Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The new iPods - skinnier, cheaper, with a touch of Genius?

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The new iPods - skinnier, cheaper, with a touch of Genius?

Source: http://business.timesonline.co.uk

Apple to unveil new generation of iPods and new features for the updated iTunes music store

A new generation of iPods is set to be launched by Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, tomorrow.

A swirl of speculation points to price cuts, a new “skinnier” look for the iPod nano and a raft of updates for Apple’s market-leading iTunes online music store. Apple is saying nothing official.

The success of the iPhone has pushed the iconic iPod and its siblings, the nano and the shuffle, into the shadows.

The new iPod nano is said to be longer and skinnier with a more distinct curve to the screen. Images on various blogging websites back this up.

The iPod touch is thought to be getting a memory upgrade and a price cut to bring it in line with the cost of the 8Gb iPhone 3G. In the US the 8Gb iPod touch costs $299 and the 8Gb iPhone 3G costs $199.

According to a post by Kevin Rose, founder of the Digg website, Tuesday will see the launch of iTunes 8 with a new music recommendation engine called “Genius”.

Currently iTunes recommends songs from iTunes based on past purchases. Genius will supposedly scan the owner's music library and give recommendations.

It will also apparently choose songs that are already owned and arrange similar songs to give a more cohesive listening experience. How it does this is not yet clear.

iTunes 8 will also apparently include new tools to allow users to download high definition versions of their favourite TV shows and sync them to selected iPods.

At the moment iTunes only offers the HD option for select films rented over its Apple TV device.

Mr Jobs, Apple's founder, will be taking the stage tomorrow night at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Performing Arts in San Francisco for a special launch under the banner “Let’s Rock”.

Jobs has made a ritual of introducing new iPods in September — just in time for the Christmas market. In 2005 he unveiled the original iPod nano. Last year it was the iPod touch.

Sales of iPods have nearly levelled off after a couple of years of huge growth. Analysts have said that the product line needs a boost to keep customers clicking into the lucrative iTunes store.

As usual, Apple is refusing to comment on rumours ahead of the big event.

Apple's shares have been drifting down in recent weeks as investors’ expectations have lessened ahead of the launch.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, has said he did not expect Apple would use Tuesday’s event to launch any new Macs. “We continue to believe that MacBook Pro and MacBook are due for refreshers with more radical redesigns,” he said, but that they will not be shown this week.

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