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ple Launches New iPods & 'Genius' iTunes 8

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I predicted 7 out of 10 on the excitement scale for tonight's big 'Let's Rock' event and we hit, yep: a 7 - if you're feeling really generous.

So let's break it down: the iPod nano is the big mover and shaker (pun intended... you'll see) of the line and is now as we knew elongated back to its 2G proportions, has a curved aluminium design reminiscent of the iPhone 3G and 2G touch (wait for it...), is even thinner (6.2mm) and lighter (36g), comes in up to 16GB capacities and has an enlarged screen and integrated accelerometer which automatically flips into landscape model for displaying pictures and video and skips tracks when shaken (I had an old CD player which did the same and no one thought that was clever!). The UI has also had a tweak but it's not the iPhone-esque icon overhaul that was mooted (wow, one leak wasn't true).

The next biggest mover (which isn't saying much) is the iPod touch which - again, as expected - is merely a gentle refresh: it gets a rounded iPhone 3G/iPod nano design, iPhone matching inbuilt speaker and side volume controls and offers up to 36 hours and six hours of continuous music and video playback respectively on a single charge. On the software front it will come with firmware 2.1 (available free to touch owners with 2.0, a $9.95 charge otherwise) and offers Nike+ software built in - which is about as close to a surprise as it we got tonight.

Apple is also now heavily pushing the touch as a game machine: "It's the best portable device for playing games" spouted Jobs, which is pretty funny considering you can't even get a decent Tetris clone and card and tilt based games remain its highlights to date. Still, we'll give this one time yet as its early days.

Lastly the iPod classic (the shuffle was ignored completely) is clearly set for the sidelines within the next 12/18 months as Apple has scrapped both the 80GB and 160GB versions and replaced them with a single 120GB model - yeah hardware travelling jukebox fans, we're disappointed too. Changes? That's it: just the option of a lower capacity than could be bought before. Goodbye HDDs...

So let's get some pricing and here we do get some (yes, expected!) good news: the 4G 8GB and 16GB iPod nano will cost just £109 and £149 respectively while the 120GB classic retails for £179 and the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB touch line start at £169, rising to £219 and £279. Personally I'm not sure the touch has come down enough however to stop its continued cannibalisation from subsidised iPhone 3G sales.

Yep, all in all... pretty dull. I'm changing that score to a 6...

What news of iTunes and the iPhone I hear (some) of you cry! That article is being scribbled as you read this...

Update: The less said about the English in Apple's latest iPod touch advertising slogan the better...

Update 2: Continuing the odd new ad tags, here's the despotic line for the 120GB classic (no more 160 gigabytes, that's you told *cough*)

Links:
iPod nano 4G
iPod classic 120GB
iPod touch 2G

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