We’ve Rocked: New iPod Touch, iPhone OS 2.1 Announced

Kevin Rose is taking a lot of the fun out of Apple events. New iPod Nano in rainbow colors. iTunes 8 with “Genius” music sommelier. For all the details on those announcements, checkout the coverage at Ars Technica.

What we were excited about going in was the potential for new offerings for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform’”and Apple has delivered.

The highlight is a new iPod Touch, with more features and a lower price. The new features bring the Touch into parity with the iPhone (short of actually being a phone), which should be a boon to users and developers. Specifically, the new Touch has side-mounted volume controls, and a built-in speaker. These two additions will definitely make the Touch better for gaming.

An interesting new feature is the inclusion of a Nike+ receiver. This is the first external input device for the platform.

Rounding out the new Touch was the announcement that it will start at $229 (8GB). This is a significant price drop, and should go a long way to building share for the platform.

Phil Schiller demoed several high-profile games. He gave Spore Origins a spin, scored a goal in Real Soccer 2009, and showed off Need for Speed (the first public view of this upcoming game from EA).

Steve said what we’ve been thinking, “[iPhone/iPod Touch] is the best portable device for playing games”. There is a new TV spot for the Touch, featuring game play videos of some of the top games for the platform. With this pricing and marketing effort, Nintendo had better watch out’”an iPod Touch costs less than an iPod and a DS combined and is about 300x cooler.

Finally, Steve announced iPhone OS 2.1. He promises that it will fix the Game and App crashes that we’ve all been seeing, the painfully slow backups, improve battery life, and numerous other problems. It will also bring Genius on-the-go playlists. No mention of other anticipated features, such as the notification service or GPS improvements. New iPod Touches include the new software, but it should be available to the rest of us Friday.

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