Apple adds iPod touch to revamped iPod line

Apple ushered in a new addition to its music player offerings Wednesday, with a touch-interface widescreen iPod that resembles the company’s popular iPhone. Like the mobile phone, the iPod touch is controlled by buttons and features wireless networking capabilities.

“When we introduced the iPhone in January, we said it was the best iPod ever,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at a press event introducing the iPod touch. “It’s incredible, with its multitouch UI, its incredible album artwork and video, it is the best iPod ever. And people have been wondering, when are we going to bring this tech to the iPod? The answer is, we’re going to do it today.”

The iPod touch wasn’t the only music player unveiled by Apple Wednesday; the company overhauled its entire iPod lineup Wednesday, adding video playback to the redesigned nano and interface enhancements to the re-dubbed iPod classic. The company also boosted the capacity on its top-of-the-line music player to 160GB.

“"The first iPod put 1,000 songs in your pocket,” Jobs said. “This new iPod puts 40,000 songs in your pocket. It’s amazing.”

iPod touch

Steve Jobs and the iPod touch

Looking almost exactly like the iPhone and using many of the same technologies, the iPod touch features a multitouch interface, album artwork and video. Making the iPod touch even more unique is Wi-Fi support for 802.11 b and g networks. With its networking support, Apple also included Safari on the iPod so users can surf the Web.

The iPod touch features a 3.5-inch widescreen display with the same type of navigation buttons found on the iPhone. Icons on the display are for calculator, contacts, clock, calendar and settings. Icons on the bottom of the display allow you access to music, video and photos as well as the newly announced iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.

What separates the iPod touch from the iPhone are the telephony capabilities. The iPod does not have the ear speaker slit and is about eight millimeters thin—in contrast, the iPhone is 11.6 millimeters thin.

The iPod touch will last for up to 22 hours of audio playback and five hours of video playback per charge, according to Jobs.

The iPod touch is a worldwide product launch, Jobs said. It’s the first touch product Apple has shipped outside the United States, and it’s been localized into many languages.

The iPod touch is coming in two configurations—8GB and 16GB, for $299 and $399 respectively. Both models are expected to be available “in just a few weeks,” according to Jobs, who said that Apple will ship them in September, “in plenty of time for the holiday season.”

iPod classic

Steve Jobs and the iPod classic

Apple has renamed the iPod the " iPod classic " to help differentiate it from other models, and has refreshed the product with a new look, new features and massive hard disk space. The iPod classic is now available in 80GB and 160GB versions for $249 and $349 respectively.

"Now the iPod's got a funny name," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs during the Wednesday morning special event where the new device was revealed. "It's just called 'the iPod' because it was the first one. We though, 'It's time to give it a name.' We're going to call it the iPod classic."

The iPod classic retains a 2.5-inch LCD display with 320 x 240 pixel resolution and the same form factor and Click Wheel interface as those iPods that have preceded it. What's different is the iPod's composition: It's now an all-metal enclosure made of aluminum and steel, and it comes in either silver or black colors.

The new iPod also features Cover Flow, a feature imported from the iPhone and iTunes that lets you scan through the music on your iPod visually, as if you were looking at album covers, and features a redesigned interface. Three games have been included as well: iQuiz, an entertainment trivia game, Vortex, a 3D brickbashing game and Klondike, a solitaire card game.

"This boggles the mind," said Jobs. "The first iPod put 1000 songs in your pocket. This new iPod puts 40,000 songs in your pocket. It's amazing."

iPod nano

iPod nano

Images that appeared on gadget sites in the past couple of weeks provided to be accurate — Apple’s redesigned iPod nano sports a much “fatter” or wider design than before, while still retaining the device’s razor-thin depth: 6.5mm. The price is $149 and $199 for 4GB and 8GB models, respectively.

The iPod nano eschews a 1.5-inch screen for a 2-inch color LCD display with what Jobs describes as the highest pixel density of any device in Apple history — 204 pixels per inch (PPI). This enables the display to show 320 x 240 pixels — the same as the iPod classic — up from 176 x 132. The display is also 65 percent brighter than before.

The new iPod nano is also capable of playing video content, along with music playback and photo slideshows. With the wider screen comes an enhanced interface that shows the iPod nano’s menus on the left side and a preview of what you’re listening to on the right, and support for Cover Flow as well.

The 4GB iPod nano comes in silver only, while the 8GB model is available in five colors, including a red version, part of the proceeds of which go to the (Product)Red initiative, which helps fund the Global Fund for African AIDS relief.

The 4GB iPod nano comes in silver only, while the 8GB model is available in five colors, including a red version, part of the proceeds of which go to the (Product)Red initiative, which helps fund the Global Fund for African AIDS relief.

iPod shuffle

iPod shuffle family

Apple also modestly refreshed its tiny iPod shuffle. The iPod shuffle remains priced at $79 and still features 1GB of storage capacity. It’s available in four new colors, however, including a red model that—like its nano counterpart—is part of the (Product)Red initiative.

Along with the original silver, Apple offers the iPod in new turquoise, green, purple and red hues. As with the iPod nano (Product)Red version and the iTunes Gift Card (Product)Red, a portion of the sales of the red iPod shuffle are donated to the Global Fund, which helps provide AIDS prevention and education programs that focus on women and children. The (Product)Red campaign, supported by Apple and other consumer electronics manufactures, has donated over $11 million to the Global Fund to date.

Other than the new colors, the shuffle remains largely untouched —it continues to feature a built-in clip designed to attach to your clothing, and features a circular control pad with Click Wheel-style functions, a battery indicator, shuffle switch and tiny dock that connects to a Mac or PC using USB.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Eastern to include details on the iPod touch and more information about the shuffle.
Updated at 3:35 p.m. adding more information about the iPod classic and shuffle.
Updated at 4:32 p.m. adding information about the iPod nano.
Updated at 6:15 p.m. to correct information about the iPod touch’s depth.

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