Apple unveiled new iPods on Wednesday including a model with an iPhone-style touch screen and wireless Internet connectivity.
Apple decided to refresh the product line at a time when its digital media strategy is facing renewed attacks from rivals.
The revamped iPod line ranges from $79 clip-on, colored "shuffles" to the multifunction iPhone.
The new touch-screen iPod will have many of the features of Apple's hit iPhone, including a touch screen, the ability to connect to the Internet wirelessly using Wi-Fi technology, and a mini Web browser that can view YouTube videos and search on Google and Yahoo Inc sites. The new flagship iPod has "the same size screen as the iPhone, but it's even thinner" (eight-millimeters, for those taking notes), and it also touts the "same multi-touch interface" found on the firm's handset. Additionally, it boasts a 3.5-inch widescreen display, the ability to "flick through photos," and you even get the "slide to unlock" feature from the iPhone. As for battery life, the Touch is said to last 22-hours when playing back audio and 5-hours when watching video, but only time will tell how draining web surfing will be. The iPod Touch will be arriving in 8GB and 16GB flavors and will be priced at $299 and $399, respectively, when they ship "worldwide in a few weeks."
"We've built in Wi-Fi and we've made it usable," Jobs said, in an apparent dig at Microsoft Corp's Zune, which beat the iPod to market with a Wi-Fi player, but has not enjoyed the iPod's popularity.
Microsoft cut the price on the Zune by $50 to $199 on Wednesday.
Apple also introduced higher capacity versions of the original hard-drive iPod and added video and games to its iPod nano, which stores songs and photos on flash memory chips. Like the brand new iPod nano, the flagship iPod is also sporting an all-new interface, headlined by Cover Flow. The iPod comes in 80GB and 160GB capacities, with 30 hours of battery for audio playback, 6 hours of video on the 80GB version, and 40 hours / 7 hours for the 160GB unit. In addition to the new interface, the iPod Classic is getting a new all-metal shell, and is selling at $249 for the 80 gigger, $349 for 160. They should be in stores by the weekend.
The new iPod nano will include 2-inch screens with QVGA resolution, and apparently boast the same screen resolution as the iPod video. The displays have the highest pixel density the company has ever shipped, and it seems the extra-wide players will sport an "enhanced" UI and its own version of Cover Flow. It is not a touch screen and has a familiar "Clickwheel" interface. The nano will come bundled with three games, including a Vortex and Soduku game and you'll be able to purchase more from the iTunes store. The battery life is fairly impressive as well, with Apple touting 24 hours of playback for audio, and 5 hours for video. The 4GB model will be selling for $149, though it's only available in silver, while the rainbow-colored 8GB will leave you $199 lighter in the wallet. Both models will be in stores "by this weekend."
Apple will also update its iTunes online music store to let customers turn songs into ringtones for the iPhone for 99 cents each and to allow customers to buy songs while connected wirelessly.
In addition, Apple and Starbucks announced they had reached a deal that will allow people to buy songs wirelessly from Apple's iTunes music store in Starbucks coffee shops without paying WiFi connection fees. The service will debut at more than 600 Starbucks stores in New York and Seattle on October 2, the companies said, and will be expanded to other major U.S. cities later this year and next.