Apple announces major software upgrade for iPod touch; retails for $19.99 via iTunes

Apple today announced a major software upgrade for the iPod touch, making the best iPod into even more — the world’s best Wi-Fi mobile device. iPod touch customers already have the most advanced mobile web browser in the world with Safari(TM), and now Apple is adding five more great mobile applications — Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather and Notes. The iPod touch software upgrade also includes new features such as Web Clips, a customizable home screen and beginning today, the ability to watch iTunes Movie Rentals. New iPod touch products shipping from the factory will include the software upgrade and existing iPod touch customers can get the software upgrade for US$19.99 by purchasing and downloading it from iTunes.

“These amazing new mobile applications make iPod touch not only the best iPod, but the best Wi-Fi mobile device in the world,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “With its revolutionary touch interface and software, plus its stunning 3.5 inch screen, iPod touch is evolving into the first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform of the 21st century.”

Mail on iPod touch is a rich HTML email client that fetches email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services and displays photos and graphics along with the text of the email. Users can configure Mail for Google’s Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, .Mac Mail or most POP or IMAP based mail services with just a few clicks.

Maps on iPod touch features the ability to automatically find your current location using nearby Wi-Fi base stations*, and use it as a starting or ending point for directions or to find local points of interest. Users can get real-time traffic conditions, and view maps in map or satellite view, or a hybrid view which combines map and satellite views so you can see major street names overlaid on satellite imagery.

Stocks and Weather allow users to access live stock and weather reports at their fingertips, and Notes lets you jot down information on-the-go using the intelligent keyboard.

The iPod touch home screen can now be customized, allowing users to reorder and add new icons, with support for up to nine different home screens which they can easily flick between. With the new Web Clips feature, you can even create custom icons on your home screen for your favorite websites. Web Clips are a great way to easily track web sites that you frequently check such as news, blogs, sports sites, movie listings and more.

With Apple’s new iTunes Movie Rentals, movie fans can rent movies on their computer, easily and quickly transfer them to their iPod touch, and watch them anywhere on iPod touch’s gorgeous 3.5 inch screen. Users can also now navigate forward or backward through their movies by chapters, select alternate language tracks and view subtitles, if available.

The software upgrade for iPod touch is available immediately. New iPod touch products shipping from the factory will include the software upgrade and existing iPod touch customers can get the software upgrade for US$19.99 by purchasing and downloading it from iTunes. iTunes Movie Rentals are available in the US only. Further information for iPod touch can be found at http://www.apple.com/ipod

58 Comments

  1. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have way too much class than to charge for what are essentially patches to a buggy version 1 product.

    They know it’s wrong to pay $20 to squirt your friends. That should be free.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  2. @ islandboi808

    Would it be better if you didn’t get it at all? iPhone didn’t get for free, it already had those apps.

    Seriously, when the SDK hits the street, are you gonna cry because apps cost 10, 15, 20 dollars?

    It’s the same thing with Macs. Your iMac came with, say, iLife ’05. To get the latest bells and whistles, you are going to have to pay 79$. And here’s the cry-baby part: new iMacs get those for free!

    You don’t need those apps and you don’t need the the new features in iLife. Oh, you do? Well they both cost money. $20 is pretty cheap if consider the value.

  3. @masa… I’ve thought about it again… still, you have a point, but, the iPod touch now comes with the apps… the iPhone gets the updated software (with new functionality, not new apps) for free. It’s not like an updated iLife, really… it’s something that if I go spend the same $ that I spent 2 weeks ago for the exact same product, it now comes with these apps. It’s like Apple releases an iMac without iLife, then later includes iLife with it. Sure, they can do that, sure, it’s fine, but it’s a little crappy.New touch owners should at least get a discount within a limited time or something.

    But, whatever.

  4. @Chris ][e

    Apple doesn’t ship the iMacs without iLife, but the new iLife version may have a new app.

    But, sure. Apple should offer a 20$ gift card to those who bought iPod touch 2 weeks before MacWorld.

    In general. it’s always unsafe to buy anything before MW & WWDC.

  5. I am seriously pissed about this $20 surcharge because the cost to Apple of enabling these applications was next to nothing. The Touch shares software with the iPhone and Apple just had to copy them into the Touch applications folder. Done.

    The apps were missing in the first place because Apple purposefully removed them to shore up the iPhone market. Now that it is more mature, why keep penalizing Touch owners? I paid $400 for a 16gb Touch. I think I’ve given them enough money.

    Bittorrent here I come for my free upgrade.

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