iTunes & iPod updates

Apple unleashed a flurry of new features and tweaks for the iPod and iTunes today. Among them are Windows iTunes, AOL integration, gift certificates, and allowances for iTunes; and voice recording and photo storage for the iPod.

Here's the low-down:

  • AOL Integration - AOL users can use their screennames and passwords to access the iTunes Music Store and their AOL accounts will be directly debited.
  • Gift certificates - Now you can give the gift of music. With the holiday season approaching, Apple's service will now allow you to email music gift certificates to your friends so that they can purchase music with them.
  • Allowances - If you want to let somebody buy music, but don't want to give up your credit card number, this is for you. The system lets you specify a monthly amount (or allowance) for another iTunes user to receive.
  • Voice recording for iPod - This product from Belkin allows iPod users to record sounds directly to the iPod. It also includes a small speaker for playback preview, which can also be used for the new alarm clock function.
  • Photo storage for iPod - this product, also from Belkin, reads photo data from CF, CFII, MMC, SD, and MemoryStick media and stores the data on an iPod, allowing the user to delete the photos from the card and shoot again.

Apple and Pepsi also announced that they will be giving away 100,000,000 iTunes songs next year as part of a promotion. This appears to be using the gift certificate capability of iTunes as the mechanism for distribution.