Innovation is something that makes me go “wow” when it is introduced, with the prospect of actually owning it without too much cash required. Apple released new iPod products which are great. They continue pushing the market towards a new direction, allowing other photocopiers to continue to operate at top speed.

Thus far, there has yet to be a music player with 24 hours worth of battery playback nor a music player with 2” screen in a 8 mm thin form factor. These things, though trivial, are worth to marvelling at.

There are people around who diss these new products as an avenue for Apple to reap higher profits. They fail to see the point. Business are meant to bring in profits, but the difference lie in the innovation and integration their products bring to the market. Look at Windows Vista. The price is set high, but does the product bring any innovation to the market? Apparently not. It reeks strongly of examples of bad implementation.

However, I do agree that Apple do not price their products cheaply, but they indeed force the market to innovate in order to progress. Without the iPhone, the US phone market will continue to grow very slowly in terms of innovation. Without the iPod in 2001, the music player industry will NEVER see the progress it has seen thus far. Even though Creative made the first DAP, it isn’t the most innovative one, nor one that strive to bring technology and usability to consumers. It takes Apple to enter the market and set the standard, before other businesses attempt to reach their standard, hopefully surpassing it before Apple updates the standard once again.

Of course, not all Apple products are the most innovative ones around but they certainly leave a presence and mark. It’s the art of Marketing, product branding and placement. Whatever design released by Apple becomes the new trend, regardless of how ugly it actually looks. After all, research has shown that people are less likely to be angry towards an aesthetically pleasing but faulty product than compared to an ugly and faulty one. It applies to humans too. People are generally more tolerant towards good-looking people than compared to someone ugly.

As such, it’s always profitable to appreciate products which tie usability with innovation, packaged and brought to the hands of consumers at prices not unaffordable. Think of the Zune as a negative example – Do you see value in it? As long as Apple stays with Jobs running the show, I’m sure there are great things to come.

The news of the tie up with Starbucks to offer music downloads via the WiFi network is something I see that has immense potential. I might actually be willing to buy music this way given the convenience. Who knows, they might actually expand to offer live radio streaming and the opportunity to purchase the ‘now playing’ track under a WiFi network.

Never under-estimate the value of ideas ignited by small steps.

iTunes integration is a must for all these iPod technologies to work seamlessly without user intervention. Coverflow, WiFi Music Store, Contacts, iCal sync and more. If you’ve use Palm’s Hotsync before, you’ll appreciate the beautiful integration iTunes brings to the iPod, compared to any DAP device used alone, managed solely by drag-and-drop. With a Mac, it gets even better as it hooks into the iSync (Sync Service Framework). My Contacts, iCal, Tasks are kept in sync across my Mac, Phone, iPod, Palm (and Google Calendar with Spanning Sync plug-in), all seamlessly. Try that in Windows, and record the time it takes.

In other interesting news, here’s customer service at its finest. Steve Jobs writes an open letter to offer iPhone owners (before the US$200 price cut) a US$100 rebate, just because “Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.”

Really, it’s a matter of what you choose to see. I choose to see things in terms of opportunities and possibilities, rather than limitations and defects. The same applies to people I see.