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Apple strives to keep its iPod lineup fresh with its latest round of updates

Well, it's that time of the year again. September is usually the month when Apple updates its iPod lineup from top to bottom and the boys from Cupertino didn't disappoint with today's announcement which was delivered by none other than Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs kicked things off today by bragging about the performance of the iTunes App Store and announced iPhone OS 3.1. As DailyTech has reported before, iPhone OS 3.1 adds improved voice control via Bluetooth, better video editing, and faster boot times among other things. The update will be made available today for free to both iPhone and iPod touch owners.

Jobs also announced iTunes 9 which brings a wealth of new features including Home Sharing (allows you to share music, TV shows, movies, audiobook, and apps with up five PCs on a network), Genius Mixes, improved syncing capabilities, a revised iTunes Store appearance, iTunes LP (music, photography, liner notes), and the ability to manage how apps appears on your iPhone or iPod touch directly from the iTunes interface (no more dragging app icons from page to page on your iPhone's touchscreen).

Before revealing the latest generation of iPods, Jobs was more than happy to announce that over 225 million iPods have been sold since its introduction with the iPod touch representing 20 million of that total. Apple is currently sitting at nearly 74% marketshare with its iPod family, while SanDisk is far behind with 7.2%. Microsoft is barely a blip on the screen with just 1.1% marketshare.

Leading up to today's announcement, Apple went on a price slashing spree for its current iPod models as witnessed by the second generation 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB iPod touch models dropping from $229, $299, and $399 respectively to $189, $249, and $279 respectively. The lower pricing makes room for Apple third generation iPod touch lineup.

As expected, the 3G iPod touch lineup comes packing the same processing platform (32GB and 64GB models only) as the recently introduced iPhone 3GS. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Apple wants the iPod touch to have a camera just yet. The new iPod touch models start at $199 for the 8GB model, then ramp up to $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model – there is no longer a 16GB model in the lineup.

“At just $199 the iPod touch is the most affordable gateway to Apple’s revolutionary App Store with more than 75,000 applications that you can wirelessly download right into your iPod touch,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “You get a great iPod, a great pocket computer with the industry’s best mobile web browser and a great game player, all in this super-thin beautiful enclosure.”

The traditional HDD-based iPod Classic got a storage bump to 160GB (from 120GB) and keeps the same $249 price tag.

Apple's iPod nano also got a revamp and is now available in capacities up to 16GB. While the basic design remains unchanged from the previous model, the new iPod nano gains a camera for pictures/video, a microphone, and a speaker for audio playback. And what may be one of the most improbable features added to an iPod (after years of discounting the feature) is the addition of an FM radio tuner on the iPod nano. The 8GB iPod nano is priced at $149 and the 16GB model is priced at $179.

“iPod nano is the world’s most popular music player with over 100 million sold,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “And now we’ve added a video camera to its incredibly thin design, without any additional cost to the user.”

Last year's refresh of the iPod shuffle didn't go over so well with the iPod community. The model's lack of physical controls and featureless design left many puzzled. Apple didn't rectify those issues this time around, but prices are now lower (2GB for $59 and 4GB for $79). The shuffle is also now available in blue, pink, green, silver, and black – there's also a polished steel 4G version for $99.

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**Scratches Head**
By Brandon Hill on 9/9/2009 2:31:59 PM , Rating: 5
Camera on the Nano, but not the iPod touch?
Apple doubles capacity of iPod touch, but not the nano?

What the heck is going on over there in Cupertino?

RE: **Scratches Head**
By Bender 123 on 9/9/2009 3:07:23 PM , Rating: 1
They have gotten lazy and seem to be seeking a cash fueled munchie treat. Maybe they have taken the environmental thing to a far extreme and now grow their own "plants"...There was a lot of trippy bands in the demo...

I will stick with my Zune 80 and touch 1G until I can get a Pre...It seems that Apple is comfy at the top and lost the innovator edge.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By cubdukat on 9/9/2009 3:38:46 PM , Rating: 5
I'd just be satisfied if they made an iPod Classic that didn't self-destruct if you just look at it funny. I am now on my second (and final) replacement Classic. It's absolutely ridiculous that any piece of hardware costing that much, with that much metal around it, should be that delicate. If it weren't for the fact that even at $280 it's still ridiculously priced for its capacity--and the fact that I hate Microsoft hardware with the heat of a thousand suns--I'd get the Zune HD.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By neothe0ne on 9/9/2009 4:57:49 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry but I can't agree with you. I traded in my breaking-down 30gb Creative Zen Vision:M for the 80gb black iPod Classic back in the day, and even though I've dropped it in the parking lot several times, stepped on it several times, and done a complete reformat because someone unplugged me from a school Mac OSX before I safely removed, my iPod Classic still works flawlessly.

But that 16gb iPod Nano looks very tempting now, so if I just adjust my playlists, I'd honestly be happy to switch to it..

RE: **Scratches Head**
By afkrotch on 9/9/2009 10:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
My 8gb Creative Zen X-fi works like a dream. It also sounds a hell of a lot better than any of the iPods or Zunes. I have an mp3 player for music and that's the features that matter to me.

Throw in all these extra apps that you want, but if the thing sounds like ass, I'm not going to buy it.

I went from an iRiver to an iPod, sold the iPod off. Went from an iRiver to a Zune, cause my iRiver broke after I got water in it from snowboarding. Got sick of the sound on the Zune and lack of equalizer and went with the X-fi.

I'm very happy with the X-fi. I just wish they made something with more than 32 gb of storage. I currently have my 8gb X-fi, 8gb Zune, and 120gb Zune (upgraded from 80gb). Will probably replace the 120gb with an Archos, as I was mostly using it for videos and picture viewing. I'd listen to mp3s when the battery on the 8gb dies out during a long flight.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By wired00 on 9/10/2009 1:53:37 AM , Rating: 4
I take your dropped 80gb classic and raise you with my 60GB Toshiba gigabeat i found on the road looking like it had been run over a few times ... bought a $2 charger + transfer cable from ye 'ol ebay and BAM perfectly working gigabeat :)

RE: **Scratches Head**
By borismkv on 9/13/2009 4:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
done a complete reformat because someone unplugged me from a school Mac OSX before I safely removed, my iPod Classic still works flawlessly.

I wouldn't call data corruption from unplugging flawless operation.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By nafhan on 9/9/2009 3:13:30 PM , Rating: 5
They're trying to keep the iPods from taking sales away from the iPhone, because MP3 players don't give them a guaranteed monthly revenue stream.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By Ralos on 9/9/2009 5:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but... is the iPhone getting them a guaranteed monthly revenue stream?

Don't the phone service providers only have to pay the difference in the initial price of the phone? Like, the customers must take a 3 years plan, but they absorb a part of the phone's cost in selling them at 199$ instead of 599$ or something?

Or do they must pay a monthly "royalty" for 3 years to Apple for every iPhone sold in addition to that?

RE: **Scratches Head**
By Johnmcl7 on 9/9/2009 7:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I'm aware in the UK at least Apple take a portion of the monthly line rental paid to O2 for the Iphone.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By Totally on 9/9/2009 10:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Don't the phone service providers only have to pay the difference in the initial price of the phone?

How does that affect Apple? The consumer pays what the carriers don't immediately absorb which they'll collect later. Besides the point what does that have to do with his comment?

Or do they must pay a monthly "royalty" for 3 years to Apple for every iPhone sold in addition to that?


RE: **Scratches Head**
By monomer on 9/9/2009 3:29:16 PM , Rating: 4
The big question is, did the iPod Touch get a compass? I'm pretty sure that's what all of the iPod customers have been clamoring for.

I gots to have me my compass.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By quiksilvr on 9/9/2009 6:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
The pricing scheme here is very strange. $149 for 8GB Nano and $179 for 16 GB? I mean, why not just spend the 30 bucks more? I bet you money that over 90% of Nano sales will be for the 16 GB version.

Furthermore, 8GB for $199 and 32GB for $299? Why not 16, 32, 64? I am really confused.

Even more confusion, look at the Nano lineup at their site. Why is the green one smaller?

RE: **Scratches Head**
By neothe0ne on 9/9/2009 11:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
The green Nano pictured at time of your post is last gen's. The new 5th gen green Nano is a much darker green. You see this if you try to order the green Nano online.

Chalk me up as +1 to the 16gb Nano > 8gb Nano sales.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By afkrotch on 9/10/2009 1:40:09 AM , Rating: 3
It's possible it has something to do with chip memory sizes. Maybe certain configurations require more chips, than others, thus a higher price. Like maybe most companies are just producing 16 gig chips now and 8 gig ones have to be special ordered.

I'm just speculating here, so don't take my word for it.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By jay401 on 9/9/2009 3:45:19 PM , Rating: 4
I am so thankful they didn't shove a camera into the touch.

That means for now it maintains its ability to be taken into government buildings and court houses (unlike devices with cameras in them).

Also, just about every cellphone on the market comes with a camera in it, so just use that, given you'll theoretically always have your cellphone with you anytime you'd have your portable media device.

A camera in the touch would be superfluous at best. Besides, if you want to take better pictures on-the-go and your DSLR is too much to bring with you (or you don't want to invest that much into a camera), you'd bring your Canon/other point-n-shoot compact camera like I do when sight-seeing.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By Brandon Hill on 9/9/2009 4:56:16 PM , Rating: 5
But it doesn't make sense. The most capable iPod in the range gets nothing, while the middle child nano gets a camera and FM radio.

If anything, it would further unify the app base with the iPhone as there are numerous applicationss in the App Store that use the camera that work on the iPhone, but are useless on the iPod touch.

And another thing, Apple gave the nano a camera, but didn't increase the storage capacity at all. What good is giving the nano a camera if there isn't a boost in capacity to take advantage of the video recording capabilities? The touch makes the perfect candidate for the camera with its plentiful storage -- especially at the 64GB mark.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By The0ne on 9/9/2009 4:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is doing the Nintendo. Blizzard is soon to follow in the software side. There are too many uninformed consumers not to won't you agree?

RE: **Scratches Head**
By BlendMe on 9/9/2009 6:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
Did anyone notice the awkward placement of the camera on the nano? It looks like most of the time you'll be filming your finger.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By neothe0ne on 9/9/2009 11:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
How so? Look at - the camera is at the top corner so I fail to see how you can hold your Nano horizontally or vertically in such a way that you'd cover the video cam.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By neothe0ne on 9/10/2009 12:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
Oh crap, I think I was wrong. After looking at - I hope that's not actually true. That is a horrible place for the camera.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By 9nails on 9/10/2009 1:17:44 AM , Rating: 3
Furthermore, it shows pictures and video of them using the camera in a manor that would block the lens. False ad's with simulated video in the Nano? I think so - it's unfortunate that they would deliberately mislead the consumer.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By afkrotch on 9/10/2009 1:47:01 AM , Rating: 4
it's unfortunate that they would deliberately mislead the consumer.

Is that something new for Apple to do?

RE: **Scratches Head**
By AstroCreep on 9/9/2009 8:42:11 PM , Rating: 3
Chemo makes you crazy.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By scrapsma54 on 9/9/2009 9:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
Well its apple, they like to not include features on both products so you have to go out and buy another one that you don't even need.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By tokjoe on 9/10/2009 1:05:20 AM , Rating: 3
They missed the market data on this iPod update. No camera and no GPS/compass for the Touch? Wow, move along, nothing to see in this year's iPod update. My old nano just got another year of life.

RE: **Scratches Head**
By MattDamon on 9/10/2009 2:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, i dont see there logic in sorry, but Apple is useless and a waist of time. Its a status thing, thats all.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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