In one of the worst kept secrets of recent technological times Microsoft has finally come forth and admitted the existence of the Xbox 360 Elite.
Talked about since the start of the year when it was codenamed the 'Zephyr', the Xbox 360 Elite will update the 18 months old console with new black styling, a 120GB drive, HDMI port (with bundled cable!), wireless black controller and black wired headset.
The big news for us however is the Elite will be a permanent top tier product, not a limited edition as previously thought. In the US it will retail for $479 (£244) which, fingers crossed, will mean a sub £300 UK price tag, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it sneak a little over. The downside to this strategy is the price tags on Core and Premium versions will stay the same (for now, at least). Still, Microsoft does offer some compensation to existing Core and Premium owners since the Elite's 120GB HDD will be available separately for $179 (£91).
Confirming earlier reports, the Elite won't have an integrated HD DVD drive and – unexpectedly – won't use the new quieter and more power efficient 65nm CPU. Furthermore, those hoping to match up a spanking new Elite with the external HD DVD drive will be disappointed since Microsoft won't be producing any matching black versions.
The Xbox 360 Elite will surface in the US and Canada on 29 April. A UK/European time frame has yet to be revealed but Xbox UK did say "We’re getting it all soon, okay, so hang in there for a release date" so I suspect there won't be any four month delays.
Ding, Ding! Round Two!