As had been widely speculated, Apple announced a new addition to its bestselling range of iPod music players yesterday with a device that can play video.
The new iPod plays music, audiobooks, audio Podcasts, video Podcasts, home movies, music videos and even TV shows. It comes in black or white with capacity of 30GB or 60GB and can hold up to 150 hours of video, according to Apple.
The unit has a larger screen than standard iPods, measuring 2.5 inches and displaying in full colour. It is also 30pc thinner than current hard disk-based iPods. The 30GB version measures 2.4×4.1x.43 inches; the 60GB iPod is slightly larger, at 2.4×4.1x.55 inches.
Hand in hand with the hardware announcement, Apple also released an update to its iTunes software. Version 6 allows people to buy, manage and play video as well as audio content. The library so far includes more than 2,000 music videos, six short films from Pixar Animation Studios as well as five television shows from ABC and Disney Channel, including the popular Lost and Desperate Housewives.
Apple was typically bullish about the prospects for the latest iPod, saying in a statement that it would fast become the most popular portable video player in history. However, some analysts believe that the consumer desire to watch video on such a small screen is by no means a racing certainty — something that Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself had acknowledged in the past. The recent release of Sony’s PlayStation Portable, which also has video playing features, may help to advance this market.
Concluding a presentation to launch the product yesterday, Jobs remarked: “This is the start of something really big. Sometimes the first step is the hardest one, and we’ve just taken it.”
Keeping with the video theme, Apple also launched a new iMac G5, which comes with a built-in iSight camera for videoconferencing. It also uses Apple’s Front Row media technology, a remote control that operates at up to 30ft away from the computer, which can control playing music, running photo slideshows and watching DVDs or video content. The iMac G5 comes in two versions, one with a 17-inch display and a larger model with a 20-inch screen. Apple tweaked the design and the new range is thinner than its predecessor.
All of the newly announced products are ready to ship. The 30GB iPod retails for €329 and the €60GB version costs €448.99. The 17-inch iMac G5 with 1.9GHz processor is available for €1,399 and the 20-inch 2.1GHz version is €1,819.
By Gordon Smith