U2, Apple in iPod launch

27 Oct 2004

Irish rockers U2 and Apple Computer last night unveiled the much talked about U2-branded iPod as part of a partnership between Apple, U2 and Universal Music to create innovative new products for the digital music era. Apart from the iPod, Apple also announced the industry’s first of a kind “digital box set”, beginning with The Complete U2, which will contain over 400 tracks from the band’s back catalogue.

Featuring a black enclosure with a red click wheel and custom engraving of U2 band member signatures, the new U2 iPod holds up to 5,000 songs. “U2 and Apple have a special relationship where they can start to redefine the music business,” said Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records. “The iPod along with iTunes is the most complete thought that we’ve seen in music in a very long time.”

The new U2 iPod is being introduced as the band prepares to release its new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in late November and the partnership between the band, its label Universal Music and Apple will see the first single from the album, Vertigo, be made available exclusively in the US through the iTunes music store.

The forthcoming digital box set, The Complete U2, will contain over 400 tracks including all of the band’s albums and over 25 rare and unreleased tracks. U2 fans will be able to purchase and download The Complete U2 with just one click on the iTunes Music Store in the US and Europe beginning in late November for US$149 (€116).

“We want our audience to have a more intimate online relationship with the band, and Apple can help us do that,” said U2 lead singer Bono. “With iPod and iTunes, Apple has created a crossroads of art, commerce and technology which feels good for both musicians and fans.”

“iPod and iTunes look like the future to me and it’s good for everybody involved in music,” said U2 guitarist, The Edge.

The iPod features Apple’s patent-pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads an entire digital music library onto an iPod and keeps it up-to-date whenever it is plugged into a Mac or Windows computer using FireWire or USB. Users can transfer two songs per second from a Mac or Windows machine and charge the device with either the FireWire or USB cable. The new 20GB iPod U2 Special Edition is expected to be available in mid-November for a suggested price of US$349 (€273) through the Apple Store and authorized Apple resellers.

“U2 is one of the greatest bands in the world and we are floored to be working with them,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We just want to make some innovative products together, and we hope U2 fans will love having their very own special edition iPod.”

The unveiling of the U2 Special Edition iPod coincided with Apple’s introduction of another addition to the iPod family, the iPod Photo, that lets you take your entire music and photo library with you wherever you go. iPod Photo holds up to 25,000 digital photos alongside your music library and displays them on a high-resolution color screen, allowing you to scroll through your photo library using the click wheel. The iPod Photo device also features TV-out for sharing your slideshows on big screen televisions and projectors. iPod Photo comes in 40GB or 60GB models which hold up to 10,000 or 15,000 songs, and its extended battery life gives users up to 15 hours of music playback or up to 5 hours of slideshows.

By John Kennedy