Like most of us, I was expecting that Apple would unveil only its much-hyped iPod cell phone, named Rokr, yesterday. Given the company’s history, I should have known better. The phone, produced with Motorola and Cingular, was only part of the story. The biggest news appeared to be the iPod nano, a wafer-thin version of the popular music player that can play up to 1,000 songs. As The New York Times reported, Steve Jobs gave the product debut a special flourish by pulling it out of the change pocket of his jeans toward the end of the press conference. The company also introduced an upgrade to iTunes and a branded Harry Potter iPod (the PotPod?), which features the crest from Hogwarts on its back side, and, like the nano, a color screen. It’s all exciting news, but the constant introduction of new products, and iPods in all shapes and sizes, is beginning to make me wonder whether the iPod is becoming high-tech’s answer to Beanie Babies. Special editions! Collect the whole iPod family! Buy the iPod mini before it’s discontinued! Anyway, the Rokr, which can store only 100 songs, seems a bit of a bust. It’s a product that positively shouts, “Wait for the upgrade!” And as for the print ad for it that I saw this morning, featuring the heads of music stars stuffed into a phone booth? Blah.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor