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Apple TV gives its creator a potential platform on every TV set in the universe, sending shivers down the spine of the country’s major cable and satellite operators.

APPLE GETS ITS POLISHING STARTED

Jobs Introduces New Versions of iPod Touch, Nano, Shuffle, Ping Social Network, but Big Story is $99 Apple TV
Steve Jobs is coming into your living room.

The tech tycoon’s announcement this morning of a $99 Apple TV which will stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe, as well as music, photos and videos from PCs and Macs to your HD TV, is a real game-changer.

That even overshadowed a live performance by Coldplay’s Chris Martin at the computer monolith’s annual San Francisco confab.

Apple TV can choose from an online selection of HD movies to rent, including first-run features for just $4.99, as well as TV episodes in HD from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America for just 99 cents. The less than four-inch square device, which attaches to your home TV monitor, has built-in HDMI, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and an internal power supply, 80% smaller than its previous iteration.

Commented Jobs: “The new Apple TV, paired with the largest selection of online HD movie and TV show rentals, lets users watch Hollywood content on their HD TV whenever they want. This tiny, silent box costing just $99 lets users watch thousands of HD movies and TV shows, and makes all of their music, photos and videos effortlessly available on their home entertainment system.”

Apple TV gives its creator a potential platform on every TV set in the universe, sending shivers down the spine of the country’s major cable and satellite operators.

Jobs also announced new versions of its iPod Touch, Nano and Shuffle, as well as Ping on iTunes 10, a social network wags are calling “Facebook for music.”

The iPod Touch will include a Retina display, FaceTime video calling, HD video recording, and a Game Center combined in the thinnest and lightest version to date, featuring up to 40 hours of music playback and seven hours of video playback on a single battery charge.

The iPod Nano includes Apple’s multi-touch interface in a package nearly half the size and weight of the previous generation, with a polished aluminum, glass enclosure and built-in clip allowing you to wear it on your body. The new Nano also features Genius Mixes, the ability to create and edit playlists, a built-in FM Radio with live pause and up to 24 hours of music playback on a single battery charge.

The new iPod Shuffle features both clickable “ring” buttons and VoiceOver technology which enables users to easily navitage their music and playlists. The new wearable iPod shuffle has an all-aluminum enclosure with a built-in clip and comes in five colors—silver, blue, green, orange and pink. With nearly 50% more battery life, the new iPod shuffle features over 15 hours of music playback on a single battery charge and offers 2GB of storage for just $49.

In addition, the new iTunes 10 iteration comes with Ping, a new music-oriented social network for following your favorite artists and friends to discover what music they’re talking about, listening to and downloading. iTunes Ping lets you post your thoughts and opinions, your favorite albums and songs, the music you’ve downloaded from iTunes, plus view concert listings powered by Live Nation that allow your friends to see which shows you plan to attend. iTunes 10 also features HD TV show rentals for just 99 cents an episode and AirPlay wireless music playback.

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