For Apple geeks, the sight of company CEO Steve Jobs is akin to a rock star encounter, because they know that whenever he takes the stage in his signature black turtleneck for the company's annual new-product-announcement event, they're going to be blown away.
But on Wednesday in San Francisco, Jobs brought along some actual star firepower in the form of Coldplay singer Chris Martin and Lady Gaga to announce the new line of iPods and a musical social networking site called Ping.
Jobs rolled out the iPods first, showing off the revamped iPod Shuffle, which brings back finger controls, and the tiny Nano, which ditches buttons for a touch screen. Then, according to reports, Martin came out and played the new tune "Wedding Bells," which he said might never come out. "This is the beginning of a story kind of thing that starts sadly," he explained, telling the audience it might be the only time they ever hear the composition.
"Those wedding bells ringing up upon that hill/ And I don't want to swallow such a bitter pill/ You keep on movin', while I stay still/ But I always loved you and I always will," Martin sang intensely while gently playing piano. Martin also played such well known Coldplay hits as "Viva La Vida" and "Yellow" before Jobs brought out another big gun, Lady Gaga, to introduce Apple's latest innovation.
With 160 million potential users from day one, the company's music-focused social network, Ping, will be included in the upcoming iTunes 10 update. Jobs brought up a Lady Gaga page to demonstrate the service, described as "Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes." Users can follow their favorite artists and friends, see what they're listening to and downloading, post opinions and thoughts on music and browse concert listings on the new service.
Gaga appeared via pre-taped video from the studio to hype the new product. But the biggest buzz about her drop-in after the event centered on reports that Apple had allegedly scrubbed some of her tweets celebrating the recent overturning of anti gay-marriage legislation Proposition 8 in California in a promo screenshot of a Gaga Ping page, according to Gawker.