Apple unveils vamped up iPods

September 1, 2010 7:59:01 PM PDT
The rumors turned out to be on the mark. Apple came out with updated iPods and a new TV device Wednesday, but the real news had to do with its strategy to get consumers to spend money.

'New' was the key word as Apple unveiled fresh designs and features for its popular devices.

"We have all new iPods, an all-new design for every single model of iPod," CEO Steve Jobs said.

Jobs says they are the biggest changes ever in its music players.

The Nano sports a touch screen, similar to the iPhone. It is no bigger than a man's wristwatch and it starts at $149. The Shuffle has shrunk in size and price at just $49. And the iPod Touch, which has become the world's top selling hand-held game device, has added "Face Time" -- the ability to have a two-way video call over Wi-Fi, thanks to cameras in the front and back.

"They've really done a very good job of filling out the entire spectrum for a broad range of consumers, and I think that's what's going to be big for this holiday is the fact that they have price points for a lot of different people," Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster said.

An update of iTunes, called iTunes 10, has a new social networking feature. It lets users recommend music and add comments among friends.

As important as music is to Apple, the company also sees a future in TV, and it hasn't given up on trying to find the right device.

A re-designed Apple TV device allows users to stream movies from Netflix and to rent TV shows from ABC and Fox for 99 cents. The palm-sized device costs $99. It will put Apple in competition with Google to manage media in the living room.

"Google TV is more about bringing Internet content into the living room, whereas Apple is saying, 'Make it simple. What consumers really want is movies, television shows, their music, Netflix, etc. Just do something very straight forward,'" Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin said.

It is clear Apple is trying to coax recession-weary shoppers with tempting technology at lower prices.


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