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Apple refreshed its iPod line in time for the Christmas selling season with its first camera-equipped iPod Nanos, a new $59 iPod Shuffle, and an expanded Touch line starting at $199 but running to $399 for a model with a new 64GB capacity.
At a news conference hosted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the company also announced a redesigned iTunes store to more easily integrate apps, TV and music. iTunes was also upgraded to permit song sharing among networked computers in a home, expand album art and liner notes for LPs, and add a Genius Mixes feature that automatically creates up to 12 playlists from the songs in an iTunes library.
Last year, Apple introduced a playlist-generated Genius feature on its Touch and Nano to automatically generate playlists related to particular songs in the player’s library.
This year, the Nano gets a makeover with the addition of a video camera, an iTunes-tagging analog-FM radio, a larger 2.2-inch screen, a pedometer and new colors. Jobs called the Nano the world’s most popular music player, with more than 100 million units sold.
Users can now share videos with friends by using the Nano’s display and speaker and can sync the Nano with a PC or Mac to upload video to Facebook, YouTube or email.
The FM radio on the Nano permits iTunes tagging so users can flag a favorite FM song that will appear in their iTunes application for purchase when the Nano is synced. Its pedometer keeps track of steps taken and calories burned. The 8GB Nano is available at a suggested $149, like its 8GB predecessor, with the 16GB version now selling for $179, down from the predecessor’s $199.
Notably absent from the new iPod Touch line was a built-in camera. The new iPod Touch models are available in an 8GB version at $199, a 32GB version at $299 and a 64GB model at $399.
Microsoft’s touchscreen-equipped ZuneHD, in contrast, retails for an estimated everyday $219 for the 16GB version and $289 for the 32GB version, both with Zune-tagging HD Radio tuner. They became available for in-store purchase on Sept. 15.
Jobs called the iPod Touch the company’s most affordable gateway to the App Store, which now offers more than 75,000 applications that have received more than 1.8 billion downloads.
The iPod Shuffle also received an overhaul and now starts at $59 for a 2GB model and $79 for a 4GB model. It’s now available in five colors. A special-edition, polished stainless-steel model is also available in 4GB for $99.
The new Shuffle is being supported by third-party headphone makers, including Sony, V-Moda, Klipsch and Scosche, which are offering built-in headphone controls for the unit. Belkin and Scosche are also offering built-in headphone adapters so the shuffle can work with their headphones, said Apple.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.