Apple Computer Inc. said it would introduce a smaller and cheaper version of its popular iPod music player next month to challenge rivals in the market for flash-memory-based digital devices.
In a presentation at MacWorld in San Francisco, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said that Apple had shipped 730,000 iPod units in the most recent quarter, giving it the market-leading position among digital music players.
Apple said it had sold over 2 million iPod units since the launch of the popular digital music player, which has won a following for its huge storage capacity and sleek design.
The iPod has also received a boost from Apple's online music store, iTunes, which the company said has sold more than 30 million songs -- an increase of 5 million tracks from the sales numbers announced by the company less than a month ago.
The new "iPod mini" will be priced at $249 -- $50 cheaper than the current entry-level iPod.
The device, smaller than most cell phones, will offer 4 gigabytes of storage -- enough to hold about 1,000 songs -- and will be sold in five colors, Jobs said.
Analysts had widely expected Apple to introduce a cheaper iPod to head off competition from cheaper, flash-memory based music players, especially for a younger consumers.
In his presentation, Jobs said that the company would phase out its entry-level 10-gigabyte iPod and offer a 15 gigabyte model instead for the same price of $299.
The prices on the 20-gigabyte iPod and the top-of-the-line 40-gigabyte model, which is able to hold about 10,000 songs, remained at $399 and $499 respectively.
- Hard Disc: 4GB
- Supported formats: AAC, MP3, Audio AIFF (only Mac), WAV
- Display: Liquid crystal 1.67 inches, 138x110 dots
- PC interface: IEEE 1394 (cable attached) USB 2.0 (cable attached)
- Playback time: About 8 hours
- Remote control: optional
- Dimensions: 50.8x12.7x91.4mm (W x D x H)
- Weight: 102g (battery included)