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Bye-bye free time: The new video iPod comes in chocolate and vanilla.

Pod Caste

The video iPod kills the radio star

By Todd Inoue

Some random thoughts on the video iPod release event at California Theatre last week.

Apple releases video iPod: It's capable of playing music videos, home movies and select ABC programs. MTV and VH1 are all about reality shows like Real World, Date My Mom and Surreal Life—is the music video still a factor anymore? Apple thinks so. As for the TV shows, I began taking the bus to work to save money on gas and can see the potential of this idea. If other ABC-owned networks get aboard—like ESPN—it would be great to watch SportsCenter on the way to work. If you hate ABC shows, use the extra GB capacity for songs.

The California Theatre presentation was strictly a hook for the Christmas buying season: How else to explain the push for hot gadgetry? That said, those slimmer, trimmer, faster iMacs look flippin' sweet. And watching Steve Jobs get all geeky demonstrating the new Photobooth application was pretty scary. I like the integration of the camera into the new iMacs—videoconferencing out of the box. But to see Jobs place his mug in Photobooth's "mirrored" effect and hear himself describing the image as looking "like God" was a throwback to the 1984 Apple commercial all over again.

Eminem appears in new iPod silhouette campaign—not! Jobs liked the new 3-D commercial spot so much he played it twice. He said they were working this deal for two years before closing it. Wait, didn't the rapper sue Apple a few months ago? Eminem did sue Apple for using his music in a commercial two years ago without permission, and the lawsuit was settled last May. On Oct. 12, Mac News Network reported that Apple pulled the Eminem commercial, no explanation given. Maybe a rehabbed, retired rapper with a history of offensive lyrics isn't the best spokesilhouette. If Apple wants to appeal to the thug demographic, get Bushwick Bill.

A quick glance through the iTunes video vault: Two thousand music videos are available. Along with the requisite U2 and Madonna clips, there are some doozies that would appeal to the Gen X set: Anything Box's "Living in Oblivion," Beck's "Beercan," Big Audio Dynamite's "The Bottom Line." How can A-Ha have the video for "Dark Is the Night" but not for "Take on Me"? The hip-hop list is kinda tight. I found Three 6 Mafia's "Baby Mama," Joeski Love's "Joe Cool," Candyman's "Melt in Your Mouth," Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours," Compton's Most Wanted's "Hood Took Me Under," Project Pat's "Sippin' on Some Sizzurp" and Slick Rick's "Children's Story."

Blues musicians don't make videos: Hence there's only one repping the blues category: G. Love and Special Sauce, who isn't blues at all (G. Love shouldn't complain; Sting is in the R&B/Soul category for "Desert Rose"). Perhaps that's a topic for a future blues forum: integrating video and music. Nothing would help the sticky blues genre cross over to mall teens faster than oiled video vixens writhing on cars.

If the folks at Apple really want to make bucks, align with the adult industry and make porn downloads available: It'll never happen under Jobs' watch, but sales (among other things) would hit the roof.

Hell yeah!: Warrant's "Cherry Pie" is here! Hallelujah! God Bless the Internet!

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From the October 19-25, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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