from The Great Debate UK:

iPod Nano redesign challenges Flip

nano- Will Findlater is deputy editor of Stuff magazine. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Apple’s "It’s Only Rock and Roll" launch held a few surprises. Most were expecting major updates to the whole line of iPods, but it was only really the iPod Nano that got a thorough going-over.

Still amazingly slim, it now sports a tiny lens towards the bottom of its rear, allowing it to record video footage. This can then be synced to your computer and sent to YouTube with a single button click. Nifty, and bad news for the likes of Flip who make pocket video cameras for a living.

The Nano also received a bigger (2.2 inch) screen, a pedometer, a microphone and speaker and an FM radio. It also comes in a variety of shiny (as opposed to matte) finishes, which are all rather fetching.

Elsewhere, Apple upped the maximum capacity of its iPod Touch (iPhone-minus-the-phone-bit) to 64GB and increased its processing power, allowing for a variety of impressive-looking new 3D games to be played. Audiophile favourite the Classic got a storage boost to 160GB. The tiny, screenless Shuffle received a few new colourways and a special edition polished stainless steel finish.

Beatles tie-in with Apple event? How about the Stones?

Apple confirmed what the technology world has been expecting for weeks: a September 9 media extravaganza. The company has been holding September events for years to refresh its iPod line and unveil new models ahead of the holiday season.

And while new iPods are also expected to be on tap this year, Apple threw in a little curveball to get the company’s fans and followers talking.

Sept. 9 is also the launch day for “The Beatles: Rock Band” video games, as well as the date that EMI will release the digitally remastered versions of their original song catalog. Given that supposed coincidence, some were speculating that a deal to finally bring the Beatles’ songs to iTunes was brewing. The Beatles may be the most famous rock band ever, but they have not yet made their songs available on Apple’s hugely popular online store.

E3: Watching “Rock Band”, thinking “South Park”

Is it just me?

While at the MTV/Harmonix pavilion at E3 checking out the The Beatles “Rock Band” Game demo — a preview of one of the most anticipated games this year — all that I could think of was “South Park.” Or more precisely, the perplexity experienced by Stan’s dad in the episode where he discovers just how popular games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” are among the young.

The game, whose graphics and sound are crowd pleasers, will be a mammoth hit after folks like the ones in this video run out and buy it, further proof that the video game industry has branched out to those who might not have bought games before.

Check out the “South Park” clip…

Lastly – a shameless plug for efforts to preserve music education in schools. (Ok, its a LG ad too, but you get the point, right?)

McCartney fires up MySpace, burns NPR

So I wrote this story the other day about how Guns N’ Roses and the Paul McCartney/Youth project The Fireman were running streaming versions of their latest albums on MySpace, the social network that Rupert Murdoch counts as part of his News Corp media empire. The heart of the matter? MySpace touted it as exclusive launches preceding the albums’ debuts in stores.

On Thursday, I got a call from someone at National Public Radio who had read my story. Everything seemed fine except that it looked like Sir Paul and his buddy from Killing Joke who comprise Fireman had promised the exclusive to NPR.

I was getting ready for a good old-fashioned media brawl, but it was not to be.

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher: “We think that two people [at the record company] probably offered the same thing to NPR and to MySpace. Both of us are continuing to carry the album. We’re not going to make anybody take anything down or do anything drastic like that.”