New iPods, new iTunes

The new iPod U2 Special Edition, iPod Photo, and iTunes 4.7 are out. The U2 iPod was widely leaked and so there are few surprises, except maybe its release 3 weeks ahead of The Complete U2, and the fact that it won’t be pre-loaded with the band’s albums, rather coming with a $50 coupon for the boxed set. Smart money says the Complete U2 will cost rather more than $50…

The iPod Photo is more of a surprise, but only because the rumor sites appear to have been correct for once. I rather like the form factor and the idea of bringing my photos around with me in easily-previewable form, and even the concept of being able to hook my iPod up to a TV with a video cable. I think that the boat was missed in one area: the iPod Photo should have a built in USB connection so that you could transfer photos straight from most digital cameras to your iPod’s hard drive. It’s also interesting that iTunes will be used to sync photos to the iPod, rather than iPhoto, but I suppose it saves a considerable amount of development effort to just reuse the existing sync code in iTunes rather than developing it again in iPhoto—then having to release bug-fixes for both apps for sync problems down the road.

Regarding iTunes 4.7: the only new feature on the Mac platform, if you don’t have an iPod Photo, is the ability to find duplicate tracks. This would have been a useful feature. Except that the criterion for “duplicate” is apparently same artist and song title. What about an artist who recorded the same song in the studio and live—in very different versions and with very different run times? At the least you’d think that run time would be included in the criteria—with a one- or two-second window to account for variations in ripped vs. downloaded versions.