Now being the most popular thing since, before and during the invention of sliced bread, it seems the world cares one helluva lot about iPods. It is therefore with some fanfare that Apple has announced upgrades this afternoon to its iPod photo and mini ranges as well as a new attachment.
We look first at Apple’s top of the line iPod photo which, on the surface of things, has had what actually appears to be a downgrade: creating a 30GB version of a 60GB product. Of course, what this does is cut a little of the size down on what has been criticised as a notoriously bulky product.
Measuring 61 x 104 x 16mm, the new iPod photo shaves just 3mm off the 60GB photo’s depth and reduces the weight from 181g to 167g. Half the capacity in exchange for 14g doesn't seem like the greatest trade off in the world though.
Still, prices have also come down with the 60GB now retailing for a more reasonable £309 including VAT with the 30GB debuting at £248.99 including VAT (we are stll being stiffed compared to the Americans though). For those looking to grab photos directly off your digital camera a new iPod Camera Connector cable has also being introduced allowing you to plug the two devices together (support will depend on your model of digital camera). It will retail in the US for $29, which using the infamous Apple-Currency-Converter should translate as about £20/25 over here when it arrives at the back end of March.
As for the minis, they get a slightly more tangible refresh with the capacity increased by 50 per cent to 6GB and battery life boosted to a rather impressive 18 hours (depending on backlight useage, etc). Aesthetically speaking little is different other than a refreshed range of colours (brighter silver, green, pink and blue; the grim gold one seems to have done a runner) and the icon controls on the click wheel now match the colour scheme. The dimensions (91 x 51 x 13mm) and weight (103g) remain the same and it is priced at £169.
What will Apple do with all the existing 4GB minis I hear you ask? The answer is simple: it plans to keep on selling them, though with a price tag of £30 less for something 2GB smaller, I can’t see it staying in existence for long.
All in all, the news comes as a bit of a let down. The industry has been flooded with rumours of Bluetooth support, colour screens for the mini and – in the case of the Photo – direct printing and even a version with an in-built camera. Ho-Hum.