New iPod, the Video-Pod

Via MacRumors, Apple has just updated their iPod -- which should probably be referred to as the "iPod Biggy" to distinguish between its smaller cousins (Nano and Shuffle).

The new iPods can now play videos -- that's right. Why anyone would want to watch videos on that tiny 2.5 inch in 320x240 resolution is beyond me. Actually, no, I often watch videos on my 3.5 inch Dell Axim at the same resolution, which is only a tad better.

iPod with Video capability

The spec seems to stay the same. Capacity wise, you got two models -- 30Gb (AUD$449) or 60Gb (AUD$598). 18-bit screen showing 260,000 colours, and now it can do video out to TV as well.

What kind of video container formats and codec does it support? From its tech spec, it appears that the new Video-pod can do:

  • H.264 video: up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 Video support and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video: up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Simple Profile with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats

Looks like it can only do .mp4 or its own Quicktime .mov format, i.e. the almost-industrial-standard but-windows-centric .avi container format is not supported. Codec wise it is interesting. It plays MPEG-4, i.e. hopefully it can play DivX/Xvid encoded videos. And it plays H.264 as well -- which many portable video players still have no support of. I am still waiting for TCPMP to add H.264 into its list of supported codec, so I can watch those new videos on my Dell Axim, but I wonder how they fit that much processing power under iPod's beautiful white shell.

Together with this new video capability is the new iTune, plus the new iTune Music (+video) Store. Music videos and TV programs are now selling at USD$1.99 a clip. Nice. But Apple, when is the Australian iTM+VS coming?!