love" message, and iTunes 9 is no exception.
4. Jobs Thinks Your Kindle's Lame
Jobs took a swipe at Amazon's Kindle and e-readers in general, suggesting that people aren't willing to pay for a dedicated device.
"You notice Amazon never says how much they sell," said Jobs in the interview with Pogue at the Times. "Usually if they sell a lot of something you want to tell everybody."
5. Apple Might Be Softening Its App Evaluation
Apple's had more than a few public-relations headaches in recent months over the scrutiny -- and seeming bias -- it uses for vetting prospective new iPhone Apps. Earlier this week, Apple said it would accept a Rhapsody app from RealNetworks, a music subscription service that in effect is competition for Apple's iTunes, though RealNetworks would tell you they're actually helping Apple by driving users to iTunes for purchases. Maybe that's the key to getting past Apple's App Store gatekeepers: find a way to make Apple feel like it's getting the best deal.