Apple's Jobs Unveils iPod Updates

The Apple CEO showed off a minor refresh to the iPod Touch and an added video camera to the company's popular Nano.
Apple is adding the video recorder without changing the size of the slim device that easily fits in a shirt pocket. However, Apple has increased the size of the Nano's screen to 2.2 inches. In addition, the new Nano has a built in microphone and an FM radio.

Despite the new features, Apple did not raise the price of the device. The 8-GB model will cost $149 and a 16-GB version $179. The new Nano was available as of Wednesday in eight colors.

Apple lowered the prices on other members of the iPod family. The starting price of the iPod Touch went to $199 from $229 for the 8-GB model. Apple also doubled the storage in its other models while keeping the prices about the same. The new 32-GB model costs $299 and the 64-GB version is $399.

Apple also increased the storage of the iPod Classic, the only iPod with a hard-disk drive, to 160 GB from 120 GB, while keeping the price at $249. Many Apple watchers had expected the company to discontinue the Classic.

Finally, Apple doubled the storage of the basic iPod Shuffle to 2 GB and increased the price to $59 from $49. In addition, the company introduced a polished stainless steel model with 4 GB of storage for $99.

Apple is refreshing the iPod line in time for the holiday shopping season, the biggest shopping time of the year. iPod sales have slowed considerably as the market for portable media players has matured. In July, Apple reported that sales slid during the quarter ended June 27 by 7% from the same period a year ago to 10.2 million units.

Apple also refreshed the iTunes store that works with the iPod line, as well as the iPhone. Among the new features in iTunes version 9 is more content added to the purchase of albums. Along with the songs, Apple is adding original album covers, video of interviews with artists, liner notes, lyrics, and any other content provided by record companies and musicians.

By offering such content without increasing the price of albums, record companies are hoping to boost sales at a time when people are buying more individual songs for far less, hurting profit margins.

Apple also made it easier to share links to music on the iTunes store on social networks Facebook and Twitter, and also added features to simplify organizing applications purchased from Apple's App Store on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Apple unveiled an upgrade to the iPhone and iPod Touch operating system. Version 3.1 includes bug fixes and extends Apple's Genius technology for discovering new music to applications. Genius is used on iTunes to recommend music on the iTunes store, based on music in a person's library. With the new version of the OS, the same feature will be extended to applications on a person's iPhone. Apple's App Store is accessed through iTunes.

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