Thursday, September 6, 2007

New iPhone-like iPod, and other iPod news

Yesterday Apple introduced a new iPod, called the Touch, that is essentially the iPhone without the phone. Like the newly-reduced-priced iPhone, the 16 gb iPod Touch will sell for $399, and it will include Wi-Fi, a Web browser and the "cover flow" software to virtually flip through your music collection with a finger.

The new Touch uses Apple’s multi-touch user interface that enables users to find music, videos and more on its widescreen display with just the touch of a finger. First introduced on iPhone™, the multi-touch interface uses pioneering new software to present the proper user interface for each application.

The iPod Touch also includes Wi-Fi wireless networking, the first on any iPod, and three applications that use it: Safari™ browser; Apple’s YouTube application; and the new iTunes® Wi-Fi Music Store lets users wirelessly browse, preview and buy songs and albums from Apple.

Apple also announced updates to its existing product line.

It renamed the original iPod the iPod Classic, which will be available in two sizes: The biggest has 160 gb of storage, priced at $349, and an 80 gb version will sell for $249.

Both models feature the visual cover-flow software found on the iPhone.

The 160 gb iPod will put "40,000 songs in your pocket," Jobs said. The first iPod, released in 2001, had 5 gb of storage and held 1,000 songs.

"This is like a test about storage," said Tony Marengo of and the former manager of the Apple store on Michigan Avenue. "For $50 less, I can get 10 times the storage than on the iPod Touch" he said of the 160 gb iPod Classic. "But if there's ever been an argument for storage versus sexiness, this is it. I think the Touch will sell far more than the Classic. Even naming it 'classic' takes away from the sexiness."

The Nano is getting a face-lift as well. The new version will play video, a feature added to the iPod two years ago, but hold only 4 gb of content for $149 and 8 gb for $199. It also has the cover- flow feature.

The new iPod Classic and Nano models should be in stores by this weekend. The iPod Touch is expected to be available this month.

Apple slashed the price of the top iPhone by $200. The 8-gigabyte iPhone will now cost $399 - one-third less than when it went on sale June 29. The 4-gigabyte iPhone, which sold for $499, will be discontinued.

Prior to the Apple announcements Wednesday, Microsoft cut the price of its Zune digital music player by $50. The 30 gb Zune now sells for $199. (Info from Chicago Tribune)

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