Apple Refreshes IPod Photo, IPod Mini Players

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer today refreshed its line of IPod Photo digital music players with a new, slim 30GB model replacing the previously available 40GB unit. The 30GB IPod Photo debuts at $349, $150 less than its 40GB predecessor.

IPod Mini
Also announced today were members of the second generation of IPod Mini players; the price of the 4GB model has dropped to $199 and a new 6GB model is being introduced at $249. The company said that both models can be charged via USB 2.0 and have an increased battery life of up to 18 hours.

Pricing Magic

In a statement announcing the refreshed IPod mini lineup, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the 4GB model's new $199 price tag "the magic price point."

"$199 is just the magical place to be in the consumer market," Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of hardware product marketing, reiterated to MacCentral.

The price of the 60GB IPod photo has dropped as well, the company said--from $599 to $449. And Apple's new IPod Camera Connector enables users to move their photos straight from a digital camera to an IPod.

Apple told MacCentral that the 40GB hard-disk drive mechanism previously used in the low-end IPod photo was dropped in favor of the 30GB mechanism for reasons of size: The 40GB mechanism used two platters to store information on; the 30GB mechanism uses a single platter, so it's thinner. The 30GB model measures 0.63 inches thick, while the 60GB model remains unchanged at 0.75 inches. The 30GB model weighs a bit less, too--5.9 ounces, versus 6.4 ounces for the 60GB.

Otherwise, the IPod Photo remains cosmetically unchanged, still featuring a backlit 2-inch LCD panel capable of displaying more than 65,000 colors.

Apple has also dropped the Dock with this refreshed line: It's now an optional $39 accessory. Like the IPod Mini, the IPod Photo no longer includes a FireWire cable, though Apple makes them available as a $19 option.

The IPod Photo comes with earbud headphones, a USB 2.0 cable, a USB power adapter, and a CD containing ITunes 4.7.1 for Mac and Windows computers. System requirements include Mac OS X version 10.2.8 or Mac OS X version 10.3.4 or later and IPhoto 4.0.3 or later.

IPod Camera Connector

Though Apple's Web site offered no details as this article went online, the company also announced the IPod Camera Connector--an optional $29 accessory expected to hit store shelves in late March. This device connects the IPod photo to a digital camera and enables users to transfer images directly to their IPod Photo, bypassing a Mac or Windows computer completely.

Third parties have already developed interfaces that allow users to move the contents of their digital camera's media cards into the IPod for storage, but such devices generally use the IPod exclusively as a storage mechanism, until the device is synchronized to a Mac or PC. Apple notes that the IPod Camera Connector will allow IPod Photo users to view the pictures immediately, and then later sync the updated contents back to IPhoto or to a photo viewing application on the PC.

This story, "Apple Refreshes IPod Photo, IPod Mini Players" was originally published by MacCentral.

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