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Apple kicks off fall with iPod, Apple TV overhauls

Philip Michaels | Sept. 2, 2010
As expected, Apple refreshed its iPod lineup Wednesday (1 Sep.), unveiling redesigned versions of its iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle music players.

SAN FRANCISCO, 1 SEPTEMBER 2010 - As expected, Apple refreshed its iPod lineup Wednesday, unveiling redesigned versions of its iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle music players. But the company didn't stop there, using its annual fall music event to also announce an update to its iTunes software and an overhaul of its Apple TV set-top box.

The fall music event is an Apple tradition dating back at least six years, in which the company typically rolls out new iPods in advance of the holiday shopping season. This year's edition took place in San Francisco Wednesday, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs leading a 90-minute run-through of his company's music plans for the coming months.

Those plans include a revamped iPod touch that adopts many of the features of its iPhone 4 counterpart--including front-and-back-facing cameras and support for Apple's FaceTime video chat technology. The fourth-generation touch also sports the Retina display technology introduced to the iPhone line this summer.

Available next week, the touch comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, priced at US$229, $299, and $399, respectively.

As for Apple's other iPod offerings, both the nano and shuffle have undergone radical redesigns. The latest iPod nano now features a touch-interface on a chip-sized device--it's 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous nano.

The interface of the new nano will remind users of the iPhone and iPod touch--it features multiple Home screens capable of holding up to four icons each that users can scroll between.

The nano may come with a new design, but it's lost some capabilities from previous generations. The video camera Apple introduced to last year's nano offering is gone as is the ability to play back videos.

The nano comes in seven colors and in two capacities--a $149 8GB model and a $179 16GB model. It ships next week.

The shuffle also gets a radical new look. A circular playback control returns to the music player, which also retains the previous versions support for multiple playlists and VoiceOver capabilities for announcing artists, albums, and songs. Apple added support for Genius playlists to the shuffle, which now offers 15 hours of battery life.

Available next week, the shuffle comes in five different colors. The 2GB music player costs $49.

iPods weren't the only hardware to get a make-over Wednesday. Apple also introduced a smaller version of its Apple TV set-top box. The palm-sized black box will put the emphasis on streaming content, either from Apple's online iTunes Store or from a local device. According to Jobs, that approach eliminates some of the issues users had with storing and syncing content with earlier versions of the Apple TV.


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