Ramping up for this year’s holiday season, Apple Corp. on Tuesday unveiled a slate of new and improved iPods, featuring the thinnest one yet along with a sleeker version of the Touch that’s equipped for the company’s applications store.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs introduced the newly revamped models at an event in San Francisco one day after rival Microsoft Corp. announced new add-ons to its Zune media player. The fourth-generation vision of the iPod Nano offers several new features, starting with “Genius” playlists in which users of iTunes 8 can trigger auto-generated playlists. In addition, like the iPhone, the new Nano can sense when it’s rotated. Perhaps most interesting is the ability for users to send the device into “Shuffle” mode by shaking it.
The Nano, now available in nine colors, goes for $149 for 8 gigabytes or $199 for 16 GB.
As for the smaller-sized, second edition of the Touch, it’s compatible with the applications store, giving users the option of downloading games in addition to music and videos. It also works with the iTunes Genius feature. It’s priced at $229 for 8 GB, $299 for 16 GB and $399 for 32 GB.
Cuptertino, Calif.-based Apple also announced that TV shows from NBC Universal are available again for download from its online store.
Since debuting the iPod in 2001, Apple has sold 160 million of them. But some analysts point out the company’s wildly successful iPhone could limit future success, functioning essentially as an iPod Touch that makes calls.
“As a maker of high end portable media devices they have built something of ceiling of growth with the iPhone,” Jupiter Research analyst Mark Mulligan wrote in a blog posting.
“If you have an iPhone you have most of what you need from a portable media player. The meat of Apple’s iPod target customers are iPhone target customers. So future revenue opportunity with these customers either centres on either selling them new iPhones or extra iPods in the home,” Mr. Mulligan wrote.