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Apple Builds Ecosystem With iPod Touch Screen

The new lineup includes a partnership with Starbucks that will result in free Wi-Fi access in its coffee shops for iPhone or iPod Touch owners who want to download music.

Besides using Starbucks to sell more songs through its hardware, Apple also unveiled the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, accessible through an icon on the iPod Touch, and as part of an iPhone software upgrade scheduled for later this month. Accessing the store through the gadgets provides a simple interface for searching and buying tunes from Apple's catalog of 6 million songs.

The iPod Touch, which has a 3.5-inch display for photos and video, is scheduled to ship this month. The device will cost $299 for an 8Gbyte version, and $399 for a 16Gbyte version.

The iPod Nano gets an overhaul in Apple's upgrade of the product line. The device, which sports a 2-inch screen, is a bit wider, but considerably shorter, than the original.

The iPod Nano gets an overhaul in Apple's upgrade of the product line. The device, which sports a 2-inch screen, is a bit wider, but considerably shorter, than the original.
Also scheduled to ship in plenty of time for the holiday season are upgrades of the iPod Nano, and the iPod Classic, which previously had been called the video iPod. The Nano, which was only a music player, now supports video on a 2-inch screen with the same resolution as the iPod Classic -- 320 by 240 pixels. New to both devices was the addition of Apple's Cover Flow software, which enables users to scroll through album cover art in searching for an artist. Both gadgets use Apple's familiar scroll wheel interface.

Besides video support, another big change in the Nano was the size. The device is wider, than but about half as long as the older version. The iPod Classic, which is 8 millimeters thick, is slightly thinner than the older version.

Both the Nano and the Classic are scheduled to be in stores this weekend. The Nano will cost $149 for a 4Gbyte version, and $199 for the model with 8Gbytes of storage. The Classic will cost $249 for an 80Gbyte model and $349 for a 160Gbyte version.

Also available in stores by the weekend is the Shuffle, which will be available in new colors. The clip-on version of the iPod, the smallest member of the product line, will cost $79 and have 1Gbyte of storage.

Apple plans to ship Wednesday night an upgrade of its iTunes software for accessing its online store and downloading and organizing music, podcasts, and video. Next week, Apple plans to activate tools that will enable users to take portions of songs purchased through Apple and turn them into ring tones for the iPhone.

Apple will initially have 500,000 songs available for conversion into ring tones, with others added as the company gets licensing rights from copyright holders, Jobs said.

Overall, Apple's latest move reflects how the company continues to effectively turn its hardware, software and services into an entertainment ecosystem that remains ahead of Microsoft, which has the Zune media player and online store, Sony, and other competitors. "This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Microsoft and anybody else competing in this space," McGuire said.

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