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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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Top Stories
By monomer on 9/9/2009 2:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
Just wondering what constitutes a top story around here.

Apple releases a couple minor changes to the iPod lineup, and the story gets binned as a Top Story, while the biggest CPU release since the Phenom II happened yesterday, and its relegated to the regular story pile, and is already well on its way off of the front page.

I'm not really complaining here, but it just seems a little random sometimes, especially considering that every new camera preview gets listed as a top story as well.

RE: Top Stories
By TomZ on 9/9/2009 3:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
I also thought it strange that the CPU release kind of got sidelined here. Anand had a 20-page article on it.

RE: Top Stories
By PrinceGaz on 9/9/2009 4:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
I expect there will be a baig (or not so big as it happens) article on the new Apple range soon. Disappointing for iTouch owners hoping for a major upgrade, all you get is a slightly faster processor (note that they said 50% faster rather than double, because the iTouch 2G was already somewhat faster than the iPhone so having the same hardware as the 3GS makes less of a difference), and more RAM. More RAM will definitely help those who jailbreak and multi-task. More storage is pretty much irrelevant unless you want to carry loads of videos and music on it (which is what the iPod Classic is intended for).

iPhone (412MHz) x2 = 824
iTouch 2G (533MHz) x1.5 = 800

The CPU upgrade of the 3GS makes a lot less difference compared to the iTouch 2G than it did with the previous iPhone models. The GPU upgrade is still very good however, but tbh, is irrelevant for most uses as the GPU in the old iPhone and iTouch was more than powerful enough for the sort of apps and games it is intended for.

I am uncertain from the announcement whether the iTouch 3G has an in-built mic or whether they are supplying a headset with a mic (which can be bought as an optional extra for the iTouch 2G). It sounds like they are simply including a headset with mic, not that the device (32GB and 64GB models) have an in-built mic.

RE: Top Stories
By TomZ on 9/9/2009 5:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you misunderstood, but the CPU release yesterday we were talking about was the Intel Core i5/i7.

RE: Top Stories
By PrinceGaz on 9/10/2009 2:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
I read the the AT article about Lynnfield and its advantages and disadvantages compared to the Bloomfield design, most notably the improved power-managament in Lynnfield, though also the much reduced stock-voltage overclocking because of the integrated PCIe bit in it which needs a bit more juice (and therefore a better HSF) when cranking things up, and for those who are bothered, the limited PCIe performance because there are only 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes which have to be split in SLI or CF.

I was well aware about that article and I read it from virtual cover to cover, but that doesn't mean there won't be one about Apple's new products today (though there aren't really any new products to mention).

RE: Top Stories
By lightfoot on 9/9/2009 3:28:03 PM , Rating: 5
But this is Apple...

RE: Top Stories
By RjBass on 9/9/2009 3:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
lol I wish I could give you rep points, but I already posted here.

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