So Apple’s “Let’s Rock” event proved to be one of iPod evolution rather than iTunes revolution. The iPod Touch certainly looks a richer proposition for a relative minor set of changes (though the new games on demo looked cool). There were some typically impressive numbers (100 million app downloads, 160+ million cumulative iPod sales) but no mention if iTunes download sales. Has the momentum slowed after some impressively strong recent growth?
The Genius feature is the most notable development from a music perspective, taking some of the basics of Last.FM’s Audioscrobbler: users opt in to have their music data uploaded into the cloud and contribute to a collective consciousness of music tastes and preferences. The output for the end user is auto generated playlists generated off any song in your collection. There is also a Genius / iTMS tab that facilitates discovery driven impulse purchase.
It’s too early to judge the feature fairly, given the relatively scant information on the processing techniques and algorithms and, more importantly, given the nascent number of people who will have already uploaded their music. Thus the links are a little tenuous. Job’s demo had him moving from Green Day to Hendrix to U2. I tried it out on a demo model and got from Vampire Weekend to the Doors to U2, again. What is it with U2? Does their blandness transcend musical genre?
Anyway, I look forward to trying out the Genius feature over the coming weeks as the music data in the cloud deepens. Though many have been dismissive of the Genius feature, I have a sneaking feeling that this unassuming little feature might actually have a big future ahead of it, both at the centre of some deeper offering, but also many people may soon find themselves very attached to the little app.