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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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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
quote:
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.


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