Apple Revamps iPod Line And Apple TV

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San Francisco - Apple revamped its complete iPod lineup with a new Shuffle, Nano and Touch while launching a new Apple TV that streams rented movies and TV shows rather than downloads them for local storage.


CEO Steve Jobs called the launches "the biggest change in the iPod lineup ever."

The company also upgraded the iTunes application, upgraded its Touch/iPhone OS to iOIS4, and provides a sneak peak of the iOS4.2, due in November.

In its iPod line, the Touch got thinner and added the iPhone 4's Retina display for sharper images, multiplayer gaming via the new iOS 4.1 OS, a front-facing camera for use with the company's FaceTime video-chat application, and a rear-facing camera/camcorder that captures HD video but has no flash. The FaceTime app can be used to chat with other Touch users and with iPhone 4 users.

The Touch also gets the iPad's 1GHz Apple A4 chip, a three-axis gyro for better game play, and extended music playback time of 40 hours on a single charge. Like before, the Touch is available in three capacities: 8GB at $229, 32GB at $299 and 64GB at $399.

Apple downsized the Nano by 46 percent, made it square, added an aluminum and glass body, and in place of a clickwheel, added a multitouch touchscreen that users can manually reorient. It adds a belt clip and extends battery life to 24 hours for music. It also carries over its predecessor's FM tuner, video and picture storage, pedometer, and Nike+ feature. Prices hold steady at $149 for the 8GB version and $179 for the 16GB version.

The Shuffle, which morphed into an aluminum square, got back its clickable buttons to control select features. Controls in the previous generation were incorporated in the headphone cable. Like before, the shuffle randomly selects songs for playback, lacks a display, and features VoiceOver, which lets users hear the name of the currently playing song and enables them to use the device's controls to change songs, playlists or Genius Mix. Genius Mix, which automatically generates a playlist based on a selected song, is new to the Shuffle. The new model also extends music playback time to 15 hours on one charge, but it now comes in only one capacity: 2GB at $49 vs. 2GB and 4GB.

The Shuffle's clickable buttons consist of a center button to play and pause and outer buttons to skip forward and back or adjust volume up and down.

The 160GB iPod Classic remains in the line at $249.

The new Nano will be available next week in silver, graphite, blue, green, orange and pink through Apple's online store, Apple's retail stores and authorized resellers. A red iPod Nano will be available only through the Apple online store and Apple's retail stores.

The Touch and Shuffle also will be available next week through Apple's online store, Apple's retail stores and authorized resellers. The Shuffle's color options are silver, blue, green, orange and pink.

In launching a new Apple TV, the company dropped the price to $99 from $229, eliminated the 160GB hard drive for content storage, and went to an all-streaming strategy to stimulate demand. Due in about four weeks, the palm-sized device streams first-run HD movies day and date with DVD release for $4.99, and streams commercial-free TV shows from ABC, ABC Family, FOX, Disney Channel, BBC America  and Fix for 99 cents. It also streams movies from Netflix and connects to YouTube and Flickr. It also streams music, photos and video from a networked computer. It features HDMI output.

The current Apple TV downloads HD movies for purchase and rental, and TV shows are available only for purchase at $2.99.

The iOS 4.1 OS launched by Apple fixes multiple bugs in the current iOS 4 OS used in the Touch, iPhone and iPad. It also adds HD video uploading via Wi-Fi to the net, multiplayer gaming and an HDR (high dynamic range) photo capability, which takes three photos in rapid succession at different exposures, then merges them into one photo to create the best picture.

The iOS 4.2 OS, due in November, adds wireless printing from a Touch, iPad or iPhone and enables Wi-Fi streaming of video and photos, not just music, to Apple's AirPort Express devices.

To its iTunes application, called iTunes 10, Apple added a music-focused social networking feature called Ping.


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